Monday, August 31, 2020

Reflection for the Week - August 31

Theological, philosophical, and scientific configurations are so often supposed to represent absolute precision. They’re tenaciously held on to come hell or high water and effectively immersed in a sterilized vat of facts, where mystery and imagination are forced to undergo the steady drip of a powerful anesthetic that aims to control and point to the true path. But what happens? God breaks through. Curiosity and questioning begin to surface and unqualified exactitude is shattered. All of a sudden there may be seemingly nothing to hold on to in a violent sea of uncertainty. Such an experience, though disconcerting and complicated, is unavoidable, and should be considered a necessary development that will hopefully lead towards embracing and standing for truer views of philosophy, science, and theology, where mystery and imagination are part of life with God, the self, the other, and the world.


Saturday, August 22, 2020

New ebook coming soon.



Thursday, August 20, 2020

Thursday Thoughts - August 20

 In an excellent book I’m reviewing, Love Divine & Human, Thomas Jay Oord responds in a fitting manner to a chapter in the volume by Kevin Vanhoozer on Oord’s work in dialogue with John Webster. Among Oord’s many insightful and interesting thoughts, one thing in particular caught my eye and raised an exegetical question mark. Oord comments on p. 33 to: “Who is this, that even the wind and sea obey him?” Mark 4:41. He writes: “Interestingly, the straightforward reading of this exclamation in Mark leads one to regard the wind and sea anthropomorphically. The language of the text suggests that wind and sea act like personal entities capable of choosing to obey Jesus (or perhaps not). If the wind and sea are capable of obedient responses, my view that miracles require creation to cooperate with God fits this story well.” Thus, according to Oord, miracles require the cooperation of creation with God. I’m not entirely convinced of his interpretation of this story for the following reasons. First, this text poses a question, and is not merely an exclamation. Second, it seems unlikely that the narrator aims to point out that wind and sea, and their choice to obey or not, is the main issue at hand. Third, it is doubtful that the author/narrator is suggesting Oord’s thesis here, though it may be pertinent elsewhere in regard to other biblical texts. Fourth, in what appears to be a better reading of this story it is more likely that Jesus performs some kind of act of mastery and hence the question that arises, as often in this gospel, relates to his identity. Who is Jesus?


Wednesday, August 19, 2020

Living Spiritual Rhythms - August 19

Rigorous self-examination in life is important, but it’s not the end of the story. To be right or wrong; a trusting or suspicious self, has significance in a multiplicity of ways, yet there is more to life than relying on ourselves. Our limits concerning who and what to trust and what and who to be suspicious of are drastically restricted, when we attempt to be self-determining agents. Try as we might, in strength or weakness, we discover that such efforts are unlivable. There is a genuine need for wisdom and discernment beyond the pale of merely self-decision. I’d wager that freedom from being alone in the world is shocking, since it always enlarges our horizons and comes with increasing responsibility for knowing more and living better.


Monday, August 17, 2020

Reflection for the Week - August 17

Belief is a dynamic agent in evolutionary processing. For primates like us belief is a given – part of who we are and what we do. Belief is real, but not immediately material. It exists first in a niche of the neurological, biological, perceptual, imaginative, and cultural innovations and sedimentations that stream from, in, and through being a believing primate. In turn, it then plays a significant role in downloading actions into the world. But, belief, as we see clearly from our evolutionary history, will sometimes be useful and productive and other times terrible and damaging. Thus, while belief is not an option, what we believe and how we act on those beliefs is crucial for the present and future of the planet and the human race.



Thursday, August 13, 2020

Thursday Thoughts - August 13

Confusion and clarity in varied degrees unfold and work themselves out in our lives at the same time. I’d wager they are not mutually exclusive, but intertwined core components of who we are and what we believe.


Wednesday, August 12, 2020

Living Spiritual Rhythms - August 12

We have the outstanding capacity to navigate through various physical states and material obstacles in life, while at the same moment being immersed in imagination, which takes us into another space, tethered to what’s in front of and around us, but also allowing a ‘being’ beyond it. Fantastic !


Monday, August 10, 2020

Reflection for the Week - August 10

In John’s narrative recounting, Jesus “signs” into the world. By putting his “signature” on acts of revelation he “signs” onlookers to God on whose behalf he has “signed in.” On the narrative register, we have a richly textured testimony “signing” us to the light, good wine, and the way, the truth, and the life. Jesus, therefore, performs his mission as a “signing” for God. Thus, John’s story functions as a notarizing testimony, which verifies this “signing” and thereby authenticates that this is actually the “signature” of the Messiah – the savior of humanity and the world.



Thursday, August 6, 2020

Thursday Thoughts - August 6

In today’s world of increasing uncertainty and growing violence there comes a time for seeking shelter - a dwelling place or space, not just an address. This place-space will include memories, stories, emotions, identity, imagination and much more, going far beyond a material structure. Hospitality, rest, refuge, challenge, and direction translate into some of the characteristics that can begin to engage and enlarge possibilities for promoting the being and becoming a truer self.


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.