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Blessed are the poorly adapted

This is a guest blog post from another one of my writing projects.  Enjoy!  A snippet:

Blessed are those poorly adapted to their environment.

Blessed are the scrawny, slow, and sick members of the herd.

Blessed are all of us losers in the game of life.

Because a New Game is emerging in the world, and it determines winners and losers a little differently. We at the bottom of the heap are in fact the salt of the earth—the seeds of the future, the pioneer species of New Creation.

I’m not bashing the Old Creation. I did not come to abolish but to fulfill. Nature has been doing its job just fine; it’s just that the job is now changing. Humans have thrived for over 2 million years on this planet because of our drives for aggression, sex, and consumption. But now our world is changing, and those very same instincts are driving us to extinction.

<Keep reading>

John 16.20-28 – Face-to-face with Papa

You will weep while the crowds cheer.  But your grief will give way to joy. (21) Giving birth is painful, but the pain is nothing compared to the joy of having a new baby. (22) You will have pain, but when I see you again on the third day, you will have joy, and no one will be able to take it away from you.

(23) On that day, you will not ask me for things.  Instead, you will ask Papa in my name, and she will give to you.  (24) This will be a change from how things were before.  You will be a full participant in the Triune conversation.  You will ask, you will receive, and you will overflow with our joy.

(25) I’ve been using figures of speech.  But soon you will be able to hear me speak of Papa more simply. (26) That is when you will ask for what you want in my name.  Let me be perfectly clear:  This does NOT mean I will ask Papa FOR you.  You won’t need to hide behind me as we live face-to-face with Papa together, (27) for Papa loves you just like I do.  You will know her love more and more as you continue to love me and believe that she sent me.  (28) Papa sent me to be present with you in the world in this way, but this phase of the plan is almost over.  My current mode of presence will end.  When I ascend as a man to Papa’s right hand, I will be with you in a new way.  A better way.

“End-Timey” stuff in The Shack Bible

Dear ShackBible readers,

You may have noticed that The Shack Bible approaches “end-times” stuff a little differently than what some of us are used to.  For an example, look at my paraphrase of Matthew 24 and compare it to what you hear on Christian radio.  Anyway, The Shack itself doesn’t really address this topic.  But there is a coherent vision of God behind it all, and I have tried to take that way of thinking and use it to approach the various biblical texts that talk about this kind of thing.

Just in case this sort of thing is interesting to some of you (and even though I know many of you would find this to be a total snooze), I just posted on the Trinity and Humanity blog about how I read the “end-timey” parts of the Bible, and how I think it fits with the theology behind The Shack.

 

Matt 6.19-20 – An insider investment tip

I have an insider investment tip for you:  Your 401(k) isn’t as solid as you think; it’s tied up in assets that have no future, so get out now.  Earth, Inc. is getting taken over by New Creation Corp.  It’s a done deal, but most people don’t know about it yet.  In the end, New Creation will be the only stock worth owning anyway, and it’s 100% guaranteed against depreciation and theft. It’s time to start dealing in the currency of the future – Love.

ashamed

I’ve been too busy to post much lately (My baby boy is walking! And getting into even more things!), but this morning I just had to share some snippets from a post by the incomparable Rachel Held Evans:

I am ashamed… I am ashamed of the walls. They are built high, with circles of barbed wire around the top, to keep pests away from our bread and wine, to keep the Silence from getting in…. I am ashamed of the violence—in our theology, in our words, in myself… I am ashamed of mission trips that hurt more than help, of hijacked stories and imagined heroics, of our industrial savior complex, and most of all, my own stubborn complicity in the very injustices I decry. There is “slavery stitched into the fabric of my clothes” but I’ve learned to ignore the itch… I am ashamed that the Church has become the scariest place to come out instead of the safest, that it  routinely shuts out the most vulnerable, the most hurting, the most despised, when those were the people Jesus started with, the people he loved most…

But I am not ashamed of the gospel… I am not ashamed of the good news that we have it backwards: Privileged are the poor, the peacemakers, the merciful, and the suffering. Cursed are the rich, the full, the merciless, the hateful… I am not ashamed that when God strapped on sandals and walked among us, God rode a donkey instead of a war horse… I am not ashamed of the Church. She is a survivor, after all, a work-in-progress, a stubborn bride-to-be. The gates of hell will not prevail against her, they say. So I guess I better quit hedging my bets… I am not ashamed because my roots are deep and the sky is tall, and there will always be some place to grow…

>>Read the full post here.

