Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Living Spiritual Rhythms - November 20

It is intriguing to see some Protestant ex-fundamentalists who thought they had the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, now becoming equally convinced that seeking and finding truth at all is a waste of time. This naïve reaction to what was an unbalanced perspective in the first place is ridiculous and borders on arrogance, albeit under the guise of humility. If they hadn’t bought into the illusion of total truth to begin with, they wouldn’t be presently exchanging one false extreme for another. Truth, I’d wager, can be found and still be true, without it ever being absolute. But at the same time, there’s so much about ourselves, nature, and God that is mysterious.  


Tuesday, November 19, 2019

From Evolution to Eden

We're very grateful for this review of From Evolution to Eden by Joyce.
Laughery & Diepstra's terms “science as informer” and “scripture as informer” beautifully lay the framework for seeking to achieve a balance between the two by calling for open and regular dialog between the scientific and religious communities. It was a welcome treat to be introduced to reading Genesis 1-3 as “cumulative poetic historiography” -vs- a less accurate “historical” interpretation. This understanding brought back many of the things I also learned from N.T. Wright's New Testament and the People of God which also emphasizes the need to read Genesis with an eye on the mindset of one living in the Ancient Near East. I was not at all familiar with Paul Ricoeur’s work, so I appreciated reading about his contributions to hermeneutics. The chapter “Sculpting in Time” was particularly engaging, ie, time as motion, narrative time, the “hermeneutical arrow” and dynamic reinterpretation, to the “cosmic drama that is still in progress”. I had forgotten how absolutely loaded early Genesis is with powerful symbols and imagery. I had not before appreciated looking at early Genesis as a “founding narrative” to the “unfolding drama” throughout Scripture and nature (including recent archaeological findings as well as new scientific discoveries). I recommend this book to every Christian who takes the Bible seriously, particularly those with a conservative bent who feel they must interpret Genesis literally in order to be faithful to Biblical Authority. It would also be of great value to those who are or have been struggling with their Faith believing it is in conflict with recent discoveries in the Sciences. Likewise, it offers a needed challenge to those in the scientific community who have long discounted religion and the Bible as contributing nothing to Truth.  



Monday, November 18, 2019

Reflection for the Week - November 18

We can always affirm or deny a belief in Divine action in the world. If this is the case, the extent to which either of these directions is legitimate will depend on how we evaluate varying degrees of subjectivity and objectivity, since such a process will enable us to have some measure of credibility for claims about the probable or doubtful dimension of Divine involvement. Reliable trust and suspicion in these matters would seem to be a valid goal. In order to start to move towards reliability, checking one’s own assumptions will be primary. Another prominent feature of this type of exploration will be to observe and assess the character, spirituality, and wisdom of the claimer, and to connect that to God, the biblical text, self, other, and world. It’s not a good idea, nor is it an act of love to let someone make it up as they go along (I would wager there can be valid criteria for such a challenge), but neither is it gracious to not consider a claim about what God might be doing. There’s no easy way out of this tension. We’ll have to aim to be responsible as we interact with each other’s stories and attempt to come to better interpretations of God. 


Thursday, November 14, 2019

Thursday Thoughts - November 14

Reimagining theology in the light of evolution is not a threat, but an obligation. 


Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Living Spiritual Rhythms - November 13

Jesus has a multiplicity of voices. When he is recorded as saying something to Nicodemus, he speaks in one manner, yet when it’s recounted that he has a dialogue with a Samaritan woman, he does so in another. This surplus of voices should not be missed, as it shows readers that Jesus is willing to proclaim his message into the context of whoever he’s talking to, even if it's not immediately understood. “Being born from above” for one and “living water” for the other have a number of referents, but both culminate in the possibility of receiving a never ending life.


Monday, November 11, 2019

Reflection for the Week - November 11

The biblical text informer portrays that sin = human death, while it appears that the natural world informer depicts death as part of life – it has always been around. I’d wager that prior to human sin, death was a norm, as it still is today, but if that’s the case, it means we have to work out a biblical picture of the notion of death and the God who appears to endorse it, at least temporarily. We may not want to go here, but I think it’s worth reflecting on.


Thursday, November 7, 2019

Thursday Thoughts - November 7

Belief is a dynamic agent in evolutionary processing. For primates like us belief is a given – part of who we are and what we do. Belief is real, but not immediately material. It exists first in a niche of the neurological, biological, perceptual, imaginative, and cultural innovations and sedimentations that stream from, in, and through being a believing primate. In turn, it then plays a significant role in downloading actions into the world. But, belief, as we see clearly from our evolutionary history, will sometimes be useful and productive and other times terrible and damaging. Thus, while belief is not an option, what we believe and how we act on those beliefs is crucial for the present and future of the planet and the human race.