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
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

Friday, August 23, 2013

An Arminian Ordo Salutis (Order of Salvation)

continue to -
 
 
 

 
 
 
 

Discerning the Christian Meaning of Targeted Words

Literally Changing What It Means
http://homebrewedchristianity.com/2013/08/22/literally-changing-what-it-means/

by Bo Sanders
Next thing they’ll be telling us that there’s no ham in hamburger, no egg in eggplant, a boxing ring isn’t round and tennis shoes aren’t just for tennis.
We’re literally over it.
The meaning of words drift, adapt and change over time. There is the famous example of “Thou” that Martin Buber brought so much attention to. The dictionary does not determine their meaning as much as it reflects their use.
 
Today an article appeared over at the Sojo blog by our beloved friend (and co-host of the Culture Cast) Christian Piatt who had a chance to interview Eric Elnes, author of Phoenix Affirmations: A New Vision for the Future of the Christian Faith and Asphalt Jesus, about the changing face Christianity in 21st America.
 
Elnes walked across the country:
  in 2006 with a group called CrossWalk America, which included a network of 150 churches from a dozen or so denominations and over 11,000 individuals. We walked to raise awareness that not all Christians are alike, and that large — and growing — numbers of Christians embrace a more “progressive” vision of Christianity than what one finds portrayed in the media. 
Part of what came out of that experience was an awareness of the need for some new labels and to modify the meaning of some old ones. In both classically liberal/mainline circles and, interestingly, in conservative camps as well.
I will let you read the article for the whole conversation.  The part that stood out to me (and to Geoff Holsclaw who pointed me to it) was the section related to the label ‘progressive’. For the past couple of weeks I have enjoyed a lively set of conversation here about the Liberal Label and ‘progressive’ among others. Elnes explains why he has moved on from simple ‘progressive’:
Don’t get me wrong when I back off of the word “progressive.” This has been my adopted label for years, and the walk was made in the name of Progressive Christianity. But I’ve had to come to terms with its weaknesses. For many Christians, “progressive” is just another term for classic Christian liberalism. They have adopted the label because it’s more publically acceptable than “liberal.” 
Christian liberalism was an important movement in America in the 19th and 20th centuries, and without it, Christianity would be struggling even more than it already does to embrace science and issues of social justice. But like any movement, liberalism has had a certain lifespan. We gleaned the best insights of liberalism and moved on long ago.
My favorite line is “ We also appreciate many of the fruits of liberalism, like social justice, inclusivity, and openness to other faiths. We affirm the positive role that doubt and uncertainty play in a healthy faith, recognizing that faith and science can be allies in the pursuit of truth.”
 
The reason I enjoyed the article so much was that it reflected some classic journeys about how people came to envision themselves as liberal, conservative, and progressive. I hear these stories all the time. I love these stories. Listening to people’s faith journey is one of my favorite things about what I do.
 
The problem is that I do not find myself in those stories – not exactly....
 
I grew up Evangelical with a hint of the charismatic. In my 20′s I went to Bible college was both emboldened in my charismatic leanings and horrified at the conservative nastiness I often encountered by those I shared the classroom with. People who grew up a little more fundamentalist or reformed than me had a very different experience of being Evangelical. There was some type of culture war … we were wrapped up in evangelism, missions, and issues of holiness – but without that culture clash. (in hind site, it was probably because we were allergic to politics).
 
17-85-BE3-134-08.0006-John WesleyAfter college I had a decade-long pastorate in an evangelical/charismatic church plant. I loved it. In the final years of that time I started reading N.T. Wright and then Brian McLaren – instead of Josh McDowell and Ravi Zacharias. I was warned by denominational leadership to be careful with that McLaren guy but by then I was on my way to George Fox Evangelical Seminary. I assumed I would study with Len Sweet until I met Randy Woodley.
 
