The death of Royal Weddings & the marriage of Bin Laden to the Pope

It was a fascinating weekend – to say the least. There was a royal wedding, the beautification of a Pope and the assassination of a global terrorist.  Viewing these three from a certain angle may leave someone thinking that they had very little connection to each other. If viewed through another lens, the three come together in an odd partnership.

I’m going to show my cards up front so that there is transparency in the lens that I am employing.

  • I do not like the idea of Royalty, class or caste. I think that they are antiquated notions that should left behind as we emerge into a new inter-connected, trans-national, and multi-racial cultural reality.
  • I wonder how much longer the Papacy will continue to carry the kind of weight that it still does. The election of the last pope was an amazing television event waiting for the puff of white smoke to emerge from the chapel and indicate the Cardinals had made their decision. That is an interesting thing to watch on global satellite TV in real time.
  • The assassination of Osama Bin Laden was an instantly global event and brought immediate inter-national implications by nature of our trans-national planet.

Here are the things that intrigue me about each of the three: 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

End of the (gullible) World!

The minute the earthquake in Japan happened, I told several friends that two things were coming: 1) talk of the end of the world  2) talk of God punishing Japan

But I was not prepared for was the quality of the sample that was to come. This article details the prophetic take of Cindy Jacobs [it opens in a new window] .  She is an authoritative leader in Intercession Prayer circles and someone that I am very familiar with and had even quoted during my college years (the mid- 90s).

“In the early nineties, the Lord gave me a prophecy for Japan that it was a “sickle in the hand of the Lord” that will be used for great harvest. The physical geography of the islands look like a curved sickle with the handle being the island of Hokkaido in the north. One could also say that it looks like a curved sword. Where Japan has historically been a sword of war across Asia.” More

Egypt and Enemies

When news began to surface about the  anti-government protests in Egypt I knew that two things were about to happen:

  • that talk of the end times or the last days would begin to ramp up.
  • That America would find itself in a bit of a pickle.

I was right on both accounts.  Within days I heard people (not on the Internet or TV/radio but live people who I was talking to face-to-face) start chaining together Israel and Egypt along with the weird weather in North America and in Australia, the Global Economy, etc.   I have been through this too many times over the past 20 years.

I also followed the news intensely about America’s diplomatic concerns. On one hand the US is pro-democracy and generally supportive of “the will of the people”. On the other hand President Mubarac is reported to be of friend in the region to US concerns.

This had me thinking about the nature of alliances and enemies. My friend is taking a class this semester on war and pacifism. our talks along with some of the books he he is reading have really caused me to reconsider and rethink  positions and opinions I have formulated over the last 20 years. More

Interesting thought

I had the privilege of being a part of a group called Arrow Leadership [link]. I also got to attend a Young Leaders gathering held by the Laussanne movement [link].

as Laussanne prepared for a massive gathering in South Africa last month, Carson Pue, the president of Arrow, wrote an interesting little article about it. He said that he thought there was a message that the Canadian and American leaders needed to hear.

The essence of the message is this: discipleship in other parts of the world are outdoing us in commitment, effort, sacrifice and effectiveness in sharing Christ with the lost. They look at us and see our significant human and financial resources being used to reach the ‘once churched’ and to feed the voracious appetite of Christians for conferences, books 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:

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.

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