Archive for the ‘Bill Winn’ Tag

50 Whats?

50 Whats?

Nope not light bulbs… Shades of Grey. So right now there is a pile of media attention being doled out over the recent book by E.L. James that is now on the big screen. So what’s the big deal? Why the outcry?  I don’t know and I don’t really care. I haven’t read the book and won’t see the movie. (my personal choice) So this blog will not be about whether or not the book or movie is appropriate or whether or not our readers should entertain their minds with 50 Shades of Grey. We at Trinity and Humanity blog do indeed trust that our readers are mature enough to make such decisions on their own. Still, E.L. James is the target of a good bit of criticism from both Christians and non-Christians alike.

As I stated earlier, I am not qualified to talk about the book so I won’t. What I can speak to is the conversation that has been pushed to the fore as a result of James’ literary work. The conversation is about sex… *gasp*! Yes, sex. Hmmm… makes us uncomfortable sometimes doesn’t it. Why? What is it about us, especially Christians, that gets a bit nervous inside when we hear the word sex?

Let’s start here… in John 1:3 we read that nothing was made that was made that was not made by Jesus. God created everything! Did God give us sex? Yep, and thank you Jesus! Sex is good. Sex is wonderful. Sex is intended by God to be enjoyed in the specific context of marriage and in that context it is awesome! Regular other-centered sex between a husband and wife is even thought to reduce the risk of heart disease and to produce all sorts of other health benefits.

Faith Winn: Future Rocker!

Faith Winn: Future Rocker!

So here is the question: Why doesn’t the Church talk about sex MORE? I once had a conversation with a group of buddies where we were discussing the merits (or lack thereof) of classic Rock-n-Roll music. You see, as a guitarist, I really appreciate the skill of people like Jimmy Page, David Gilmour, EVH, and other lead guitarists from the classic rock era. So I play a fair amount of Pink Floyd, Led Zep, and Van Halen, as best I can, on the guitar. As you may know many of those songs are about sex. So for me, a married man, I can appreciate those songs in the context of my marriage to the most amazing woman on the planet!

At last, here is the final question and point. If God created mountains, babies, blue skies, rain, and flowers… and the Church has no problem writing songs about those topics and if God also created sex, why does the Church ignore it in our music and entertainment? Also if the Church is going to ignore one of the most wonderful gifts we’ve been given by the blessed Trinity, why as Christians are we so shocked that people will go elsewhere to talk about it.

A final challenge to Christian musicians: If it’s not career suicide, do us a favor and write us a good Rock-n-Roll song about sex within the context of a mutually other-centered marriage. Until then watch your ears… Led Zeppelin is on loud at my house and I am not ashamed!

~Bill Winn

Did God forsake Jesus?

Did God ever Forsake Jesus? Consider these words of Jesus on the Cross, “Eli Eli lama sabachthani?” These words translated are “My God, my God why have you forsaken me?” Did God the Father abandon or forsake Jesus on the Cross? Did the Eternal Father of the Eternal Son really pronounce him accursed? Is it possible that the same Father who declared, “This is my beloved Son in whom my soul delights.” really turned his back on Jesus so that he suffered alone and isolated in his hour of greatest need? Much has been written about this subject so let me throw in on the matter. Let’s look at what the Bible has to say and let our minds be conformed to the mind of Christ .

If we begin with the character and nature of God we will see a clear answer to this question.

Is it possible that the Father forsook Jesus?

Is it possible that the Father forsook Jesus?

In John 1:1 we read; “In the beginning was the Word and the Word was God and the Word was with God.” The Greek word for with in this passage indicates a face-to-face, personal, and intimate relationship. Jesus and his Father have eternally been in this intimate face-to-face relationship in the communion of the Holy Spirit. There has never been a time when the Father, Son, and Spirit have not been in intimate loving relationship. The Triune God exists as relationship and is Love. The Father, Son, and Spirit know no other way to be toward one another than to be as Love.

On the Cross Jesus is executing a rabbinic exercise where the teacher begins to quote a Psalm and the congregants there finish it. Jesus is quoting Psalm 22 which begins “My God my God why have you forsaken me?” The Psalm does not end in defeat it ends in victory. The point made by Jesus is victory not defeat or having been forsaken.

Also who is Jesus’ God? What God does Jesus worship? Well Jesus does not have a God he is God with the Father and the Spirit so just on that point alone the idea that Jesus is literally telling us that the Father has forsaken him cannot be accurate.  In I Corinthians 12:3 Paul says, “Therefore, I want you to understand that no one speaking by the Spirit of God ever says, ‘Let Jesus be cursed!” I would hazard a guess that God the Father speaks by the Spirit. It is not the Father who put Jesus to death on the Cross… it was us. (Heb. 12:3) Consider II Corinthians 5:19 “…that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself…” The word for in there really means in. In John 14:20 Jesus says, “In that day you will know that I am in my Father and you are in me and I am in you.” Jesus and the Father mutually indwell one another and the Holy Spirit is facilitating this relationship at all times.