Fast-forward 6 years and I am presently prepping for qualifying exams as a classically mainline grad school and ministering at a mainline church (albs & stoles – stained glass and lectionary). I never stopped praying however. I never went through that predictable thing that Elnes describes. Yes, I moved on from the superstitious elements of the tradition. Sure, I reformatted my cosmology and even adapted my metaphysics. I engaged Biblical scholarship which radically altered my view of scripture. I realized that politics wasn’t just permissible but, as Jesus modeled, was necessary.
 
All of that is to say that I stand by my posts of the past 3 weeks that we need to move on from the Liberal label and with Elnes we need to nuance ‘progressive’ in ways that are more clear.  I like his distinctions within progressive christianity. I know people in all of those camps.
 
I, however, am going to stick with “spirit-filled processy christo-centric hyperTheist” for myself.

 
 
... if by a liberal they mean
someone who looks ahead and not behind,
someone who welcomes new ideas without rigid reactions,
someone who cares about the welfare of the people -
their health, their housing, their schools,
their jobs, their civil rights, their civil liberties...
if that is what they mean,
then I am proud to be a liberal.
 
- President John F. Kennedy, 1960
 
 
 
 
 

NPR Repost: "Making Better End-Of-Life Care Decisions"

 
 
NPR: The Diane Rehm Show
Monday, June 17, 2013 - 11:06 a.m.
 
 - Image used under Creative Commons from Flickr user Rosie O'Beirne
Image used under Creative Commons from Flickr user Rosie O'Beirne
 
Making Better End-of-Life Care Decisions
 
Most Americans say they want to die at home, but few actually do. How movies made by two Harvard doctors can help patients make better end-of-life decisions.
 
Most Americans say they want to die at home, but 75 percent die in hospitals or nursing homes. Hospitalization often means aggressive, high-cost treatment at the expense of quality of life. And life-prolonging care accounts for 30 percent of total Medicare spending. Now, two Harvard doctors are making movies that visually depict common forms of end-of life care in hospitals. The short films show real patients receiving treatment such as emergency CPR and feeding tubes. Clinical studies show that patients who view these movies overwhelmingly opt out of costly, life-prolonging treatment. Diane and her guests discuss how to make better end-of-life decisions.
 
Guests
 
Angelo Volandes - physician and researcher at Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital and co-Founder of the Advance Care Planning Decisions Foundation.
 
Aretha Delight Davis - physician at Harvard Medical School and co-founder of Advance Care Planning Decisions Foundation.
 
Naftali Bendavid - correspondent for The Wall Street Journal, currently based in Brussels.
 
 

Inerrantism is more Muslim than Christian


And speaking of inerrancy….
If the Bible is treated as a compendium of factually inerrant propositions about everything in heaven and earth, then it is impossible to explain both the contradictions between parts of the Bible and things we certainly know as the results of the work of science, and also the obvious inconsistencies within the Bible itself on factual matters. Even the most convinced fundamentalist who lives in the modern world has to rely at innumerable points on knowledge provided by science and not by the Bible. In fact this way of looking at the Bible is nearer to the Muslim way of looking at the Qur’an and prompts the question: “Why, then, did Jesus not write a book as the Prophet did?”
 
- Lesslie Newbigin, The Gospel in a Pluralist Society, p. 97,
 

The Qur’an-like Bible of inerrantists is an apt observation, and it is not hard to see this mentality at work at some of it most staunch defenders–a book that comes to us whole cloth from the vaults of heaven, always transcending the confines of shadowlands, it’s true home in the Platonic ideal world.
 
If what Newbigin describes above is a, let’s call it, “sub-Christian” view of Scripture, we can gather that:

A Properly Christian View is one that:
  • does not treat Scripture as a compendium of  inerrant positions about everything in heaven and earth
  • does not ignore advances in science and other fields of knowledge when articulating the nature of Scripture
  • is aware, as a simple matter of observation, that the Bible contains contradictions and inconsistencies on factual matters
  • understands that there is ultimately no neutrality in knowledge ](that is, we each have our own epistemological socio-economic-political beliefs)], but that does not mean one can take refuge behind “we all have presuppositions” to reject sure knowledge or factual matters derived from science

One can only hold the view of Scripture than Newbigin holds by taking seriously the incarnation and its implications for all of Christian theology. That holds for Newbigin’s view of missions and his view Scripture.
 
