Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Easter 2016


Easter at my church, above. Celebrating and embracing life and grace, below...

"The mockingbird took a single step into the air and dropped.

His wings were still folded against his sides as though he were singing from a limb and not falling, accelerating thirty-two feet per second per second, through empty air.

Just a breath before he would have been dashed to the ground, he unfurled his wings with exact, deliberate care, revealing the broad bars of white, spread his elegant, white-banded tail, and so floated onto the grass.

I had just rounded a corner when his incouciant step caught my eye; there was no one else in sight. The fact of his free fall was like the old philosophical conundrum about the tree that falls in the forest.

The answer must be, I think, that beauty and grace are performed whether or not we will or sense them. The least we can do is try to be there."

~Annie Dillard

54 comments:

Marshall Art said...

Another Easter post with nary a reference to the event for which the day is remembered. Amazing.

Dan Trabue said...

The "event" was about Grace, Marshall. The post is about Grace.

Embrace it, friend.

Marshall Art said...

Doesn't the title of the post say "Easter 2016"?

Anonymous said...

Yes. And Easter was about Grace.

Do you disagree? If so, feel free to do so. Duly noted.

Or do you complain about everything I write, just to be consistent, even when there is nothing controversial to complain about?

This post is about Easter living, living in a state of grace, of amazement of God's creation and God's love. Is that something you really want to complain about?

~Dan

Marshall Art said...

I dunno, Dan. It's just that I've always felt that the events that occurred between what we now call "Good Friday" and "Easter Sunday" to be rather pivotal in the Christian faith. Maybe it's just me. Thus I would think that one who dares portray himself as a Christian attempting to live as one might, maybe one year, actually have an Easter post that said something about that pivotal weekend in human history, given the significance of those events for all of mankind. Again, maybe it's just me.

For example, stolen from another site on the web:

(1) The resurrection of our Lord was unique because of His deity.
(2) The resurrection of our Lord was unique because of the death which preceded and necessitated His resurrection.
(3) The resurrection of our Lord was unique as an event which had no precedent

or

(1) The resurrection of Christ was necessary to prove that Jesus Christ was who He claimed to be.
(2) The resurrection of Christ was necessary to prove that Jesus Christ had accomplished what He had promised
(3) The resurrection was a necessary in order to fulfill biblical prophecy
(4) The resurrection of Christ was also a logical necessity
(5) The resurrection of Christ is vital because it is a necessary element of a saving faith

...or even more simply that the events were the reason why Jesus lived...He lived so He could die and be our sacrificial substitute, thereby allowing us to someday be in God's presence as His children.

Yet in looking back through the years of your blogging, you've had only two Easter posts that had any reference whatsoever to those pivotal events...2009's was really vague at best, and 2010 was merely a reprint of the story of Mary finding the tomb empty. (Good on you for that one)

I'd say that lack of interest in the reason for the season qualifies as at least mildly controversial and not a little bit curious. Don't you believe Christ died like any human being and rose again three days later?

Dan Trabue said...

Yes. For reasons of Grace, as is the point of this post.

Don't you believe in Grace?

If so, begin to embrace it.

Dan Trabue said...

even more simply that the events were the reason why Jesus lived...He lived so He could die and be our sacrificial substitute, thereby allowing us to someday be in God's presence as His children.

Well, as you know, that is one human theory of atonement and one that, while helpful in a figurative sense for some people, I don't buy into as a literal payment sort of cash deal. I believe in Grace, as I think the Bible teaches. Hence, the point of this post.

Jesus lived for Grace. Jesus lived in Grace to show us and offer us the Grace by which we are saved, God's Grace.

Look, if the PS Theory of Atonement is meaningful way of understanding things for you, by all means, embrace that. But keep in mind that, even with the PS Theory, the bottom line is grace, not blood sacrifice to pay off our "sin debt" (itself, not a biblical term or idea). It's ultimately all about grace. Let us find rest and agreement and peace in that Great Grace, by which we are saved.

Amen?

Marshall Art said...

No blood sacrifice, no grace. Jesus lived so that He could sacrifice Himself for our sins. He said so Himself, and His purpose was affirmed and confirmed by His followers.

http://www.letusreason.org/doct60.htm

http://www.gfcto.com/articles/theological-issues/why-did-jesus-come-to-earth

"For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost." said Jesus in Luke 19:10

"...the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many." said Jesus in Matthew 20:28

"...for I did not come to judge the world but to save the world." said Jesus in John 12:47

and of course, Paul puts it this way in Romans 5...

