Shuck and Jive

Friday, July 13, 2007

Bob's Turn: Part 6 of CWB

Hi John

You wrote quite a bit in response! I’ll try and be shorter this time.

We may agree about God being personal. I read your concern as:

  1. We may treat God as personal as equal to a human being personal. Then we have all kinds of expectations of God that are not appropriate because God is God. Maybe we both could say that the analogy between God being personal and humans being personal is not one to one but we tend to think of it as one to one. Therefore we have to be careful about how we talk about God being personal.
  2. There are analogies in the Bible and other analogies we might use to talk about God that must be added to God is personal. God is love. God is life.
  3. God is also beyond human understanding so we have to be careful about how we talk about God, always knowing that God is more than we can ever say.

Does that adequately state what you think? If so, I agree with you.

As to your comments about science, history and theology, I think we disagree, but I’m still not sure.

I have concerns about the Enlightenment experiment, some of which go beyond our discussion. I spoke about presuppositions and I think you agreed about them but I’m not sure if you think that those presuppositions are an adequate description of reality or not. I believe that things that are beyond normal human experience, like the resurrection of Jesus can be historical in nature. You seem to disagree. The people you quote say that anything that might be in the category of miracle cannot be historical but must be theological. I think this is one of the failures of the Enlightenment experiment in its attempt to describe reality.

However I agree with Marcus Borg. The New Testament, in part, tries to make sense of the resurrection of Jesus. Any comment on the resurrection of Jesus that seeks to explain the purpose of the event is certainly theological. And I get concerned when people try to explain the event itself. People should stop worrying about how and start talking about what implications the event has for life in the world. Still, and I think we disagree here; I would describe the resurrection as a historical event.

We clearly disagree about the return of Jesus. Having said that, I certainly do not think, as heather suggested in her response, that Jesus’ return should encourage humans to just sit around and wait. Jesus in several parables gives a warning to those who just sit around and wait. The Church makes a great error thinking that being a Christian is a great honor. Covenant between God and humans always calls humans to action. I agree with you, the Church should not worry about the when or how of Jesus’ return and should be more concerned with how we are to obey the radical call of Jesus to new life now! While we may disagree about the return of Jesus, from my perspective when Jesus does return there are going to be a whole lot of people who call themselves Christians who will be pretty unhappy because they concerned themselves now with the when and the how of the return of Christ and not with how to live as Kingdom people now.

Finally, as to your reference to periods of increase in human awareness, it will not surprise you at all I believe Jesus is the one true revelation of God. While Buddha and Mohammed may make correct observations about who God is and what God calls us to do, God was present on earth in the person of Jesus and the Bible is the true source that reveals what God wants us to believe and do. I suspect we need to talk about this.

Should we go on and talk about evolution and cosmology as part of that conversation?



P.S. I just returned to your site and read the story about the so called Christians who interrupted the Hindu prayer in the U.S. Senate. I think the technical theological term for those who interrupted is the crude term for the exit of the human alimentary canal. J

1 comment:

  1. Hi, Bob.

    **Having said that, I certainly do not think, as heather suggested in her response, that Jesus’ return should encourage humans to just sit around and wait.**

    I'm not sure which comment in particular this refers to, and I'm not sure you're saying this, but I wanted to dispel any doubts: if I implied, or said, that you thought Jesus' return meant we didn't have to try and make things better, or sit around and wait, I apologize. That wasn't my intent. :) Rather, I was showing my concern as to how this interpretation of the second coming can make people feel it's okay to not live in a kingdom of heaven style now, because there's a 'fail safe.'

    It basically comes down to this, and it sounds like you think alone similar lines: the Earth, and the people on it, are God's creation, and God's worksmanship, and thus property (in a good way, not a slave way). If someone claims to be saved, or walk with Christ, or anything along those lines, and yet turns around and feels that they have no responsiblity to their fellow man or environment, is that person truly walking with Christ? I would say no. And yet this person would also proclaim that s/he is going to heaven.

    But here's the catch: It's along the lines of giving a child a somewhat beat-up toy, and watching him destroy it. Why would I in turn give the child a brand new toy, if he didn't treat the slightly broken one with respect?

    That's how I see heaven/earth. Earth is the broken element, and if we don't treat that, and the people living on it, with respect, why would God in turn give that person heaven? (Note: this is *not* advocating a works-based theology, in that someone can earn his/her way to heaven. It's along the lines of demonstrating/proving the love that one has for God and what He creates).