Throughout the biblical story there appears to be a fair amount of Gray matter, yet with differing degrees of intensity. Gray is a fine color and it goes well with the Kaleidoscope of other colors that stream in and out of this unique narrative recounting. Embracing the colorful exposition, instead of trying to ignore it, will amount to becoming a more imaginative and realistic interpreter, open to the mystery of that which was, is, and will be.
Monday, August 31, 2015
Friday, August 28, 2015
While it has been a joy to help you who I’ve met and lived with answer some of your questions, remember this doesn’t
mean I don’t have many unanswered ones of my own.
Thursday, August 27, 2015
Posted by Greg at 3:17 PM
Wednesday, August 26, 2015
I’ve been around this block for a few years now. Generally speaking, the debate over the compatibility of evolution and Christianity, especially among evangelicals, lacks the input of scientists who not only practice their discipline but who have thought deeply and reflectively about the theological…
Monday, August 24, 2015
If the church has no life to offer, which often seems to be the case, it will end up promoting doing instead of being, the law instead of grace, and justice instead of love. While the former in this trio are essential, when they become the exclusive focus or enrolled to go it alone, suffocation and death is not far off. Signs of a diminished pulse and failing vital organs also include the rigid retreat from public life and the serious discussion of ideas, which profoundly endorses the notion that many of today’s churches are withering away. Last gasps of retrenched and reactionary apologetics without spiritual wisdom or keen insight into the fine points of important issues, will only result in an increasing lack of interest and the ongoing erosion of credibility. Well, since out of death comes life, what we’re seeing in our times may actually be necessary for renewal.
Friday, August 21, 2015
Genesis 1-3 de–deifies nature and humanity, as no other story of beginnings does. What is avant-garde and always will be about these creation stories is their relentless focus, not on the cosmic architecture of nature, but on relationality: God, humanity, and the world.
This perspective provides us with both a meaningful structure for and a re-description of reality. If you’re interested in knowing more about all this, check out our new book From Evolution to Eden. Making Sense of Early Genesis
Thursday, August 20, 2015
The essence of Mutuality is not an exchange, but a “recognition” comprised of the fragility of giving and receiving and gratefully giving in return. There’s no buying and selling or cost involved here because the festive gesture of mutuality belongs to that which has no price.
Wednesday, August 19, 2015
I’m authentic and am valuable. I don’t have value and I’m inauthentic. Solution: God offers a new identity to the proud and worthless. Problem: This portrayal of ‘I’ is too either/or and both here are negative – arrogance or no self-worth. Neither pole is realistic, but nevertheless all too often promoted in Christian circles as the type of ‘I’ one is. While it’s true there is a need for a new identity in that no ‘I’ can be Christ like, this shouldn’t be based on reductionistic views of ‘I.’ A truer portrayal of ‘I’ should be configured as more of a mixture – hybrid – of possibilities, since ‘I’s’ can neither scientifically, nor theologically be reduced to a negative either/or. Each ‘I’ is far too complex for that. Generally speaking, when taking an evolutionary stance, for example, an ‘I’ is not solely selfishly arrogant, nor entirely without worth concerning survival, but is basically cooperative in order to enhance the sustainability of life. A theological orientation equally confirms that an ‘I’ has tremendous value and the capacity to accomplish things as an image of God, while recognizing ‘I’ has both positive and negative dimensions, thus not as the false polarizations would have it. Being and doing is a marvel; so much to take appropriate pride in, yet not without regret. Perhaps, a confidence and humility configuration of ‘I’ that highlights love would be most fitting.
Monday, August 17, 2015
If an interpretation theory of texts, God, other, and world does not include a place for selfhood, it is at greater risk of excess (overstating) or deficiency (understating), which thereby invites a misinterpreting the interpreted and provokes the illusions of absolutism or relativism. When excesses and deficiencies control hermeneutical horizons, nothing real challenges the interpreter. That is, the lacuna regarding selfhood in the interpretive process produces an embedded “status quo,” thus leaving the interpreter “untouched” by what is interpreted. Interpreting means being interpreted by and being appropriately interpreted ignites the possibility of redemptive change. When “selfhood” has been left out, it’s no wonder that transformation does not actually take place. Since living a transformed life is not an option, but a necessity, we would do well to avoid illusions and embrace holistic hermeneutical strategies.
Friday, August 14, 2015
The reality of better or worse interpretations of texts, God, selves, others, and world will always be with us, but because truth and love matter, we should aim for the better.
Thursday, August 13, 2015
(Top of l’Argentine, Solalex - Alpes Suisse)
What’s fills in the space is doing, which of course can be beneficial, unless it becomes exploitative and demeaning. But doing, even with its tremendous potential for good, can never give being.
Wednesday, August 12, 2015
There is so much confusion today concerning the Role of the reader in biblical narrative. I hope this points us in a better direction. Either the reader has been marginalized – considered an observer – a disinterested party – and thus excluded from the story and its meaning – all the meaning is in the text, or the reader has been glorified - entirely integrated – and therefore understood as merrily floating around in the story as the maker of all the meaning – a reader’s response is not to the meaning, it is the meaning. While it is essential that the reader have a role when reading a story, neither of these options would seem to be fitting. The role of the reader, by contrast, is to imaginatively connect with the characters in the story, the plot of the whole narrative, and to appropriately fill in meaning where invited to do so by the narrator, while living “what” is read out into the world.
Monday, August 10, 2015
There have been many previously and even more presently that refer to the notion of Divine revelation in a book like the biblical text. In thinking this over, and over, and over for a long time, I’m still not sure what such an appeal means. Is it like – this is a book dropped from heaven? Or, a book written by the pen of God? On another note, it often strikes me that scholars and non-scholars alike stake out this type of claim as if – well, that settles it all – my position is the correct one and if you don’t agree with me then you don’t believe in Divine revelation. I’m perplexed by what seems a sort of generic sleight of hand apologetic that supposedly explains everything according to one’s own preferences and everyone else somehow has it wrong. Not only is this picture arrogant, but the way it’s used by the supposed “religious elite” is a downright scandal. Granted, such an uninformed and damaging perspective can be set aside. Divine revelation is not that. For me, however, the lack of clarity about what it is remains. I’d wager that a “booking” of Divine revelation is rather a murky concept and thus is one major area, among others in Christian circles, that needs more careful work and (re)formulation.
Friday, August 7, 2015
Thursday, August 6, 2015
Trusting God is a gradual and sometimes pain staking process, sort of like flying a kite. Kite flying is often frustrating. Getting the thing up in the air takes time. Once airborne, then comes free falling or soaring and just when you think you have it, the kite crashes to the ground, and you have to start again.
Wednesday, August 5, 2015
What begins to emerge from inter personal (reason, senses, feelings, imagination) and extra personal (biblical text, world, other, culture) dialogue in time is a delicate, yet resourceful web of truths.
Perceived from the center (self, world, God, text, and other) out towards the edges, we gradually discover a splendid array of connections. Each of these intertwines and is integrated into a fragile relationality composed of a myriad of configurations, which are resilient and flexible, though not fixed.
Monday, August 3, 2015
Life is lived in the midst of goodness and beauty, while at the same time being threatened by evil and absurdity. This delicate truth ebbs and flows. At some moments it’s calm and peaceful and at others raging out of control. That is, life, as Shakespeare would suggest, is venomous; both a remedy and a poison; and as the biblical text confirms, a joy and a burden.