While there is a place for suspicion in our lives, it can often dominate and control our engagements with self, other, world, and God. When this happens, suspicion functions as a call to itself, and, therefore, one of the major idols of our times. Yes, I can hear you saying, “But suspicion is what makes critical reflection possible.” We sometimes assume suspicion keeps us safe and provides us with a space to dwell, without having to commit or needing to participate in something that might threaten the status quo. Yet, this is far from the truth, since trust is integral to our essence and identity. Breaking through the walls of suspicion, which condemn us to be unknown and unloved, is a revolutionary orientation that marks us out for the economy of gift, where the desire to be known and loved is understood, applauded, and welcomed.
Monday, June 30, 2014
Friday, June 27, 2014
Seems to me art is obliged to have a concern for and contact with the other. Art is like anything or anyone else. It can’t go it alone.
Thursday, June 26, 2014
C. S. Lewis, like Paul Ricoeur, views imagination through its capacity to understand the depths of reality, and to facilitate a mode of being in the world that is also directed beyond it. Imagination is not the organ of truth, but its condition.
Wednesday, June 25, 2014
We live and die in the midst of brokenness and beauty. They both engage us deeply with an insightful truth: life is like this. Our world and our lives, as it were, are cut in two. This tension permeates creation and us. Looking outside and then inside reminds us that this is the way it is. Sometimes there’s a dirge and sometimes there’s praise, yet both are woven together. One never effaces the other. Faced with this reality, we long for redemption and the gift of resolution, where brokenness is absolved and beauty alone remains.
Monday, June 23, 2014
Human beings are interpreters of and interpreted by God, nature, other, and Scripture. The biblical text, for example, will not magically interpret itself. We’re going to have to work at better interpreting it and recognizing the challenging ways that we are interpreted by it. If we never seriously engage the text, yet expect it to somehow make sense to us, we will spend a lot of time floundering around in the non-sense of our own making, instead of connecting to the characters and plot of the story.
Friday, June 20, 2014
Seriously consider your worldview. How does it correspond to being a human being in the world? The Christian worldview, as no other, gives us the necessary truth about reality and ourselves. Here, we have a true fit that is sufficient and can be lived, yet is careful not to claim to be exhaustive.
Thursday, June 19, 2014
Having significant roles to play in belonging to the drama of creation and salvation is both a task and a joy. Thankfully, God illumines the path so that we can give valid testimony to his existence and redemption, as we work for and rejoice in his kingdom project to renew us and the world.
Wednesday, June 18, 2014
Finding shelter from the vacuous and inconsequential is getting harder and harder to do. The rhythm of the ‘trite’ leaves us exposed to a devaluing of heart, mind, and imagination. Rapid-fire rhetoric connected to an entertainment based church and culture infiltrates our capacity to think clearly and truthfully. In contrast to this prevailing and woeful meltdown, there is the possibility of a critical adventure. While it’s true that criticism is never an end in and of itself, it is an essential component to chasten naïveté and to promote the virtuous life of following in the footsteps of Christ. Engage, critique, embrace―the Infinite One, other, and world. Enter the spooky haven of relationality (the essence of being relational); the space to dwell in oneself as another.
Monday, June 16, 2014
A voluntary decentering of oneself is not an act of self-violence, but an appropriate response to God. Through this life long task and vocation, one affirms, and not negates, one’s creaturely and salvific status, which indeed is a high calling.
Friday, June 13, 2014
Real relationships offer us dynamic possibilities to take part in a productive spiral towards mutuality—the narrative drama of a shared space to be and be with the other. Being enmeshed in the beauty of mutuality does not undermine individual freedom, but enhances it. For where responsible trust increases and unreliable suspicion diminishes, within the theater of a redemptive life, we discover that a poetics of loving and being loved is a marvel. Sameness and separation, which both happen in a perpetual moment of embrace and release are located in, yet transcend words and actions, as we draw ever closer to who we were meant to be.
Thursday, June 12, 2014
What I’m calling the Exodus church may be another way of talking about a body of people that belong to Christ, but which is fleeing from mainline and fundamentalist churches. It is emerging out of the arid and stifling atmosphere of Egypt and towards the living water of the Promised Land, while holding on to the map of Scripture and the impulse of the Spirit in order to find its way. Egypt enslaves the people, yet following the Crucified and Risen One brings release.
If you’re interested Check out
for more on the Exodus Church.
Wednesday, June 11, 2014
Christians should not reject creation. In other words, we are to explore, care for, and sustain the planet. This is truly living spirituality: to engage our environment in service to God and one another. Since God has not surrendered creation and humanity to desolation, decay, or ultimate death, neither should we resign ourselves to dying forms of spirituality that have no capacity to redeem and renew the created.
Posted by Greg at 12:31 PM
Monday, June 9, 2014
The “all’s” or “nothing’s” (like: we have total or no control of our lives) are illusions. Both require, of us, deep levels of pretending. We demand it all, and when we don’t get it, we embrace nothing. Tenacious attempts to have closure and completeness fail, and we therefore fall again and again into the void. Yet, and the point is, we’re just not the kinds of selves that can attain or be resigned to either of these fantasies. What is true and full of life is most frequently found somewhere in the middle, not on an extreme or pole. Thus, figuring it out is far from a done deal. Admitting this puts us in a position where the real work begins concerning how to be and how to live in a complex world.
Friday, June 6, 2014
The prominent view that to be free is to be alone is a destructive lie.
Posted by Greg at 2:59 PM
Thursday, June 5, 2014
When we consider the possibility of being self-deceived, everything changes.
Posted by Greg at 9:19 AM
Wednesday, June 4, 2014
Dismantling naïveté can be a painful, yet rewarding process if it results in a more careful and critical 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, let’s say, 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 emerge into 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.
Posted by Greg at 12:35 PM
Monday, June 2, 2014
A dual allegiance to trust and suspicion is a crucial dynamic for moving towards truer selfhood. Yet, the major difficulty is that these essential dimensions of being human are all too often oriented in unhelpful directions. This produces confusion, instead of clarity. When we should be suspicious of ourselves, were not, and when we should trust ourselves, we don’t. Embracing the fallacy of being self-referential selves will not give us much help on this, so we need other informers, including the biblical text and the natural world, to pave the way. Our call to being truer selves is not a monologue, but a dialogical and relational destiny.