Some argue that because Jesus took on our sin God the Father had to turn his back on him because God cannot have any part with sin. Let us never forget that Jesus is God- co-equal with the Father and the Spirit.  If God can have no fellowship with sin how did Jesus eat with sinners, become human, and finally take on all of our sin!

Also ponder this… there is a politician I know of that is on his third marriage. When he married wife number one he said, “I’ll never leave you nor forsake you.” Then he cheated on wife number one with the woman who would become wife number two. When he married wife number two he said, “I’ll never leave you nor forsake you.” Then he cheated on wife number two with the woman who would become wife number three. When he married wife number three he said, “I’ll never leave you nor forsake you.” Well neither wife number two nor three have any basis on which to believe him because of what he has actually done. He has proven that he will in fact leave and forsake. So if the Eternal Father of Jesus would leave and forsake him in his hour of greatest need how can we ever believe that he will never leave nor forsake us?

Let me say with clarity and determination… God the Father most certainly did not forsake Jesus on the Cross and Jesus did not say that he did. This Father’s Day as we celebrate all that is good about our dads let us put away in our hearts, minds, and in our Faith the blasphemous notion that Jesus’ Father ever turned his back on him and let us celebrate that he will never turn his back on us!

~ Bill Winn

Athanasius of Alexandria

Well here at the end of Black History month in the U.S.A. I thought I would take the time to acquaint or reacquaint the readers of Trinity and Humanity with one of the greatest heroes of the Christian Church who happens to have been from Africa.athanasius 

Over the course of nearly 2000 years the Christian Church has had before it a singular question: “Who is Jesus?” In the Christian Church ours is the task of viewing all of our thoughts about God through the lens of Jesus. We have many resources available to us, such as the Bible, the Creeds, the witness of the Early Church Fathers, and most importantly the Father, Son, and Spirit’s personal witness to us in Jesus. But still the quest for us is to know Jesus as he knows us with his Father and the Spirit. In the history of the Christian Church there are certain figures that are remembered for their contributions in answering the question: “Who is Jesus?”  Some of those names are Peter, Paul, Polycarp, Tertullian (who coined the word Trinity), Irenaeus, Basil the Great, Gregory of Nyssa, Gregory of Nazianzus, Alexander of Alexandria, and even up until the time of Augustine of Hippo and beyond. There is one man though whom I am excited to tell you about. He is like the Superman of Early Church Fathers. His name is Athanasius of Alexandria. He was born around 298 A.D. and died 2 May, 373 A.D. Athanasius was a Coptic Egyptian. His detractors called him “The Black Dwarf”. His life was extraordinary. He basically penned the Nicene Creed at the Council of Nicea in 325. Athanasius held the line against something called the Heresy of Arius. Arius and his followers denied the divinity of Jesus Christ. Arius taught people that Jesus was a created being and that he was not God. Athanasius was Triune God’s champion in the fight against this heresy. He endured multiple attempts on his life by the Arians and even the Roman government sought to have him imprisoned and killed but alas he died of natural causes peacefully around the age of 75 surrounded by his friends.

Sometimes we suffer (as C.S. Lewis called it) from chronological snobbism. This just means that sometimes we think we are better than the Early Church because we are more modern or more knowledgeable. We make a huge mistake if we discount the work of the Early Church Fathers as primitive or naive.  Especially in Athanasius do we find a very sophisticated, systematic, and developed theology. Athanasius connects the dots for us on many areas of Christian thought and probably no one has written more brilliantly and succinctly than him on the Incarnation. His treatise, On the Incarnation of the Word, is the benchmark in terms of commentary on the Son of the Father becoming human. Athanasius was also the first person to list all of the 27 books of the New Testament, nearly 100 years before the New Testament was canonized, and he even listed them in the order we have them today.

 Athanasius is a giant among the Early Church Fathers who has much to say for our benefit today. I implore you to read On the Incarnation of the Word and Contra Gentes

Thank you Father, Son, and Spirit for the life and work of St. Athanasius and for sharing with him your burden that the human race come to know you as we are known by you and share in your eternal life of love and acceptance. Amen!

                                                                                                                                                                          ~Bill Winn

BUSTED!

The four Gospels of the New Testament record many of the sayings and teaching of Jesus. We are gifted with a partial transcript of his wisdom, humor, correction, insight, and compassion. One of my favorites is the statement Jesus made to a woman who had been caught in the act of something punishable by death. We find it in John 8 and many, I am confident, are somewhat familiar with the story. You see there was this ongoing attempt by the religious leaders of the day to try and trip up Jesus, to discredit him, and to have him killed the latter of which Jesus submitted to when the time for his sacrificial death drew near.

So in John 8 here they come, the “religion police”, dragging with them a woman caught right in the act of adultery.  As you might expect this scene drew a crowd as many wanted to see what would become of her. At the time this all took place adultery was punishable by death.  This woman was busted and in real trouble!

