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Saturday, November 27, 2010

Day 87 & 88 (Ephesians)

[reaction to OYB's Sep. 24-29 readings]
The message from Ephesians reminds me of something I know about Buddhism. As I've mentioned, I read this letter through the lense of Watchman Nee, who was an Eastern influenced Christian and in today's section I read the transition from Sit (accepting God in your life) to Walk (living in accordance with the Way). At Ephesians 4:25 - 5:21 you get a pretty good litnany of what right speech and right action are. The earlier section, the Sit section, is pretty close to right understanding.

In some ways, the rest of Ephesians is even more Bhuddist that the teachings of Jesus. While Jesus taught about giving your money to the poor and upending the social structure, Paul includes maintaining the status quo as a part of how to live into the way. That's not entirely fair, because he directs those in power to be loving and responsible, but he certainly doesn't condone turning over any tables with his famous passage about wives submitting to their husbands and slaves obeying their masters. I say this passage reminds me of Bhuddism because the point is not to endorse the power structure, the point is to say the power structure, which exists in this world, doesn't matter. Like much of what Paul writes, I don't think I so disagree with his sentiment as I disagree with the very, very easily corrupted nature of what he says.

The final bit of the letter to the Ephesians is what Watchman Nee calls the Stand section. Namely, stand up to evil. Again, much of the evolution of my faith over the 10 years or so has revolved around this very idea: Christians must stand up to evil. It is of course, a complicating twist, that much of the evil against which I believe we should stand, Paul has just finished characterized as transiant and unimportant, and stuff best left alone.

As a closing thought, I really can't recommend Sit, Walk, Stand enough. I think it is a beautiful book that speaks to what it means to be a Christian.

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