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Posted by on Apr 24, 2014 | 5 comments

Homosexuality and the Flesh of Christ: Identity and Suffering

Homosexuality and the Flesh of Christ: Identity and Suffering

What follows is modified from a paper submitted for Theology 602 at Regent College. In it, I deal specifically with homosexuality, and not other groups in the LGBTQ community. In the past decade, Western cultures have become increasingly comfortable with accepting active homosexual lifestyles. The church, in turn, has struggled with trying to resolve its traditional moral stance in the face of the changing climate. Do we stick to our old positions that seem bigoted? Or did we perhaps make a mistake? This is by no means an easy issue, but for my part I am not convinced that either the liberal or conservative theological responses, and their accompanying political action, have dealt well with the complexities of the issue. Part of the problem, I believe, is a deficient understanding of our own identity as the church and the relation of that identity to suffering. I recently wrote a paper on the ecclesiology of the Roman Catholic theologian Jean-Marie-Roger Tillard, and I am persuaded that his ecclesiology, if taken...

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Posted by on Apr 7, 2014 | 0 comments

Is Humanity Worth It?: Seriously Dangerous Religion, Noah, and the Image of God

Is Humanity Worth It?: Seriously Dangerous Religion, Noah, and the Image of God

The following article contains spoilers for Noah (2014) and is in part a response to this article, which was shared with me after I had expressed my appreciation for the film. In discussing the film’s narrative, I have used “man” and “Creator” in place of “humanity” and “God” following the film’s language. Dr. Iain Provan recently released his newest book, Seriously Dangerous Religion: What the Old Testament Says and Why it Really Matters. I had the privilege of attending the book launch, and getting a taste of what the book, which I’m currently reading, has to say. Among the arguments of the book is a point close to Provan’s heart—the deep positive significance of the Old Testament for human rights. Without going into too much detail, the argument hinges on the importance of the Old Testament’s view of human worth in undermining other ancient Near Eastern views of humanity in the cosmos and how these assumptions about human worth that the Old Testament makes form a foundational bed-rock for the...

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Posted by on Mar 30, 2014 | 1 comment

Noah’s Righteousness Contra the Wicked

Noah’s Righteousness Contra the Wicked

This post is not yet another assessment of the recently released movie Noah. Others have done a good (and not so good) job of evaluating how this movie harmonizes with the biblical account. Instead, this post is using the excuse of a new and popular movie to return to a key biblical theme that carries water in our current age: wickedness and righteousness. In Genesis 6:5 it is written: The Lord saw that the wickedness of humankind was great in the earth, and that every inclination of the thoughts of their hearts was only evil continually. (NRSV) The language at the start of this verse should be familiar. Where have we heard it prior in the book of Genesis? The last time the verb “to see” (ראה) contained God as the subject of seeing is in the creation account. God saw the light, the vegetation, the beasts, and the human, that is, all that he had made and it was very good. The next time the text points to God’s seeing...

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Posted by on Mar 17, 2014 | 1 comment

Does God Watch While You Have Sex?

Does God Watch While You Have Sex?

How do you imagine God engaging your world? Does he answer your prayers? Does he stand back and watch? Does he hide himself behind natural law and science? Does he perform miracles? Does he wait for the end times? What does he do? For centuries, God was imagined to be active in all the mundane aspects of life. He was there when we harvested and cooked and ate, he was there when we built our houses or forged our tools, and he was most certainly there when we had sex. Most of us don’t feel that way anymore. Most of us think that God stands at a distance looking down on the creation – that he rarely, if ever, intervenes – much like a Victorian English matron, certainly not interested in sex. Even those of us who don’t believe this at a cognitive level live as though it were gospel. For instance, where does your food come from? We all understand the life of the vegetable: there is a...

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Posted by on Mar 3, 2014 | 2 comments

Lenten Love

Lenten Love

Lent: forty days of fasting. Jesus’s forty days in the wilderness, Noah’s forty days of rain, Moses’s forty days on Sinai, Elijah’s forty day walk to Horeb, Goliath’s forty days of challenge before the nation of Israel: all of them are forty days of trial building up to an encounter with God’s grace. Yet, the greatest of these is Lent. Lent is the annual enactment of the cost of the love that lies at the foundation of all creation. These are some big claims. In a world where Lent is often no more than the “giving up” of chocolate, coffee, beer, meat, or the internet, it hardly seems fair to compare it to the forty days of rain that annihilated the entire population of the Earth or with Elijah’s forty days without food or water as he hiked through the desert. But, where Elijah ends his forty days with the still small voice, and Goliath’s forty days end with his being slain, and Jesus’s forty days end with his...

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