Misunderstanding Sin

sHe is IMPORTANT in the church. When a friend shared with me some horrible sin of a person in the church, I said, “For his sake and for the sake of the church, report him to the police.” My friend responded, “But he is an “important” older person in the church.” I am not blaming my friend, who is a genuine, sincere and passionate Christian. But I am addressing a horrible theology that implicitly says, suggests or implies that if someone is “important” (or older) in the church, then we let his sin slide. Really?? Furthermore, what does “importance” (or age) in the church have anything to do with what is right or wrong?

Why do such shocking things happen in the holy church of God? My contention is that our theology (Bible study) always informs our Christian life. As I am studying Romans slowly and deliberately, I am positing a grossly inadequate understanding of sin as to why sin continues to thrive even in the church and often dealt with rather poorly.

1, 3, 22 sermons. Several times over two decades in Chicago UBF, I studied Rom 1:18-3:20 in one sermon and/or Bible study. This year, I expanded it to three sermons at West Loop:  Gospel Suppression (1:18-2:5); Gospel Impartiality (2:6-29); Gospel Accusation (3:1-20). If you think this is a lot (by UBF standards), John Piper preached 20 sermons on these verses, and Martyn Lloyd-Jones preached 22 sermons on these 64 verses!

Unthankfulness. The point of the UBF message was that the root of sin is unthankfulness (Rom 1:21). Therefore, we should always be thankful (1 Th 5:18). Of course, this is true. I know, as we all do, that if we are not thankful for any reason, we immediately lose peace and joy in our hearts and souls.

Disgusting sinners. I also learned that in a world without God, sin simply escalates and causes people to go from bad to worse (Rom 1:18-32). Again, we all know that this is also true.

UBF’s emphasis is on Rom 1:18-32 which constituted the major bulk of the sermon, while Rom 2:1-3:20 was just touched on rather briefly with a significant portion regarded as supplemental study. It felt to me as though it was optional and therefore not that important. So I never studied Rom 2:1-3:20, since the UBF sermon and manuscript spent hardly any time or emphasis on it.

My wrong understanding is that these 64 verses were not all that important for two reasons. (1) It’s about sin and we can skim it quickly, so that we can talk more about Jesus. (2) We studied these 64 verses in one sermon and focused on unthankfulness based on the chosen key verse, Rom 1:21.

Missing Paul’s main point in the flow of his argument. What I realized when I studied these verses more extensively a few months ago was that I missed what Paul was really trying to say in these 64 verses. (It was not “don’t be unthankful!”) Yes, the sins of the Gentiles are horrible. They are irreligious and immoral, lawless and licentious, and often gross and grotesque. But Paul’s point is not how horrible Gentile sinners are, but that the Jews–who were religious, moral and law abiding–were just as bad, if not worse! If we are to do justice with Rom 1:18-3:20, a key verse that better reflects these 64 verses is Rom 3:9, rather than Rom 1:21. “Jew and Gentile alike” (Rom 3:9) can be understood as “Christian and non-Christian,” or “religious and irreligious,” or “moral and immoral,” or “Bible believing and Bible ignorant” being equally under the power of sin. Doesn’t this explain why horrible sin happens in the church and then is covered up as though somehow Christians (or certain people) get some kind of special free pass?

What is Paul’s emphasis? Of the 64 verses, Paul spent 15 verses on Gentile sinners (Rom 1:18-32) and 49 verses (Rom 2:1-3:20) on Jewish sinners–more than three times the amount! Conversely, if I remember correctly, the UBF manuscript used up 4-5 pages on 15 verses (the sins of irreligious Gentiles) and just a page plus on 49 verses (the sins of religious “Bible believing” Jews).

This was how Paul preached and taught the Bible. When Paul taught about the sins of the Gentiles to a Jewish crowd, he noticed how the religious Jews were fully agreeing with him: “Yeah, Paul, go sock it to those disgusting immoral godless wicked Gentile sinners!” Thus, Paul switched gears from Rom 2:1-3:20 and socked it to the very decent, well-dressed, well behaved and religious Bible believing Jewish sinners for 49 verses!

Why am I belaboring this? As stated above, our Bible study of sin in these verses affects our understanding of sin and sinners. If we emphasize the sins of the Gentiles and inadvertently de-emphasize the sins of the Jews, this will be how it is in the church. We think, speak and act as though certain sins are worse (immorality, promiscuity, drunkenness), while other sins are not that bad (gossip, slander, politics, vanity, defensiveness, offensiveness). We blast the sins of the immoral, while we basically go easy on the “better behaved” sins of certain people in the church. Does this adequately explain my first paragraph above?

