Showing posts from June, 2016
The Contradictions of Scripture
Fr. Stephen Freeman
We can, however, only express the Truth if we foresee the extreme expression of all the contradictions inherent in it, from which it follows that Truth itself encompasses the ultimate projection of all its invalidations, is antonymic and cannot be otherwise.
-Pavel Florensky
I wrote in a previous article about the importance of contradictions in the knowledge of God. The Orthodox faith utterly delights in paradox and contradiction and liberally salts its language of worship with shockingly antonymic expressions. This is intentional and inherent to the nature of the kind of knowledge (koinonia) that alone is saving knowledge. Remembering this is important when we come to the study of the Scriptures. Doubtless, the most devastating practice with regard to the Scriptures is ridding them of contradiction. Today, this is done regularly, and from a number of directions. Apparently, human beings dislike contradiction and have a passion-driven i…
The Politics of Fear
Brexit: Democracy at Work? Posted by: vinoth-ifes on: June 28, 2016

I arrived in London the day after the results of the British referendum. I found many of my friends in a state of shock and dismay. The Brexit vote has revealed the deep fissures in British society- between London and the rest of the country, between economic classes, between urban and rural populations, between Scots and English, and even between generations (the young voted overwhelmingly to stay in the EU).
The vast majority of non-Europeans are unaffected by what has happened here. But what has been most troubling- indeed horrifying- was the way the political campaign was fought. It mirrored the vicious obscurantism of the current American presidential campaign. Read more at

God, Violence, and War in the Old Testament

1.God’s purpose and design for creation is divine-human communication/communion/community with humanity on this earth (pictured in Gen.3 by God walking with Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden). In other words, God always intended to come among us and be with us as one of us. It was always his plan to send the incarnate Jesus Christ into the world to effect his purpose.

2.God’s strategy was incarnational: to identify and enter into solidarity with his creatures in ever more intimate ways as his purpose unfolds through history. Development, change, and deepening were always to be features of this history. The principle: God meets the people where they (takes history seriously) and takes them on in the direction he wants them to go.

3.After the Fall, this strategy is complexified. God now has to deal with the problem of sin and its distorting effects in his world to achieve his purpose. Violence is the chief effect of sin (Gen.6:11). He continued to do that through the new family he create…

Being the Church in an Age of Racism, Misogyny, Nationalism, Hate, and Conflict

Jun 25, 2016
I used to wonder how large percentages of nations—including many Christian leaders—could support political leaders who advocate racism, misogyny, torture, hate, division, conflict, and authoritarianism . . .
But, recently, we’ve seen the rise of political figures (all over the world) appealing to xenophobia and nationalism (and even Christendom). We’ve seen the magnetism of this message, in various parts of the globe, and the acquiescence of Christian leaders.
I don’t want to name any particular politician here. In fact, I can think of many contemporary politicians who are appealing to these toxic cultural and social phenomena, all over the globe.
The contemporary social conditions are ripe for a certain kind of politics and politician (as we’re seeing in many parts of the world at the moment). Those conditions support racism, misogyny, torture, hate, and authoritarianism. The church needs to address its complicity in these things, and cultivate a distinct way of relating to…

Brexit as Theodicy and Idolatry

Luke BrethertonABC Religion and Ethics 25 Jun 2016
When the world is out of control, the absurd can begin to feel like common sense to those who have the absurd notion that the world should be controlled for their benefit alone.
Trump and Brexit are the result. They are responses to the sense of precariousness and disorder we experience now.
This sense of disorder is no illusion. We are in a moment when we are beset by foundational and basic questions about what human flourishing consists of, in every area of life. Among the many questions being asked in our present moment some are these: Read more at

CBC interview with Jean Vanier about euthanasia promotes culture of death

June 20, 2016
Brett FawcettRebel Blogger

If you ever wanted to know what some observers mean when they speak of “the culture of death,” just listen the recent interview by CBC Radio’s Carol Off with Jean Vanier.
Jean Vanier is the founder of L’Arche, “the Ark”, an international network of communities that care for the mentally disabled by putting them, not in hospitals or “care centres”, but in homes—real homes. Rather than treating those with intellectual disabilities as inconveniences to be shuffled out of the way, L’Arche assistants treat them as core members in the community life they share.
In a recent editorial for the Globe and Mail, Vanier commented on the looming physician-assisted suicide legislation in Canada, warning that “we must take care not to obscure or forget the innate dignity of those who are vulnerable”.
He believes we should always ensure that . . . Read more at ttp://

Seven Christian responses to gay marriage

OPINION  |  Centre For Public Christianity
Friday 17 June 2016
The first step in navigating your way through any complicated topic is to work out what the main approaches are and try (as best you can) to identify what is appealing about each position, as well as what might be a weakness. In our efforts to think through the fraught topic of same sex marriage, the Centre for Public Christianity has developed the following brief guide to seven approaches we’ve encountered amongst Christians wrestling with this topic. It does not claim to be exhaustive. It cannot capture every nuance. But we thought it might still be helpful to describe the various perspectives in a simple, convenient format, and invite readers to evaluate their own position in light of the alternatives. 
1.Innovators: moving beyond scripture
Innovators enthusiastically support same sex marriage. They do so with what they hold to be a generous moving beyond the Bible’s teaching. For some this will be justified on the theologi…

