Monday, November 11, 2019

Reflection for the Week - November 11

The biblical text informer portrays that sin = human death, while it appears that the natural world informer depicts death as part of life – it has always been around. I’d wager that prior to human sin, death was a norm, as it still is today, but if that’s the case, it means we have to work out a biblical picture of the notion of death and the God who appears to endorse it, at least temporarily. We may not want to go here, but I think it’s worth reflecting on.

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Thursday, November 7, 2019

Thursday Thoughts - November 7

Belief is a dynamic agent in evolutionary processing. For primates like us belief is a given – part of who we are and what we do. Belief is real, but not immediately material. It exists first in a niche of the neurological, biological, perceptual, imaginative, and cultural innovations and sedimentations that stream from, in, and through being a believing primate. In turn, it then plays a significant role in downloading actions into the world. But, belief, as we see clearly from our evolutionary history, will sometimes be useful and productive and other times terrible and damaging. Thus, while belief is not an option, what we believe and how we act on those beliefs is crucial for the present and future of the planet and the human race.

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Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Living Spiritual Rhythms - November 6

“Oh no, don’t tell me that I have to be concerned about what I believe and how I act. Never crossed my mind. You know, I mean, I just treat others the way I see fit. Furthermore, I pay no attention to how my beliefs are supposedly incongruent and don’t really have to make any sense. After all, I’m humble, broken, and sinful. I’m so impoverished that I have no sense of responsibility. God will take care of everything for me. That’s certain. Just read the Bible. I can tell you exactly what God is doing in my life and should be doing in yours. Hey, I’m really in this for heaven. Aren’t you?”

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Monday, November 4, 2019

Reflection for the Week - November 4

Many Christians who hold to the interpretation that God created in six literal 24 hour days fret about the strong scientific evidence for human evolution and I’d wager they have good reason to do so. This reading is becoming less plausible all the time and will continue to do so. But the fear for them is that if things didn’t happen exactly as they think, then the biblical text can no longer be trusted – it is not history. Yet, this is a false fear, since the biblical text is comprised of several different directions and genres – sometimes conflicting, sometimes harmonious. Surely, for example, the gospels have a much more historiographical impulse than early Genesis. So, my suggestion is to go ahead and let go of your views of the literal history of the creation stories, since there are far better alternatives that correspond to the validity of the scientific informer. You have much to gain, and nothing worthwhile to lose.

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Thursday, October 31, 2019

Thursday Thoughts - October 31

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. The 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 can be re-engaged in a life setting dialogue that calls us to explore fresh options that transcend the toxicity of false endings and their emergent illusions.    

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Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Living Spiritual Rhythms - October 30

Rocked by debt and greed, the Western world as we know it is slowly but surely disintegrating. There is a rising sense, a vibrant pulse if you will that fraud and betrayal are leaving us without direction and hope. Austerity plans are put in place, interest rates are cut, and more money is printed, though little really changes. But where to turn in the midst of the tailspin remains a significant question. Facing large scale and personal, moral, and economic meltdowns, the viable options seem slim, yet we try this and do a bit of that to no avail, or embrace various forms of fundamentalism, which collapse under the weight of fanaticism. Both relativism and absolutism, for example, strip us of reality. To be real-ly hopeful, I’d wager, is at least to move away from self-centeredness and to admit of having a need for a credible other worldly perspective that can be integrated with our own, yet not consumed by it.

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