Wednesday, January 27, 2021

Living Spiritual Rhythms - January 27

Encountering the infinite mystery of another human being is a sacramental invitation and a sacred adventure towards convergence. This coming alongside or coming together phenomenon will take place at different levels of familiarity; it is never nothing or everything. That is, to be unaffected by or irredeemably lost in another is an expression of inappropriate selfhood. Unadulterated oneness is not desirable. We are always to be intensely touched by our engagements with the other, while remaining ourselves.

 

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Monday, January 25, 2021

Reflection for the Week - January 25

In today’s world of increasing uncertainty and growing violence there comes a time for seeking shelter - a dwelling place or space, not just an address. This place-space will include memories, stories, emotions, identity, imagination and much more, going far beyond a material structure. Hospitality, rest, refuge, challenge, and direction translate into some of the characteristics that can begin to engage and enlarge possibilities for promoting the being and becoming a truer self.

 

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Thursday, January 21, 2021

New ebook!

Ladies. Despicably, you have been terribly misrepresented for a long time. Some men have contended that you’re merely a womb for male seed, or like wax on which a male stamps his imprint, or a man gone wrong. While these derogatory characterizations may not be as blatant as they once were, I’d wager their unfortunate and oppressive impact remains today. If you’re interested in my interpretation of why Saint Paul in 1 Corinthians 7 rejects such misrepresentations and proposes more egalitarian views, check out my recent ebook.
 
https://www.amazon.com/Living-Corinthians-Saint-Paul-Equality-ebook/dp/B08JV6KD9X/ 

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Wednesday, January 20, 2021

Living Spiritual Rhythms - January 20

Struggling with a biblical notion of revelation is the way it’s supposed to be. It’s in the struggle to understand that the pursuit of what’s true continues. In some instances, it appears that the biblical writers were doing likewise. They didn’t have it all together. Thus, a significant dimension of the reality of theism and Christianity is found in the struggle to believe it. Apparently, in this life, hermeneutical entanglements with God, the world, self, and other should never end.

 

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Monday, January 18, 2021

Reflection for the Week - January 18

We may now find ourselves in a somewhat dazed and confused context after the failure of modernism and its assurances of certainty, optimism, and progress. Postmodernism, however, has not fared much better, even in its rightful sweeping away of the illusions of the modernist dream. Problem is, postmodernism often leaves us with the opposite pole of modernism; uncertainty, pessimism, and circularity. Embracing the dirge for these two modes of seeing, living, and being may be painful, but it opens up the possibility of grasping something of the hope expressed in God’s promises and their trajectory toward a future that has sufficient lucidity to have an impact on the present.

 

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Thursday, January 14, 2021

Thursday Thoughts - January 14

As I underscored in my book on Ricoeur and biblical hermeneutics, reductionism is, and rightly so, faltering. While reductionism has been and still is popular, a transdisciplinary path, though more arduous, is gradually replacing it. Transdisciplinarity (being open to a suite of disciplines that can impact, even transform each other) is indeed becoming recognized as necessary when investigating issues like self, God, other, or more specifically anthropology, genetics, and biology. Being as well informed as possible in several disciplines is a new challenge, though of course one cannot be a specialist to the same degree in each one. Learning from one another’s expertise is also essential. Thus, I’d wager the playing surface is now being enlarged and extensive templates are becoming available for more productive transdisciplinary research in a diversity of fields.

 

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Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Living Spiritual Rhythms - January 13

I’d wager that reality is subjectively objective. This configuration appears to correspond to nature and humanity. That is, God, the other, and the world are objectively there, but our access to them is subjective. Yet, subjectivity does not cancel out objectivity, or vice versa. If that’s the case, they are related and distinct at the same time. This ‘tensional’ perspective is important because it helps us avoid absolute confusion between or a complete blurring of self, other, and world.

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Monday, January 11, 2021

Reflection for the Week - January 11

Traditional worldview apologetics, as practiced by several notable Christians in the twentieth century, are dead. They simply lack credibility. I’d wager there are several reasons for this, but one of them is basically that our understanding of the world today is no longer the same as it was supposed to be then. While the world remains an informer, the information (neurosciences, genetics, evolution) it now offers challenges, rather than confirms the centrality of apologetics. Let’s move in another direction. Any assumed belief in an Absolute God who is, ought to be replaced by belief in a possible God who gives.

