A STORY OF CRIME, FORGIVENESS, AND REPENTANCE
Misty Wallace was eighteen years old when Keith Blackburn, 18, shot her through the face. Miraculously, Misty survived and eventually she was able to forgive the man who shot her. Today, after serving ten years in prison for attempted murder, Keith holds a Master of Divinity degree and is a chaplain in the Indiana prison system. Misty is Indiana Regional Coordinator of Bridges To Life. Together, they share their overlapping stories on a daily basis at venues around the country, helping other offenders and victims of crime find new life through the power of forgiveness and repentance.
Misty and Keith’s story is a compelling narrative of the intersection of forgiveness and repentance. Now, after eighteen months of intense research and writing, my good friend, author, lawyer, and gracEmail subscriber, Kirk Blackard, tells that story in his latest book, Face to Face: Our Story of Crime, Repentance, and Forgiveness, available from Amazon.com at: www.amazon.com
The following is excerpted from “Gods of this Age: Mammon,” by Ian Paul, posted on August 6, 2015 in Fulcrum: www.fulcrum-anglican.org.uk/articles
It is Jesus who characterises Mammon as a rival to God in Matt 6.24 (You cannot serve both God and Mammon) as well as Luke 16.9, 11 and 13. It is the deceitfulness of wealth which is one of the three causes of the unfruitfulness of the seed in the Parable of the Sower/Soils (Mark 4.19). For some, such as the Rich Young Ruler, wealth is an obstacle to discipleship (Mark 10.22), and Jesus does not think he will be the only one. It has been said that there are around 500 verses in the Bible on prayer, around 500 on faithbut 2,350 on money!
In the apocryphal story of Francis of Assisi meeting Pope Innocent III, the Pope shows Francis the power and wealth of the church. No longer can the Church say Silver and gold have I none! (Acts 3.6). Indeed, replied Francis, and neither can it say In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk! It goes too far to say that one cannot be rich and be a disciple of Jesus, but what never appears in the Gospels are well-to-do followers of Jesus who are not simultaneously generous in almsgiving and in divesting themselves of surplus wealth for the sake of those in need (Craig Blomberg).
The most important affirmation in Scripture about Mammon is the claim that The earth is the Lords and everything in it (Ps 24.1). This undergirds the OT notion of the land (earth) is Gods and residents are tenants. Ultimately, no individual owns anything, but has it on trust from God. This in turn transforms our notions of ownership into stewardship. Complementary to this is Jesus invitation to trust (Matt 6.25f). If the earth is the Lords, then it is by his grace we have anything and by his provision that we have enough.
Ron Highfield, PhD, Professor of Religion, Pepperdine University, Malibu, California, and gracEmail subscriber. (Excerpted from blog ifaqtheology, July 11, 2015.)
In the 17th and 18th Centuries many western intellectuals came to believe that Galileos and Newtons scientific discoveries made it impossible to believe in divine revelation and miracles. God made the world and gave it its laws, and there is now no reason for God to interfere.The first thinkers to adopt these ideas are the so-called Deists.
In the 19th Century, Liberal Christianity came on the scene. Along with Deism, it rejects miracles understood as supernatural events, the apocalyptic elements in Jesus teaching, the substitutionary doctrine of the atonement. But unlike Deism, Liberal Christianity gives Jesus a central role as a religious and moral example and it retains a place for the church, clergy and worship in individual and social life.
The moralism that Liberal Christianity emphasizes is not personal holiness, that is, sexual purity, personal honesty and the absence of individual vices. But from what is liberal Christianity free and from what does it promise liberation? From doctrinal orthodoxy, tradition and a strict and ridged moral code! How does it get free from those authorities? Liberal Christianity gets free from orthodoxy by selling itself to de-Christianized progressive culture.
In doing so, Liberal Christianity becomes powerless to challenge the world at the place where it most needs to be confronted, where it is most in rebellion to God. Like the ventriloquists dummy, it has nothing of its own to say. It looks to its master for what to say next. And so I conclude that liberal Christianity is neither Christian nor liberal. It’s not even interesting.