7/11/2011

witnesses, not my Rottweiler’s

Monday July 18th, Isaiah 44: 8 Do not tremble, do not be afraid. Did I not proclaim this and foretell it long ago? You are my witnesses. Is there any God besides me? No, there is no other Rock; I know not one." You are my witnesses, not my Rottweiler’s. A recent poll shows that there are large numbers of people who believe in God who do not belong to faith communities. I run into them often at weddings. After officiating at a wedding I usually go to the reception. Standing alone having a beer I will see a small group gathering off to the side talking and looking at me. Then one from that group come toward me as the group inches within earshot. The conversation goes something like this. Nice service yada yada yada….. I liked what you had to say yada yada…………. You know I believe in God and all that but…….. It is then that the conversation goes on to describe all sorts of God stuff I don’t believe in either. In American civil religion, grace has taken a back seat to law and that 60 some percent who believe in God but are not connected to any worshiping community represent the casualties of our complacency on the one hand and our witch hunts on the other. In the book “Jesus means Freedom” by Ernst Kassemann, his basic argument is looking at what he calls the new enthusiast (the book is written in 72) and applauds them for their enthusiasm, but wonders why they have abandoned all the good theology about Jesus and have to reinvent the wheel. He then turns to the confessional church in Germany (it could just as well be the denominational church in the US) and applauds them for their great understanding of scripture, but wonders why they are sitting on their butts in the pews instead of jumping for joy and shouting out loud. We have in the U.S. this odd situation. Those who have the theological maturity of a Pharisee and are very excited and energized by it and those who possess the beauty and purity of the Gospel, the Good news of Christ and act as if they could give a shit. Perhaps there is room, as Kassemann called for in Germany in the 70’s for a little integration of the two.

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