Tag: Islam

Cultural Insight 6: Church

The Gospel message is the same in every epoch and in every culture. Our Christian experience flows from the Gospel but when our culture is added to the mix the two coalesce into a unique experience that we call church. Although our theological understanding of Church remains constant across borders our experience changes drastically. In today’s Cultural Insight we explore some of the differences between the North American church and the church in Ecuador from our perspective.

With much love,ff7ede2e-fa12-4cbb-9c20-5456d1070373 The Downings

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Fodder For Thought

With sadness we have been reading the headlines coming out of France and the rest of Europe this week.  As we gather around the Thanksgiving table this year we expect that at least a portion of the discussion will include words and issues never heard around our dinner table.  Words like Isis, Isial, the Levant, and Daesh and issues like Syrian migration, the Caliphate and the proper response to “radical” Islam. The issues are huge and they can be spoken about in many different ways.  We can speak in political, societal, cultural, personal, charitable, military, and religious terms.

Just for a moment we ask you to use your religious lenses to look at the response you hold in your heart toward the Isis terrorists.  Religiously what do you think about terrorism?  What do you think about those who perpetrate such violence in the name of their god?

We are Christians (followers of the way of Jesus) so our family often finds ourselves asking what the Christian response should be when confronted by the day’s news.  It is difficult  because the love of Christ compels us to look upon our enemy differently than what comes naturally to the human heart.  Jesus calls us to love and pray for our enemies.  He calls us to be radically different in our approach and reactions than our enemies take.

Ideals embodied in words tend to inform our minds but ideals embodied in art tend to exact a more visceral response.  We invite you to consider to following works of art (we found these on the internet a long time ago but we can’t determine who to attribute them to).

If you are a Christian, like us, you hold the ideal of love and forgiveness in high regard in your heart but what is your reaction to this:

    

And this:

Are these artistic expressions fair?  Does the philosophical and theological Ideal of love take on a deeper meaning when juxtaposed with real enemies?

What about this artistic expression?:

Another form of artistic expression places these words in our hearts:

Jesus sought me when a stranger,
wandering from the fold of God;
he, to rescue me from danger,
interposed his precious blood.

-Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing

We are glad that when we were still enemies of God He wrapped Himself in flesh, dwelt among us, then bled and died for us.  We are eternally grateful that He loved His enemies.

Just a little fodder for thought.

In His Grip,

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The Downings

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