Monday, September 26, 2011

'we're in this together'! and the dangers of pointing the finger...

Just found this rant on my ipod!

"We know what's gone wrong: the question is, do we have the determination to put it right? Do we have the determination to confront the slow-motion moral collapse that has taken place in parts of our country these past few generations." David Cameron Summer 2011

This all said while pointing at communities that have systematically been striped of hope with choices peeled back to reveal very little.

All this said with a self righteous air of superiority that forgets that while the finger points there are fingers that point back. It is easy to pour contempt on our poor broken and diseased society from the height and dry land of supposed moral superiority. Citing statistics of one parent families and benefit fraud ignoring the fact that the very same symptoms of disease can be seen in those who sit back and allow the looting of our economy, allow for exploitation of power, allow for the excesses of privilege.

While they were undeniably and completely wrong in their actions, it is too easy, too simple to point at the wrong of hooded criminals ransacking our high streets without seeking the parallels with their pinstriped counterparts. Perhaps there is more to the Coalitions' 'we're in this together'! The bricks of bailed out bankers bonuses, the news international smoke of hacking and cover ups, smashed confidence in those jailed for expense fraud.

But while politicians go seeking their moral compass perhaps the biggest complicit agent idly watching on, is that of the church. While we have sang our songs, adhered to litany and liturgy, even been radical with our orthodoxy using clever clips and Mumford and Sons, have we missed the point?

Ellul would seem to think so -:

"How has it come about that the development of Christianity and the church has given birth to a society, a civilisation, a culture that are completely opposite to what we read in the bible"
Jesus' message and motive spoke into and against the power, patronage and privilege of a Roman and Herodionian era. He showed what it was to live a life of contradiction in a self obsessed world. Modelling living for others as the key to completeness through a hospitality that embodies shalom, championing right relationship with all, loving as you yourself would want to be loved.

Ellul alludes to a church pointing and sitting in judgement not living out the moral example of Christ but having found comfort in moralism, caught up within micro ethical issues the church has increasingly been ignored. An alternative agenda of living beyond self for others perverted, or as Ellul suggests, subverted with the result that, the moral obligation to be greedy remains unchallenged.

If the church has something to say to post riot UK it probably is sorry. For not once has anyone even asked the church what to do, and so we're left to posting up 'post it's' on burnt out and boarded up shop fronts.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

the importance of “disorienting dilemma”

A friend sent me this today:-

Read: John 5:35-47
But you are not willing to come to Me that you may have life. —John 5:40

Dr. Jack Mezirow, professor emeritus at Columbia Teachers College, believes that an essential element in adult learning is to challenge our own ingrained perceptions and examine our insights critically. Dr. Mezirow says that adults learn best when faced with what he calls a “disorienting dilemma”—something that “helps you critically reflect on the assumptions you’ve acquired” (Barbara Strauch, The New York Times). This is the opposite of saying, “My mind is made up—don’t confuse me with the facts.”
When Jesus healed on the Sabbath, He challenged the deeply held beliefs of many religious leaders, and they sought to silence Him (John 5:16-18). Jesus said to them: “You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me. But you are not willing to come to Me that you may have life” (vv.39-40).
Oswald Chambers observed, “God has a way of bringing in facts which upset a man’s doctrines if these stand in the way of God getting at his soul.”
Unsettling experiences that cause us to question our assumptions about the Lord can also lead us to a deeper understanding and trust in Him—if we’re willing to think it through and come to Him.

My mind cries its questions,
My longing heart, joining.
O Father, please hear me!
O Spirit, keep teaching! —Verway

“The unexamined life is not worth living.” —Socrates

Thanks David!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

The subversion of Christianity ...

Not the easiest of reads as Ellul hits hard illustrating the means and way Christianity has been subverted and fabricated. He points to the many contradictions between the bible and the practice of the church as scripture has been reinterpreted by culture and times in their own nature.

Lots of quotes noted down - here's one...
Our God is a God of beginnings. There is in him no redundancy or circularity. Thus, if his church wants to be faithful to his revelation, it will be completely mobile, fluid, renascent, bubbling, creative, inventive, adventurous, and imaginative. It will never be perennial, and can never be organised or institutionalised.

Ellul, J. (1986: 157). The subversion of Christianity . Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans.

Friday, September 09, 2011

Hagberg on Faith Development 6/6

Summary 6 - Life of Love - 6 - Transcends us

The final stage that Hagberg identifies is that of a faith that reflects God. The sense of journeying out continues in selfless Christlike living that is defined by total obediece to God and compassionate loving for others. The needs of self are abandoned in complete hospitatlity for others and the consequent disregard for self sees a detachment from things and stress. This is the utter poured out life of love that knows no boundaries.

Hagberg, J. O. (2004). The Critical Journey, Stages in the Life of Faith, Second Edition (2nd ed.). Salem, WI: Sheffield Publishing Company pp 159

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Hagberg on Faith Development 5/6

Summary of Stage 5 The Journey outward -transforms us

After the unsettlement and disorientation of what Hagberg calls the wall, she suggests that we are turned inside out and unmasked in order that an unconditional love can emerge. Faith is surrendering to God in a new way that brings with it a renewed sense of God's acceptance characterised by a deep calm or stillness. While there is a similarity to the productive stage, the journey outward represents a new sense of calling, vocation or ministry less defined by a striving for uniqueness or a seeking for responsibility while more characterised through genuine concern and focus on others' best interests. Discovering a glimpse of God's purpose in life in all things comes from seeing that depth comes from relaxing into the evolving into being God's person. Fullness and being whole seems to be enough allowing vocation to be fulfilling.

Hagberg, J. O. (2004). The Critical Journey, Stages in the Life of Faith, Second Edition (2nd ed.). Salem, WI: Sheffield Publishing Company pp 148

Friday, September 02, 2011

General E Wickberg

"There are certain things which The Salvation Army can spare and still be The Salvation Army -- citadels and other meeting places, for instance. Money, too, can be done without. The advantages of organization are not entirely essential. One thing, however, The Salvation Army cannot spare. The Army, which William Booth gathered together out of the most impossible material, to the astonishment of the world, cannot do without the pioneer spirit. The pioneer spirit is as necessary now as ever, for left to itself a movement tends to stagnate. Uniformed officers and soldiers we have in encouraging numbers -- but too many seem to have forgotten that they are not to be known as 'members'. We can say without equivocation that were we to lose the daring and the determination of the pioneer spirit we should no longer be The Salvation Army. There are plenty of churches and congregations. They have their own special work to do, but we are called to be pioneers of the Kingdom"

Wickberg, E. (2007) The Officer, January/February 2007