Danny Silk: Insist on having two powerful people in every conversation

From Keep Your Love On (Danny Silk):

Assertive communicators are unafraid of being powerful and letting other people be powerful within a relationship or a conversation. In fact, they insist on having two powerful people in every conversation. They refuse to give in to the temptation to turn into a T-Rex, a chocolate-covered dragon, or a goat, [he defines these roles in the book] and they confront the other person if they see them slipping into those roles.

A powerful assertive communicator responds to a powerless person with, “What are you going to do about it?”

They respond to an aggressive person with, “I can only talk with you when you decide to be respectful.”

And they respond to a passive-aggressive person with, “We can talk later when you choose to be responsible and tell me what is really going on.”

In other words, they are able to set consistent boundaries around a conversation so that it stays respectful, and they require both participants to equally participate in pursuing the goal of the conversation.

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Austin Fischer: The Cross

Church leader Austin Fischer writes:

Do you see God precisely in the crucified Jesus, in the God-man nailed to the cross? While it is certainly correct to see God punishing sin as Jesus is being crucified (see Isaiah 3:10), the Gospels are relentless in their emphasis that we are to see God first and foremost in the Jesus who hangs on the cross. As Moltmann says, “When the crucified Jesus is called the ‘image of the invisible God,’ the meaning is that this is God, and God is like this… The nucleus of everything that Christian theology says about ‘God’ is to be found in this Christ event.”

That bears saving again—the nucleus of everything that Christian theology says about God is to be found in the crucified Jesus. And in the crucified Jesus, we learn that the God who pours out wrath is the God whose hands are nailed to the cross. God who punishes sin is the God who takes the punishment. The God who judges is the God who looks upon those crucifying him and says, “Forgive them.” I found the crucified God very difficult to square with the God of Calvinism.

Just chew on it a bit. God could have dealt with sin in any way he pleased. God could have done whatever he wanted with us. God could have annihilated us or thrown us into the eternal trash heap. But God chose the cross. Creator dies at the hands of his creation so it (we) doesn’t have to get what it deserves.

Young, Restless, No Longer Reformed, Austin Fischer

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The Cross was God’s idea: Is that true?

This is an amazing reflection on the cross from Wm. Paul Young:

Let us be unequivocally clear: there is nothing good about a cross. It was devised as a torture machine to implement the most profound humiliation and abuse.  Its purpose was solely to keep a human being alive as long as possible and in as much pain as possible until his very breath (spirit) was violently ripped from his body through excruciating suffocation. The point of eventually breaking the legs was to speed the process so that the executioners could go home to waiting meals and families.

Who originated the Cross?

If God did, then we worship a cosmic abuser, who in Divine Wisdom created a means to torture human beings in the most painful and abhorrent manner. Frankly, it is often this very cruel and monstrous god that the atheist refuses to acknowledge or grant credibility in any sense. And rightly so. Better no god at all, than this one.

The alternative is that the Cross originated with us human beings. This deviant device is the iconic manifestation Of our blind commitment to darkness. It is our ultimate desecration of the goodness and loving intent of God to create, an intent that is focused on the human creation. It is the ultimate fist raised against God.

And how did God respond to this profound brokenness?

God submitted to it. God climbed willingly onto our torture device and met us at the deepest and darkest place of our diabolical imprisonment to our own lies, and by submitting once and for all, God destroyed its power. Jesus is God’s best, given willingly and in opposition to our worst, the Cross.

When did God submit?  Not only in Jesus incarnate but before the creation of the world, according to Scriptures (Revelation 13:8). God knew going into the activity of creation what the cost would be. That God’s own children, this highest order of creation, would one day make the final attempt to kill Life.

This is Jesus. God submitting to our torture machine and transforming it into an icon and monument of grace, so precious to us that we wear it on our rings or around our necks. This torture device declares that there is nothing I can bring to the table that is so evil or broken that God won’t climb into it with me.  There is nothing so dead that God is incapable of growing in it something living. The Cross, once our greatest attempt at destroying Life, has become our most precious symbol of the God who is hope for us all.

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Easter Sunday services tomorrow

There will be Communion services at 7am and 10am, Ottery St Mary Parish Church.  A full list of services over the Easter period can be collected from the back of the Church building.  There will not be a separate 11.15am service, we’ll be joining in the Big Celebration at 10am.

Brad Jersak: ‘Stricken by God’

I love this for a Good Friday revelation.  Brad Jersak writes that for years, he thought Jesus was ‘stricken by God’.  But that very mistake was prophesied in Isaiah 53:4-5, when the prophet said:

Surely he took up our pain
    and bore our suffering,
yet we considered him punished by God,
    stricken by him, and afflicted.
But he was pierced for our transgressions,
    he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was on him,
    and by his wounds we are healed.

The punishment and affliction, the piercing and the crushing were not at the hands of the Father.  We did that – people, zealous religious people.

Bradley Jersak, A More Christlike God

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Krish Kandiah: The cross is bigger than you think

Author Dr Krish Kandiah explains how Jesus’ words from the cross reveal God’s hospitality towards us, in this article from Premier Christianity magazine.

It’s the strangest design for an intergalactic time travelling craft. Disguising the Tardis as a 1963 London Police telephone box may have been a great camouflage strategy for a tiny slither of time in British history, but its not so useful in 21st Century London, let alone Pompeii before Vesuvius erupts in AD 79 or the Dalek home world of Skaro in the year 3000. Nevertheless, due to a malfunction in its ‘chameleon circuitry’, the Doctor’s Tardis is stuck in the form of an antiquated oddity. Although for the many Dr Who fans around the world, we don’t even notice how strange it looks anymore.

Like the Tardis, the cross of Christ is both strange and normal. In every Western city the cross has become part of the architectural furniture.

Crosses adorn our ambulances, our buildings and even our bodies – on tattoos, fashion items and accessories. But when we stop to reflect, it is very odd that this most cruel of ancient Roman torture and execution methods has become the ubiquitous symbol of Christianity.

Continue reading “Krish Kandiah: The cross is bigger than you think”

Christ ’emptying himself’: a neglected doctrine

The Bible contains many different metaphors that explain what Jesus achieved on the cross. But in this Premier Christianity magazine article David Instone-Brewer says this doctrine is special and needs reclaiming.

If you want to bring a misty-eyed contemplative smile to a Christian from the Orthodox Church, mention the theology of kenosis – Christ “emptying” himself. The doctrine is found in Philippians 2:6-11 where Paul writes that Jesus “emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant” (ESV).

This is a source of wonder and worship to believers from this tradition because they regard it as not only the way of salvation but also a guide to the Christian life. It has become the centre and focus of their Christian faith, while the rest of us have more or less ignored it.

Continue reading “Christ ’emptying himself’: a neglected doctrine”