The notion that all interpretations are equal is a widely believed contemporary perspective. This view, however, does not lead us to freedom, as it is so often assumed, but to the bondage of hyper-subjectivity. Flattening everything out and seeing it as the same goes against the undeniable role of distinction – differentiation that is part of reality and the beauty of life. There are, after all, better and worse interpretations. Acknowledging a place for objectivity is freeing, not enslaving.
Wednesday, July 30, 2014
Monday, July 28, 2014
Keep this quiet. Shhhh! Don’t tell anyone. There is often a shroud of secrecy in place when it comes to the problems, doubts, and questions that people have with their faith. These important issues, it is assumed, must be safely hidden away and never discussed with anyone. It is all okay – no worries, merely reinforces the fear of exposure. Myriads of Christians are caught in the shroud of secrecy. They’re deeply struggling with what they believe and are convinced they mustn’t say anything about it. But let’s face it, most of the time the shroud of secrecy is encouraged by pastors, churches, parents, and friends who won’t and don’t understand. One can’t tell them anything without facing a barrage of condemnation. Thus, trusting others is seen as fraught with danger. Sadly, keeping the secret becomes more important than keeping the faith.
Thursday, July 24, 2014
Beware of the potential problems in your own views, before critiquing those of others.
Wednesday, July 23, 2014
I have quite often reflected on how much elasticity God allows us in our journey of faith. I still don’t have an answer. No doubt there are limits, but in-between these there may be greater flexibility than I might assume. As I tend to put it, grace reigns and sin matters. This formulation expresses a living tension, which is to be embraced, and then I gently go on from there working out the rest.
Monday, July 21, 2014
Many people, in what I will refer to as Generation L, are intoxicated with suspicion. They claim they are suspicious of everything. And why not? What’s worth trusting? After all, heroines and heroes have all but disappeared from the scene these days, except in fantasy stories. As that is the case, the L Generation may have something going for it. But I wonder if such elevated toxicity levels of suspicion could be a problem, since it seems that no one is entirely suspicious. Here’s why. Trust always precedes suspicion, thus suspicion presupposes trust because we all have to trust the accuracy of our suspicions, otherwise we wouldn’t have them.
Friday, July 18, 2014
Asking challenging questions about selfhood is fraught with dangers and loaded with possibilities.
Thursday, July 17, 2014
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 a naïve 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.
Wednesday, July 16, 2014
Poetry leaves us in play, while the biblical text, which includes poetry, yet goes beyond it, calls for a decision that leads into a relational commitment. Making a choice can validate our existence, not in this sense that it’s the choice itself that counts, but rather it’s who and what we choose that makes all the difference.
Monday, July 14, 2014
Indictments of the supposed guardians of orthodoxy proliferate throughout the Scriptures. Prophets are continually speaking God’s word to a faithless people who set aside his commands for their own benefit. Jesus is even more to the point with his sarcastic irony towards the religious elite of his day concerning the pretense of washing hands to be clean. Pseudo-orthodoxy called for ceremonial washing before eating. Jesus says this is an absurd charade because it leaves the heart uncleansed. Those today that wave the banner of “we’re orthodox and you’re not,” need to seriously consider where their hearts are, rather than inspecting the hands of everyone else.
Friday, July 11, 2014
Going against a misplaced trust in our lives is a struggle. We’re so convinced by the standards that we’ve set for ourselves or that have been imposed upon us, that we never consider that we might need to be suspicious of them. When we become aware of inappropriate trust and attuned to credible suspicion along these lines, we should take action against the false standards. This won’t be easy, since it includes a reversal of identity and a letting go of the counterfeit, which has influenced and shaped us for far too long.
Thursday, July 10, 2014
All truth is God’s truth, but knowing truth does not equate knowing God.
Wednesday, July 9, 2014
For the most part, the parables of Jesus are ordinary stories about fishing, sowing, receiving, finding, selling, and buying, among other things. There is nothing immediately unusual about these ordinary people and their ordinary situations, until the extraordinary, the Kingdom of God, is included in the picture. It is in this realization, that these apparent narratives of normalcy produce a shock, disorientation, and an upheaval, through an announcing that the time has come for a new vision of reality and of being in the world.
Monday, July 7, 2014
It is essential to develop lines of appeal to critique our self-deception or to affirm our trustworthiness. Depending on ourselves alone is likely to sow confusion. Thus we need help from other informers, including the biblical text, the spirit, and the natural world. When these three are in place as we seek to discover our direction, we’ll have more options to consider, which in turn will attune us to where we are and where we should go.
Friday, July 4, 2014
The validity of the Christian faith will only continue to suffer if we don’t engage the issues and ideas of our day. To bury our heads in the sand and hope challenges to our beliefs will go away is wishful thinking. We have the significant calling to be a testimony to the love of Christ. This, however, will not be heard if we speak a language entirely unrelated to current discussions. Nor will this testimony be seen, if we live in a spiritualized world of our own making, divorced from that which is really happening.