Receive what’s given and don’t demand what you expect.
Friday, January 31, 2014
Thursday, January 30, 2014
Be open to new and unanticipated adventures, while remaining acutely aware of the journey and its destination.
Posted by Greg at 8:37 AM
Wednesday, January 29, 2014
Feeling lost. Turning to doubt, suspicion, and fear of rejection, instead of the content of the biblical text and the living God represented by it, interpersonal checks and balances, the other, and the natural world, will have severe drawbacks for regaining a holistic equilibrium. In our context today there is a tremendous need for a greater degree of objectivity in our subjectivity. There has to be someone or something to pry us away from the force of our self-focused monologue and into the challenging adventure of dialogue. We may find this enterprise uncomfortable, as we’re so familiar with monologue, but the radically uncomfortable will lead us in the direction of true comfort, as we find our way along one step at a time.
Posted by Greg at 3:44 PM
Monday, January 27, 2014
To struggle with objectivity in the interpretation of texts, art, and relationships is a welcome and challenging task. Where to pull back and where to let go is rarely black and white. Since objectivity is never total, this signifies that we’ll have to wrestle with greater and lesser degrees of it in various contexts. Think about it like this, although there are several ways this plays out in life: Inappropriate objectivity would be taking so great a degree of distance from the other that there’s no risk of being touched. Appropriate objectivity lessens the degree of distance and allows for transparency and exposure to gradually unfold, albeit with caution. Learning how to negotiate our way through the labyrinth of otherness is a fitting enterprise for who we are and what we do. Too much or too little objectivity will have the tendency to deaden meaning and truth, which are both central to healthy interactions with the other.
Friday, January 24, 2014
Living templates for reality, truth, and spirituality: Relation and distinction; Trust and suspicion; Confidence and humility; Being and doing; Dependent and independent; Affirmation and critique, Objective and subjective; Love and justice; Already and not yet; Grace reigns and sin matters. Forget about monologues and let a tensional interactive dialogue begin. Where it will take you in the end, I would wager, will be explosive.
Thursday, January 23, 2014
Resilience and elasticity are two important features of our belief in God. Imagine faith as a web of intricately woven strands and connections. Delicate, fragile, yet with a viable strength.
Wednesday, January 22, 2014
Ambition? Christians can tend to, partially due to a Western view of self-achievement being the exclusive mantra for life, assume that all ambition is problematic. They often prefer a passive approach that supposedly ratchets personal involvement way down. My thought on this is that there can be appropriate and inappropriate ambition. On the one hand, ambition is inappropriate if it is geared to success at all costs. There is no place for this, as it is selfish and self-serving. On the other hand, there is a place for being ambitious for God’s love, truth, and grace; for engaging the world and the other; and for doing a good job in accomplishing something that is worthwhile.
Monday, January 20, 2014
The issues of science and theology, trust and suspicion, interpretation, art, and objectivity and subjectivity, along with others, merit hard and careful thought. If Christians are to continue on the road towards credibility, there is a vital need to face the many challenges ahead. In order to participate in the hope of renewing a thirst for the living God and a living spirituality that touches the whole of life, Christians must not only track their culture, but also trace it. This means it is essential to be aware of the personal and cultural impact of ideas, and to leave, through an involvement with people, a Christian imprint. My hope is that such efforts, dedicated to God and the Christian community, will dare others to take notice that the God of Scripture is there and that Christianity is true.
Friday, January 17, 2014
One of the most detrimental features of selfhood is to impose oneself on another. To assume the other perceives and thinks as oneself does is, potentially at least, a violation of the other. Let the other be other, and in so doing embrace a new direction of dialogue for oneself – the joy and task of being a truer self – wisely, in respect, and open to the difference of the other.
Thursday, January 16, 2014
Slivers of light pierce the darkness, and convey that all is not lost.
Wednesday, January 15, 2014
Dismantling naïveté can be a painful, yet rewarding process if it results in a more careful formulation of beliefs. But this process is often short circuited. A shattered naïveté usually results in recognizing that one’s beliefs did not merit the trust that one invested in them. We can call this a growing awareness of the need to be critical of our beliefs; a move into the mode of criticism. This is a necessary and good thing. Problem is that there is a tendency to stop here, since suspicion now seems so much more reliable than trust (though in reality, it really isn’t because trust is a center of gravity at the core of being human and thus we are obliged to trust our suspicions). When the critical mode, valid as it is, persists as a monologue, the end of the story can tend to become criticism itself, and this in turn can result in skepticism or relativism. It is imperative, therefore, that we find ways to credibly move through the critical mode, not back to a rightly left behind naïveté, but towards a critical trust and sustainable beliefs. When this takes place, we are able to be re-engaged in a life mode – a life setting dialogue that calls us to explore fresh options that transcend the toxicity of false endings and their emergent illusions.
Monday, January 13, 2014
Biblical interpretation often revolves around in a diametrically opposed fashion that goes something like this. All meaning is authorial meaning or all meaning is readerly meaning. Those who embrace the former, argue for an objective and universal validity view. Others, who hold to the latter, prefer a subjective anything goes perspective. These evident polarizations remove the need for negotiation, which recognizes that meaning is a reproductive and productive orchestration between author and reader. That is, interpretation brings about a co-creation of meaning, where a reader’s dialogue with the author is not abolished, but complicated. This signifies that the literary “what said” of an author may be complex, but it nevertheless is a crucial part of the interpretive process through which a reader becomes a better co-creator of meaning.
Saturday, January 11, 2014
Many thanks to all who are buying my New Revised
Living Spirituality. It’s now in the top 100 on Amazon.
Posted by Greg at 9:02 AM
Friday, January 10, 2014
Deconstructing, always a challenge, has to precede reconstructing, always a transformation, if change is ever going to take place in our lives.
Posted by Greg at 4:18 PM
Thursday, January 9, 2014
Manufactured or constructed self-confidence, so prominent today, is unreal. Actually, such pretending is a sure sign of insecurity. Uncovering and exposing this fake self can be a painful enterprise, but it is a necessary course of action if one is ever going to move towards a self-confidence shaped by who and what is real.
Posted by Greg at 2:14 PM
Wednesday, January 8, 2014
We may be so rightly worried about saying too much, that we wrongly say nothing at all. This configuration shows that we have to deal with two potential problems, not just one. And these two problems are found in many areas of life: interpretation, knowledge, and relationships, to name just a few. Our trajectory for negotiating our way through the thicket of conflict with ourselves and others on these problems calls us to be cautious, caring, and respectful, but to aim to speak truth in love. As we live out this formidable task, it will be impossible to not say anything or to say everything.
Posted by Greg at 3:44 PM
Monday, January 6, 2014
Being and becoming a follower of the Messiah, according to Mark 8, is to deny self and take up a cross. This does not mean to be a zero, nobody, or nothing, but to set aside self-centered interests, especially with regard to our own messianic ideologies. To do so is cross taking and following Jesus. Self-denial then is denying a particular self – a self-consumed self, a self-sufficient self, a selfish self, which all amount to a false self. Not sure there is anything more radical than this. Breathtaking! Appropriate self-denial makes sense and has the ring of truth, as opposed to the deception that we so often see in the contemporary context, which suggests that a total refusal of self is necessary for Messiah following. On the contrary, God actually wants truer selves to show up and be accounted for.
Sunday, January 5, 2014
Noticed that Amazon.com has reduced this new book to $2.95. Great Deal!
Posted by Greg at 9:51 AM