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.