Thursday, December 20, 2007

Great Free Theology Audio and Articles

I love finding good theology stuff online and I recently ran into a bunch that were interesting so I thought I would share them.

1. Jon Sobrino's interview from sojourners. It is a great little article about his theological conflict with Rome, working among the poor, and how suffering influences his reflection on the Cross.

2. Leron Shults shared three articles online and they are all worth reading. "Nothing More Lovely" demonstrates how theology can be both rigorous reflection and inspiring doxology.

3. John Cobb and his process friends had a one day blogging outburst that was great and hopefully it will continue. There is also audio here of his lecture "Why Faith Needs Process Philosophy," which includes commentary on 9-11, Karl Barth, Thomists, and a good intro to process thought.

4. A blog with a giant list of links to major works of continental philosophy in pdf format.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Sobrino on the West's only unquestioned dogma of the Christmas season

"The unquestioned dogma of profit...We are speaking of those fundamentalisms - individualism, comfort, or pleasure (so soft in appearance, but with grave consequences) - that are accepted without justification and unquestionably prized and promoted. We are speaking also of the simplistic and infantile attitudes that may express themselves in very pretentious language, sometimes in the political sphere and very frequently in the religious."

What will we do to uphold this orthodoxy?

"Accept as normal the arrogance and dominance of some human beings with respect to others. And it accepts obedience to the empire's directives as necessary, or at least comprehensible, if we want to be assured of a 'good living,' 'success,' and 'security,' or whatever passes for definitive salvific goods."

What is the practice of this gospel?

"We are dehumanized by our selfishness...Such dehumanization is assumed with an attitude of impotence and naturalness ("that's the way things are!), and it is hardly noticeable since, in contrast to the evils that produced physical death or move people toward it, the evils of the spirit are not so obviously calculable. But they are harmful."

- Jon Sobrino, No Salvation Outside the Poor: Prophetic-Utopian Essays (40-41)

This book just came out so you should get it while it's hot.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Deep Shift Excitment in NC

I am very pumped about the upcoming Deep Shift event here in NC. Brian McLaren is bringing an interactive experience with music, art, discussion, just coffee, and Brian speaking around the content of his newest and best book yet.

If you haven't read the book you should, but to tempt you I will point you to three appetite inducers.

- The Other Journal has a great, revealing, and down right fun interview to read. So go read it.
- The Emergent Village Podcast has an interview with Brian and Tony Jones. So go listen to it.
-Finally, if you haven't checked out Brian blogging at Table For One.....go blogger-read it.

My brother-in-law Cory, Steven (the bio-brother), and I are going to the event. It will be my first night of not going to bed at 7pm with the new baby so if you thinking about going, GO and I promise to go out until the early morning and discuss theology while we smoke fine cigars.

So if you are going to be there or are interested check out the Charlotte Deep Shift blog. If you haven't paid yet there is a discount code from our friends in the Emergent Village cohort in Charlotte.

Caputo on Radical Orthodoxy

I found this comment as an end note in John Caputo's The Weakness of God: A Theology of Event:

Radical Orthodoxy is a movement that turns the quaint and (self-)comforting idea that everything is either a Christian metaphysics of participation (that is, Radical Orthodoxy) or nihilism, by which they seem to mean variants of their version of Nietzsche or Derrida, which for them means that human existence is awash in an irrational flux. So Radical Orthodoxy, which gives us a choice between being Cambridge Thomists or nihilists, needs to expan its horizons. (310)

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

McLaren talking with secular fundies

I had three friends email me about Brian McLaren blogging this week at Table For One and so I checked it out. If you haven't read Brian's new book you will see him summarize himself well. Most importantly are the comments under each blog. If you want to see how to engage in religious dialog with a secular fundamentalist check it out. Brian always tells people that at his heart he is an evangelist and here I think we can see how an evangelist who
counts conversations and not conversions shares, listens, and responds. For all three of you who shared thanks.

My New Son has Arrived

Here is Elgin Thomas Fuller. He arrived at 4:51 am yesterday. He is doing great. Now back to see him and mommy.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

"Theologies of the Two-Thirds World: Three-Thirds Important for the Western Church"

Table Talk, a Wake Forest University Divinity School student group I helped to start, had Dr. Rob Sellers come to give a super lecture and now you can hear it. Dr. Sellers spent 25 years living in Indonesia and the Philippines and has committed his life and academic pursuits to inter-faith dialogue and trying to help fellow Westerners understand the theologies coming out of Asia, Africa, Latin and South America. He's spent about two months preparing a presentation for Table Talk specifically and its brilliance is here for you to enjoy. Download and Listen Here!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Emerging Left

The emergent conversation is full of honest and courageous conservative evangelicals who take the risk to say just what they are emerging from and why. When I talk with them or read things they write it is always refreshing to see such an honest and forward person reflecting and transforming their understanding of faith in light of their questions and journey. What has been less visible or audible in the conversation are those of us who are not emerging from the theological right, but the left. I think of myself as a member of the emerging left. Before entering the conversation you would have had trouble getting me to say much of anything with confidence theologically past Schleiermacher's 'Feeling of Absolute Dependence' or Tillich's 'Ground of Being or Being-Itself' or how like Borg I had seen Jesus again 'for the first time.' I still read and love those three (and I think Schleiermacher is more identifiably Christian than many enemies give him credit for). What I am going to attempt to do is articulate what it was like to theologically emerge from the left. Not that you can generalize my journey that is still in process for all the emerging left, but I am sure it will be easy enough to see how it differs and highlights different transformations than my sisters and brothers on the right.

Since the more progressive Christians are as diverse as the conservative ones it may be helpful for you to know that I am a progressive Baptist (yes we do exist), went to an ecumenical seminary, currently am employed at a Disciples of Christ church, have always lived in the Bible belt, am a preacher's kid, have been married 5.5 years to a wonderful female minister who grew up in a fundamentalist home, and have a kid arriving any day now. I guess you could say I am emerging left out of the south land. Well the first thing I am going to look at is the topic that creates the most tension in conversation with those emerging from the right, the Bible. I am thinking ofplayfully entitling it 'the Bible is not a salvage yard or a dead bunny.'

Scot McKnight doesn't smoke Swisher Sweets

Alright, for some reason listening to the AAR audio while I played Star Wars Battle Front lead me to some confusion. A 2.5 hour lecture is tough when you can't see the panel's beautiful faces, so I listened while electronically taking over the Death Star. Any way I thought I heard Scot tell Tony that he had a Swisher Sweet when he was outside smoking and just the mention of the cigar that should not be named bothers me. It is like a divinity student telling you their favorite 'translation' of the Bible is the Living paraphrase. BUT, I guess I did not have ears to hear Scot's true words quoted below. Scot displays just how a true emerging cigar smoker responds to the idea of a Swisher Sweets:
@23:50 into the conversation audio......
Scot is telling a story about reading a book and bird watching and Tony inerrupts with a question.
TOny: "Did you have anything in your right hand?
Scot: "Like a cigar?"
Tony: "yeah"
Scot: "I don't know, a good one. Not a cheap one like a Swisher Sweet,"

Amen Hallelujah.

My APOLOGY: Scot I am sorry for not listening well and questioning your emerging cigar status. It appears that with Blue Jeans, a real cigar, and the best blog out there you could be more emerging than Tony. Clearly you emerge past me who was distracted from listening to your voice well because of a violent video game and my radical othering of Swisher Sweets.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Emergent @ AAR Audio and Why Swisher Sweets are not Emerging....An aside for Scot McKnight

Andy Rowell is my new hero. As some of you know my wife is about to pop out our first child so I couldn't go to AAR this year and I missed the Process \ Radical Orthodoxy showdown and the Emergent Church panel with Tony Jones, Scot McKnight and Diana Butler Bass. Andy is from Duke so he didn't make it to see my favorite living Methodist theologian John Cobb bring the theological ruckus, but he did get the Paul and Empire audio and few other dialogical treasures. Go and listen.

