A Weblog Dedicated to the Discussion of the Christian Faith and 21st Century Life

A Weblog Dedicated to the Discussion of the Christian Faith and 21st Century Life
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I do not seek to understand that I may believe, but I believe in order to understand. For this also I believe, –that unless I believed, I should not understand.-- St. Anselm of Canterbury (1033-1109)

Sunday, July 05, 2015

Scriptures and Prayer for the Sixth Sunday after Pentecost

Old Testament: 2 Samuel 5:1-5, 9-10

Epistle: 2 Corinthians 12:2-10

Gospel: Mark 6:1-13
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God of grace and powerful weakness, at times your prophets were ignored, rejected, belittled, and unwelcome. Trusting that we, too, are called to be prophets, fill us with your Spirit, and support us by your gentle hands, that we may persevere in speaking your word and living our faith. Amen.

Saturday, July 04, 2015

A Question to All Christians in America on This Fourth of July: Is Your Eschatology Shaped by the Empire?

Eschatology: "...the theological study that seeks to understand the ultimate direction or purpose of history as it moves toward the future, both from an individual perspective (What happens when a person dies?) and from a corporate perspective (Where is history going and how will it end?)"--Pocket Dictionary of Theological Terms, p. 46.

The question we should ask is this: Where is our hope placed? In our elected candidates? In our country? To be sure, I hope our country solves its international conflicts, and I hope we resolve poverty and dissolve our educational problems and racism. And I hope we can create a better economy. But where does my hope turn when I think of war or poverty or education or racism? Does it focus on my political party? Does it gain its energy from thinking that if we get the right candidate elected, our problems will be dissolved? If so, I submit that our eschatology has become empire-shaped, Constantinian and political. And it doesn't matter to me if it is a right-wing evangelical wringing her fingers in hope that a Republican wins or a left-wing progressive wringing her fingers in hope that a Democrat wins. Each has a misguided eschatology. The kingdom story counters the culture of politics as the solution to our problems.--Scot McKnight, Kingdom Conspiracy, p. 63.

So, is your eschatology shaped by the empire? How you respond to the following will provide the answer:

Saturday at the Cinema: Consider Forgiveness

Friday, July 03, 2015

Truth Is Stranger Than Fiction: If At First You Don't Succeed...

Man charged with robbing same New Jersey bank 5 years later

From Associated Press
July 01, 2015 2:35 PM EST

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (AP)-- A Philadelphia man robbed a New Jersey bank four months after he was released from prison for robbing the same place five years earlier, prosecutors said.

Thursday, July 02, 2015

The Right Side of History Argument: Enlightenment Fascism At Its Best

I've never cared much for the right or wrong side of history argument for three reasons: First, it assumes that to be on the right side of history necessitates power, and those with the most power get to determine the right side of history. It is an imperial and colonial reading of history. Second, everyone automatically assumes their views line up with the right side of history, which I think is rather intellectually arrogant. Third, every reading of history is interpreted. When someone states that a certain position is on the right side of history, they are offering their reading of history. History is always interpreted.

Wednesday, July 01, 2015

The Gospel of Luke and Harry Chapin

Today in our community Bible study that meets every Wednesday morning at a local Panera Bread, we were discussing Luke 18 where the clear implications of the chapter have to do with priorities and the disciples' total allegiance to Jesus. The discussion turned to how often we Christians let the world set our agenda for us and we lose sight of what's truly important. It brought to my mind Harry Chapin's song, "Cat's in the Cradle." I mentioned it and all of us who are "older" immediately related to it, much to the confusion of the younger ones gathered there.

In any case, the song has a great message and is a refreshing change from all the sappy, sentimental, and gushy love songs we constantly here in today's pop music.

The song is posted right below.

Fun with Flags and Other Symbols: The Confederate Battle Flag

Since the terrible event in Charleston, SC where nine people were mercilessly targeted and killed at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church by a young racist and white supremacist, the flying of the Confederate battle flag at the state house in Columbia has once again taken center stage. Those who want it taken down say it's a symbol of racism, slavery, and oppression. Those who want it to remain argue that it is a symbol of Southern heritage and does not necessary endorse the South's slave-holding past. One thing is for certain-- it's in times like these that we are reminded that symbols are important and not to be taken lightly because those who embrace their symbols do so because they are connected in some way with their identity. In other words, the symbols we embrace say something about us individuals as well as the communities that endorse them.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Do We Really Want All Things to Work Together for Good?

To share in the glory of God is to be drawn near to God by acknowledging that God has first drawn near to us. The otherness of God that [Karl] Barth identified in his commentary on Romans is the God of love whose distance from us is constituted by what Barth was later to call "the humanity of God." God's glory has been made present to us in Jesus Christ, which decisively puts an end to all of our attempts to make God a god of our own devising.

It is so tempting to read Paul, as many of the great representatives of the liberal Protestant enterprise did and as some who now think of themselves as religiously conservative do, to confirm what we think being human is all about. "We know all things work together for good" too often is used to justify what is taken to be progress or to recommend patience in the face of difficulty. But Paul says all things work for good for those who love God. Paul then observes that such a good may mean that those who enjoy that good may suffer hardship, distress, persecution, famine, nakedness, peril, or the sword. that list should surely make us think twice about wanting the good made possible by all things working together. Is it any wonder that Paul suggests that we do not know how to pray as we ought.
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Stanley Hauerwas, Preaching Without Apology: Sermons for Christ's Church, pp. 13-14.

Monday, June 29, 2015

It's About Time-- Yes, This Post Is About Time

from Buzzfeed:
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Facts About Time That Will Hurt Your Brain

  • Time passes faster for your face than for your feet (assuming you’re standing up). Einstein’s theory of relativity dictates that the closer you are to the centre of the Earth, the slower time goes.
  • There’s no such thing as “now” as far as physics is concerned. Space and time are fluid, affected by gravity and your speed. Einstein put it like this: “For us physicists, the distinction between past, present and future is only an illusion, however persistent.”
  • Time passes slower the faster you move. If you flew to the star Sirius at 99% of the speed of light, then flew back again, the people you left behind on Earth would have aged more than 17 years. But you would have aged less than two and a half years.
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All the mind-boggling facts about time can be found here.