maandag 25 augustus 2014

Christ is the norm

Christ is normal, He is the norm

What we consider ‘normal’ is the result of formal and informal social learning which has resulted in us holding on unquestioningly to ways of thinking and acting that are considered acceptable by the majority in our cultural context. When a person fails to conform adequately to the norms of his or her culture then all kinds of informal and formal ways of punishment will come into play.  Informal punishment may involve being rebuked, being gossiped about, being ignored or even deliberately being ostracized. Formal punishments may come in the form of legal measures such as fines or even incarceration. Punishments, formal and informal, are effective re-enforcers of conformity, not just in society and culture as a whole but even within sub-cultures of companies, religious communities or of organizations. While everyone assumes that the ways of thinking and acting we believe in are normal and therefore normative for everyone, we must accept the possibility that in spite of our collectively accepted norms, we may altogether be just as wrong as the majority of Germans collectively were wrong in their belief in and support of Nazi ideology and the majority of the Caucasian South Africans were wrong about the ideology of apartheid. The early followers of Christ were taught by leaders such as the Roman Jew Paul of Tarsus to obey their respective governments even though these were corrupt and flawed in many ways. At the same time he would remind the followers of Christ that the socio-political and religious structures in society were literally demonic and as such a threat for humanity. They are partially inspired and infused with evil which had to be battled, not so much by the sword, but by the teaching and proclamation of the gospel, the teachings of Christ. Spiritual warfare in a truly Bible-based Christian sense therefore should never resemble an Islamic Jihad or Roman military campaign like the crusades of the Medieval period, instead it is a matter of propagating the teachings of Christ as they believe that He, His example and His teachings are the truth by which all humanity should live in order to reach their full potential. Teaching Christ involves creating awareness that things can be done differently by our very own lifestyles, behaviour, attitudes, action and words. It involves opposing all falsehood and dehumanizing evils, lies and deceit, oppression, aggression, coercion and violence. Instead we promote Christian values of justice tempered by forgiveness and a desire for restoration, truth held and promoted in love, doing what is good and kind to all human beings. It involves giving people a second chance, freedom of choice, compassion, co-operation and the fair sharing of resources. For us Christ is the norm and all He represents so that all humanity can experience life in abundance.

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