Wednesday, December 31, 2008

A "New" Conflict

"A tremendous misunderstanding has come about with regard to God’s kingdom. Much has been said about the church. Much has been said about the teachings that are preserved in the church, about the various denominations that have become a sacred good within the body of Christianity. Too much emphasis has been placed on forms by which we express ourselves as Christians. Thus today we cannot deny that many people no longer really find the living qualities that our Father in heaven wanted to give us in Jesus Christ. They have neither seen nor experienced the life that comes from God, and so they are in a fix. On the one hand they cannot deny that they too need God, God’s word, God’s revelation, in their hearts. On the other hand they no longer quite believe in the means through which God’s word is being proclaimed, and thus many of them no longer know what to do with themselves in regard’s to God’s kingdom. Their hearts hunger and thirst; they are aware that something of God’s eternity and truth should be revealed in us, but they don’t quite know what to do about it.

Because of all this we must begin to speak of God’s kingdom in a new way. In spite of present-day conditions where much of the church and of Christian fellowship is almost dead, we can speak of God’s kingdom to men and women of our time...millions of people are “Christians” in all peace and comfort from their childhood on until they are laid in the grave. They are satisfied with what is said about God, and it does not make them feel uncomfortable in any way. Religion is taken as part of one’s life; one accepts it such as it is. This causes no conflict—at the most an argument here or there about the interpretation of this or that teaching, but these arguments are futile. A new conflict arises as soon as we feel urged to proclaim the kingdom of God as something living. And this is what I want to do today. I don’t just want to edify you. I want to proclaim to you what God has put into my heart: God’s kingdom is a living reality, a rulership that impacts the here and now and even today is at hand—closer at hand than we may think. The intervention of the living God is more powerful today than many believe. God wants to manifest himself as the one who is something and who does something now."

Christoph Blumhardt (1842-1919)
Action in Waiting

Thursday, December 18, 2008

A Quote Worthy of Prayer

"Once my father wrote to me that I should make it a habit, wherever I am, to look at every human being as a believer, never to doubt, never to talk differently with him/her. That resonated with my soul. When a Muslim is coming, I call him[/her] a believer; I never suppose that some should be a non-believer. The objective belief that God believes in me and I in God, because God believes in me, that is faith to me. But I say it quite simply: Every human being believes, because God believes...treat all people, regardless of their appearance, as dedicated to God...Do this for a number of years, then you will understand the Redeemer. Then you have passed through. To hate, to insult, to gossip, to curse, to judge, all of that we do not want to do anymore, not even when we meet the most evil person. We want to say: he has access to God, I want to remove the obstacles, as much as I can. God has come to him, he needs to be able to come to God."

-Christoph Blumhardt, Ansprachen

I read this quote earlier today in an article by J. Moltmann and it hasn't left my heart. How true it is that God 'believes' in all of us despite our own prejudice towards one another and for that I am so grateful. How beautiful it is that God approaches each one of us with love and compassion beyond our knowing. It is time to put behind us the destructive methods of control, i.e., 'the deification of imperial goals and the victimization and annihilation of indigenous peoples' (Ray) then to put in its place... 'Come Holy Spirit.' It is time to realize that power is not defined by our contemporary materialistic worldviews as control and oppression, rather it is defined in a counter intuitive manner through compassion and acceptance.
Lord, forgive us.


Wednesday, December 10, 2008

make sense

i hope that what i spend my time writing on this page 'makes sense'. i have this fear that the pieces of information that sparkle on the sidewalk and cause me to stop and admire remain concrete and rather bland to others. i hope that i write well enough for you to not only understand what i am saying but to read emotion as well. this is kind of the reason why i am writing this post. i decided to write how i was feeling and since i was just reading other blogs i decided to reflect on mine. my hope is to open up my life and my experiences for sharing in the same way i get excited about someone else's experience...which i think is a good trajectory. i wonder how all of our lives are going to play out in the coming years; the stories that stir up happiness as well the stories that cause great pain.

with the amount of variety we all have in our families and friendships, i hope that we take the time to 'connect' with one another. we sometimes connect face to face and sometimes we connect via technology, which right now is happening by you reading this text that has been encrypted by some fashion of web programming. i probably could have explained that better if i had not failed computer technology in my fresh/freshman year of college. anyways, i read other people's blogs, and even if i dont know them i somehow feel a sense of connection; the same thing goes for books i read. i have recently decided to email a few authors of the books that have played some form of transformation in my life. In one case the author did write back and i could tell he had taken time with the email. i felt connected. furthermore, without connection what do end up with? what depth is brought from a simple monologue designed to tell and not reveal? there is a difference between telling and revealing; i can tell you something or i could reveal something. revealing something is a lot less demonstrative which means that the listener or reader feels more inclined to respond by continuing the process and revealing something of their on and so on.

well. maybe you feel disconnected at this point. let me encourage all of you to take time and connect with friends. reveal something important in your life and allow time to hear their part too. be hospitable to one another. im off. peace.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008


I recently submitted a paper on Leonardo Boff's 'liberation theology' and its reflection on the Holy Trinity. Boff's Trinitarian summa, Trinity and Society, was the backdrop for my presentation. I highly recommend this book with the hope of uncovering a new way of seeing the Trinity and its residual relevance. There is a condensed and revised version available that might be a bit more conducive entitled Holy Trinity, Perfect Community. Throughout my time researching I was able to reflect on a deeper level regarding the implications of the Holy Trinity for 'community'. I began my paper with the following quote from Boff:

"If God means three divine Persons in eternal communion among themselves, then we must conclude that we also, sons and daughters, are called to communion. We are image and likeness of the Trinity. Hence, we are community beings. Solitude is hell."

Sometimes we ask, why did God 'create'? What was the purpose of humanity? I came to the conclusion that creation is not some 'after-thought' rather it is a natural expression of love and communication that first comes from the Triune God, moves to creation, and then makes its way back from all of us, i.e. a repeated circular interaction. We share love. God is Love, so how can one love if there is nothing to love? Without something to share love with, there is no reason to love. By taking a quick and limited glimpse into the Holy Trinity, we see 3 persons and 1 substance. This substance that holds the Trinity together is perichoresis; a greek term used to describe an interpenetrational love that binds. This mutual, interdependent expression of 'love' is shared simultaneously within the Trinity representing equality versus dictatorship.

God is 3 in 1. We looked at the love regarding God as 3 but we still have to deal with God as 1. The Godhead, as One, naturally desires to then share its love externally by creating humanity to make this 'sharing' possible. Creation demonstrates this natural movement of love birthed in God preceding into the creation process. To me, this is a beautiful explanation and reason for life.

"So creation is not merely the result of a later act of will external to the Trinity, but is an expression of the intimate, perichoretic life of God, a life that expands outwards, creating different beings with whom God can communicate and enter into communion." -Trinity and Society

The Holy Trinity with its simultaneous and mutual love given between each Person (God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit) shows us the 'perfect' model of community, i.e. what we should do here on earth. The Trinity is not a community based on a hierarchy of Persons who stand on 1,2,3 podiums telling us who is best, better and left out, instead they are an egalitarian cooperative bond. This divine Trinitarian community is full of love, equality, and respect for each person in each case. It is a community that dares to radically give of themselves for the better of the group. Simply because we have been created by God tells us that we are a reflection of the Trinity and we should 'do' what they 'do', i.e., promote one another. I want to leave you with a definition of utopia by Alfred Hennelly that I found intriguing and inspiring.

utopia: the denouncement of dehumanization and the announcement of humanization.

How might we model our lives and communities toward this transpirable utopia? How can we do this?