Showing posts from July, 2017

People from Somewhere vs People from Anywhere

by Michael Frost | Jul 29, 2017 | Homepage | 1 comment
Are you a Somewhere or an Anywhere?
Last years Brexit vote stunned many pundits and social commentators, who struggled to explain how it could have happened. But one of them, author David Goodhart has come up with an intriguing explanation for the deep divisions in British society.
It’s all about “people from Somewhere versus people from Anywhere.”
I think this fascinating idea helps make sense not only of Brexit, but the emergence of conservative nationalism in Europe and Australia, and the election of US President Donald Trump.
Let me explain. In his book The Road to Somewhere: The Populist Revolt and the Future of Politics, David Goodhart says society can be broken into two large groups.
First, there’s the Somewheres. . .

For the Love of God, Bono, Please Stop Touring

By Ben Swihart July 21, 2017

I thought she was joking.

“I had to find someone who wouldn’t annoy me the whole time. Consider this your fair warning—this will be a spiritual experience for me.”

A friend called me a couple of weeks ago with an extra ticket to see U2 ’s Joshua Tree tour. I remembered liking some of their songs on the radio, and knowing that everything sounds better at a live concert, I happily accepted. Having not yet been lured into the cult of Bono’s personality, all I knew was the legend that preceded him—international poverty relief icon, (aging) Gen-X sex symbol, and all-around good guy.

As the openers left the stage, a scrolling montage of poetry slowly came into focus. While those around me were ordering another $12 beer and taking selfies with their new merchandise, the depth and radicality of this real-life “U2charist” struck me. Maybe this dude was the real deal. While waiting for the founder of the ONE anti-poverty campaign, the author of the corporate (RED) camp…

Learning to Love Leviticus

Hey, friends! We've been on vocation for a few weeks now. But we're back now and wanted to give you some help on how to understand the second most confusing book in the Bible (after Revelation): the OT book of Leviticus. Our friend, the esteemed OT scholar Christopher J. H. Wright, wrote an excellent and lucid article on this, so we give it to you as our best guidance on reading Leviticus. it's from Christianity Today, 7.22.13.
Learning to Love Leviticus
Even those passages about shellfish, mixed fibers, and animal sacrifice.
Christopher J. H. Wright| July 22, 2013
Learning to Love Leviticus
Even those passages about shellfish, mixed fibers, and animal sacrifice.
Christopher J. H. Wright| July 22, 2013
Perhaps the fact that it is catalogued under "Humor and Entertainment" should tell us how to rightly appreciate A. J. Jacobs's best-selling 2007 book, The Year of Living Biblically: One Man's Humble Quest to Follow the Bible as Literally as Possible. In the cou…

Tales of the Demonic

Posted on 6.25.2011
Last year I was sitting in the backyard typing away on my laptop. It was one of those wonderful mornings where I'm working outside with a cup of coffee and the dog running around.

Suddenly, things got very bad. I was surprised to see a man let himself into my backyard. I was startled but saw he was wearing a hard hat, a tool belt and a florescent vest. He was from the electric company and he was looking for our electric box.

Feeling cheerful I said, "Well hello, checking the meter?"

He responded, "Ummm. No sir. I'm here to shut off the power."

Shocked, I sought clarification, "Turn off the electricity!?"

"Yes sir."

"But why?"

"Lack of payment."

Now I'm really alarmed and confused, "Lack of payment? We're set up on an automatic bank draft. How could there be lack of payment?"

The man looked worried, like I was about to totally go off on him. "Sir, I can't say. All I know is…

Do not “prejudge divine things from human”: Tertullian on Divine Anger

I have been doing a little digging in Tertullian’s work The Five Books Against Marcion the last couple of days. The five books cover an astonishing amount of ground (creation, hermeneutics, prophecy, goodness, Christology, etc.), which makes sense once you consider what a convoluted mess Marcion’s theology actually was. They didn’t call him the “arch-heretic” for nothing.
One important area is his treatment of divine anger. Mark Sheridan has touched on the issue of the Fathers’ handling of Biblical anthropomorphism in Language for God in Patristic Tradition and shown how the different strategies involved were concerned with making sure we were reading the Bible in a way that is “fitting” to God’s dignity and majesty. Obviously, the Marcionites thought attributing anger or wrath to God was unfitting, which partially motivated their rejection of large portions of the Old Testament and New. Read more at:…