The half-serious joke I heard while in seminary (as a student and a professor) was, “Heresy begins in missions.” That’s where you have to deal with actual people. When you do, you may find that you will actually be changed in the encounter at least as much as they, and that your theological system, as airtight and divinely endorsed and immutable as you might think, often does not work when you wander away from home.
 
And so, you need to learn to think differently about yourself, your world, the Bible, even God. The question is whether such shifts are evidence of a move away from pure truth toward heresy, or of growth and humility on the Christian journey.


 

Verses on Humanity and Goodwill, Compassion and Forgiveness


Humanity is the spirit of the Supreme Being on earth,
and that Supreme Being preaches love and goodwill.
Humanity is the spirit of the Supreme Being on earth,
and that humanity is standing amidst ruins,
hiding its nakedness behind tattered rags,
shedding tears upon hollow cheeks, and
calling for its children with pitiful voice.
But the children are busy singing their clan's anthems;
they are busy sharpening their swords
and cannot hear the cry of their mother's breast.

- Kahlil Gibran

The day we recognize our interdependency, and
accept and embrace the oneness of humanity,
is the day of resurrection for humanity.
 
Hooshmand Kalayeh


Enlivening Global Communities by Willful Embrace
 
We stagger at the incredible reach of mankind in its technologies and communications. Here is a feat in which all the world contributes from every continent, every people, every tongue, and passion. But what more could be done if this old earth could learn to live together in peace and harmony, and not by hatred's war? What then could this pained world look like if the shimmering sword was put down? If ploughshares of goodwill were fashioned from industries of war and hate? It would be a grand vision built from the courageous hearts and minds of a grander people locked in mutual self-interest and God-ordained blessing. - RE Slater, 8.23.2013
 
 
Space Oddity
 
 

Published on May 12, 2013


A revised version of David Bowie's Space Oddity,
recorded by Commander Chris Hadfield on board the International Space Station.
(Note: This video cannot be reproduced and is licensed for online music use only.)
With thanks to Emm Gryner, Joe Corcoran, Andrew Tidby
and Evan Hadfield for all their hard work.
Captioning kindly provided by CHS (www.chs.ca)
Find out more:
Twitter: twitter.com/Cmdr_Hadfield
Google+: plus.google.com/113978637743265603454/po­­sts/p/pub

 

Verses on Humanity,
Goodwill, Compassion & Forgiveness
(or lack thereof)
 
No man is an island entirely of itself; Every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main. Any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind; And therefore, never send to know for whom the bell tolls—it tolls for thee. - John Donne 
 
The smallest good deed is greater than the greatest good intention. - anon
 
There is no limit to the good a person can do, if he does not care who gets the credit. - anon
 
Humanity is divinity divided without and united within. - Kahlil Gibran
 
When peoples care for you and cry for you, they can straighten out your soul. - Langston Hughes
If you knew what I know about the power of giving, you would not let a single meal pass wthout sharing it in some way. - Buddha
 
Until we have the courage to recognize cruelty for what it is - whether its victim is human or animal - we cannot expect things to be much better in this world. We cannot have peace among men whose hearts delight in killing any living creature. By every act that glorifies or even tolerates such moronic delight in killing we set back the progress of humanity. - Rachel Carson
 
It is one of the most beautiful compensations of this life that no man can sincerely try to help another without helping himself. - Ralph Waldo Emerson
 
Ithas become appallingly obvious that our technology has exceeded our humanity. - Albert Einstein
 
The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift.  - Albert Einstein
 
When you hold resentment toward another, you are bound to that person or condition by an emotional link that is stronger than steel. Forgiveness is the only way to dissolve that link and get free. - Catherine Ponder
 
Until he extends the circle of compassion to all living things, man will not himself find peace. - Albert Schweitzer
 
