Shuck and Jive

Opinions expressed here are my own and do not represent the views of the congregation I joyfully serve. But my congregation loves me!

Thursday, September 06, 2007


(Conversations with Bob! What is the essence of faith? Bob's up!)

Greek time! There are some words that just sound like what they are, words like squish. One of my favorite Greek words is above. Transliterated it is splankna. Literally it means guts, intestines. I always thought the word sounded like guts would sound like when dropped on a table. Therefore I just had to teach it to my younger brothers who have equally sick senses of humor. And they, of course, had to use it at dinner time and gross out my wife and mother. (Mother more than wife because even after 2 years of marriage wife was getting used to my sick sense of humor.)

The verb form, always in the middle voice, is splanknizomai, meaning to feel something down in your guts or to have compassion. Thus Jesus had compassion on the crowd when he and the disciples reached the other side of the Sea of Galilee because they were like sheep without a shepherd. He called off the disciples’ vacation and taught the crowd and then fed them. (Mark 6:34)

So is compassion essential? Of course it is! But John are we only to list fruits of the Spirit as essentials? Why not go ahead and make a list then? Paul’s while not entirely complete is pretty good: “By contrast, the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against such things.” (Galatians 5:22-23 NRSV)

So yes, the various fruits of the Spirit are essential emotions and behaviors. Can we achieve them all in completeness? Even with the help and guidance of the Holy Spirit they take work. When a homeless person who hasn’t bathed in weeks comes into my office looking for help I try to hear the whole story and not just give some aid to get the person out the door. Like you said John, listening and understanding are vital parts of compassion.

But John, we can talk fruits of the Spirit for weeks. What I want to know is do you think there are any theological essentials of faith? I proclaim by faith that Jesus Christ is risen from the dead. I proclaim by faith that his resurrection assures the resurrection of those who place their faith, (thoughts, feelings, words, actions and lives) in him. Are we never to talk of what we believe?

Grace and Peace