Over the weekend we studied the Beautitudes.  Acording to Blomberg there are 36 different interpertations for Matthew 5:1-12.  A few years ago I read Dallas Willard’s take and it freed me, big time!  According to him the 8 sayings of Jesus starting with "Blessed are you …." are not a new list of commandments leading to a different brand of Phariseeism.  He says,

The Beatitudes, in particular, are not teachings on how to be blessed.  They are not instructions to do anything.  They do not indicate conditions that are especially pleasing to God or good for human beings.  No one is actually being told that they are better off for being poor, for mourning, for being persecuted, and so on, or that the conditions listed are recommended ways to well-being before God or man …  They are explanations and illustrations, drawn from the immediate setting, of the present availability of the kingdom through personal relationship to Jesus.  They single out cases that proof that, in him, the rule of God from the heavens truly is available in life circumstances that are beyond all human hope.  Dallas Willard

Imagine Jesus looking at someone who lost their farm to the opressing rule of Rome and Jesus saying to him, "Blessed are you when you’re poor".  His head then turns to a mourning lady who lost her husband to death, "Blessed are you when you mourn".

Reality_1 At Kleipot we discussed what the beautitudes of our culture looks like, "Blessed are you when you have a six pack on your stomach", "Blessed are you when you have the perfect complexion" etc.  Last year our community brought a bunch of magazines to our service and we ripped out the beatitudes of the world – it was a lot of fun (check out Adbusters for some good irony on the culture’s blessedness).

Our conversations revolved around:

1.  You are the blessed of God, how does that change you?

2.  Other’s are also blessed by God, how will that change your interactions?

3.  What are your subconscious beatitudes, in other words in what ways are your life assimilated with the culture’s beatitudes?