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

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Reimagining Our Living Faith

Where Do We Go From Here?

Sometimes I feel that I have taken on an impossible task of delineating a Christianity that can be both practical and pedestrian on the one hand, and academically salient on the other hand. All the while attempting to utilize outside resources that show the validity of not only my own thoughts and concerns, but what I think are also the contemporary thoughts and concerns of Christian activists better connect than myself between the real world of public communication and synthetic argument in society. 

Turbulent Societal Issues
And much like a news commentator, I have been directing this blog/journal to give a more positive direction in disseminating key issues-and-ideas that are fomenting within Christianity today... and especially as it relates to a newer branch of Christianity which I think is very quickly supplanting (i) old-line orthodox Christianity, (ii) Evangelicalism-at-large and (iii) the various denominational identities - including Catholicism itself - that is being expressed through the many forums of Progressive Christianity, with a more contemporary, and postmodern, version of modern day Christianity known as Emergent Christianity. A faith system that I felt a year ago needed better representation, better explanation, and better presentation from its too-many-versions of its fractured self. A movement that has lived or breathed in one fashion or another through the separate communities of Emergent believers not all interacting with one another. Nor with the main body of orthodoxy that they have left behind. An orthodoxy which, for all practical purposes, had also left advocates of Emergent Christianity behind, through self-proclaimed ignorance and dismissal of legitimate sociological, theological, and humanitarian issues at hand.

Dealing with Technology & Social Networking
Consequently, I have hoped to give my readers better tools to make more qualified judgements in this area of contemporary religious development that would help inter-relate valid Emergent Christian concerns with Orthodox practices and beliefs, while at the same time better explain why Emergent Christianity provides a larger plane of contemporary relevance to the world, and consequently a fuller opportunity to share Jesus globally across all faith and cultural differences. One that is non-threatening and more fully exposed to cultural adaptation and assimilation. While at the same time, importantly maintaining the foundations of the orthodox faith which must be updated into an era of postmodernism that will change again in the continuous succession of societal evolution.

Learning to communicate with those different from ourselves
With that said, Daniel Kirk made some observations below that we should all bear in mind when reading and interacting our faith with each other. Its called learning to listen both passively and actively so as to be better enabled to present a fuller presentation of just what the postmodern church is, where it is going, and how it needs to stay current in its faith-communities and witness. The piece below is a common, everyday example of this process as it is formed at the New Yorker magazine. And in our case, all the many vehicles and outlets that we listen to on air, or through the Internet, or the many voices we hear inside our head through pulpits, books, blogs and magazines. Through all of this we must pay attention to the words we're reading while assessing the central topics that they are vouchsafing back to us. We must be better active listeners and more passive in our first responses and immediate impressions that would prejudice us too quickly so that we cannot hear the writer's story, the meaning behind that story, or its helps and conclusions.

Trying to understand our past by not repeating our past
I find very often in the Christian communes that I write that my readership is too quick to judge and that I must work constantly at deflating those strong opinions in a variety of ways so that I can get readers to better listen to the topics at hand. And in this case, my arguments for a broader, wider, deeper course of Emergent Christianity than we have at present. One that is maturing us in the faith of Jesus as followers of the Cross; that is enabling its respondents towards finding a larger God who has a larger role in the world than we think He has; a God who infects the faith communities we live in with more realistic hopes and dreams that somehow can become brighter, more true, as counter-arguments to popular destructive dogmas; that creates perspectives that can reasonably attend to our personal circumstances without having to create self-delusions and imaginations about the Bible or doctrinal truths that seem elusive at best in more pedestrian fares and belief-systems; that can free us from the toxicities and addictions of our lives - or deliver us from the judgments and actions of significant ideologies around us - so that we might find liberation in our souls from the waste products that have grown up inside of us and must be discerned and excreted.

Learning to rethink our world
In all these areas this blog/journal has submitted time-and-again article after article on many of our self-narratives that once were destructive to our living faith, but now is empowering this same faith when separated from the many misleading stories that we tell ourselves. It is a matter of growing up, of maturing in the faith, of putting away the untruths and lies we have told ourselves, or have allowed others to tell us about ourselves. And of reclaiming the Jesus of our faith, and the faith of Jesus, in proportionate expansion to the infinities of God's amazing plans for our lives and the world at large when we become more active responders to the call of God to "Hear, and Obey." We have an amazing God. We need to become amazing listeners. Hear then His call this day and be led by the Spirit in new ways unimagined!

R.E. Slater
February 18, 2012

*For a related story of our postmodernism is affecting societal evolution please refer to Relevancy22's latest installment on the "Changing Nature of Public Eduction" by Sir Ken Robinson -

Growing in the darkness of day's light
John 5
English Standard Version (ESV)

The Healing at the Pool on the Sabbath

5 After this there was a feast of the Jews, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem.

2 Now there is in Jerusalem by the Sheep Gate a pool, in Aramaic[a] called Bethesda,[b] which has five roofed colonnades. 3 In these lay a multitude of invalids—blind, lame, and paralyzed.[c] 5 One man was there who had been an invalid for thirty-eight years. 6 When Jesus saw him lying there and knew that he had already been there a long time, he said to him, “Do you want to be healed?” 7 The sick man answered him, “Sir, I have no one to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up, and while I am going another steps down before me.” 8 Jesus said to him, “Get up, take up your bed, and walk.” 9 And at once the man was healed, and he took up his bed and walked.

Now that day was the Sabbath. 10 So the Jews[d] said to the man who had been healed, “It is the Sabbath, and it is not lawful for you to take up your bed.” 11 But he answered them, “The man who healed me, that man said to me, ‘Take up your bed, and walk.’ 12 They asked him, “Who is the man who said to you, ‘Take up your bed and walk’?” 13 Now the man who had been healed did not know who it was, for Jesus had withdrawn, as there was a crowd in the place. 14 Afterward Jesus found him in the temple and said to him, “See, you are well! Sin no more, that nothing worse may happen to you.” 15 The man went away and told the Jews that it was Jesus who had healed him. 16 And this was why the Jews were persecuting Jesus, because he was doing these things on the Sabbath. 17 But Jesus answered them, “My Father is working until now, and I am working.”

Unbounded imagination over the possibilities of God...
"Be ye as little children" (Matthew 18)

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Writers and Readers

by JRD Kirk
February 15, 2012

Writes and readers are not the same things.

I heard such a claim from a theologian friend of mine once. He had been told that you could either write or read, but probably not do both. He thought it was lame.

Then he became a writer.

And understood.

I listen to the New Yorker Fiction Podcast. It has confirmed this from a different angle.

The setup of the show is this: a writer reads someone else’s short story. Then the person who read the story talks about it with Deborah Treisman, the New Yorker fiction editor.

It is not uncommon that in listening to the conversation it becomes clear that she is a much better reader of short stories than the storywriters are.

She recognizes meaning where they don’t want to see any. She puts the pieces together to give a compelling reading of the story we’ve all just heard.

Of course, not all writers are the same. Nor are all readers the same. Some readers are fantastic for discovering meaning (David Dark is one of these–his writing is so enthralling because he’s showing you how he reads not only books but also the world) some are fantastic for telling you that your n-dash really should be an em-dash. (I just use hyphens—forget you people.)

Lame or not, I find folks falling more one way or the other. Some are great readers. Some are great writers. (Or, “express proclivities toward reading” v. “express proclivities toward writing.”)

Few do both.

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