Monday, August 3, 2020

Reflection for the Week - August 3

To not be resigned to death in the midst of chaos and uncertainty is a challenge and a destiny. Fighting against addiction and abuse - the injustices of tolerance – takes hard work and deep commitment. As things fray from the peaceful center to the edges of despair and back, death frequently looms large on the horizon of existence. It perversely seeks to convince us that this is the final space. Frantic attempts to escape from this lie only enslave us and lead to false release. By contrast, life, worn as it may be, is a hopeful adventure worth embracing.


Thursday, July 30, 2020

Thursday Thoughts - July 30

Re-imagining the Christian faith in the light of multiple informers is crucial for our engagement with the world, each other as community, and the cultures in which we live.


Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Living Spiritual Rhythms - July 29

One of the realities of grace means that we cannot assume that where we are in our spiritual journey of faith is going to be good for the other.


Tuesday, July 28, 2020

From Evolution to Eden

Myth, History, Legend?
Adam & Eve? Magic trees in a Garden? Talking serpents? What kind of world might this be? If you’re looking for a plausible interpretation of Genesis 1-3, which takes both the ancient near-Eastern and the natural world informers seriously read
From Evolution to Eden: Making Sense of Early Genesis
In preparing the material for this book from a series of papers previously published in academic journals, we decided to make only minimal changes. We have arranged the contents in chronological order, so that the overall flow of the book accurately reflects how our thoughts moved from one question to the next. By placing the papers together in a single source, we hope to tell our own story of how our thinking about Genesis 1-3 unfolded, as we allowed the biblical world to meet and interact with our scientifically informed world. Hopefully, this will give readers some insight into what we think are the important questions that need to be raised as we come to terms with how to interpret and apply Genesis 1-3 today. In other words, our picture of this dynamic interdisciplinary relationship is a porous one, inviting our questions and daring us to venture down a new interpretive path with willingness to encounter what we find along the way.


Thursday, July 23, 2020

Thursday Thoughts - July 23

The days are long gone when human evolution can be reduced to survival of the fittest. At least three other important informers have come into play: environment, culture, and imagination. Each of these informers has now contributed and is contributing to what is becoming a gradually better understanding of who primates like us are today.


Monday, July 20, 2020

Reflection for the Week - July 20

I’d wager there are three prevailing worldviews that tend to dominate the g-local context today. First, matter matters. This is the notion that all there is―is matter. Scientific hubris is attempting to capture what is, but in its reductionism and anti-theism is doomed to fail. Life is more important than matter. Second, money matters. Consumer strategies and corporate values teach us that all that’s real is―money. When money becomes a god in church, politics, economics, and society, everything is sacrificed on the altar of death and redemption is left in the ashes. People are more important than money. Third, power matters. Authoritarian governments cut down and shred responsibility or anything else that stands in their way. This shows that all that counts for them is―power. Explicit claims of dominance and acts of terror oppress and de-dignify humanity, and an ethical imperative is trampled by force, rhetoric, manipulation, and bullets. Love and justice are more important than power.


Thursday, July 16, 2020

Thursday Thoughts - July 16

Ironically, many biblical literalists and evolutionary materialists share the view that there’s a lot wrong with the world, including defects of function and purpose. As horrible as these instances may sometimes be, this position often mistakenly assumes a perfect standard by which to evaluate creational or evolutionary history. It appears, at least presently, that there is no such norm and that the natural world has been like this for an awfully long time. Why precisely that’s the case, even though the human mind desperately wants to ‘construct’ an answer, escapes us.


Wednesday, July 15, 2020

Living Spiritual Rhythms - July 15

Letting go of assumed truths about God that turn out not to be true is not betrayal, but wisdom. As enshrined as these assumptions sometimes can be, abandoning them for the evolving ‘truer’ is a worthwhile and challenging adventure that, in this life, knows no end.


Monday, July 13, 2020

Reflection for the Week - July 13

Biblical narrative and nature’s story are an astounding drama engaging God and humanity. This drama goes far beyond a dispassionate recounting or a merely experiential narrating. There’s just too much to tell and both objectivity and subjectivity fall short of giving the whole picture. Yet, in the unfolding theater of life and death, filled with a repertoire of mystery and complexity, there are particular viable resonances, notably resurrection and evolution, which connect to a realistic hope for transformation in the niche of a possible world.


Thursday, July 9, 2020

Thursday Thoughts - July 9

Hermeneutics plays a central role in our lives, and it is important to be aware of this for at least the following reasons. First, the general action of interpreting anything is part and parcel of what it means to be a human being. Second, we can think of the interpretive act as part of our hardwired neural functions that assist our quest for optimal understanding. Third, this quest can be viewed as a circuitous passage that takes us through an encounter with different kinds of worlds; spiritual, natural, cultural, textual, and otherwise. Fourth, along the journey, discordant thoughts are garnered and imaginatively woven together into a reflective concordant whole – a story. It might be said this way: an unfolding picture of reality, including our place in it, begins to surface out of the mist of an interpreted life.


