Thursday, August 21, 2008

Archaeological Affirmations

Since turnabout is fair play, here's an interesting archaeological tidbit.

It seems the seal of one of the enemies of Jeremiah has been unearthed. The Paleo-Hebrew script reads Gedalyahu ben Pashur, who served as minister to King Zedekiah (597-586 BC).

Gedaliah (as we know him in the English transliteration) petitioned King Zedekiah to shut Jeremiah up. They won their case and threw the prophet into a cistern.

What's the takeaway?

1) Just because you occupy a place of influence with people who have power does not mean you are with people who have authority. Zedekiah and his advisors had all kinds of power...but because they refused to listen to the one man who had God's authority to speak, we hold them in no esteem. Indeed, we'd scarcely know or care about them except that they have a part to play in the life of the man who spoke with authority - the man who spoke God's words.

2) If you want to be part of a faith tradition that makes a real difference in the world, make sure your faith tradition has actually interacted with the world. All kinds of New Agers and non-realists in religion insist that faith is an entirely subjective experience. The only "objective" element is what happens when you act like a better person or some such.

Well, while I can't disagree that changing us changes the world, I would say that it's difficult to see the difference between that sort of religion and a philosophy of life.

There is a God...someone out there, who also chooses to make a dwelling place with humankind. If you know that you can't make it on your own, then you just might need something more than your own inner reserves. And if you're going to trust in that something, you'd better make sure that something can act.

Christianity affirms that God acts in history, pointing to the incarnation of Jesus Christ as proof that God does indeed choose to be with us and for us, rather than against us or apathetic towards us. And we have the Scriptures which detail how God has stepped into historical events and changed their course or guided the people.

If your faith can't make that claim and have it backed up by rational evidence, may I have the privilege of pointing you from the shifting sands of life to a faith built on bedrock? A faith that consists of loving relationship with the Rock himself?

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