Helpful Tidbits for Organic Church Life                                          November 16, 2009
Baptism and the [Re]new[ed] Humanity
My Reflections
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Christ_AbstractThis past week I hit a milestone; I successfully defended a dissertation. By doing so, it allows me to put those three often-coveted letters behind my name.
My friends often ask me if I'll use the three letters: on email signatures, on letterhead, whatever. For the most part, my answer is no (I'll do it just this once for those who wish I Although I'm proud of some of the stuff I've done, I don't want my identity wrapped up in my accomplishments. No, what I'm really proud of is who I'm married to and what he accomplished on the cross.

QUESTION/TOPIC IN FOCUS: Let's not forget what the church is all about; we are the bride of Christ
Baptism and the [Re]new[ed] Humanity
Excerpted from Body Politics by John Howard Yoder
Yeshua_baptismThe apostle Paul had to explain his special missionary policies. As a matter of principle, he made Jews and Gentiles members of the same community, eating and worshiping together. That policy was being criticized from both sides. In the course of that argument he wrote to the Corinthians: "If anyone is united to Christ, there is a new world: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new!" (2 Cor 5:17) (1992:28).
My Reflections 
Romans 7 can get rather confusing. Verses 1-6 seem to do away with the law. The rest of the chapter, however, seems to herald the goodness of the law.
Consider now verses 2 and 3: " law a married woman is bound to her husband as long as he is alive, but if her husband dies, she is released from the law of marriage. So then, if she marries another man while her husband is still alive, she is called an adulteress. But if her husband dies, she is released from that law and is not an adulteress, even though she marries another man."
Here's my (very) short commentary. God comes to the Israelites at Sinai and says, I love you. Marry me. Here are my terms. Israel says yes, but cheats; she becomes an adulteress. As a result, in Jeremiah 3, God issues a certificate of divorce. Out of his love, however, God persues Israel. But there's a glitch; the Law stipulates she can't remarry unless the first husband dies. Thus, to fulfil the Law, Yeshua (Jesus) the Messiah and incarnate Word dies, thereby allowing for a new covenant...a brand new start! (By the way, I didn't come up with all this stuff; it's a product of rich discussion in my house church.)
Although a paragraph can't do justice to the concept I'm trying to express, my reflection this week has to do with who we are as the church; we are the bride of Christ! It is into this reality that we are baptized!
Let us rejoice in this fact; all of our accomplishments and mess-ups are superflous at the foot of the cross. In him, we are one body, one bride. Praise be to Messiah!
Hope this was of some benefit to you.

Traver Dougherty, D.Min., Ph.D.
The Banqueting Table