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 

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The New Monasticism: The 12 Marks: Mark #2

Posted in: Spirituality by bill-o on September 06, 2008

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

“Sharing economic resources with fellow community members and the needy among us”

The first mark dealt with geographical relocation, whereas the second mark deals with monetary reallocation. What some have called “commonism” (which is not the same thing as Communism, by the way) was a hallmark of the earliest followers of Christ in Jerusalem. “And all those who had believed were together and had all things in common; and they began selling their property and possessions and were sharing them with all, as anyone might have need.” (The Book of Acts, chapter 2 verses 43 and 44) Such a deep commitment of communal sharing, however, lasted for decades beyond the Pentecost. As the church father Tertullian later expressed (around the year 200) about the lives of Christ-followers: “Everything is shared among us – except for our wives.” (Tertullian, Apologetics, 39:11)

Such a communal sharing takes real maturity and love. Yet the benefits are remarkable. Everyone is cared for to the best ability of the community. No one is left behind. Each person has the supply and backing of the greater community. Additionally, the leaders of the community cannot gain unfair advantages over the followers on the basis of monetary wealth. What greater statement could there be that God is no respecter of persons.

Notice carefully that there are two different groups of recipients of the common economic resources of the community of followers of Christ: the members of the community and the needy (poor). The needy mentioned here may or may not be part of the faith community. The pagan Roman emperor, Julian the Apostate (who reigned from 355 to 363), was no friend of Christians. However, he famously observed that believers in Christ not only provided for their own poor but also for other poor people, too. Jesus made it clear that he had come to preach good news to the poor, and it was mostly the poor of this world who became his followers in the decades before Christianity was made into an official religion. I, myself, have seen hearts that were hard towards Christ and his followers quickly soften when they see true works of charity given to the poorest of the world by the followers of Jesus. And if there is one thing that I have seen that separates the true spiritual seekers from the spiritual charlatans, it is that their hearts are soft and caring towards the desperately poor.

The New Testament Greek used two words for the poor: penes and ptochos. Penes referred to what we typically call the “working poor”. These were people who did not have many material possesions or property, but who were able to work as day-laborers in order to provide for themselves. Ptochos, on the other hand, were the desperately poor, the destitute ones. It is these needy ones that Jesus was talking about when he said that he was preaching good news to the poor. The poor (ptochos) widow who Jesus observed donating everything that she had to the temple was one of these very needy people. Jesus told the rich young ruler to sell everything that he had and give it to the poor (ptochos). When the apostles Peter and James recognized the work and calling of the apostle Paul, they gave him only one command: that he should remember the poor (ptochos), which was something that Paul was already eager to do. Paul also said that, though he was poor (ptochos), he and his spiritual brothers, through many difficult and dangerous journeys, were making many (spiritually) rich.

It is at the very core and nature of true Christ-followers that they yearn to care for the desperately poor in their own communities and around the world. It is the rhythm, pulse, and heart-cry of Jesus and his disciples, and the sharing community provides a place of wisdom and gentleness for the redistribution of possessions to those who are truly in need.


For further reading related to this subject, I recommend the article “OK, I Admit It” at Behold: The Blog!