Wednesday, July 8, 2020

Living Spiritual Rhythms - July 8

In a logic of superabundance we find there is an excess of giveness. God, for example, loves and creates in a superabundant manner that cannot be entirely contained in the material world or captured by language. In this light, Genesis 1-3 could be viewed as a limit expression text. That is, the text goes to the limit that language and the natural world can bear, pushing the ancient Near Eastern boundaries as far as they could go, without being in any way a comprehensive recounting of beginnings. This type of text not merely prevents knowledge from becoming exhaustive, but it dissuades interpreters from attempting totalizing interpretations that would then defy the limit character of the narrative trajectory.


Monday, July 6, 2020

Reflection for the Week - July 6

In our book From Evolution to Eden, we refer to the publicized image of “science as a candle in the dark.” We contend that, in some sense, this picture has a ring of truth. New research is uncovering interesting things about nature and humans as part of it - de-crypting DNA and now making tremendous progress in doing the same with the human brain are going to be monumental. Building off this, we get a better vision of what’s happening now. The “light” of the natural sciences can no longer be considered separately from that of the human sciences, including theology. To a greater and greater degree – they have to be in dialogue with each other. The days when the natural sciences were thought to be only about material, measurement, and mechanism are over. It’s not that natural science is not about those, but it is now about much more and because of this the human sciences have to pay attention (notice I didn’t write and agree with it all). Thus, let’s face it, some of our theology, for example, will have to be established from outside the biblical text. Once DNA and the brain took center stage, we entered new territory, which has serious implications for our understanding of God, spirituality, and the whole of life.


Saturday, July 4, 2020

Engadine - Suisse


Thursday, July 2, 2020

Thursday Thoughts - July 2

The rise and subsequent pervasiveness of hermeneutics (the act and art of interpretation) has changed our political, social, economic, and textual understanding of the world, God, and ourselves.


Wednesday, July 1, 2020

Living Spiritual Rhythms - July 1

Provocatively cutting away at the darkness is a challenging task that gradually opens up glimmers of light. These slivers of illumination, subversive and revolutionary, glisten through the shroud of the masquerade, and offer a hope that translates into a new way of being, seeing, and living. Light leads to a destiny, whereas darkness takes us nowhere. Dismantling the darkness promotes light, embracing light exposes darkness.


Monday, June 29, 2020

Reflection for the Week - June 29

These salient words come from Anna, a character in the Geraldine Brooks story, Year of Wonders, set in the 1600s during the Plague. p. 215

“Why should this thing be either a test of faith sent by God, or the evil working of the Devil in the world? One of these beliefs we embraced, the other we scorned as superstition. But perhaps each was false, equally. Perhaps the Plague was neither of God nor the Devil, but simply a thing in Nature, as the stone on which we stub a toe."


Saturday, June 13, 2020

Alpes Suisse


Thursday, June 11, 2020

Thursday Thoughts - June 11

Divine action in the world is the subject of much discussion in philosophy, theology, and science. Lots of work to do here. For a long time now I’ve had questions about this issue. Here’s one example. Some Christian non-profits are certain that God is behind their funding and they survive, others are confident of the same thing, but go bankrupt. The latter then bemoans an absence of God’s action on its behalf (though somehow this is God’s will), while the former claims that God is acting faithfully to sustain it, (also God’s will). My wager, at the moment, is that God’s action or inaction probably has little to do with the survival or bankruptcy of Christian non-profits.


Wednesday, June 10, 2020

Living Spiritual Rhythms - June 10

To hear and read the story of Mark is to enter a narrative world of conflict and drama, possession and dispossession, subversive reversals of perspective, intrigue, mystery, and strange riddles, with Jesus as its central protagonist. It is far from a simple or nice story, filled with easy answers or a basic list of rules to follow. Readers, in contrast, are challenged to participate in the story and to lose their lives for Jesus’ sake in order to find them. What? Outrageous! Thus, the story is presented as a drama to be performed―acted upon―and is out to persuade the imagination and then through this to have an impact on the whole person. The world of self-serving power, fame, and greed is shattered, and readers are invited to embrace another world that will lead them to life after death.


Monday, June 8, 2020

Reflection for the Week - June 8

Considering all the bantering going on over politics and the economy in Western democracies, recent reports in the media have suggested that some Christians and politicians advocate dominionist theologically authoritative governments. I have been badgered by journalists for interviews on this subject, but have declined. While the media is not noted for its accuracy, nor I might add, its credibility, the sheer false representation of positions reportedly held by certain people in this discussion is astounding. I’m not out to defend this or that politician or theologian here, as their writings and platforms speak for themselves. At any rate, it seems to me that moving in the direction of any kind of a theocracy is clearly a mistake. To identify the Kingdom of God and country is a travesty. Simply said, whether it is the fundamentalist form coming from the right or the fundamentalist freedom coming from the left, there has to be an effort to strike a dialogical balance that avoids extremism. Embracing the principles of both form and freedom is an inviting way forward. Granted, working this out is no easy task, but if politicians are committed to this venture, instead of slander, manipulation, and deception, we might get somewhere. One key working model should focus on the concept of collegiality and the acceptance of a diversity of political views, which all have to interact together in a way that preserves checks and balances. A dialogue where real positions are put out there to be discussed and analyzed is to be preferred to mud-slinging, which dubiously aims to cover a myriad of weaknesses and a lack of fresh ideas. Equal concerns from different quarters are to be represented in the public square and interactions should take place in a civil and respectful manner.    


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.