"6 For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. 7 For one will scarcely die for a righteous person--though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die-- 8 but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. 10 For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. 11 More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.

But that's just Paul. What does he know?

Easter isn't about grace, but about how we came to enjoy God's grace...through Christ's sacrificial death on the cross, which was a literal payment for our sins, and His Resurrection, which was His triumph over death. Christianity 101.

Dan Trabue said...

No blood sacrifice, no grace.

Did Jesus tell you that? Did Jesus say that God was limited and weak and unable to demonstrate Grace outside of only a blood sacrifice? Or is this something you're making up?

I am unimpressed with your cherry-picked verses which don't say what you suggest.

Easter isn't about Grace? Do you never worry about blasphemy?

Perhaps we should let God be the authority on God and you just offer your opinions?

Marshall, this is a post on Grace. If you don't like it, you don't have to read it.

Good day.

Marshall Art said...

"Did Jesus tell you that?"

Again, Christianity 101. It's what Scripture teaches. You should really read it sometime.

"Did Jesus say that God was limited and weak and unable to demonstrate Grace outside of only a blood sacrifice?"

The question is wholly irrelevant and quite moot. It isn't what God was capable of doing, but what He did that matters. Funny how your serious and prayerful study never enlightened you on this key point that is the basis of our faith.

"Do you never worry about blasphemy?"

Yeah, and I wish you wouldn't engage in it. I'm also worried about how easily you engage in heresy. Someday perhaps my prayers will be answered.

"Perhaps we should let God be the authority on God and you just offer your opinions?"

Oh yeah. I keep forgetting that there is absolutely nothing knowable about God or His Will, even that which is clearly revealed to us in Scripture.

Sure, even Paul says we are saved by grace, as he does in Ephesians 2:8. But he always ties it to the means by which we are saved. We are saved by our faith in Christ our Savior. But how did He save us? Paul tells us in verse 13:

"But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ.

It ain't cherry-picking, Dan. It's relating to you what Scripture teaches. Have the grace to accept the Truth.

Dan Trabue said...

Always. Have the grace, please, to allow me to accept the Truth as best I understand it, thank you very much. I will have the grace to allow you to do the same for yourself.

Again, this is a post about Grace. If you don't like it, you don't have to read it.

Marshall Art said...

"Again, this is a post about Grace."

I get that. Such a post can be done on any day but one with a specific distinction...the resurrection of Christ...might best be reserved for that specific distinction. Otherwise, why any reference at all to Easter, a day of remembrance of that specific distinction?

"If you don't like it, you don't have to read it."

How would I know whether or not I'd like it if I don't read it first? I needed to read it to know it was one more Easter post not about Easter.

Dan Trabue said...

So, I am physically and morally WRONG for writing a post about Grace and associate it with Easter? Man, you need to lighten up a bit. Life is not this bitter.

Peace.

Marshall Art said...

Again, I merely pointed out how routinely you totally ignore the events of the first Easter when publishing and "Easter" post.

Why do you so badly need to believe I'm being bitter or feeling bitter or am eating something bitter (or whatever the hell you mean by that)? Life, actually, is quite bitter, but that's neither here nor there. I'm personally a really happy guy, even when dealing with people like you. If I lightened up any more than I am, I'd float.

Dan Trabue said...

For your information, when you go places where people are talking about something as wholesome and Godly as Grace ("Walking in a state of Grace, my God has got my hand and I'm singing in the band and I'm walking in the state of grace..." - awful stuff like that) and Easter, and you go solely to pick and find fault because they didn't use the words or stories or verses you wanted them to use - that seems bitter, petty, small-minded, graceless. You don't note, "nice song! Who's is it?" or "cool excerpt, I'm a big fan of hers..." or anything positive, you only took a dump on a sweet little post about Grace and Beauty. That does not speak well of you.

Perhaps you didn't realize it. Hopefully, now you do.

Dan Trabue said...

why any reference at all to Easter, a day of remembrance of that specific distinction?

Why speak about GRACE when we're speaking about Easter?

Because the ONE thing that sets Christianity apart from all other religions is that we do not emphasize or believe in a "salvation by works" approach to salvation. Our complete emphasis, the thing that makes us different, is that we believe in a salvation by Grace. Grace is Christianity's "thing," and Easter - at least for me - is the ultimate representation of God's Grace.

Is this really necessary to point out?

WHY did Jesus die? Because of God's grace. WHY did Jesus come to Earth? Because of God's grace. WHY did Jesus teach us what he taught? God's grace. WHAT did Jesus teach? God's grace.

