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Spectrum Church | Judgment Daze

Happy Sabbath!

This week’s liturgy comes from some personal reflections on content and conversations this week. Of course Des Ford, the atonement and investigative judgment has dominated the comment section.

In addition, the comment section I had a pleasant exchange with Bill Cork who, though we disagree on several issues, was, like me, troubled by the wholesale infringement on free speech during the conventions, particularly in St. Paul. All too often folks who we pay to represent us made themselves unavailable to media as they ducked into another corporate lobbyist-sponsored party or exchanged their brain for made-for-TV talking points.

On this theme, I was reminded of the old Belshazzar story, which we have Johnny Cash singing for special music. “Weighed in the balance and found wanting. . .”

Judgment is now – in our media decisions, who and what we vote for, and how we prioritize our experience on earth.

But wait, didn’t Jesus also say “judge not, least ye be judged?” Pastor Greg Boyd tackles that in the homily. Hint: the legal paradigm is the wrong way to interpret scripture.

Opening Meditation/Prayer

In this meditation take a second to think about how you react to the setting of Jesus in this urban environment.

David LaChapelle

Tefaf; Maastricht, Netherlands; “Jesus is My Homeboy” March 2008

What judgments did you make about the people, the artist, the suggestions of situations. Did they evoke associations with a familiar Biblical story, a familiar assumption about a city, a familiar grotesque yet beautiful emotion?

Here is video (with great axial cuts) of an installation of these photos in a church. In this context, looking at them and at other people look as well adds another level of becoming aware of how we are constantly judging everyone and everything.

Scripture Reading

Romans 14:1-12 NRSV

1 Welcome those who are weak in faith, but not for the purpose of quarreling over opinions.

2 Some believe in eating anything, while the weak eat only vegetables.

3 Those who eat must not despise those who abstain, and those who abstain must not pass judgment on those who eat; for God has welcomed them.

4 Who are you to pass judgment on servants of another? It is before their own lord that they stand or fall. And they will be upheld, for the Lord is able to make them stand.

5 Some judge one day to be better than another, while others judge all days to be alike. Let all be fully convinced in their own minds.

6 Those who observe the day, observe it in honor of the Lord. Also those who eat, eat in honor of the Lord, since they give thanks to God; while those who abstain, abstain in honor of the Lord and give thanks to God.

7 We do not live to ourselves, and we do not die to ourselves.

8 If we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord; so then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord’s.

9 For to this end Christ died and lived again, so that he might be Lord of both the dead and the living.

10 Why do you pass judgment on your brother or sister? Or you, why do you despise your brother or sister? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God.

11 For it is written, “As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall give praise to God.”

12 So then, each of us will be accountable to God.

Special music

Johnny Cash – “Belshazzar”


On Jan. 1 , 2008, Greg Boyd delivered a sermon to his congregation at Woodland Hills Church in St. Paul, Minnesota, explaining how a tradition in the Western Church invites Christians to interpret certain Biblical teachings through the lens of legal analogies. Boyd believes these “legal” readings block modern readers’ abilities to understand the intent of these Scriptures. Boyd offers another analogy.


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Dadd Rings – “Judgment Day”

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