I thought Scot's 6 questions were insightful and was proud to hear he rocked out the new Blue Jeans. Tony and DBB's squabble was humorous and I think it brought things out of both of them you wouldn't have seen otherwise. The only thing that really bothered me was Scot McKnight admitting to smoking swisher sweets. Swisher Sweets are for cigars what Boone's Farm is to wine. When he came to NC with Tony Jones he brought a travel humidor with 5 Hoyo De Monterey Excalibur #1s. While he was here we also had Rocky Patel vintage 1990's and Cuban Montecristo #3's(See here). Just how one could take such strides in their wardrobe and take so many steps back in their cigar choice is troublesome. Swisher sweets are processed, chemical infused, pseudo-tobacco. It is difficult to taste the tobacco when you smoke one but each one of them tastes the same. They are dry-cured and made by machines. Real cigars, authentic cigars, organic cigars are those that come from the earth to a craft workers' hand and to your mouth. A real cigar is made by God, the earth, and human beings (Ikons even). It is a piece of organic art. It tastes different depending on the soil, location of the plant, weather from the of growth, aging process and length, size of the cigar, blend of tobaccos, when you smoke it, how you cut it, light it, and who you smoke with. Real handmade cigars are emergent or emerging if you will. Swisher Sweets are what were are emerging from in the cigar world.

For those of you who have yet to experience a real cigar or join in an emergent conversation let me know and I will open my humidor of friendship for you and match a perfect cigar with a great cup of coffee and you will hopefully never find yourself smoking Swisher Sweets again. It appears I will need to mail Scot a Christmas gift on behalf of all emerging cigar smokers.

For some reason at every Q&A session with academics or church people atonement comes up. I have a theory some other emergent types should test out. If you bring up atonement and they freak out because the idea of a mosaic of atonement theories seems ludicrous then they are probably an evangelical. If on the other hand they look at you like you are Jerry Falwell the moment you act like atonement matters then you are probably talking to a mainliner. On that note everyone should read Scot McKnight's book on atonement and then try out the golf bag metaphor.

My Reflection from the last Dogwood Abbey Gathering

This is the reflection that started off the sermonic discussion at the last Abbey gathering. If you are interested go here and find it.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Book of Insight: "Rising from the Ashes: Rethinking Church"

I just finished reading Becky Garrison's newest book 'Rising from the Ashes' and liked it so much I thought I would try to wet your appetite. This is the newest book in an emerging genre I call 'emerging,' where the author has examined a host of emerging communities or people so that they can then offer a synthetic assessment of the movement. I have a number of those such books and I will be honest and say they can't keep my attention, so I put them down to read somePannenberg or Baudrillard . After reading Garrison's book I figured out that while a nice analysis where you can pick up a book and see an organized list of characteristics found in emerging churches is pleasant, it feels synthetic and not so emerging of an approach. The traditional book in the 'emerging' genre ends up eliminating the particularities, the disagreements, the personalities, and relationships that make the movement refreshing, at least to me. Garrison may havetranscended the category because her book preserves the oddities of the divergent emerging voices she interviewed for the book. How did she do that you may ask? Good question, the book is a collection of interviews conducted through a variety of media (phone, AIM, blog, and in person) that are then organized around the themes of the ten chapters. There are interviews with big names like Diana Butler Bass, Tony Jones, NT Wright, and Phyllis Tickle but when you get done you won't remember much of what they said. The stars of the book are the host of people who are lesser known emerging practitioners and thinkers, who when placed beside the big names demonstrate just how much good stuff is missed by most books in the genre. A few things you will notice if you are smart enough to buy and read will be a high concentration of Episcopal voices, many of which sustain my favoriteconversation throughout the book - what do we do with the Book of Common Prayer. I am not Episcopal, Baptist in fact, but this discussion shows the diversity the emerging conversation can have on one issue and after taking it in you will not say this is what an emergent type would do with the Book of Common Prayer. You will also hear arguments over the role and proper function of technology, ritual, tradition, and innovation. You will read a book that is packed full of theology but not more than threesentences of theology that isn't practical and nothing practical in the book isn't treated as theology. The real reason you should get this book is because it has so many great quotes to steal or appropriate. When you read it you will be grateful that Garrison was a good member of the emerging movement and knew that the best way to get to the point is to keep asking good questions. Here are some zinger-of-a-quotes I found.

"Christianity at its core doesn't explain life, but it brings life."

"Like it or not, liberation has to happen for the oppressor, who is acting out of a place of fear and not liberation."

"We are political but not partisan. We're value driven but not ideological. We are civil but not soft. And we are involved, but we are not used or co-opted by other forces, be they government or commercial."

"Ritual is embodied participatory action."

"Ritual is what people consciously and deliberately choose to do again."

"The liturgy is our work, the work of the people. Now you get to listen closely to where God is calling us, and to bring that wisdom and insight to light in the worship that we all share."

"If you start with pure reason, you'll never get your heart fully enough involved to get down and change things."

"Anglican churches - need to become wombs of the divine - centered on transformative community centered on love and justice."

****My Favorite Question and Answer I couldn't edit****
Which population do you feel are especially drawn to these ancient spiritual practices, and why?

"Younger-than-Baby-Boomer folks: members of my own generation are stilled mired often in 'rebelling against the Establishment' and deconstructing beyond meaning every traditional image or resource. What Boomers don't get is that such zeal is not a universal - it is culturally conditioned and has hit itsexpiration date. Younger folk don't have any interest in gathering and hearing why they no longer have to believe the story-as-it-was-told-when-they-were-little. There is no more 'establishment' as envisioned by the 'Me-Generation.' All there is left is an economy, and a crushing array of people and forces willing and eager to sell everything to blocks of people identified as a 'demographic.' Churches of all ilk fall into this same anxious, predatory pattern of selling, and many denominations haveunapologetically adopted wholesale marketing techniques and called it 'evangelism.' Younger folk do not want Jesus sold to them as a commodity. they want a faith that is free and authentic and are open to manifestations of that faith that have stood the test of time and might throw a little light on an alienated and market-driven age."

Well all those quotes are from people who are not big names and those snippets are part of much larger and beautiful conversations. Go read it and enjoy. Thanks Becky for putting this together.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

The Cross and the Lynching Tree

Bill Moyers interviewed one of America's greatest theologians, James Cone. The interview was amazing and should be viewed in its entirety by all decent human beings in America. Because most of the world did not have James Dunn for Ethics in grad school and there developed an addiction to Bill Moyers I don't want to ruin the interview with my commentary but I would point you to how the connection of the cross and lynching tree would change Christian theology and practice in America.


Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Walter Lowe on understanding salvation

"On reflection, it is not self-evident that the best way to present the Christian Gospel - the good news - is to begin with the negative. If one begins by making a pact with the negative, so to speak, will that not color what comes after? Is there not the risk that, despite one's best intentions, the radical good of the Gospel will be endlessly deferred? That it will never stand forth in its own right?"

"Christ and Salvation" in The Cambridge Companion to Postmodern Theology, ed. by Kevin Vanhoozer (Cambridge University Press, 2003), 236.

The Return of the PoMo Negro "Applause!!"

My favorite theo-blogger is back in the saddle and if you know what is good for your eyes you will go see his newest series on CEO style leadership in faith communities. Anthony, blog author, is a very insightful and astute thinker who I am glad to call friend. Read on.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Monday, November 5, 2007

Atheism on the comeback

Brian McLaren has finally demonstrated that he is in fact an atheist. It is pretty clear from this video that he doesn't think the God revealed in Christ is an American Empire building War-monger. He may have even sneakedly suggested other dubious things that I dare not mention, but I am sure you will hear them if you have ears to hear.

