Saturday, November 27, 2010

The Independent -- Hitchens defeats Blair in Canadian religion debate

I saw this article from The Independent and thought it might be of interest to you

Tony Blair told an audience member at a debate yesterday that his religious beliefs did not play a role in his decision to support the US invasion of Iraq - but the votes went 2-1 the way of his opponent, Christopher Hitchens.

© 2009 Independent News and Media

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Thursday, November 25, 2010

Søren Kierkegaard and Faith Development 3/3

Continuing Hirsch and Frost's insight to faith development using Søren Kierkegaard they refer to a movement from a 'move from self-love, to love of others, to love of God' which then helps in our relearning to 'love self and others properly by loving God truly'.

This third stage is known as The Religious Stage:
"At this stage, the individual realizes that the eternal, ultimate good is not a static system of ethical rules, but a real, living being. One discovers that "there’s someone more to life". When an individual stands before God he no longer sees himself as self-sufficient. He recognizes his own inability to transform himself. The religious person strives to allow himself to be transformed by God. Thus one who lives in the religious stage lives in faith-upheld obedience to God. Since one’s commitment is to a living God, one must at times set aside social conventions (go against the flow), and even "suspend the ethical" for the sake of living in faith."
Faith Development's failure for me is in the description. H&F help us to understand the danger of perceiving these stages as a 'simple linear progression', the use of the word 'stage' does not help as the inference is one of progression. However, in the same way that there are implications in the way adults think as they mature, there are implications for our faith if our faith is to remain dynamic and we are to understand more of the depth, breadth and height of the God beyond our comforting notions. The transformation from inner selfishness to selflessness involves a rugged journey as we discover what it is to flourish and be human.
"... the real challenge of evolving into true humanity lies in the fact that the person must deliberately and courageously choose to engage the risks of life, negotiate personal crisis, bravely confronting even despair when necessary, in order to move from one stage to another."
I'm looking forward to being able to reference H&F properly when their  book is published.

Hirsch, A. and Frost, M. (2011) The Faith of Leap: A Theology of Adventure and Risk and the Implications for Discipleship, Mission, Leadership, and the Church.

Søren Kierkegaard and Faith Development 1/3
Søren Kierkegaard and Faith Development 2/3

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Nice one george...!

"Ireland stands as a shining example of the art of the possible in long term economic policymaking, and that is why I am in Dublin to listen and to learn..." (George Osborne 2006)

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Monday, November 15, 2010

5 Elements of Kingdom Ministry...

Bumped into these principles in Leadership Journal focussed on Justice and Evangelism.

1) Incarnation: We must not only have the same message as Jesus but the same method. You really reach people when you enter their world, their hurt and pain. If you’ve incarnated God’s love into the community of a homosexual, for instance, he’ll realize, Oh, this guy is willing to enter my life. He doesn’t just condemn me. The he’s more capable of hearing our message.

2) Proclamation: We’re told to proclaim the Good News, so this is clearly an essential. Proclaiming the truth in love, and in the context of incarnation, is not forcing it down people’s throats. Proclamation is also about formation, describing the kind of people God shapes us into.

3) Compassion: The Good News is authenticated by our caring (Luke 4). And when we are truly incarnate among the poor, these folks are more than just statistics. They’re your neighbors. They’re your friends. And if you meet a person with a need, compassion leads you to do what you can to meet that need.

4) Restoration/Development: When you live in a neighborhood where the same needs emerge over and over again, then you have to look at the larger picture and begin to fix what’s broken. In Baltimore, a little church took over a struggling public elementary school and revolutionized that neighborhood. They’re not just doing compassion, handing out backpacks to kids. Instead, they saw these kids getting a poor education and said, “We’ve got to be about restoration and development.”

5) Confrontation: The best way to do justice work is to be incarnate in a community. As you work to meet people’s needs through compassion and restoration, you eventually come up against systems and institutions that are keeping people in those conditions, beyond their own irresponsibility or sinfulness. This is when you must identify and confront injustice. We might discover this injustice in our government or schools or police forces or even churches – no institution is immune to injustice. 

Noel Castellanos’ “5 Elements of Kingdom Ministry”: Leadership Journal Summer 2010 pp 41

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Threadbare Language...

It has been sometime since I looked out another lost theme . The irony of reading this was not lost on me the day that we looked at lost themes in mission. Buechner seems to share a similar frustration. There is a danger in mishandling the words that hold the essence of faith.

"If the language that clothes Christianity is not dead, it is at least, for many dying ... Take any English word, even the most commonplace and try repeating it twenty times in a row - umbrella ... by the time we have finished, umbrella will not be a word any more. It will be a noise only, an absurdity, stripped of all meaning. And when we take even the greatest and most meaningful words that Christian faith has and repeat them over and over again for some two thousand years, much the same thing happens. There was a time when such words as faith, sin, redemption and atonement had great depth of meaning, great reality; but through centuries of handling and mishandling they have tended to become empty banalities that just the mention is apt to turn people's minds off like a switch."

Buechner, F (1966:110ff) The Magnificent Defeat.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

The Independent -- Johann Hari: Clegg – the man who betrayed us all

I saw this article from The Independent and thought it might be of interest to you

Two months before the general election, Nick Clegg warned there would be "riots" on the streets if the Conservatives introduced extreme cuts. Now they have begun – and Clegg himself is the chief cutter.

© 2009 Independent News and Media

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Thursday, November 11, 2010

Staney Hauerwas...

I really enjoyed listening to Stanley Hauerwas a few weeks ago introducing the concept behind his latest book 'Hannah's Child'. He describes it as a theological memoir where he hopes to write in such a way as to express the development of his theological thinking; integrating a theological reflection that avoids piousness or as he describes it the hateful language of interiority. I'm sure the swearing theologian has a head start on this and I couldn't help but buy the book. Here are some of the snippets and gems I got to write down.

"I'm not a natural Christian, God doesn't come easily to me ... But I've learned to stand in awe of people for whom God is just there. "

"The question is how can Christians be interesting enough that people want to talk to us?"

"the relationship between christology and ecclesiology is an important area of theological conversation"

"secular society is not interested in liberal theology it sees it as nihilism lite"

"we need to see greed for what it is for us, it is important as it dominates our lives. We are morally implicated to be greedy in order up make economies work. ... We need to diagnose the world in order to renegotiate the world. "

Thursday, November 04, 2010

The Poverty of Our Leaders...

It's a bit lazy just regurgitating email meditations but Nouwen's Daily has been something I wanted to remember again.

There is a tendency to think about poverty, suffering, and pain as realities that happen primarily or even exclusively at the bottom of our Church. We seldom think of our leaders as poor. Still, there is great poverty, deep loneliness, painful isolation, real depression, and much emotional suffering at the top of our Church.

We need the courage to acknowledge the suffering of the leaders of our Church - its ministers, priests, bishops, and popes - and include them in this fellowship of the weak. When we are not distracted by the power, wealth, and success of those who offer leadership, we will soon discover their powerlessness, poverty, and failures and feel free to reach out to them with the same compassion we want to give to those at the bottom. In God's eyes there is no distance between bottom and top. There shouldn't be in our eyes either.