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May 12, 2016
Sacha Sewhdat

Tim Day is the Director of City Movement, author of God Enters Stage Left and former Lead Pastor of The Meeting House.  Last month, he participated in an interview for this Sunday’s show, The Power of Story.

After the interview, Lorna Dueck and Tim Day got into a conversation about the nature of sin, and what the story of Christ meant to those that lived it.

With their permission, this private conversation is made available to you.

Check out the full audio below.

Tim Day: One of the things that I try to work at in the book, because it is a really important thing in the story of Israel and of Jesus, is what to do with enemies. It’s easy to love your own, to love your own tribe, but as we see with ISIS, it gets hard when it comes to actually comes to loving your enemies, that’s where it gets really hard.  This is where most people, intuitively, want to find a reason why that doesn’t apply. Even though it’s pretty clear in Jesus’ teaching and what he models. I think, for the younger generation, that’s an important part of the discussion.

Lorna Dueck: What I struggle with is sin and communicating the need for a saviour.  I wish we had a different metaphor than a cross. 

Tim Day: Yeah. One of the problems that we have is actually our translations because sin has become a very specific, very powerful, very negative, religious word. So, it really colours everything that we think rather than being a very common word that just means you did something wrong. You could use it like we use the word ‘wrong’. It was just a common word.

The cross was not used by the early church, it was used post-Constantine. ‘By this sign, you will conquer’. And they wanted to conquer. It’s a very powerful thing and a very powerful theology. So Saint Augustine, who still gets quoted, evolved in his thinking over time to include conversion under penalty of death, to the use of torture.

Lorna Dueck:  You’re the first person who’s told me that Augustine wasn’t perfect.

Tim Day: Sorry about that.

Lorna Dueck: I knew Constantine was bad for us, but Augustine was bad for us?

Tim Day: Augustine, in his pragmatism and his platonic way of thinking—very logical—finally got to the place where he was rationalizing torture, conversion under penalty of death, all these things. For example, 'You are better off putting a sword to somebody’s throat and make them become a Christian than see him go to hell.'

They have all these logical, weird things that people do when they are only thinking logically and not empathetically. So, that got baked into history. 

In God Enters Stage Left, I talk about how the story of Israel gets replayed by the church and even though there is an underground thread of the church that is living the message authentically, the dominant institutional church becomes like Israel. Violent, oppressive, top-down and our theology reflects that and it continues today. 

The Crucifixion, the final sacrifice, was to end sacrifices. In other words, it was to end that way of thinking. The Resurrection was their hope.

The focus, therefore, should be on the New Creation. This is what Paul wants us to get our imaginations around.  God is doing a new thing in you and how do we understand new life, transformation.  

He was trying to put to rest the things that troubled us forever: there’s something wrong with me, I screwed up, can I be forgiven?  Shame, guilt. Jesus is trying to put these things to rest so that we can be awakened to greater things like mercy, hope, the fruit of the Spirit, the life of love, peacemaking, and facing things with confidence.  So, we can have joy in the midst of tough circumstances knowing that the new order is breaking through in the midst of our lives and our relationships.

Click on the audio link at the top of the page to hear more of Tim’s thoughts on worship songs, communion, and the need for a rebrand.  

Do you think Christianity needs rebranding? Let us know below.


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