Thanks Brian. Been thinking the same thing for a while.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Sermon: Friendship and the Path of Salvation

Here is the audio of my sermon from Sunday November 4th at New Community Church in Raleigh, NC. I thought it went well and the audio is pretty good. You won't get to see me run around so you will have to use your imagination. Any way if you have 42 minutes, yes I did preach on the long side, and want to listen enjoy it.

BTW: I have no idea where I got the koodies and the cross imagery from but it worked. I am not sure I will use it again.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Excited About the Cobalt Season in North Carolina

That is right I am super-pumped about the Cobalt Season coming to town. You can be there too for a lyrical assault on the imperial illusion. Check them out in action and get excited.

The Dogwood Abbey is hosting the Cobalt Season for a house show
Tuesday November 6th.

Cost = $5.00 or purchase of a CD.

Location = 631 S. Green St., Winston-Salem, 27101

Schedule = 6 PM Cook-out, 7 PM the music starts.

Bring = A side or dessert and a favorite beverage.

Jews Don't Need to be Perfected

Ann Coulter usually irritates me, but her attempt at theology is even worse than her militant political rhetoric. I would say dirty things about her but I think she is so asinine that she can speak for herself and I can avoid being as crude as her. For all my Jewish friends I would like to say that she does not speak for me and most Christians I know. Jews don't need to be perfected but Ann Coulter's theology might need some help.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

The Advent of Advent

Every year it seems that Christmas starts earlier. With all the warm weather we have been having I found myself in shorts running into a store to grab Alecia the materials for baking a pumpkin pie and to my surprise the employees were transitioning the isle of special dedication to Santa and company. In my head I thought ‘oh no Christmas already.’ It’s not that I am against Christmas, in fact I love the stories of the first Christmas in scripture and even more the advent season in which the church anticipates God’s incarnation during the four weeks leading up to Christmas but what bothered me in the store that day was how businesses and culture are already anticipating the season of anticipation. The closer Christmas gets the more I realize that I am not anticipating God’s coming to us, the coming of the one who brings peace on earth, goes first to social outcasts (shepherds), excites foreigners (wise men), scares the political head into killing (Herod), and brings God’s promise of hope for all creation. I am anticipating a two month tear of rampant go-go-go in which I spend more time, energy, money, and focus on culture’s consumer based Christmas and not the Christian Christmas. I always hope to get the Jesus story into the season’s business but it is difficult to have the Jesus story, the story of peace and anticipation of God’s coming to history define the way I live through the season. While stores and society are preparing to celebrate consumption, I want to find a way to consume less and give more to the poor. While culture speeds up the pace of life’s rhythm, I want to slow down enough to be a friend, husband, and father (in a few weeks) who journeys with and beside. While my ears will again be bombarded with familiar songs and these ancient stories and my eyes with flashing lights, I want to find a place as silent and as dark as the shepherds’ field where I can hear the angel’s song and see the glory of God’s messengers. As the world around us hyperbolizes things as they are, I want the hope of God’s coming to turn the world upside down.

who was incarnate in a no-name peasant Jew, born under Political oppression and Religious suppression, may you grant us the courage to be not distracted, mystified, and seduced by a reality foreign to your advent. Lead us not into the temptation of relational malnutrition and consumption celebration but deliver us with the gift of faith, faith that indeed you have and are coming to our world, its oppression and suppression to establish your peace and your kingdom on this earth. May the advent season be a time where you find room in our hearts, minds, and souls - may you work a work of transformation and create in our community a community of witness to the new hope the world has in your arrival
Come Lord Jesus

Friday, October 19, 2007

Moltmann's Eschatological Panentheism

"In the end, however, the new heaven and new earth will become the 'temple' of God's indwelling. The whole world will become God's home. Through the indwelling of the SPirit, people, and churches are already glorified in the body, now, in the present. But then the whole creation will be transfigured through the indwelling of God's glory. Consequently the hope which is kindled by the experiance of the indwelling Spirit gathers in the future, with panentheistic visions. Everything ends with God being 'all in all.' The Trinity and the Kingdom (104-105)

Monday, October 15, 2007

Communion This Sunday

This was the first time I lead communion in my sweet robe and stole so I tried to come up with a liturgy that would break it in good. Here it is. I combined a Kenyan liturgy, the Didache, and some original material.
Call To The Table

It is good and our delight indeed to give you thanks and praise, Motherly Father, Fatherly Mother, living God, Holy Love, supreme over the world. Creator, Provider, Saviour and Giver. From a wandering nomad you created your family; for a burdened people you raised up a leader; for a confused nation you chose a king, for a rebellious crowd you sent your prophets; for a broken world that can not save itself you gave yourself and offer the gift of God’s Reign; for every person created in your image yet trapped in sin you seek reconciliation and offer the gift of eternal life. At this table we find ourselves having been pursued by you whose nature and name is Love. May all come and receive the gift of God.

Elder prays for Communion

We thank thee, our Gifting God, for the life and knowledge which was made known to us through Jesus your Son. As this broken bread was once scattered on the mountains, and was gathered together to become one, so may your Church be gathered together from the ends of the earth into your kingdom; for thine is the glory, and the power, through Jesus Christ, for ever.

Eat Bread - Sit down

Stand - Encourage the Cup

Receive the gift and be transformed by the God who made you, knows you, redeems you, and promises to journey with you through this life into the next.

We thank thee, our Gifting God, for the holy vine of David, which was made known to us through Jesus Christ your Son; to thee be the glory for ever.

Friday, October 12, 2007

The Deacs

Last night I went to the Wake Forest \ Florida State football game and it was awesome. The ACC better recognize that Wake is for real again. Check out the ESPN highlights.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Prayer from 10-07-07

Creator, Scared Artist of life and beauty meet us here today
We find ourselves gathered and reflecting on art and its role in our lives as your people
Let us not be tempted to keep you disembodied
for you came to us fully human and in the flesh
Let us not be tempted to limit your revelation to mere word
for Christ made sacred all of life, the trivial, the pain, and the joy
Be here and challenge our hearts to dream of new ways to express your love for all creation
Continue your masterpiece of redemption among us
Just as your Word, your revealing masterpiece, became flesh in the person of Jesus
Embodied love not limited to things simply spoken or seen
May we too find our identity by embodying your love
Creator, Sacred Artist, do your work in us

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Tony Jones Agrees, John MacArthur is a Gnostic

Tony Jones has made my day. In a sermon last Sunday, which you can hear here, he not only responded to the Yoga bit on CNN I posted a while ago but called MacArthur out as a modern day Gnostic. I have thought this since May when I went to a luncheon with him here in Winston, but never posted something about it. I will think of how to tell the story while you listen to Tony. Emerge on Tony.

UPDATE: Tony has a sweet new blog post that pertains which i enjoyed.

The Serpent, Conversation, and the Truth War

A friend from SEBTS asked me how I would respond to the theological challenges Driscoll brought up in his lecture at the Convergent Conference. I told him that if you assume as much as foundational to the Christian Faith as Driscoll does it is hard to respond other than to say, 'you don't speak for all Christians, but you do a great job as a cool beer drinking fundamentalist from the Reformed tradition.' So my goal here is just to point out how one might have a different framework for thinking that can lead to Driscoll-judged 'heretical conclusions' while being a committed Christian and attentive reader of scripture. I had list of different possible entry points but it is hard to pass up on Driscoll borrowing ammo from John MacArthur about the 'danger' of the emergent 'conversation.'

