Tag Archives: resurrection

The Resurrection I Firmly Believe In

This post is part of the April Synchroblog: The Resurrection Hoax.  I will list the links to all the contributions at the end of this post as soon as they are available.

Few really believe.  The most only believe that they believe or even make believe.  ~John Lancaster Spalding

I had to chuckle a little when I read the description of this month’s synchroblog because it said “we” (we being the synchroblog organizing team which I am a part of) firmly believe in the physical resurrection of Jesus Christ.  I chuckled because that isn’t true for me.  I don’t like to say it out loud because I don’t want to deal with the outrage of Christians who believe that makes me a heretic or who claim if I don’t believe in a literal resurrection then I should not call myself a Christian (I don’t use the label much but it still bothers me for someone to tell me I’m not a “real” Christian).

I don’t have a problem with those who do “firmly” believe in the physical resurrection of Christ.  I’m not even one of those people who would think it is an irrational belief because I do believe miraculous things sometimes take place.  I just can’t say I “firmly believe in the historical reality of the death, burial, and bodily resurrection of Jesus”.

I don’t want people trying to “prove” to me the resurrection of Jesus really happened.  I could make all of the same arguments they will make (maybe even better than they will make them) and I probably did at some point to someone.  But, the truth is no one can prove the physical resurrection of Jesus really happened.  If you believe in the physical resurrection of Jesus Christ you must believe it even though it cannot be proven to be true.

For years I did believe in the resurrection of Jesus Christ but during my journey of faith I was duped (in my opinion) by the church about some things and so these days I don’t place my belief in things so easily.  These days I am more careful about what I claim to believe.  I pray, I study, I examine, I think, I listen, I talk about something (a lot) before I claim it as a belief.  If it cannot be proven then I try and decide if it is necessary for me to believe one way or the other about whatever it is.  If not, I just let it be and settle in with “I don’t know”.  I’m okay with “I don’t know” when it comes to the physical resurrection of Jesus Christ.

So if you ask me if I believe the physical resurrection of Christ really happened my answer is “I don’t know.”  However, I do “firmly” believe in the deeper truth the resurrection of Christ symbolizes.  I believe that the work of God and the way of Jesus brings life out of death.  I’ve seen it too many times not to.

So, how has my lack of belief in the physical resurrection of Jesus affected me and my Christian faith??

Well, after a lot of time pondering the resurrection I am much more likely to take the time to listen to others – to love the unlovable – to bring joy and hope to situations – to forgive instead of holding a grudge – to love justice more than individual rights – to put other’s interests above my own – to be generous in all ways – to stand up for those who are oppressed and marginalized – to work to change unjust systems – to try and follow in the way of Jesus Christ.

The interesting thing is these days of not believing “firmly” in the physical resurrection of Jesus are actually proving to be days when I am much more likely to live as if I do believe in the resurrection – as if I do believe the tomb was empty – as if I do believe that Jesus is the resurrection and the life.

Go figure!

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Check out the other contributions:

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I Will Answer That Question In A Minute, But First, I Want To Talk About Jesus.

This post is a contribution to the April Synchroblog: DO YOU LIVE UNDER A ROCK? As Christians we say we believe in the resurrection but sometimes it seems like we are living under a rock instead of living a resurrected life.

A list of all the contributions to this month’s synchroblog will be listed at the end of this post as the links become available.


 

The first thing I want to say is that the title of my post comes directly from a talk that my friend Hugh Hollowell gave at Campbell University’s chapel service to kick off Poverty Awareness week.  Hugh is the founder of Love Wins Ministries, where he pastors a congregation of people who happen to be homeless.  Hugh rocks! … but he definitely doesn’t live under one.

Hugh said:

 

I run an organization in Raleigh called Love Wins Ministries, where we pastor and work with chronically homeless people. These are not the people in line at the soup kitchen or in the shelters. These are the poorest of the poor – folks who live under bridges and sleep in dumpsters. People who smell of urine and mumble to themselves as they walk down the streets. A lot of times, these people do not get better.

 

I don’t get a lot of success stories. But I do know an awful lot about hardcore urban poverty.

As a result of my work, I speak to a lot of groups like this about our work, and one question always comes up in the Q and A afterward. So today, I am just going to focus on that question: Why are these people poor?

