"Whether we ar dealing with international relations or one-on-one personal relations, evil must be named and confronted. There must be no sliding around it, no attempt (whether for the sake of an easy life or in search of a quick fix) to pretend it wasn't so bad after all. Only when that has been done, when both evil and evildoer have been identified as what and who they are...can there be the second move towards embrace: the embrace of the one who has deeply hurt us or me. Of course , even then this may not happen if the perpertrator of the evil refuses to see his or her action in that light. But if I have named the evil and done my best to offer genuine forgivness and reconciliation, I am free to love that person even if they don't want to respond." - N.T. Wright "Evil and the Justice of God"
"Christian ethics does not consist of a list of 'what we're allowed to do' and 'what we're not allowed to do'. It consists rather in the summons to live in God's new world, on the basis that idolatry and sin have been defeated at the c ross and new creation has begun at Easter - and that the entire new world, based on this achevement, is guaranteed by the power of the Spirit." - N.T. Wright "Evil and the Justice of God"
Isaiah 46.10 "Declaring the end from the beginning, And from ancient times things that are not yet done, Saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, And I will do all My pleasure'"
Gen 6.5-7 "The LORD saw how great man's wickedness on the earth had become, and that every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time. The LORD was grieved that he had made man on the earth, and his heart was filled with pain. So the LORD said, 'I will wipe mankind, whom I have created, from the face of the earth—men and animals, and creatures that move along the ground, and birds of the air—for I am grieved that I have made them.'"
Romans 8.30 "And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified."
John 3.16 "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life."
Exodus 20.12 "Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the LORD your God is giving you."
Luke 14.26 "If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters—yes, even his own life—he cannot be my disciple."

The above verses are only a handful that can be pointed to in scripture that at least on the surface seem to contradict each other. The first ones tell us that God knows the end of the story from the very beginning yet after seeing how wicked man had become he regretted making him, as if this was an unexpected outcome. In the second set of verses we see the God has predestined some yet anyone who believes in Him can be saved. Finally we are told to honor our parents but if we don't hate them we cannot be Jesus' disciples. What's up with that?

Far from being contradictory statements, these illustrate one of the most profound ideas of scripture...tension. For some this may be seen as a middle of the road, wishy-washy, way of dealing with difficult issues, you don't have to come down on any one side, just sort of hang out between the two. I think it's so much more than that. Jay Pathak, the pastor of the Arvada Vineyard, described tension as "holding onto one set of ideas and then pulling hard in the opposite direction." In that description there is no room for a middle of the road approach. It's really about stretching us beyond what we feel comfortable with in order to see a bigger picture of who God really is. 

In the Vineyard, tension is the key to one of our core values, Kingdom Theology. We see it in the fact that the Kingdom of God is already here but not yet. Like the sun which casts it's light into the darkness of night even before it fully appears, God's rule and reign can be seen in a dark world even before it is fully present. Having studied the Kingdom of God, this is not a difficult concept to grasp. Scripture is full of references that point to both realities. However the Kingdom is not the only concept that should be held in tension and I think it would serve us well to do so with other things as well, for me in particular are the issues of open/closed theism and predestination/free will, although it should certainly not be limited to these two topics.

The more I hear arguments on both sides of these debates the more I come to realize that they both fall short of the whole picture of who God is. Each side can pull out a slew of scriptures to support their position, often the exact same ones. They apply interpretations that may or may not be accurate, but certainly stem from their own theological bent. And explanations are given that on the surface sound good but never quite answer the questions being asked. Yet each side can become so entrenched in their position that often the bond that should be found in Christ is lost altogether. Fellowship suffers and thus the work of Christ suffers. Unfortunately I have seen and experienced this in my own life and I fully believe that there is nothing that the Devil appreciates more than brother who cannot unite because of "trivial" disagreements. If it were not for the serious nature of the matter it would be almost comical, that we mere mortals would dare to think that we have God figured out. Although on the surface we are quick to deny that claim when we get right down to it we really do believe that we have it figured out and others are "creating God in their own image". Instead of acting like we are in the right, why don't we try to live in the tension? Hold on to our positions and then pull hard in the opposite direction. Who knows, we just might learn something new about the Awesome God of the Universe and strengthen the bonds of fellowship in the process.

Make any sense at all or just rambling?