"Neither do I condemn you"

“Neither do I condemn you”

The religious leaders were hoping to trick Jesus into going against the law of their land thus discrediting him and putting him in mortal jeopardy.

Well, I venture a guess that if the religious leaders of the day had known and believed that Jesus really was the Eternal Son of the Father, the Creator and Sustainer of all things, and the Messiah they would not have been so silly as to try and trick him.

When they brought the woman caught in the act of adultery to him Jesus masterfully handled the situation. He looked at her accusers and wrote in the dirt saying, “Let anyone among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” By the way where was the man with whom she’d done this act? Perhaps religious misogynism is a good future blog topic. Many scholars believe that what Jesus wrote in the dirt was some of the sins of the woman’s accusers, we really don’t know for sure but what we do know is that Jesus made a way to spare this woman’s life. Jesus took up her cause and defended her. This is greatly important to us as we read of the life and ministry of Jesus but what he actually said to this woman is, I think, most significant.

After her accusers left Jesus said to the woman, “Where are your accusers? Is there no one left to condemn you? She answered, “No one Lord.” Then Jesus replied to her with the most stunning news she could have heard from the Son of God… “Then neither do I condemn you… go and stop this sin.” That is the word of the Lord to us, “Neither do I condemn you!”

Jesus himself said that he did not come into the world to condemn it but that through him the whole world might be saved. If you blow it this week, if you have already blown it, if there is a behavior or action in your life that you know is poison then knock it off but know this… no matter what Jesus does not condemn! Jesus redeems, Jesus heals, Jesus loves, Jesus brings to bear in your life the very Triune life of God that he has shared with his Father and the Holy Spirit from all eternity. So while others may condemn us and pass judgment on us the One who really matters is Jesus and he says, “Neither do I condemn you!”

~Bill Winn

Jesus and the Naked Grape

Well a couple of months ago my wife Davina asked me to stop in at the market to pick up a few items for a spaghetti squash dish that she makes. (It’s quite good) On the list of  items for the recipe was a bottle of dry white wine. So as I left my last visit for the day I stopped by one of the many grocers  near our home. Working my way down the list I got the crushed red tomatoes, spaghetti squash, and the dry white wine. Well truth is I did not care if it was a dry wine or not because I found a brand of white wine called The Naked Grape. “Awesome!” I thought, “This is a two-for, I get the wine and I get to come in the house and see my wife and daughters’ reaction to the label on this bottle.” I just knew it would be fun and went on my merry way to the checkout. Well I thought my way would be merry but I had forgotten that I was wearing a T-shirt designed by my friend Lance McKinnon that says JESUS. I really had not even thought about the T-shirt until I got in the speedy check-out lane. While in the line I was just in front of a Caucasian woman in her 50’s and just behind her was an elderly African-American woman in one of those slick little shopping go-karts. As I placed the wine on the conveyor the lady just behind me stated quite loudly, “Oh, I see, a Jesus T-shirt AND a bottle of wine.” I did not know what to do except smile sheepishly when all of the sudden a graveled voice from the scooter-cart said, “Well the Bible doesn’t say drinking is a sin but judging people is!” You could have heard a pin drop. I laughed nervously, took my receipt and goods, and left as fast as I could. On the drive home a slew of questions came to mind. If Jesus had invited me to the wedding at Cana would I have been too embarrassed to go knowing that he might associate himself with wine? Why was I so embarrassed by that situation? What was the big deal about having my Jesus T-shirt on and buying a bottle of wine -and a bottle of Naked Grape to boot? Why has the Christian church that I love and have pledged my life to serve shamed us into thinking we can’t be free? Have we been duped by religiosity so much that we cannot enjoy the world and all the good things the Blessed Trinity has given us? We were not created for religion. You see, the Father, Son, and Spirit created us to share in Their life of love and fellowship. The Good Shepherd said in John 10:10 that he came so we might have life and have it fully! When Jesus said ‘life’ he could have chosen a few different words in the language of the day. He could have said the word that means biological life, he could have used the word for soul, but instead he chose the word that means ‘spiritual’ life. Jesus was referring to the life he has shared with His Father in the communion of the Holy Spirit from all eternity. It is into the very Triune life of God that we have been included. This is huge! Jesus has set us free for freedom’s sake! (Gal. 5:1) And Jesus has given us spaghetti squash, wives, husbands, children, homes, football, tennis, swimming, summer camp, music and dancing, and a whole host of blessings we could never list in one blog and yes Jesus has even given us wine! The religion under which we suffer from time to time only hurts because it runs against the grain of our inclusion in the Triune life of love, freedom, sharing, giving, laughter, joy, other-centeredness, dancing, and every other good thing we can imagine and a million more we can’t even dream. It was Irenaeus who said, “The glory of God is man fully alive.” I believe he was right! It’s past 8 PM now and I must go -there is a dram of Single Malt calling my name! Cheers!

~ Bill Winn

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