Category Archives: Uncategorized

Jesus is Lord and [?] is Not

So what does it mean, in the present, to say – like the early Christians – ‘Jesus is Lord and Caesar is not’?

Certainly, we don’t have a dictatorial leader exploiting the helpless and demanding infinitely more than we can give.

…Or do we?

Perhaps this ‘Caesar’ is not the physical, in-the-flesh dictator we picture him to be 2000 years ago. Perhaps our ‘Caesar’ is more abstract. Ethereal, but all-encompassing. Seeping into our lives with every action, inaction, and reaction.

Does not capitalism fill Caesar’s role, and as a more immediate presence? It infects our decisions almost literally by the minute.

“What will I buy? How will I pay rent? Where will I work?”

In the meantime, the underprivileged, the outcast, the helpless are left to rot in the wake of our (infinite) consumption.

But if Jesus is Lord and [capitalism] is not, then this system we participate in should be resisted, subverted, overthrown.

The gospel is not prosperity and wealth or being financially blessed. The gospel is radical equality under the resurrected Christ. And if we do not live as such post-resurrection, then we follow the false god of capitalism. We chant, with the rest of the privileged, “Capitalism is Lord and Jesus is not.”

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Friday Funday // 03.22.2013

I like Friday Funday because there’s no pressure, really. I find awesome stuff on the internet and bring it to you, dear reader.

  • (This isn’t something from the internet, but a personal thing from my week) I have spent much of the week in the midst of an eco-existential crisis, mostly because of reading Eaarth (no, that’s not a typo) by Bill McKibben. The first half of the book is meant to be a kick-in-the-teeth. McKibben basically makes the case that global warming and climate change are not simply inevitable for the future, but are already happening. There is nothing we can do to stop it. Our only choice now is to learn to adapt to a new environment and prevent more harm than we’ve already caused. For more info on Bill McKibben’s activism, check out http://www.350.org.

 

  • Maureen O’Connor from NY Mag wrote a hilarious (and spot-on) article about Netflix Adultery:

Streaming a show is intimate: You watch at your own pace, often on a personal computer calibrated for privacy. Sharing that experience, then, is a small act of interpersonal intimacy. But with every new form of intimacy comes a corollary set of betrayals. Netflix adultery may be among the pettiest of modern deceptions, but it is real. It causes rifts and guilt trips. It causes fights.

We are at the most important moment in this movement’s history – in the midst of two simultaneous tipping points that create the opportunity, if we respond correctly, to win – eliminating net CO2 emissions from the economy and securing a stable climate, though still a changed one.

Friday Funday // 03.15.2013

Maybe it’s just me, but I didn’t see a whole lot of new stuff going on this week. And I surely don’t want to post anything about the new pope, because who cares! (Just kidding. Sort of.)

If I’ve made one huge, colossal mistake over the years, it’s the expectation that the right theology can fix everything. That’s where so many evangelical and progressive reform movements fall off the tracks.

What follows is a journey through the work of artists like Shakespeare and Christopher Nolan in the hope that we can explore something of what they have unearthed of our humanity, and thereby uncover a faithful re-reading of Christianity that follows their moves ‘beyond super-nature’ to something far, far greater.

  • This was back in early February but I somehow missed it. The xx performed at the NPR Tiny Desk Concert Series!

Friday Funday // 03.01.2013

So, most of these were meant for last week. We had family in town so I didn’t get a chance to post. Anyway, here are my favorite recent things happening!

In this same way, as with Job so with Christ – as Radical Theology would have us understand: we join in the protest against, and vocalise our objections to, ideologies(/idology); be they certainty and satisfaction, from “having” the god we desire; or suggestions of hidden meanings and divine agendas in our experience…

This Socratic concept was an act of grace and humility for me. I began to accept that my worldview was but a speck in the great cosmos. In this I had to admit to myself that maybe, just maybe my understanding of the Bible as I knew it was wrong, or at least notright. My foundation was crumbling, and next I had to ask myself, ‘how then do you view the Bible?’

  • One of the posts from last week’s Atheism for Lent series relates the church to a crack house:

Crack House Church from The Work Of The People on Vimeo.

Friday Funday // 02.15.2013 (VIDEO EDITION)

This is our first Friday Funday Video Edition! Not that there’s not a lot of good writing on the internet as of late, but I just found a few awesome videos I wanted to share. Check ’em out!

A friggin’ METEOR struck in Russia yesterday:

Words cannot express how ridiculous this video is:

Fireflies by Owl City, acoustic style:

How to Write a Worship Song (In 5 Minutes or Less)… I laughed particularly loud at 3:16:

Justin Timberlake, doin’ it right:

To My Friends and Family

I’m writing this post on the backside of a conversation I had with Elaine today regarding the content of my blog posts online. She and I had a constructive conversation about the (potentially) controversial nature of some of the content I’m writing about, especially regarding my more theologically and socially conservative friends and family.

