Archives For N.T. Wright

The point of the resurrection…is that the present bodily life is not valueless just because it will die…What you do with your body in the present matters because God has a great future in store for it…

What you do in the present—by painting, preaching, singing, sewing, praying, teaching, building hospitals, digging wells, campaigning for justice, writing poems, caring for the needy, loving your neighbor as yourself—will last into God’s future. These activities are not simply ways of making the present life a little less beastly, a little more bearable, until the day when we leave it behind altogether (as the hymn so mistakenly puts it…).

They are part of what we may call building for God’s kingdom.”

N.T. Wright, Surprised by Hope: Rethinking Heaven, the Resurrection, and the Mission of the Church

Today Has Eternal Value

Let me tell you this: on judgment day people will have to own up to every trivial word they say. Yes: you will be vindicated by your own words – and you will be condemned by your own words.”

Jesus, from Matthew 12:36-37 Kingdom New Testament

Their speech – and remember that they had just accused Jesus of black magic – will show what’s really in their hearts. Casual words always reveal deep attitudes; Jesus said it long before Sigmund Freud did (in the famous ‘Freudian slip’, the secret someone is trying to hide pops out of their mouth before they can stop it). As a result, casual words will be used on the day of judgment as a reliable indicator of what really matters, the state of the heart.

N.T. Wright, Matthew for Everyone

So That’s Why You Should Watch Your Mouth….

How Fringe Should End

Chris —  March 24, 2011

I’m holding out against hope that this season of Fringe won’t be the last.  When the show started, it seemed to be little more than an X-Files rehash.  But over two and a half seasons, it’s developed into a transdimensional drama, packed with characters fans have grown to care about.

The premise is that there are two worlds, almost identical, on the verge of destruction.  The characters seem to think that only one can survive, and that they are in a war to do just that.

Yet there have been hints that something deeper is going on.  Each side seems incomplete.  In one world, the main character, Olivia, has a mom.  In the other, her mom is dead, but she has a sister and an aunt.  In one world, the an FBI agent is a widower, in the other, he sacrificed his life for his mission, leaving a widow.  A recent poignant episode told the story of an old woman who could see her dead husband’s doppleganger in the other world.

Some people believe that the gospel of Jesus is just that you go to heaven when you die.  But perhaps it’s not so cut and dry.  Passages in Romans speak of Earth as a mother in labor pains.  The book of Revelation describes the coming of a new heaven and a new earth.

Perhaps Fringe will end, not in war, but in an amalgation of the two sides.   Each side is full of puzzle pieces.  The coming destruction is not a destruction at all, but the two broken sides becoming one cohesive whole.

There’s a lot of story left in Fringe, and I hope that it will get enough airtime to finish.  Perhaps it will end on a note of hope, with broken worlds and relationships healed.  This is also what we work for in the kingdom of God, a new heaven and new earth that represent the fullest potential of the old.

Resurrecting Resurrection

Chris —  July 28, 2009

Long plane rides have given me time to work through N.T. Wright’s Suprised By Hope.  The Bishop of Durham is a voice considered by liberals, conservatives, scholars and popular media to be one of the greatest experts on the New Testament.  Hope reexamines the Bible’s teaching on the afterlife and how that impacts our lives today.

The basic thesis of the book is this: The Bible promises a literal physical resurrection, like Jesus’s.  This has serious implications for how we view life, death and the mission of the Church.

The book reexamines basic principles taught by evangelicalism, and western Christianity in general.  Unlike greek dualism, which separates the physical from the spiritual, and condemns all things physical, he shows how the Bible teaches that creation is good and our bodies are good.  Jesus resurrection is not an odd one time occurence, it is the first act of new creation.  God plans to give us all resurrected bodies, and unleash the same power on the universe itself.

Having dismantled greek infused ideas about a disembodied heaven and fundamentalist teachings about escaping the world before it all burns away, Wright gets to his main point: how does impending resurrection and new creation shape the mission of the Church? 

If God loves his creation, and plans to affirm that in resurrected bodies and a new heaven and new earth, then the mission of the Church is to anticipate God’s new creation. 

Chew on that for now, and I’ll share some quotes at another time.

For my traditional conservative friends, don’t worry: I have every intention on reading John Piper’s rebuttal.