Saturday, July 7, 2012

Homily on Hope

I am writing to share with you all a sermon I shared last Sunday. I've been attending a small Episcopal church that sits right beside the largest homeless shelter in the city. Every Sunday afternoon, they host a service that caters to Nashville's homeless community, with a full meal afterward for all comers. My sermon was about hope in the face of hopeless situations. It is a little longer than what is usually posted on this blog, but I'm sharing the link below for anyone who is interested. Peace.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

De-centering the Self

I have been reading Frank Macchia’s 2006 book Baptized in the Spirit: A Global Pentecostal Theology and find it to be a significant and helpful book, perhaps especially to Pentecostals, but also to all Christians deeply interested in the work of the Holy Spirit in our time. I was fortunate that Frank served on faculty with me at Southeastern University for several years in mid-1990s, and I was able to learn much from him. One observation that he makes is that while Spirit baptism is deeply personal, it is not individualistic. It gives rise to the church (155) and calls us into the church to share and gives witness to Trinitarian love. To live this kind of life in genuineness requires a “de-centered self,” Frank says, drawing on the work of Miraslov Volf. “The Christian proposal of a de-centered self locates the trust for self-realization essential to solitude in a relationship with Christ in the Spirit” (173). The successful practice of this approach frees us from the domination of the individual ego and enables us to awaken to a sense of “self-in-relation-to-God through Jesus Christ” (175).  This new sense of self does not result from the abolishment of its former humanity but rather from its transformation and fulfillment. “I no longer live, but Christ lives in me” (Gal. 2:20). I am grateful to be part of a network of spiritual friends seeking to live these words out in reality.

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