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
Our eschatological ethos is to love. To stand with those who are oppressed. To stand against those who are oppressing. It is that simple. Love is our only calling and Christian Hope. - 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, May 5, 2014

Blinded By Our Own Ideologies

Osteen, Driscoll and the Masking of our Ideology

by Peter Rollins
March 21, 2014

I once attended a conference where a religious presenter attempted to defend authentic marriage. In his argument he referred to a problem he felt was created by the kind of celebrity marriages witnessed on TV. He argued that these take away from the depth and authenticity of true marriage by giving people unreasonable expectations concerning both the day and what will happen after it. As part of his defense he even evoked the name of Jean Baudrillard (author of Simulacra and Simulation).

But the approach taken by the presenter was actually a perfect case of what Baudrillard was arguing against. The logic of Baudrillard is not that celebrity marriages mask or eclipse some authentic marriage ritual, but rather that they actually help support the idea that there is such a thing as an authentic marriage ritual.

The obviously fanciful spectacle, in other words, enables people (like this presenter) to argue that there is an authentic alternative located in reality.

“Real” or “authentic” marriage ceremonies are themselves a form of contrivance that can encourage unrealistic expectations and demands. The ancient rituals such as the exchange of rings, declaration of vows, or giving of the bride are all performances taken from religious systems that have simply been around for longer than the type of thing we might witness on the fantasy of reality TV.

Places like Disney World are problematic in the same way because the very fantasy they create actually sustains the idea that the way we structure our lives outside that space is somehow the way things really are, rather than itself an expression of fantasy. The very fact that we can easily discern that Disney World is ideological means that we are more likely to forget that we ourselves are immersed in ideology in our daily life.

One of the main problems with the extravagant forms of religious ideology we see played out in figures like Joel Osteen and Mark Driscoll might not lie in their own obviously ideological character, but in the way that they solidify the idea that there is a non ideological community beyond them (one somehow not immersed in Western Values etc.).

Witnessing their overt ideology thus plays into the hands of those who would like to ignore their own ideological saturation.

The Walt Disney World of Osteen’s church and the Hell House adventure of Driscoll’s communities are then dangerous precisely because they can prevent us from seeing the political and cultural constellation of our own positions.

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