What is important is to look upon everyone with a deep sense of honor, because your own heart and mind are influenced by the way you look at others. If we could do just that, we would be rendering the greatest service to our fellow beings. - Swami Muktananda
 
We may have all come on different ships, but we're in the same boat now. - Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
 
The less you open your heart to others, the more your heart suffers. - Deepak Chopra
 
A good heart is better than all the heads in the world. - Edward Bulwer-Lytton

Not a single human can achieve alone what 2 human beings can do when attuned to the same vibration. Two candles are brighter than one. Imagine what a thousand candles can do... a million candles... 6 billion candles! We are all the living prophecy, awakening to our Unity, One with Life, One with the Universe. - "Pathways to Unity"

Forgiveness is the answer to the child's dream of a miracle by which what is broken is made whole again, what is soiled is again made clean. - Dag Hammarskjold
 
Pride is concerned with who is right. Humility is concerned with what is right. - Ezra Taft Benson
 
The desire of power in excess caused the angels to fall; the desire of knowledge in excess caused man to fall: but in charity there is no excess; neither can angel or man come in danger by it. - Francis Bacon, Essays
 
Those who cannot forgive others break the bridge over which they themselves must pass. - Confucius
 
Decide to forgive, for resentment is negative. Resentment is poisonous. Resentment diminishes and devours the self. Be the first to forgive, to smile and to take the first step and you will see happiness bloom on the face of your brother or sister. Be always the first. Do not wait for others to forgive, for by the forgiving you become the master of fate, the fashioner of life, the doer of miracles. To forgive is the highest most beautiful form of Love. In return you will receive untold Peace and Happiness. - Robert Muller
 
Humanity has advanced, [but] when it has advanced, [it is] not because it has been sober, responsible, and cautious, but because it has been playful, rebellious, and immature. - Tom Robbins
 
Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around. - Leo Buscaglia
 
The true measure of a man is how he treats someone who can do him absolutely no good. - Samuel Johnson
 
Always forgive, but never forget. If you forget, when the lesson of the past is needed, it may be lost. But if you forgive, when the lesson of the past is heeded, it may be what is needed so you can move forward in life. - Mattie J.T. Stepanek
 
 
May I become at all times, both now and forever,
A protector for those without protection,
A guide for those who have lost their way,

A ship for those with oceans to cross,

A sanctuary for those in danger,

A lamp for those in the dark,
And a servant to all those in need
As long as living beings exist,
and suffering afflicts them,
May I too abide to dispel the misery of the world
 
- anon

 
The true civilization is where every man gives to every other every right that he claims for himself. - Robert Green Ingersoll
 
The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others. - Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi
 
He who wishes to secure the good of others has already secured his own. - Confucius
 
A realized soul is like a river or a tree, giving comfort and coolness to those who come to him. - AmmachiHer Holiness Sri Mata Amritanandamayi
 
The dew of compassion is a tear. - Lord Byron
 
Labor to keep alive in your breast that little spark of celestial fire called conscience. - George Washington
 
The intellect is a beautiful servant, but a terrible master. Intellect is the power tool of our separateness. The intuitive, compassionate heart is the doorway to our unity. - Ram Dass
 
We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy, for no document from human hands can make these humans any less than our brothers. - Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
 
To be able under all circumstances to practice five things constitutes perfect virtue; these five things are gravity, generosity of soul, sincerity, earnestness and kindness. - Confucius
 
Compassion, in which all ethics must take root, can only attain its full breadth and depth if it embraces all living creatures and does not limit itself to mankind. - Albert Schweitzer
 
What soap is for the body, tears are for the soul. - Jewish proverb
 
I have always found that mercy bears richer fruits than strict justice. - Abraham Lincoln
 
May the roads rise to meet you,
may the wind be always at your back,
may the sun shine warm upon your face,
the rains fall soft upon your fields
and until we meet again
may God hold you in the palm of Her hand.
 
