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The Difference

Greetings All,

I came across this 'thought' in my reading and was impressed by it's subtle yet powerful message. It's a 'thought' that will take some thought, but he effort will be worth it once you begin to follow what he's saying and make the possible applications.
It comes to you from
Stanley Hauerwas, in his book "A Cross-Shattered Church." Enjoy.

"Each one should remain in the situation which he was in when God called Him."
(I Cor. 7:17-23)

"For many of us a Christianity that makes no earthly difference is profoundly offensive... What good is what we do here Sunday after Sunday if what we do does not mobilize us to work to the end of injustices that continue to grip our lives? 'Let each of you remain in the condition in which you were called' does not sound like the difference we want the church to make.

However, this is but a reminder of our distance from Paul. Paul does not think that the church has to make a difference. Rather, for Paul, Christians must learn how to live in light of the difference Jesus has made. That difference is named quite clearly in the Gospel: "Now after John was arrested, Jesus came to Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God, and saying, 'The time is fulfilled and the kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news.''' The world has been turned upside down because God has redeemed time by entering our time. The difference has come and his name is Jesus.

The difference -- that name -- is one that challenges the thrones and dominions of this world. The powers, moreover, know they are under attack. Otherwise, why is John [the Baptist] in jail? Why is Paul in jail when he writes to Philemon? Why was Martin Luther King Jr. in jail when he wrote his letter from Birmingham? 'Repent and believe the good news' is the radical proclamation that Jesus has unleashed a movement that puts in jeopardy the powers of this world, powers that gain their power from our fears of death and one another. Is it any wonder that we are rightly frightened by Jesus call to repent and believe this good news?

We would like at the very least a moment to think about whether we want to join this movement. But Jesus gives those he calls no time to 'make up their minds.' He calls Simon and Andrew while they are at work, telling them he will make them fish for people. That they immediately leave their nets cannot strike us as anything but irresponsible. How will they make a living? Simon is married. Surely his familial responsibilities should have trumped Jesus's call. Jesus goes a little further and sees James and John, the sons of Zebedee, mending their nets and he 'immediately' calls them. They left the boat and, more importantly, their father, and followed Jesus. It seems that the difference Jesus is means that the everyday can no longer be presumed as a given. The family is no longer the first priority. The normal is no longer normative. The everyday is radically called into question...

The difference Jesus inaugurates, the difference presupposed by the call of the disciples, is the difference and call Paul takes as a given when he tells the Corinthians to remain as they were before they were called. They can remain in the position they find themselves, not because nothing has changed, but because everything has changed... The powers of domination have been defeated, having been exposed at the crucifixion as mere pretenders lacking substance. Christians, followers of Jesus, can remain in the conditions in which we find ourselves because we are a people constituted by a new way of life that saves us from those forms of life fueled by pretensions of status and power...

Christians hunger and thirst for righteousness and justice, but we are not utopians. Failing to achieve their ideals, utopians and idealists too easily become cynics who, in their frustration, are willing to kill in the name of a good cause. Christians are revolutionaries, but we believe the revolution has happened and we are it..."

Just a little bit of thought provoking insight for your consideration!
In Christ's Service, Pastor Jeff