#progGOD Is Live!!!

Last month, I posted something out of frustration. I’d been reading lots of blogs written by progressive Christians. They were quick to criticize their more conservative brothers and sisters, but it seemed to me that they almost never said anything substantive about God. So I started to wonder, What do progressive Christians think about God? I mean, I know what I think. I just didn’t know what my compatriots think.

So I asked. Say something about God, I said, Something substantive — not about Jesus or the Bible, but about God. Some started by clearing their throats, talking about why it’s so hard to write something about God, about how God can’t be summed up in a blog post, etc. I called BS and reaffirmed the challenge.

Then the posts started rolling in. Dozens of them were submitted. And that has filled me with hope — progressive Christians¬†do have substantive things to say about God.

Deb Arca, my awesome editor at Patheos, has now helped me collects all of those posts and list them on a dedicated page on Patheos. It’s called #progGOD: An Open-Source Theological Conversation. Many of you who read this blog have posts there, and I hope you’re as gratified as I am to see the abundance of good and interesting theology in the list.

I think that #progGOD deserves to be broadcasted far and wide. I really hope that you will post the link on Facebook and Twitter and Pinterest and, of course, on your own blog. Progressive Christians take some deserved grief for being cagey about saying constructive things theologically; we seem to be more inclined toward deconstruction. But #progGOD shows another side, a constructive side, and the world should see that.

We’re going to have more challenges for progressive theo-bloggers, probably about one per quarter. So, watch this space for your next challenge. In the meantime, enjoy reading all of the great posts at #progGOD.

The Questions that Haunt Christianity

Questions That Haunt Christianity

Today, we start a new series here at Theoblogy. It’s called The Questions that Haunt Christianity, and it will be my attempt — as a theologian — to address the issues that keep people from faith.

I’m not afraid of doubt. I, myself, am a doubter. But I consider a large part of my vocation as a Christian theologian to proffer intellectually honest answers to the big questions of faith.

So this series is for everyone who doubts. It’s for your friends who are agnostic and atheistic. It’s a place for them to email me a question, and get an honest answer — even if the answer doesn’t necessarily show Christianity in the best light. It’s a place for you to submit the biggest hurdle you have to fully giving yourself over to the Christian faith.

Here’s how it will work:

[Read more...]

#progGOD Posts Coming Soon!

Again, thanks to all of you who contributed to my challenge for progressive theo-bloggers to say something substantive about God. We received about 60 submissions, and they’re being curated into a page by Patheos for release early next week. You can read about it here first. :-)

And, we’ve loved doing it so much that we’re planning on quarterly challenges for progressive theo-bloggers, to live under the #progGOD heading. Let me know your suggestions for future topics.

Do Theology Before — Not After — Your Decision

Todd Littleton thinks. That’s right, he thinks.

One of the things that most bugs me about the way that my coreligionists talk about the activity of God is that they almost alway see that activity¬†ex post facto. That is, they make a decision, or something happens to them, and then they say something like, “The Lord’s hand was really in that.”

Todd Littleton pretty much calls bullshit on that in a great post about thinking theologically before and in the midst of decisions, not just after. He uses his family’s choices of where to live as the example that drives the post. Here’s a snippet:

Theology done in prospect takes Divine possibility into account first, not last. For instance, it did not specifically occur to us when we turned down Tyler a house might possibly await.

In the course of God-talk, theology in prospect calls attention to what God might do, the way God might act. Our church owns a bit of property. We have batted around the idea of selling a small parcel. During a recent discussion, Cary contended that from his perspective we might be putting an end to possibility if we sell. Who knows what growth might occur, what ministry might make use of the land, or other act where we might consider the Spirit leading.

Imagine these two sorts of conversations occurring around the same event. We Evangelicals tend to be schooled in both. We know when to employ retrospect. And, we know when to suggest prospect. It is when these two collide that we face the interpretive battle. Whose interpretation? Whose meaning? And, how could God-talk divide us.

What we need is a good dose of deconstruction. But, too many immediately consider this destruction. Religious pundits spout accusations of relativizing the truth. They spend much more time assessing the cultural implications often associated with postmodernism than the deeper philosophical turn that helps through the maze created when well meaning people face God-talk over the same event requiring a decision as retrospect or prospect.

He goes on to write that this kind of consideration of God-talk inevitably leads to ambiguity, paradox, and even conflict. But, he argues, that’s inherent to being a Christian.

Read the rest of Todd’s post:¬†God-talk In Conflict or, When Retrospect and Prospect Collide | The Edge of the Inside.