It's all about that grace, man. Feel free to disagree, but do so elsewhere. Again, this is just embarrassing for you.

Dan Trabue said...

Here, one final tip and then I'm done speaking about it...

As a Christian I really believe in God's grace. It's kind of a big deal.

But, if I go over to your blog and look, do I find any post - any post at all - about Grace? Do any of your Easter posts have anything to do with God's grace? I rather doubt it.

BUT,do I go over there and dump on your blog because you aren't posting about what I'd like you to post about? No. Of course not.

Go and do likewise, brother.

Marshall Art said...

Of course, when I do post an "Easter" message, it's typically about the defining event of that day, the Resurrection. It seems most appropriate given that's what makes the day so special and worthy of honor within the church community. And yet again, Christ's death and resurrection is how we come to enjoy God's grace. Christ's death and resurrection, particularly his death, is the means through which we are able to finally receive God's grace. What's more, there are passages where Christ Himself is God's grace and that is so because He gave His life so that we do not have to suffer God's wrath for our sinfulness.

So my Easter posts wouldn't be about grace since Easter is about the resurrection. Indeed, most of my Easter posts are no more than a title that says something like "He Is Risen" without further comment. It's the point of the day. It's the reason for the season.

As to "dumping on my blog", any comment that disagrees with my point of view is a form of dumping and frankly, that's what I consider the purpose of the comment box...to voice agreement OR disagreement. I don't fear it. I don't prohibit it. And I certainly don't whine about it.

Go and do likewise.

Dan Trabue said...

You just don't get it, do you?

Marshall Art said...

Yes. I do. I get that you're trying to rationalize not dealing with the Resurrection in your Easter posts. Sure, it's your blog and you can write whatever you like. None of that matters to the point of my observation that you don't find the Resurrection to be worthy of comment on the very day set aside to commemorate it. I find that especially odd given it is a fairly important and essential event.

Dan Trabue said...

And you don't find grace worthy of a single post on your blog, therefore, you despise grace. Yeah, we get it.

Marshall Art said...

Beyond the understanding that grace is God's unmerited favor, I don't know what more I need to say about it at my blog. Should I show kumbaya videos like you do in order to suit your sensibilities? I can assure you that if we had a day set aside to commemorate grace, I would not use that day to speak on subjects not related to grace under a title with the word "Grace" in it.

I find it incredibly goofy, to say the least, that you would suggest that I despise anything upon which I do not opine at my blog. How does that work, exactly? I never posted anything related to Randolph Scott. Or wildebeest. Or Thai food. Can't say that I despise any of 'em.

Dan Trabue said...

Exactly. Suggesting, in the absence of commentary, that someone despises or has a problem with it IS ridiculous and imbecilic and graceless. We should not do that, should we?

Marshall Art said...

That you inferred that from my observation indicates severe mental problems on your part. In fact, it seems imbecilic and graceless to project onto me something so goofy. You really do need to believe the worst about people, don't you?

Anonymous said...

Marshall, do you seriously not get this? I was using YOUR reasoning and applying it to YOUR blog. You claimed that my not posting something specifically about the crucifixion was a sign of some fault on my part, simply because I opted not to post something specifically about the crucifixion.

By that measure, then, there is something wrong with you and your blog that you never mention grace.

It is an object lesson for you, do you not see that? Of course I am not inferring something about you because you never post about grace, because that would be graceless and silly. IN THE SAME WAY, you should not make inferences about me because I did not post something you think I ought to have. See?

Your very first line here was, and I quote, "Another Easter post with nary a reference to the event for which the day is remembered. Amazing."

That would be akin to me going to your blog where you post something about Christianity and me saying, "Another post about Christianity with nary a reference to grace. Amazing."

Your comment is an effort to demonize something using a measure that you yourself recognize as ridiculous.

"By the measure you judge, so shall you be judged."

Embrace grace.

~Dan

Marshall Art said...

You could not be more goofy...I hope.

Does your title not say "Easter" in it? Why yes. Yes it does. But, within the post under that title, there is nothing about the Resurrection, the event the Christian faith uses the term "Easter" to represent. It is the day of the Resurrection.

Yet, you foolishly make yet another bad analogy in your objection to my observation:

"That would be akin to me going to your blog where you post something about Christianity and me saying, "Another post about Christianity with nary a reference to grace. Amazing."

If I did a post on Christianity, that would be a post on something of a far more general nature than a post on either Easter OR grace, each of which are two very specific topics within the general discussion of Christianity. What's more, what would the title of the post be? If it would be "Christianity 2016", and there nothing whatsoever regarding Christianity, then your analogy would be a good one.