Peace out, friends.  I hope to get back on my ShackBible hobby-horse soon once again.  In the meantime, remember Papa is especially fond of you.

Advent shooting

<br
Today is what Advent is all about. We groan at the gentleness of Jesus's coming. On days like this, I don't want him to exercise his rule in the manner of yeast cells and mustard seeds. I want him to be violent and thirsty for the blood of evildoers, but he will never fulfill that desire. Advent is about hurting as we wait for yeast and seeds.

The Next Best Thing Blog Hop

shack-bible-adTen Interview Questions for “The Next Big Thing”:

What is the working title of your book?

The Shack Bible

Where did the idea come from for the book? 

I actually had the idea a couple years before I’d ever heard of “The Shack.”  I’ve spent the last decade being spiritually revolutionized by some of the ancient theologians (Athanasius, Irenaeus, Gregory of Nyssa) plus some newer ones (Barth, Torrance, Kruger, Moltmann).  My studies were giving me a new (non-Augustinian) lens through which to hear Scripture, and I loved what I heard!  I started writing down what I was hearing the Bible say, and friends kept asking me to write more, so I did.

Then the day came when a friend bullied me into reading this silly pop-spirituality novel called The Shack.  I was blown-away to discover that this guy, who was just novelizing his personal thoughts about God, was expressing the ancient vision of God I had spent so long studying!  Not only that, but he was doing it in a way that was twanging the spiritual nerves of the whole world.  As I got to know other fans of the book, I discovered a whole new world of spiritual-but-not-religious people who had little interest in God, Christianity, or the Bible, but resonated deeply with Papa, Jesus & Sarayu.  And they all seemed quite certain that, if they wanted to deepen their relationship with that wonderful Trinity, the Bible would be useless for that task.  The God of the Bible, it seemed, had little if anything to do with the God of The Shack.  Many evangelicals would agree with that, but I did not.  So I started modifying my own little paraphrase with the God-language of The Shack.  I changed “God” and “Father” to “Papa,” changed “Holy Spirit” to “Sarayu,” and the pronouns for both became feminine.

What genre does your book fall under?  

Is “Highly Idiosyncratic Bible Paraphrase” a genre?  A proper paraphrase would be something more like The Message, the gold standard of Bible paraphrases, IMO.  The Shack Bible is more like an “Interpretive Reading.”  It might fit best in the traditional Jewish genre of “Targum.”

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

From my first reading of the book, Papa has always been Gloria Foster—The Oracle from The Matrix.  She is no longer technically alive, but my image of Papa is now unchangeable.  Jesus has to be noticeably Middle Eastern, and my images there always turn to Naveen Andrews—Sayiid from Lost.  Sarayu is harder.  My best idea so for is Michelle Yeoh; she has such great emotional depth.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

Papa, Jesus & Sarayu have included the whole world in their wondrous dynamic life-together; evil and death have no future.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

If it ever gets mass-printed on paper, it will be through a publisher.  I don’t want a pile of these things in my garage.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

Still working on that; I’ll let you know.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

Um… The Message is the closest, I guess, but it’s a comparison that stretches the genre a LOT.

Who or What inspired you to write this book?

Sarayu.

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

Something that’s piqued MY interest is the way the Bible addresses various topics that don’t come up in The Shack—like Eschatology, for example, which is a big deal because Jesus talks about it so much in the gospels.  It’s illuminating to approach such topics through a lens that tries to be consistent with The Shack without being limited by it.

—————————————————-

I tag 5 other bloggers who have meant a lot to me, and have books published or in the works:

http://www.perichoresis.org/baxters-blog.html

https://www.mirrorfriends.com/

http://www.trinitarianletters.com

http://gracewalkministries.blogspot.com/

http://experimentaltheology.blogspot.com/

This has been a fun exercise; my thanks to Michael Bobo for inviting me!

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