Following Christ, Relinquishing Rights

Jun 14, 2016| Posted by |Christian Life, Church, Politics| 0 comments |
Last fall, around the time when Donald Trump first made his infamous call to ban all Muslim immigration to the United States out of fear that it may be a “Trojan Horse” of terrorist infiltration, I wrote a blog post calling for Christians to welcome immigrants and refugees, even if it is costly to us. I wrote:
The way of Jesus Christ is not closing doors to asylum-seeking refugees or building walls to keep out foreigners. The way of Jesus Christ is not about forsaking the well-being of others in order to protect one’s own livelihood. The way of Jesus Christ is the cross. It is the way of sacrificing one’s own well-being in the name of love for others, however uncomfortable or risky or countercultural that may be. Seven months later, after the tragedy in Orlando and after Donald Trump has reiterated his …

Were there non-abusive same-sex relationships in New Testament times? 


Short answer: yes.

But why is this significant? Because some scholars try to make this case:

1. There were no loving, non-abusive same-sex relationships in New Testament times.
 - What relationships there were (so the argument goes), were abusive: master-slave, or older man with younger, teenage boy (pederasty).
2. So when New Testament authors condemn same-sex sexual activity, it's because those relationships were abusive.
3. Therefore, the New Testament does not speak to loving, non-abusive same-sex relationships. As a result, we can affirm loving, non-abusive relationships that involve same-sex sexual activity.

The underlying moral logic to this revisionist argument is: same-sex sexual activity condemned by Scripture is sinful because these relationships are abusive, not because they are two people of the same sex

Read more at 

Craig Keener and the fallacy of mutual submission

Craig Keener, who certainly knows a thing or two, has written a piece on Jesus Creed reaffirming the common egalitarian argument that Paul prefaces the instructions to husbands and wives in Ephesians 5:22-33 with an exhortation to mutual submission. I count myself as a dyed-in-the-wool egalitarian, but I am still not convinced that this interpretation is exegetically correct.
We get off to a rather disconcerting start with Keener’s argument that Paul expected masters to obey their servants. How does that work? Well, Paul tells slaves to obey their masters in Ephesians 6:5 and then in verse 9 says that masters should “do the same to them”. In Keener’s view Paul has “expressed one of the most radically antislavery sentiments of his day”.
I really don’t think that’s very likely.
Paul is not telling the masters to obey their slaves “with fear and trembling”. That is simply a social impossibility—and Keener has to admit that no one in the first century would have taken Paul literally. Christ…

Bonhoeffer - An Annotated (?) Bibliography

Communio Sanctorum – Christ is Not a Billiard Ball (and Neither are We)
Act and Being – It’s Jesus, Folks!
Christ the Center – Of Everything (Enough Said)
Discipleship – Jesus Doesn’t Want to Make a Difference in your Life; He Wants to Give You aDifferent Life, Now!
Life Together – How the Church Matters
Ethics – What Does It Mean to be a Christian Anyway? Letters and Papers from Prison – Becoming Silent Servants of the Used, Abused, and Utterly Screwed Up (Thomas Klise, The Last Western)

What if the Gospel is Different, Better and Bigger than We've Been Told?

What if we preached the gospel as the good news it is: That God has defeated all our enemies in Jesus Christ and we are free to be who God created us to be?
What if?
And what if who God created us to be is “royal priests” in his temple of creation mandated and gifted to represent our Great King and extend and prepare the whole creation to be his eternal habitation with us?
What if?
Again, what if being “royal priests” in a defeated but still-not-yet-fully-pacified world entailed God’s people being a “subversive counter-revolutionary movement?” A community of Christ-followers committed to undermining the attitudes, actions, patterns, and systems inscribed by the fall into the world and beginning in Christ to live out the same in accord with the creational design of God which is the world’s future and destiny?
What if?
What if Jesus’ life of pouring himself out for the world in love resulting in the cross and climaxing in the resurrection is the very life of God lived out under the conditions…

A Defeat Worth Celebrating!

Carl Trueman and Rod Dreher

“both believe that the culture war is over and that ‘our side’ has lost. We both believe that it is pointless simply to shout Bible verses louder, or to base arguments on the private religious convictions of the Founding Fathers, or to huff and puff that we must be taken seriously because Christianity was important way back when. And we both believe that the language of exile is appropriate for the imminent condition of Christians in the USA. (
Whoa! What’s going on here? Culture warriors waving the white flag? Admitting defeat?
Astonishing! Unbelievable!
Now we’re getting somewhere! Finally!
This is a benchmark moment in the history of the church in this country. Another irrevocable step in the demise of Christendom. You know, Christendom. When America was a Christian country. A people chosen by God to inhabit this new land (forgetting the Native Americ…