Have you studied about the sins of the religious in Rom 2:1-3:20? Should the sins of “certain important people” in the church be dealt with differently than others?

40 comments

  1. Very important thoughts, Ben!

    The epistle of James answers your last question very clearly: “My brothers and sisters, believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ must not show favoritism.”

  2. Yes this is an excellent article on a important topic. How we understand sin stems from how we understand the gospel and deeply affects how we view repentance. Too often (especially in the hamster wheel gospel) I hear how I should understand the gospel based on a certain understanding of sin, which then warps the meaning of repentance.

    I think it is highly beneficial and incredibly eye-opening to study Romans slowly and deliberately as you mention Ben. All I ever “learned” about Romans from the ubf methods of studying was “teach obedience” based on Romans 1:5 and “don’t be ashamed” based on Romans 1:16-17. Any serious bible teacher or pastor must know way more about Romans than those two verses.

    I like your point Ben about considering the weight or emphasis of Romans. Considering the number of verses spent on a topic isn’t the be-all-end-all of understanding Scripture, but it helps. For example, the OT books heavily emphasis atonement. But the NT books barely mention atonement at all. That doesn’t mean atonement is not important, but it does mean we should be seeing the obvious point that Jesus is our atonement and that the NT speaks more about what to do in light of the atonement. If our preaching is hung up on proving or disproving various atonement theories, we probably are off track.

    I think we need to continue to point out these flaws in our understanding, and the effect the flaws have had on us and those around us. I too fell into the trap of thinking that “younger brother” sins were worse than “older brother” sins. And yet it is nearly always the “older brother” type sins that really get God angry.

    For example, Sodom and Gomorra were destroyed because of their older brother sin of mistreating the poor and needy. Ezekiel 16:48-50 would be a very good study to supplement Romans.

  3. “We blast the sins of the immoral, while we basically go easy on the “better behaved” sins of certain people in the church. Does this adequately explain my first paragraph above?”

    Yes, this is a great summary of one major flaw in ubf theology (not exactly sure if it explains what you wanted to say in the first paragraph). Chris gave an excellent explanation of this flaw in a comment recently, and described what I call the “hamster wheel gospel” perfectly.

    “Have you studied about the sins of the religious in Rom 2:1-3:20?”

    Yes, but only briefly. Romans has been called a master symphony. My thoughts don’t do it justice. I felt overwhelmed by Romans. But then I learned that grace (charis) is mentioned more in Romans than any other book. So my personal study of the book of Romans was based on trying to understanding grace (charis). It is clear that Romans 3 is rooted in the Psalms. So I think understanding the Psalms may help. I have so much more to learn!

    “Should the sins of “certain important people” in the church be dealt with differently than others?”

    I agree with Chris’ point–there is no place for favoritism in a community. I would expand that an consider what 1 Timothy 5:17-20 says. I think we need a plurality of leaders and those leaders need to be accountable. They deserve both “double honor” and “public reproof”.

    • So should we treat sins of “certain important people” differently? I think so. Such important people deserve public treatment and very visible scrutiny, so all may see and take warning. This does not give us license to gossip about all the gory details, but it does mean we should discuss the sins of certain people publicly.

      For example, as you point out Ben, if a certain person breaks the law of the land, we have a duty to report that person. There is more than enough evidence to arrest and jail several ubf leaders because they know about certain abuses and have not obeyed the U.S. law of mandatory reporting. All states have such laws. Some have an odd exemption but nonetheless, ubf leaders need to consider this:

      Illinois
      325 Ill. Comp. Stat. Ann. § 5/4
      Any member of the clergy having reasonable cause to believe that a child known to that member of the clergy in his or her professional capacity may be an abused child as defined by law shall immediately report or cause a report to be made to the Department of Children and Family Services.

      Whenever such person is required to report under this act in his or her capacity as a member of the clergy, he or she shall make a report immediately to the department in accordance with the provisions of this act and may also notify the person in charge of the church, synagogue, temple, mosque, or other religious institution, or his or her designated agent, that such a report has been made.

