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

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Kingdom as a Participatory Eschatology


Brian McLaren
May 10, 2011

I grew up in a Christian tradition (a young one, actually, having started in the 1830’s) called Dispensationalism. Although we shied away from predicting specific dates, we sang and preached and even made scary movies about the coming “Rapture,” Great Tribulation, coming of the Antichrist, and eventually the Second Coming. We had complex charts of our “end-time scenario” in which we could fit (or cram) every single verse in the Bible. It was impressive.

For a while. As I grew older and started reading the Bible more holistically, I realized that this kind of prognostication was a house of cards. Not only that, it had disastrous consequences. After all, why care about global climate change if you believe God is about to burn it up to a cinder anyway? Why worry about peak oil if the world will end before the oil economy collapses? Why address systemic injustice - economic, racial, sexual, political, environmental - if you assume it’s God’s will for things to get worse and worse so it all can be swept away in final judgment?

Now I, like many others, have migrated to a very different understanding of the future. More and more of us are calling it a “participatory eschatology” or a “participatory view of the future.”

Instead of assuming that the future is predetermined, that the script is written, that the movie is already filmed in God’s mind and is only “showing” in the theatre of the now, we believe the future does not yet exist.

We believe that we are called to work together with God’s Spirit - with creativity, for justice and peace, nonviolently, and both passionately and patiently - to create the kind of future that fulfills what Desmond Tutu calls “the Dream of God.” Of course, we can’t presume to know what that world looks like: we can’t presume it’s communist or capitalist or works on some as-yet undreamed-of economic system.

But we work with this confidence: that when we show love, when we seek God’s justice for all, when we care for the vulnerable and forgotten, when we try to take the logs out of our own eyes before working on the splinters in the eyes of others, when we care for the birds of the air, flowers of the field, and fish of the sea, when we admit our wrongs rather than hide or deny them, when we give rather than hoard, when we seek reconciliation rather than revenge ... we are nudging the world one small step forward in our journey towards that dream of blessing and peace.

Sadly, misguided predictions of the sort made by Harold Camping become distractions from that great calling. Although history suggests that people who are part of false predictions tend to double-down when their prophecies fail, perhaps on May 22, some of Camping’s disillusioned followers will be open to a new way of thinking.

BEST-SELLING AUTHOR AND INTELLECTUAL LEADER OF “EMERGING CHURCH”
 
Brian D. McLaren
McLaren is an activist, speaker, and author (most recently of Naked Spirituality and A New Kind of Christianity). He was a pastor for 24 years and is a leader in the global conversation about emerging Christianity.

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