Thursday, July 30, 2009

A Parable and Rant

Parable: an old lady is in the grocery store shopping. she has a walker, so her progress is very slow. she creeps around and gets the things she needs and puts them into her small basket which hangs from her walker. she heads to the checkout and is greeted by a young mother who is ahead of her in the check out line.

"Ohh..." says the young woman. "I see you have a walker. Can I pray for you?"

The old lady agrees and the young woman launches into a prayer that asks Jesus to help the old lady's ailments fade and restore her youth and help her walk again making sure to command the body cells to get their act together "in Jesus' name."

The young woman then turns, pays for her groceries, and goes home. The old woman then struggles to check out, lugs her bags to the bus stop, and heads back home alone.

What good was done in Jesus' name?

Rant: it seems as though we Christians have a choice. we can either be Dogmatic or Doctrinal. either Catholic and embrace sexism, patriarchy, and oral-tradition or Protestant and be narrow-minded, rigid, and literal. both are topped with ego, racism, homophobia, and a colonialist mindset. this seems to be the perception others outside the faith have. i call this the American Pop-Christianity.

these are two options, but simplistic and flawed ones. so what are we to do about it?

KNOW YOUR HISTORY. take what is good, leave the bad. Luther had a good thing going with the emphasis on grace, and Table Talk is just straight funny! But leave the stubbornness and esp. the Tract on the Jews and their Lies. view it, see it, and learn from it.

Being a Christian is not about wishing someone well. It's about love and service to all people at all times. Let's live like it.

i don't care about your view of the afterlife. i don't care about your politics. i don't care about your view of the bible. none of these things matter in this instance. it is simply, if you say you're a Christian, stop being a jerk and start spreading the Good News (and if necessary, use words).

Monday, July 27, 2009

F&M Celebrates What Exactly?

i spotted these signs on my daily walks with sonny and Eve. at first i didn't think much about it... it's a sign but see'n it everyday made me think.

1. 40 years isn't that long. my mother-in-law graduated from little Hiram College before 1969.

2. F&M has been around since the late-1700s.

3. This doesn't seem like that good of a thing to celebrate.

4. what exactly is the "Legacy of Women" that this sign is trying to convey? That it's great F&M is co-ed or that women had to endure 182 years of being ignored before they were accepted?

so this made me want to know more about this college that's right across the street. here's what i found on wiki:

Since its inception, Franklin and Marshall was an all-male institution, although Franklin College had enrolled female students and women were permitted to attend summer school classes at F&M beginning in 1942. Continuing a trend in single-sex schools across the country, the Board of Trustees announced on January 17, 1969 that it had voted to admit women to F&M, a decision that was unanimously and enthusiastically supported by male students. In the fall of 1969, 82 freshman women and 34 female transfer students were enrolled in F&M's first coeducational class.

it is my humble opinion that maybe the signs are ill-worded. this doesn't seem like a legacy that i'd want to celebrate. maybe it's me expecting a little more from the 17th-oldest college in the United States, but this celebration of being one of the "lasts on the co-ed boat" doesn't sit well with me. your thoughts?

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Absolute Truth?

much of this comes from Socrates Cafe by Christopher Phillips

To understand absolute truth, one must start with what exactly is the world and our location in it. Thomas Hobbes inthe Leviathan states that the "world is the whole mass of all things that are" but is never very clear on what he means by "all things."

Immanuel Kant talks about 'two worlds' which are very Platonic in formation. He talks about thephenomenal world and the noumenal world. Phenom: knowable by senses and interpreted by the mind. Noum: that which lies beyond the world of space and time, cause and effect. Kant talks about this is where Absolute Truth exists.

Plato talked about the world we see, like shadows and reflections on the wall of a cave. the absolute truth is beyond the walls of the cave and very few ever make it out, and those who do, it hurts their eyes and no one believes them.

John Locke talks about how truth can best be known through science and religion, namely that Christianity is the most reasonable and natural choice (duh, cause you're a Christian Locke...). nature holds the absolute truth but reason is the only means in which to interpret it and gain it.

Ludwig Wittgenstein stated that the world is "the totality of facts" which contain a logical structure that shape and delimit our world. facts are inherently knowable but "we must be silent" about the so-called unknowable until it is revealed.

Aristotle stated that the world we speak of, the universe as a whole is always being talked about through our relation with it. there is no such thing as objectivity or a "view from no where" but all views are a "view from somewhere."

in his novel The Manticore, Robertson Davies talks about the "view from elsewhere" which states that the best we can do is seek to embrace views besides our own. this is echoed my Parker Palmer in the statement "The truth is between us." meaning that truth is relational and exists solely through interaction and relationships with others and the wider world (nature, animals, etc).

so which is it? where do you fall? i see the merit in many of these views but fall more with Aristotle, Davies, and Palmer than the others. any views you can think to add?

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Summer Reading Thus Far

it's been a great summer of reading so far, here's what i've been up to:

Twilight by Stephanie Meyer: The vampire/teenie sensation. i'm not above reading these pop novels and i really enjoyed it. i wondered why i was able to read it in 3 days and that's because i didn't have to think about what i was reading the whole time ;-)! which was a nice change. i think it's an excellent methaphor for teenage sexual tension and abstience. you can definately feel the Mormon influence in subtle ways, but i enjoyed the recasting of what vampires are and esp. the concept of "good" vampires.

