weaving my theological web

part of being Post-foundational is a move away from thinking in “foundation stones” – building block that become unmovable or unquestionable over time – and moving to more a “web” of meaning or interpretation. The advantage of the web-mentality  is that it is flexible and you can adjust one part of it without the entire project crumbling into ruins.

I like this switch a lot.   Of course, no system or structure comes without it’s complications, glitches, and obstacles.

A web is not a liquid existence. It still needs to be anchored somewhere. It has to be connected to something.

I am fond of saying that I want to be innovative, but in a way that honors the original idea and provides continuity with the tradition. This desire means that I am not floating from thing to thing as if I was un-anchored. We are all, at some level, tied to both the original vision and to the modern manifestation. The first asks for accountability and the second one calls for integrity.

navigating between the original vision and the historic progression is demanding. It takes time, a little bit of research, and a whole lot of grace. In fact, I see why some people don’t want to do it. It would be easier to either A) be conservative and just set the foundation stones in place and then never need to move them or ask the original questions again or B) be destructive and/or pragmatic and just do what works now without consideration for the road that brought us here.

I have noticed a pattern lately in my conversations. There seem to be four ideas or movements that I use to anchor my web of meaning / interpretation to.  I ran this by a couple of friends and it has led to some really interesting conversations.

I am a post-conservative, emergent, progressive with charismatic leanings. – this allows me to be in conversation with process thought as well as interact with post-modern thinkers. More

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WIKI-sermon help: John 3

My friend is preaching this weekend in a place where they have heard it all before. She has been given John 3 as a text and has asked for some fresh ideas / language about “beginning to participate in the kingdom of God”.

I threw out the following three ideas but thought that a wiki-approach might be really helpful – I am a big fan of the collaborative approach.

  • Look into “prolepsis” as an ancient literary device. Don’t let them tell you it was simply foreshadowing. Wolfhart Pannenberg talks about Jesus as a proleptic event.

So the church is not the kingdom. The church is NOT the kingdom come. The church  does not usher in the kingdom (post-millennial). Only God can bring the kingdom. More

The table of the Lord: eating together

In the gospel story the Last Supper is the calm before the storm.

If we were filming it as block-buster movie, the Last Supper is where we transition from the wide-screen shots  to a narrow focus – from  fast cut action sequences of arguing with Pharisees to slower calmer exchanges with the devoted and the trusted.

There is a narrowing, a focusing, that happens at this point in the story. It gets tighter, it gets smaller, it gets quieter, it gets more focused. Everything draws in – the story takes a breath. More

Best poem I’ve read this year

This is the best poem I have read this year.

Autobiography in Five Short Chapters

Chapter 1
I walk down the street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I fall in.
I am lost … I am helpless.
It isn’t my fault.
It takes forever to find a way out.
I can’t post it all so click on the link to read the whole thing. It is wonderful. [link]

1 Evangelical & 1 Christology conversation

I have been working with some fun projects (beside work and school).

Here is an amazing interview with Roger Olson that Tripp Fuller did for Homebrewed Christianity (I edited it and helped intro it). He explains common misunderstandings around Arminian theology, the ethical problems of being a Calvinist, the nature and future of evangelicalism, Open theism, the Rob Bell controversy, and the impact of the homosexuality debate in American evangelicalism.

Roger Olson is an amazing Evangelical theologian who helped me greatly with his “post-conservative evangelical”  construction. Check it out here.  It is a fantastic read.

My friend Rachel Held Evans has become a go-to  even ‘must read’ blogger More

Islam and the Fringe

Last weekend the LA Times had a review of Miroslav Volf’s upcoming book  on Christian and Muslim theological concerns. It is well worth your 5 minutes to read. Volf is a renowned Christian thinker and is supremely well respected in my circles. For him to be addressing this topic is noteworthy in itself – regardless of what he says about it. But when one hears what he says about it… it is truly noteworthy.

For Miroslav Volf, an Episcopalian professor of theology at Yale’s Divinity School, (the name of God)  is a direct route over the “chasm of misunderstanding” and hatred that has separated Christians and Muslims for centuries… In his thought-provoking new book, “Allah: A Christian Response,” Volf attempts to explain how the God of Christianity and the God of Islam are, essentially, one and the same.

Here are three things, from a uniquely Christian perspective, that I would like to see addressed:

  • The name of god – Is Allah the same as Jehovah and is that the one Jesus called “Abba”?
  • If so – are these 3 legitimate covenants with the same God? (1 with Issac, 1 with Ismael and 1 with Yeshua)
  • Can we figure out how to stop A) converting each other and B) killing each other More