If we omit the ethical challenge of the kingdom, our newly found this-worldliness will simply conﬁrm our selﬁsh consumerist/materialistic, upwardly mobile, late—modern lifestyle; that is, our afﬁrmation of the world (our holistic vision of salvation) will be construed to beneﬁt us (whoever we are), while we ignore the needs of the wider world, especially the concrete needs of people who are different from our favored in—group. The tragedy is that many upwardly mobile North American Christians today often hoard and guard their religious identity and economic privilege, with little concern for the poor or for immigrants, or those of other nations, cultures, or religions. This problem is, of course, not limited to North Americans or even specifically to Christians. But, given the primary audience of this book, and the extraordinary religious and economic privilege of those living in North America, we need to take this challenge seriously.—J. Richard Middleton, A New Heaven and a New Earth, 273
Thursday, December 31, 2020
Wednesday, December 30, 2020
Tuesday, December 29, 2020
Monday, December 28, 2020
Historically, however, many Christians have had the opposite problem. We have not expected enough. And what we have expected, we have often delayed until “heaven” and the return of Christ. We have not really believed that God cares about this world of real people in their actual historical situations, which often are characterized by oppression and suffering. Our understanding of salvation has been characterized by an unbiblical otherworldliness. So our expectations of the future have often not reflected the full-orbed good news that Jesus proclaimed at Nazareth.—J. Richard Middleton, A New Heaven and a New Earth, 271
Thursday, December 24, 2020
Wednesday, December 23, 2020
The message of the kingdom that Jesus brings is good news most fundamentally because we, no less than his original hearers, desperately need the healing and redemption that he came to bring, a redemption that touches all we do. For we are, in multiple ways, caught up in the brokenness of the world, complicit in sin not just at the individual level but also as part and parcel of the fallen social order, which is out of whack with God’s purposes, living in a creation that is groaning for redemption. And we yearn for healing. The good news is that the coming of God’s kingdom impacts the entirety of our lives—our bodies, our work, our families, all our social relationships, even our relationship to the earth itself. The good news of the kingdom is nothing less than the healing (literally, the establishing) of the world (tikkûn 'ôlām), in which we are all invited to participate.—J. Richard Middleton, A New Heaven and a New Earth, 261–62
Tuesday, December 22, 2020
Monday, December 21, 2020
Friday, December 18, 2020
Thursday, December 17, 2020
Wednesday, December 16, 2020
In a title/subtitle and bibliographies, the word "Its" and all forms of the verb "to be" are capitalized!
That is all. Thanks! It would save copyeditors a ton of time.
Tuesday, December 15, 2020
After going through the Covid-19 verbal questions and sitting in the appropriately spaced waiting room, the nurse called my name and escorted me back to the preliminary screening area where they check your weight, height, pulse, temperature, and who knows what else those things monitor now. Anyway, the pulse monitor said my pulse was 55, which is high for me, but I suffer from "white coat syndrome," which is a fancy term for the fact that I get elevated blood pressure, faster pulse, and all the rest of the stuff related to stress, when I visit a doctor. But that pulse caused the nurse to look at me and ask in somewhat alarmed voice, "Do you normally have a low pulse?" I assured her that my resting pulse was actually lower than that (about 45–50). She shook her head, readjusted the finger monitor, and then, because it didn't change, she manually checked my pulse. In an unbelieving tone, she said, "Hnh. It's correct."
OK, I thought it was humorous. Your mileage may vary. But I guess it just shows that clinics aren't used to getting healthy people—or maybe there just aren't enough of us left anymore? After all, they say that 2/3 of the people in the US are overweight and 1/2 of those are obese. There's no way that someone carrying around all that extra weight will have a pulse rate below 60!
Monday, December 14, 2020
Friday, December 11, 2020
Wednesday, December 09, 2020
Monday, December 07, 2020
Wednesday, December 02, 2020
Salvation is here conceived as reconciliation or making peace between those who are at enmity, presumably by removing the source of that enmity, namely, sin. Indeed, [Col 1] verse 20 contains the idea of atonement through the blood of Christ; this is how reconciliation is achieved. But in contrast to much Christian preaching, which emphasizes that the blood of Christ was shed for “me” (and we are told to put our name there), Colossians 1 does not myopically limit the efficacy of Christ’s atonement to the individual or even to humanity. Without denying that the atonement suffices for individual people, the text applies the reconciliation effected by Christ’s shed blood as comprehensively as possible, to “all things, whether on earth or in heaven.”<idle musing>
This wording brings us back to verse 16 (just four verses earlier), which afﬁrms that in Christ “all things in heaven and on earth were created.” When Verse 17 goes on to say that “in him all things hold together,” we are warranted in thinking that the reconciliation spoken of in verse 20 continues and brings to completion Christ’s unifying work as creator, which has been disrupted by sin. The point is that redemption is as wide as creation; it is literally cosmic in scope.—J. Richard Middleton, A New Heaven and a New Earth, 158–59
That's pretty big, isn't it? And you are worried about anything? Then your god (lower case "g") is too small!