Thursday, November 20, 2008

A Conversation about Grace

I have been reading and researching the issue of grace lately. I am leading a community group that has been going through Brennan Manning's The Ragamuffin Gospel. In my personal time, I have been making my way through Cathleen Falsani's Sin Boldly: A Field Guide for Grace, and I just finished reading Patriotic Grace by Peggy Noonan. It was while researching the subject of grace that I ran across this video from sharedvoice.org, a common values organization centered around integrity, global community, energy, freedom, environment and opportunity. 

Because of the radical nature of this video and my conflicted feelings regarding it, I am neither endorsing nor bashing it. (In other words, save your freakin' emails.) I am merely throwing it out there to see what you think and to get some conversation going. Some of the points it makes need to be talked about. 

Check it out and let me know what you think. 
Does this video offend you?
Do you agree with the point it is making?
Does this really have to do with grace?

12 comments:

brittanycraft said...

I will say I was slightly offended by this video. It seems to be ignorantly made in my opinion. It seems more aimed at bashing our government than about grace itself. Don't get me wrong, do we as Christians fail to demonstrate grace, God has shown us, to others? I know I do. But, I think this video is taking a low blow to our government instead. Here is my short answer... :)

Adam said...

I would have to agree with brittanycraft that it seems more politically motivated more than actual reaching out to the hurting. I'm more offended that it uses the idea of Christian grace to promote the agenda. Do we need to help the poor, hurting, homeless, sick, diseased? Absolutely. But as I've said before, I don't believe it's the govt. job to provide that for the world. It is the duty of the Christian Church to demonstrate the grace and love of Christ by our works as well as our words.

The idea of grace as it stands in Christianity is that God gave us something of Huge Wealth (Salvation through Jesus Christ) that we did not deserve. The idea of grace in the video/song deals with giving others vital needs. That's not grace that is doing what is right, giving them what they deserve and need. Not sure it's the same idea as Biblical grace. It just uses the term way too loosely for me.

Brian said...

I was not offended at all. The song poses the question "What kind of amazing grace?" and the answer I saw in the video was "God's grace." As we were shown, the government is certainly not worthy of my ultimate allegiance, for that belongs to God, embodied Jesus the Christ.

Jesus proclaimed a kingdom not like an earthly kingdom, a kingdom of God which we pray will come to earth as it is in heaven. It is only through the grace of God that I'm able to call God abba and it is only God's grace that I'm able to beginning following God and humbly working to be faithful in God's call for my life and for God's world.

The world's promises--even seemingly good ones like democracy and America--pale in comparison to God's amazing grace.

Benjamin said...

If we truly without bias examine the life of Jesus, then we will come to understand that grace is more than salvation. In fact, He is grace embodied! And to live in a manner worthy of His grace/gift we ought to live as He did. This means that we claim Christ not only in word but also in deed(s). Throughout Scripture, "grace" is more than confessional language - it is manifesting the presence of that which we have received toward others.

The video presents facts and the artist does a great job contrasting crises with apathy and ignorance. True, government can not fix a damn thing. But, Christ-likeness can!!! Christians have been called to live in a manner worthy of the gospel with all of their lives (1 Cor. 10:31 & Col. 3:16-17). Christians are to be imitators of God (Eph. 5:1).

To do this effectively requires Christians to act according to the knowledge we have rather than making excuses. I think the artist raises a great challenge for us who have viewed his video. That is to live simple and make sure you are not contributing to global injustices by your behaviors and actions (actively and/or passively).

Live as Christ - manifest God's grace toward others!

Grace & Peace

Anonymous said...

frankly, i'm just glad we're talking about these things instead of continuing to turn our heads in the other direction. whether or not we align ourselves with one political party or another, we cannot ignore the simple fact that we consume, waste and live frivolously [as americans and as followers of christ] yet there is grave disproportionate need and poverty right under our noses.

there is no excuse. we can't be offended by these challenges, as christians. we need to let these statements prompt us to seek the truth and search for the ways in which we may be good stewards and live responsibly with our blessings and resources [as a wealthy country and as individuals].

Brian said...

Benjamin & Anonymous, that's what I took away from this. Thanks for elaborating!

Albert G said...

Wow. I will say that I had my preconceived ideas and thoughts going into this. It really did make me think about some stuff. Pretty challenging to my own life.

Honestly I think believers ( myself included ) have really given this thing called Christianity a bad rap. I mean we talk a good game but when it comes time how do we react? How much grace are we willing to extend? Sure we live in our cush homes and drive our nice vehicles but when it comes time... we find it so easy to just write a check and be done with it.

Granted watching this video I do get a slight cringe in my stomach possibly because of some possible political bias. It seems to be the popular thing to do now. Criticize when you don't really have anything constructive to say or fill in place of.

