I am continuing my daily art/haiku journaling practice. This is inspired by Marcus Borg's introduction to Galatians. I'd like to also shout out to Bazaart. They are a very easy to use app on my phone that allows me to create collages for free. I'm sure I could pay to remove their watermark, but naah!
seeds planted with care
the desert blooms like the rose
nurtured by grace
This letter is written to the churches in Galatia (Turkey). This is a fractured community. They are fractured because the orthodox are trying to force the community to abide by orthodox standards and Paul was MAD. This letter also introduces major themes and ideas including justification, contrasts of grace and law and faith and works. Borg writes, "No other relatively short New Testament document has had as much influence on Christian theology as Galatians."
Evidence of Paul's anger is even in the alteration of the letter form. He does not include a thanksgiving as he does in every single one of his other letters. #ohsnap #ancientburn
Basically, the community is arguing about following strict Jewish codes-primarily about diet and circumcision. I am reminded of the argument about including the LGBTQIA community in the church now. Resting on ancient orthodoxy, some exclude us from their communities. That puts them in alignment with those that Paul was railing against. However, scripture says, "a person is justified not by works…but through faith in Jesus Christ." The WORK of not being LGBTQIA is not justification. We are who we are. Faith and the fruits that grow from faith are what is important. That does not include being any less than the full human God has created.
This letter is written because the church is warring within itself. I see that happening today, especially in my church (UMC) where the orthodoxy of "traditionalists" is trying to force out the LGBTQIA community (i.e. the gentiles). Sad.
Borg closes his introduction with this beautiful paragraph:
"Thus the letter is instructive for yet one more reason. Paul's theology comes to us from the concrete circumstances he encountered in his activity as an apostle of Christ. It soars to great heights, even as it is rooted in the ground of what was happening in early Christian communities."
OK, I think it is beautiful. #biblegeek The image of rooted is what inspired the collage and haiku.
For #leaders, the task before us is the ever present blend of orthodoxy up against the unconventional or new. The unconventional becomes the conventional and the orthodox and is up against something new all the time. Be on guard for our own orthodoxy.