more about this sight

"you're packing a suitcase for a place that you've never been...a place that has to be believed to be seen"...'Walk On' by U2

WATERSHED: A voice in the wilderness. DARYL UNDERWOOD.

 

The concept of Centerpoint Christianity briefly stated is:

Christianity from the centerpoint outward.

Christianity from the climax forward.

This blog constitutes concepts for a new view of Christianity that begins with what is foundational and moves forward from that point. It is based on the assumption that we are being pulled towards something unseen and pushed from a place that once was.

What Centerpoint Christianity attempts to do is bypass some of the constraints imposed by metanarratives by using the life of Christ and particularly the climactic actions of Christ as beginning points.

It supports the conviction that God is essentially timeless. From this beginning point we endeavor to move outward from the definitive moment of the parousia (visitation) of Christ and forward to the future which functions as a type of magnet to "what can be--and is coming".

When we begin at the life of Christ and move outward as from the centerpoint of a web, rather than in a linear timeline of history, another wide picture emerges.


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Tuesday
Feb192008

The High Price of the Power Metanarrative: a political comentary with ethical implications

I have been reflecting on the price of power.

Having listened again to the  "A Few Good Men" clip and feeling the shame of our collaborative input in the creation of a Colonel Jessep I feel the need to write. This is personal more than theological. But theological in that "ethics are central" to the gospel.

I am grieved and troubled. "War is not the answer and young men should not die". Or kill for that matter. When you realise the untenable position we put young men in as we place them in difficult circumstances in faraway lands and cultures we must pay attention. The message of negotiation before engagement needs to become stronger. We need to pay attention to situations before they erupt. The illustration of John Woolman and the Quakers is valuable here. Woolman spent decades in conversations with the people in his own movement surrounding the issues of the legitimacy of slavery. His hope was that they reconsider their practice as a community. They did.

In 1754 Woolman wrote Some Considerations on the Keeping of Negroes. He subsequently refused to draw up wills transferring slaves. Working on a nonconfrontational, personal level, he individually convinced many Quaker slaveholders to free their slaves. He attempted personally to avoid using the products of slavery; for example, he wore undyed clothing because slaves were used in the making of dyes. He was also known in later life to abjure riding in stagecoaches, on grounds that their operation was too often cruel and injurious to their teams of horses.

In Woolman's travels, whenever he received hospitality from a slaveholder, he insisted on paying the slaves for their work in attending him. He would also refuse to be served with silver cups, plates, and utensils, on grounds that slaves were forced to dig such precious minerals and gems for the rich. On one occasion in his early adulthood, he did convey the ownership of a slave in someone's will, but was later so filled with remorse over the act that he went back, found the individual so injured, and made monetary reparations sufficient to sustain that person in freedom for some years. He observed that some owners used the labor of their slaves to enjoy lives of ease, and found much more fault with this practice than with those owners who treated their slaves gently, or even worked alongside them.

Woolman worked within the Friends traditions of seeking the guidance of the Spirit of Christ and patiently waiting to achieve unity in the Spirit. He went from one Friends meeting to another and expressed his concern about slaveholding. One by one the various Quaker Meetings began to see the evils of slavery and wrote minutes condemning the practice.

In his lifetime, Woolman did not succeed in eradicating slavery even within the Society of Friends in colonial America; however, his personal efforts changed Quaker viewpoints. In 1790 the Society of Friends petitioned the United States Congress for the abolition of slavery. The fair treatment of people of all races is now part of the Friends Testimony of Equality. Woolman's colonial-era success in persuading his fellow Quakers on this issue is credited with giving Quakers in the early days of the USA the moral authority to labor with people of other Christian traditions over it.

Notice the year of the appeal to the United States Congress for the abolition of slavery (1790). Now consider  the period of the Civil War in America (1860's). What if Congress had resolved to listen to Woolman and the Quakers rather than allowing the manifestation of slavery to stew below the surface. Remembering the amount of bloodshed and lost life in the Civil War should make us pause at the rejection of the appeal.  Compare the results: lost lives during the patient arbitration in the Quaker movement (0)... the tragic loss of life during the Civil War when things had fired into the stubborn position that always precedes chaos (618,000).

The price of determined arbitration is minimal when you consider the often exorbitant price groups pay in blood for their stand.

What I am getting at is this: if we don't pay attention early and instead hold resentments too long...the lid eventually blows off and the steam cannot be contained.

Once chaos sets in we have few righteous choices. Arbitrate or vacate. When one is in the setting of confrontation at the tender age of 19 faced with an untenable choice to pull the trigger or not life stands still. And the problem is you don't have the luxury to think about it "because the crucible is here, right now" whether you are ready or not. The tragic consequence of  a blackened heart inside the chest of such a young man who has gone against his soul is unsettling. When one trusts that "I've got God on my side" and don't we all,  but loses his faith along the way for the "sins he has committed"--this is too steep a price  to pay--over and over again.

I have three sons and am grateful they never had to put their "finger on the trigger"...Listen to this great song by Bruce Springsteen entitled "Devils and Dust". The clip is in the songs and articles section.

"We're a long long way from home Bob,
home's a long, long way from us,
I feel a dirty wind a blowing..."

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