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Sunday, April 24, 2011

Wright, N. T. (2010). Virtue reborn . London: Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge. 

The qualities of character which Jesus and his first followers insist on don't come about automatically. You have to develop them. You have to work at them. You have to think about it, to make conscious choices to allow the holy spirit to form your character in ways that, to begin with, seem awkward and unnatural. Only in that way can you become the sort of person who will react instantly to sudden challenges with wisdom and good judgement. Pp25

You will be to me a kingdom of priests, and a holy nation ex 19.4-6 & Isaiah 61.6
The royal and priestly vocation of all human beings, it seems, consists in this: to stand at the interface between God and his creation, bringing god's wise and generous order to the world and giving articulate voice to creation's glad and grateful praise to its maker. Pp70 ff

Christians particularly in the western world have for a long time been divided between "epistles people" and gospels people. The epistles people have thought of Christianity primarily on terms of jesus's death and resurrection saving us from our sins. The gospels people have thought in terms of following Jesus in feeding the Hungry, helping the poor, and so on the epistles people have often found it difficult to give a clear account of what was going on in jesus's kingdom announcement and his call to his followers to be perfect. The gospels people have often found it difficult to explain why the Jesus who was doing this had to die and die so soon. This either keeping does no justice to Jesus himself who through his death and resurrection was able to establish the kingdom he had already begun to inaugurate. 96

What the earliest Christians were struck by , and what they returned to again and again, was that in Jesus they had seen a way of being human which nobody had imagined before. This was a way of generosity and forgiveness, a way of self-emptying and a determination to put everyone's needs first. 114

1co 15.28 so that god may be all in all is the point of it all.
If we were to replace the telos of happiness or human flourishing or in cnristain mode resurrection and new heavens and nee earth with the answer god himself and were to inquire how this affected the framework of thought which generates the discourse of virtue we would discover that the goal is god and that they will come once more to reflect the divine image fully and completely. 120

Part of the problem in contemporary christianity I believe is that talk about the freedom of the spirit, about the grace which sweeps us off our feet and heals and transforms our lives, has been taken over surreptitiously by a kind of low-grade romanticism, colluding with an anti-intellectual streak in our culture, generating the assumption that the more spiritual you are, the less you need to think. 137

What we do in the present , In the lord , is not wasted. Love is the language they speak in god's world, and we are summoned to learn it against the day when gods world and ours will be brought together forever. It is the music they make in god's courts, and we are invited to learn it and practice it in advance. Love us nor a duty, even our highest duty. It is our destiny. 162

all three ( faith hope and love) themselves gifts from god, point away from ourselves and outward: faith toward god and his action in Jesus Christ ; hope toward god's future; love, toward both god and our neighbour. 177

Unity 183 ff

At the heart of the calling to be a royal priesthood lies the task of evangelism: proclaiming Jesus, persuading people to consider him, inviting people to give him their allegiance and discover through him, and through the company of his followers, a whole new way of being human, a life (in fact) of faith , hope and love , of kindness and gentleness, of forgiveness and generosity , of patience and chastity 199

Freedom , like authenticity, is what we are promised when our desires and longings completely coincide with god's designs and plans for us as fully human beings. 201

The task of being god's royal priesthood in the present, then, is all about worship and mission - a worship and mission which share a heart, the heart that is learning to love God the creator and God the recreator and discovering how to develop the habits that will reflect God's love into the world and the world's grateful love back in return. 203

The call to holiness comes precisely because it is as genuine human beings that we will be able to sum up the praises of creation, and as genuine human beings that we will be able to bring god's justice, freedom, beauty, peace and shove all rescuing love to the world. 210

The vocation of the royal priesthood is to reflect God to the world and the world back to God - sustained by serious attention to putting on virtues not for the sake of self centred holiness or pride in one's own moral achievement, but for the sake of revealing to the world who its true God really is. The church has been divided between those who cultivate their own personal holiness but do nothing about working for justice in the world and those who are passionate for justice but regard personal holiness as an unnecessary distraction from that task.


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