Anyhow, Christians have been given so much grace in our own lives. Shouldn't Christians give just as much or even more to others that are suffering?



Jonathan,

^!&#*$ ^@%$&#*# *@()#&* $)#*$# &(&#$& !!!

That was for kicks...



- Albert

Iam4Jesus said...

I think most of us are in agreement....the problem that I see, and I have commented as such on previous posts here as well in some of my own commentary, is that it is not, should not ever been the government of any nation's responsibility or authority to address issues such as this.

IT IS the Church's. I do not want the government doing these things. I will not support or applaud a government that does. I know - the church has failed in this position, which is why the government feels they need to step up to the plate.

There are so many arguments "how could the church address such a gravely immense problem?" "The church doesn't have the resources"...etc etc. These are reasonable arguments - but they are not from the Lord.

As the government takes over the Church's role - the church's influence in the world will diminish and people will turn to the government of man rather than to the Lord (whom they are supposed to be able to find through the Church)....dependence on governments will supersede dependence on the Lord.

There is no shortage of supply in the church...All the money in the world belongs to God, it's our job to find out whose pocket it's in....

Grace: now, that's an interesting idea isn't it. When is it that God said by His Grace you will have food, clothing, shelter? Let me just suggest, He never said that...it is only by His Grace that we are saved. Yes, God does promise that He will provide all that we need - but that is out of Love and Compassion. It's not through Grace. His Grace is sufficient to Save...His Love and Compassion is sufficient to supply.

We, The Church, can not offer Grace (the redemption of sin and salvation from death) - but we are required (not suggested) to move in Compassion toward Love.

Just my 2 cents...(anyone one to give me a penny for my thoughts?)

tmamone said...

I liked the video, personally. While it did go into the political realm a few times, it does bring up some important issues that very few Christians are willing to talk about.

We can all point fingers at the government, and while it's true that our government is messed up, ultimately we are all to blame. I firmly believe that change begins with us, the laypeople.

Katie Corbett said...

I did not find this video offensive. I actually think it attempts to make a really great point about what grace is. I think too often we forget that Titus 2:11-12 actually tells us that grace is a gift to all men and that it influences us to live godly lives, to say no to wordly desires and live a self-controlled life. I think this video was starting to touch on that, but maybe went about it in the wrong way. The statistics were alarming and unsettling. The number of people who are hungry or homeless should shake us to our core, but I am not sure highlighting the war was the best way to do it. I would have appreciated it better seeing stats our on consumerism and our over indulgent lifestyles, because some would still argue that the war was started for our protection. Regardless, the video made me reexamine my definition of grace and the role it plays in my life, so it was worth watching.

Iam4Jesus said...

Katie:

You are correct - self-indulgence in a major problem in all the world. Whether it is indulging one's self for the sake of self - or indulging one's self in spite of...it's a problem (in and out of the Church).

Good point - the video should have placed more instance on that rather than the implications of war. (I personally think using that is a sad argument). Buying a car and putting ethanol made from corn is equally as alarming...the amount of money we blow on corn produced fuel and energy is staggering...how many people could be fed with the corn we burn in our fuel tanks (oh...but it's better for the economy or the environment right?)

I posted this little thought on my site a little while ago...be interested to hear what y'all might think.

While we're worried about stuff like the world's economy, our retirement savings, and which car will run the cleanest - time and money are wasted. Really - none of that other stuff matters one bit....not even to the Lord.

We are to care for those in need - and forget about ourselves. We have been given grace...and out of that we are to move in compassion and love.

Stephen said...

I know I'm a bit late to this conversation, but I feel compelled to share.

I can see how some may be uncomfortable with this video, I myself love it.

Big questions such as this draw me to God sometimes because it doesn't take long to realize how utterly incapable we are of answering this question to it's full extent. Questions like this beg for God's presence to reveal even a part of the answer and guiding my life to living more Christlike.

I think Mark Driskoll(don't hold me to that)said once that suffering injustice for the sake of Christ is one of the biggest things we can do for issues of justice, it allows the message of Christ to come alive for all involved.

Christ suffered the most brutal, unjust death that I could ever imagine, yet He did so by keeping His return to the Father's side the focal point of the whole ordeal.

I get bent out of shape too often when I'm done wrong, and videos like this one and the thoughts that follow bring me to the foot of the Cross to witness the greatest faith the world has ever seen and how it flipped our worldly power structure on it's head and offers us a glimpse into the power given to the "least of these".

Manning is one of my favorite authors. I have a few issues with some of his takes on Grace, but the beauty in which he describes it let's me know that the Grace Manning knew took turn-offs into the "deeply personal".

I get the feeling sometimes when reading Manning, that he desired to describe the indescribable.

Some things God delivers to us in a deeply personal encounter and these things are often hard to put into words. Grace may be one of those things that remains hidden from our understanding for reasons only He knows.

May that kind of Grace be with you!