Roger Olson

1. I love Roger Olson

2. His book  “the Story of Christian Theology” is so helpful.  (and in a narrative style ta boot)

3. His article on being “Post Conservative Evangelical” is  essential reading.

4. His friendship with Stanley Grenz (author of Theology for the Community of God) is inspiring.

5. His review of of 2 books on Evangelicalism – including one that is critical of Grenz is… well – you should read it.

http://www.rogereolson.com/2010/08/12/two-new-books-about-evangelicalism/

2 quick thoughts on getting a new phone

My 2 year contract with the my Cell phone provider ran out this month and so I ungraded.

I am 24 hours in. I REALLY like my new phone and the things that it does.

Two little observations:

I got a phone that would not communicate with my old phone in order to bring over my address book.  I am going to have to figure out how to sync the phone with my computer’s address book this weekend.
Until then I have a problem. When someone sends me a text message, their name does not come up alongside their note.  It is just numbers that I do not recognize as I am use to seeing names and not numbers.
SO here is my observation: the content of a message makes little sense apart from the knowledge of who sent it for context.

Thought: You can read something, but without knowing who said it or where they are – it feels like you are missing more than half of the message. More

Emergence: Richard Rohr, Phyllis Tickle, and Peter Walker

Fr. Rohr has been talking this week about Emergence and Emergence Christianity

He says one day: ... I predict, with some historical certainty, this judgmental  thinking will continue to happen in every group, in every denomination if we  see everything with a dualistic mind.   No new emerging church will emerge very far. The judgmental mind is not  looking for truth; it is looking for control and righteousness.  For some reason  when we split and refuse to receive the moment as it is, we end creating and  even reveling in those splits as our very identities.  These are the culture wars and the identity politics we suffer  from today.  They will not get us very  far spiritually, because they are largely ego-based

And the next: Whatever “Emerging Christianity” is going to be, it will have to  be much more practice-based than doctrine-based…

Pete Walker was talking about it here:  http://www.emergingchristian.com/2010/09/fr-rohr-on-emerging-christianity.html

SO I just wanted to point out  that Emergence is not just a shadow side to a dualism pairing – it is a different way of thinking about the world. It is saying that the world works a little different than we were told that it does.

Some people find “Process” thought a helpful way out of the old cosmology and meta-physics arguments that go round and round without leading anywhere.
It resonates with both ‘relational’ truths and ‘evolutionary’ thought.

For some, that comes together in Emergence thought. Here is the thing: we have to remember that it does not originate in nor is it most suited to Theological frameworks. That is where folks like you and me have to do some translating.

Phyllis Tickle talks about it here and it’s implication for the future of denominations. http://www.faithandleadership.com/multimedia/phyllis-tickle-anthill

She says Emergence Christianity is going to organize a little like an anthill.

Steven Johnson wrote a marvelous book called “Emergence: The Connected Lives of Ants, Brains, Cities, and Software,” which everybody should read who’s talking about this.

“Emergence” is an unfortunate term. It came out of emergence theory in the biology lab. For centuries we had thought that a beehive and an anthill were the same thing. Both had a queen, and it worked top down. In the middle of the 19th century, scientists discovered, “Wrong; au contraire.”

Plus you just have to watch the video : she is soooo articulate and makes an amazing point about history and the Catholic, Orthodox, and Protestant churches.

Notes from the Future

I have recently moved to Southern California (from the Pacific Northwest and the NorthEastern United States before that) and I have been thinking  about a theme that I wrote about in my master thesis.  First a story .

My nephew and I went to church our first week here. We were two of the five white people at the service. It was primarily a Japanese and Korean congregation with some Hispanic and a few Blacks. I had a wonderful talk with my nephew on the way home about A) the future of America and B) the irony of him being from Montana where the white/non-white split may actually be at  exact inverse proportions to our church service.

I also started a new program in Practical Theology (sound like an oxymoron to most) at a school that is preparing for the future by taking a bold look at religious diversity, inter-faith engagements and the future of pluralism.

All of this got me thinking about these things that will play major roles in our lifetime:
– the Shift toward the global south
-the changing demographics of North America
-and the Post-Modern shift in thinking.

I will tackle the first two here More

Women on two sides of the world

Time magazine has had two really interesting articles recently. The provide a fascinating contrast and raise some significant question about gender & power.


