Community Witness

Human beings look for meaning behind every event and experience. Maybe not all look for meaning, but many do. The Church continues to grapple with how to talk or describe the meaning of the death and resurrection of Jesus. That is not likely to change. Read More

God-talk In Conflict or, When Retrospect and Prospect Collide

Few instances offered such a poignant illustration of God-talk at odds in a local Christian community of faith. The pastor listened intently at the way theology was unwittingly being discussed in terms of retrospect and prospect.

Theology done in retrospect occurs when we assign meaning to a series of events after they have occurred. We interpret events in light of an overarching concern. Should we buy this house?

Eighteen years ago our family moved to Tuttle. We lived in parsonages before responding to Snow Hill’s invitation to become pastor. We needed a house.

We planned a trip to Tuttle as the front end to a vacation with my larger family – parents and brothers. We took two days and drove hours looking at house after house. Our budget was limited. After nearly two days we were about to narrow our choices by default. We could not find anything else.

Then it happened. Read More

More Irruptions of the Real? “Hey SBC, Read Fitch!”

The temperature continues to be the topic du jour here in Oklahoma. In contest like fashion meteorologists see who can state the obvious better. Add in the constant tracking of how many days over 100° Oklahoma City endures and I am guessing it is the absence of a tornado to chase. Reading in the cool on a day off after hosting Cohen Alan seems like the proper response.

A few articles have caught my attention as I watch the grass turn yellow and listen to the whir of the A/C. It seems Richard Land has given the media fodder with which they may shoot at the SBC. EthicsDaily reports that Dr. Land has repeated Beckian screed and offered refuted “facts” to challenge the ethics of President Obama on fiduciary grounds. Would that someone would make a motion at next year’s SBC Annual Meeting, rather than a resolution, to censure entity heads for such mis-handling of words. After all, the SBC more than nearly any other denomination lays claim to “handling words” with great respect and care. Inerrant. Infallible.

And, someone gets the implications quite well, Read More

The Ex-Reverend On Phenomenology Or, What Does Religious Vocabulary Explain

The first post I offer from The Ex-Reverend offers both religious observation and personal context. Our discussions often turn on the interplay between phenomenology and metaphysics. Phenomenology tends to address the meaning(s) attached to human experiences.

There should be no trouble seeing the relationship between “religious experience” and phenomenology. After all, when a person describes their human experience as a “religious experience” the vocabulary invoked to convey such a meaning comes under scrutiny. (And yes, right away the meaning of “religious experience” becomes key. The subject of another of The Ex-Reverend’s recent observations.)

Since I write from within Christian Tradition, and a peculiar place from within that “tradition,” meaning cannot be extricated from ethics. In other words, in order for a religious vocabulary to carry any verifiable weight, there must be a consistent ethic that follows. (Most often the critique offered from the Ex-Reverend.)

The move to ascribe meaning from within the Christian Tradition requires a metaphysical move as references to God/G-d are generally distinguished as Other. Transcendence would be too simplistic a description but it would likely be an understood shorthand. Read More