Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Donald Miller and Some Random Reflections

Donald Miller's writing is always entertaining. His most recent blog article is a collection of thoughts about his new puppy, how simple her life is, and how we could all learn something from the blissful simplicity of her example.

I’ve been watching Lucy (the aforementioned dog) and wondered why God made her. A pet. Just a dog (chocolate lab puppy) that runs and jumps and chews things and, even though we’ve only known each other for a couple weeks, wants nothing more than to please me. She puts on no airs, which is one of the things I think we find so comforting about pets and children. There is no false motive, only the desire to eat, reproduce and play.

I think of that scripture that tells us to not think more of ourselves than we should, and not less of ourselves either. I think if Lucy could understand a hearing of that passage, she’d probably tilt her head and say “what is an I?”….all she knows is her red ball and her weasel chew toy and the fact she can dig her nose into snow to make a tunnel.

And later

I wonder what it was like for humans before the fall of man, to not think too much or too little of themselves, to enjoy play, to enjoy work, to enjoy God. I think the difference between them and us would be startling. If they could come here today and have a conversation with us, my guess is they would sniff out all our motives and wonder why it is we care about so many things that don’t matter at all.

Interesting thoughts.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

An Advent Meditation by Rowan Williams

This video, which I found posted by Tony Jones, is an interesting reflection on the season of Advent.

As I continue in my faith, sacramental, liturgical presentations like this one that used to bore me, become rich and enjoyable. What are your thoughts?

Monday, December 08, 2008

Scott McKnight's Third Way

Scott McKnight is starting a series of posts regarding a Third Way:

There is a Third Way, and this post officially kicks off a series of occasional reflections about the Third Way. The Third Way approach to the orthodox Christian faith is one that gets

beyond the fighting and
between the fighters in order
to carve out a middle way.

The Third Way captures and sustains the good in both the conservative and the liberal. It is the Jesus Creed at work in the church's theology and praxis. It affirms the great traditions of the Church and seeks to embody those traditions in a new way for a new day. It is not afraid of change but has a deep desire to remain faithful.

He says later:

At the heart of our Third Way project is fashioning the gospel as robust enough to be both a "kingdom" gospel and a "salvation" gospel, a salvation that is both spiritual/personal and social. A salvation that means complete liberation. We're tired of the old-fashioned, thin gospels of both the conservatives and the liberals. It is hard to hold both sides of this debate together, but we will attempt to do so ... and I think many of you want to as well.

I'm looking forward to this series. I'm interested in a third way. What do you think?

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Boyd on the Unreconciled Church

Greg Boyd has some interesting points about some of the "white evangelical" response the day after Obama won.

Several people responded to my most recent blog by contrasting what I wrote with the “hostility” and “venom” they were reading on some white conservative Christian blogs the day following the election. While most other Americans — even most opponents of Obama’s politics — were celebrating what Obama’s election means for race relations in this country, these white Christians, I was told, were enraged.

And later, regarding a study he ran into at a conference:

One of the sad but unavoidable conclusions Emerson drew from this combination of studies was that participating in a homogenous church — as the vast majority of white evangelicals do — actually makes people more prone toward racism. Folks who are strongly bound to homogenous religous groups tend to embrace racial stereotypes and be more wary of people whose ethnicity and culture is different from their own than those who don’t. As a result, participating in homogenous religious groups tends to make people less interested in, and less adept at, making progress at bridging the racial divide.

In this light, it’s not surprising that some white evangelicals were enraged over Obama’s victory while so much of the rest of the country was celebrating it. Arguably, no group in America is at one and the same time more invested in political opinions that oppose Obama and less able to appreciate the significance of his racial achievement than this group.

He concludes by saying:

This would amount to nothing more than a curious sociological observation except for one thing: white evangelicals are among those who are supposed to be demonstrating to the world the beauty of racial reconciliation! One of the reasons Jesus gave his life was to form “one new humanity” in which all racial, cultural and class walls have been torn down (Eph. 2:14-15; Gal. 3:26-29). Racial reconciliation isn’t some sort of “politically correct” addendum to the Gospel: it’s part of its very essence! If Jesus died to create “one new humanity,” then manifesting a community in which people of different ethnicities are learning to love, understand and do life with one another is as mandatory for the church as is preaching the forgiveness of sins, which Jesus also died for.

An interesting commentary, I thought. What do you think?