      Under no circumstances shall any person in charge of the church, synagogue, temple, mosque, or other religious institution, or his or her designated agent to whom such notification is made, exercise any control, restraint, modification, or other change in the report or the forwarding of such report to the department.

      The privileged quality of communication between any professional person required to report and his or her patient or client shall not apply to situations involving abused or neglected children and shall not constitute grounds for failure to report.

      A member of the clergy may claim the privilege under § 8-803 of the Code of Civil Procedure.

      source

    • Here is the comment by Chris that explains the guilt-trip circle that most ubf people are caught in. In this theological understanding, sin then becomes “not being absolute”.

      But the bible has a very different expression of sin. Here are some Scripture verse that stand out to me:

      1. Sin is lawlessness (1 John 3:4)
      2. All wrongdoing is sin (1 John 5:17)
      3. There is sin that does not lead to death (1 John 5:17)
      4. All people have sinned (Romans 3:23)
      5. The end result (“wages”) of sin is death (Romans 6:23)
      6. No one is excused from the consequences of sin (Galatians 6:7-8)

      There are many more verses in Scripture to understand…

      I think if we want to understand sin from Scripture’s perspective, 1 John is most helpful.

  4. My apologies for taking over the comment thread on this one :)

    Ben, you asked “Why do such shocking things happen in the holy church of God?”

    My answer is that sin never goes away. It is impossible (based on what Scripture says) to eradicate sin completely this side of Heaven.

    Two things come to mind: prevention of sin and dealing with the consequences of sin. The hamster wheel gospel is highly inadequate in addressing either situation.

    When we are caught in a cycle of guilt trips and repentance means merely feeling sorry for our actions without facing the consequences, then we are trapped in a form of godliness that lacks power to restrain our indulgences, our desire for glory or our need to control.

    When we misunderstand the command “be perfect” and are attempting to build a sin-free/absolute faith society or community, then we are hamstrung when sin happens.

    So the major flaws in ubf theology combined with the contradictory methodologies yields no power to restrain sin and no maturity to deal with sin. There is only the covering up of sins (which goes against the biblical teaching of “covering over” sin) and the kicking out/shunning/shaming response when sin does happen.

    • Yeah, because of the lack or insufficiency of the wonderful grace of Jesus, sin is either overlooked (covered up) where it should be severely dealt with, or people are slammed and guilt-tripped for their sin, either real or perceived, often through all sorts of “cute” ad hominems. (Sorry for my odd use of the word “cute”!)

  5. So then ubf theology about sin is all about presentation. They often quote “present yourself to God as one approved”. They taught me to mainly care about my presentation, about my outward loyalty to the ubf cause and about the appearance of godliness. Conference after conference after conference was all about being on stage and acting the part. We all wore happy masks and rarely developed real friendships.

    Only after rejecting the ubf heritage slogans could my mind be free enough to begin grasping the amazing, all-surpassing, effervescent gospel of liberation, healing and joy that Jesus taught!

    The gospel of Jesus has immense power to restrain sin, if we would only surrender absolutely to the grace He offers. The gospel of Jesus has remarkable ability to react to and address sin in a healthy manner, if we would only give up our own glory.

    • Mark Mederich

      humanistic systems must needs involve glorifying one another within it (“Saul” the Pharisee was racking up credits for dragging off believers much like a war pilot painting record of kills on nose of plane)

      rather glory must go to God who alone can bear it (“Paul” the Missionary endured persecutions for doing right like those who stand in the gap to help the abused)

    • Mark Mederich

      the day is coming when powerful abusers in government, religion, education, anywhere will be exposed & shamefully reprimanded..they will make amends/pay restitution, or incur due penalty from God (hallelujah!)

      those who stand for right suffer loss but shall recover & redeem blessings

  6. I’d love to hear fromMJ or others here with seminary training on a comprehensive theology:

    What is Scripture? bibliology

    Who is God? theology

    Who is Jesus? What will happen when Jesus returns? Christology and eschatology

    Who is the Holy Spirit? pneumatology

    How do we connect with the seen and unseen universe? cosmology, angelology and anthropology

    What is the church? ecclesiology

    What is sin? hamartiology

    What is salvation? soteriology

  7. Ben, I enjoyed your analysis of chapters two and three of Romans. When studying the parable of the prodigal son with an older leader, they remarked that the older son wasn’t so bad, that he just needed to loosen up and a bit and maybe join the party. This would have been hilarious if in fact such attitudes didn’t lead to destructive patterns within the church.

