Tuesday, September 10, 2013

The whose who in the zoo and just what kind of animal are you? Phyllis Tickle 'Emergence Christianity'

So what kind of church do you go to? Are you a Christian...a Bible believing Christian (as opposed to a ...)? We love wearing labels in a sense of self assurance and identity (I'm in...even if in means the rebellious out) and we love placing these labels on others as a sense of security (deciding whose in and whose not). Phyllis Tickle in her book Emergence Christianity published in 2012 now reveals that there is a fork in the emergence tree. Before those who sought to break away from stale institutional forms of church in their theology and ecclesiology motivated by a sense of mission and incarnational gospel would label themselves 'progressive' or 'emergence/emerging/emergent' or 'fresh expressions/pioneer'(the latter now being associated more with institutional churches like Methodist and Anglican). This general tree has now developed a spilt.
Lecturing in 2011 on hermeneutics and 'postmodern' responses to this in church forms, students studied the emerging church associated with Brian McLaren, Rob Bell and others. As I researched material for the students to use in their critique I came across a scathing clip by Mark Discoll on the matter: CLICK HERE I was surprised at the names associated with each and suprised that Mark would be so disapproving of Brian and Rob. I was also fascinated at how he defined 4 streams within this emergence philosophy. Another exposition of the movement was by an insidious summary by Piper concerning Brian and others posted in 2010: CLICK HERE.
What a zoo and what wild animals!!!
Both Discoll and Piper refer to MacKnight (author of the Jesus Creed...a good book) as a former supporter of Brian who now no longer supports Brian and both make some really outrageous claims about people and the movement as a whole. Tickle helpfully sheds light on these matters in her book. Indeed after MacLarens 'A New Kind of Christianity', MacKnight produced an article 'Here I stand' as a critique of Brian and which now serves as the point and manifesto of the split in the branch (p.156). This resulted in Emergent church/Christianity associated with names such as MacLaren, Bell etc. and Emergence Christianity/Church associated with names like MacKnight and Driscoll (p.142-143). Tickle insinuates that this split in Protestant Evangelicalism considering the neat divide already mentioned has also given rise to a New Calvanism in the likes of Piper and Discoll (p.190).
"Whenever one speaks of anything,one speaks from a particular point of view. When one speaks of religion, one speaks from more than a point of view; one speaks from a lifetime investment in a canon or particular explication of truth" Tickle, p.208

