Monday, September 30, 2019

Reflection for the Week - September 30

A recent discussion reminded me again of the crucial issue of “starting points’ for doing theology. Fundamentalists, but others too, claim to ‘start’ with God and the biblical text, and if you don’t, you’re not quite measuring up to them. So, it goes. “Since we start with God and the Bible, let us tell you all about who God is, exactly what God is doing, and precisely what the Bible says.” Such blustering, I’d wager, amounts to an illusion on several levels, but it’s primarily false because humans have to start with and from themselves in the world, before ever getting to God and the biblical text. Beginning with interpreting ourselves, we then move to interpreting God and text, and then back to ourselves. No one here has ‘leverage’ or a ‘moral high ground’ start point. This means, as interpreters, it’s impossible to actually ignore or bracket out ourselves and the world, which are both significant features of any ‘hermeneutically realistic’ trajectory for better interpretation.


Thursday, September 26, 2019

Thursday Thoughts - September 26

Catharsis, while a necessary part of the journey towards our destiny, is not an end in and of itself. Rather, a deep soothing liberation is to lead to a renewed conviction of life, in spite of the tragic circumstances that have blown the world apart in the first place. Such a poetic and imaginative impulse will hopefully lure us in the direction of a confident and humble understanding that somehow at some time God is going to transform everything.


Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Living Spiritual Rhythms - September 25

Since we’re at a “defining moment” in the history of Christianity, I’d wager it’s time for a re-examination of who God is and what God does. Tread carefully, but tread we must. The biblical writers give an Ancient Near Eastern or Greco-Roman picture of God, and their limited understanding of the natural world had a significant influence on their theologies. We are better informed today about nature, notably evolution, and this can’t help but cause us to re-view the theologies of those who precede us. Some of these may be worth holding on to, yet others will have to be let go of. The days where the Christian faith attempted to stand on the biblical text alone for its theology are over. It’s now just a matter of how long it will take for Christians to accept this, consult multiple informers, and refigure what they believe about God and the world.


Monday, September 23, 2019

Reflection for the Week - September 23

In today’s harsh reality of selfishness and greed, some say there is no such thing as a gift. Giving is always with motive or interest and that disqualifies it. I would argue that while motive or interest will always be with us in giving, it need not necessarily abolish gift, as this would seem to depend on what the motive or interest are. Let’s say a canceling of gift might be the case if one gave it with the motive of receiving something in return, but if one gifts with a motive to satisfy or please the other and requires nothing in return, then the gift character of giving would not be nullified. That is, other interest wins—over a perverse self-interest—and preserves the possibility of true gift.    


Thursday, September 19, 2019

Thursday Thoughts - September 19

Mark’s story is full of role reversals. Those who think they see and hear are blind and deaf and those who are blind and deaf see and hear. A life of following Jesus is not about possessing people and things but about dispossession; being willing to let go, take risks, be courageous, and not to fear. To be great you have to be least and the first will be last and the last first. Those who want to save their lives will have to lose them for the sake of Jesus and the gospel. And in perhaps one of the most striking reversals of all, it is the demons and unclean spirits who know who Jesus is, while the disciples don’t > go figure.


Monday, September 16, 2019

Reflection for the Week - September 16

The problem with words is often similar to that of the problem of bodies; breakdown, tiredness, wearing out. That is, through use and abuse words become artificial and overwrought. Their ability to “say something” is under threat as the grammar of mesmerizing entertainment captures hearts and minds with subtext and subterfuge. Imagination and creativity can combat this worthless diatribe and find new formulations in the hope of reshaping the living and dynamic meaning that pertains to the centrality of communication in human relationships, reading texts, and seeking God.