I saw both Driscoll and MacArthur attack the viability of the emergent conversation because it was a dreaded 'conversation' that lead to the fall. Basically they look at the story of Eve and the Serpent (not Satan in Genesis) where she ends up eating the fruit in disobedience to God and sharing it with Adam which results in a bunch of fractured relationships between Eve, Adam, and God. On the surface this looks like a good reason to avoid theological conversation, especially if the theological dialogers are either a women or a reptile, because in this text a conversation leads to the disobedience that has been cursing us ever sense. After making these observations the assumption, at least how I understood it, was that the emergent conversation is similar to the conversation of Eve and the Serpent and should therefore be avoided by all sanctified people. MacArthur went as far to say, (and I am quoting from my napkin when I attended a luncheon with him) "you need to realize we are in a war, the truth war, and it began not with an invasion of an army but with a conversation." The point both Driscoll and MacArthur want to make is having a conversation is a threat, not a fertile ground for truth. If they are right then the emergent conversation is a really big mistake and we should just get our bibles and John Calvin commentaries out and work them until Jesus comes back. I think this idea (not the people) is not only stupid and impractical but actually an impoverished reading of the Genesis text. I think the story of the relational breakdown in Genesis 3 would have benefited from more conversation and not less. In fact, if this story is telling us how we got to be in the situation we are in, namely in a matrix of fractured relationships (God, Self, Others, Creation), then the opposite is true and truth needs conversation.

I don't want to talk forever, so I am going to just point out some conversations that should have happened and then you go read your bible and see if you think I could be on to something.

#1: Adam should have been honest and told Eve the truth about God's command. In Gen. 2:16-17 says to Adam pre-Eve "‘You may freely eat of every tree of the garden; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall die." Then when Eve answers the Serpent's question about God's command she says in Gen 3:3 "You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the middle of the garden, nor shall you touch it, or you shall die.” So what is different in how God gave the command to Adam and how Eve presumably heard it from Adam?
- First, she doesn't know what the tree is but only where it is. The command of God given for a good redemptive purpose is turned into command without a reason though Adam kept the divine threat.
- Second, Eve's rendition includes a command not to touch the fruit. Why would God's command have changed? Did the fruit grow cooties or did Adam punk out from having a real conversation with his partner and instead just built a legalistic shelter around a command of God to avoid having to explain its life giving purpose and God's good intention for the command. Instead of having a real and honest conversation about truth, meaning, God, values, and the world they lived in Adam apparently said, "Don't eat, Don't Touch, or Die."
- Lastly an observation. How did Eve get suckered in by such a stupid question, "Did God say, “You shall not eat from any tree in the garden?" Other than the question was on a topic Adam should have been conversing with her about it doesn't make sense why you would take this question seriously. I imagine Eve, the Bible's first theologian, was looking for a place to have a conversation and wasn't finding it with her partner so she entered into a conversation with the no good crafty serpent at the first sign of open space to actually converse about truth. If Adam had started an emergent cohort or simply told his own faith experience instead of building legalistic ethical bunkers then Eve would have said, "You sneaky serpent we only avoid eating from one tree, for this reason, it serves this purpose, and is a way I honor and connect to my loving God."

#2: Adam should have entered the truth war by conversing with Eve while the serpent was present. In the text you have Eve decide she wants knowledge (something Adam didn't do much talking with her about) and so she first touches the fruit and then eats it. If Adam had said when she touched it, "Eve we need to talk, I didn't tell you the truth about the fruit. We can touch it just not eat it and here is why....insert conversation.....gaining of knowledge.....because God loves and desires the best for us....will you forgive me for not being honest and eliminating conversation about truth in our relationship" then maybe things would have gone differently. Instead Eve disobeys Adam's made up rule and God's without knowing the truth of the situation, all in her search for knowledge. This could have been avoided by a real theological conversation with Adam. See Adam was the one 'in the know' and his desire to avoid a conversation set up the conditions for disobedience. The point here is that while Eve disobeyed the command first, truth was absent because of a lack of conversation not because of conversation.

Well read the bible and let me know what you think.

There is a more detailed discussion about the Genesis 3 text over at The Flaming Heretic? (a super sweet moravian theo-blogger)

Monday, October 1, 2007

The Driscoll Train and The Invite Person or Dude

Steve Knight posted a giant summary of the responses to Driscoll rolling around the internet. Also a little FYI, The Baptist State Convention of North Carolina has canceled their invite of Doug Pagitt to an event later this month. Outside of not being surprised, thinking they are still going the way of the buffalo, and desiring to avoid using bad language I want to say something to whomever initially invited Doug. I am glad you are still in the NCBSC. I am also glad you thought about trying to get new voices in. I am sorry your attempt failed because Driscoll called out your invite of his heretic friend, who is probably out a couple thousand for the canceled speaking engagement, during his guest lecture at SEBTS. I am glad that you are there invite dude. If you are down right now remember the 'p' of tulip and keep on chooglin. (p=perseverance of the saints)

UPDATE: here is a great post by Tony Cartledge that explains what happens. also, steve knight was right the invite person was apparently Chad Hall and he is no longer a NCBSC employee......

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Citizenship with God and Country

So I have been reading through Reinhold Niebuhr's 'Moral Man and Immoral Society' and then I saw this video of Rene Padilla and thought hmmm..... well I haven't got too much passed the hmm.....

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Driscoll, Acts 29, and the Demerging Church

Some of you know that I have been working with an association of Baptist churches with a focus on helping their church planting team. This job made it possible for me to attend the Acts 29 church planter's bootcamp last week in Raleigh and to experience the latest edition of Mark Driscoll's attempt at being the personal paraclete for the emerging church movement. I went knowing that I wouldn't fit in with the theological agenda of Acts 29, but I guess I assumed that there would be enough room for me to breathe and learn about how they have effectively networked to plant churches. I say this because despite my rather harsh assessment of the event, I have no problem with people starting all kinds of faith communities that connect people to God even if they have a different theological imagination.

The host church, Vintage 21, in my hometown of Raleigh, is a place friends of mine worship and serve in, so I am thankful they exist. Acts 29 is an organized and effective machine, run by a group of Dudes who are passionate about their faith and network. With that said, I would like to just say that what I experienced was far from anything emerging. I have been to a bunch of minister's conferences with Emergent leaders, those friends of Driscoll who he was slandering the next day at the Convergent conference () and who have been part of the 'conversation' for a while.

At the bootcamp we had 6 sessions of monologues that amounted to theological diatribes in which the only viable theological stance was surprisingly theirs, a compassionate conservative Reformed theology. (OK, Chan Kilgore didn't diatribe and this doesn't apply to him. In fact he was the only one I was thankful to have heard.) So in this two days of Reformed 2.0 rhetoric what did I learn?

* That to be "gospel-centered" you have to hold to a list of theological conclusions that were not all developed and connected until the 17th century.
* That what the postmodern world needs is more white Dudes preaching hour-long exegetical sermons in which all texts mean Christ and Christ means Acts 29 Reformed 2.0 Christianity.
* That no pastor's wife should have a job or desire "household duties to be divided equally between the man and woman"
* That you can insist all elders be "not violent" while at the same time saying that, should a church planter deviate from the Reformed 2.0 agenda in an egalitarian way (e.g., "getting pushed around by a feminist"), Mark Driscoll will personally fly out to your church and "kick you in the throat."
* That a bootcamp of called church planters need not include dialog until after the full 8 hours of Reformed 2.0 downloading is done (and then discussion is moderated, filtered, and nothing more than a pony show for Driscoll to say more entertainingly outlandish things).

I have a big list of things I noticed, but what bothered me most is that the Acts 29 response to our new postmodern situation is to grip a thoroughly modern Reformed theology in the Dude's right hand really tight and then think he is better than a fundamentalist because he has a beer in his left hand. This isn't emergent, it is demergent. This is the disgruntled indie rocker's version of the Reformation.

There is much to learn and keep from the Reformation, a movement that was thoroughly modern, but there is reason to give pause to returning to it with a clinched fist. Right now I think the last thing the Church needs are white dudes with clinched fists, especially when what they are clenching is "God's Truth." Throughout modernity white Dudes have had God's truth in their hands too much, and behind them are ditches filled with God's and\or their enemies. (This confusion is easy when you have truthtightly gripped in a fist)

The emergent "conversation" Driscoll is so scared of, and the questions that many of us at the bootcamp had in our minds and couldn't ask, are important. It may be my depravity talking, but I imagine God not scared of conversation, I imagine that truth is not dependent on myself, Doug Pagitt, Karen Ward, or Mark Driscoll, and I am confident that, as the Church finds its bearing in a new world, we don't need any more clinched fists, for it is God's world and God's truth after all.