In other words, there's a lot one could say about Christianity without ever referring to grace. That's because a post titled "Christianity 2016" could be incredibly large with all that is specific to Christianity until eventually getting to the subject of grace. But Easter has a specific event that makes it special and noteworthy. An event without which no grace is forthcoming.

In yet other words, it would as if I entitled a post "Christianity 2016", but within that post I spoke of my new dog. Readers would wonder when I would get to anything related to Christianity, since the post is so titled. In that same way, I wonder no more that you would ever speak of Easter in any post with "Easter" in the title, as you see nothing of importance concerning that day on which to opine.

Marshall Art said...

BTW...I have no dog. Just sayin'.

Anonymous said...

In other words, there's a lot one could say about Christianity without ever referring to grace

Likewise, there is much to say about Easter without referring to the Crucifixion or Resurrection. Speaking about Grace, for instance, is to speak about Easter.

"The answer must be, I think, that beauty and grace are performed whether or not we will or sense them. The least we can do is try to be there."

~Dan

Anonymous said...

The thing to keep in mind, Marshall, is that not everyone uses the same language and approach to talking about ideas. To me, to dwell on the crucifixion and blood (a la Mel Gibson's movie version of the story) misses the point, which is God's grace.

Now, I don't mind at all if others want to dwell on that or if they find that more meaningful than to simply talk about God's grace, that's fine with me. I recognize that not all people use the same language and approach to talking about ideas. God has not told me or insisted to me that we must insist on using only one specific set of words and approaches and language to express important ideas. What I glean from God is Grace.

Grace in Jesus' life and teaching.

Grace in Jesus' submission, arrest, torture and capitol punishment.

Grace in Jesus' resurrection.

And Grace in our everyday living and interacting with others.

And Grace suggests to me that I strive to remember not everyone uses the same language and approach to talking about ideas.

Thank God for Grace.

~Dan

Marshall Art said...

You clearly don't understand the concept of God's grace.

Anonymous said...

Oh, that we all may understand Grace more fully.

~Dan

Marshall Art said...

What is so hard to understand about "God's unmerited favor? Seems simple enough to me.

Dan Trabue said...

Indeed, it does seem simple.

Marshall Art said...

Are you suggesting it is not that simple?

Dan Trabue said...

Defining it? Nope. Living into it? Oftentimes.

Marshall Art said...

How can you live what you can't define? How can you know you are living it if you don't know what it is? You're playing games.

Dan Trabue said...

Well, as I said, defining it isn't a problem.

Marshall Art said...

You haven't defined it based on your use of the term. That is to say, you haven't shown that you know what it means. As likely, you simply make it mean what you want it to mean for reasons about which I couldn't care less.

Dan Trabue said...

Grace, from Greek chairs: favor, kindness.

That's the word and definition used in the Bible. That's how I'm using it.

Dan Trabue said...

Charis.

Marshall Art said...

Ah. So you're speaking distinctly about something apart from God's grace. Seems to me that the Bible speaks of God's grace, which is unmerited favor of God, and not mere kindness. When speaking of "kindness", Scripture uses that very word, or it uses "charity" or "love".

God's grace, His unmerited favor, the more accurate understanding of the use of the Greek word "kharis", manifested in Christ's death and resurrection. Mostly, by His death, as it is through His death that we are able to experience God's grace fully. It is the one defining act of His grace. To talk about God's grace at Easter means nothing with no connection to an ambiguous use of the term that is made manifest in the death and resurrection of Christ.

Dan Trabue said...

Grace, from Greek, charis, favor, kindness. As used in the Bible. As manifested in Jesus LIFE, teachings and death...

What are you arguing against, Marshall?

Marshall Art said...

I do not believe you can make the case that the term is used Biblically in any way be referring to that which God bestows upon us, and for reasons totally unrelated to our deserving of it. Thus, "as used in the Bible" is not reflected in how you use it. As such, I argue against your totally watered down, ambiguous and largely inaccurate use of the term.

Dan Trabue said...

In the Bible, Marshall, the Greek word translated Grace means literally, in the Greek, Favor, Kindness, words to that effect. I mean it in that sense.

What are you arguing about?

How is what I'm speaking of - A death-defying, life-pouring-out, love-to-the-bones grace of the Almighty God of the universe - in any way watered down, ambiguous or inaccurate? That is an empty claim, so far as I can see. Just because you want the way I've used it to be considered "watered down" does not make it so.

What are you arguing about?

Marshall Art said...