I will answer that question in a minute, but first, I want to talk about Jesus.

Incidentally, if you ever want to get the guy in the seat next to you on the airplane to shut up, answer any of his questions with exactly that sentence:

I will answer that question in a minute, but first, I want to talk about Jesus.”

I thought it was smart and funny – I even laughed out loud and so, well … who can resist using a smart and funny line on their blog?!  Plus I always love a reason to bring attention to the work that Hugh does!

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Now, back to the question at hand: “Do You Live Under A Rock?”

I will answer that question in a minute, but first, I want to talk about Jesus :>)

In Luke 7:11-17 Jesus raises a widow’s son from the dead:

Some time later, Jesus went to a town called Nain. His disciples and a large crowd went along with him. He approached the town gate. Just then, a dead person was being carried out. He was the only son of his mother. She was a widow. A large crowd from the town was with her.When the Lord saw her, he felt sorry for her. So he said, “Don’t cry.” Then he went up and touched the coffin. Those carrying it stood still. Jesus said, “Young man, I say to you, get up!”The dead man sat up and began to talk. Then Jesus gave him back to his mother.The people were all filled with wonder and praised God. “A great prophet has appeared among us,” they said. “God has come to help his people.” This news about Jesus spread all through Judea and the whole country. Luke 7:11-17

 

Megan McKenna, internationally known author, theologian, storyteller and lecturer, was teaching about this passage in a parish mission when someone yelled out, “’Have you ever brought someone back from the dead?” She responded with, “Yes! Every time I bring hope into a situation, every time I bring joy that shatters despair, every time I forgive others and give them back dignity and the possibility of a future with me and others in the community, every time I listen to others and affirm them and their life, every time I speak the truth in public, every time I confront injustice — yes — I bring people back from the dead.”

Now that is RESURRECTION!

As I ponder the question “Do You (I) Live Under A Rock” I am forced to face the fact that a lot of times it’s as if I am living under a rock.

When I am so worried about the future that I am not present in the moment, when I lack the hospitality to graciously engage those who I disagree with, when I neglect to help the poor or stand up for the oppressed or speak for those with no voice, when I talk more than I listen, when I take my own privilege for granted and for ordinary, when I support systems that are unjust – every time I do these things it is as if I am living under a rock.

On the other hand, when I stand up for justice and equality, when I am present in the here and now enough to experience awe when a baby cries or a bird sings, when I care enough to get to know those I serve, when I give up a convenience in order to care for the environment, when I remember to use my privilege for the sake of others, when I look for and see the beauty and potential of everyone I meet, when I am gentle, kind, patient, forgiving, compassionate, loving – every time I do these things it is as if I have climbed out from under the rock – not just to experience resurrection but to be and practice resurrection!

I love the Wendell Berry poem, Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front … and so I will leave you with a few of my favorite lines from it.

So, friends, every day do something
that won’t compute. Love the Lord.
Love the world. Work for nothing.
Take all that you have and be poor.
Love someone who does not deserve it…

Be like the fox
who makes more tracks than necessary,
some in the wrong direction.
Practice resurrection.

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Check out the other great posts for this month’s synchroblog:

Phil Wyman at Square No More –  Apocalyptic fervor spurs benevolent giving

Marta Layton at Marta’s Mathoms – Getting Out From Behind The Rock

Alan Knox at the assembling of the church – Living The Resurrected Life

Mike Victorino at  Simply A Night Owl – Crawling Out From Under A Rock

John Paul Todd at E4Unity – Still Asleep In the Light

Patrick Oden at Ravens – A Resurrection

Brambonius at Brambonius’ blog in english – hiding the Resurrection life like a candle under a bucket?

George Elerick at The Love Revolution – (for)getting the resurrection

Liz Dyer at Grace Rules – I Will Answer That Question In A Minute, But First, I Want To Talk About Jesus

Jeff Goins at Jeff Goins Writer – Resurrection

Tammy Carter at Blessing the Beloved – Rock and a Hard Place

Kathy Escobar at the carnival in my head – little miracles

Christen Hansel at Greener Grass – Resurrection Rhythm

Matt Stone at Glocal Christianity – Living The Resurrection

Steve Hayes at Khanya – Descent into Hell and penal substitution

Bill Sahlman at Creative Reflections – Do We Live Under a Rock of Belief?