Theology of the Cross http://theresonant.org/ en Every Child Matters http://theresonant.org/post/2020-09-30/every-child-matters <span class="field field--name-title field--type-string field--label-hidden">Every Child Matters</span> <span class="field field--name-uid field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden"><a title="View user profile." href="/user/89" lang="" about="/user/89" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="" class="username">Michael Schutz</a></span> <span class="field field--name-created field--type-created field--label-hidden">Wed, 09/30/2020 - 20:24</span> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-field-mt-subheader-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field__item"><p>There are new "National [insert cause here] Day" days every day, it seems. But September 30 is one, though recent, that no Canadian ought ignore.</p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-image field--type-image field--label-hidden field__items"> <div class="images-container clearfix"> <div class="image-preview clearfix"> <div class="image-wrapper clearfix"> <div class="field__item"> <img srcset="/sites/default/files/styles/max_325x325/public/CF411B85-4B2A-4C7A-AAB9-06A455D02E95.png?itok=3N7ttoQM 325w, /sites/default/files/styles/max_650x650/public/CF411B85-4B2A-4C7A-AAB9-06A455D02E95.png?itok=tEX-NrjX 650w, /sites/default/files/styles/max_1300x1300/public/CF411B85-4B2A-4C7A-AAB9-06A455D02E95.png?itok=jOulUPzs 1280w" sizes="(min-width: 1290px) 1290px, 100vw" src="/sites/default/files/styles/max_325x325/public/CF411B85-4B2A-4C7A-AAB9-06A455D02E95.png?itok=3N7ttoQM" alt="Every Child Matters" typeof="foaf:Image" /> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field__item"><p>September 30 marks a relatively new "cause day" in Canada. Since 2013, the day has been set aside as "Orange Shirt Day", a day to remember and honour the survivors of a dark chapter in Canadian history: <a href="https://development.thecanadianencyclopedia.ca/en/search?search=residential+schools">residential schools</a>. The Canadian government&nbsp;and members of the Christian Church were both complicit in "aggressive assimilation" of Indigenous people, especially children, taking them forcibly out of their homes and sending them to boarding schools to try to incorporate them into Canadian and Christian "culture".&nbsp;As a Christian and pastor, I'm compelled to bring a few words to the day from a Christian perspective.</p> <blockquote> <p>"A theologian of glory calls evil good and good evil. A theologian of the cross calls the thing what it actually is."<br /> -&nbsp;Martin Luther, Heidelberg Disputation, Thesis 21</p> </blockquote> <p>Christians cannot call the horrific treatment of Indigenous people at residential schools at the hands of Christians and the Canadian government anything but what it was: sin. God never calls us to spread His Word by cruelty and abuse, but only by proclaiming what He's given us to proclaim: His Law - which names sin for what it is - and His Gospel - which offers the same grace and mercy that He has first shown us in Jesus.</p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-above field--entity-reference-target-type-taxonomy-term clearfix"> <span class="field__label">Tags</span> <ul class='links field__items'> <li><a href="/taxonomy/term/190" hreflang="en">Residential Schools</a></li> <li><a href="/taxonomy/term/148" hreflang="en">Theology of the Cross</a></li> <li><a href="/taxonomy/term/150" hreflang="en">Theology of Glory</a></li> </ul> </div><div class="field field--name-field-mt-post-categories field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--entity-reference-target-type-taxonomy-term clearfix"> <ul class='links field__items'> <li><a href="/taxonomy/term/29" hreflang="en">Culture</a></li> </ul> </div><section class="field field--name-comment field--type-comment field--label-above comment-wrapper"> <h2 class="title comment-form__title">Add new comment</h2> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderForm" arguments="0=node&amp;1=122&amp;2=comment&amp;3=comment" token="KWaYOH2ht2oCxVkNOpA6VO9YpmzfLKE4_h_kPOOJJGc"></drupal-render-placeholder> </section> Thu, 01 Oct 2020 03:24:11 +0000 Michael Schutz 122 at http://theresonant.org What You Have to Go Through http://theresonant.org/post/2020-02-29/what-you-have-to-go-through <span class="field field--name-title field--type-string field--label-hidden">What You Have to Go Through</span> <span class="field field--name-uid field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden"><a title="View user profile." href="/user/89" lang="" about="/user/89" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="" class="username">Michael Schutz</a></span> <span class="field field--name-created field--type-created field--label-hidden">Sat, 02/29/2020 - 18:32</span> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-field-mt-subheader-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field__item"><p>As&nbsp;much as we would like to think the opposite, life will not be easy. One huge temptation for Christians is to seek to avoid suffering. But sometimes, there are things you have to go through.