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

Monday, June 13, 2011

while the world is crying out for hope, we’re talking about theology

posted June 6, 2011

while the world is crying out for hope, we’re talking about theologythis past weekend i was on the refuge camping trip at jackson lake. it is was our 6th annual & is a cornerstone tradition in our community. one of my favorite parts of the weekend is baptism. each aspect of it is just so beautiful—witnessed in community, a clear marker on an often very unclear spiritual journey, and a public sign of transformation and hope.

i shared the story of the blind man who Jesus healed in john 9. i have written about it here in a post called practical theology. and it came back to me in these past few weeks. it’s a reminder that while the religious leaders were haggling about theological correctness & the sources of sin, Jesus was healing people. the people being healed couldn’t give a rip about theology or doctrine. what they cared about–healing & change.

it made me think of why i am so passionate about change in “the church” and how desperate the world is for little pockets of love. in down we go, i say “the world is not aching for new knowledge; there’s plenty of that to last many lifetimes. the world is aching for people to be Jesus’ hands, feet, eyes, and heart, and go boldly where he goes–to those on the margins of life and faith.”

the world is crying out for hope while we’re talking about theology.

while we spend countless hours on the ins and outs of homosexuality possibly being a sin and women not being able to lead and who’s in and who’s out related to heaven and hell, the world is crying out for hope. people are dying–literally and figuratively–and we are spending millions of dollars & hours & blog posts & sermons and all kinds of other things that focus on “correct theology.” honestly, sometimes it feels like a travesty. a dark comedy that mocks us all. a telling example of how even though it’s 2,000 years later, we’re still in much of the same place the religious leaders were then–focused on the outside of the cup because it’s much easier than the inside.

why do we spend so much time talking about theology instead of actively being the hands, feet, heart, and eyes of Jesus?

i think it’s because it’s easier. safer. more predictable. human nature clings to the path of least resistance. it’s far easier to talk about the meaning of a bible verse than it is to share hearts and slog through the muck and mire of real transformation in people’s lives.

the less i focus on “right” theology, the more i seem to be free to’s a wild thing. and a scary thing. my evangelometer sometimes goes off, telling me, “you better back that up with some kind of perfect bible verse”. but then i remember the story of the blind man Jesus healed. and i reflect on the powerful stories of transformation and hope i am seeing in my own life & the lives of my friends in community. authentic, sacrificial love is compelling. i look into the eyes and hearts of my friends who don’t have the “right” words about scripture & theological principles & doctrinal statements, yet, are some of the most loving, caring, brave, beautiful people i have ever met. and just to top it off, they are being the hands, feet, eyes, and hearts of Jesus in more tangible ways than i can count.

yeah, my hope for the church is that we’d quit haggling about things that don’t matter, that we’d lay down our guns & bible verses & all kinds of other things we use to protect us from the tangled mess of loving relationship with other people. and that each of us, in however way we need to, will be a tangible part of helping heal the blind, feed the hungry, and love the lonely.

God, show us how to be vessels of transformation & hope.

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