From One Beggar to another Beggar

I just returned from a small little party/get-together that I was invited to.  Most of the people there were all in the twenties and either attending or recently graduated from college.  It was a great time where I was able to engage in some great faith conversations with some people at different stages in faith.  One person who is just learning to find his story in the story of God made this interesting observation:

“When one man brings another man to Jesus it is nothing more than one beggar sharing with another beggar where the bread is.”

4 responses to “From One Beggar to another Beggar

  1. Hello my brother. I see in you so much of the same working of the Holy Spirit. Blessings to you.
    We share the same Lord but within somewhat different paradigms. Shifting paradigms usually comes through profound periods of transition. We have discussed the Church and Christian unity.
    You mentioned that you didn’t view adhering to a ‘one true Church’ as the way to unity.

    What is your view as the way to unity. What should we do, and if it is not ‘one organization’, then what would it look like, especially keeping in mind Christ’s prayer that we be ‘one, that the unbelievers might believe.”

    • Having grown up in the Restoration Movement (RM) which claimed the unity of the church/Christians as one of its fundamental pursuits, I am familiar with at least what “antro-centric” attempt at unity. I describe the RM approach to unity as anthro-centric because it basically believed unity would be acheived as it ‘restored’ what it believed to be New Testament Christianity. I believe this approach to unity is wrong and has only created further problems.

      The pursuit of unity you seem to be describing – if I understand you correctly – seems to locate the basis of unity in the church, and within a particular church group. With all do respect, this seems to be one more anthro-centric approach to unity, locating the ability to have unity within people (although people who happen to be Christians).

      So what is my view to the way of unity? I believe the church has always been and will always be one unified body because that is the only way God sees it. This unity has been accomplished by God’s reconciling work in Jesus and his cross (Eph 2.13-16). The key to unity then is just the same as it was for Jewish and Gentile Christians in the first century, to accept the unity God has already given us by seeing each other through the reconciling work of Christ rather than those things which we use to distinguish and separate ourselves from one another. As this pertains to Christianity, it means ceasing to use the systematic constructs (doctrines, creeds, catechisms, etc…) we have created based upon extrapolation from the scriptures to distinguish from each other (against the reconciling work of God) over the simple confession of Jesus we all share. Thus, just as the Apostle Paul continued to share in fellowship with the Christians in Corinth (calling them Saints) with all their immature beliefs and behaviors, I too continue to accept in fellowship all those who confess faith in Jesus, regarless of the church group they identify with and thereby accept the unity God has made. That does not mean I am in agreement with every particular belief or practice that generally occurs within any group and if such a person/group is outside of the fellowship of Christ, I trust God to make that judgment on that day when he will judge all and not myself (or anyone else).

      And yes…I realize that at timess in history, these constructs were developed initially to protect against abhorent heresy. However, I am also aware of how much they have been used to foster division in the body of Christ which has had to do as much about each party wanting to protect political power within the church (which is another unforunate issue altogether).

      My faith is in God the Father and his redeeming work accomplished in Jesus Christ, the Son, by the power of the Holy Spirit (how’s that for a nice trinitarian confession:-)).

      Grace and peace,

      Rex

  2. Theosis. You mentioned finding it a compelling doctrine. It is in theory but I find it hard to imagine pursuing outside of Orthodoxy where the entirety of the Wineskin of Orthodox is configured to advance it. Theosis occurs in the crucible of the pursuit of ‘unceasing prayer.’ The monks for sixteen hundred years, and ascetics for two thousand have been the avant garde of Theosis. They are the prayer warriors, the ones who give up all to seek unceasing prayer unto the End of Theosis. Our highly advanced monks, for example at Nt, Athos, see the uncreated Light continually and because their hearts are pure, see with their eyes, the Saints and Theotokos. I cannot image the pursuit of Theosis without them anchoring that wing of the faith, much less the Tradition of Prayer. As a Campbellite there was no Tradition of Prayer; no one to whom I could point saying ‘that is a man who knows how to commune with God and move heaven.” It was a movement with preachers and debaters but not prayers. How does one pursue Theosis in that Wineskin?
    How does one pursue Theosis without the ascetic discipleship of fasting, and the angelic calling to ‘poverty’? And a strong sense of calling to Stillness, outward bodily stillness as the necesssary precondition to the descent of the nous into the heart- into the Stillness of the Father to which Jesus beckons us? It is one thing to appreciate it theoretically but to enter into it experientially without wineskins that have been forged, and with an inherent unity, that tend inexorably in that direction, how does one make Theosis anything more than a theory?

    • While I believe that God’s transforming work in us can be spurned by our own lack of a repentattive way of life and that a repentative way of life does involve the practice of certain habbits (discilines, we might say), I want to be careful and not make Spritual transformation – being remade into the image of God we were created in – to be something we acheive on our own initiative. It is God’s work in us. With that being said, I don’t believe this transformative work is dependent on what particular church group I identify myself with on a national census otherwise, the transformative work would then be contingent upon people (the church) and not God. I believe this transformative work finds it point of departure in baptism where we die to ourselves and our raised by God into Christ (Rom 6.3-4) and continues as we continue to allow ourselves to be “slaves of righteousness” (Rom 6.16-18).

      Grace and peace,

      Rex

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