Monday, November 7, 2016

For the Life of the World: Letters to the Exiles | Episode 4: Order and Episode 5: Wisdom Review of Notes and Quotes

Emmaus City Church Worcester MA Soma Acts 29 3DM Christian Reformed Church Transcultural Kingdom Multi-ethnic Church Network of Missional Communities

All is Gift | For the Life of the World Episode 4: Order and Episode 5: Wisdom


For Emmaus City, we want to see our city flourish in the areas or "economies" of arteducationcharitybusinesscommunity development, etc. If God is the Creator – the One through whom and for whom all things beautiful and innovative and flourishing come from – then we need to continue to become more like Him in showcasing glimpses of His Story of creation, fall, redemption, and restoration for us authentically and with understanding, wisdom and compassion in the city of Worcester where He has placed us. We want to be a city renewing churchFor help with this, the "For the Life of the World: Letters to the Exiles" video series is a great resource. Andy Crouch, author of Culture Making: Recovering Our Creative Calling and Playing God: Redeeming the Gift of Power, calls this series of episodes "The best treatment of faith and culture ever put on screen." Here are links to the previous posts:

Introduction and Episode 1: Exile | Episode 2: Love and Episode 3: Creative Service


"For the Life of the World" explores the bigger picture of how following Jesus impacts a person's relationship with God and others, and inspires a deepening responsibility for what God has created in light of everything Jesus has done, is doing, and will do for the life of the world through those who follow His lead

For the Life of the World: Letters to the Exiles Episode 4: Order Official Teaser, Quotes, and Clips


Emmaus City Church Worcester MA Soma Acts 29 3DM Christian Reformed Church Transcultural Kingdom Multi-ethnic Church Network of Missional Communities

"So let's talk about this idea of order and how it interacts and perhaps unpacks this idea of justice. Order helps us think about the ways in which God has set things up. You can think about it like a garden. The gardener has this really provocative role at setting up the various plants, putting them around, and uprooting some in different places so that they are positioned well to actually flourish themselves. Good gardeners cultivate the conditions so that each plant realizes each of its God-given capacities. Gardeners remove barriers to the flourishing and harmony of natural systems. They maintain order. How does that translate to God's economy of all things? Just as a tree is a part of the creation, so is art, and so is business, family, education, and government. These are all actually parts of the creation itself. We can think about justice in terms of the right ways to order those systems for the flourishing of human beings. So why do things break down? Sometimes a breakdown happens because we're irresponsible. We don't care about the flourishing of the creation. And when addressing breakdowns, we must always respect the sovereignty God gave each sphere. If one claims too much authority and tries to force the other spheres to flourish, that would be like an overly zealous gardener using too many artificial fertilizers, in which case, the plants and soil are actually weakened." – Dr. Anthony Bradley and Dr. Stephen Grabill

"We keep talking about all these spaces or spheres in society needing to harmonize together, and that these spheres harmonizing is something that contributes to flourishing. If that's the case, how come we don't see more of that? How come we just keep seeing more hurting people? There's one thing that matters in this whole conversation about justice and order and flourishing. If we don't have this one thing, this all just completely collapses. What's that? Hospitality. The reason why there's still so much pain and dependency in our world, I'm sorry to suggest, is because of us, the Church. We've abandoned our call to hospitality, one of the most ancient Christian virtues. True hospitality is about opening your door to the stranger." – Evan Koons and Dr. Anthony Bradley

"On a cold bleak night long ago, a beggar wandered the streets looking for a warm place to rest his head. His wanderings seemed in vain however, for there was no one who failed to recognize the notorious vagabond and thief, Jean Valjean. And so, worry and frozen to the bone, Valjean tried one last door, that of the town bishop.  And to his surprise, the bishop welcomed him with open arms. The kind bishop fed the pitiful Valjean and then he bid him goodnight. But Valjean, returning to old habits, plundered the bishop's home of its silver and stole off into the night. But he didn't get far. Come the morning, Valjean found himself once more in the bishop's home, this time escorted by the soldiers that had apprehended him. 'This man seems to have taken possession of all your valuables, Father. But he claims you gave them to him as a gift.' The pitiful Valjean sank deeper into his shame. But the bishop, in kindness and grace, looked upon Valjean and said, 'Yes, it's true. I gave him those trinkets. But Valjean, you left so quickly that you forgot the second part of your gift. Then the bishop took the most treasured of his possessions – his silver candlesticks – and offered them to the thief. Valjean was taken aback by the man's mercy. 'My good men, unshackle him. You may be on your way.' Once the soldiers had left, the bishop told the thief, 'With this silver, I have ransomed your soul for Christ. Go now, redeemed and restored, and live a life worthy of this gift.' And in that moment, the thief was forever changed for he had never known such grace." – Evan Koons

"Justice and hospitality are inseparable. Where do we start with justice? We need to believe that this Creator God desired that we would bear His image in the world. And so, how we do justice is to see God's image in this humanity and to serve this humanity. The problem we have is the way we do our charity and what we think of others. We approach others like we're going to give dignity to them. You don't give dignity to people. You affirm it. Hospitality is saying, 'You're significant. I honor you. I love you. You are under my roof.' Love and hospitality is the platform that makes justice available. Now I want you to go into all the world and share that redemptive love." Dr. John Perkins

