greg-boyd

The history of the church… is the history of an organization that has frequently forsaken the slow, discrete, nonviolent, sacrificial way of transforming the world for the immediate, obvious, practical, and less costly way of improving the world. It is a history of a people who too often identified the kingdom of God with a “Christian” version of the kingdom of the world.
—  Greg Boyd, The Myth of a Christian Nation
[Christian anarchy argues that] it’s not appropriate for Kingdom people to either support or revolt against governments. This gives them too much credit. Rather, following the example of Jesus, we should ignore them as much as possible, put up with them as much as we need to, and stay focused on living out the radical Kingdom. If we do this, then we, like Jesus, will find ourselves revolting against the government (and culture). We are, most fundamentally, called to be non-conformists. Our service to the world is the way our counter-cultural lives expose the invalidity of all forms of government by manifesting the reign of God.
—  Greg Boyd
The revolutions of the world have always been about one group trying to wrest power from another. The revolution Jesus launched, however, is far more radical, for it declares the quest for power over others to be as hopeless as it is sinful. Jesus’ Kingdom revolts against this sinful quest for power over others, choosing instead to exercise power under others.
—  Greg Boyd (The Myth of a Christian Religion)
We make a vow to submit our life to Christ but then spend 99 percent of our time excluding him from our awareness. We make him Lord over our life in theory, but we do not make him Lord over most of the moments that make up our life. For Jesus to be our Lord, he must be Lord over our actual life - the one we live moment-by-moment. The only relevant question is, Are we surrendering our life to Christ as Lord right now? Is this a moment in which we are aware of, and surrendered to, Christ’s Lordship? Is this a moment over which God reigns as King? Are we, in this moment, living within the Kingdom of God?
—  Greg Boyd,
Consider these questions: Did Jesus ever suggest by word of example that we should aspire to acquire, let alone take over, the power of Caesar? Did Jesus spend any time and energy trying to improve, let alone dominate, the reigning government of his day? Did he ever word to pass laws against the sinners he hunt out with and ministered to? Did he worry at all about ensuring that his rights and the religious rights of his followers were protected? Does any author in the New Testament remotely hint that engaging in this sort of activity has anything to do with the kingdom of God? The answer to all these questions is, of course, no.
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Greg Boyd - Myth of a Christian Nation

I’ve observed that we in the West—especially Christians—tend to attach great importance to what we believe. We treat beliefs almost as though they have magical power, as though merely believing something makes it so. For instance, many assume that believing Jesus is Lord of their life magically makes him Lord. This is undoubtedly why so many evangelical churches place so much significance on getting people to believe in Jesus and why so much is made of the moment sinners raise their hand or go to the altar to profess their faith in Jesus. This one-time event, it is often assumed, makes Jesus Lord of their life forever.

The truth is, merely believing Jesus is Lord no more makes him Lord of my life than believing Kim Jong-[un] is the leader of North Korea makes me his follower. For Kim Jong-un to be my leader, I would need to submit my life to him and become a citizen of North Korea. So too, for Jesus to be my Lord, I need to submit my life to him and become a citizen of his Kingdom.

Research shows that however emotional people may have been when they raised their hand or responded to the altar call, fewer than 4 percent reflected any change in their lives several years later.

I’m not trying to minimize the importance of beliefs. Obviously, it’s impossible to surrender to Jesus unless you first believe that he is Lord. Still, the belief is not itself the surrender. Embracing a belief is something you do in your mind. Actually surrendering your life is something you can only do with your will. And since the only life you have to surrender is the one you’re living at this present moment, the decision to surrender can only take place right now.

The important question, therefore, is not what you believe. The important question is what you decide to do, moment-by-moment, on the basis of what you believe

—  Greg Boyd, Present Perfect, pg 47-48

kokiri85  asked:

Are there any contemporary theologians you can recommend who aren't partisan? I'm feeling really frustrated with all the politics in my religion, even when I agree. It feels sometimes like Christianity is just a prop to support a political view, rather than a higher guiding principal in its own right.

