Monthly Archives: June 2011

They can never allow themselves to agree

From the post Doctrinal Conformity | Unreasonable Faith

History of this type comes down to an assessment of probabilities. Stark has produced a very likely interpretation of what the passage [2 Kings 3:26-27] meant (or, rather, he’s repeating a likely interpretation that most historians agree on. He didn’t invent it.) But for someone like Hess, any interpretation that runs counter to his doctrinal position is impossible.

It’s an interesting problem: how do you hold a discussion with someone who cannot ever accept that you might have a point? No matter how persuasive or logical your arguments, they can never allow themselves to agree.

Makes me glad I’m a Christian

From the post The Passion, prophecy, the pedigree of proof-texting, and a podcast

Preachers and inspirational/devotional writers make whole bales of hay out of this sort of typology and similarly anachronistic readings of the OT: our congregations are led to believe that there is christological, or at very least explicitly Christian, significance to be found in seemingly every nook and cranny of the OT. … We should keep around the Old Testament not because of an erroneous assumption that it is crypto-Christian, but precisely because it’s a testimony of what faith in God looked like before Christ. Reading the Old Testament makes me glad I’m a Christian.

We Can Plausibly Argue

From the post No One Believes That The God Of The Bible Exists Anymore at Exploring Our Matrix:

To put it bluntly, classical Christianity is itself now our Old Testament…We have to use traditional Christianity in the same way as Christianity itself has always used the Old Testament. In both cases there is a great gulf but there is also continuity of spirit and religious values…When a Christian sings a psalm he knows there is a religion-gap and a culture-gap, but it does not worry him because he believes his faith to be the legitimate successor of the faith of the psalmist. Similarly, since the Enlightenment there has developed a religion-gap and a culture-gap between us and traditional Christianity, but we may still be justified in using the old words if we can plausibly argue that our present faith and spiritual values are the legitimate heirs of the old” (Don Cupitt, Taking Leave of God, p.135).

When you are certain you are right

From the post Progressive Christianity and the Bible

There definitely is uncertainty inherent in the progressive Christian outlook. But the view that it is a bad thing is based on a faulty understanding of “faith.” In modern English, that word has come to mean “believing incredible claims in spite of lack of evidence or even evidence to the contrary.” Historically, even in English the term meant something different, and more importantly, the Greek word usually translated “faith” in the New Testament has overtones not only of faithfulness but also of trust. Trusting is not what you do when you are certain you are right. It is what you do when you know you could be wrong. Being willing to live with uncertainty can be an expression of faith in God rather than its antithesis.

The Ultimate Denial of Grace

From the post Rachel Held Evans | When grace is just a doctrine

Now we could get into a rather ungraceful argument about the true meaning of grace, but as I see it, grace is about giving without expecting anything in return. It’s about cutting ourselves and one another some slack. It’s about letting go of grudges and extending love when it is not deserved. It’s about acknowledging all the brokenness within us and around us…and loving in spite of it. 

The ultimate denial of grace, then, is not to misunderstand it theologically, but to withhold it. The minute we withhold grace because of some prejudice or fear on our part, it becomes nothing more than a doctrine. 

This play of Order and Chaos

From the page for the book If Darwin Prayed: Prayers for Evolutionary Mystics

Let us calmly celebrate
that we are held
by an order that emerges from the chaos,
and by a chaos that loosens suffocating structures,
and let us learn to trust
that this play of Order and Chaos
is Spirit
dancing its way
into a sanctified future.

I would like to read this book of prayers.