March 8, 2015
John 2:13-22
1 Corinthians 1:18-25
Exodus 20:1-17
Psalm 19


Wiser than Wisdom, Stronger than Strength
Lent 3


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Dean Feldmeyer

As we know all too well from our news headlines, the world is a dangerous place -- and in situations of mortal threat, psychologists tell us that human instinct is to react in one of two main ways: fight or flight. Many of the responses one hears about how the West should react to the deteriorating situation in the region controlled by ISIS fall into one of those two categories -- either we ought to remain safe and not get involved (why should humanitarian workers be easy targets for kidnapping and execution?), or we should take up arms and join in a holy war against evil. But in the next installment of The Immediate Word, team member Dean Feldmeyer notes that Paul identifies another approach -- one that may seem utterly foolish by our normal ways of thinking, but which is “stronger than human strength.” And that, of course, is to “proclaim Christ crucified” -- even if it means placing ourselves in danger, as was the case in Nigeria last week for an American woman doing missionary work. Putting ourselves in a position that potentially could result in martyrdom seems completely irrational -- but as Dean points out, it is indicative of the type of full-on commitment to live out our faith that should be on the minds of those of us who practice a much safer, less threatening brand of religion. How committed are we to what we believe? And Dean asks us to consider if we truly grasp deep down in our souls what Paul is telling us... that God’s ways are wiser and stronger in the long run than what we usually realize. Here’s a preview:

 

Wiser than Wisdom, Stronger than Strength
by Dean Feldmeyer
1 Corinthians 1:18-25

What shall we do about ISIS?

It’s one thing to talk about loving your enemies and praying for those who persecute you when you’re doing it from the soft comfort of the family room sofa or the safe elevation of the pulpit. But what about when ISIS is murdering your father or your brother on a beach in some far-off corner of the world? And what about when they are kidnapping your family and secreting them away to some nightmarish fate for no other reason than that they are Christians? That’s what’s happening in the real world, far away from our couches and pulpits.

It was easy to be philosophical when they were murdering Muslims, but now they are killing Christians.

What shall we do about ISIS?

Shall we go quietly to the slaughter, victims with heads humbly bowed?

Shall we take up arms, forget about loving our enemies, and show them that we Christians can kill and maim other human beings just as ruthlessly and efficiently as they can? Maybe even more so?

Or does Paul, in his first letter to the Corinthians, offer another, third alternative?

What does it mean to proclaim Christ crucified to people who are intent on killing each other?



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Immediate Word Team
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George Reed


Mary Austin


Ronald H. Love


Dean Feldmeyer


Leah Lonsbury


Chris Keating