the cheeky chaplain sent me the best book, Kingdom, Grace, Judgement: Paradox, Outrage, and Vindication in the Parables of Jesus. it's so good that i had to share it with you.
everytime i read this book i am reminded of how lucky/blessed i am to be in ministry. sometimes it's easy to get bogged down in all the "shoulds"/"have-to's"/etc but this book reconnects me with the JOY! it continually reminds me that my call to ministry comes from JOY and this wonderful chance to share the love and light of God.
when i was an elementary school kid, my aunt and uncle lost their minds. God bless them, i think it came out of a good place but was quickly warped. they were entirely concerned about the eternal souls of every person in the world. at my grandmother's funerals they placed "tracts" in people's purses and wallets. for my best friend's "graduation" (sorry, can't remember what it's really called) from catechism class they gave her a huge book detailing their beliefs about Catholicism and why it was wrong. for my 13th birthday, i recieved a Bible and a letter my mom refused to let me read in its entirity as it told me how i was bound for hell unless i changed my ways. they even converted an old school bus and went "on tour." hosting revivals in Kansas small towns.
i will say that i have a great respect for their passion. however, i have a great distrust and distaste for folks whose ministry is driven by fear. i know the speel--they are driven by love, love for other's eternal souls. i can't quite buy that. it is when we are so convinced that we are right and of utter importance that we become dangerous. the end then justifies any means--even if that requires one to use the Bible to cut people down and slice off their heads. so to speak.
Robert Farrar Capon writes gloriously and continually reminds me that the Gospel is good news--not a sword! he helps me to remember that the coolest thing i get to do is offer people a wonderous gift of hope, of God's grace and love. to be honest, i'm not in the ministry for the sake of other's eternal souls. i trust God to take care of that. however, i do want to share the joy, the peace that comes from the LOVE that God offers. its radical nature, its ability to turn our worlds upside down so that we can fully experience God.
thank you Cheeky! i will treasure this book always! i look forward to reading his other books as well.
here is a beautiful nugget from Capon:
"I am and I am not a universalist. I am one if you are talking about what God in Christ has done to save the world. The Lamb of God has not taken away the sins of some — of only the good, or the cooperative, or the select few who can manage to get their act together and die as perfect peaches. He has taken away the sins of the world — of every last being in it — and he has dropped them down the black hole of Jesus’ death. On the cross, he has shut up forever on the subject of guilt: “There is therefore now no condemnation. . . .” All human beings, at all times and places, are home free whether they know it or not, feel it or not, believe it or not.
"But I am not a universalist if you are talking about what people may do about accepting that happy-go-lucky gift of God’s grace. I take with utter seriousness everything that Jesus had to say about hell, including the eternal torment that such a foolish non-acceptance of his already-given acceptance must entail. All theologians who hold Scripture to be the Word of God must inevitably include in their work a tractate on hell. But I will not — because Jesus did not — locate hell outside the realm of grace. Grace is forever sovereign, even in Jesus’ parables of judgment. No one is ever kicked out at the end of those parables who wasn’t included in at the beginning."