Western culture is saturated with idols. In our context, there’s no need for pagan temples or shrines to promote idolatry. Money, possessions, sex, the human image, and so forth are constantly dangled before us with the persuasive message – “you and what you have is what it’s all about.” Idolatry may portray itself as subtle, but it has radical implications for what and who we worship and value. There’s no place for being naive on this subject. Be aware, cautious, and critical, as the asymmetry between the living God of Scripture as Creator of the world and lifeless idols couldn’t be more sweeping and thorough. The total incompatibility here is vast and unbridgeable, which should give rise to careful thought about the risk of losing the reality of who we are and the presence of the God to whom we belong.
Monday, April 30, 2012
Friday, April 27, 2012
We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time
These salient words from TS Eliot in the Four Quartets set the tone for reading early Genesis. Poets, like Eliot, have ways with words that configure worlds and how we view them. Thus, they are creators of powerful images of innovation and impertinence, which careen off the walls of time and sweep over the landscape of life, calling us to re-envision where we started. Being engaged in the intricate and inquisitive art of exploration is a perpetual challenge, which comes to an end with a new perception of the beginning.
Thursday, April 26, 2012
Someone told me recently, “I am always ashamed of myself. I have to do the right things to be liked. I search for who I am – my identity, but only find self-criticism.”
Posted by Greg at 3:47 PM
Wednesday, April 25, 2012
Edging towards the finely grained and exquisite contours of the love of God, while living in the arena of death, is a monumental enterprise that knows no end. Being loved and loving restores and rescues our confidence from the silhouette of fear and anxiety, as illumination seeps into recesses of existence and frees us to meet at the gates of the garden.
Monday, April 23, 2012
As readers of the Genesis creation accounts today we must realize that we are foreigners to the text and its ancient Near Eastern context, which may strike us as strange and unfamiliar, yet we are not excluded from engaging with its God, narration, and drama in a somewhat recognizable pattern. Refigured lives then become a real possibility for those readers who are grafted into the revelatory story of God’s sculpting in time, both through creation and the ever-present redemptive outpouring of love in Christ, which graciously offers us a place and a role on the stage of the cosmic drama still in progress. This poetic and theologically-loaded biblical world production not only includes a narrative concordance that supersedes discordance with respect to time or changing portraits of the actual world, but it also proclaims that life triumphs over death and will continue to do so throughout God’s ongoing story.
Thursday, April 19, 2012
How, if at all, might Divine love vary from, or feel different than, human love?
Wednesday, April 18, 2012
Epistemology, ontology, and ethics are blended together and carefully nuanced, as nowhere else in a Christian worldview. Stripping away reductionism and embracing a dynamic relation and distinction, Christianity offers a highly coherent and intriguingly mysterious picture of deep reality. Followers of Christ are given a new perspective that opens up an encounter with life, as it is found. God, self, other, and world now have a challenging connection, yet are not the same. This configuration of truth and life makes sense and is viable at a polyphony of levels, including knowledge, being, and actions.
Monday, April 16, 2012
God's way of reconciliation is configured in the death of the Crucified One, which results in not reckoning people's sins against them. God has done everything that there is to be done from his side in order for us to be reconciled. This "logos" of reconciliation has been downloaded into new covenant, which through God's initiation, is written on human hearts and not tablets of stone. But the absolutely massive context for all this is God’s reconciling the world to himself in Christ. God’s story is big – a mega-narrative going far beyond personal individualistic salvation, culminating in a new heaven and earth. If God is reconciling the world to himself in Christ, we are to be ambassadors of this reconciliation, as those through whom God makes his appeal to others.
Thursday, April 12, 2012
ZZ is closed for today and will re-open on the 19th of April. I’m looking forward to renewing the conversation and dialogue then. For now – Bonjour.
Wednesday, April 11, 2012
I talked recently to someone struggling with very low self esteem. Question: Who are you? It turns out that she was measuring her worth by all kinds of false standards. She vainly tried to measure up, but continually failed. This caused unusually high levels of stress, anxiety, and eventually depression. Then, I asked her what connection her view of herself had with belief God and she confessed that she hadn’t thought about this. The importance of a God connection and its ability to shed light on her life had been masked by self deception, which is enticingly subtle, yet radically perverse. Being a believer in God and his offer of redemption in Christ are crucial for the whole of life generally, and in particular, when it comes to self identity. Don’t forget to connect with God to start to answer the question: Who are you? if you hope to find true standards of love, acceptance, and self worth.
Monday, April 9, 2012
Life often appears to be like a flickering candle flame, dancing in the textured and stark shadows of nightfall’s gentle breeze. In spite of our frailty, uncertain existence, and fear of being extinguished, the resurrection of Christ gives us great hope for victory over death. Practicing resurrection is being a new creation and embracing ordinary and everyday matters of humanness, while seeking to live a spiritual life aligned with our destiny.
Thursday, April 5, 2012
Should Divine love feel like something, and if so, what?
Wednesday, April 4, 2012
Living spirituality, deeply anchored in and tightly tethered to love, challenges us to break down the cultural and religious walls produced in our own and other people’s lives by a lack of love. This will never be accomplished by mechanical formulas or fleshly mandates that attempt to be ends in and of themselves, since this dismantling is indeed first and foremost a spiritual enterprise without limit or condition. Charting the course of love will be a costly, but joyful enterprise intimately connected to living spirituality. There will be pain and rejection, but also wonder and acceptance, as being loved by God opens up true possibilities for loving God, self, and other. Surely, we should recognize this trajectory, as we attempt to follow in the footsteps of the Crucified and Risen One and seek to be an expression of divine love in a world that is so deficient of it.
Monday, April 2, 2012
The wisdom of God consists of God’s plans for the world, including the past (creation), the present (everyday life), and the future (new heaven and earth). The details of the present find their meaning in the whole, which unfolds as past and is projected as future. It’s not as if this wisdom for us can be put in a plastic container and stored away for safe keeping. Wisdom is too big and too explosive for that. First and foremost it is as treasure given to fragile human beings who are to pass it on in various ways. Thus, the wisdom of God can never remain a matter of simple reception or possession. It must be acted on and flow into all areas of life. No doubt this action will be, at times, challenging, difficult, and costly, as it was in the stories of our predecessors Job and Qohelet, but following wisdom will lead us onto the path of life and help keep our footsteps moving in the right direction.