Monday, May 07, 2007

Personal Manifesto

Here is my personal statement of belief that I have been working on:

I believe we live in a broken, fractured world. Death and destruction are all around us. It seems that living is a monumental task, as even nature itself is looking to kill us. Death has become the only thing in life that is guaranteed.

I believe this brokenness is the result of the sin that we all deal with. The root of sin is self. At the root of every sin is the placing of self and selfish wants over the laws of God, and the welfare and concern of others.

The first human beings sin, and by sinning have broke the relationship that they had with God. The result of the fracture is the basic peace that was between Man, God, and Creation. I believe that individual sins also lead to systematic evils that we see in the world. Humans have created systems that oppress other humans. Racism, sexism, ageism all factor into the systems that are used to oppress those around us.

This is the story of man. We see from creation one generation and humans are killing each other. We also see that that almost as soon as there is any type of organization in the world, it is used for evil (the Tower of Babel). Every organization that man has created ends up in some way oppressing others; even the organized church has participated in oppression.

God’s motion has always been towards humanity. Even as the first man and woman sinned, God was right there taking the first steps towards healing and restoration. While humanity is continually finding different ways to make the break larger, God has continually chasing after his beloved creation.

The ultimate sign of God’s pursuit of humanity is the person of Jesus. Christians believe that what God wanted for the world, we find this in Jesus. We believe that His life was lived perfectly, without sin. Thus empowering him to be able to stand against the brokenness and sin that is in the world. Jesus then told his followers to be like he was.

Jesus in his stand against the brokenness and oppression he saw, was betrayed, arrested, falsely charged, and crucified by those he was calling out. From heaven, God saw Jesus to vindicate him raised him from the dead. We believe that it is by the power of this resurrection the sin and brokenness of this world has been defeated. It is through the power of this resurrection that sin and brokenness in our individual lives can be healed.

This is the core of what it means to be a Christian. We follow Jesus’ lead in standing against the sin and brokenness in the world. We become the agents of restoration and life standing against the sin and brokenness in the world.

Christians need to stand up for healing and restoration, but this does not imply that we fight against the evils that are around us. What I mean is that we be agents of healing and restoration. Instead inciting conflict, we instead spread the love of God for the world. Our healing and restoration process should not result in conflict-this is only bringing more brokenness.

What do you think? Does this sum up what we're about as Christians?

7 comments:

MattJP said...

hey roomie. I think I can agree with most of what you had to say. I would question your equivocation of sin with oppression though. I think most of what we consider "oppression" is in fact sin, but I think oppression is only one small part of the category, "sin." What about a white guy from a well off family who enters into a life of drug addiction and sexual immorality? It is common and I think you'd be hard pressed to show who he was oppressing (unless by oppressing you mean shopping at Walmart) or by whom he was oppressed. I think our obsession with undoing "oppression" also leads to such anti-Christian positions as radical feminism and advocating for affirmation of practicing homosexuals in the church.

dan said...

maybe the white guy who leads a life of drug and sexual addiction becomes the one oppressed by his own sin. oppression does not have to be in a system.

i believe that sin is both individual and systemic. which would mean that oppression that results can also be individualistic and systemic.

i still think that my understanding of oppression fits for those reasons...

MattJP said...

Okay, if you are willing to include in you definition of "oppression" the individualistic notion of being oppressed by one's own sin then I would come closer to agreement with you. The problem I see is that when people hear "oppression" they usually think of systemic evils and not individual ones, maybe I'm just projecting on others but I know that's true for me. I still think equating sin with oppression is trying to force sin into a smaller box than it is meant to be in.

conibell said...

Agents of healing and restoration - excellent! Agents of God's love! Loving those who come across your path. Making the place in are in better for you being there because of your love. Excellent!

As always, I think you are brilliant!

Eric and Amanda Roemer said...

Hey Dan, Define for me what you mean by brokenness in this article.

I think that we may have different understanding of this idea. I see brokenness as a wonderful means of God's grace (nature or progressive) whereas it is brokenness that draws us closer to Christ likeness. Even if brokenness arises out of bad circumstances, God's consequential sovereignty is still at work in that and so then that brokenness is then redeemed, sanctified and good.

There was this guy who had a good job but some of the people who he was working for didn't like how he was doing it. So they had him fired... he was broken because of this very bad circumstance. Because of that brokenness he moved on and ended up coming to a place where all the brokenness made sense. He ended up changing the world because of how God allowed him to grow during that time. (I'm talking about John Wesley losing his job and oxford and in Georgia... just in case you were thinking of someone else :-) )

I have learned to embrace this kind of brokenness; it has been the most influential aspect of my spiritual growth. That’s why I don't consider brokenness related sin, what do you think?

dan said...

brokenness...not in like spiritual pietism but more along the lines of the world is broken from what it was. The world was created whole (the hebrew word for peace, shalom, also refers to complete

Death is the ultimate result of this brokenness. The perfect creation that God has created is now breaking itself apart piece by piece.

This is my understanding of sin and brokenness.

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