This reflection may be treading into dangerous territory or be disturbing for some. Who knows? I hear this often in Christian circles. “Pray for a safe flight” or “pray for safe travel.” I wonder if “safe flights” or “travels” depend on prayer for Divine action. Or, say, driving to work every day without problems – because I or someone else prayed for that and if I don’t arrive safely - because I or someone else didn’t. My aim here is to honor, not dismiss Divine action, but I’m not convinced it manifests itself in these specific types of ways. Indeed, a massive question that won’t go away. Neither do I want to eliminate the biblical text as a valid informer, but hope to understand it in the context of other legitimate informers, notably the natural world, and how it appears to function and impact theology. When the huge percentage of flights arrive at their destination and the vast majority of people get to work on a daily basis, I can’t help but query what specific Divine action and prayer have to do with this. Maybe God is not the kind of “actor” we presume. If that is so, our presumptions concerning specific Divine action might be turning God into an idol.
Monday, November 30, 2015
Friday, November 27, 2015
Thursday, November 26, 2015
Self is both a stable entity, and a relational process.
Wednesday, November 25, 2015
Artist Georges Braque quipped: “Art is meant to disturb; science reassures.” But in today’s world I wonder if it’s fair to say that art can also reassure and science can also disturb, depending on “who” the observer is at any given time. I’d wager art and science “excess” opens mystery, without ever “resolving” it, which is both comforting and unsettling. That is, the art and science bi-directional tension is one that mirrors life itself.
Monday, November 23, 2015
I’m far from an authority on Augustine, but having read him partially, I’m baffled as to why some of his views on God, self, and sin, perhaps it’s unwittingly, remain so popular today. While I think it appropriate to learn from our predecessors, and there is much to learn from the formidable Saint, Augustine’s theology is often downright Platonic, his assessment of humans frequently tends to be unbalanced, and his perception of sin as original is bewildering.
Sunday, November 22, 2015
I aim to offer a fresh approach to Spirituality in my: Living Spiritual Rhythms, Books 1-4. Drawing from a wealth of memorable conversations with theists, atheists, and Christians, I grapple with themes such as not fitting into church; God’s existence and character in light of suffering; the original presence of evil in the world; the importance of love; and the search for identity in the midst of alienation and hope. Challenging reading, yet saturated with care.
Friday, November 20, 2015
When a mission, church, community, or ministry repeatedly tells you about their success, something has gone wrong. The message seems to be, “keep your donations rolling in and we’ll continue sending you e-mails and letters telling you how successful we are and how God is magisterially leading you to give and us to succeed.” Pardon me for suggesting that following in the footsteps of the Crucified and Risen One is not about success.
Thursday, November 19, 2015
In personal struggles with self-hate an appeal to an Act of the will is essential to combat such falsehoods, but it can never be an end in and of itself. Trying to “will” self-hate to diminish is not a sustainable enterprise. That is, the will has to find its bearings in a larger context, which includes multiple informers capable of offering a reorientation towards an appropriate and viable self-love.
Wednesday, November 18, 2015
God Reframed? It’s simply non-sense to state in defense of G that G can do anything G wants to do. This is absurd - baff. I’m not saying that G could not do this or that, G could, but if G did it wouldn’t be the G of the biblical text. The G of these stories is a G of promise and therefore self-referentially limited. Promise restricts G’s sphere of action and thus means G can’t do anything G wants to do.
Tuesday, November 17, 2015
Monday, November 16, 2015
We may, at times, be required to forge our way through the personal (individual) and corporate (social) horror of living in this world. There is no easy line to follow. This is because God has taken the hard way of dealing with devastation, passing through the wreckage incarnationally and on a cross, so that it can be defeated and eventually destroyed.
Friday, November 13, 2015
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.
Thursday, November 12, 2015
The biblical text is not inerrant, but better understood as an “informer” with all its excesses and deficiencies.
Wednesday, November 11, 2015
It’s so tempting to tell someone who screws up that they shouldn’t have. We may grumble, “If you hadn’t done it that way” or “you waited too long to care for that.” The fact of the matter regarding these sorts of things is: it’s probably better to let the past be past and to focus on trying to help fix the screw up in the present and then to be supportive for finding ways to minimize it happening the same way in the future.
Tuesday, November 10, 2015
Monday, November 9, 2015
False views like these pervade what is often assumed as “Christian spirituality.”
Self-rejection is being more like God.
What makes us equal to each other is our sin.
Only way to love is through God’s love. To accept this is to deny oneself.
Never love others for who they are, but solely for the sake of grace.
But being too God centered or practicing self-oblivion for God’s name sake is not spiritual. Instead, let’s start with loving God, loving ourselves and neighbors for who we are, and then going on from there to “live in the world.”
Friday, November 6, 2015
One reviewer says: “Thank you for writing this exciting new book which has brought me back to reading theology and given me much to think about!”
A Historical Adam & Eve? In the light of the scientific informer, which proposes evolution as the explanation for how life came about, there are no first humans in a garden paradise. To ignore this data in order to preserve a literalist reading of Genesis 1-3 is one of the gravest errors of our times. As a result, many have lost faith, while others are no longer even interested in it. Let’s take Science & Scripture seriously and move in better directions. Check out From Evolution to Eden.
Thursday, November 5, 2015
The majority of churches are getting this wrong. Instead of offering a radical perspective, we follow cultural consumerism. But, goods are not all commercial. There remains that which is without price – mutual recognition cannot be bought or sold, even though the market might tempt us to act and believe otherwise. Reciprocity has superabundant value, whereas exchange has limited importance.
Wednesday, November 4, 2015
Metaphor, symbol, and story may be first order forms of discourse that need to be taken seriously when we seek to understand God, ourselves, and the world. Poetry, for example, may be a fuller expression of truth than mathematical formulations and imagination a more reliable guide to the real over the unreal.
Monday, November 2, 2015
Barriers to belief in God may plague us throughout our lives. Forgone solutions and conclusions will only increase our difficulties, instead of resolving them. After all, our access to the possible world of Eden is beyond reach and we are hampered by a real world inability to get outside of ourselves in order to have an ultimate vantage point that will put all the pieces in place. Since this is true, we are likely to experience times of struggle and questioning, which occur on different levels, but choosing an alternative of automatic pilot spirituality where everything makes sense is merely a foil for non-sense. There is no such thing. Thus, as we ramble through our days, sometimes villains or sometimes disciples, we don’t want to give in to the pressures of unbelief, as powerful as they may appear to be, for the roadblocks on the path can turn into signposts that point in the direction that belief in God is warranted and sensible in the midst of this wild, wonderful, and broken world.