Friday, April 06, 2007

Empty Seats at Easter

‘If in this life only we have hoped in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied.’

Liberal theology Christians
gradually fade like an
old photograph with
no longer any

truth to


Inconsequential said...

excellent visual treat!

I do like a slant on tradition.

Lets hope the restoration people don't get hold of them :)

ish said...


There is a thing called 'restoration theology'. but I am not sure you mean that inc.

The poem reflects the fact that some churches (many of the 'mainline' ones) uphold a theology that really does not believe much and especially not miracles. Often not even the resurrection of Christ. They have significantly declining numbers. And rightly so. If you could show me conclusively that it is not 'true' in any ordinary sense of the word, I too would 'turn my collar to the wind' and walk away. Try to find some solace/ shelter from the great void. Its hypocrisy, I think, to go on using the name 'Christian' if you don't believe much of anything.

Inconsequential said...

I have often wondered why Christians picked Christ...

Hmm, now to try and explain.
Christ is allegedly the son of god, and part of god, so why worship a mortal aspect of an immortal being? Why not say that Christ was and did whatever he did, but that they worship God?
It seems to me like accepting second best.
Is there a church just for the Holy Spirit?

I wonder if it’s because a mans deeds are easier to fob of on the masses than a gods?

As usual I mean no offence by these questions.

Inconsequential said...

Oh, and yes I meant the restoration/conservation in the arts and old buildings type people...

Though now you have given another bit of research...first Toa, now restoration theology.

thankyou :)

missmellifluous said...

Because you inspire thoughts like this in me and others.

I like this poem. I see myself fading sometimes. This poem reminds me not to. What we believe is way too important. Too real. Too incredible to ever forget.

Inc. We are Christ followers because Christ is not mortal. He overcame the curse of death - a consequence of us wanting to live life our own way, apart from God - by living the perfect life. Death could not defeat Christ. He died but rose again. Immortal. Having paid the price for our rebellion. This is why we follow Him. This is why we celebrate His death and life at Easter. It is our life. It is God's power a it's most awesome, most incredible but most real. If only we understood this more fully we would not decline in number as ish observes.

Jesus is by no means the lesser of the two. We follow Him because it is through Him that we can approach God and come to know Him because the Bible says Jesus is the radiance of God's glory and the exact representation of his being".

I like your questions. I hope you don't mind me entering the discussion. Happy Easter.

ish said...

The inversion, inc. The wonder of the inversions. That God who fills the universe should become one of us. Unity in distinction is not such an obscure concept. It seems so de rigour to see it in manipulative terms. Sure any good thing can be perverted to such ends as 'fobbing things off to the masses'. In fact it seems, the more worthy the person, the more likely the appropriation by the unworthy. And for God’s sake, the ‘church’ is not the institution!

Inconsequential said...

My apologies, I tend to say The Church as regards the organisation.
It's the symbols, unless we can agree on the meaning of the words confusion begins, and the deeper we delve the wider the breach.

So, in effect Christ is God, so Christians are following God through the Christ aspect...yes?

So, why do the Jewish and Muslim types not support the Christ as part of God thing? I'm curious as to why the multiple factions for the one God?

ish said...

Inc, apologies for my last sentence "shouting”. It was not at you. My sadness is at the way the 'living stones' - the people who made up the Biblical church are frequently such a far cry from the bricks and mortar institution we have suffered these many centuries. But within the deadening institutional force the life given by Christ to individuals is resilient. In one of his parables Christ would not remove the weeds lest it uproot the good grain.
The Jews would not accept Christ as the Messiah because he came as the 'suffering servant'. The glorious paradox of victory through death - and by that death, victory over death itself. Many Jews at the time understandably wanted a military messiah to deliver them from Roman oppression. (And he challenged the authority of the religious leaders – ‘got up their noses’.) Many Christians believe the Jewish nation will one day recognize their Messiah for who he truly is.
Islam is a counterfeit. Note the record of the 'prophet's' appropriation from Judaism and Christianity. Ref. Robert Spencer's The Truth About Mohammad.

sage said...

the presentation of the poem--with the fading ink--is nicely done but I do not think I agree with your conclusion. At best, I think you've set up a straw man that's easy to knock down.

I don't like terms such as liberal and conservative, especially when artifical values are placed on these words (It seems obvious to me that you are inferring that liberal has a negative value). In your comments you equate liberal with mainline, and equate their decline to their beliefs. Does this then mean that growing churches are thereby more "orthodox?" In practice I know that's not always the case. I have stayed within mainline churches for several reasons. First of all, that's where I met Jesus. Secondly, I find some of the folks in these church to be more willing to honestly debate theology (as opposed to citing chiches) and to struggle with what it means to follow Jesus in our world today. Sure, they're those who believe little, but they're not limited just to liberal and mainline churches. And finally, if one sees themselves solely as in the "liberal" or "conservative" camp (I'm not sure church is the right word here), I wonder what part of the gospel messages they're missing. Sorry for my ranting and I pray that I haven't offended you.

ish said...

Sage You have not offended at all. Mainline and liberal are both inadequate terms. I wanted something concise, a word or phrase for the people who for some reason want to retain the term Christian but do not believe much of it is actually true ("true truth" as Dr Schaeffer would have it) For example they do not believe in miracles, the resurrection of Christ et al. It is easily supported that Churches that have segments that lean in that direction are not growing churches by and large. At least those segments are not growing. In fact the reverse is true. They are in decline. (That was the point of the poem. And yes if you don't believe much of anything, why bother to be Christian? I assume that is why they are walking away.) The excetional growth is in the evangelical and pentecostal inclined congregations, and particularly in China, India and parts of Africa.

Inconsequential said...

A bit like christianity then.
Islam has aspects of jewish, zoroastrianism, christian and probably a few more things, but then so does every religion have ideas from previous things, and tend to reflect the times they were created.
Whilst the central message pretty much remains the same. God.
All roads lead to rome and all that :)

Do you have a view on Mormons?

ish said...

Thanks for the thoughtful response inc. I think of a couple of times previously where you have rightly pointed out that words need clarification. We need a bit of that here maybe. To extend your metaphor, any airport departure board will remind you that roads lead to many destinations besides Rome. To make things more complicated there are other Romes too. (Like Rome, New York.) If 'religious' ideas are confined to a bag with the irrational where all things are equivalent, morally and otherwise, we have no starting point for discussion. However if we apply a ‘unified field of knowledge’ (for both aeroplanes and God) then there is common ground for discussion and distinctions become important.

We have an invading starfish in our local harbour multiplying rapidly and doing big environmental damage to the local marine life. Without study and careful scrutiny its appearance is almost indistinguishable from our local starfish. Discerning differences is critical.

Also the central message as you say is a key issue: (BTW, to take you up on that point, belief in God for example, is not essential to Buddhism.) If I had to name one critical distinction in what Christ offers it is a gift of love and forgiveness that cannot be earned. If you go through the list of religions you will find that a great many (all?) have the opposite perspective. They are mostly about jumping through hoops and earning brownie points to please God or to gain goodies in the hereafter. The Christian impulse to do good is based on relationship. We wish to please the one we love. (And don’t we ever fail! (Forgiven, not perfect.) However like the mutt that tends to become more human by by association with the master, I believe we become more Christ-like by our association with him.

Inconsequential said...

Thank you for putting up with my somewhat random curiousity.

Good answer.

I lkie that aspect, though I seem to recall Buddhism, whilst not doing the 'god' thing, still manage to be quite nice to everything, including animals etc...
in fact the 'sila' part of it is a wonderful way to live.

Inconsequential said...

please excuse the typos too :)