doing and believing...
Wednesday, January 30, 2008
I've been thinking particularly about one of the features he identifies...
"emerging Christians tend to be theologically pluralistic and quite suspicious of tidy theological boxes. They believe that God is bigger than any theology and that God is first and foremost a story-teller, not a dispenser of theological doctrine and factoids. Theology for them, therefore, is conceived as an ongoing and provisional conversation. Emerging Christians are also allergic to thinking which fixates on who is going to heaven and who is going to hell, or on who’s on the inside and who’s on the outside. They stress the importance of right-living (orthopraxy) over right-believing (orthodoxy). What’s important, they often say, is whether you engage in God-love and neighbor-love. Or as one of our conversation partners put it, “We’re more interested in doing truth than believing ‘truths’.”"
As I read this I identified completely with it and yet on a second reading I'm left slightly uneasy! I, for one, don't want to be fixated on who's in and who's out or on neatly tying up following Jesus into a predefined theological and doctrinal package. For this reason, I am 100% behind the emerging church project (as some have described it). However, I guess my unease kicks in when I think about the parameters for Christ-led discipleship. Are there any? Is it really a journey without any givens? Is theology really provisional? If so, how do we prevent this journey of discipleship from being a completely subjective experience, once again playing into the hands of modern Western individualism - "who are you to tell me where my journey with Jesus should be going?"?!
I guess this is why the notion of community is so important to 'emerging Christians', such that "a premium is placed on togetherness, journeying with and alongside others" (Corcoran's words). But even in this community experience (and perhaps, especially in it) are there any givens or norms? Is it a case of anything goes or are there beliefs and values that define the community?
In the emerging churches I've experienced there are often very clear values and/or beliefs underpinning them. Indeed, to say that there are no theological givens is in itself a theological given! I'm convinced, given my reading of the gospels, that orthopraxy is, at least, as important as orthodoxy, but this doesn't render orthodoxy unimportant... does it?
Monday, January 28, 2008
"don't change your light bulbs...
Thursday, January 24, 2008
Bono on the political challenge of global poverty and climate change
see also Bono and Al Gore at the World Economic Forum
hat tip... Andrew Jones
lost on the way...
Tuesday, January 15, 2008
The above quote, which I find really helpful, comes from a post by Charlie Lyons Pardue engaging with John Caputo's What Would Jesus Deconstruct? Read the whole post 'here'.
Jesus blogs here...
Friday, January 11, 2008
See also 'Weblog of Jesus Stirs Controversy Among Faithful' for more 'comments'. My favourite of the bunch has to be the one (supposedly) written by Christian tract publisher Edward Muehler... "I prefer a gospel that is streamlined, one that fits in a little pamphlet... I know that Jesus has a lot to say about things like poverty and peace, but these things distract from the true nature of the Gospel: freedom
hat tip... Ben Sternke
for a new beginning...
In out-of-the-way places of the heart,
Where your thoughts never think to wander,
This beginning has been quietly forming,
Waiting until you were ready to emerge.
For a long time it has watched your desire,
Feeling the emptiness grow inside you,
Noticing how you willed yourself on,
Still unable to leave what you had outgrown.
It watched you play with the seduction of safety
And the grey promises that sameness whispered,
Heard the waves of turmoil rise and relent,
Wondered would you always live like this.
Then the delight, when your courage kindled,
And out you stepped onto new ground,
Your eyes young again with energy and dream,
A path of plentitude opening before you.
Though your destination is not clear
You can trust the promise of this opening;
Unfurl yourself into the grace of beginning
That is at one with your life’s desire.
Awaken your spirit to adventure;
Hold nothing back, learn to find ease in risk;
Soon you will be home in a new rhythm
For your soul senses the world that awaits you.
hat tip... Paul Fromont
Tuesday, January 08, 2008
"In Christian theology, such phrases [as "the authority of Scripture"] regularly act as “portable stories”—that is, ways of packing up longer narratives about God, Jesus, the Church and the world, folding them away into convenient suitcases, and then carrying them about with us. Shorthands enable us to pick up lots of complicated things and carry them around all together. But we should never forget that the point in doing so, like the point of carrying belongings in a suitcase, is that what has been packed away can then be unpacked and put to use in the new location. Too much debate about scriptural authority has had the form of people hitting one another with locked suitcases. It is time to unpack our shorthand doctrines, to lay them out and inspect them. Long years in a suitcase may have made some of the contents go moldy. They will benefit from fresh air, and perhaps a hot iron."
Go and read the full interview!
hat tip... Paul Fromont
why God doesn't go to church...
new year... new horizons...
Monday, January 07, 2008
It's both exciting and daunting but it feels like a good move! The people of St Mary's are very friendly and welcoming - it's a church with a long and rich history that doesn't want to remain rooted in the past but wants to build on it in meeting the needs of its community today. I'm also really impressed by their commitment to fair trade and social justice, and look forward to belonging to this community. Watch this space to read reflections and news over the course of time!!