Thursday, February 20, 2020

Thursday Thoughts - February 20

Science and the biblical text are two informers for understanding, God, the world, and ourselves. In the light of the strong evidence of our evolutionary history, re-thinking our interpretations of Genesis 1-3 is a crucial enterprise today. I’d wager that peace and harmony between the two are difficult to establish, be it through integration or complementarity. Thus, there is no comprehensive interpretive program, but an ongoing grappling with an unresolvable hermeneutical tension.

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Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Living Spiritual Rhythms - February 19


For the most part, the parables of Jesus are conventional stories about fishing, sowing, receiving, finding, selling, and buying, among other things. There is nothing immediately unusual about these ordinary people and their everyday situations, until the extraordinary; the Kingdom of God, is included in the picture. It is in this realization, that these apparent narratives of normalcy produce a shock, disorientation, and an upheaval, through announcing that the time has come for a new vision of reality and of being in the world.

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Monday, February 17, 2020

Reflection for the Week - February 17

Theology is facing serious challenges today. Some are becoming aware of this, while others don't have a clue. As the natural world informer has gained credibility, in particular as far as evolution is concerned, questions concerning God, the fall, sin, and Divine action, are pounding at the door and asking for a response. Let’s further investigate these issues as we are able. Where such explorations will eventually take us, I’m not sure, but they must be undertaken if theists and Christians want to engage with the information and be in dialogue with a fast paced and changing world.

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Thursday, February 13, 2020

Thursday Thoughts - February 13

As significant fresh work is done in various disciplines, including theology and science, evangelicals are going to have to realize that the Bible is not a book dropped from heaven that answers all our questions, nor is it an inerrant vehicle for a direct communication from God. I’d wager the real story is rather more complex and multi-layered than this. When the essential and challenging relevance of reading both the natural world and the biblical world informers in dialogue is eventually accepted, evangelicals may begin to realize that their “whole notion of revelation” has to be exposed to new light with regard to what we can know and actually don’t know.

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Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Living Spiritual Rhythms - February 12

Imagination expands our lives and has the capacity to connect us with the real. It helps us to understand God, the world, the other, and ourselves. No doubt within much of the Christian tradition a fear of imagining wrong things has led to smothering and sedating imagination. Marginalized artists, poets, story tellers, and musicians, who have been forced to the edges of their churches or completely out of them, deserve more. So many have been scolded and told – it’s all about following the rules and regulations, get in line, conform to the status quo, as if creativity and imagination are somehow always connected to the unreal. I’d wager quite the opposite is the case.

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Monday, February 10, 2020

Reflection for the Week - February 10

In Science & Theology discussions, especially among theists and Christians, the question is often posed: Was Paul right or wrong about his views of an historical Adam & Eve? Perhaps, to frame the question this way is not the best way of approaching it. It looks to me like Paul appeals to the OT and tradition out of his Jewish/Greco-Roman perspective. There seems little doubt he would have believed in a historical Adam & Eve, but since he would have had no other option, he therefore can’t be right or wrong. He worked with what he had and with what was being revealed. When it comes to human origins, cosmology, and the theology connected to them, Paul writes as an authoritative apostle and communicates what he could about these matters. Yet, because of a lack of information (not the case for his encounter with the Risen One, though this was still somewhat opaque according to one narrator; three conversion stories in Acts) on any alternative for origins or cosmology and their theological implications, Paul has to be understood within the limits of his historical and cultural context on such issues. I’d wager he can be more and less influenced by this context, depending on the matter at hand. Paul is therefore not right or wrong regarding his views of Adam & Eve. He is the ‘more’ contextually influenced Paul on these matters and as such, right or wrong is a category mistake. Thus, it is no longer an option, but now an obligation to try to sort out the varying degrees of context and the role they played in Paul’s writings, and then to try to work other things out from there.

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Thursday, February 6, 2020

Thursday Thoughts - February 6


We’re hard pressed to paint a definitive picture of God, but instead of being disappointed about this, we should embrace the privilege of unknowing. In this case, there just might be a need to exchange idealism for realism – a hermeneutical realism, when it comes to knowing God. Not only, for example, does God have numerous names, but God is also referred to in a multitude of ways in the biblical text. There’s a real diversity of theological representations here that don’t settle into a nice comfortable package. Debate then as to who God is happens in the text itself. Further, as we explore the natural world, we continue to be amazed by its seemingly unending magnitude and its delicate fragility. This raises plenty of theological possibilities, leaving us in a position of having to wait and see. Thus, whether we delve into the biblical text or plumb the depths of nature, I’d wager God is indeed a mysterious character.

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Wednesday, February 5, 2020

Living Spiritual Rhythms - February 5

Evolutionary ethics properly argues that there are several reasons for ethical developments and orientations in humans, including the social, biological, genetic and neurological aspects of the human niche. Thus, moral sensitivity appears to be a multi-faceted phenomenon, yet this alone does not explain particular or well defined moral codes and configurations that have arisen, nor does it help us draw conclusions about right and wrong. So, there’s more. We’re also heavily embedded in context, culture, and tradition, and through this come to be interpreters of the biblical text and its lively theological and spiritual contribution. All these informers, which offer some direction, are nevertheless so diverse and porous that we’re left having to continually work out how to live with others in a shared world.

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Monday, February 3, 2020

Reflection for the Week - February 3

Our destiny is moving towards a ‘transformed’ future, not a recovery of an illusory paradisiacal past. This means we are continuously finding our way along in the magnificent adventure of exploring and embracing the symbols, metaphors, and narratives about God and life in the cosmos.

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Thursday, January 30, 2020

Thursday Thoughts - January 30

Biblical interpretation, in the best sense of the art and practice, has been rightly focused on God, the text, and the reader. Recently, culture has been fittingly added to this trio, but it seems to me that there is at least one other consideration that will help us better interpret the biblical story; and that is the natural world. If we leave out this feature, our interpretations will be less sufficient and perhaps even more wrong headed than they would be otherwise.

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