A Post for Tripp Fuller

“In a modern theology of nature, it is neither wise nor appropriate to reduce the fact of the divine creation to the process of God’s separating activity; for to do so calls in question the theological character of ‘theology of nature’ itself. But if we call in question the ‘theology’ in the theology of nature, the natural character of nature is threatened too. A danger of this kind is inherent in the prcess thinking of A.N. Whitehead, and in the process theology which was built upon his ideas. If the idea of creatio ex nihilo is excluded, or reduced to the formation of a net-yet-actualized primordial matter ‘no-thing,’ then the world process must be just as eternal and without any beginning like God himself. But if it is eternal and without any beginning like God himself, the process must itself be one of God’s natures. And in this case we have to talk about ‘the divinization of the world.’ God and nature are fused into a unified world process, so that the theology of nature becomes a divinization of nature: God is turned into the comprehensive ordering factor in the flux of happening.

-Jürgen Moltmann
God in Creation: A New Theology of Creation and the Spirit of God, p. 78

Interested in a Postmodern Youth Ministry Conference?

John Vest is. If you’re interested, please let him know:

I’m thinking quite seriously about hosting a children and youth ministry conference in Chicago in the fall of 2013. The particular focus is still gelling, but I want to gather together practitioners and academics to think about the following three questions:

What does religious education/faith formation for children and youth look like in a postmodern context? For example, what is the purpose, role, and shape of confirmation in a church context that embraces uncertainty and ambiguity?

What does children and youth ministry look like in a post-denominational context? Are we raising emerging generations in particular faith traditions or are we reinforcing the post-denominational trends? Does it matter?

Even more broadly, how do we effectively minister to children, youth, and families in a post-Christendom context in which church is no longer at the center of culture?

I’m thinking of calling it something like “Children and Youth Ministry in the Posts.” Chris Rodkey (somewhat) jokingly suggested “Children, Youth and a New Kind of Post-Christianity.” Whatever we call it, if this sounds interesting to you, let me know.

Drop him a line here: Children, Youth, and a (not so) New Kind of Christianity.

Ordain Thyself

For the past few months, I’ve been collaborating with a few guys on a fun little app. Today it went live on the iTunes App Store. So now, for just $.99, you can get ordained in over two dozen religions. You can learn what you believe, and even post pics of yourself in your religious vestments to Facebook and Twitter.

If you’ve got an iPhone, iPad, or iPod, give it a try and let me know what you think!

The Methodist Fiasco

As an observer and critic of denominations, I watch the United Methodist Church General Conference from afar earlier this month. And it confirmed my opinion: Of all the screwed up denominational systems, the UMC is the most screwed up.

Don’t take my word for it. Listen to Will Willimon, a Methodist bishop, writing in The United Methodist Reporter:

Methodist Bishop Will Willimon

General Conference in Tampa made history as the most expensive ($1,500 per minute!), least productive, most fatuous assemblage in the history of Methodism.  Sunday evening’s “A Celebration of Ministry” fiasco was a metaphor for our nearly two weeks at church expense: four hours of belabored supplication by the General Commission on Status and Role of Women, five Ethnic National Plans, Strengthening the Black Church for the 21st Century, United Methodist Men, Girl Scouts, Africa University and a number of other agencies I can’t remember.  A subtheme of that long night: even though we can’t cite specific fruit, please don’t force us to change or to expend less on ourselves.

Even after suffering this abuse, General Conference succumbed to the agencies’ pleadings.  In a post-GC blog, Mike Slaughter (who with Adam Hamilton eloquently—and futilely—warned GC that we must change or face certain death) told the truth: “Our denominational systems continue to resist change by protecting archaic structures.  From our seminaries to boards and agencies, institutional preservation was a strong resistant influence throughout GC.  Entrenched organizational bureaucracies resist accountability …”

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