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malcolm chamberlain

musings about the emerging church, mission and contemporary culture...

God is at large, intimately involved in his world in ways that the church is maybe just waking up to!

is the Old Testament Christian?...

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

I've just finished reading 2 Samuel, and have once again been struggling with the apparently bloodthirsty God found in its pages, and how we understand this portrayal of God as followers of the Prince of Peace. And then I came across this interesting post by Matt Stone at Glocal Christianity, which explores how, as Christians, we must read the Old Testament through the reframing lense of the New Testament. Matt argues that we cannot see the Old Testament in and of itself as a 'Christian text', since it is clearly Jewish and is upheld by other faiths as Scripture even though they might come to differing conclusions about God. If we follow this line, the Old Testament becomes a 'Christian text' when it is reframed by the New, such that we reinterpret what we find there. Matt writes:

"I find the movie Sixth Sense provides a good analogy. If you have seen that movie, starring Bruce Willis, then you’d know that the ending of the movie has a killer twist. In the final moments Bruce Willis’ character has a revelation that reframes everything that was going on up to that moment.... The realization affects his identity and transforms his entire story.... For Christians the coming of Christ is, similarly, a killer twist. Jesus transforms our understanding of God, and hence, our understanding of the Old Testament and how we read it. Reading the Old Testament in isolation from the New Testament is like watching Sixth Sense but walking out fifteen minutes before the climax. You’ll never understand Christianity by viewing it that way, and you’ll never truly understand the Old Testament by reading it that way."

If I understand Matt correctly, the New Testament is the Christian's 'text' (in a Derrida sense) - our interpretive framework through which we see the world, including the Old Testament. Of course, Matt makes a huge leap in the final line of the above quote as other faiths would certainly argue against needing the New Testament in order to "truly understand the Old Testament", but as a Christian believer myself I'm happy to go along with him here!

The question remains though... what do we do with the Old Testament narratives of the boodthirsty God and the faithfulness of his people being seen in their willingness to comit mass slaughter? Do we simply reject such texts as ancient misconceptions of God, based on the new understanding arising from the teaching and sacrificial example of Jesus, or is there a more subtle way to reframe the Old Testament?

Read Matt's whole post here

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posted by Malcolm Chamberlain, 1:11 PM | link | 8 comments |

extrmely dangerous...

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Foreign Secretary, David Miliband, was interviewed on Al Jazeera English by Sir David Frost on 12 March 2009. He spoke about the threat from domestic terrorism in Pakistan saying that the 'situation is very grave'...

"The situation in Pakistan is extremely dangerous. I would say it's very grave. I think Pakistan faces a mortal threat, not from India, but from domestic terrorism. And that domestic terrorism is so grave that I think that politicians in Pakistan need to come together.

At the moment the politicians are pointing their fingers at each other. In fact they should be coming together and pointing their fingers at those who threaten the Pakistani people and those are terrorists on the Afghan border, terrorists in the Punjab who struck with such deadly effect in Mumbai and terrorists who after all claimed the life of Benazir Bhutto in December 2007."

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posted by Malcolm Chamberlain, 3:05 PM | link | 0 comments |

cadbury goes fairtrade...

Saturday, March 07, 2009

posted by Malcolm Chamberlain, 11:01 AM | link | 0 comments |