Greg Boyd is my go-to in this regard. Try his Myth of a Christian Nation if you haven’t already. For other contemporary writers, maybe check out Brian Zahnd’s A Farewell to Mars or N.T. Wright’s Surprised by Hope. (I have not yet read the latter two, but they’re on my list.)

Of course, you’ll find it very easy to escape modern partisanship if you simply read non-modern authors. Justin Martyr, Irenaeus, Origen, John Chrysostom, Abelard, Aquinas, Thomas à Kempis, the Reformers, Kierkegaard, G.K. Chesterton, Bonhoeffer, C.S. Lewis — none of these guys (and it is a very partial list) fit into American politics of 2016 because they knew absolutely nothing of American politics of 2016.

Now, this is not to say their works have no political commentary or implications. But if and when it goes awry, the perspective time provides will make it easier for you to spot those errors. Lewis explained this dynamic perfectly (emphasis added):

Every age has its own outlook. It is specially good at seeing certain truths and specially liable to make certain mistakes. We all, therefore, need the books that will correct the characteristic mistakes of our own period. And that means the old books.

All contemporary writers share to some extent the contemporary outlook—even those, like myself, who seem most opposed to it. Nothing strikes me more when I read the controversies of past ages than the fact that both sides were usually assuming without question a good deal which we should now absolutely deny. They thought that they were as completely opposed as two sides could be, but in fact they were all the time secretly united—united with each other and against earlier and later ages—by a great mass of common assumptions. 

We may be sure that the characteristic blindness of the twentieth century—the blindness about which posterity will ask, “But how could they have thought that?“—lies where we have never suspected it, and concerns something about which there is untroubled agreement between Hitler and President Roosevelt or between Mr. H. G. Wells and Karl Barth. 

None of us can fully escape this blindness, but we shall certainly increase it, and weaken our guard against it, if we read only modern books. Where they are true they will give us truths which we half knew already. Where they are false they will aggravate the error with which we are already dangerously ill. The only palliative is to keep the clean sea breeze of the centuries blowing through our minds, and this can be done only by reading old books. 

Not, of course, that there is any magic about the past. People were no cleverer then than they are now; they made as many mistakes as we. But not the same mistakes. They will not flatter us in the errors we are already committing; and their own errors, being now open and palpable, will not endanger us. Two heads are better than one, not because either is infallible, but because they are unlikely to go wrong in the same direction. To be sure, the books of the future would be just as good a corrective as the books of the past, but unfortunately we cannot get at them.

I recommend the entire essay, found here.

As an added bonus, if you go for the really ancient stuff, you can often find free e-reader versions because the older English translations have come into the public domain.

Laws enforced by the sword control behavior but cannot change hearts, no matter how sharp the sword is. The redemption of the cross does what laws and bullets and bombs can never do - bring transformation of evildoers and enemies.
—  Greg Boyd, Myth of a Christian Nation
Greg Boyd has been associated with unorthodox views like antitrinitarianism, pacifism, rob bell, open theism, annihilationism…he’s far from an orthodox Christian.
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Just read this on a thread and I am dying.

Dead.

Done.

AHAHAHAHA

A movement that began by viewing the acquisition of political and military power as a satanic temptation now viewed it as a divine blessing. A movement that was birthed by Christ refusing to conquer his enemies in order to die for them now set out to conquer enemies - for Christ. The faith that previously motivated people to trust in the power of the cross now inspired them to trust in the power of the sword. Those who had previously understood that their job was to serve the world now aspired to rule it. The community that once pointed to their love for enemies and refusal to engage in violence as proof of Christ’s lordship now pointed to their ability to violently defeat enemies as proof of Christ’s lordship.

In other words, the movement that had previously suffered because it refused to buy into the nationalistic ideology of the empire was now, to a large degree, defined by the ideology of the empire. The Church allowed itself to become co-opted by typical, pagan nationalism. The beautiful revolution begun by Jesus was largely reduced to an ugly, violent-tending, nationalistic religion.

This is the religion of Christendom, the Church “militant and triumphant.” Insofar as it looked and acted like a religious version of Caesar, it was as far removed from the Kingdom as any religion could be. For the Kingdom always looks like Jesus, not Caesar.

