According to some Christian outlooks we were made for another world. Perhaps, rather, we were made for this world to recreate, reclaim, redeem, and renew unto God's future aspiration by the power of His Spirit. - R.E. Slater
Secularization theory has been massively falsified. We don't live in an age of secularity. We live in an age of explosive, pervasive religiosity... an age of religious pluralism. - Peter L. Berger
Exploring the edge of life and faith in a post-everything world. - Todd Littleton
I don't need another reason to believe, your love is all around for me to see. – anon
Thou art our need; and in giving us more of thyself thou givest us all. - Khalil Gibran, Prayer XXIII
Be careful what you pretend to be. You become what you pretend to be. - Kurt Vonnegut
Religious beliefs, far from being primary, are often shaped and adjusted by our social goals. - Jim Forest
People, even more than things, need to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed, and redeemed; never throw out anyone. – anon
Certainly God's love has made fools of us all. - R.E. Slater
An apocalyptic Christian faith doesn't wait for Jesus to come, but for Jesus to become in our midst. - R.E. Slater
Christian belief in God begins with the cross and resurrection of Jesus, not with rational apologetics. - Eberhard Jüngel, Jürgen Moltmann
Our knowledge of God is through the 'I-Thou' encounter, not in finding God at the end of a syllogism or argument. There is a grave danger in any Christian treatment of God as an object. The God of Jesus Christ and Scripture is irreducibly subject and never made as an object, a force, a power, or a principle that can be manipulated. - Emil Brunner
Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh means "I will be that who I have yet to become." - God (Ex 3.14)
Our job is to love others without stopping to inquire whether or not they are worthy. - Thomas Merton
The church is God's world-changing social experiment of bringing unlikes and differents to the Eucharist/Communion table to share life with one another as a new kind of family. When this happens we show to the world what love, justice, peace, reconciliation, and life together is designed by God to be. The church is God's show-and-tell for the world to see how God wants us to live as a blended, global, polypluralistic family united with one will, by one Lord, and baptized by one Spirit. – anon
The cross that is planted at the heart of the history of the world cannot be uprooted. - Jacques Ellul
The Unity in whose loving presence the universe unfolds is inside each person as a call to welcome the stranger, protect animals and the earth, respect the dignity of each person, think new thoughts, and help bring about ecological civilizations. - John Cobb & Farhan A. Shah
If you board the wrong train it is of no use running along the corridors of the train in the other direction. - Dietrich Bonhoeffer
God's justice is restorative rather than punitive; His discipline is merciful rather than punishing; His power is made perfect in weakness; and His grace is sufficient for all. – anon
Our little [biblical] systems have their day; they have their day and cease to be. They are but broken lights of Thee, and Thou, O God art more than they. - Alfred Lord Tennyson
We can’t control God; God is uncontrollable. God can’t control us; God’s love is uncontrolling! - Thomas Jay Oord
Life in perspective but always in process... as we are relational beings in process to one another so life events are in process in relation to each event... as God is to Self, is to world, is to us... like Father, like sons and daughters, like events... life in process yet always in perspective. - R.E. Slater

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Be Always Ready With An Answer?

http://rachelheldevans.com/ready-with-answer

by Rachel Held Evans
posted  June 21, 2011

Well, we’ve worked our way through Evolving in Monkey Town, just in time to mark the one year anniversary of its release. Thanks so much for your engagement and participation. Today’s excerpt comes from the final chapter, entitled “Living the Questions":

...I’m no longer ready to give an answer about everything. Sometimes I’m not ready because I feel that an answer does not do justice to the seriousness or complexity of the question. Sometimes I’m not ready to give an answer because I honestly don’t know what the best one is. Sometimes I’m not ready to give an answer because I can tell that the person asking doesn’t really want one anyway.

Unfortunately, saying “I don’t know” has fallen out of vogue in Christian circles, and I’m still trying to get used to saying it myself. Opinionated and strong-willed, I’m always afraid that if I remain silent or show signs of ambivalence, people will assume that I can’t think for myself, that I haven’t studied an issue or thought it through. As my friends well know, I’ll tolerate a barrage of vicious insults before I’ll tolerate the mere suggestion that I might be uninformed. I would rather people think I don’t bathe enough than think I don’t read enough.

In a way, the same has been true of the church of late. Sometimes Christians worry that if we don’t provide bullet-proof answers to all of life’s questions, people will assume that our faith is unreasonable. In reaction to very loud atheists like Richard Dawkins, we have become a bit too loud ourselves. Faith in Jesus has been recast as a position in a debate, not a way of life.

But the truth is, I’ve found people to be much more receptive to the gospel when they know becoming a Christian doesn’t require becoming a know-it-all. Most of the people I’ve encountered are looking not for a religion to answer all their questions but for a community of faith in which they can feel safe asking them.

When Peter first penned the words “always be ready with an answer,” he was writing to the persecuted church during the time of the emperor Nero…This was not advice for a debate team; it was advice for martyrs! Peter asked his readers to take courage, to look into the eyes of their assailants with patience and compassion, gentleness and respect. He urged them to live lives that are beyond reproach, to follow the teachings of Jesus and love their enemies to the point of death. This passage is not about fearlessly defending a set of propositions; it’s about fearlessly defending hope—a wild, bewitching, and reckless thing that cannot be systematized or proven or rationally explained.

Peter knew that such behavior might arouse some curiosity. He knew that his fellow Christians would be subject to interrogation regarding their radical community and unconventional lives. In preparing them to give answers, Peter assumed they’d be asked questions. Our best answers in defense of Christianity have always been useless clanging cymbals unless our lives have inspired the world to ask.

What are you not ready to give an answer about these days? What questions are you living through?


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