    I have slightly different take on the problem, if you’ll humor me for a bit. Your first point is,

    He is IMPORTANT in the church

    Such a statement indicates that there is a perceived power differential between this older leader and the younger member. A power differential is defined as such:

    In most conflict situations, one party has more power than another. When the power differential is substantial, this usually has a significant effect on both the substance and process of the dispute. Generally, it is believed that the power of the parties must be relatively even if a negotiation or mediation process is to be fair. If one side is far more powerful than another, they are likely to simply impose their solution on the other side, who will be forced to accept it, because they have no other choice.source

    Clearly, within the organization, the perception is that the older leader is more important, in terms of sustaining and furthering the organization, than the younger member. This kind of power differential could occur because of 1) the way that the ministry is structured or 2) the worldviews of both the older and younger member (e.g. any type of older person is automatically an authority figure because of his or her age) or 3) a combination of 1 and 2.

    The older leader needn’t be a legalistic type of sinner to hold sway over the younger member; situations exist in which leaders with licentious proclivities are still upheld and respected as legitimate authority figures within a given organization. In fact, if the leader is influential or charismatic enough, often his or her sin will be justified, rationalized or spiritualized by those within their organization. This is a fourth reason as to why power differentials occur.

    One obvious issue with UBF is that the ministry, for a very long time, was essentially a cult of personality which was (and in some ways still is) led by someone who possessed charismatic authority which is defined as:

    [authority] resting on devotion to the exceptional sanctity, heroism or exemplary character of an individual person, and of the normative patterns or order revealed or ordained by him. source

    For good or bad (perhaps a combination of both) purposes, only God knows, as a charismatic leader, Samuel Lee cast a very inspiring vision; the prospect of conquering one’s fears/shortcomings and changing the world is a significant meta-narrative theme that resonates deeply with almost anyone. It struck a chord to the degree that people were willing to overlook his shortcomings, which were not relegated to older brother sins only. He also committed mischievous younger brother sins, such as doctoring conference photos. People were willing to overlook these things because if he fell then subsequently the self-actualizing/life-giving vision would come under considerable scrutiny as well.

    UBF is taking a good first step in helping the ministry to become healthier in that they are looking at books like Galatians. This is from the 2014 staff conference report:

    The theme of the conference was: Christ has set us free. Through Galatians study, the staff prayed to mature as Christians, build a healthy Christian community, and be free in Christ without becoming legalistic or compromising with licentiousness. In preparation, staff members answered the questions to 6 lessons, prepared a factual study of Galatians, and wrote a book summary on College Ministry in a Post-Christian Culture by Stephen Lutz.source

    This may be the start of UBF learning to recognize and distinguish between older brother and younger brother sins. But much more is needed than studying the bible or theology. UBF has to look at its past, meaning that a candid assessment has to be done of the founder’s strengths and pathologies; it has to start with him because the ministry is almost a direct extension or manifestation of who he is. It would help a great deal if UBF looked to the fields of psychology and sociology in order to understand how the ministry was shaped by this person and why. They also need these tools in order to discern future would-be leaders who have similar pathological issues.

    And for anyone who’s wondering, I’m not bashing UBF or its founder. I’m thankful for the loving relationships that I’ve built and all of the help that I’ve received in various ways. I’m simply trying to address the obvious so that the community can move forward as a healthy, honest, and Christ-centered enterprise. Furthermore, the situation of being strongly or unduly influenced by a charismatic leader is not unique to UBF. In fact this situation abounds in both the secular and religious realms of society. So quit being so defensive.

  8. “When studying the parable of the prodigal son with an older leader, they remarked that the older son wasn’t so bad, that he just needed to loosen up and a bit and maybe join the party.” – See more at: http://www.ubfriends.org/2014/11/23/misunderstanding-sin/#comment-15921

    Such an understanding of the older brother will continue to lead to sin in the church being either entirely unaddressed, or regarded as not as bad as sin in the world.

    My subjective sense and my opinion is that some longstanding members of ubf are no longer able to really repent based on listening to ubf messages, since ubf seems to deal primarily with sin “out there” rather than sin “in our very midst.”

    As a result some of them basically come across like the older brother: angry, seething, heavy, burdensome, defensive, offensive and particularly resentful of the blessings and happiness of “disgusting” younger brothers who they rather see severely punished, rather than welcomed back without punitive retribution. They want to see others punished according to their sins, but have little idea how they themselves should be equally punished.

