Thursday, September 6, 2018

Thursday Thoughts - September 6

Our reading strategies for biblical text, self, other, and world should have a similarity. That is, not too objective, nor too subjective. These phenomena are not to be mere objects of analysis and study or simply personal subjects of possession and interest, but understood as related and distinct in tension. Falling into compartmentalized or collapsing approaches will lead to a short circuiting of making necessary tensional connections that will enhance and deepen our spirituality. These connections will help us to recognize that there are new possibilities and fresh discoveries that pave the way for drawing closer to God.


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There have been many books written on the philosophy of Paul Ricoeur, but very little is available on his theological trajectory and its fascinating connection to biblical interpretation. This landmark volume remedies that and includes a stimulating discussion and comparison of Crossan’s and Ricoeur’s views of Jesus’ parables. 


Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Living Spiritual Rhythms - September 5

I have long struggled with questions of selfhood and identity. There has been so much blurring and blending edges together that viable relationality seems harder and harder to come by. Truth be told, this is my next big project after writing the book on Imagination. My provisional thoughts are moving in this direction. I wager that at least four sources have to be in dialogue for a better picture of who a self is and what makes me who I am. First, a theological point of view is crucial. Acknowledging the problematic of trust and suspicion marks out the landscape and confirms that I need help in discerning appropriate directions. Second, my own perspective is indispensable. There is no legitimate way that I can remove or entirely ignore myself, as my view plays a role concerning whether I’m trustworthy or deceived. Envisioning myself in some way or another is part of being human. Third, the responsible other’s outlook is vital. People who know me have a say so as to who I am and can present a challenge of my own pretensions, be they positive or negative. Fourth, the natural world is essential. I can often take nature for granted, but when I do so and get it wrong, I usually end up having to comply. Nature is bigger than I am. When these four relationality ties interact, I should be able to formulate a healthier notion of selfhood and identity, which begins to make sense and becomes fitting for a truer embrace of who I am.     


Monday, September 3, 2018

Reflection for the Week - September 3

I’d wager there are three prevailing worldviews that tend to dominate the g-local context today. First, matter matters. This is the notion that all there is―is matter. Scientific hubris is attempting to capture what is, but in its reductionism and anti-theism is doomed to fail. Life is more important than matter. Second, money matters. Consumer strategies and corporate values teach us that all that’s real is―money. When money becomes a god in church, politics, economics, and society, everything is sacrificed on the altar of death and redemption is left in the ashes. People are more important than money. Third, power matters. Authoritarian governments cut down and shred responsibility or anything else that stands in their way. This shows that all that counts to them is―power. Explicit claims of dominance and acts of terror oppress and de-dignify humanity, and an ethical imperative is trampled by rhetoric, manipulation, bullets, and bombs. Love and justice are more important than power.


Thursday, August 30, 2018

Thursday Thoughts - August 30

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, 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.


Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Living Spiritual Rhythms - August 29

Metaphor, symbol, and story may be first order forms of discourse that need to be taken seriously when we seek to understand God, ourselves, and the world. Poetry, for example, may be a fuller expression of truth than literal formulations and imagination may prove a reliable guide to the real over the unreal.