Socrates Cafe by Christopher Phillips: dude quits job so he can hang out at coffee shops and ask questions. sounds like my dream job! i'll post more on this book later because there's some questions i want to cover here... this book is a great read for the beginnning or expert philosopher even though, at times, it is poorly worded... like i should talk, i'm the poster-child for that ;-)

A New Kind of Christian by Brian McLaren: Is really a wonderful book. it mirrors closely to what i believe.. it's about an evangelical pastor who is thinking of quiting the ministry meeting with his daughter's high school science teacher who used to be a pastor as well. the pastor is introduced to post-modern thought by the science teacher and the conversations are full of wonderful stuff. this book is giving me a new perspective, not only on what i believe, but also on what others believe. my evangelical and more conservative/traditional brothers and sisters concerns are presented in a way i can understand. like why have the bible be inerrant and infallable? this book helps me understand that and how best to talk about theology without getting defensive.

When Bad Things Happen to Good People by Harold Kushner: in preparation for my CPE program this fall (CPE= hopital program to see where your buttons are and to come face to face with tragedy) i figured i best read this classic on why we suffer. i really enjoyed this book and learned a great new insight on the Genesis story of creation:

from pages 72-73: God is represented as saying, "Let us make Man in our image." Why the plural? Who is this "use," the "our" of which God speaks? My suggestion for understanding this sentence is to see it as connected to the sentence immediately before it, in which God creates animals... Let us fashion a creature who will be like you in some ways--needing to eat, sleep, mate-- and will be like me in other ways, rising above the animal level. You animals will contribute his physical dimension and i will breathe a soul into him.

i love this understanding because it's more biblical and literal. no apologetic nonsense of God talking to the heavenly hosts. this is closer to a biological understanding of creation, right inline with what we're finding out through Evolution. i LOVE it.

Reel Spirituality, Theology and Film in Dialogue by Robert Johnston: for my Theology and Film class which i'll post on later as well. talks about how movies are now the new means of conveying and portraying our sacred stories. i agree with this.. we've gone from sitting around the flickering fire to sitting looking at the flickering screen. there's even a whole ritual that goes along with going to the movies.. popcorn and soda is the new communion, the previews are like the call to worship, and then the main event. could movies be the new church?

i'm looking at two movies, Defiance (starring Daniel Craig) and Fight Club (starring Edward Norton and Brad Pitt) for my final paper. i hope to post the movies we covered in class as well, Gran Torino, Atonement, Maria Full of Grace, Doubt and Cold Mountain. look forward to those!

coming up on my reading list: Selections from Kirkegaard, The Dangerous Act of Worship, and Domination and the Arts of Resistance. stay tuned and hope your summer is going well!

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Systems Fail

what if I say you're not like the others
what if I you're not just another one
look at your face, you're the pretender
what if I say I'll never surrender x2

in time I'm so I'm told
I'm just another soul for sale, oh well
the pages I repress
they are not permanent, they are temporary, same ol story

...and i'm not the only one.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Summer Update

Hey there fellow bloggers! I know you're waiting for the next installment of Reformation:the sitcom but i'm having some trouble with the 3rd ep. and also wanted to clue you in on what i've been up to this summer.

i just finished up the Leadership NOW academy where i worked as an adult mentor. Leadership NOW creates safe space for young people to explore question of meaning and vocation. Space for struggling, thinking, exploring, learning and seeking deep is an awesome experience! check out their new website it never fails to inspire me and keep me working to become a pastor.

this week i'm taking a class at the summer academy called "Theology and Film." we cover various theological points raised by some movies.. yesterday we watched Gran Torino and talked about how it's a classically christian movie. i'll post more on this on thursday.

Eve had a great time with her grandparents as they were here to help us out when i was at the academy. i didn't get to spend too much time with them, which stinks, but Eve did and that was awesome! Eve is doing great and growing like a weed! she's so freak'n cool!

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Commentary on Episode Two

this is the shortened version... Erasmus and Luther duked it out over this concept rather heatedly and for all intensive purposes, Luther won out. I side with Erasmus.. but i see the merit in Luther's position, trying to establish God's sovereignity. just as Dawn says at the end, "We're predestined to have free will" love that line and the reactions of the other two seminarians.

the buzzing in Episode One was from the remodeling projects going around at F&M the college across the street. you can still hear it here too. out of our 5 hours of shooting the work lated 3.5 hours of that. so that kinda stunk.

i'm really happy with these small snap shots. originally (in the script) these would have gone on while the credits rolled, after you got the full helping and theological support from each of the reformers (and then you'd know why Erasmus lost) but due to the constraints of shooting, this was the best option. notice how Calvin talks the longest, something he'll be doing from here on out. he has a lot to say and write on all these subjects as he constantly is working on these issues. he's best known for predestination, but he has a pastoral methodology to his work. never does he damn others to hell but simply hopes that they will one day join the church. it is his later followers which do that dirty work, which inturn tarnishes Calvin. but Calvin did set himself up for it.

we humans can use anything as weapons... physically or spiritually.