The Diseased Imaginings of a Tainted Mind
As a socially-liberal Christian, there are now many reactions around the world in reaction to the USA’s acceptance of single-sex marriage. It’s odd that similar results in other countries have not produces such reactions.
I have, of course, been in debate over this issue for many years, and many friends have sent me a link from a website that offers 40 (yes 40!) questions aimed at those of us that support single-sex marriage. Having read them, some of them were quite thought provoking, but generally their tone is designed to lead people into a “gotcha”. That is, that in order to answer the question as frased, you have to agree with the posters argument.
So, to help all those that find these questions difficult, here are my responses.
1. How long have you believed that gay marriage is something to be celebrated?
During the course on Biblical Hermenutics, I was told that there were not many readings done from the perspective of a man, writing as a man. I thought that it was time that I tried to do some writing from this perspective, and so I have produced what I hope is a “Maleist” reading.
It’s based on one of the most difficult passages that I could think of, Judges 19. It’s about looking for what it means to be a modern man reading those passages, rather than simply accepting the standard position as being the “male” perspective.
I am hoping that this will spark debate, and not at least a few comments.
The internet is filled with “memes”. I use the “” advisedly, because they are distcint and different from the psydo-scientific term Meme. Of the “memes” that are floating about the internet, most seem to be a comment on life, but there are some that seem to be suggestions on how to live a better life. These are either portrayed ironically (as in, showing a negative behaviour in a humours light), or by repeating some general words of comfort in the form of positive reenforcement.
Yes, folks, it had to happen sooner or later. Water has been found on the red planet, Mars. Initially this might not seem such a big thing, but it means that, at some point, water in it’s fluid form may have been found in abundance on the surface, which means that there is the possibility that life happened on Mars.
Not complex life, perhaps, as we know it, but small bacterial life, small single cell, or simple multi-cell organisms.
This is one of those problems that’s been bugging me since I began reading a blog post about why, theologically, we _need_ a literal Adam. Annoyingly I couldn’t find the blog post again in order to take the points individually, but the general debate is based on the problem outline by Peter Enns in a blog post about his new book.
The problem seems to be that without Adam, Sin looses it’s force. It’s something that is not transmitted to everyone in a physical way. Of course, for this idea, we have to thank Augustine, and the way in which he approached and outline the concept of Original Sin.
I have, elsewhere, spoken about how I find the concept of Original Sin as expounded by Augustine unhelpful,and in the modern world incomplete. It was only when confronted, theologically, with the idea that Evolution that I began to explore what this implication truly means.
For me, of course, Evolution doesn’t pose a theological problem in that way, and I hadn’t really explored what problems others had with evolution. It seems to be that the reason why some people deny, or have difficulties accepting Evolution is that it means that their understanding of Sin falls down without Adam.
I was challenged today over the role of Charismatic leaders in the Church.
There is a feeling that the only way to draw people into the Church is through Charismatic leaders. No, I’m not here talking about “Leaders filled with the Spirit”, but leaders who personable, and have that magnetic personality that draws people to them. Those Charismatic types that seem to be able to fill a Church by their very presence. I was challenged today by this idea, and that it is the people with the collars who are meant to fulfill this role.
I made the point that not everyone was charismatic, and pointed to the point that St. Paul was not known for his Charismatic leadership. I further made the point that St. John showed the signs of a Charismatic leader, the soaring poetry, the descriptions and the imagery. I was told that this was a difference of opinion.
Now, differences of Biblical understanding asside, there is something about the idea of a truly Charismatic leader that I find uncomfortable. God gives us the skills to handle that which we are called to do. The thing about Charismatic leaders is that often people are called to them, rather than called to what they are preaching on behalf of.
It also places, again, the emphasis of growing the Church firmly on the shoulders of one person. This doesn’t, then do justice to the notion that we are all sent as disciples, and it is to all of us that the duty falls.
I wonder, then if it is this idea that they want to follow a Charismatic leader, than actually seek to do some of the heavy liftin themselves that is most important.
Death is through to be something “unnatural”, or so we are taught by by our Christian Doctrine. Through man’s disobedience sin and death entered the world. In Genesis 3 the assumption is that Adam and Eve are immortal (though no such claim is made), and that beyond Eden there is death, seen as the punishment for eating the fruit (Gen 2:15), (NOTE: Death is NOT one of the punishments that God does visit upon them).
*Another Take on the Flood Story in Genesis*
For a long time, the story of the flood in Genesis has been a source of theological problems for most theologians. On the face of it, it essentially shows God getting annoyed with the world, and drowning them en-masse apart from Noah and his family.
I’ve been wrestling with this passage, trying to see what it is that it has to tell us, in light of what we know about God, and what we know about context.
My Crime was Simply To be
We walked the earth with everyone else.
We spoke to them, We comforted them.
