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Posted by on Dec 29, 2014 | 0 comments

Our Favorite Reads of 2014

Our Favorite Reads of 2014

With the end of 2014 right around the corner, we thought it might be fun to post some of our favourite reads of the year. One thing you’ll notice from the list: fiction is important! No one can read too much fiction. As a lot of these write ups clearly imply, fiction can have very important theological implications. But still, a few of us found non-fiction the most interesting this year, not necessarily academic abstraction, however. Perhaps this is a simple reminder that we need to be connecting with people who think differently than us; whether that shows up in their preferred bibliography, opinions, or overall worldview, nothing but good can come from engaging with difference. Feel free to post your own favorite reads in the comment section, or share you thoughts about one of the titles below if you have already read them. Caroline: In Learning to Walk in the Dark, Barbara Brown Taylor leads us through the pitch-black grounds of her North Georgia farm and the seedy night club where she worked in...

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Posted by on Apr 28, 2014 | 4 comments

Beyond Authorial Intention: What Does a Text “Really” Mean?

Beyond Authorial Intention: What Does a Text “Really” Mean?

This post explores how the philosopher Paul Ricoeur influenced the way we think of interpretation. What follows is a purely philosophical journey: I do not draw any theological implications, but it should hopefully become clear that there are important ones to be drawn. Our journey begins in the 19th century with the event called the “rise of historical consciousness.” Previously, when people used to read ancient writings, their attention was on the writing’s content; they assumed that the reader and author of a text were similar enough that communication could happen without too much difficulty. However, with historical consciousness, people started to notice more and more how differently people thought and spoke in other times and cultures. Because of this difference, they realised it was possible to misunderstand what someone meant while imagining you had understood. For example, the Bible tells us to love God. Our modern definition of “love” usually means how you feel, but in Bible times the word “love” was more of a decision about how to act....

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Posted by on Apr 21, 2014 | 2 comments

Is the Internet Making us Ungodly?

Is the Internet Making us Ungodly?

This is Justin’s Final Post as a Regular Contributor to Many Horizons. We are grateful for the many insightful, stimulating and provocative posts he has written on this blog, and are pleased to share this last offering on thinking theologically about the internet.    What does God think about the internet? Is Google Making us Stupid? Is Facebook Making us Lonely? Is Your Brain on Mobile like your brain on drugs? Articles skeptical of new technologies are bound to be big hits because they speak to a natural uncertainty we all feel around new things. But they also elicit vigorous and passionate defenses of new technology. A recent comment on the article “This is your brain on Mobile” declares: “I feel like anyone who becomes more of something, given a particular tool that facilitates it, always kind of was… that thing. They just needed their moment to shine, as it were.” This comment illustrates a pervasive assumption our culture makes about technology: That tools serve as an extension of the...

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Posted by on Feb 13, 2014 | 5 comments

Technology’s Lie and the Promise of Love

Technology’s Lie and the Promise of Love

Last week Ryan Ricker responded (Evangelical Environmentalists and Ethical Oil) to my creation care (Salvation is not the Point: The Point is what we do with Salvation) post with an argument of technological optimism in support of responsible development. Tracing the development of Protestantism, science, and capitalism through the enlightenment’s pursuit of certainty, Ryan asks “So what is the goal to value: pristine earth or human flourishing?” He concludes that the questions of ethical development are questions of risk and potential harms. However, to limit the ethical discussion of development to empirical arguments over projected risks or harms is to participate in the faith that technology will “lead humanity to justice and equality” by assuming that all we have to do is limit harm.[1] Like so many moderns before him, Ryan combines his confidence in the rewards of risk with a confidence in the ability of humans to know, learn, develop, and act in progression towards the good with the help of our technology. Hence he can say of ethical...

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Posted by on Jan 16, 2014 | 6 comments

Historical ≠ Necessarily Secular

Historical ≠ Necessarily Secular

  In his book The Historical David: The Real Life of an Invented Hero, Joel Baden (Associate Professor of the OT at Yale Divinity) seeks to identify the real David behind the legendary narrative provided in the books of 1—2 Samuel. In introduction to his book, Baden describes his recovery of the historical David as involving a hermeneutic of suspicion where he must “first remove the nonhistorical pro-David elements from the story to expose the basic events underneath.”1 So far, so good. Yes, there was a historical David which is depicted in a particular theological light in the Old Testament. And yes, it does seem interesting to peel back the narrative to see the historical David as he was. But now the problems begin. Baden highlights that “the Bible is a product of human minds, and that, like all literature, it is subject to the biases and agendas, both conscious and unconscious, of the authors.”2 And yes, again he is right but he fails to recognize as he delves...

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