According to some Christian outlooks we were made for another world. Perhaps, rather, we were made for
this world to recreate, reclaim, 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

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

What Are God's Ways Like?


by Alise
Friday, July 1, 2011

Since the release of Rob Bell's latest book, there has been a lot of talk about hell. Francis Chan is in on it. The Southern Baptist Convention is in on it. Some guy I don't know is in on it.

Honestly, it's not a topic I've spent a lot of time studying. I have no idea who is right in this case. I'm only on the very beginning of reading through some of these things. But even in my very brief study, I do have some questions that won't go away. Not exactly questions about hell, but questions about hell speaks about the nature of God.

Whenever this discussion comes up it's hard for me to understand how we talk about it without putting it in human terms. Most of us are appalled when we hear about stories of torture of any kind, particularly prolonged torture. It cuts at the very nature of us to think that someone is experiencing agony. Even if they are bad by every metric we have available, torture is almost universally met with disgust and loathing.

And yet when it comes to God, we seem to have no problem assuming that this is how he operates....

He condemns people that we work with, that we go to little league games with, who ring up our groceries, who may even attend our church to an [eternity of hellish] torture. And we are to believe that this is good and just. Despite nearly all of us agreeing that torture in this life is reprehensible, we are to believe that eternal torture is just.

And how do we know that it is just? We simply say that his ways are not like our ways (Isaiah 55:8).

Here is where it gets tricky for me. Why is it that when it comes to eternity, his ways are significantly [more awful] than our ways?

As a parent, I get that just does not always mean fun or happy. I get that we might not see the full picture. But I also know that my kids have a pretty good head on them and they know when a punishment is just and when it's just me acting out in an angry, mean way. They may not always like justice, but they know what justice is.

I feel like part of being made in the image of God is that we have an ability to see that which is good. The Scripture tells us that even in our evil ways, we still know how to give our children good gifts. We have the capacity for creation, for generosity, for love. Folks frequently point to our inherent ability to know right from wrong as a proof of God. And yet we all too often simply abandon our gut instinct about the goodness or justice of Anne Frank, a Jew, sharing the same eternity of torture [of hell] with Adolf Hitler.

Over at Rachel Held Evans's blog last week, KatR commented, "I hope when I get to the end of my life I will find that God is not [as gruesome as] so many Christians insist that he is."

I hope the same thing.

+++++++

[So then], how do you reconcile the idea of justice with the idea of [hell's] eternal torture for a [person's] temporal wrong-doing? Do we have any way of understanding God's ways?

 
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How to Talk to Little Girls

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/lisa-bloom/how-to-talk-to-little-gir_b_882510.html
 
 

Lisa BloomAuthor of 'Think: Straight Talk for Women to Stay Smart in a Dumbed Down World'

 Posted June 22, 2011
 
I went to a dinner party at a friend's home last weekend, and met her five-year-old daughter for the first time.
 
Little Maya was all curly brown hair, doe-like dark eyes, and adorable in her shiny pink nightgown. I wanted to squeal, "Maya, you're so cute! Look at you! Turn around and model that pretty ruffled gown, you gorgeous thing!"
 
But I didn't. I squelched myself. As I always bite my tongue when I meet little girls, restraining myself from my first impulse, which is to tell them how darn cute/ pretty/ beautiful/ well-dressed/ well-manicured/ well-coiffed they are.
 
What's wrong with that? It's our culture's standard talking-to-little-girls icebreaker, isn't it? And why not give them a sincere compliment to boost their self-esteem? Because they are so darling I just want to burst when I meet them, honestly.
 
Hold that thought for just a moment.
 
This week ABC News reported that nearly half of all three- to six-year-old girls worry about being fat. In my book, Think: Straight Talk for Women to Stay Smart in a Dumbed-Down World, I reveal that 15 to 18 percent of girls under 12 now wear mascara, eyeliner and lipstick regularly; eating disorders are up and self-esteem is down; and 25 percent of young American women would rather win America's Next Top Model than the Nobel Peace Prize. Even bright, successful college women say they'd rather be hot than smart. A Miami mom just died from cosmetic surgery, leaving behind two teenagers. This keeps happening, and it breaks my heart.
 
Teaching girls that their appearance is the first thing you notice tells them that looks are more important than anything. It sets them up for dieting at age 5 and foundation at age 11 and boob jobs at 17 and Botox at 23. As our cultural imperative for girls to be hot 24/7 has become the new normal, American women have become increasingly unhappy. What's missing? A life of meaning, a life of ideas and reading books and being valued for our thoughts and accomplishments.
 
That's why I force myself to talk to little girls as follows.
 
"Maya," I said, crouching down at her level, looking into her eyes, "very nice to meet you."
 
"Nice to meet you too," she said, in that trained, polite, talking-to-adults good girl voice.
 
"Hey, what are you reading?" I asked, a twinkle in my eyes. I love books. I'm nuts for them. I let that show.
 
Her eyes got bigger, and the practiced, polite facial expression gave way to genuine excitement over this topic. She paused, though, a little shy of me, a stranger.
 
"I LOVE books," I said. "Do you?"
 
Most kids do.
 
"YES," she said. "And I can read them all by myself now!"
 
"Wow, amazing!" I said. And it is, for a five-year-old. You go on with your bad self, Maya.
 
"What's your favorite book?" I asked.
 
"I'll go get it! Can I read it to you?"
 
Purplicious was Maya's pick and a new one to me, as Maya snuggled next to me on the sofa and proudly read aloud every word, about our heroine who loves pink but is tormented by a group of girls at school who only wear black. Alas, it was about girls and what they wore, and how their wardrobe choices defined their identities. But after Maya closed the final page, I steered the conversation to the deeper issues in the book: mean girls and peer pressure and not going along with the group. I told her my favorite color in the world is green, because I love nature, and she was down with that.
 
Not once did we discuss clothes or hair or bodies or who was pretty. It's surprising how hard it is to stay away from those topics with little girls, but I'm stubborn.
 
I told her that I'd just written a book, and that I hoped she'd write one too one day. She was fairly psyched about that idea. We were both sad when Maya had to go to bed, but I told her next time to choose another book and we'd read it and talk about it. Oops. That got her too amped up to sleep, and she came down from her bedroom a few times, all jazzed up.
 
So, one tiny bit of opposition to a culture that sends all the wrong messages to our girls. One tiny nudge towards valuing female brains. One brief moment of intentional role modeling. Will my few minutes with Maya change our multibillion dollar beauty industry, reality shows that demean women, our celebrity-manic culture? No. But I did change Maya's perspective for at least that evening.
 
Try this the next time you meet a little girl. She may be surprised and unsure at first, because few ask her about her mind, but be patient and stick with it. Ask her what she's reading. What does she like and dislike, and why? There are no wrong answers. You're just generating an intelligent conversation that respects her brain. For older girls, ask her about current events issues: pollution, wars, school budgets slashed. What bothers her out there in the world? How would she fix it if she had a magic wand? You may get some intriguing answers. Tell her about your ideas and accomplishments and your favorite books. Model for her what a thinking woman says and does.
 
And let me know the response you get at www.Twitter.com/lisabloom and Facebook.
 
Here's to changing the world, one little girl at a time.
 
For many more tips on how keep yourself and your daughter smart, check out my new book, Think: Straight Talk for Women to Stay Smart in a Dumbed-Down World, www.Think.tv.
 
Follow Lisa Bloom on Twitter: www.twitter.com/LisaBloom