Today's sermon was again about Jonah. and Jonah's life being a life to teach Christians, not about the "spiritual", but the ethical. The world is to stand at attention by the ethics of the Christian in the midst of suffering, because "God" has that right to humble us. ("God" is understood n many ways, but in this sense it is leadership. The State has the right to define one's life, because the State has the right to be "useful" for and by God. Or some would believe that Church leaders have the right and duty to "develop" the spirituality of their "flock". But, both the State and Church do not have a right in our culture to determine another citizen's life.)
In ancient times, the "sea" was viewed as the danger. The sea was a wide expanse with no knowledge of what was "out there". There was no way of escape when one was "out at sea", except to get out of the sea. Jonah was thrown out at sea and swallowed by a whale. (I'm wondering if in the pastor's mind, the whale is "the church", as the ark was in the story about Noah?) The sailors didn't have an explainaton about what happend except to see it as a tragic event. But, "the Christian" (Jonah) is to see it as "God's training ground", to humble him. He is to submit, not resist, or rebel, then "God will use it" to testify to those who are not christians. I find this a little simplistic, as it requires Jonah to accept his circumstances without any question or answer about "God and his faithfulness". If such a real situaton occurs, the pastor cannot ascertan that "God" will come through when Jonah life had been tragically thrown into an unsafe place! No, all of Jonah's life is to be "put on the chair" of "faith".....no understandng, only pain. And accept this as from the "hand of God"!!!
How odd that the pastor can theologize, while he says theology doesn't work for the world, only the practicalities of a life "well lived". (Is he seeking the "wider frame" of theology, so the Church will have relevance, again?) Yet, he proposes that theology is to bring comfort to Jonah (the Christian). Jonah is to believe that "God has pre-ordained the narrow and confined circumstances of life to benefit the building of the church and to humble Jonah! (God crucifies his children and sacrifices them on the altar of his "self glorificaton" so that others might also worshp his "SELF"! Isn't it really the Church who wants "worship"?). This confining situaton or narrow place is to build "Christlike character" in Jonah...because the Christian isn't to lead, but serve. Don't ask questions, just obey the tyranncal government that is over you. THAT is "God's love" for you, because you should have no choice about your life. It is pre-destined!!! Christians aren't to seek justice, but love mercy. So they don't stand against those that put them in narrow places, they humbly submit!!!( And the Church is doing it to further their interests at your costs, but never mind their ethics, it is your own personal ethics that is important!)
I can believe that those that are under tyrannical government don't have a "life". These have no choices, are they to submit to this type of government? Or are the to seek a liberal democracy that allows liberty of conscience, as to one's life and values? Those that are humanitarians seek this as their "life calling". Those that are behaviorialist seek to conditon the "self" toward the behavoir they deem as important.
It seems to me that those that want to experiment on "The Christian" (or the religious) or those that want to utilize "The Christian" aren't about liberty, but about scientific investigation. And those that theologize such understakings aren't being ethical, but requiring "The Christian" to serve under such leadership. Is that ethical? Are those who seek to use others for their "ends" being ethical? or serving their own interests? Choice must be a value if one wants to maintan a free and open society, otherwise some will be duped under the tyranny of the few and this was not our Founder's vision. We are to be "equal under law" and that means that our liberty of life and values were to be freely chosen, not determined by government or any other elite class!
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