  9. Great thoughts David! This discussion is helping me sift through the first chapter in my 4th book.

    Quote from first draft of my new book:

    “Some claim that by affirming and welcoming LGBTQA people into the church with open arms, we will usher in a slippery slope of moral degradation, falling into a “younger brother” wild-living mentality. My claim is that when the church embraces our fellow LGBTQA human beings like the father embraces his younger son in Jesus’ parable, the church will not degrade morally, but instead will see the severe wrongness of dismissing older brother sins more clearly.”

    The Lambhearted Lion: Why Christianity Needs Gay People

    • This would be not just with LGBTQA people, but with anyone that an older brother sinner might find offensive, such as ubfriends! :-)

    • Thanks, Brian. You know, I think that one of the major issues that hinders the church from accepting LGBTQA people has to do with biblical inerrancy. It’s another slippery slope argument. The logic goes that since the bible unequivocally states that sexual attraction and monogamous unions should be heterosexual in nature, if one is not upholding said clear teaching then they are denying the truth of the bible. You deny the truth of the bible, you have rejected God and are on the road to perdition. This stance really doesn’t sit well with me. It’s too rigid and lacks a clear pathway through which one can truly seek to understand the other party; it’s reactionary, sectarian and fear-based.

      Some would argue (as I currently do) from a biological point of view that sexual attraction and relationships should be heterosexual. But would I go so far as to exclude LGBTQA persons from participating in and even holding official positions within the church? While I wouldn’t want to exclude them, I question how I would help them to grow as whole persons (and they may very well be able to help me to grow in holistic fashion as well). And that raises the question, what does wholeness look like for LGBTQA persons as well as younger and older brother sinner types?

    • Yes indeed, Ben, my thoughts exactly. My point is that if the church could/would/should love and welcome LGBTQA people, they could love and welcome anyone.

      David, speaking of bible inerrancy, I delve into a similar topic in my book. The thought is that an affirming/celebratory stance toward certain people will require rejecting biblical truth. I claim the opposite:

      “Some claim that embracing our fellow LGBTQA human beings means rendering God’s word ineffective and will usher in the collapse of the church. Well, the opposite has happened already. By alienating the LGBTQA community, the church has seen its own collapse in epic proportions. My claim is that when the church affirms, welcomes and celebrates the LGBTQA community, the church will not collapse and be less effective but will be rebuilt, in a new and remarkably more effective way.”

    • Brian, my vision is a whole lot smaller than yours: If/when UBF welcomes the UBFriends community, “the church will not collapse and be less effective but will be rebuilt, in a new and remarkably more effective way.”

    • I long to see such a thing at ubf too Ben!

      My contention is that we don’t need to get all kinds of things figured out first. We just need to 1) understand the gospel a little more deeply and 2) welcome those different from us regularly.

      The father in the prodigal son parable did not try to understand all the details about his son, he just embraced him.

  10. Joe Schafer

    Overlooking the sins and abuses of church leaders seems to be endemic in Korean Protestant churches.

    “Korea Protestantism has taught that pastors are the servant of the Lord, and the only one who can judge the pastors is the Lord.”

    http://www.worldtribune.com/2014/11/20/blessed-meek-documentary-slams-korean-megachurch-pastors/

    • Indeed. I’ve mentioned this before but it bears repeating. A Korean man read my blog and contacted me. He never heard of ubf, but has experienced Korean churches in Korea and in America. He told me that my experiences I blogged about described his experiences almost exactly.

      Korean churches grew exponentially for a period of time. But they are turning out to be like the rocky soil and are seeing rapid declines. There are more and more articles about the growth and decline of the Korean churches.

      If the shaming/authority culture of such groups are not challenged, the risk of events like the Oikos University shooting increase greatly.

      The only reason ubf has not gone the way of extremely dangerous groups is because of the ex-members who show them Christ-like love and keep them in check. If ubfriends (or something similar) goes away, ubf risks going off the rails.

    • I wonder if that documentary is more about the influence of churches which espouse the prosperity gospel in SK, rather than say Presbyterian or Lutheran churches. Because of the ubiquity and visibility of megachurches in SK, the largest being David Yonggi Cho’s church (which adheres to the prosperity gospel) perhaps the predominant impression that people have of Protestantism is associated with said churches. If this is the case, then no wonder why protestant pastors are viewed the same politicians. Also, the teaching of “do not touch the Lord’s anointed” is a very common stance held by many prosperity and even charismatic churches all over the world.

