The long awaited more substantial blog post is here.

In the last two days I have been catching up on my study ( which seems to be the story of my life, as I have been rather busy and sick lately) the topic I have been studying is the ethics of Jesus, focusing on the beatitudes. This is a very substantial and weighty topic that included some really interesting readings by a Man called Stein who outlined the different theological standpoints that people have taken (and still take, often without thinking through why they believe it) about the Beatitudes and of course 2 readings by Marshall who has a way of making me choke on my cornflakes.

‘ They are so familiar that we have become deaf to the scandalous radicalism and costly challenge embedded in them …. No sooner is “ Blessed are the poor … intoned than eyes become glassy or moist, the heart is strangely warmed , and no one notices that Jesus the revolutionary is heaving a verbal grenade into our homiletic garden’

While this topic is too huge to share about in one blog post , as much as I want to just a few things I learnt :

*The beatitudes were meant for Christian Community (they were addressed to the disciples as a group not to one person)

*They describe the blessedness (happiness) of those who have FULLY embraced the Kingdom of God (which is perhaps why people in the persecuted church are a heck of a lot more happy than we are)

*The Sermon was public, political and social – so should our actions be. Noticeably Jesus calls for action not nice thoughts.

*The one where it says ‘Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God’ can be translated to mean ‘ Happy are the utterly sincere’ because these people are not trying to hide anything or to appear as anything other than they are – when I first started going to Lower Hutt Baptist we had a Youth Pastor who called this taking off the mask.

*This one is from Chris Marshall and if you let it soak in is incredibly powerful ‘

The primary way the poor and oppressed will find the blessedness of participation in God’s kingdom is in and through the community of God’s kingdom, amongst other recipients of Gods saving grace who are committed to embodying the values of the beatitudes in their COMMON life and working for the agenda of the kingdom.’

So my challenge is this, read the beatitudes and let them be a grenade in your life – in the words of Marshall again – Jesus was a radical , most of us are moderates

As needful (?!) as conversations on the state of the church are or whether we should let women speak, or whether we should have Gay Ministers , or whether the worship music is too loud, too fast or too slow The beatitudes are not an optional extra that we can get around too once we finish all these other conversations and our church activities. They are the essence of being a Christ follower.

As I am still learning about this topic and will continue to all my life has anyone got anything else to add? I am soaking up like a sponge ……..

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