Ex Anastasis

Posted in: Spirituality by bill-o on March 28, 2009

Ex anastasis. It’s a phrase used only one time in the Greek New Testament. The word anastasis means “resurrection” and ex means “out”. The two words together mean, literally, “out-resurrection”. It could also be phrased in English as “out from resurrection” or “out of resurrection”. In the middle of the apostle Paul’s first-century letter to the Philippians, Paul mentions this “out-resurrection” as being a goal that he is striving for but also a goal which he had not yet attained. (Please see: http://www.blueletterbible.org/Bible.cfm?b=Phl&c=3&v=1&t=NASB#conc/11)

Anastasis, which means resurrection, has always been a key theme for followers of Christ throughout the world. The word anastasis literally means “to stand again”. (Statis means “to stand” and ana means “again”). Easter, which occurs on April 12 this year in Western Christianity and on April 19 in Eastern Christianity, is the most important traditional Christian holiday. It celebrates the resurrection (anastasis) of Jesus from the dead. The theme of resurrection has been a key and common theme of followers of Christ since the time of Jesus. The word anastasis itself appears 42 times in the Greek New Testament.

Yet this use of a variant of anastasis, placing it with the prefix ex, was deliberate by the apostle Paul. There was something important about this “standing again”. There was something that needed to come out from it: out from each of us towards the world around us.

I would propose that this ex anstasis is seeing things God’s way, from his eternal point of view. It is here that the ascension and resurrection meet. Since Jesus, after his resurrection, ascended to heaven, and since the apostle Paul also mentions in another letter how the followers of Jesus on earth are somehow seated with him in heaven (http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Ephesians%202:6;&version=49;), it is from that eternal place that each of us has the possibility of seeing things how God sees them: with true love, patience, kindness, gentleness, and goodness. To see the possibilities of life where others see only death. To have compassion on those who have been forgotten. To stand again for justice for those in desperate need of it.


The phrase ex anastasis (or ek anastasis) is mentioned by Dr. Sam Soleyn in the following teaching series on his web site (http://www.soleyn.org/download_materials.html):

Love and Our Destiny (Program 25)
Seven Spirits of God, Lordship
Seven Spirits of God, Wisdom, Part 1
Seven Spirits of God, Wisdom, Part 2 

Post tags: , , ,

A few days ago, Michael Spencer, a.k.a. “The Internet Monk“, wrote a thought-provoking opinion article about Evangelicalism for the Christian Science Monitor newspaper entitled “The Coming Evangelical Collapse”:


Mr. Spencer, a long-time blogger and commentator about issues related to the Evangelical Church, is also the blogger behind the Jesus Shaped Spirituality site.

The article is divided into four parts: an introduction, an explanation about why, in the author’s view, Evangelicalism is going to collapse, a summary of what will be left in the wake of the Evangelical Church, and, finally, a discussion of whether this upcoming collapse will be good or bad.

The introduction explains the thesis of this commentary article. Evangelicalism will not die but will shrink to half of its current size in two generations. More aggressively secular societies will lead to more hostile public policies towards Evangelical Christianity. In the face of public pressure, many evangelical churches and para-church ministries will either fade away or grow increasingly secular themselves.

The collapse of Evangelicalism will occur because of financial difficulties, too close of an alignment with conservative politics, ignorance about history and theology, and consumerism, among other things. In Mr. Spencer’s view, megachurches will never completely vanish, but they will become increasingly weakened as they emphasize “relevance” over doctrine.

Many evangelicals will go to Roman Catholicism or Eastern Orthodoxy. Others will go into the growing house church movement. Mr. Spencer also predicts that “emerging” churches will fade away by blending back into Mainline Protestantism. He also sees the rise of Pentacostal/Charismatic churches becoming the dominant part of what remains of the Evangelical Church.

Perhaps in a tip of the hat to Shane Claiborne and other new monastics, Mr. Spencer observes that the church will need to return to being countercultural and “empire subvers[ive]” instead of relying on a sense of entitlement and privilege.

I found Mr. Spencer’s critiques of the “pragmatism and shallowness” of evangelicalism to be his strongest. The failure of Evangelicalism to build across the generations through personal discipleship is perhaps its greatest weakness.

Mr. Spencer provides more detailed information about the coming Evangelical collapse at:


Someone told me a few days ago that a single candle is all that is necessary to warm the inside of an igloo. I was surprised by this, but my research shows that this in fact a true statement. For example, please see:


For those of you who may not be familiar with igloos, they are blocks of snow (snow bricks) arranged to form a dome that can serve as a winter shelter or house. In fact, igloos are sometimes called snow houses.

