‘See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the elemental spiritual forces of this world rather than on Christ’ Col 2.8 NIV.
I read in proverbs one that the world shudders when a fool becomes king. Let’s be clear. Donald Trump is not a menace to world peace because he treats women badly. He is a threat to the order of the world because he is a person of poor character, limitless ego and consummate foolishness.
If ever there was a cloud without rain as described in the book if Jude it is the self-deluded Donald Trump. I listened to Michelle Obama’s speech made in response to the misogyny of Donald Trump and his presumptuous seeking of the presidency of the United States. Hers was a powerful and moving speech of the kind not given by the ‘glass half full brigade’ who try so hard to be even handed that they say nothing and it sounds like it. Truth Telling is apolitical, always evoking a response from the sensitive of heart and always alive. Declaring the truth takes courage. It is the fruit of discernment and is profoundly subversive of vested selfishness, folly and the inertial that passes for some kinds of Christianity. If you are a genuine follower of Jesus there will be much about you that will create conflict.
“Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.”
The sword is the sword of the Spirit- the living word who cuts through the spin, humbug, special pleading, and ‘this is my perspective’ that passes for truth.
There is a reason for the triviality of the pundits, the feeble-mindedness of the masses and the impotence of spiritual and secular leadership. It’s lack of vision. Lack of vision in terms of the kind that causes the people to perish and believe nonsense in the name of God and about those who would bestride the world like gods.
Waleed Aly speaks to this issue in the annual Andrew Olie Media Lecture as recorded in The Age. He writes
“The reason they can think so fast is that they aren't really thinking very much. Rather, they're thinking in "received ideas”. [These are] banal, conventional, common ideas that are received generally. By the time they reach you, these ideas have already been received by everybody else, so reception is never a problem.
Communication is instantaneous because, in a sense, it has not occurred; or it only seems to have taken place…[it] work[s] because everyone can ingest [these ideas] immediately … [ He means ideas that are commonly mistaken by the illiterate and naive as ‘common sense.’]
At the opposite end of the spectrum, thought, by definition, is subversive. It begins by taking apart "received ideas" and then presents the evidence in a demonstration, a logical proof… Making an argument like this takes time, since you have to set out a series of propositions connected by "therefore," "consequently," "that said," "given the fact that…" Such a deployment of thinking thought, of thought in the process of being thought, is intrinsically dependent on time.”
Such thought is seldom the province of the 55 year old conservative living out of the ideas they have worn like stale clothes over since they were 17. Neither do they come from those who don’t read, who despise thinking and whose attention spans are much shorter than their fingernails.
‘Thinking thought’ is dependent on time. Also on truth. It depends on an unconditional commitment to truth in the face of our most long-held and comforting, yet mistaken ideas of what truth actually is. Thinking thought involves an unconditional commitment to Jesus as ‘way and truth’ and the willingness to slit open the bubble in which we have been born and raised - that social construction of reality that furnishes us with a system and culture - a belief system that may be true or a grave distortion of God’s reality; the reality who is Christ and the real tenets of our relationship to God. The new creation is stymied and cannot advance when our basic assumption about the Kingdom of God is the elephant in the room that blocks our progress up the new and living way of Christ our life.
Thinking thought and the advance into the new creation is never the province of natural thinking.
It does not depend on natural philosophy or received theology which depends on human tradition and the elemental spiritual forces of this world, namely, law, flesh and self-effort.
Neither does it belong to those who have been immunised against the truth by false doctrine and by beliefs that leach the life from the Kingdom from the inside while claiming to be Christian. Such are an illusion and an ploy of anti-christ. Immunised to truth and light, their ears do not hear and their eyes do not see. But they plod on in an un-gospel that is inherently incapable of producing spirit and life and hence of delivering the world into the Kingdom of God’s light.
Vision comes from the Source of Life and Light. Vision is a person - the light of the world. Imagination, creativity, reform and regeneration is found with Jesus as our life. Vision and sightedness are ours when our commitment to Jesus is commitment to Jesus irrespective of any consequence this may have for ourselves or for others.
We can settle for being a plodder living within the limits of our perspective and the conceit of our specialness and our contribution to theology that negates the Kingdom of God. But we should never expect to be a harbinger of spirit, life and vision if we limit ourselves with the thought, “ I will follow you Lord, as long as I am able to stay within the boundaries of my denominational beliefs.’ Here we can expect many hopeful beginnings and endless serial fade-outs. But never an unending advance into the fullness of Christ. Jesus does not nurture tares.
‘If the ministry that brought condemnation was glorious, how much more glorious is the ministry that brings righteousness!’ 2 Cor 3.9 NIV.
Holy Spirit cannot supply what is absent because we have chosen to live in the separation from G0d that is the province of the old covenant. Nothing is as whistling in the dark and as plaintive as the attempt to bolt the Holy Spirit onto a place where God no longer is. Nothing is as counter productive to the Kingdom’s advance as adding a slice of truth onto what is a profound distortion of the gospel of the Kingdom. Nothing is as vain as adding the anointing to the old wineskin of the old covenant and thinking this is not adding a patch to a container that is long done for and passed its use by date.
Competence to minister the Kingdom is ours to the extent that we are rooted in our Father by the at-one-ment of Jesus, so that we multiply Jesus in the Spirit of Sonship and the authority of our Father as Jesus did. The patrician Paul was once in the same position as the plebeian blind man whom Jesus healed by rubbing mud on His eyes. We only see anything in the Son of Man. But along with this man of common origins the apostle Paul - once mired in the law - became the apostle of the free spirit. He accepted that once he was blind. ‘But now I can see!’