</p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-image field--type-image field--label-hidden field__items"> <div class="images-container clearfix"> <div class="image-preview clearfix"> <div class="image-wrapper clearfix"> <div class="field__item"> <img srcset="/sites/default/files/styles/max_325x325/public/40Days___Day04.jpg?itok=mmrG7tJh 325w, /sites/default/files/styles/max_650x650/public/40Days___Day04.jpg?itok=zOt8q9O4 650w, /sites/default/files/styles/max_1300x1300/public/40Days___Day04.jpg?itok=MB7ujkfn 1300w, /sites/default/files/styles/max_2600x2600/public/40Days___Day04.jpg?itok=pDgwA6Lq 1920w" sizes="(min-width: 1290px) 1290px, 100vw" src="/sites/default/files/styles/max_325x325/public/40Days___Day04.jpg?itok=mmrG7tJh" alt="40 Days of Resonance: Day 4" typeof="foaf:Image" /> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field__item"><p>Yesterday I shared some words from a pastor who wrote a poetic reflection on what Lent is. The last thought was this:</p> <blockquote> <p>Lent is<br /> Not a very happy time,<br /> But it is what<br /> You have to go through<br /> To get to Easter.</p> </blockquote> <p>Part of life is experiencing not very happy times. It’s simply a reality. But we’ve turned happiness into something more than emotion that we feel sometimes. We‘ve turned happiness into something more like a fundamental human right, and even a virtue. Pop culture has elevated even into a virtue like truth.&nbsp;(Pharell sings a very catchy, but very untrue, line when he says “clap along if you feel that happiness is the truth”. No offence, Pharell, but no one should be clapping along to that line.)</p> <p>So now, happiness is seen as the highest goal in life. How many times have you heard lines like, “I just want her to be happy”, or “As long as he’s happy, I’m happy”, or even, “God just wants you to be happy”.&nbsp;Anything that infringes on a person’s happiness is seen not just as unfortunate, but as evil.</p> <p>But happiness isn’t a fundamental human right; it’s an emotion. There are many things in life that do bring happiness, yes, but just because something brings happiness doesn’t make that thing&nbsp;<em>good.</em>&nbsp;We certainly don’t want to pursue unhappiness. But we can’t make happiness the measure of a good life, or even of goodness itself.</p> <p>As&nbsp;the poet says above, Lent isn’t a very happy time. Christians reflect on their own mortality, on their sin, on the suffering of Jesus for them. These aren’t happy things, but that last thing especially is a&nbsp;<em>good</em>&nbsp;thing. The suffering wasn’t good, but that jesus did it for you is good for you, because it means your salvation. The happiness of Easter can’t happen without the suffering and death of Jesus. It’s what He had to go through.</p> <p>And so we have to go through things that are unhappy. Some will seek to avoid suffering at all cost, even making a lack of suffering the measure of God’s love for them. So they’ll say things like, “you’re a favoured child of God”, which is true. But what they’ll mean by&nbsp;<em>favoured</em>&nbsp;is really that life will be full of things that make you happy: getting that promotion at work, getting bumped up to first class when flying, being healed of any and all diseases. (I’m not just making these examples up.) So what they really mean is, if you’re “favoured” by God, then life will be easy. There’s a phrase that describes this kind of thinking: a theology of glory.</p> <p>A theology of glory sounds good on the surface, but it has some real problems (because not being based in the Bible’s teachings, at all).&nbsp;What can this theology say when suffering inevitably comes? What happens when you lose your job, or you miss your flight, or someone you love gets cancer and dies? What does that mean? If happiness is the sign that God favours you, what does it mean in the unhappy times? A theology of glory has no...happy...answer to that, because it doesn’t want to acknowledge the logical answer: that if the sign of God’s favour in your life is a life of ease, then hardship must mean you are not favoured of God, that you don’t have enough faith, that there must be some sin in your life that’s preventing you from experiencing these “blessings”. A theology of glory seeks not only to avoid suffering, and to make a lack of suffering the sign of God’s favour, but it blames you when suffering comes into your life.