Get “The New Christians” for Cheep!

Amazon has dropped the price of my book, The New Christians: Dispatches from the Emergent Frontier to its lowest price (in paperback) ever – $8.51.

Now’s the time to buy!

The Silence of Jesus (on Homosexuality)

I’ve been thinking more about the post I wrote last week about Daniel Kirk‘s new book, Jesus Have I Loved, but Paul?: A Narrative Approach to the Problem of Pauline Christianity.

Daniel takes a generous but conservative posture toward homosexual behavior in chapter nine of his book, the chapter that I was asked to review. He gets there by doing three things: [Read more...]

False Dichotomies, True Love, and Homosexuality

This post is part of a blog tour for Daniel Kirk‘s new book, Jesus Have I Loved, but Paul?: A Narrative Approach to the Problem of Pauline Christianity.  See all the posts at the blog tour hub.

OK, I’m going to be a little tough on my friend, Daniel Kirk, in this post. Daniel is, admittedly, to my hermeneutical right. He’s a New Testament prof at my alma mater, Fuller Seminary, and I have a great deal of respect for him. But the chapter in his new book on homosexuality, while more generous than many evangelicals, falls short. It does so because it recapitulates the familiar meme, Love the Sinner, Hate the Sin.

Mason Slater has already done a fine job of summarizing the chapter as a whole, so I won’t repeat that here. The bottom line for Kirk, as Slater sees it, is this:

But the real thesis of the chapter, the theme that (rightly I think) trumps everything else, is love.

Central to our calling as Christians is love of others, and it is here that much of the church has failed spectacularly in its approach towards the GLBT community.

Jesus sums up the entire law with “Love the Lord your God with all your … and, love your neighbor as yourself” and then when asked who this neighbor might be, Jesus tells a parable which turns all the audience’s expectations upside-down and shows a hated outsider as more faithfully following the way of Jesus than the religious insiders.

There is, in Kirk’s book, the now-familiar self-flagellation that thoughtful evangelicals do when recounting how horribly they’ve treated gays over the past few decades. And that’s right, they have treated gays horribly, and they should repent. We all should.

However, it’s this paragraph in Kirk’s chapter that I think shows how he fails to embrace a truly narrative hermeneutic, and one that would free him to really love the gays who are in the church:

[Read more...]

God in Creation – A Defense of Panentheism

I’m currently re-reading God in Creation, Jürgen Moltmann’s ecological doctrine of creation.  It’s my third time through the book — maybe fourth. It’s a beautifully written systematic theology text.  In the preface, Moltmann admits that he didn’t mean to write a thorough monograph on the doctrine of creation, but the more he got into the subject, the more topics he felt he had to cover.

He addresses some pretty cool topics, which will be out-there for some readers. For instance, the Kabbalistic idea of God’s tzimtzum is central to Moltmann’s understanding of how an all-consuming God made room for a creation that is other-than-god. Moltmann also turns to Jewish theology for the understanding of God’s Spirit as Shekhinah — that is, presence.

I’ll be exploring these ideas in posts as I read through the book, especially in light of the interest in Process Theology that’s being generated here and elsewhere.

But what’s likely to generate the most interest here is Moltmann’s wholehearted defense of panentheism. How Moltmann’s panentheism intersects with and differs from Process Theology is something that I definitely want to explore.

If anyone wants to read along with me, jump in!