OST is closed for business but its spirit survives on my blog.

One important reason that objective monotheism is a bad idea; or, How to respond to a philosophical realist/atheist in the blogosphere

Ed Yong at the blog, Not Exactly Rocket Science, discusses a recent study:

For many religious people, the popular question “What would Jesus do?” is essentially the same as “What would I do?” That’s the message from an intriguing and controversial new study by Nicholas Epley from the University of Chicago. Through a combination of surveys, psychological manipulation and brain-scanning, he has found that when religious Americans try to infer the will of God, they mainlydraw on their own personal beliefs.

Psychological studies have found that people are always a tad egocentric when considering other people’s mindsets. They use their own beliefs as a starting point, which colours their final conclusions. Epley found that the same process happens, and then some, when people try and divine the mind of God. Their opinions on God’s attitudes on important social issues closely mirror their own beliefs. If their own attitudes change, so do their perceptions of what God thinks. They even use the same parts of their brain when considering God’s will and their own opinions.

Surprised by Tom Wright - a review of Surprised by Hope

Knowing I would have a few hours to spare here and there on a recent visit to Rovaniemi, just outside the Finnish Arctic Circle (setting of the Sauna episodes in The Demise of Sir Toby’s), I took Tom Wright’s Surprised by Hope with me. I had bought the book some time ago, but irritated by a remark I thought I had seen somewhere that this book made Wright the C.S. Lewis of the 21st century, I put the book down, having skim-read it, thinking ‘Oh no he isn’t!’. I must have been mistaken about the book. Surprised by Hope is midway between popular and academic theology (I’ve yet to read Wright’s ‘popular’ books), and apologetics it isn’t. Rather, as the title suggests, it is a fresh look at the resurrection, and the nature of Christian hope. I became more enthralled the more I read, finishing the book quickly, and returning to read parts of it more slowly.

What does gleaning mean in our present context?

A few weeks ago I was in Philadelphia’s Penn (train) Station. It was late and I was hungry, so I went into the only available store: Dunkin’ Doughnuts. The store was about to close and I was talking to the lady behind the counter. I couldn’t decide what I wanted and she said that I needed to hurry and choose because when the store closed, the doughnuts were thrown in the garbage. After I purchased what I wanted, I then watched her scoop 20 or more doughnuts and pastries into brown bag, roll the top down, and stuff it into the garbage.

The World's Wisdom and God's Folly: A Gospel of Deconstruction

It’s been said that the preacher cannot exalt Christ and his own intelligence at the same time. Why not? What’s wrong with impressing the world, just a little, so that we might earn a hearing? Why was Paul so opposed to employing the rhetorical sophistication expected of public speakers by the Corinthians and others of the Hellenistic world? All rhetoric (simple or complex) is designed to be manipulative, right? What about gospel preaching?

On the Historical Origins of Intelligent Design

Over at the Thinking Christian, Tom Gilson, a proponent of intelligent design, asks: “Who Defines ID?” My goal in this essay is not to define ID, but to inquire into its origins. For Tom and ID supporters to talk about ID in the present, it first had to be possible for Tom to invoke the phrase “intelligent design.” How did “intelligent design” become possible to talk about?

A Generous Orthdoxy - Brian McLaren

I’ve only just got round to reading ‘A Generous Orthodoxy’, which makes this review at least three years late, and possibly more: McLaren’s material was made copyright in 2004. I always was a late developer.

Once I’d started the book, I was hungry to read on, as I found McLaren saying many things with which I identified, and clarifying things which I already believed, bringing them to light in a more thought-through way. The book also challenged me, as I’d come to the rather judgmental conclusion from bits and pieces that I’d read of McLaren’s that his thinking was shallow and sloppy, reflecting a background without theological training. But like McLaren, I am an English teacher who came to ‘full-time’ pastoral work later in life. I am also without formal theological training or qualifications (though I did try – ask Andrew), and am unordained into any ministry or priesthood by any branch of the church. So maybe it’s the speck and the plank.

The future of the New Testament and the Sibylline Oracles

My argument in both The Coming of the Son of Man and Re: Mission is that New Testament eschatology – that is, the interest that the New Testament has in future events – can for the most part be mapped against a historical narrative that interprets, first, the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple in AD 70 and, secondly, the eventual defeat of Greek-Roman paganism as critical events through which both YHWH and the early suffering church are justified and vindicated. This two-part vindication constitutes, in effect, the parousia event, when the church that has remained faithful to Christ under intense pressure, both from apostate Judaism and from paganism, will be rewarded – raised, exalted with Christ to reign with him throughout the coming ages.

Contextualising the faith for today and the role of the Holy Spirit

Something has been nagging away in my mind for some time about the new ‘historicist’ approach to theology, as pioneered by Wright, Dunn and the New Perspective theologians, the neo-preterists, and more radically (he would argue more consistently) by Andrew Perriman on this site. What is puzzling me is this: the difficulty which the ‘historicist’ approach (in its various hues) seems to be encountering in relating its findings in a satisfying way to present day practice.

"Gays"/"Straights" and Conservative Postmodernism

Sexual orientation, especially in terms of “gays” and “straights,” is a hot topic for many Christians. The controversy has lead many people to take some interesting stances in regard to sexual orientation.

The continuing war between Emergents and Reformed over the cross

The war in America between Emergents and Reformed is a depressing business. A recent piece by Greg Gilbert on the 9Marks blog (Not Just Important, Not Even Just VERY Important. “Of FIRST Importance.”) expresses satisfaction that defensive measures taken against the insurgents have ‘effectively cut the legs out from under “emergent” theology, considered as a system’. But the basis for this confidence seems rather flimsy. Carson’s Becoming Conversant, which I have read, and DeYoung and Kluck’s Why We’re Not Emergent, which I have read about, might knock down a straw man and frighten a number of people back into the arms of a modern orthodoxy, but I doubt that they will prove to be the ‘one-two knock-out punches’ that bring conclusive victory to the traditionalists. The effect is entrenchment, not resolution or even constructive dialogue.

Syndicate content