Monday, September 24, 2007

My Therapist's Description of Human Depravity

Bill, my favorite therapist, posted a video from a house show he did where he shared a piece of the wisdom he has shared with me over the years.

BTW...I am more convinced than ever that we all need to be in addiction therapy. I haven't managed to find a local MA (Mammon Anonymous) or WA (Warrior Anonymous) group.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

The Truth War On Yoga

Oh my, this is just unbelievable. Not only is this discussion ridiculous but the fact CNN covered it on 9-11 is even more troublesome. I think john macarthur is crazy and he normally proves it when I listen to his radio show, but this may be a whole new level of detachment from reality. If either Doug or John is suppose to be a gnostic, a heretical label John labels Doug and his emergent friends with, then why is the gnostic the one advocating an embodied wholeness and why is the gnostic the only one who appears sane?

Tuesday, September 11, 2007


I am participating in a Blog-o-riot based on Walter Rauschenbusch's classic Christianity and the Social Crisis. Being its 100th anniversary, my love for Walter, and his sweet Baptist skills I hope you go take a look at the series over at the Pop Theology website.


Theron, my middle school baptist youth minister who became Orthodox just wrote an amazing post on 'theosis,' which is one of the most powerful doctrines of the Orthodox church. If you have the time to read a moving articulation of the cosmic work of God in Christ do it and share some love with Theron.
Check it out:

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Online quizes and theological self-disclosure

So I found this theology quix online that will tell you wht theologian you are. What was most surprising to me was not that it told me I was Moltmann with a close Tillich second, but that I got 0% of Augustine. I have always thought that as a Protestant Augustine would always be in the back of my mind ruining my theological imagination, but apparently this survey has revealed that I may have escaped Augustine's clutches.

btw, there were no Trinity questions on the quiz and if you are a theolophile see if you can guess who the possible theologians are by the questions.

You scored as Jürgen Moltmann, The problem of evil is central to your thought, and only a crucified God can show that God is not indifferent to human suffering. Christian discipleship means identifying with suffering but also anticipating the new creation of all things that God will bring about.

Jürgen Moltmann


Paul Tillich


Friedrich Schleiermacher


John Calvin


Charles Finney




Martin Luther


Karl Barth


Jonathan Edwards




Which theologian are you?
created with

Thursday, August 23, 2007

The Baptist Covenant and Exclusion

I was surprised to hear that the new Baptist Covenant decided that in the interest of unity they would excluded the participation of two 'pro-gay' groups. (Story Here) The Association of Welcoming and Affirming Baptists (AWAB) and the Baptist Peace Fellowship of North America were told that they could not participate as groups, but that they could be present as individuals. This is surprisingly similar to the reasoning and language used to describe the participation of individual Southern Baptist churches and individuals, but not the convention as a whole. The difference being the Southern Baptist Convention doesn't want to be a part of it as a group and these two 'pro-gay' groups want to. Now I am not sure why I should be surprised, but I always hear the non-SBC Baptists talk about how they really believe in church autonomy and the beauty of our ability to participate with each other where we can, while respecting difference when necessary. If this is true why can't two 'pro-gay' groups think Jesus was on target when he preached his first sermon in Luke 4 (the theme for the whole event)? No 'pro-gay' group would come expecting that everyone there would agree with them, but that everyone present wants to cooperate in diversity to seriously follow the vision Jesus casts in Luke 4. Why can't groups who are not 'pro-gay' be as Baptist as the 'pro-gay' groups and come to celebrate and cooperate around the message of Jesus?

The New Baptist Covenant has posted the themes of the plenary sessions:
Unity in Seeking Peace with Justice
Unity in Bringing Good News to the Poor
Unity in Respecting Diversity
Unity in Welcoming the Stranger
Unity in Setting the Captive Free

Does anything stick out as odd if both our more conservative and 'pro gay' sisters and brothers in Christ can't be present as the groups they represent?

Sunday, August 19, 2007

The Photographic Prophet and the Will-to-Heal

I love my church here in Winston. Over the last three years I have come across a number of prophets in the community. There were those who came to visit like James Forbes, “Buzz” Thomas, Paul Fiddes, and John Cobb. Then there are a bunch who serve, share, and worship with me each week. My favorite are the single women at least 40 years older than me, which is something I would not think I would ever say. This past week we had a new prophet in residence and it was one of the most refreshing and hope-filled moments I have had in a building with a steeple in a long time. Stewart Gerarad, a 24-yearold artist of the photographic variety, showed up with a sampling of the photos from his most recent collection on display here in Winston titled “Augmented Reality.” There was bit of news surrounding his exhibit after two photos with nudity in them were found in a closet. Apparently in the ‘Christian city of Winston, here in the Bible belt’ that kind of stuff shouldn’t be around. Aside from engaging in a debate of what classifies as art or the religiously imperialistic tone of the wanna-be ‘critic,’ I was struck by the insight of a number of comments Stewart made in a 30 minute interview with our Education minister Ken Myers. (Since its been a week I am not sure if he said what I am reporting during the public forum or afterwards in a conversation, but here we go. Plus other than what I wrote on 3x5 card the quotes are paraphrases)

Stewart, while not a church-goer since youth group, is not foreign to religion or the Christian faith. In fact he mentioned being ‘sword drill champion’ at his church growing up. In church speak that means he memorized a bunch of bible verses and knew the Protestant ordering of the two testaments. Point being, at some point he was heavily involved in his faith community. Ken asked him couple different ways why he wasn’t compelled to stay in a church to which he said, “When I got older I came to see that religion, at least how I had experienced growing up, wasn’t attached to the reality I was living in. Plus I did the whole Christian thing enough to have Jesus on tap.” Something that stuck out to me was his use of the word “pure.” He didn’t use it with a good protestant guilt complex, but as something treasured, valued, and even messily honest. In a response to a question about postmodernity and ‘why photography,’ he made a rather profound even prophetic observation about postmodern purity. There are a bunch of forms of art, most of which have a form of technical perfection. There are things like painting with a bunch of styles that you perfect the technique to do and then new digital based art that with the mastery of more technology there are more possibilities. Photography is simply the image. It is limited by what was actually present in history at the moment of the shot, it is limited by vision of a single lens, and is limited to the power present of a single sense, sight. The photo is pure in the postmodern sense. Stewart said, “technical perfection doesn’t mean a thing if you don’t get the image right.” Images are revelatory beyond the confines of technique and system, they reveal reality that is true but often ignored for the sterile, clean, edited, socialized, and manufactured existence we know. The stark difference Stewart saw between religion and reality was a prophetic judgment of our faith-imaging, not our religious speak that ‘sounds’ religion to the center of our life, but the substance in the religious images of our community. Where are the images of reality in religion? Is the religious reality imaginable? Bearable? Simply speakable?

When pressed by questions on how to get his postmodern people to church Stewart said, “I would think you should create a recovery zone that anyone can come to and those with the will-to-heal can find partners.” A pure community with postmodern sensitivity is one where the reality of life can find an open space to be as messily honest as need be and a community that encourages the will-to-heal. I imagine that this community is one where it is ok for the cross present and dirty or should I say pure.

Monday, July 30, 2007

what do you think when you see......

A friend sent this picture to me a while ago and I put it on my CPU's background. It has received very diverse responses when plugging myself into a projector for different teaching engagements, so I thought I would see if anyone else got a rise out of it.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

McLaren on Justice, Power, and the Kingdom

I mentioned this video to a friend and said I would post it here. Enjoy, it isn't that hard. Peace.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Save Mr. Stogie

Well if my senators (Burr and Dole) and House Rep. (Fox) don't holla back about the farm bill's participation in the exploitation of the Two-Thirds world farmers maybe they will about saving cigars from being lumped into cigarette tax increase. Check it out.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Barmen Declaration 2.0?

