Love Your Enemy - St. Croix Vineyard

Love Your Enemy - St. Croix Vineyard

Love Your Enemy Peter Fitch, St. Croix Vineyard Sunday, October 8, 2015 Social Good Now (Alex Cequea) Why Facts Dont Convince People (And What You Can Do About It)

Matthew 5:43-48 (Jesus, Sermon on the Mount) You have heard that it was said, You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy. 44 But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 43

Matthew 5:43-48 (Jesus, Sermon on the Mount) For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? 47 If you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? 48 Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

46 Perfect . . . Kind of a high standard Teleios: goal, end, mature Unfortunate translation Interesting connection with James Fowlers Stages of Faith theory Fowlers pattern (7 stages)

Early stages lead from development of trust through adoption of parents beliefs (in a literal way) to a gradual growth of self-awareness and interior belief in how life works (often with levels of skepticism) Last 2 stages include description of aspects of maturity These are called Conjunctive Faith and Universalizing Faith Conjunctive Faith Maturity brings awareness of depth, complexity, hidden

motives, and the dialectical relationship between points of view; it learns to live with paradox and with levels of uncertainty. Fowler says, conjunctive faith gives rise to a second naivete, a postcritical receptivity and readiness for participation in the reality brought to expression in symbol and myth. In this stage people will not look like true believers, people with single-minded, uncritical devotion to a cause.

Conjunctive Faith They can, however, be very committed to their own beliefs at the same time as they are open to and able to learn from others. This explains the term conjunctive for they are able to bring different points of view together (as with conjunctions in grammar). Universalizing Faith People and communities of conjunctive faith are often forced

to live with the tension of the paradoxes that they see and embrace. They long for greater justice for all and are aware of their own complicity in buttressing systems that are not entirely there yet; however, they often pour their energy and life into sustaining these imperfect systems. This prolonged discomfort can lead some people into a transformed state whereby they actually, in large measure, become the message they have proclaimed.

Universalizing Faith Two things especially mark this transformation: decentration from self (i.e., people are able to take a larger and larger view of perspectives that are worth listening to) and valuing and valuation (i.e., in Fowlers words, each successive stage requires an expansion of the groups and interests whose valuingbased on their fears and anxieties about worth, significance, and survivalgradually become matters of our concern as well.

Universalizing Faith Some people finally become, in essence, the love that they have talked about. Fowlers definition of this stage is priceless: This process reaches a kind of completion in universalizing faith, for there a person decenters in the valuing process to such an extent that he or she participates in the valuing of the Creator and values other beingsand beingfrom a standpoint more nearly identified with the love of the Creator for creatures than

from the standpoint of a vulnerable, defensive, anxious creature. (Becoming Adult, Becoming Christian, p. 52-56.) Martin Buber, I and Thou I-it I-I I-Thou Martin Buber, I and Thou

The attitude of man is twofold in accordance with the two basic words he can speak. The basic words are not single words but word pairs, I-You and I-It. Thus the I of man is also twofold. For the I of the basic word I-You is different from that in the basic word I-It. When one says You, the I of the word pair I-You is said, too. When one says It, the I of the word pair I-It is said, too. The basic word I-You can only be spoken with ones whole being. The basic word I-It can never be spoken with ones whole being.

Social Good Now (Alex Cequea) Why Debates Turn Into Arguments (And How to Fix It) Amos 3:8 (shades of Aslan) A lion has roared! Who will not fear? The Lord God has spoken! Who can but prophesy? Jesus words are a very gentle roar, but the implications are

powerful Sometimes the best thing to do is stand for the truth! Sometimes the best thing is to sacrifice your thought (at least for a time) in order to humanize someone who disagrees with your point of view Philippians 2:3-8 Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than

yourselves;4 do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. 5 Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, 6 who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, 3 Philippians 2:3-8 but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bondservant, and being made in the likeness of men. 8 Being found

in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. 7 Andrew Adano Left arm of hostility Just stopped doing it Made friends with tribal enemies who were amazed that he

wanted to speak with them Thomas Merton (Wendy Gritter on FB) Oh God, we are one with You. You have made us one with You. You have taught us that if we are open to one another, You dwell in us. Help us to preserve this openness and to fight for it with all our hearts. Help us to realize that there can be no understanding where there is mutual rejection. Oh God, in

accepting one another wholeheartedly, fully, completely, we accept You, and we thank You, and we adore You, and we love You with our whole being, because our being is in Your being, our spirit is rooted in Your spirit. Thomas Merton Fill us then with love, and let us be bound together with love as we go our diverse ways, united in this one spirit which makes You present in the world, and which makes You witness

to the ultimate reality that is love. Love has overcome. Love is victorious. Amen. What God Has Done The life and death of Jesus is meant to be a sign of God saying to humans: I have nothing against you; we are reconciled. Join me in extending this grace and kindness to othersyou will be amazed at how rich and fun life can be! It was Gods way of pulling an Andrew Adano . . .

The space between us is now filled with the joy of connection, the Spirit of God (which we can ignore or embrace at our choosing)

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