Tuesday, 11 March 2008


Jim Jams.. I would say, “Ah doughnuts.. you and I have too much time on our hands.” But we don't. When we stand before God, tonight perhaps, and he demands of us, how did you spend those precious hours I gifted to you, when you were in the heart of emerging student culture, in deep community, with people who don't truly know life or love on your doorstep, in your house.. How did you spend it. Bickering and bitching about doughnuts? Is this the plank in our eye. Are we simply not captivated by Christ.. !! - http://jasonclark.ws/2006/01/27/is_ranting_chri/

I'll blog this one out, inconclusively perhaps.. I am increasingly convicted of a need to curb my cynicism, and to post a lot more love joy and peace. pray. for. me.

“Handing out a doughnut with a casual “because God loves you” is profoundly ungodly.”
Steady on. On a scale of one to ungodly, this one surely is some way down the list..

"Have we taken the word love, interpreted it through the paradigm of our world experience and applied it to God?"
Yes we have a limited experience of love, yes we interpret, and by these interpretations we begin to understand God.. Perhaps if they were to assert, God is the doughnut giving God. Or that doughnuts were the substance and limit of the Love which is God, one might assume this.

"Have we thus not allowed God to interpret his own word?"
What does that mean? For the author to interpret his own word, is a hermeneutical loop. It is not so much the word we are concerned with, nor even the quotable verses describing love is patient etc, as we are concerned for the substance which it represents, which has been demonstrated in history objectively uniquely perfectly in Christ, in his LIFE and death and resurrection?

“If we truly want to share God’s love with people then we should tell them how God loves.”
This is the conservative sound bite, the emphasis on the preach, and I hold preaching in higher and higher esteem as I drift back into Piper. But lets not abstractise or intellectualise the love of God. Cor13v1 you can quote the whole bible at them, but if you have not love.. if there is not love, demonstrably active in you... How are we splitting doing love, from speaking of love. I'm baffled, I presume we are discussing Trent as the purveyors of this doughnut gospel, and within my experience of what passes for doctrine there, doughnuts are not preached as the limit and substance of God's love.

How does God love? God loves through creation, God loves through provision, God loves through Christ, God loves through people.. God loves us as children, cherished and precious, the apple of his eye, all of that. Christ's death is the clearest, most vivid, picture of God's love, the climax of a divinely orchestrated plan. This is the point that must be told of, BUT it is surely not the only way God loves?

Love is God's being, Love is done, Love is given, Love is received.. God is in Trinity that he might be Love, Lover and Loved. Christ became man, he did life on earth, he did love on earth he showed and taught us how do living. He died for our sin. That we too might do dying to ourselves and be raised in him. These are all things done, more than heard and assented to.
(Also note: people need to hear the specific story of Jesus, the 'gospel' message and by hearing that believe and by believing in him truly have life and a saving relationship with the father... this is not to the exclusion of that, I am defending people's right to give out doughnuts and tell people God loves them as a legitimate form of christian service in a hurting world)
..He *does* love

There is a God. He loves people. We love because he loved first. People don't know God loves them, or they deny it.. They need to know God loves them. To 'know'.. two great passages Eph 3v19 “and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge” surpasses knowledge! what does that even mean? Then in Phil1v9 is “and it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment” Rob Bell drew out of this in his current series on Philippians, that the knowledge in play here is epignosis (?sp) which is not knowledge about, but knowledge gained from participation, knowledge through experience, from having lived it, not so much by having studied all the books on it.. That whole sermon Rob Bell pushes really really knowing that we might really tell and really do.
...the world needs to know love

We live in a visual culture, and there is a need for visual metaphors that speak of God's character but even further than that Art and Soul, (Brand and Chaplin 2001) and The Creative Gift (Rookmaaker 1981) I just finished reading both speak of the need for for art, images, art without justification, art simply to be beautiful, without agenda. In a culture that has forgotten what it means to share its stuff. This is prophetic performance art..

“love” as a word and concept..
Love.. this is a word relating to a concept and within this culture, that is post-christian, formerly 'christian' notions take on entirely other connotations. So words come in and out of meaning, sometimes they may need to be retired, sometimes refreshed. Language enables. In cross cultural mission, languages exist without words for grace, or sin, and so need to be invented.. id' appeal here to anyone who knows how this happens is done, as we need it in this culture. Jesus speaks in pictures in part for this reason. Perhaps this word needs to be re-worked into our vocabulary.. one which in a fatherless generation.. in so broken a generation needs to be started wherever we can. Love is patient, love is kind, love is ..there is a place for random acts of kindness, which begin to paint a picture for our generation of what the dying sacrificial love looks like (this may or may not apply to doughnuts).

I object to the notion that to give out doughnuts, and to give out doughnuts because god loves them is wrong. Wrong in and of itself? By virtue of the jammyness of the doughnuts and the jauntiness of the 'because god loves you'? No, I believe however that the conditions motivations and resources exercised in giving away doughnuts might be called into question. You might rightly say that doughnuts are not needs.. and would be probably right.

“People are going to love you for a doughnut, people are going to persecute you for telling them the gospel, the Bible assures us of that.”
As if we are to go out of our way to seek persecution..? Here I would question not so much the doughnuts and whether they speak of love, but the approach that lead to this rather than some more dangerous demonstration of love, more costly or sacrificial love.

(Although you could say that the people here giving out doughnut ARE being persecuted by your good, well-intentioned self..)

The sort of persecution I would expect would be from doughnut manufacturers, where, when the kingdom of heaven breaks in, and not just a couple of people are sharing their doughnuts, but everyone is making and sharing the doughnuts they have, at such a scale that it turns the economic systems, which make the doughnut manufacturers rich, upside down. Then you get persecution, then you challenge prevailing world assumptions.. This message is a gospel, this message is good news to the poor and the doughnutless.

Matthew 5:10-12 : "Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness...

- There is the problem with models of evangelism that they are a model. You can attack any model, simply for being a model, because a 'model' is not spirit led and compassion driven, its dry.. you. give. out. doughnuts. If a model becomes a rote.. a formula.. then legalism and cheap grace set in.
- There is also the notion of going without “a purse or bag or sandals” into evangelism, when Jesus send out the 72, and here there would be an element of trying to buy favour with people in order to evangelise.. but are these people trying to 'evangelise' or even mention Jesus, this purpose may fit better into the framework of community building, or simply loving your neighbour.. lunchbars on the other hand.. ;)
- The passage in Luke 10 then continues.. “and do not greet anyone on the road.” What does that mean?
- Also (Some time ago I had a link for this, via a Jason Clark post, but I've lost it..meh) It contended that giving doughnuts to shoppers was not giving to the needy and was infact proliferating a glutted culture of excess..

To be honest I don't know where I stand on the doughnuts issue.. Certainly IF talking about Jesus is actively discouraged, one would wonder what the enterprise was built upon.. We have to pick our battles, and these people love Jesus. I would say that I have a father that comes running down the drive to put a ring(-doughnut ;) ) on my finger, who loves me with a reckless, foolish love, not for anything I have done, not for anything I have earned. A doughnut is a picture of that, a glimpse of that undeserved gift of grace and my hope is that there will be doughnuts in heaven..

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

there is some pornography missing in this blog...missing you, antonio