From Around the Internet
In a post-modern and globalized context, it no longer makes sense to hope that everyone subscribes to the same organizational or cultural creed. What is needed instead are candid conversations about the way in which organizational, enacted, expressed, and individual values intersect with the diverse spiritual commitments of today's workforce.This doesn't necessitate uniformity of belief. It does offer the possibility of lively engagement and an integration of the values we endorse with our work by tying them more deeply to our deepest impulses, values, and experiences.
Here’s a nice quote from the late, great New Testament scholar F. F. Bruce, shared by Jonathon Robinson at his blog ξἐνος:
Our biblical theology must depend on our exegesis, not vice versa. If we allow our exegesis to be controlled by theologoumena, we shall quickly find ourselves involved in circular reasoning. I have friends who say, 'Well, yes; but then all theological reasoning is circular; let us simply make sure that we get into the right circle.' I have no wish to accompany them on this magic roundabout.
This quote is from Bruce’s book The Canon of Scripture, 1988, p. 333.
Well, I guess it was posted at Rachel Held Evans blog, but I must have missed it. Kathy Escobar wrote an excellent piece addressing the question: “Why do Christians never seem to feel very good about themselves?” Well, then she posted it on her blog, and someone must have linked to it. That’s how I finally found it. It’s here: insecure christians. She says:
I know this well in my own life. I come from a liberal, non-churchy family that believed in the basic goodness of people (we were those people who evangelical Christians worried about!). When I opened my heart to following Christ, I needed a real, tangible God and was strangely and beautifully drawn to Jesus. I always say that if I had just stuck with that and never became involved in the kinds of churches I ended up attending, I would have been better off in the security-as-a-person department. But alas, that is not my story, and the rigidity and rules sucked me in, and I learned about what a miserable person I was without the cross of Christ. I ended up feeling worse about myself than when I started, and I brought a lot of shame and guilt to the table from the beginning! Christianity seemed to cement in me my badness. It reminded me constantly how much I fell short and how unworthy I was without God in my life.
About 17 years ago a wise and beautiful friend rocked my world with an important theological twist that some of you might say “duh!” at, but it was never taught to me in my hyper-conservative-evangelical circles. We were made in the image of God. That goodness is in us from the beginning. Sure, sin and brokenness has infiltrated this Genesis 3 world, but we must remember it all started with Genesis 1. Man and woman, created in the original image of God. That is our essence even though brokenness buries it.I think that the spiritual journey is to uncover God’s image that was originally placed there.
Here’s a very fine quote on prayer by the great spiritual teacher Sadhu Sundar Singh:
The essence of prayer does not consist in asking God for something but in opening our hearts to God, in speaking with Him, and living with Him in perpetual communion. Prayer is continual abandonment to God. Prayer does not mean asking God for all kinds of things we want; it is rather the desire for God Himself, the only Giver of Life. Prayer is not asking, but union with God. Prayer is not a painful effort to gain from God help in the varying needs of our lives. Prayer is the desire to possess God Himself, the Source of all life. The true spirit of prayer does not consist in asking for blessings, but in receiving Him who is the giver of all blessings, and in living a life of fellowship with Him.
Roger E. Olson reviews Jerry Walls’ recent book on Purgatory here: Response to a Good Book about Purgatory. He likes the book, but he thinks Protestants need another word beside “purgatory.”
Rachel Held Evans has begun a new series of posts discussing N. T. Wright’s book Scripture and the Authority of God: How to Read the Bible Today here: Unpacking the Authority of Scripture with N.T. Wright.
Claude Mariottini, Professor of Old Testament at Northern Baptist Theological Seminary, has an interesting post on the translation of Psalm 121 here: Theodore Beza on Psalm 121. Dr. Mariottini thinks the translation of Psalm 121:1 should be something more like this: “If I raise my eyes to the hills, from where will my help come?” That is: there is no help to be found from the hills. (I hope I’ll remember the points he makes the next time I read Psalm 121.) He writes:
On the mountains, the people of Israel built pagan altars. Although scholars are uncertain of the true meaning of the bāmâ, the high place, they believe that the high places represented Canaanite places of worship.Thus, according to Beza’s translation, the psalmist refuses to look toward the mountains because he knew that his help would not come from there. Thus, using Beza’s translation of verse 1, “Should I lift up my eyes unto these mountains?”, the answer to the psalmist’s question is “no”, because his help will not come from the pagan gods worshiped on the mountains.
Carl McColman reviews Henri Nouwen’s book The Selfless Way of Christ: Downward Mobility and the Spiritual Life here: The Selfless Way of Christ. He says:
The key to this short book is the phrase found in the subtitle: “downward mobility.” Nouwen here is satirizing our “keeping up with the Joneses” culture — the culture of upward mobility — while suggesting that the spirituality of Christ, of kenosis (self-emptying) impels us to set aside the temptation to upward mobility and its attendant trappings of success, power, prestige and privilege. The path of downward mobility is the path of service, of humility, of self-forgetfulness.
Ben Gosden posts a great passage from the writings of Søren Kierkegaard here: Kierkegaard: “Followers, Not Admirers.”
And, over at the Two Handed Warriors blog is a post about the questions that neuroscience is raising about the validity of the concept of Free Will: Is Free Will an Illusion? Neuroscience Takes a Calvinistic Bent. I think the title should really read “Takes a Deterministic Bent” since the neuroscientists in question are certainly not advocating Calvinism in any form. But, I get the point. There are links there is several articles on the topic.
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