We told them of God’s Grace; of God’s Love.
We tried to show them the truth of what they already knew.
They were afraid. Afraid of change. Afraid of being lost.
And in that fear they became more lost.
They wandered in the desserts of their minds,
Far away from our Love.
29. ‘A brother, being tempted by a demon, went to a hermit and said
‘Those two monks over there who live together live sinfully’. But
the hermit knew that a demon was deceiving him. So he called
the brothers to him. In the evening he put out a mat for them,
and covered them with a single blanket, and said, ‘They are sons
of God, and holy persons.’ But he said to his disciple, ‘Shut this
slandering brother up in a cell by himself; his is suffering from
the passion of which he accuses them.’
Source : Ward, Benedicta: The Desert Fathers London: Penguin Classics, 2003, p. 43
A response based on the reading of this article.
An interesting piece which strikes a chord for me as someone who spends an inordinate amount of time discussing theology with people. I was happily nodding along in agreement with it, much of the actions is something that I see in others (of course never in myself, oh no), and then I came to point 7.
7. Be perpetually non-committal: Be in fear of what others will think. Be in fear of being offensive. Call it grace, call it tolerance, call it whatever, but don’t ever take any definite stand. In every situation be timid, walk on theological eggshells, and never, ever, ever act as if your view is the right view to the exclusion of others. Qualify everything you say with, “this is just my opinion” or, “to me…”
Random question. Would a clone suffer from “Original Sin” Also, byextension, would it have a soul? – A Question I was asked by a friend. My Answer is below.Random question. Would a clone suffer from “Original Sin” Also, byextension, would it have a soul?
An interesting question. One I quess that by the time I’ve answered this, your going to wish you hadn’t asked.
First, we need to define “Original Sin”. To do that, I’m going to make a few assumptions. The first is that your talking about the popular understanding of “Original Sin”. This is the one that is taken primarily from the thought of St. Augustine. This is taking to assume that Original Sin begins with what is known as the “fall”narrative in Genesis 2:8-3:28, and talks about Eve being convinced by a snake to eat a piece of fruit from the tree. This brings about the loss of intimacy with God (they are thrown out of the Garden), and they are made to toil and suffer, and of course, death enters the world. St. Augustine explored this and found that it was through intercourse that the Man passed the “stain” of Original Sin onto his offspring. St. Augustine believed that sexual desire was “bad”,like many Christians of his time, but his influence is one that Christianity has struggled to throw off.
The theme Justified by Faith has been very much on my mind recently, with it coming to the fore as I re-read Romans in the context of a Biblical Studies class on the book. Part of the class was to use E.P. Saunder’s approach to Romans to rediscover a more authentic reading of Romans that is more in keeping with a Hellenised Jew, rather than the heroic caricature of a protestant hero that has been so prevalent since the writings of Martin Luther. This view, where the notion of Works (that it, things that you do to make yourself righteous) was thoroughly condemned was used throughout Christendom to condemn, harras and murder Jews, eventually culminating in the Nazi Holocaust, who’s legacy still reverbarates around the world, and despite widespread reaction to the evils of it, still Jews are persecuted on the back of the traditional reading of Romans.
Crucial to the understanding of this idea, is exploring St. Paul’s idea of what precisely the role of the Law is, and precisely how one is Justified by Faith, and just who’s faith are we justified by anyway?
The BBC has recently launched a new Science Fiction series called Outcasts. It starts 5 years after a colonisation expedition has arrived on a new planet that has been called Carpathia, after the ship that showed up to rescue the survivors of the Titanic. Carpathia only has one major town, called Forthaven. The society is secular, and in the first few episodes there is no mention of religion. When someone with religious conviction does show up, and offers a prayer before a deadly storm hits, he is chastised for doing so.
The plot behind this is that the transporters that brought the people to Carpathia left earth while it was beginning to destroy itself in global nuclear war. As such, the people who got onto the transporters were those who had some skill that would be useful on the new planet.
On the dying planet, decisions need to be made. This raises interesting questions:
Oh Wisdom, where art thou?
Where is your promised rest?
Upon You, and upon Your word I meditate,
I read, mark, learn and inwardly digest,
And my questions are answered by silence,
As though they are but dust and wind.
I take Your light into the world,
And bare witness to it,
Yet they question me, and call on me,
They demand that I call on You to light the Pyre,
But I have nothing, and mine enemies surround me,
My cloak will not part the waters for my escape.
And yet it is to your heart I run,
Into that which only it knows,
Where I can lay my questions at Your feet,
While I rest in that deeper Wisdom,
The trust of a child that Your lamp will guide my feet.
You will once again call me out,
To bare the burdens of deep questions,
But I will not seek Wisdom alone, and my burden will be light,
For You will carry it and me, as You have done before,
And this time perhaps I will sit at Your feet and learn,
With Wisdom as my companion.