The following conversation took place while G was super-bored at work. He decides to email the Reverend, seeking life’s answers.
G: Is it true that in today context, we really need to be reminded that God is still a judge? Much more than He is a Gracious God? (according to wolfgang’s words). We may not have the black death… but life is still tough.
Sivin: I think wolfgang has a point … but we will need to unpack what “judge” means more biblically than stereotype-ly.
G: As in a God who judges in a way that He is utterly concerned about how we will turn out in the end? Some Christian still like to mention that God intends to “make sure we don’t get away scot-free with what we’ve done”. Somehow no one has the adequate language to describe and convince me of the existence of a just and merciful God.
Sivin: discipline … formation … molding … potter and clay stuff …
he wants responsible kids … not spoilt brats .. thus consequences … consequences …
costly grace man!
G: Yes, that’s what I envisioned it to be. I’m just not comfortable when some people do it in a way to scare us and bring condemnation. I guess being a father kinda gives you a glimpse of it?
Sivin: same here .. the scare tactic i think reflects our own cultural bias and maybe dysfunctional family systems, and then superimposed on theological understandings.
I think there is a better way …
and then words like judge, discipline, even punishment is seen in the light of one’s relations with God, ourselves, our world and our time here on earth.
if it’s mere accounting or legalism then I think we have missed the point.
A buddy doormat Jesus isn’t too comforting either as we see so much nonsense in the world. Let’s face it we want bad and evil people to be judged for their atrocities but ultimately by him and not us.
G: Man… this sounds like “A New Kind of Christian” type conversation…!
Sivin: indeed … one day when the time is right, we should co write a book for the benefit of those who are losing themselves …. 🙂
too often we fall in love with our “concepts” of God (whether hellfire psycho angry God, or buddy softy Jesus) that we miss loving the real person … it’s a bit like our constructed pictures of the people we relate to and miss out the person before our eyes.
Bonhoeffer give us this insight in relating to the “ideal” Christian community we want with the “real” community we live with!