</p> <p>And here’s the thing: suffering&nbsp;<em>will</em>&nbsp;come into your life. If never a matter of&nbsp;<em>if</em>, but of <i>when</i>. And a theology of glory, being bad theology, won’t get you through those times. But there’s another way.</p> <p>Living life under&nbsp;a “theology of the cross” is the answer. A theology of the cross acknowledges that there will be suffering in life. It acknowledges that Jesus had to suffer and die&nbsp;for the sins of the world. It acknowledges, with Scripture, that the sign of God’s love for you is Jesus, crucified and risen, for you. Period. The way to salvation goes through the cross. There’s no other way.</p> <p>That doesn’t mean that Christians seek out suffering, that they’re masochists. Not at all. It simply means they acknowledge the reality of the world: it’s broken by sin. They acknowledge the reality of their own lives: they’re sinful. They acknowledge the reality of the teaching of the Bible: Jesus says, “in this world you will have trouble...” (John 16:33).</p> <p>But it also acknowledges Jesus’&nbsp;promise: “...but take heart; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). Lent is something you have to go through to get to Easter. Suffering is something we have to go through. But it’s neither the goal nor the end of the story. It’s something you have to go&nbsp;<em>through</em>; on the other side of the darkness, there is&nbsp;light and life.</p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-above field--entity-reference-target-type-taxonomy-term clearfix"> <span class="field__label">Tags</span> <ul class='links field__items'> <li><a href="/taxonomy/term/58" hreflang="en">Lent</a></li> <li><a href="/taxonomy/term/59" hreflang="en">Easter</a></li> <li><a href="/taxonomy/term/148" hreflang="en">Theology of the Cross</a></li> <li><a href="/taxonomy/term/150" hreflang="en">Theology of Glory</a></li> <li><a href="/taxonomy/term/151" hreflang="en">suffering</a></li> </ul> </div><div class="field field--name-field-mt-post-categories field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--entity-reference-target-type-taxonomy-term clearfix"> <ul class='links field__items'> <li><a href="/taxonomy/term/13" hreflang="en">Church</a></li> </ul> </div><section class="field field--name-comment field--type-comment field--label-above comment-wrapper"> <h2 class="title comment-form__title">Add new comment</h2> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderForm" arguments="0=node&amp;1=102&amp;2=comment&amp;3=comment" token="F9wTP5enL8AmVIRvOmgO7TVSiZzXEZgCZECe7Mia3jg"></drupal-render-placeholder> </section> Sun, 01 Mar 2020 02:32:00 +0000 Michael Schutz 102 at http://theresonant.org Ash Wednesday: Dust We Are http://theresonant.org/post/2020-02-26/ash-wednesday-dust-we-are <span class="field field--name-title field--type-string field--label-hidden">Ash Wednesday: Dust We Are</span> <span class="field field--name-uid field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden"><a title="View user profile." href="/user/89" lang="" about="/user/89" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="" class="username">Michael Schutz</a></span> <span class="field field--name-created field--type-created field--label-hidden">Wed, 02/26/2020 - 10:12</span> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-field-mt-subheader-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field__item"><p>Our culture doesn't like to think about death. If Ash Wednesday is a reminder that "dust you are and to dust you will return", isn't that morbid? Not at all. Faithfulness to God's Word means that we need to accept the reality of sin and death, and also the love of God for us in Jesus.