A single candle is enough to heat an igloo for two reasons. First, the design of the igloo naturally reflects radiating heat back to the center of the floor of the igloo. Second, the candle creates just enough heat to melt a thin layer of snow in the ceiling of the igloo into ice. This layer of ice then provides insulation for the interior of the igloo. In a igloo, each snow brick relies on the surrounding bricks to hold it up. Each brick is important in its own right, but could not by itself form the very functional structure that is the igloo.

An igloo is a great picture of what is known as interdependence. Interdependence is where a group of people come to rely on one another to solve problems that cannot be solved independently from one another. It is a way of life that emphasizes cooperation over competition. It is an emphasis on linking people together rather than driving them apart.

While independence is stronger (more mature) than dependence, it is not as mature as interdependence. Thus, a snow brick by itself, apart from any overall structure like an igloo, may serve some useful purposes. It may be more useful to a person than bare, unorganized snow on the ground. It might serve as a table or a chair, for instance. However, a single snow brick is not nearly as interesting as a whole igloo.

During these challenging economic times throughout much of the world, we are each coming to a time and a place where we are going to need to rely upon one another more and more. Interdependence is a way of life where people form families, teams, and groups of people come together to share in the joys and challenges of life. Everyone has a role to play and no one is unimportant. Interdependence is a way where each of us can come together to weather our “economic winter”.

The New Monasticism: The 12 Marks: Mark #3

Posted in: Spirituality by bill-o on March 01, 2009

Continuing with our reflections on the 12 marks of the New Monasticism, we encounter the third mark:

“Hospitality to the stranger”

The first mark of the new monasticism dealt with getting to the right location, whether physical or spiritual. The second addressed sharing with one another within a living and vital community.

This third mark of the new monasticism take things one step further: sharing hospitality with strangers.

After all, it’s one thing to share resources and time with people that you know well: friends and family that you know and trust, sometimes for years or even decades. It’s a bigger step of love to reach out beyond your typical circles of relationships to give freely to those in need whom you may have never met before.

The dictionary defines hospitality as “the friendly reception and treatment of guests or strangers” and, perhaps more enlightening for us here, “the quality or disposition of receiving and treating guests and strangers in a warm, friendly, generous way” (http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/hospitality).

Although this mark pertains specifically to strangers, it is often the case that guests and strangers come together. Who of us have not had occasion where we were planning to entertain a guest yet that guest brought along a stranger whom we had not met before? In these cases, I think that this dictionary definition might need to say “guests and strangers” instead of “guests or strangers”.

And while I think that “tag-along” strangers that come along with intended guests are indeed strangers, I think that the intent of this mark is to drive our imagination out to care for the strangers for whom we cannot even call “friends of friends”. 

Some of you may have seen the Africa Trek television series, where Alexandre Poussin and his wife Sonia walk across Africa from south to north. During this amazing adventure, Alexandre and Sonia walked through remote parts of Africa that were far from any hotel. As they walked, they often encountered strangers who insisted that the two of them stop and stay with them for the night. Much of their journey centered around the hospitality of these perfect strangers who then became friends. In a very real sense, this cross-continent journey was not Alexandre and Sonia’s alone, but also the journey of the friendships and hospitality that they found along the way.

So what is the hospitality that we should offer?

I could offer a list here, yet I think that the yearning to be hospitable should be whatever is truly and uniquely on your heart to do.

At its heart, true hospitality, whatever it is, is, ultimately, an expression of love. It must be something more than a mere “bargained-for exchange”. True hospitality is all about giving of yourself and expecting nothing in return.

I also believe that hospitality is an expression of home. Hospitality is where strangers and friends are welcomed in and truly made to feel “at home”, if only temporarily. And please remember that sometimes we are the ones who bring the hospitality, that true sense of home, to others by visiting those who cannot go out themselves: the shut-ins and the prisoners, for example.

What prevents us from offering that hospitality?

1.  Well, I think that the first mark has to come first: relocate to the abandoned places. You first need to be a location where strangers are more likely to be found.

2.  Second, you should be practicing the second mark: sharing with friends. If you are already being hospitable to friends, it will be a lot easier to do so with strangers. Here, you are already practicing the habits of hospitality with each other.

3.  Hoarding prevents us from giving to others: to friends or to strangers. After all, we each need to be reminded that it is truly more blessed to give than to receive. Giving is a lifestyle choice (as is hoarding, BTW).

4.  Strangers often come at times that are the most “inconvenient” to our personal schedules. Because we don’t yet know them, there is no way to “synchronize our schedules”. Yet this inconvenience becomes convenient when it’s something that marks our lives. Showing hospitality to strangers is all about putting other people first, even when it adversely (and probably temporarily) impacts our time.

5.  Finally, sometimes we’re scared. After all, strangers are not people that we know and trust (at least not yet). Yet this, in and of itself, should not be an excuse. Depending on your own particular circumstances and as you are led by the spirit of God, you should be able to practice hospitality to strangers in a way that is safe and secure.