Thursday, June 4, 2020

Thursday Thoughts - June 4

Someone once quipped, ‘the information in the biblical text about God is true.’ Yet, I’d wager since this information has to be interpreted and is done so in a multiplicity of ways, I guess this person ends up, nonetheless unwittingly, having to accept that there is a whole range of truths about God in the Bible. Thus, not only is there diversity in contrast to a single view, but in order to sort through this notion of information about truths and God in a text, we’re going to need to interact with other informers, such as science, philosophy, culture, and social development, outside of it. And as we do so, there will be no across the board hierarchies, but a suite of viable and entangled authorities in dialogue, and which is primary will depend on what we’re talking about.


Wednesday, June 3, 2020

Living Spiritual Rhythms - June 3

Reflect on this. I’d wager that real protest is a negation of relativism and a post-truth culture, but even if the wager is sensible, I doubt this will be recognized now or taught in many universities or churches in the future.


Monday, June 1, 2020

Reflection for the Week - June 1

Anxiety is a real problem and sometimes manifests itself in physiological ways. If you suffer from anxiety, take some time to look into the “sympathetic nervous system,” since a better understanding of how this functions can be a helpful step towards de-anxiety.


Sunday, May 31, 2020

Alpes Suisse


Thursday, May 28, 2020

Thursday Thoughts - May 28

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 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 interpretations of God, self, other, and text.


Monday, May 25, 2020

Reflection for the Week - May 25

To reflect on justice it is crucial to realize that we develop our views in the shadow of Locke, Hume, Kant and other thinkers who still have a tremendous impact and influence on our perspectives today. Theories of justice, therefore, are like texts under negotiation. They require a serious consideration of the points of view of our predecessors, along with a give and take connected to a desire for a better interpretation of what would be just today for the sake of all concerned. No easy task, but nevertheless one that is worthwhile. Questions of human dignity, human responsibility, and human freedom implore us to work hard for and to be committed to deliberating and debating about what justice is.


Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Living Spiritual Rhythms - May 20

Engage, evaluate, embrace―the Infinite One, other, and world. Enter the spooky haven of relationality (the essence of being relational); the space to dwell in oneself as another.


Monday, May 18, 2020

Reflection for the Week - May 18

We are now living in a suspicion oriented post-trust culture where institutions, politics, economics, and the church have failed to be trustworthy. Thus, suspicion, and rightly so, takes up a fair amount of space. While this environment is within and upon us, there is nevertheless still the surprising possibility that trust underlies being primates like us. In spite of the meltdown of trusting that which is external, the internal primal reality of trust pervades who we are. I’d wager there is no escape from us being kind of first strike trusting beings and this should open up a vision of new understanding of self, other, world, and God. 


Thursday, May 14, 2020

Thursday Thoughts - May 14

If imagination is viewed as having no relevant significance for the knowledge of God, an engagement with the biblical text, and a perception of the natural world, I’d wager we are failing to embrace what is true; knowledge, engagement, and perception are imagination dependent.


Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Living Spiritual Rhythms - May 13

As new information hits the universities and the streets including, the monumental immensity of the universe and the possibility that there’s more than one; DNA developments that seem to indicate more strongly than ever that humans evolved; neuroscience discoveries concerning how the human brain functions and some of the implications of that for selfhood and religious belief, are all eventually going to have an unavoidable impact, and rightly so, on how we view God. There is far, far, more to learn about who this God character is, which in turn will have spiritual implications. Perhaps, even, we’re at the beginning of an enormous paradigm shift. We’ll see.


Monday, May 11, 2020

Reflection for the Week - May 12

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 or a rationalistic apologetic where everything makes sense is a foil. There is no such thing. Thus, as we ramble through our days, sometimes villains or sometimes disciples, the pressures of unbelief, as powerful as they may appear to be, are negotiable and the roadblocks on the path can sometimes turn into signposts that point in the direction that belief in God is warranted and sensible in the midst of this wild, wonderful, and crazy world.


Thursday, May 7, 2020

Thursday Thoughts - May 7

Primates like us are imaginative meaning makers and story tellers. I’d wager this is just part of our niche. We want to explain things and understand ourselves, God, and the world. Scrambling for answers to significant questions is a neuro event and leads us into an imaginative spark where we make meaning and recount stories. In this vein, we tend to make a lot up and to tell some pretty fabulous tales in the quest to discover what’s true.


Wednesday, May 6, 2020

Living Spiritual Rhythms - May 6

Luke’s Acts is neither epic, nor a straight telling of history. Rather, it is a story of beginnings and functions as a ‘founding narrative’ for the unfolding drama of the Christian faith, which in Luke’s context was moving towards credibility. Thus, in his re-counting, the reality of a religious movement became narrativized for the first time. In fact, this author’s founding narrative sets out a theological, historical, and literary redescription of the world in a quite unique and controversial manner when read in dialogue with other Greco-Roman historiographical portrayals of the times. Re-reading it today takes us to the limits of imagination.