</p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-image field--type-image field--label-hidden field__items"> <div class="images-container clearfix"> <div class="image-preview clearfix"> <div class="image-wrapper clearfix"> <div class="field__item"> <img srcset="/sites/default/files/styles/max_325x325/public/40Days___Day01.jpg?itok=sNHTvbjk 325w, /sites/default/files/styles/max_650x650/public/40Days___Day01.jpg?itok=kHSCs8Pa 650w, /sites/default/files/styles/max_1300x1300/public/40Days___Day01.jpg?itok=tE0D3KDc 1300w, /sites/default/files/styles/max_2600x2600/public/40Days___Day01.jpg?itok=MvWYYuhU 1920w" sizes="(min-width: 1290px) 1290px, 100vw" src="/sites/default/files/styles/max_325x325/public/40Days___Day01.jpg?itok=sNHTvbjk" alt="40 Days of Resonance: Day 1" typeof="foaf:Image" /> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field__item"><p>The season of Lent begins on Ash Wednesday. In ancient times, people would physically show their repentance by sitting in sackcloth—a rough, burlap-like fabric—and ashes. It was a way to demonstrate to others that you were really sorry for a wrongdoing of some kind.</p> <p>Living in the world we do today, this is a bit of a foreign concept. If we do anything to show repentance, it should be&nbsp;doing something to make up for what we've done. Doing something like sackcloth and ashes seems so...out of touch. And, it's not really "doing" anything, is it? And, ashes have to do with burning and death. That's morbid. And, since 2018's release of Avengers: Infinity War (SPOILER ALERT), ashes and dust in our culture&nbsp;have become more associated with Thanos' snap of a finger (BIGGER SPOILER ALERT), which can be undone,&nbsp;than with anything remotely spiritual or Biblical.</p> <p>Why would anyone want to think about death? Isn't it morbid to focus on it? Shouldn't we just enjoy each day for what it is, and put off any thought of what might come later on? Why would we want to spend any time at all reflecting on our own mortality? That's depressing.</p> <p>For Christians, death isn't a fascination; it's a terrible tragedy. It's the direct result of sin (Romans 5:12). And, it's a reality. Part of being faithful to God's Word is to accept the reality of things, whether they're pleasant to think about or not. As&nbsp;part of a good <em>theology of the cross</em>&nbsp;(more on that later in these days), we have to call a thing what it actually is; we can't ignore the reality of our world, including our mortality.</p> <p>So Ash Wednesday is a day when Christians around the world accept the reality of their sin. They accept the reality—however painful it is—that death is something that all people will experience (except for those who are still alive when Jesus returns). And they accept the reality that death is a direct result of sin.</p> <p>Yet that's not all there is to Ash Wednesday. Like so much in the Christian Church, it's not ultimately about us and what we do. Today many Christians will receive from their pastor the sign of the cross on their forehead with ash and oil. This signifies two things: 1. their repentance for their sin, and 2. that they have been marked as ones redeemed by Christ crucified (Romans 5:8-11, Romans 5:15-21). That second bit is super&nbsp;important, because we're not just thinking about our own mortality on this day; we're thinking about how the death of Jesus Christ for sinners put an end to the curse of death forever for us&nbsp;(Galatians 2:19-20).</p> <p>So yes, as a result of sin, we are dust, and to dust we shall return (Genesis 3:19). But that's not the end of the story. There is so much more! While we wait in repentant faith, we look expectantly for that life that is still to come (John 11:17-27).&nbsp;Dust we are, and to dust we will return, yes. But there is resurrection and new life in Jesus Christ.&nbsp;Both of those are what Ash Wednesday is really all about.</p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-above field--entity-reference-target-type-taxonomy-term clearfix"> <span class="field__label">Tags</span> <ul class='links field__items'> <li><a href="/taxonomy/term/58" hreflang="en">Lent</a></li> <li><a href="/taxonomy/term/145" hreflang="en">40 Days of Resonance</a></li> <li><a href="/taxonomy/term/146" hreflang="en">Ash Wednesday</a></li> <li><a href="/taxonomy/term/147" hreflang="en">Repentance</a></li> <li><a href="/taxonomy/term/148" hreflang="en">Theology of the Cross</a></li> </ul> </div><div class="field field--name-field-mt-post-categories field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--entity-reference-target-type-taxonomy-term clearfix"> <ul class='links field__items'> <li><a href="/taxonomy/term/13" hreflang="en">Church</a></li> </ul> </div><section class="field field--name-comment field--type-comment field--label-above comment-wrapper"> <h2 class="title comment-form__title">Add new comment</h2> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderForm" arguments="0=node&amp;1=99&amp;2=comment&amp;3=comment" token="ckwpeAMdlIinC--7gtztwJF3HltnZiNYcGwYBYkfOVc"></drupal-render-placeholder> </section> Wed, 26 Feb 2020 18:12:59 +0000 Michael Schutz 99 at http://theresonant.org