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
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, August 28, 2016

Scriptures and Prayer for the Fifteenth Sunday after Pentecost

Old Testament: Jeremiah 2:4-13 or Sirach 10:12-18 or Proverbs 25:6-7

Psalter: Psalm 81:1, 10-16 or Psalm 112

Epistle: Hebrews 13:1-8, 15-16

Gospel: Luke 14:1, 7-14
Almighty God, in your goodness, you provide for the needy. Remove from your people the pride of place and the pursuit of power that mocks humility. Open our hearts in generosity and justice to the neglected and lonely, that in showing esteem for others, we may honor and please you through Jesus Christ in the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Saturday at the Cinema: Pointers that Lead to Belief in God

from Francis Collins:

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Nothing is Mere Doctrine

None of it [the Bible's message] is esoteric. None of it is a specialized, compartmentalized thing. It's all lived... One of the wonderful things about being a pastor is that your whole work takes place in a 'storied' context. . . Nothing is mere doctrine. . . It's all embedded in this narrative way of living."-- Eugene Peterson

I truly resonate with this quote from Peterson. I have argued on this blog many times that the divide that many Christians draw between doctrine and living, belief and action, orthodoxy and orthopraxy, misunderstands the significant nature of both. As Methodist theologian, Geoffrey Wainwright correctly states,

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

A Banquet Where Strangers Are the Guests of Honor: A Lectionary Reflection on Luke 14:1, 7-14

Luke 14:1, 7-14

At the typical wedding reception today, the guests of honor are the bride and the groom, and the wedding party that sits at the table of honor centrally located in the front of the room. Closest to them are the bride and groom's immediate family--parents, grandparents and others. The farther away are more distant relatives, then friends, and finally those who sit farthest away are the friends of friends and friends of friends of friends--those on the margins of the list of invitees. They not only sit farthest away, but they are the last ones served or last to be invited to the buffet table.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Can Secularism Exist All By Itself?-- Or, Boring Christians Produce Boring Atheists

We live in a time when Christianity is on the wane. though that is often thought to be a particular challenge for Christians, I think it is a greater challenge for people who think of themselves as secular. The challenge before the secular is to disavow the continuing reliance on cultural and moral habits that come from Christianity and tell us why, for example, it makes sense to make promises that last a lifetime or to bring children into a world that you think is without purpose.-- Stanley Hauerwas, The Work of Theology, p. 5.
I find this quote from Stanley Hauerwas to be quite thought provoking. The current loss of a religious context of Western culture (in this case a specifically Christian context) is understood by most Christians to be a challenge at best and an unmitigated disaster in the making at its worst. Anyone familiar with my writing knows that I have no stake in the project called Christendom that makes something called secularism intelligible. I wish it were possible to kill Christendom tomorrow as it has seriously undermined the theological character and missional nature of the church. Christendom by necessity makes the church the handmaiden of the state making the nation a rival ecclesia and a de facto replacement. Of course, Christendom may be weakening, but it is in no danger of dying any time soon because as I have suggested elsewhere both Christians on the conservative right and the progressive left seemed bound and determined to keep it alive through the coercive politics of the nation state. Scot McKnight rightly notes, "...both the Left and the Right have colonized the faith to a political agenda.... the church is an alternative politic not the feeding ground for the politics of the world."

Monday, August 22, 2016

Now, This Is a Man Cave!

Two and a half months after our move my basement study is finally complete! I plan to spend many wonderful hours in this place!

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Scriptures and Prayer for the Fourteenth Sunday after Pentecost

Old Testament: Jeremiah 1:4-10 or Isaiah 58:9b-14

Psalter: Psalm 71:1-6 or Psalm 103:1-8

Epistle: Hebrews 12:18-29

Gospel: Luke 13:10-17
Merciful God, as we pour out the wealth you have entrusted to us, the parched places are watered; as we cease our evil talk, the rising light of peace dawns in the darkness. So lead us into faithful living that your promises may unfold in us as a woman's back, long bent, unfolds at Christ's command, to the praise of your holy name. Amen.