—  Gregory A. Boyd, The Myth Of A Christian Religion

A movement that began by viewing the acquisition of political and military power as a satanic temptation now viewed it as a divine blessing. A movement that was birthed by Christ refusing to conquer his enemies in order to die for them now set out to conquer enemies - for Christ. The faith that previously motivated people to trust in the power of the cross now inspired them to trust in the power of the sword. Those who had previously understood that their job was to serve the world now aspired to rule it. The community that once pointed to their love for enemies and refusal to engage in violence as proof of Christ’s lordship now pointed to their ability to violently defeat enemies as proof of Christ’s lordship.

In other words, the movement that had previously suffered because it refused to buy into the nationalistic ideology of the empire was now, to a large degree, defined by the ideology of the empire. The Church allowed itself to become co-opted by typical, pagan nationalism. The beautiful revolution begun by Jesus was largely reduced to an ugly, violent-tending, nationalistic religion.

This is the religion of Christendom, the Church “militant and triumphant.” Insofar as it looked and acted like a religious version of Caesar, it was as far removed from the Kingdom as any religion could be. For the Kingdom always looks like Jesus, not Caesar.

—  Gregory A. Boyd
Participants in the kingdom of the world trust the power of the sword to control behavior; participants of the kingdom of God trust the power of self-sacrificial love to transform hearts. The kingdom of the world is concerned with preserving law and order by force; the kingdom of God is concerned with establishing the rule of God through love. The kingdom of the world is centrally concerned with what people do; the kingdom of God is centrally concerned with how people are and what they can become. The kingdom of the world is characterized by judgment; the kingdom of God is characterized by outrageous, even scandalous, grace.
—  Gregory A. Boyd, The Myth of a Christian Nation.

anonymous asked:

You are a vegan or vegetarian right? I've been a vegan for a few months now and one of the main struggles is when the people close to me use the Bible as an excuse to eat animals. I'm a Christian and of course the Bible is important. But, it's so difficult when people try to argue that "God says it's okay". My family likes to bring up that Jesus did the fish and bread miracle, and then the fishing... etc. I just wonder if there is a way to address this. Any advice? I'm still new to this.

I am. And congrats :)

Ironically, the issue with frivolously throwing around bible verses, is that it’s an easy way to justify something without doing the hard work of asking the important questions.  You can use any Sacred text to justify any sort of lifestyle you would like.  What I would recommend doing is moving beyond the discussion of the bible and ask direct questions regarding factory farming and how our food choices have direct affect on the world’s poor.

“As a follower of Jesus Christ, I am called to manifest the reign of God in every area of my life. Since torturing animals is not consistent with the reign of God, I feel I cannot help fund an institution that does this.” -Greg Boyd

This quote from Tolstoy always sticks with me, maybe it will resonate with someone else: “A man can live and be healthy without killing animals for food; therefore, if he eats meat, he participates in taking animal life merely for the sake of his appetite.”

Nerdy Mean Girls Theology

“He’s so pathetic. Let me tell you something about Greg Boyd. We were best friends in middle school. I know, right? It’s sooo embarrassing. I don’t even… Whatever. So then in eighth grade, I started reading my first reformed theologian, John Calvin, who was totally brilliant but then he moved to Strasbourg, and Greg was like, weirdly jealous of him. Like, if I would blow him off to read Calvin, he’d be like, "Why didn’t you read ‘God at War’?” And I’d be like, “Why are you so obsessed with me?” So then, for my birthday party, which was an all-reformed pool party, I was like, “Greg, I can’t invite you, because I think you’re a heretic.” I mean I couldn’t have a heretic at my party. There were gonna be Calvinists there in their *bathing suits*. I mean, RIGHT?! He was an open theist! So then his mom called my mom and started yelling at her, it was so retarded. And then he dropped out of seminary because no one would talk to him, and he came back in the fall for Ancient Greek, all of his hair was cut off and he was totally weird, and now I guess he’s on crack.“