- An Irish Blessing
 
The highest exercise of charity is charity towards the uncharitable. - J.S. Buckminster
 
We have a long long way to go, so let us hasten along the road, the road to human tenderness and generosity. Groping, we may find one another's hands in the dark. - Emily Greene Balch
 
Pleasant words are as a honeycomb, sweet to the soul, and health to the bones. - Proverbs 16:24, the Bible
 
 
Though the works of the human race disappear
tracelessly by time or bomb,
the sun does not falter in its course;
the stars keep their invariable vigil.
Cosmic law cannot be stayed or changed, 
and man would do well
to put himself in harmony with it.
 
If the cosmos is against might,
if the sun wars not in the heavens
but retires at dueful time
to give the stars their little sway,
what avails our mailed fist?
Shall any peace come out of it?
Not cruelty but goodwill upholds
the universal sinew,
a humanity at peace will know
the endless fruits of victory,
sweeter to the taste than any nurtured
on the soil of blood.
 
- Yogananda, Autobiography of a Yogi
 
 
The seed of God is in us.
Given an intelligent and hard-working farmer,
it will thrive and grow up to God, whose seed it is;
and accordingly its fruits will be God-nature.
 
Pear seeds grow into pear trees,
nut seeds into nut trees,
and God seed into God.
 
- Meister Eckhart
 
Our society must make it right and possible for old people not to fear the young or be deserted by them, for the test of a civilization is the way that it cares for its helpless members. - Pearl S. Buck
 
A bit of perfume always clings to the hand that gives the rose. - Chinese proverb
 
Your vision will become clear only when you can look into your own heart. - Carl Jung
 
The ultimate test of a moral society is the kind of world that it leaves to its children. - Dietrich Bonhoeffer
 
In the final analisis, our most common link is that we inhabit this small planet. We all breathe the same air. We all cherish our children's future. And we are all mortal. - John F. Kennedy
 
 
... if by a liberal they mean someone who looks ahead and not behind,
someone who welcomes new ideas without rigid reactions,
someone who cares about the welfare of the people -
their health, their housing, their schools,
their jobs, their civil rights, their civil liberties...
if that is what they mean,
then I am proud to be a liberal.
 
- John F. Kennedy, 1960
 
 
If you have an opportunity to make things better and you don't, then you are wasting your time on this earth. - Roberto Clemente 
 
I have come to the frightening conclusion that I am the decisive element. It is my personal approach that creates the climate. It is my daily mood that makes the weather. I possess tremendous power to make life miserable or joyous. I can be a tool of torture or an instrument of inspiration, I can humiliate or humor, hurt or heal. In all situations, it is my response that decides whether a crisis is escalated or de-escalated, and a person is humanized or de-humanized. If we treat people as they are, we make them worse. If we treat people as they ought to be, we help them become what they are capable of becoming. - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
 
He has the right to criticize who has the heart to help. - Abraham Lincoln 
 
When you look for the good in others you discover the best in yourself. - Martin Walsh
 
Culture of the mind must be subservient to the heart. - Mahatma Gandhi
 
We are each of us angels with only one wing,
And we can only fly by embracing each other.
 
- Luciano de Crescenzo
 
There is no beautifier of complexion, or form, or behavior, like the wish to scatter joy and not pain around us. - Ralph Waldo Emerson
 
The beloved of the Almighty are the rich who have the humility of the poor, and the poor who have the magnanimity of the rich. - Saadi
 
The highest realms of thought are impossible to reach without first attaining an understanding of compassion. - Socrates
 
Forgiveness is the fragrance that the flower leaves on the heel of the one who crushed it. -       Mark Twain
 
Be ashamed to die until you have won some victory for humanity.  - Horace Mann, educational reformer, 1796-1859
 
They have a right to censure, that have a heart to help: The rest is cruelty, not justice. - William Penn, Quaker, founder of Pennsylvania, 1644-1718
 
A wise man will make haste to forgive, because he knows the true value of time, and will not suffer it to pass away in unnecessary pain. - Samuel Johnson, lexicographer, 1709-1784
 
He that plants a tree loves others besides himself. - Thomas Fuller