"Dear everybody. Hear the words of the Prophet Isaiah. 'Here is my servant whom I have chosen, the one I love in whom I delight. I will put my spirit on him and he will proclaim justice to the nations.' How are we to operate with so much hurt, so much dysfunction in the world? What hope is there for justice? Here's the key: justice needs a face. Yes, God created the world to have order. And yes, in a broken world, we need curators of that order, governing bodies to cultivate the conditions of the various spheres of society to flourish in the ways that they know best. Yes, this is true. But seeking justice must always be personal. And this means investment. It means vulnerability. It means hospitality, not just to the members of the household of faith, but to the stranger. Hebrews 13 is clear who we might be entertaining. This isn't to say we shouldn't be involved in government. We absolutely should if for no other reason than as the body of Christ, we keep the memory of this truth: justice requires love. Because you won't have justice unless you remember the image of God in each person. Unless you remember each person's dignity as a glorious, creative, capable gift to the world. Unless you are willing to give yourself away to keep that memory alive. But we must do more than just remember the dignity of all, and especially the stranger. We must welcome that stranger, make a space for him in our lives. To make a space at our tables for that gift in whom God Himself delights. We welcome the stranger because we remember that Christ is the stranger. And as Christ's body in the world of exile, we, too, are that stranger. So let us remember that seeking order, seeking justice isn't a matter of designing the right programs or delivery systems. Let us remember that seeking order is acting in accord of a true vision of our brothers and sisters. Let us remember the words of a famous theologian, 'Seeing with the eyes of Christ, I can give to others much more than their outward necessities. I can give them the look of love which they crave. So let us welcome the gift of each person, and especially the poor, the widow, the orphan. Let us open up spaces in our churches and in our homes, in our hearts and for the nations. Let us offer ourselves in this truth: While we were strangers, Christ gave up everything for us. Yours, Evan."

Review of "For the Life of the World: Order" Terms

Code of Honor: Justice is the fuel that powers a creative, exciting game. When players voluntarily follow the rules of the game, the experience becomes an adventure, rather than a boring, worn path.

Cultivation: As gardeners, we have a provocative role: we set up the garden for flourishing. Each plant is placed where it might reach its full potential.

Order of Economies: Art, government, education, family, and business are economies, spheres of God's creation with their own arrangements and modes of operation.

Justice & Hospitality: Hospitality is justice in action. Justice needs a face. That face looks a lot like the church offering hospitality to the stranger. We cast fear aside and tell the stranger: 'I love you. I honor you. You are significant. You are made in God's image.' Loving the stranger is not a program that a government or organization can make happen. It takes individuals willing to enter into the lives of other individuals.

The Stranger: Christ came into the world and we did not know him. We were estranged from God, and yet, Christ gave his life for us, to restore communion with our Creator. In the same way, we are called to give ourselves away for the sake of the stranger because Christ is the Stranger.

Review of "For the Life of the World: Order" Verses

Leviticus 19:34: "The foreigner residing among you must be treated as your native-born. Love them as yourself ... "

Jeremiah 29:13: "You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart."

Isaiah 42:1: "I will put my Spirit on him, and he will bring justice to the nations."

Luke 14:13-14: "When you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed."

Romans 5:8: "But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: When we were still sinners, Christ died for us."

Hebrews 13:2: "Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it."

Review of "For the Life of the World: Order" Prayers

1. Father, thank you that the earth is full of your creative order and redemptive love. Dignity is a gift of grace, your image in us, not something we must earn (for we are not able). When we are weak, you are strong and mighty to restore order.

2. Lord, grant me the power to live a life of hospitality, to share your love with those who bear your image.

For the Life of the World: Letters to the Exiles Episode 5: Wisdom Official Teaser, Quotes, and Clips


Emmaus City Church Worcester MA Soma Acts 29 3DM Christian Reformed Church Transcultural Kingdom Multi-ethnic Church Network of Missional Communities

1. Knowledge is power, but something more I think.

2. Knowledge sees beyond scarcity and reveals abundance. Knowledge is the stuff of the earth. It's all stardust. If you want to be creative, you need fire. The God-given human intellect, the fire of knowledge and insight, this is the ingredient that makes millions of things even possible. What is the human intellect? It's a type of vision. The ability not just to see, but to see into the world. When we look into the world, what do we see? Certainly, we see ways to elevate and create higher things, to bring abundance into the world. This, in fact, is an important part of our priestly call – to bless the world. What's more is that the economy of wisdom reveals abundance. This is critical because the material world preaches that it's governed by scarcity. Our minds at work in the world show us that this is not so. Consider the sharing of knowledge. If I share some of my knowledge with you, do I know any less? Shared knowledge only grows. Like fire.