How Pakistan’s Floods Have Made Women Too Visible [LINK]
http://www.time.com
The public mixing of the genders is leading to enormous tension and fear that violence may break out as men try to defend conservative ideas of honor

The State of the American Woman [LINK]
A quiet revolution has changed the status of American women; so what’s new now? Plus: a TIME opinion poll on gender

My thought revolves around the idea that  generically many of us would agree that humility and modesty are good things (?) – but are these the ramifications of men being in charge of women’s modesty…   I got some interesting responses (on Facebook) to both that idea and the articles themselves.

– No. These are ramifications of men “protecting” their property and keeping it from making them look”bad”.
– Men shouldn’t take charge of womens’ modesty. Women should take charge of their own modesty; unfortunately, many just don’t care.
– Modesty, at it’s heart, should have to do with each sex respecting the other. It is only good and helpful when it is a woman’s choice and men are not enforcing it. It is not a man’s job to enforce female behaviors.

about the article:

– So, we’ve traded oppression for increased stress and responsibility. It is a great advancement from property to personhood, but the relationships still need tons of work. Regarding the unhappiness of American women, options are good (in terms of what we “produce” with our lives), but we should maybe pick a few things from the smorgasboard instead of striving constantly for the “I can do it all” (Wonderwoman) award…a tough discipline when you have high expectations of yourself…

– hmmm…so many thoughts on this one. I think the takeaway point is it’s NOT about who has power…it’s about constantly giving away what power people DO have to those who DO NOT have around us, regardless of sex,gender,race, or creed.

My question is ‘what about when power is not freely given away?’

Emerging Complexity

This was something that I wrote for the  Everyday Theology podcast. I thought that it fit here.

Things are necessarily complicated. That is why simple answers often don’t satisfy. This is especially true when it comes to human concerns: sociology, relationships, family systems, psychology etc.

I listened to a presentation the other day that was anti-hunting. I tried to listen with an open mind but I kept coming back to the thought “but you’re going to have to do something”. As sprawl continues to become a reality in most locations, human activity is ever encroaching on the deer’s habitat and we removed their natural predators. Damage to gardens and lawns make the deer a ‘suburban nuisance’. Overpopulation leads to chronic wasting disease. Increased populations become a real hazard for driving. I heard about one state where the insurance company sponsors bowhunting classes. Simple answers like “people shouldn’t shoot Bambi’s mom” just don’t work. Things are complicated and the answers often have to be nuanced and multi-layered.

I like that old quote attributed to H. L. Mencken
“For every complex problem, there is a solution that is simple, neat, and wrong.”

This is why I am a big fan of Emergence thinking. More

Emergence: Richard Rohr, Phyllis Tickle, and Peter Walker

Fr. Rohr has been talking this week about Emergence and Emergence Christianity

He says one day: … I predict, with some historical certainty, this judgmental  thinking will continue to happen in every group, in every denomination if we  see everything with a dualistic mind.   No new emerging church will emerge very far. The judgmental mind is not  looking for truth; it is looking for control and righteousness.  For some reason  when we split and refuse to receive the moment as it is, we end creating and  even reveling in those splits as our very identities.  These are the culture wars and the identity politics we suffer  from today.  They will not get us very  far spiritually, because they are largely ego-based

And the next: Whatever “Emerging Christianity” is going to be, it will have to  be much more practice-based than doctrine-based…

Pete Walker was talking about it here:  http://www.emergingchristian.com/2010/09/fr-rohr-on-emerging-christianity.html

SO I just wanted to point out  that Emergence is not just a shadow side to a dualism pairing – it is a different way of thinking about the world. It is saying that the world works a little different than we were told that it does.

Some people find “Process” thought a helpful way out of the old cosmology and meta-physics arguments that go round and round without leading anywhere.
It resonates with both ‘relational’ truths and ‘evolutionary’ thought.

For some, that comes together in Emergence thought. Here is the thing: we have to remember that it does not originate in nor is it most suited to Theological frameworks. That is where folks like you and me have to do some translating.

Phyllis Tickle talks about it here and it’s implication for the future of denominations. http://www.faithandleadership.com/multimedia/phyllis-tickle-anthill

She says Emergence Christianity is going to organize a little like an anthill.

Steven Johnson wrote a marvelous book called “Emergence: The Connected Lives of Ants, Brains, Cities, and Software,” which everybody should read who’s talking about this.

“Emergence” is an unfortunate term. It came out of emergence theory in the biology lab. For centuries we had thought that a beehive and an anthill were the same thing. Both had a queen, and it worked top down. In the middle of the 19th century, scientists discovered, “Wrong; au contraire.”

Plus you just have to watch the video : she is soooo articulate and makes an amazing point about history and the Catholic, Orthodox, and Protestant churches.

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