    • And if this is the case, then ironically America is to blame because we’ve transported the prosperity gospel to numerous places in the world, including SK.

    • Mark Mederich

      probably America is to blame, self-elevation always leads to perdition (THE UNTOUCHABLES!!! haha how silly man is to think great when get a little power or $ in church or state :)

      no one is great, nor do we need to be; we just need to be good & do well w/God’s help

    • Mark Mederich

      perhaps the greatness gospel-has done as much harm to church as the prosperity gospel; certainly lording over others the way gentiles do-has done as much harm to state as pernicious greed :(((

    • Certainly, Mark. More often than not, the greatness-gospel stems from a group’s cultural, national or denominational pride. There is absolutely no place for this kind of pride when disseminating or living out the gospel, yet every group is guilty of this at one point or another. I think that the teachings of Ephesians 2 and 3 have largely gone over the church’s head even to this day.

  11. Joe Schafer

    Interesting observation.

    I don’t think the problem of un-accountable leaders in Korean churches is limited to those who preach a prosperity gospel. But I do think it is prevalent in nondenominational/independent churches that sprang up through the entrepreneurship of individual leaders, such as Yonggi Cho. Or Samuel Lee. Without the ecclesial structure of the Roman Catholic church, or a well established Protestant denomination, to watch over them and impose discipline, they have been free to do whatever they want. One of the defining moments of UBF happened when they “went rogue” and left the auspices of the Presbyterian church, allowing SL to do whatever his wished, with no more accountability.

    • +1. It’s interesting that “they went rogue with no accountability,” but nobody else better ever dare try that in ubf, or else…..

    • Yes, the Mars Hill incident shed light on the issue of nondenominational church governance. That is most likely the issue at hand. Though I’m not terribly interested, I wonder how Korea UBF is viewed by the majority on the peninsula.

    • Without looking it up, my thought is that since UBF became “big” and has “sent out 1,500 missionaries to 80 countries,” it might be “accepted” by the Protestant church at large in Korea.

    • Charles Wilson
      Charles Wilson

      but nobody else better ever dare try that in ubf, or else….. – See more at: http://www.ubfriends.org/2014/11/23/misunderstanding-sin/#comment-15971
      Ben, surprisingly, I’ve heard the suggestion to “go rogue” many times. It was suggested to me to go rogue and show that my way was better, and then I could come back and people might listen to me. I’ve also heard this in regards to you and Joe. So many are simply unwilling to be held accountable and such suggestions lead to bitterness, fighting and division. I’ve seen several “move out” and make their own chapters, in part, for similar reasons.

    • Going rogue is the ubf way. It was suggested to me in Detroit repeatedly to just do my own thing an forget about Toledo or any other issues. Not surprisingly, dividing is the way of life for Korean churches, from what I’ve read.

      They would rather split like “Barnabas and Paul” than deal with issues. Ironically, Barnabas and Paul got back together. But the expectation from the ubf echelon is that you never see each other again unless you submit to the ubf authority and concede glory to the ubf heritage.

  12. This is related to Mark’s point above about the “greatness gospel”:

    Genesis 11 describes the judgment upon the imperial project of Babel. As Miroslav Volf notes, “Imperial architects seek to unify by suppressing differences that do not fit into a single grand scheme; they strive to make their own name great by erasing the names of simple people and small nations” (226). The resulting judgement is one of scattering what should not be forcefully unified. Babel reminds us that God is not a God who obscures diversity. Acts 2, on the other hand, describes God’s blessing on the early church at Pentecost. Rather than God channeling the gospel through one voice only, the anointing of the Spirit comes so that each may be understood in his or her own language. Again, Volf:

    Whereas the tower seeks to make people “not see” and “not speak” and sucks the energies out of the margins in order to stabilize and aggrandize the center, the Spirit pours energies into the margins, opens the eyes of small people to see what no one has seen before, puts the creative words of prophecy into their mouths, and empowers them to be creative agents of God’s reign. (228).source

  13. Mark Mederich

    Brian, I like that image: an electro hamster wheel lighten up in colors/shooten out sparks the faster it goes)

    we’re missen Blues Bros dancen in the aisles/flippen in the air!

    who said the Lord can’t put on the Greatest Show on Earth? <:)