Monday, May 4, 2020

Reflection for the Week - May 4

A realistic faith is a constant dialogue between the "because of" and the "in spite of." In living a spiritual life, we may traverse periods of belief in God that are like the vistas of a changing landscape. Sometimes the viability of the reasons for faith are convincing and firm, while at other times we are clinging to faith with little conviction or strength. We can experience the joy of sufficient answers or the dread of the awareness that many questions are left unresolved. Passing through, as we are, invites us into this tension, which is inescapably connected to life in this world.


Thursday, April 30, 2020

Thursday Thoughts - April 30

Encountering the infinite mystery of another human being is a sacramental invitation and a sacred adventure towards convergence. This coming alongside or together phenomenon will take place at different levels of familiarity; it is never nothing or everything. That is, to be unaffected by or irredeemably lost in another is an expression of inappropriate selfhood. Unadulterated oneness is not desirable. I'd wager we are always to be intensely touched by our engagements with the other, while remaining ourselves.


Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Living Spiritual Rhythms - April 29

I'd wager our reading strategies for the biblical text, self, other, and the world should have a similarity. That is, not too objective, nor too subjective (walking a tightrope might be a good image). These phenomena are not to be mere objects of analysis and study or simply personal subjects of possession and interest, but understood as related and distinct in tension. Falling into compartmentalized or collapsing approaches will lead to a short circuiting of making necessary tensional connections that will deepen our spirituality and challenge and enhance our lives, while helping us recognize that we are in the midst of a complex living adventure filled with convictions, doubts, and questions concerning life and its emerging possibilities.


Monday, April 27, 2020

Reflection for the Week - April 27

Systems of compensation for failed standard keeping never work. They are corrosive and rust our insides. Our hope of achieving an “OK” self if we “overdid that” and therefore “do this” will fail. True, there may be a place for standards in life, but they can’t be the grounding of who we perceive ourselves to be. The problem is that the “overdid that” and “do this” won’t give us what we long for – an ability to accept ourselves because of who we are and in spite of who we’re not. If we are to avoid a collapse into a vicious circle of self-condemnation, we need to embrace the living tension between freedom and responsibility founded on several informers, including: nature, humanity, and God, which all promote that our value, dignity, and worth are “already there” and thus not something that we earn by measuring up to self-made standards.


Saturday, April 25, 2020

Alpes Suisse


Thursday, April 23, 2020

Thursday Thoughts - April 23

Love goes beyond justice and justice goes beyond love. Neither can go it alone, nor can one be fully collapsed into the other. Thus, there is a tension here that requires dialogue in order to come to a reflective equilibrium, which nevertheless will necessitate endless revision.


Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Living Spiritual Rhythms - April 22

Rocked by debt, greed, sickness, and death, the world as we know it is slowly but surely disintegrating. There is a rising sense, a vibrant pulse if you will, that uncertainty, fraud, and betrayal are leaving us without direction and hope. Austerity plans are put in place, interest rates are cut, more money is printed, masks, ventilators, and vaccines are desperately sought, 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. A move towards the offer of an other worldly perspective of transformation by grace, which can be integrated with our own, yet not consumed by it, now more than ever seems a hopeful and worthwhile consideration.


Monday, April 20, 2020

Reflection for the Week - April 20

Christians can no longer do theology from the Bible and ancient culture alone, but also have to consider scientific claims, especially when interpreting Genesis 1-3. What is the force of genes, cells, amino acids, proteins, etc. for theology? Many Christians say: Nothing. But, at worst this is reductionistic, claiming the Bible alone is their theological resource, and at even worse, it is blindness to the grandeur of the natural world informer and its implications for understanding God.


Friday, April 17, 2020

Friday Musings - April 16

I’d wager that the Genesis authors had no historical, biological, or genetic information to rely on when they processed and wrote the creation stories. Thus, early Genesis is likely to be a post-Exodus founding narrative set in place to enhance the identity of the nation of Israel and its God.


Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Living Spiritual Rhythms - April 15

The fragility of life and the tragedy of death are relentless. Almost no one escapes questions of purpose, well being, alienation, and degeneration. But in the end, a transformed life overcomes death by going through it, not around it. This is crucifixion and resurrection; part of the massive drama to make all things new.


Tuesday, April 14, 2020

Reflection for the Week - April 14

The biblical writers were influenced by an exposure to and a reading of cultural repertoire for theistic and Christian orientations. Their perspectives, therefore, would be likely to contain some relevant and irrelevant information about who God is, how the world works, and what it means to be human. Thus, other informers today are necessary for helping us discern the difference and for sketching out a fuller, yet nevertheless incomplete picture.