Dispatches from Outland
A little song. A little dance. A little seltzer down your pants. Copyright © 2003 Roy M. Jacobsen.

Thursday, June 06, 2002  

Sand in the Gears tells a tale of courtesy, and some cretins' appaling lack thereof.

posted by Roy M. Jacobsen at 8:59 AM

Wednesday, June 05, 2002  

Welcome to visitors from HokiePundit and Sunny Days in Heaven.

Just to clarify something, the "exposition" Mark was referring to are basically my notes on the book Spirit of the Disciplines by Dallas Willard.

Apropos of that, Mark comments about people (apparently it's mostly Catholics that Mark has encountered) who seem to want to constrict Jesus' work down to forgiveness of sins. I have to say that, in my experience, this type of thinking can be found amongst all denominations of Christianity.

Christianity is not fire insurance, nor is it a retirement plan (i.e. "pie in the sky when you die by and by"). Jesus came to turn our worlds upside-down. Or maybe that would be better said as "downside-up."

posted by Roy M. Jacobsen at 9:04 AM

Tuesday, June 04, 2002  

It's Not As Bad As I Thought -- It's Worse Department More on Philip Pullman here and here. He's taking shots at C.S. Lewis now.

posted by Roy M. Jacobsen at 8:57 AM

Book Notes Department: Been too long since I did this last. Here are my notes on Chapter 3 of

The Spirit of the Disciplines: Understanding how God Changes Lives
The Spirit of the Disciplines: Understanding how God Changes Lives

Chapter 3: Salvation Is A Life
"We're encouraged somehow today to remove the essence of faith from the particulars of daily human life and relocate it in special times, places, and states of mind." (p. 28) We have failed to recognize how important our bodies are to our spiritual life.

Hebrews 5:8 tells us that Jesus "learned obedience" through his suffering. If even he had to learn obedience, so much so do we, by adopting his practices.

The human body is the focal point of human existence. "New life in Christ" must take the body into account. The body is not merely a hindrance to be overcome; it can be used for positive spiritual growth.

The foundation of faith incorporates the body of Christ: incarnation, crucifixion and resurrection.

"The vitality and power of Christianity is lost when we fail to integrate our bodies into its practice by intelligent, conscious choice and steafast intent. It is with our bodies we receive the new life that comes as we enter his Kingdom." (p. 31) If we are to give ourselves to Him, we must also give our bodies to Him.

Spirituality is NOT:
- an extra or "superior" mode
- a hidden, separate life
- consisting of special "inward" acts
Spirituality IS a relationship of our embodied selves to God that makes us alive in God's kingdom here and now.

We need to get rid of the assumption that normal acts are somehow not part of our life in God. "Salvation is not just forgiveness but a new order of life." (p. 32) But in our evangelism and much of our teaching, we've equated salvation with mere forgiveness., and we've lost the connection between salvation and life--"both his and ours." When our theories of atonement focus so much attention on his death, we fail to comprehend how then we are "saved by his life." (Romans 5:10)

The cross as a major symbol of Christianity is a relatively late development. The early church faced fierce persecution with "supernatural courage" (Tertullian), and weren't afraid to die; however the were more inspired by Jesus life than his death.

But the force of the "life in the kingdom" has dissapated over the generations, and the cross moved to the center of Christian thought. The eyewitnesses of Jesus' indestrictible life were no longer telling about it firsthand. and our understanding of salvation narrowed to mere forgiveness of sin.

This is a great paradigm shift: "The cross act was first narrowly interpreted as mere vicarious suffering and then mistaken for the whole of the redemptive action of God. Christ's life and teaching were therefore nonessential to the work of redemption and were regarded as just poignant decorations for his cross, since his only saving function was concieved to be that of a blood sacrifice to purchase our forgiveness." (p. 36)

The message of Jesus was of new life; this includes but is more than forgiveness of sin. For early believers, resurrection was the central fact of the Gospel, not crucifixion. It proved the reality of new life in God's kingdom. Life = Salvation (see John 10:10, 1 John 5:12, Eph. 2:5)

Obedience, "works," accepting his lordship are the natural parts of salvation/new life. Luther said it is "impossible to separate works from faith--yea, just as impossible as to separate burning and shining from fire."

We see three major dimensions of faith in the New Testament:
1. New power within, erupting into a break with the past through repentance and forgiveness. (Ps 80: 3, 85: 4, Acts 5: 31, Rom 2: 4, 2 Tim 2: 25)
2. Immediate and ongoing transformation of character and personality. (2 Cor 5: 17, Rom 5: 1-5, 2 Pet 1: 4-11)
3. "Extrahuman" power over the evils of this world, by individuals and by the church. (Matt 28: 18)

"Although we can call the disciplines 'spiritual' and although they must never be undertaken apart from a constant, inward interaction with God and his gracious kingdom--they never fail to require specific acts and dispositions of our body as we engage in them." (p. 40) Our body and its parts must be surrendered to God in specific ways.

The faith of the New Testament was far more than a mental exercise; it starts with transformation of the soul and influences every aspect of our existence. We've somehow got the idea that our bodies are nothing more than hindrances to redemption. Even scripture describes it as a vile, dangerous thing. How can it help us?

It can't help us if we take it as we find it. It was created to be so much more than it has become. "The human body was made to be the vehicle of human personality ruling the earth for God and through his power." (p. 42)

posted by Roy M. Jacobsen at 7:37 AM

Monday, June 03, 2002  

:: how jedi are you? ::

posted by Roy M. Jacobsen at 4:31 PM
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