First, I would like to say that I love writing, and I’m not going to stop. It is the manner in which I feel I can best express myself, my thoughts, and my faith. It also helps me to work through various theological and philosophical issues, and helps me to become a better writer overall. Nonetheless, my views are my own, and they are subject to change – as I think they should for everyone.

Second (and with complete honesty and openness), I recognize that many of the issues I have written about – and no doubt, will write about – are controversial (to some) in nature. To be clear, I am not simply choosing to write about topics that are controversial for controversy’s sake. I write about them because they are important to me right now, I find them interesting, and I want to have an open and honest discussion with people from all walks of life about these issues – whether you agree or disagree with me. However, while some of you may find my treatment of topics to be over-the-deep-end theologically, or too liberal or emergent or whatever, this is not the case with a large population of theologians and Christians across the nation.

In other words, to you, I might seem too liberal. To others, I am seen as too conservative.

I write because I love it, and because I love talking about God. I also love having healthy, constructive discussion and debate. If you agree or disagree with me regarding something I post, please leave a comment on this blog or on my Facebook page. If you would like to better understand where I’m coming from or why I think a certain way, respond by having a conversation with me – not by talking about how “concerned” you are for me, or immediately attacking my viewpoint. I don’t mind disagreement, but I won’t take any kind of belligerence or ignorant attacks seriously. This, I feel, is the way forward for all of us.

Thanks for reading, and thanks for being supportive. Grace and peace to you all.

Hope

I apologize for the lack of posting lately. Spring break was a couple of weeks ago, and during that time I was busy finishing up my senior paper, preparing a presentation on it, getting a cold, attempting to spend time with my family during much-needed time off, and countless other obligations. Blogging always takes a backseat, and for that, dear readers (like there are really that many! Haha!), I am sorry.

I had the pleasure yesterday of turning in my senior paper, Twentieth Century Theology paper (basically on the same subject), and abstract. I also presented on my senior paper and led a class discussion on Peter Rollins. I must say, I was (and am) greatly affected by his thoughts on theology and philosophy. Though I cannot say I completely agree with everything he has to offer – I don’t think that should be the case for anyone – I can say that his work provides great insight into what I would consider a healthy view of Christianity. This is especially true when it comes to holding our “beliefs” at arm’s length, and allowing ourselves to question our assumptions and theological presuppositions. As I’ve said before, when we regard our beliefs as absolutely true and do not even consider the possibility that we might be wrong, our beliefs become poisonous – not only to ourselves, but to those around us. And I mean this for all of our beliefs.

However, I should mention that I think there is a time and a place for differing views of theology. Rollins would have us believe that at the core Christianity lies a constant state of meaninglessness and a constant need for the deconstruction of our beliefs. I think this can be healthy, to an extent. Nevertheless, I also think a constant reflection on the apparent meaninglessness of life can lead to utter despair. This is something I experienced firsthand as I became more and more entrenched in Rollins’ theology.

To be honest, though I think that Rollins has something good to offer those who find themselves in the Christian tradition, I think that his theology lacks holism. The New Testament writers, though they affirmed the need for an individual to experience Christ’s Crucifixion, also affirmed joy, hope, and peace. Take Paul writing to the Philippians, for example. Though he should have been the first candidate for affirming the absence of meaning in a given situation, he instead writes:

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God,which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you (Phil. 4:4-9).

This view of the Christian faith does not seem to be a part of Rollins’ Christianity. Though the reflection on and enacting of the Crucifixion in our own lives is a necessary part of Christianity (and by this I mean the felt loss of God as the deus ex machina, or the one who provides us with meaning), there is an “after.” Though I also think it is necessary to revisit, time and again, the real (non)meaning of the Crucifixion, it is also necessary to recognize that if we do not move past this, we will fall into despair. Truthfully, the Gospel is not only a Gospel of death, but a Gospel of life. And, I would argue, not one that simply lives in spite of that loss of meaning, but finds new meaning in the aftermath of the felt experience of God.

I’m not saying I understand what this might entail. I have simply come to realize that Christianity, throughout the ages, affirms both the loss of meaning and the retention of hope.

If you would like to check out Peter Rollins’ work (I think you should! After all, I have spent the last three months saturated in his work.), check these out below:

How (Not) to Speak of GodInsurrection: To Believe Is Human To Doubt, Divine

Fidelity Of Betrayal, The - Towards a Church Beyond Belief