Conquest, Exile, & Cross: Replacing Projection With Reality

Written by Branson Parler
on February 24, 2014
Print PDF
The problem
If you’re a proponent of nonviolence, you will definitely hear the question: what about the conquest of Canaan? How does this fit with the call to nonviolence? How does this “violent” God fit with the nonviolent Jesus? Numerous books have engaged this issue and the problem of God’s violence, often focusing on the Old Testament (usually meaning the conquest recorded in Joshua). These questions must be answered carefully because the answers given have far-reaching implications and not simply for our view of nonviolence. My contention is that Christian pacifists must affirm certain points of continuity between Joshua, Jeremiah, and Jesus—conquest, exile, and cross—or else they may undermine the central logic of the biblical narrative and, along with it, our doctrine of God.
One popular answer is that the conquest narratives record Israel’s projection onto God rather than God’s actual instructions to Israel. . . Read…

A Finkenwalde Option

The Need for a New Monasticism
Many “options” for the survival/renewal of the church in North America are floating around today. Rod Dreher’s “Benedict Option” is the best known among them and the touchstone for this recent flurry of other “options.” All of them share two basic convictions:
-the American church is in dire trouble and needs a fundamental reshaping, and
-this reshaping requires intentional community to resist the world’s incursions.
Most of them point to monasticism, a reform movement in the early church protesting the accommodation of the church to ideas, ways, and mores of the Roman Empire, as a model for the kind of reform needed. This is a sound instinct. The trick is to discern the shape of the features of a monasticism fit for North America in these times.
And that’s been the catalyst for the discussion around Dreher’s book. Is it Benedict, or Francis, or the Jesuits, or some other version of monasticism that might serve us best in this time and place?
I suggest that …

The Major Clue to Understanding the Early Christian accounts of Jesus

Divinity Returns in the Messiah In the second temple period, we find the theme which I have come, in recent years, to regard as the major clue to all the early Christian accounts of God’s action in Jesus.
Ezekiel tells of the divine glory, riding on the throne-chariot, abandoning the temple to its fate because of the persistent idolatry of people and priests alike. But in the final dream-like sequence of the book the temple is rebuilt, and in chapter 43, the divine glory returns at last.
This is the point, as well, of the whole poem of Isaiah 40–55: The watchmen will see the divine glory returning to Zion, though when they look closely what they will see is the figure of the Servant.
The point is this: In two of the major so-called post-exilic books, Zechariah and Malachi, the Temple has been rebuilt, but the promise of YHWH’s glorious return remains unfulfilled.
The prophets insist that the Spirit will return, but that it hasn’t happened.
YHWH will indeed return, but that very insistence i…

Resisting Trump with Revelation (36)

Wrap up
Whew! Our long journey through Revelation is over. But we will have to deal with Donald Trump’s iteration of American Empire for some time to come. I hope you have found John’s vision as challenging and compelling as I have. It reads and feels very contemporary to me. And not as a forecast of some few years at the end of history (calendarizing) but rather a characterization of the perennial challenges the church faces as it struggles for faithfulness in following Jesus in every time and place. There will always be empires for the church to contend with. Today that empire is less a nation-state than he globalization of a way of life (consumer capitalism) through economic relationships. A rose by any other name, however, is still an empire, uh, I mean rose. The issues and dynamics are similar. On the one hand, John’s vision addresses readers’ -priorities (by pressing on them reality as it is in Christ), -passions (by rhetorically pressing on them the immediacy and urgency of respon…

Resisting Trump with Revelation (35)

Responding to the word and Dismissal (22:8-21)
Responding to the Word
Jesus’ sermon is over. Our hypothetical worship service turns to “Responding to the Word.” The first move in this section is a reminder to worship only God. It’s usually a hymn or song in our services. Here it is a warning addressed to the Seer himself. And if John needs such admonition, we do all the more. This word must be published abroad “for the time is near” (v.10). The emphasis on “soon” (vv.12,20) and “near” (v.10) reminds us that we live in a time requiring urgency and readiness for God’s work in the world is ongoing (v.11) and our faithful response to him is necessary (vv.12-13).
Next a Beatitude is pronounced on the hearers:
“Blessed are those who wash their robes, so that they will have the right to the tree of life and may enter the city by the gates. 15 Outside are the dogs and sorcerers and fornicators and murderers and idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices falsehood.” (vv.14-15)
Even pronouncin…