A friend of mine asked a number of his friends what pisses them off about Christianity in the key of USA and so here is what I wrote.

What pisses me off...The people of the cross-bearer have become the most efficient cross-builders in human history. This is done through the demonic mixture of nationalism, fear-mongering, militarism, consumerism, and theo-capitalism. The ignorance of the church in American is preserved by its baptism of a mythic view of reality, with reigning myths like 'just war,' the chosen nation, christian nation, innocent nation, and the coming millennial nation. Some how the teachings of Jesus (like the Sermon on the Mount) have become idealistic babble, the confession of faith ('Jesus is Lord') is heard as a requirement for running for president and not challenging the reigning Caesar-like structures of our world, and the resurrection of the crucified one is turned into a commodity the church possesses and lord's over everyone else and not the single most important event in cosmic history where God's coming upside-down Reign is placed permanently on the horizon of history. With this said, I think it is the American church's use of the faith in its colonizing of the globe, truth, and power and its perverting of the gospel into a palatable culture\power dominate civil religion that stands as the source of our problem. The Barmen declaration was a Christian theological statement because it could not exist without shaping the community.

Now I need to go watch my Romero dvd or listen to some Rage Against the Machine....I love the church by the way, so don't get ill if you don't loose sleep over these issues.

Monday, July 9, 2007

Elgin + St. Francis = fun before bed. At night my son-in-process and I have a little night vigil and maybe a little theological discussion so he starts off on the right (or left, depending on who is judging) foot. Tonight Elgin and I did some reading from St. Francis of Assisi, maybe the coolest 'reformer,' and we got to this quote.

"Unhappy is the religious person...who instead of keeping the things the Lord has spoken to his heart and demonstrating them by a life of quality, tries to make them known by talking about it. That person may receive nothing more than an earthly reward, and those who regarded that person's words will take away little fruit."

Hopefully Elgin will talk a little less than his Dad and live with heart felt compassion given to him by his Creator.

Friday, June 29, 2007

Two Sweet Free Articles

SO today I cam across to free theology articles that I support you reading.

1. Tony Jones was rejected by Wheaton who decided not to publish his plenary lecture at their theology conference this year. So, go read it and realize just how to combine baseball, the early church fathers, and emerging churches together.

2. Marjorie Suchocki, the most kind theologian I have ever met, has her introduction to Process Theology lecture at the Process and Faith website for free. If you ever had any interest in Process Theology, then check it out.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Important Question

So I got some good books for my birthday, but now I have the trouble of picking which to read first. I generally read two or three at a time, but even then this is a difficult decision. Here they are.
1. The Cambridge Companion to Postmodern Theology ed. by Kevin Vanhoozer
2. The Fragile Absolute by Slavoj Zizek
3. Liberal Theology: A Radical Vision by Peter Hodgson
4. Liberating Paul: the justice of God and the Politics of the Apostle by Neil Elliott
5. The Emerging Christian Way includes Marcus Borg, Sallie McFauge, Matthew Fox...
6. Christianity and the Postmodern Turn: Six Views ed. by Myron B. Penner
7. Christ and Empire: From Paul to Postcolonial Times by Joerg Rieger
8. Simple Church by Thom Rainer & Eric Geiger
9. The Divine Relativity: A Social Conception of God by Charles Hartshorne

Monday, June 18, 2007

Emerging Community Vision pt.2

Part One, Christocentric Community is here.

Sacramental Living
: The cultural landscape of modernity created a rigid and attentively maintained distinction between sacred and secular space. In a postmodern context this divide is no longer life giving and so the emerging community will seek to sacramentalize spaces, places, faces, and name traces of God’s creative goodness in the world. This process of sacramentalizing life includes worship but extends to the life of each member in their daily living. The goal is that the life of the community be one that is attentive to the presence of God, that celebrates the goodness of God’s world, and creates space for the grace of God to permeate its life together.
1. Worship: The worship services will be geared toward a holistic expression of the Gospel. In modernity the written\spoken media dominated the life of the worship service so that the Word of God was equated to the reading of scripture and its exposition in a sermon. While these both have their place in worship the community will also seek to express God’s story through the diversity of media available (including the arts), seek to engage more senses through interactive – participatory elements of worship, and intentionally shape worship to the liturgical calendar so the church’s story grounds the life of the community. [ex. The sermon would not be the centerpiece of the worship service and would more than likely not be a monologue of imparting knowledge, but more dialogical and engaging. OR Baptist theology of baptism and an Anglican view of Communion.]
2. Community: The relationships in the community will be valued at a premium. The relationships between the members, guests, the community, the marginalized, and God are all part of the universally expanded network of Godbelovedness our Abba has called us to live in love with. The first commitment of a member is a commitment to these relationships and their flourishing. The community and its living should be an open space of grace that gives the welcome of Christ to all, inviting all it encounters to a transformative relationship with God, and being there to encourage and help each other along the journey. [ex. When someone joins the community the community will change because they are a part of it. The community promises to become a place where we can flourish together and so everyone is asked to share something that is part of their giftedness and uplifting to the community.]
3. Vocation: Part of taking down the sacred-secular divide is demolishing the ordained – laity divide. The Emerging Community would not only seek to incorporate its members into the life of the church and its service to the world, but also help develop an understanding of vocation where each member sees their own occupation as part of the church’s ministry and service to God. The community would be a community of ministers who serve in a variety of occupations in the city they are called to serve. [ex. If there is a teacher in the community, they are known as a minister of education and child of God development. If there is a lawyer, they are known as a minister of legal services for the coming of God’s kingdom.]

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Who's Afraid of Post-Modernism?

James K. A. Smith gives an interesting introduction to postmodernity that could work for those with little or no theology\philosophy background. Each chapter focuses on a film that he uses to draw out the meaning behind bumper sticker phrases by the most noted of the deconstructionist philosophers. For a general setup of pomo in chapter one he uses ‘the Matrix.’ Chapter two is a discussion of Derrida, the superb film ‘Memento,’ and Derrida’s infamous line ‘there is nothing outside the text.’ Chapter three looks at Lyotard, ‘O Brother Where Art Thou?’ and those evil ‘metanarratives’ modernity gave us. Chapter four is on Foucault, ‘One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest,’ and the connection between power-knowledge- discipline. Despite being generally leery of a Radical Orthodox (RO) theologian using philosophy - because I assume they are generally setting up their RO-spike where ‘bame’ being RO is now the best option for the theologian enlightened by Derrida, Foucault, and Lyotard – I really enjoyed and appreciated the first four chapters and think they can stand on their own without agreeing with chapter 5. In chapter 5 Smith gives a proposal that the emerging church be RO and brings a really great film, ‘Whale Rider’ as his back up. I will admit to having a prejudice against RO because to me it is more like theological BO, really old and musky. I decided to read a little on RO before getting harsh on it, so if you have suggestions leave them (Andrew…..). But for now I recommend reading the first four chapters, you can decide about the fifth yourself, and if polled on whether or not the emerging church should go RO I vote no…..but you don’t have to agree.

Soul Graffiti

Emergent folks often talk about following Jesus or living in the way of Jesus, but rarely is this phrase followed by story after story of a life in process of Christo-transformation. If you want to hear some of these stories and be challenged by them then go get Mark Scandrette’s new book ‘Soul Graffiti.’ The book is organized into four parts that follow the initial teaching of Jesus in gospel of Mark and the though Scandrette does occasionally give direct theological reflection, the book itself is story driven and oh so compelling. When you get done you will either be fired up that someone in the First World is actually identifiably Christian, which gives you hope for yourself or be irritated that you read a book that ended up challenging you to the core. Or both. Scandrette is a luring story-teller which enables his family and community in San Fran to untame Jesus and the gospel for the reader. He mentions taking the risk of being offended by Jesus and his teachings and his stories reveal to us just how offended we need to get, but also how rewarding a life on the way of Jesus can be. If you want to be encouraged, challenged, and have a stack of super sweet stories to bring up next time some one asks what following Jesus looks like the get it, read it, and do it.

