Month: September 2008

Counter to Current Church Culture Trends

My friend, Ernest, over at Missions Misunderstood weighs in on the new trend toward “multi-site” churches. I found his missiological perspective to represent a “counter-cultural” move with regard to church culture.

What do you think?

Worshipping Our Interpretations or Worshipful Responses

I continue to work through Peter Rollins‘ theological proposals for the final paper of the Fitch/Holsclaw course about which I have written. The following quote connected with a conversation I had with Chris Seay this past weekend,

The difference between the idea that our Christian traditions describe God and the view they are worshipful responses to God is important to grasp, for while the former seeks to define, the latter is engaged with response. (Rollins, How (Not) to Speak of God, p.21)

Chris has spent the past couple of years working on The Voice Project. He is excited the New Testament part of the project will be coming out soon. Questions about his view of the Scripture in many ways center around the very matter Rollins works through. You can listen to Chris describe his understanding of the Scriptures here.

What most of us must acknowledge is that we are far from being able to consider matters in something akin to an antiseptically clean environment. Claims of pristine objectivity cannot stand up today. To claim so buys the fallacy of modern science which purports unbiased objectivity. And, further ties our conversation to the language game of science. We all know should know assertions to that kind of objectivity are no longer acceptable. Global warming debates anyone? I recently read a friend’s research. A number of responses were given. Each response varied based on the perspective of the respondent.

God is not “object” to be defined. The Triune God is “subject” to be engaged and known. The Apostle Paul seems to communicate as much in Phil. 3. That somewhat famous place where Paul catalogs his would-be qualifications only to arrive at the desire to know God, and not in an encyclopedic, systematic sense. Instead, his desire is to know him in the experience of the power of the resurrection, sharing in his suffering and being like him in his death. These are not intellectual intimations, these describe an eagerness of transformation – being like.

Sometimes we worship out interpretations when we need to offer worshipful, life-transformed-by, responses.

The Problem with Labels … Sometimes they don’t fit

If you have read here long, you know I enjoy reading Leonard Pitts Jr. I first read Leonard as his column finds its way into our local metro paper. For some time I have bemoaned the pejorative use of labels. One of my friends finds them helpful. But, when they do no adequately describe the intended person or group, they get in the way – even obfuscate reality.

In his recent column, which I get in my Bloglines, he notes the battle for the label “conservative.” I often find it helpful to pay attention to critique from without and within. Pitts column offers both. He includes some who responded to an earlier post claiming some are not really conservative. Pitts then offers thoughts from the outside looking in.

We, who claim faith, cannot give a pass to anyone regardless of political platform. We should encourage and create conversation above the labels so as to critique anyone, any platform, vying for our vote.

I liken this to Graham Ward’s assertion that theology must speak above the cultural turns so it may always speak into every cultural era.

What do you think of Pitts column?

Coffehouse Theology … Look for it

My friend Ed Cyzewski’s new book, Coffeehouse Theology, has been released. A review copy is in the mail and I look forward to reading it. I will be part of the “blog tour” for Ed’s book. Keep watching for the date.

Nouwen’s Prayer … May be good for the hubris in us all …

“O Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the living God, have mercy on me, a sinner. I am impressed by my own spiritual insights. I probably know more about prayer, meditation, and contemplation than most Christians do. I have read many books about the Christian life, and have even written a few myself. Still, as impressed as I am, I am more impressed by the enormous abyss between my insights and my life.” From A Cry for Mercy by Henri J.M. Nouwen quoted from A Guide to Prayer for Ministers and Other Servants