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Thursday, January 7, 2021

Thursday Thoughts - January 7

Having serious questions about the nature of the biblical text should be considered a good idea. Getting concerns about authority, history, and the universe out on the table, is essential. Taking time to work through questions and learn from them will be rewarding, though we may not find many answers. Don’t worry, mystery can be exciting. Thus, instead of a blind acceptance of the biblical text, we should be promoting a spirit of openness that welcomes questioning it.

 

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Wednesday, January 6, 2021

Living Spiritual Rhythms - January 6

If you never felt you had ‘permission’ in church, at home, or in community, to ask questions about the biblical text or its interpretation, something was/is wrong. Get that. Something was/is wrong. No shaming tactics, guilt trips, or theological dogmatism, should put you off. You’re right to raise questions and look for responses where available, come what may. Let’s face it, sometimes there are no answers. We just don’t have enough information. So, go ahead. Question! Be curious. Explore. Certainty about the biblical text or its interpretations is not, as it’s often touted to be, a safe place, but a dangerously controlling and manipulative illusion.

 

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Monday, January 4, 2021

Reflection for the Week - January 4

The clarity of the biblical text, some argue, is based on the truth that it is God’s own communicative action (what God has authored), which gives us light, not a magisterium or a subjective opinion. What is clear is delivered by the Spirit speaking in the text. For me, this raises a number of issues, but I’ll flag just two. I’d wager that it can be extremely difficult to discern Spirit speech. Any difference between the Spirit speaking text and subjective opinions – be they by the magisterium or the individual – is not entirely transparent. Further, when a group of interpreters or even two interpreters come to different conclusions about the meaning of the same text, making the claim that ‘the Spirit is speaking’ can become a foil for ‘my (our) interpretation is the “right” one.’ I mentioned recently that the authority of the biblical text and Divine action are two monumental questions that Christians need to do more work on. In my opinion, general appeals to the apologetic line that the biblical text is God’s communication and the Spirit speaking clarifies this transmission will not get us very far or contribute much to the discussion on authority. A better direction, at the outset, would be to recognize that the biblical text is a messy one, tangled up as it is with ancient ways, people, and phenomena. We should do the best we can with the diversity that’s there, rather than assuming that it’s all somehow authored by God.

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Wednesday, December 30, 2020

Living Spiritual Rhythms - December 30

Empirical data is a persuasive informer, which can tempt us to believe it’s all there is. Yet, numerous difficulties arise here, not least the aspect that so much of our lives are non-empirical. Consider, for example, thoughts, emotions, imaginations, and a self-referential talking to ourselves. These ‘invisibles’ are a strong argument against the reductionistic tendencies of empiricism and for a picture of reality that includes the unseen.

 

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Monday, December 28, 2020

Reflection for the Week - December 28

Instead of invoking mystery concerning God, the world, and humanity, we make up a story. In good human primate fashion we long for, even demand, clarity and explanation for life. Yet, even at the best of times, this escapes us, so story telling becomes a vehicle for diversion and catharsis, which appropriately takes the place of the frustration with the unknown. But stories are stories, they are not to be proved or disproved in fact like fashion, though they can and sometimes should be believed or disbelieved, depending on their informative and illuminating caliber or the lack of it. Thus, while the biblical text, natural world, and other stories may offer us directions and possibilities, trying to figure things out will still leave us with plenty of ambiguities. I’d wager that’s ok, and perhaps is the way it’s supposed to be.

 

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Monday, December 21, 2020

Reflection for the Week - December 21

Since it appears that we’re at a “defining moment” in the history of Christianity, I’d wager it’s time for a re-examination of who God is and what God does. Tread carefully, but tread we must. The biblical writers give an Ancient Near Eastern, Jewish, or Greco-Roman picture of God, and their limited understanding of the natural world had a significant influence on their theologies. We are better informed today about nature, notably evolution, and this can’t help but cause us to re-view the theologies of those who precede us. Some of these may be worth holding on to, yet others will have to be let go of. The days where the Christian faith attempted to stand on the biblical text alone for its theology are over. It’s now just a matter of how long it will take for Christians to accept this, consult multiple informers, and refigure what they believe about God and the world.

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