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Thinking Blogs

I got tagged by Andrew in the thinking blogger meme. My job is to tag 5 blogs that get my head moving. I guess I am not suppose to tag Andrew since he tagged me, but you should still check his out if you haven't.

1. Pop Theology: This is blog by a couple theology and culture Phd students. One of them, Ryan Parker is not only super-sweet but does actual theological reflection of film. The kind of reflection you won't take just to youth group, but to actual discussion with adults.

2. The Parish: This is Greg Horton's blog. It is always interesting and candid. He often says what I would say if I had the fortitude he did. The comments are also good on his blog.

3. Knightopia: Steve is not only a passionate christian but greatly underestimates his own ability to think theologically. Not only that but he is actually a thinker and nice at the same time, something I try to emulate.

4. Greensboro Abbey: Zach's journaling here is exciting and refreshing for many of us baptists who freak out when we read most baptist theology blogs. Though it's a new blog, it is very engaging for the reader.

5. Leron Shults: I always think when Leron speaks. After reading through Pannenberg's Systematic Theology last summer I have been attracted to his students who are working for a more postmodern theology and since he has a blog he is my favorite.

Alrighty there you have. Go, Read, Think

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

new conversation weeked update

here. Mary McClintock Fulkerson is joining the conversation and more.

Sunday, June 3, 2007

Christology and Omnipotence

So I haven’t been ignoring Christology, just trying to figure out what to say next that doesn’t presume too much. I came up with a list of issues that I wrestle with and thought I might set them out here and try to cast a general framework for my thinking. No idea what will come next.

One of my deepest theological convictions is that omnipotence, in the God can do anything-anywhere-anytime sense, is one of the biggest theological errors of the church. It shows up most any place, but a number of important questions are raised in Christology if you can’t envision God being omnipotent and the Abba of Jesus at the same time. The power of God is much more than an abstract issue in my mind, because religious people tend to imitate their understanding of God (on their best days) and if God sets the world right through coercive power and force it is logical or at least pragmatic for followers of God to do so. I could go on here, but will save my anti-empire spill for later. The point for me is that if God is relational love, then a reconciled creation can not be accomplished by the force of divine will. Any way, here are some Christology issues that need to be looked at if you are against an imperialist incarnation. If you have more ideas, questions, or issues to discuss holla at me. If you want to get ill on heretic go see Zach who is talking about homosexuality. Everyone knows it’s much more “in” to condemn heretics for their view of sexuality and not Christology.

Incarnation without Invasion: I am generally wary of describing the incarnation in a way that the initiator, should it not be God, sound more like the description of a military invasion.

Biology and Cosmology of Baby Jesus: Just how did the conception, birth, and coming of the Christ happen? My goal is to use the phrases “seminal logos” and “God sperm” as many times as possible, because it still makes me giggle.

Prophecy, Prediction, and Fulfillment: How could a Messiah be prophesied about, it actually be Jesus, and God not plan out history? That questions just makes me shiver if no other reason than I may have gone through a period in middle school where I used Josh McDowell’s “Evidence that Demands a Verdict” to witness to a Jewish friend. Sorry Raphael, you tolerated a bit of religious presumptuousness from me, stayed friends, and laid hands on me at my ordination. (Raphael is the handsome Hebrew in the picture with Alecia and I from my ordination service.)

Resurrection without Coercion: I think it is possible but I am not sure what I would do if it wasn’t so this may be a spectacle in theological projecting. I know Corbin (if he has the internet yet after leaving me in Winston-Salem) will let me know the error of my ways.


This summer I am interning with the local baptist association and their church plants. One of my jobs is writing up a brief description of a potential emerging community that could be used to help explain it to church people who may not know anything about the emergent movement so that they have some idea what they are supporting. I came up with a couple points and here is the first. If you have any ideas for being more clear feel free to share. Yes, I do know it is not really possible to describe an emerging community when it doesn't exist. I am just trying to get some kind of community vision guide together to hopefully firm up support. Enjoy.

Christocentric Community: The story of Jesus’ life, ministry, cross, resurrection, and active presence through the Spirit is the center piece of the community. As it develops it will begin with the story of Jesus, because in Christ we come to know who God is, God’s desire for creation, and the world’s future in God. First and foremost the community is living in the way of Jesus. Three parts of the ministry of Jesus will serve as guideposts to Christocentric life in the community: mysticism, mission, and message.
1. Mysticism. The story of Jesus reveals a world that God has created and in which God is actively present and working. Jesus lived and practiced the presence of God, whom he knew intimately as Abba, and this experience transformed his message and empowered his mission. An emerging community would be intentional on creating space for the Spirit of God to come in surprising and intimate ways. In a culture that is spiritual but not religious the followers of Jesus should actively proclaim and practice the Abba-intimate mysticism of Jesus.
2. Mission. For an emerging community there is an identification of the mission of Jesus with the mission of God. Jesus proclaimed and brought the presence of the kingdom of God. He also empowered and sent his disciples to do same. For this reason the kingdom of God is the most important theological concept for understanding the work of church. This community will intentionally focus itself on the mission of God and seek to participate. Doing so means that the community will be externally focused, people driven, and seek healing and reconciliation.
3. Message. Jesus is not just the one who made God present in a dynamic and mystical way, nor is he just the one who proclaimed the mission of God for the world, but Jesus himself was the message. His message was not simply preached but embodied. Jesus, the Word of God, is more than words and so the emerging community will witness to the message of God through embodiment. Every media and every relationship can become a spirit-filled medium for revelation and transformation of God. Recognizing this means the message of the community is more than words and doctrine but an invitation to experience the presence of God and embody the way of Jesus.

Thursday, May 24, 2007


The Best Two Profs on Planet Earth

My Pannenberg Minion

My favorite 2 div students (who happen to be my wife and bro)

My Class and Profs

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Len Sweet Audio pt 1

I posted the first segment of Len Sweet's audio from the 'Remix\Reboot' event. Check it out.

Sunday, May 6, 2007

Whitehead on Caesar-fying God

"When the Western world accepted Christianity, Caesar conquered; and the received text of Western theology was edited by his lawyers…The brief Galilean vision of humility flickered throughout the ages, uncertainly. In the official formulation of the religion it has assumed the trivial form of the mere attribution to the Jews that they cherished a misconception about their Messiah. But the deeper idolatry, of fashioning God in the image of the Egyptian, Persian, and Roman imperial rulers was retained. The Church gave unto God the attributes which belonged exclusively to Caesar."
Process and Reality 342

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

The Gospels, Jesus, and Christology

So a friend and I were in a conversation about Christology, which is just the fancy word for theology about the person (how human\divine stuff works out) and the work (what was accomplished in Christ). I promised I would attempt to write a few blog entries that are not completely useless and hopefully helpful, so here is part one and more or less where we spent the most of our time talking. Of course this is just my opinion, so don't get upset if you don't like it. I'm not sure i always do.