Monday, April 08, 2013

Love as Eros, Philos and Agape by Paulo Coelho on April 5, 2013 In 1986, when I was on the road to Santiago with my guide Petrus, we passed through the city of LogroƱo while a wedding was taking place. We ordered two glasses of wine, I prepared something to nibble on, and Petrus discovered a table where we could sit down together with the other guests. The wedding couple cut an immense cake. “They must love one another,” I thought aloud. “Of course they love one another,” said a man in a dark suit sitting at our table. Have you ever seen anyone get married for any another reason?” But Petrus did not let the question go unanswered: “What type of love do you mean: Eros, Philos or Agape?” The man looked at him without understanding a word. “There are three words in Greek to designate love,” Petrus said. “Today you are seeing the manifestation of Eros, that sentiment between two persons.” “The two seem to love one another. In a short time they will be fighting alone for life, establishing themselves in a house and taking part in the same adventure: that’s what makes love grand and dignified. He will pursue his career, she probably knows how to cook and will make an excellent housewife because since she was a little girl she was brought up to do that. She will accompany him, they will have children and they will manage to build something together, they will be happy for ever.” “All of a sudden, however, this story could happen the other way around. He is going to feel that he is not free enough to show all the Eros, all the love that he has for other women. She may begin to feel that she has sacrificed a career and a brilliant life to accompany her husband. So, instead of creating together, each of them will feel robbed in their way of loving. Eros, the spirit that joins them, will start to display only his bad side. And what God had meant to be man’s most noble sentiment will begin to be a source of hatred and destruction.” “Notice how odd it is,” continued my guide. “Despite being good or bad, the face of Eros is never the same in all persons.” Then he continued, pointing to an elderly couple: “Look at those two: they haven’t let themselves be affected by hypocrisy, like so many others. They look like they are a couple of farm workers: hunger and need have obliged them to overcome many a difficulty together. They have discovered love through work, which is where Eros shows his most beautiful face, also known as Philos.” “What’s Philos?” “Philos is love in the form of friendship. It’s what I feel for you and others. When the flame of Eros no longer able to shine, it’s Philos who keeps couples together.” “And what about Agape?” “Agape is total love, the love that devours those that experience it. Whoever knows and experiences Agape sees that nothing else in this world is of any importance, only loving. This was the love that Jesus felt for humanity, and it was so great that it shook the stars and changed the course of man’s history.” “During the millennia of the history of civilization, many people have been smitten by this Love that Devours. They had so much to give – and the world demanded so little – that they were obliged to seek out the deserts and isolated places because love was so great that it transfigured them. They became the hermit saints that we know today.” “For me and you who have experienced another form of Agape, this life here may seem hard and terrible. Yet the Love that Devours makes everything lose its importance: these men live only to be consumed by their love.” He took a pause. “Agape is the Love that Devours,” he repeated once more, as if this was the phrase that best defined that strange type of love. “Luther King once said that when Christ spoke of loving our enemies he was referring to Agape. Because according to him, it was impossible to like our enemies, those who do us harm and try to make our daily suffering all the worse.” “But Agape is a lot more than liking. It is a sentiment that invades everything, fills all the cracks and makes any attempt at aggression turn to dust.” “There are two forms of Agape. One is isolation, life dedicated only to contemplation. The other is precisely the opposite: contact with other human beings, and enthusiasm, the sacred sense of work. Enthusiasm means trance, ecstasy, connecting with God. Enthusiasm is Agape directed at some idea, something.” “When we love and believe in something from the bottom of our soul, we feel stronger than the world and we are imbued with a serenity that comes from the certainty that nothing can conquer our faith. This strange force makes us always make the right decisions at the right time, and we are surprised at our own capacity when we fulfill our objective.” “Enthusiasm usually manifests itself in all its power in the early years of our life. We still have a strong tie with the divinity and we give ourselves with such zeal to our toys that dolls take on a life of their own and little tin soldiers manage to march. When Jesus said that the kingdom of Heaven belonged to the children, he was referring to Agape in the form of Enthusiasm. The children reached him without paying any attention to his miracles, his wisdom, the Pharisees and the apostles. They came happily, driven by Enthusiasm.” taken from THE PILGRIMAGE http://paulocoelhoblog.com/ I like the term Love that Devours. I like the idea that one can love and be loved with such passion that you are over-taken, over-come, devoured by it. And if it is the kind of love that enhances life and causes one to feel like a hero, like a god because you are so loved, then why not experience such love, why not allow it devour you. It is like the love one has for your children. It is a love that will cause me to anything for the sake of my daughter, even death. It is a love that compels me to keep investing in it for love will have it no other way. It is a love that devours me in the giving of it and it is a love that devours me in the recieving of it. It is a love that will devour me in the losing of it. It is a risk. The more you love, the more you feel at loss when you are not in the presence of the beloved. The more you pursue in enthusiasm, the more you are tormented when contrained due to circumstances you would not wish on your worse enemy. To love with a love that devours is the most dangerous risk you take in life.
'UBUNTU' in the Xhosa culture means: "I am because we are"…

An anthropologist proposed a game to the kids in an African tribe. He put a basket full of fruit near a tree and told the kids that who ever got there first won the sweet fruits. When he told them to run they all took each others hands and ran together, then sat together enjoying their treats. When he asked them why they had run like that as one could have had all the fruits for himself they said: ''UBUNTU, how can one of us be happy if all the other ones are sad?''

'UBUNTU' in the Xhosa culture means: "I am because we are"

In a Western culture where religion and faith become just another commodity that we own, possess and consume, the term Ubuntu is a huge challenge as to what it means to have a faith and how that faith impedes, impacts and informs us as humans within humanity as a citizins. In many ways what it is we believe as individual holders of truth is irrelevant if that truth has no positive, loving impact on us as citizins and as a result a positive loving impact upon the communities we act in as a citizin. The true test of how these views hold us and us them in community is when we are confronted with those who oppose us and or who stand in opposition to what it is we hold. Such complex inter-plays of ethics, faith, morals and values are not always straightforward or simple but are vital in creating an existence that can live together in harmony for the future and generations to come. The acts in many parlaiments regarding same sex marriage, future concerns of the reduction of food and water and the destruction of natural resources are just some of the complex issues and discussions that will test the views we hold and how we act as citizins in community. How can one of us be happy if all the other ones are sad?

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Jesus in Disneyland by David Lyon

p43 Beliefs and practices that once were sealed within an institutional form now flow freely over foremerly policed boundaries. p47 Modernity made a lot of the mind, especially as a means of controlling and regulating the body, but in a postmodernizing world, the body itself becomes a site of consumption, of controversy, and of conflict. What Lyon suggests on p43 is what I would consider the conditions for the expansion of knowledge and epistemology. Although orthodoxy may provide a superficial sense of confidence and security, it does not allow experience and epistemology through reflection and enquiry to continue to shape and reconfigure habitus and praxis (by implication). What the postmodern condition allows or gives permission to, is to venture beyond the boundaries of orthodoxy (defined and set by people relative to a context and motivation therefore calling into question the very understanding of orthodoxy) and explore other ways of being, seeing and knowing. It is an epoch in time which could lead to a new reconfiguration of belief and faith. Related to this permission giving is the context in which this new exploration can take place in that it is not focussed around the mind solely but incorporates the body as well. The holistic exploration beyond boundaries is where we now found debates regarding the human genome and same sex marriage.