The Greek word is used in Scripture to denote "unmerited favor". It refers to God's unmerited favor to us. That is, we don't deserve His favor, but He pours it out for us anyway. Christ is the embodiment of that unmerited favor as He lived in order to be the perfect sacrifice for our sins. Christ IS God's unmerited favor. Christ IS grace. We don't get God's unmerited favor without Christ's sacrifice on the cross. Even the expression "the grace of Christ", found in one of Paul's letters, was His saving sacrifice.

You continue to use the word as mere kindness when it is so much more. It isn't about us acting graciously to others, despite Christ's teachings about treating each other with love. The use of the word in Scripture is a reference to what God bestows upon us through the sacrifice of Christ on the cross in payment for our sins.

Dan Trabue said...

In the Bible, Marshall, the Greek word translated Grace means literally, in the Greek, FAVOR, Kindness, words to that effect. I mean it in that sense.

What are you arguing about?

Dan Trabue said...

And yes, I DO believe that we SHOULD be gracious towards each other, showing unmerited favor and kindness towards others. But then, that's just following in the steps of Jesus like, you know, Christians believe in doing.

What are you arguing about? Are you actually arguing that Christians should NOT engage in Grace, themselves? If so, you're outside of the traditional Christian camp on that point.

Marshall Art said...

Again, Dan, though I'm not answering yet again the same question over and over. I will say this, however. Easter is not about us being gracious to each other. Thus, your muddied understanding of grace doesn't need a title like "Easter 2016" since it has no connection to it based on the text of your post. Thus, my original comment stands as an accurate reflection of your Easter posts in general---they have no relation to the events for which we celebrate the occasion.

GOD'S unmerited favor toward us is not akin to our unmerited favor toward anyone. Easter isn't about OUR unmerited favor toward anyone. It isn't about us at all except that we now have the means by which we can come close to God, which is the manifestation of HIS unmerited favor.

Dan Trabue said...

1. I did not say "Easter is about us being gracious to each other."

Do you understand this?

2. I am saying that, in the Bible, he Greek word translated Grace means literally, in the Greek, FAVOR, Kindness, words to that effect. I mean it in that sense.

What are you arguing about?

Marshall Art said...

"1. I did not say "Easter is about us being gracious to each other."

Do you understand this?"


Good for you. You also didn't say what Easter IS about. That was my point and remains so.

" 2. I am saying that, in the Bible, he Greek word translated Grace means literally, in the Greek, FAVOR, Kindness, words to that effect. I mean it in that sense.

What are you arguing about?"


How many times will you ask what has been answered? Until you get an answer that allows you to posture yourself as the winner? With regards to the use of the word in Scripture, it means "GOD'S" unmerited favor. Are you not the one who constantly whines about context in Scripture?

Dan Trabue said...

Easter IS about Grace.

Do you disagree?

How many times will you ask what has been answered?

I said I was speaking about grace as it is used biblically, which is translated with words like FAVOR.

You responded, "NO, you're speaking about something else. I'm speaking about FAVOR (unmerited favor is still favor)!"

I point out again that I'm speaking of grace AS FAVOR. and on it goes.

What are you arguing about, since we agree it's speaking of Favor?

Marshall Art said...

I said...

"With regards to the use of the word in Scripture, it means "GOD'S" unmerited favor."

You said...

"I said I was speaking about grace as it is used biblically, which is translated with words like FAVOR."

Note the difference. I do not deny the direct translation of the Greek word. But it isn't used in Scripture to simply imply favor. It is used to denote God's unmerited favor towards us. It's a "from God to us" thing, not a general "let's be nice to each other" thing.

So we are clearly NOT speaking about the same thing.

Easter is not about grace. It is about how we came to be blessed by God's unmerited favor towards us.

Dan Trabue said...

Yes, Marshall. That is how words work.

When I am speaking of Grace, I'm speaking of how it used in the Bible, to mean, among other things, favor.

AND WHEN THE BIBLE SPEAKS OF GOD'S GRACE, it IS speaking of God's favor. Did you really think I've been speaking of the favor of Ralph the Wonder Lama all this time?

Are you just trying to argue where there is no argument?

What are you arguing about?

Marshall Art said...

So, rather than simply acknowledging what I have been repeating over and over and over again, you are now going to suggest that we've been saying the same thing the whole time? Sure. Right. Uh-huh.

"Did you really think I've been speaking of the favor of Ralph the Wonder Lama all this time?'

I do not pretend to ever know with certainty about that which you speak, as I am certain you don't know with any more certainty than do I.