The Gospels are an important source for theology, but for Christology there can be no other more important source. While the Gospels are the substance for historical retrieval, they cannot be understood as direct historical accounts or “remembered history” because the Gospels are the result of the early church’s communal remembering, retelling, and reflection on the history of Jesus. The Gospels are not narratives that could have been written by a biographer of Jesus or even by Peter directly after Pentecost. The Gospels can best be understood as “Theological history,” in that the Gospel narratives tell the story of the historical man from Nazareth written from a post-Easter perspective. After the cross and resurrection the identity of Jesus, as Son of God, that existed throughout his life became clear. The historical act of identification for Jesus the Son of God led to the theologizing of the history of Jesus so, as my theology prof likes to say, “all the stories of Jesus have been washed in the blood of his cross and polished in the light of the empty tomb.” Said another way, after Easter the history of Jesus was retold in a way that (re)shaped the stories in light of the resurrection identity of Jesus. So Jesus had a gospel-effect on the (re)telling of the Gospel narratives. The history of Jesus that was retold in the Gospels is different than the gospel itself who is Jesus. To tell the stories of Jesus from an Easter perspective with a gospel-effect was not an underhanded act of the evangelists, but a means to effectively present both the history and truth of Jesus in the single narrative. If the Gospels are taken as history and their Easter perspective is not acknowledged, what was a life full of contingencies is presented to the reader as the divinely ordained plan of God. Therefore, the history of Jesus must be acknowledged as separate and deviating from the theologized Gospel accounts. Recognizing this allows one to seek the historical Jesus contained beneath the imaginative constructs of the Gospel texts and engage Christology from below. Christology from below is not an inappropriate starting point for Christology because it is the very place the earliest disciples pursued Christological thought. The history a Christology from below seeks and begins from is the history behind the stories that served as the substance of the early disciple’s Christology.

That last bit in italics I think is stated too strong, because it's not like we have much to go on outside of the actual canonical Gospels. The point I am going for is just that the actual person of Jesus who lived is the foundation of the faith and Christology. The Gospel texts are foundational theological reflections about the person.

Why I Need to find $ to go to AAR in november.

Joint Session of the Open and Relational Theologies Unit and the Christian Systematic Theology Group

“Radical Orthodoxy and Process Theology”
Chairs: Thomas Jay Oord & James K. Smith

-- Graham Ward, “The Bride of Christ: Creation, Christology, Ecclesiology”

-- Catherine Keller, “Reciprocating Gifts: Truth, Politics and Participation in Process”

-- John Milbank, “Change and Participation”

-- John Cobb, “Rethinking Tradition”

Process theology 2, Radical Orthodoxy 0.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

The Good, The Bad, and the Something

The Good: I am done with div school in 2 weeks
The Bad: The Heat are not in the NBA playoffs any more
The Something: I preached today at New community and you can hear it.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Project Presentation

PostProtoTheoEpistemic Projectilicitiness
Or, The things you will never talk to your congregation about unless you care about Jesus really mattering in the World

Senior Projects:
Tripp Fuller
“Becoming Jesus’ Church in the Post-Colonial World: Reframing the Mission and Power of God”

Corbin Boekhaus
"I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End”: Creation and Eschatology in Dialogue with the Natural Sciences

Corbin, Tripp, and Jesus want you to be there!

Thursday, April 26, 2007
3:30pm - 5:30pm
Wingate Hall Room 302

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Pannenberg on the Church and the Kingdom

Christ points the Church toward the Kingdom of God that is beyond the Church. To the degree that the Church follows his pointing and heeds his reminder, the Kingdom of God will manifest itself through the Church. But note that this is quite different from attributing to the Church in its established structures the dignity of being the Kingdom of Christ. The rule of Christ is effected wherever man becomes aware of the coming Kingdom of God and lives in accord with that awareness. This may happen in the Church. It should be expected to happen in the Church. But the rule of Christ cannot be identified with the Church’s existence as a organized community in the world. The theological identification of the Church with the Kingdom of Christ has all too often served the purposes of ecclesiastical officials who are not attuned to the Kingdom of God. Many Christians, especially church leaders, like to think they are in procession of the truth, or at least that they possess the ultimate criterion of the truth. Because they feel themselves to be indispensably related to the very Kingdom of Christ, they fail to recognize the provisional character of all ecclesiastical organizations. They are unable to stand humbly before the coming Kingdom of God that is going to bring about the final future of the world. They are blinded to the ways in which even now, proleptically, the future manifests itself in the world (and not just in the Church, nor even always through the Church). Precisely because the Church mistakes herself for the present form of the Kingdom, God’s rule has often had to manifest itself in the secular world outside, and frequently against, the Church. - Theology and the Kingdom of God (77-78)

Pannenberg on 'The Beloved"

"True love nurtures wholeness, granting to the beloved the authenticity and independence of his existence. Creative love does not ask the beloved for his dependency but for his personhood...the eyes of love perceive yet unrealized possibilities...Love, on the one hand, envisions in the beloved the destiny of his life and the promise of life's fulfillment. Love views the beloved with the eyes of God. Yet love too respects the beloved. He anticipates that the potential will be realized through the other person's own decision and effort. Love can support, but it does not seek to control, the struggle towards realization." - Theology and the Kingdom of God (118-119)

Monday, April 9, 2007

Church Identity in a Post-Colonial World: Mark 1:1

What does a post-colonial theology of the church look like? A Big and important question, but here is one place to start. The first verse of the first (oldest) gospel about JC.

The beginning of the good news of Jesus Christ, Son of God Mark 1:1

This passage is the beginning Mark’s gospel and an important place to begin to search for a reservoir of ecclesial identity in our age of identity crisis and identity fabrication. In these few verses we see how Mark identifies Jesus and the foundation for Jesus’ own self-understanding. As the church of Jesus Christ it is only logical that the identity search of those ‘in Christ’ be informed by the identity given to Jesus himself by his first story teller. Setting this opening to the book in its first century context and in particular in its imperial context will help us identify the how expansive an outlook Mark had for the God Movement present in Jesus.
Mark does not begin his gospel as a traditional Hellenistic biography, by noting the character to which the author is concerned, but instead claims that this story is the beginning of the good news of Jesus Christ. This simple phrase is a loaded one, for it first claims that the text one is about to read or hear is simply the start and does not contain the complete good news; or better yet, the good news is more than a text that can be read and digested and more than story that can be heard and remembered, the good news of Jesus Christ is about more than one person’s life or a past happening, but something that has had its beginning and is still present. The good news is not just an event or a singular happening, it is a life determining reality that moves from this storyed beginning to an end yet unknown.
Good news is not a benign term in Mark’s historical context. The good news was proclaimed when there was a military victory and was expanded to mean “the good news of peace and prosperity” following a military victory. We also know that good news (also translated good tidings or gospel) was used in the emperor cult and was associated with the “empire’s benefits such as an emperor’s birth, military conquest, or accession to power.” One famous example is the Priene inscription which originated within a decade of Jesus’ birth that declares the emperor Augustus to be the “savior” and “concludes with the line ‘the birthday of the god Augustus was the beginning for the world of good tidings that came by reason of him.” Seeing that Rome pronounced “divine sanction for its empire, claiming that the gods had chosen Rome to manifest the gods’ sovereignty, presence, agency, and blessings on earth,” Mark’s counter claim about the beginning of the gospel or good news of Jesus Christ is made quite radical. In this context the following claims that Jesus is the ‘Christ,’ the anointed king of Israel, and ‘Son of God’ take on an even greater meaning. Rome had already anointed a king for Israel and already had a ‘son of God’ in resident. Caesar, the Herods, and the structures they represent had a gospel and Mark set the one beginning in Jesus over against it. Regardless of the other interpretive categories at work, Mark’s title for his narrative deliberately parodies the political propaganda of the reigning empire.
If this is how Mark starts his gospel it is no wonder that it ends with Salome, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James fleeing the empty tomb after being seized by terror and amazement; “and they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid.” When read in a first century context this fear makes perfect sense, because there was already a good news in circulation, an anointed one on the throne, and a son of God ruling the established order. If the empty tomb of the crucified, but resurrected Jesus means the good news of Jesus Christ, kingdom-proclaimer, Son of God, did not die on a cross, then this story is not through and is just beginning. If the expansive claim of Mark is true, one should be fearful because the good news of Jesus is not so good for those on the take from the current arrangement under the Roman domination system. One who benefits from the imperial power structure is much more inclined to protect the world as it is. The peace of Rome is kept on the backs of the poor and the blood of resisters. Cross-building coercion is scary even if the tomb of the cross-bearer is empty.