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

A penitent people for an impenitent world

The New Jerusalem community in western Mexico was founded 35 years ago by a Catholic priest called Nabor Cárdenas in reaction against the reforms of Vatican II. According to an article in a complementary copy of USA Today that I picked up yesterday (also available online), the Virgin had appeared to a local woman and had issued a warning that the Catholic Church had gone off the rails, and that the world would come to a end in 2000. Cárdenas rallied his followers around the vision. He set himself up as an archbishop, decked himself out in papal hat and robe, celebrated the mass in Latin, and, in view of the approaching end, advised his flock to abstain from further procreation. Football, alcohol, television, radio, make-up, and state-provided services were also banned.

A Primer on Today’s Missional Church

JR Woodward has posted what looks like a very comprehensive Primer on Today’s Missional Church. It provides a list of online resources on the Missional Church: blogs, definitions, articles, book reviews, audio, video, web sites, etc. This is what he says about it: ‘A primer is designed to introduce someone to a topic substantively but not exhaustively. I say today’s missional church, because the focus will be with the recent history of the church. My hope is that God might whet your appetite for further study and practice in missional living.’ Well worth bookmarking.

On truth and knowing: Who speaks for man?

I have for some time been in the habit of encouraging Evangelicals and Catholics to explore the best that each has to offer to the larger church. Catholics often find much of modern evangelical theology and biblical studies both challenging and refreshing. Conversely, to many contemporary evangelicals who first explore Veritatis Splendor, Deus Charitas Est, or Fides et Ratio, the ground feels strangely firm beneath their feet. I want to take time, once more, to engage in this exercise in Christian ecumenism, by taking a look at a topic of great importance to all XXI century Christians alike: The relationship of interdependence between faith and reason. This topic is particularly interesting in light of the prevailing canon of postmodernism which denies the very possibility of verifiable knowledge and truth, and the various approaches to engaging with postmodernism made by Catholics and evangelicals.

Jesus is Lord: the story continues...

The topic that we will be addressing in the Christian Associates Thinklings gathering in a couple of weeks will be: ‘What does it mean to proclaim that “Jesus is Lord” in the midst of the extreme pluralism that defines postmodern European urban life?’

The question immediately suggests that what we have in mind – what we are inquiring about – is a situation of potential conflict. We are not interested simply in discovering how the confession might be understood, or misunderstood, within a postmodern context or by the different cultural and religious constituencies that comprise our pluralistic culture. The underlying assumption (indicated, I think, by the words ‘proclaim’ and ‘extreme’) is that a community that publicly recognizes Christ as Lord is likely to find itself at odds with its environment. At the heart of this, one senses, is a fundamental conflict of loyalties (this is what we would expect from the rather old-fashioned, even feudal, language of ‘lordship’) and a challenge to a prevailing culture of grudgingly tolerant scepticism.

Re-enchanting Christianity - Dave Tomlinson (a review)

Dave Tomlinson is the British author of The Post Evangelical, Running into God, and now Re-Enchanting Christianity. He is a practising priest (sounds vaguely like an unmentionable vice when put like that) - vicar of St Luke’s, Holloway in London, and has come on a long journey from being one of an ‘apostolic’ team of leaders of the early charismatic ‘new church’ movement called Harvestime, later Covenant Ministries, headed by Bryn Jones.

Son of Man is a title?

A large part of apocalyptic interpretations of the gospels center on Jesus’ supposed self identification as the "Son of Man", theoretically referring to the "Son of Man" in Daniel. However, Jesus spoke Aramaic, and from what I have read, "Son of Man" is "bar nasha", which could refer to humankind, "someone", or "I".

A theology worth embracing. Issues worth ignoring. Bringing our faith elsewhere.

I do ministry in a sensitive location. Due to a growing number of Christians but a strong government opposition to the faith we are raising up churches mostly underground. There are many different networks of churches but everyday we wrestle with what theological points are necessary to bring to these to people and what aren’t.

What should church government look like outside of America? Is it okay to dance? To drink? Can women lead or not? What’s Biblical and what’s not? What’s significant and what’s not? What are the majors that we can major in them and not the minors?

Velvet Elvis - Repainting the Christian Faith - a retrospective

Rob Bell’s first book came out in 2005. It quickly became, like Elvis himself, something of a cult - as have the NOOMA dvds, which have been around even longer. The title of the book may seem quirky, but like the book’s quirkiness has nevertheless a serious point to make: that just as the Elvis portrait is only one person’s view of him, so too our understanding of Jesus needs to be subject to interpretation. Each generation needs to ‘repaint’ Jesus for that generation.

The Gods Aren't Angry

This is the title of Rob Bell’s second tour film (the first being ‘Everything is Spiritual’) recorded live at one of the presentations. He speaks for 90 minutes, entirely without notes (there was no evidence of an autocue), and presents a message which is revolutionary, but without any appeals for salvation, healing, or much of the paraphernalia associated with some kinds of religious meeting. Very refreshing. I enjoyed it very much, and wanted to provide some sort of synopsis/review for the OST site. Especially as I have been encouraged to revisit Bell’s first book (‘Velvet Elvis: Repainting the Christian Faith’) through mention of it in a recent review of a chapter in The Supremacy of Christ in a Postmodern World by Mark Driscoll (pastor of a different Mars Hill church).

What can an emerging theology learn from preterism?

Duncan’s post on the narrative of Revelation has sparked an interesting dispute about the relationship between an emerging theology and preterism. Since the conversation isn’t directly relevant to the post, I wonder if we might explore its implications separately. It’s an opportunity to think a bit about what we mean by an emerging theology and how we might negotiate the boundaries between different dogmatic traditions as well as between modern and postmodern ways of thinking.

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