Daily Archives: September 23, 2013

Crime and Punishment

The thoughts in this article are worth some consideration. I don’t present it as end all, but a platform for disussion.

pub theologian

We’ve been looking at atonement theories over the past few weeks: When Jesus Died – A Conversation on Atonement, Wonder-Working Pow’r, and A Soothing Aroma.

The big question is: how do we understand/interpret Jesus’ death? This might seem a merely academic debate that should stay behind church doors between some old, dusty theologians. But I’m interested in the issues because there are societal and cultural realities that are shaped and guided by certain theological views – and this impacts all of us, whether we are people of faith or not. Today we are drawing from two books that seek to show how certain atonement views have helped to shape the world we live in. First up, J. Denny Weaver’s The Nonviolent Atonement:

Atonement theology starts with violence, namely, the killing of Jesus. The commonplace assumption is that something good happened, namely, the salvation of sinners, when…

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Passions, What Do We Do with Them?

Just recently I was introduced to Dorotheos of Gaza by Professor Emeritus Roberta Bondi  from Chandler School of Theology. I find his words an additional treasure trove of desert wisdom that I will be blogging on from time to time. Irvin

In His loving-kindness God has given us purifying commandments so that, if we wish, we can by their observance be cleansed not only of sins but also of passions themselves. For passions are one thing and sins another. Passions are: anger, vanity, love of pleasures, hatred, evil lust and the like. Sins are the actual operations of passions, when a man puts them into practice, that is, performs with the body the actions to which his passions urge him. For it is possible to have passions and yet not to act from them.

Doretheos of Gaza

Doretheos of Gaza

——-Dorotheos of Gaza

At first glance Dorotheos seems to be implying that we can approach God with behavior modification. That is not the base point of the teaching. We can dig far deeper by gaining the insight of the undeniable relationship between passion and sin. If we can come to understand that God is seeking to guide us to recognize our passions without allowing them to control us like puppets on a string, we can arrive at a peace that is currently beyond our grasp. Passions and sins are not one in the same. Passions are the root of sin, but passions are not an excuse for sin. The father clearly points out that we can have passions without sin. There are two keys:  to observe the commands of God and avoid sin, and to understand that our passions drive us in the direction of sin. With that knowledge, it will be possible to have passions and not sin.

 Additionally, I believe that passions allow us to live our lives to the fullest. Our deepest passions are one way we were created in the “image and likeness” of God. We are to go to God and ask Him to gift us with deep passion to live, to love, and to serve. With these passions, we become great servants and productive people. The acknowledgement of evil passions as the root of sin is the beginning of the road to glorification.

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Filed under Desert Fathers, Dorotheos of Gaza, Missional Living, Monasticism, Passions, Sin