Thoughts for the week

Baptism and Mortgages

A couple of thoughts. Thoughts for the week / day? Maybe I could be on to something here with a whole new way of communicating that means everyone logs on and I become famous… Now there’s a thought.

I was in communication with someone this week and as I was praying for them I saw a strange image. Strange in that taken literally I would find what I saw somewhat hard to defend biblically.

We are all aware of the teaching on baptism, and how it acts as a door closing on what had gone before. Believers baptism (my roots) and I also see it for children of believers acting as a door closing to exiting – in other words they are ‘in’ unless they count themselves out – I do think I have some Pauline authority on that one with 1 Cor. 7. Now to what I saw.

I saw this person who I believe has a calling to develop ‘schools of wisdom’ (a play on ‘schools of the prophets’) where those that are developed can both initiate business models and consult into the business realm… and I saw the process beginning by baptising the people being trained, baptising them out of the church! Hold it… don’t throw stones at me yet… for I am not defending it literally. But once we are ‘in’ church it can be really soon that we learn a new language, embrace a new culture, to such an extent that we no longer are able to communicate. Our gospel is incarnational – and not simply ‘fleshed out’ but fleshed in a way that ‘I hear you speak my language’.

So no new doctrinal perspective on baptism coming forth… but a very big invite is being given in this season to have unhelpful packaging that has been placed on (incarcerated) the gospel washed away. This process is under way and involves having our eyes open to see people (I read today someone write that we need to ‘see the human in people…’ must have been reading my book for where else could they have gained that understanding… and then the person went on to say ‘and even the divine in them’… how come I had not written that I ask); eyes to see people and to relate without a judgemental framework, not even a right / wrong framework but a life-defining framework.

A while back I was asked if I was having ‘a Peter conversion experience’. [Plug: read Humanising the Divine, and all will be revealed.] A scenario where ‘do not call unclean…’ what you formerly considered was unclean. Such a conversion has implications. In this process I have been doing some Bible reading, kind of digging into how our hermeneutic has to inform us, but inform us the other side of hearing the stories of where God is at work.

So a little insight in to where I am headed. The Bible pretty much condemns money lending with interest (in history this was a bad sin, the sin of ‘usury’). Those clever people, the Jews, actually profited from this by realising that there did not seem to be a ban on lending with interest to us Gentiles (I even remember ‘The Merchant of Venice’ by Shakespeare and Shylock the money lender from my school days), so they found a nice niche business area before all of the Gentiles got freed up to discover this was the way to ‘earn’ money. Many Christians do not seem to have an issue with taking out a loan, or a mortgage… The hermeneutic applied?

A. Money lending with interest is condemned in the Bible and therefore wrong.
B. Mortgage is a loan with interest.
C. Mortgages are evil.

No that is not the hermeneutic applied.

A. Money lending with interest is condemned in the Bible.
B. Mortgages are not in the same category as what the Bible condemns.
C. Therefore we cannot directly use A as a critique of B.

A might inform B but does not condemn all believers with mortgages to burn forever (and of course we would need to work hard on that to turn Jesus’ words about AD70 and the localised situation of Jerusalem under siege, and the historic context of ‘wars and rumours of wars’ to be referring to something beyond that… but another post another day for that, after all my new famous-making ‘thought for the week’ column will need regular content.)