The GBA VIII
This week's slate of nominees for Mr. Standfast's Gospel Blogger Award (VIII) could not be more outstanding. The whole point of the GBA is to credit those bloggers who take the time to transmit the message of the Gospel--it is none other than the Good Friday message and the Easter message--and who do so with skill, vigor, creativity, and a sense of relevance. I am going to include a brief descriptive remark and a quotation for each of the runners-up, saving the "winning" post for last.
First then, the runners-up:
Tod Bolsinger, he of It Takes A Church, has written a post entitled By His Wounds We Are Healed.
Holy Week is where we remember the length to which God has gone to bring healing to our broken places.Next up, Mark Loughridge at 3:17. His post is called, Your God is Love, and it's actually the fourth in a series. I choose this one only because it's the latest; all of them are excellent.
Holy Week is where we focus our attention on the God who does for us himself what we cannot. In Jesus, the God of all power and strength becomes the man of suffering. HE has borne our infirmities, HE has carried our diseases, HE was wounded for our transgressions, HE was the one wounded, striped and bruised so that we may be healed.
His love for you is based on Christ, not on you. He loves you because of Jesus. And his love for his son will never change. So you are secure. Do you struggle to accept that God loves you? Its not because you're lovely, it because Christ is. And because Christ will never stop for a moment being lovely then you are secure. Utterly secure.Our third nominee is a former winner of the GBA, David of Jollyblogger. David's post, called Michael Schiavo and the Gospel, applies the good news of Jesus Christ--his death on our behalf--to a contemporary situation of wrenching significance. I speak of course of the Terri Schiavo case. Bloggers everywhere have weighed in on this subject, but only David, that I know of, has asked the centrally important question: What is the properly "cross-centered" response to this situation?
If you have read me the last couple of days you have seen that I have gotten pretty worked up about the whole Terri Schiavo situation. I think it is unconscionable what is being done to her by her husband Michael and by the courts of our land.I can't help but believe that this kind of thinking is, and shall be in the days to come, of great significance. Few of us do this well. Instead, our reactions are driven by emotion, tainted by self-righteousness and angst-ridden hyperbole. I thank David for simply asking the right questions.
Yet, with all of my moral outrage on this, I have to stop and ask myself if I am viewing this situation, and Michael in particular through a gospel-centered lens, or through a cross-centered lens?
Viewing Michael through a cross-centered lens won't change the sinfulness of his actions. Viewing Michael through a cross-centered lens won't change our obligation to rescue those being led away to slaughter. Viewing Michael through a cross-centered lens won't change our obligation to voice our opposition to the laws that make the starvation of a person like Terri possible.
But we are also faced with how we are to respond to Michael as a person. Put more precisely, how does the gospel guide our response to Michael as a person? If all should go his way, how should the Christian community react to him in the future?
Any of these posts could have been this week's winner, but nobody likes a tie, so I had to pick one. The winner of the GBA VIII is Catez Stevens of Allthings2all. Like David, Catez looks at the Schiavo case in a cross-centered fashion in a post called Report from a Crucifixion. Imagine, if you will, if CNN had broadcast a live report from Golgotha. You can't help but notice the similarities to the reporting of the Terri Schiavo tragedy. For example, the reporter interviews a legal expert:
It's a complicated case. Initially he upset local religious authorities but legally he was charged with treason. He was accused of subversion and inciting tax evasion. The case has been extensively litigated and has been from one court to another. The highest court said his case didn't fall under it's jurisdiction and sent him to a lower court where he appeared on trial. However that court declined to rule and his case went back to the highest court. He was sentenced to death at his third hearing.And a doctor:
It's important for the families of the crucified to understand that crucifixion can be a painless death. The person releases endorphins in response to stress and experiences a type of euphoria. They are also given a drug to help anaesthetize their senses. So although crucifixion can take a few days before the person is let go, they are at peace during the process. And of course sometimes the crucified have their legs broken so they pass on more rapidly.A social commentator:
There's no mention of him having a will of course and he has not spoken for himself directly on the death issue. But a person close to him for years handed him to the authorities and had his best interests in mind. I think what people can learn from this crucifixion is that they need to have a will and make their position on crucifixion clearly known.And a man on the street:
He should die. People are just trying to keep him alive for their own politics. I'm sick of the religious politicos using everything for their own agenda. It's obvious he wouldn't be properly functional after being flogged and he has just caused a lot of hostility.Catez, this is good stuff. My desire is not only to speak the Gospel, but to demonstrate its relevance. You have done so beautifully in this post.
BTW, the previous winners of the GBA are: 1) Jollyblogger; 2) The Irvins; 3 & 5) Believer Blog; 4) Razor's Kiss; 6) To Be Least; and 7) Another Man's Meat.