3. Knowledge unleashes human potential. .We are fearfully and wonderfully made, but sometimes our human systems don't always understand that or appreciate that. We can create a mechanistic way of education that doesn't look at the individual and what his or her true potential is. When we use a cookie cutter approach, we lose the ability to get outside the box, and in the process, we can burn out Rembrandts. Our job as a culture is to make individual's potential flourish. What we miss sometimes is the beauty and wonder of the brain. There has never been nor will there ever be anything as wondrous and as expansive as the brain. It's been estimated that there's more neuronal connections in the brain than there are stars in the entire universe. If you truly understand the wonder, the expansiveness, and the creativity that exists in the entire universe you come to understand the expansiveness, the wonder, and the creativity of the brain and its ability. There's more to an individual than what he or she is supposed to accomplish at each age or grade. If we understand the wonder of that, then we start to see the unbelievable potential. We see what an individual can create and how he or she can mirror the Creator.

4. Knowledge helps us love better. It's about being a blessing to others. It's about serving people. Knowledge leads to service, and that service helps us to love more fully.

5. Knowledge becomes wisdom when it recognizes the Creator. The ability to know leads us beyond mere knowledge to wisdom. We can discover what that is if we ask questions: Is the world just the world? Is the cosmos just the cosmos? Are things just things? Or can those things be signs in and of themselves? Too Zen? Let's go back to fire. Why do we have it? For warmth. To cook. But also fire is used time and time again to tell us something about God. He is dangerous. He purifies. He enlightens. God isn't like fire. Fire is like God. There is something in fire that tells us about God. There is something like the trees that tell us about God. In fact, when we look at everything in the world, we can not only see into it, but we can see along it. The world then is expression, news of God. Therefore its end, its purpose, its meaning is God, and its life and work is to name and praise Him. The world is charged with the grandeur of God. The creation does praise Him, does reflect honor on Him, is of service to Him. The sun and the stars shining glorify God. They stand where He placed them. They move where He bid them. The heavens declare the glory of God. The birds sing to Him. The thunder speaks of His terror. The lion is like His strength. The sea is like His greatness. The honey is like His sweetness. They are something like Him. They make Him known. They tell of Him. For Christ plays in ten thousand places, lovely in limbs, and lovely in eyes not His to the Father through the features of other faces.  Evan Koons, Dwight Gibson, and Dr. Stephen Grabill

"Dear everybody. Blessed are those who find wisdom, those who gain understanding for she is more profitable than silver and yields better returns than gold. Knowledge, education, research, science they all provide some pretty great things. But in our age of technological wonder, it is easy to forget that information is about more than just what it can do for us. Knowledge is a gift. And like all gifts in God's oikonomia, it points us outside ourselves. Certainly, knowledge helps us do more. But more importantly, it helps us be more. The grand abundance that God has sown into our very being is a sign of His abundance, yes, but it also speaks of His desire for us: the development and flourishing of the human person. And our knowledge also helps us to serve more people more fully, to steward our gifts more faithfully. Our God-given insights help us to discover new medicines, new means to feed more people, better ways to care for the world. But the creation isn't just a means to act. The creation itself means. It signifies. It speaks. Look into the world and you'll find something of Him who made it. As John tells us, the generating force of the universe, the Logos, the Word, from the very beginning was with God and was God and all things that were made were made through Him. And as Paul tells us, by understanding the things that are made, we can clearly see the invisible things of God. His eternal power. His divinity. His humility. And then, when faced with His glory, when we remember our humility, when we learn to fear the Lord, this is the beginning of wisdom. So let us not be afraid to plumb the depths of God's mysteries in the world. Let us build institutions of education, of research, of exploration in the full confidence that what we learn will not contradict our faith, but will speak of God's abundant majesty and grace. Let us explore that we may be more. That we serve more. That we may know and love God more. That we may wonder at His magnificence. Yours, Evan."

Review of "For the Life of the World: Wisdom" Terms

Human Intellect: God created us with the ability for insight, to see into his creation. With this knowledge, we create abundance and serve others. This is our priestly calling.

Scarcity: Knowledge used for selfish power and gain produces scarcity rather than abundance.

Shared Knowledge: When knowledge is shared, it grows. It never becomes less. Knowledge informed by God's truth creates flourishing.

Individual Potential: God created us as individuals with different and complementary gifts. Discovering and nurturing this creative potential for service, for blessing others, is our calling.

Knowledge & Wisdom: Knowledge leads to wisdom when used with love – mirroring our Creator.

Review of "For the Life of the World: Wisdom" Verses

Psalm 139:14: "I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well."

Proverbs 3:19: "By wisdom the Lord laid the earth's foundations, by understanding he set the heavens in place ..."

Proverbs 4:7: "The beginning of wisdom is this: Get wisdom ... "

Philippians 2:13: " ... for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose."

James 1:5: "If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you."

James 3:17: "But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure, then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere."

Review of "For the Life of the World: Wisdom" Prayers

1. Father, I am thankful for the many talents and rich potential you have planted in each of us. With your abundant gifts we can work together, meeting needs with the fire of creative insight.

2. Lord, help us to seek you with all our heart, soul, and mind. Establish a holy hunger for learning in our lives. And may our discoveries be conduits of your healing wisdom in the world.


 – Sully

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