A Responsible Christianity

A Responsible Christianity

With my work with the Chaplaincy at Macquarie University we have been exploring the idea of a responsible theology - an expression of the faith which is responsible to the world we find ourselves.

"Because, and this has long been pointed out, too much theology is irresponsible. Theologies of submission and sacrifice have guilted too many women into staying in abusive relationships. Theologies of God as powerful monarch have made synonymous the good character of God with the virtues and traits of white male authoritative figures. Too many sermons on salvation as rescue have fostered utilitarian and anthropocentric views toward the non-human world. And this doesn’t mean that we can’t talk about, for example, Christ’s sacrificial and self-giving love, it just means that we should keep in mind the dangers and walk the path responsibly, offering the odd caveat or clarification."
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Introducing Christianity

Introducing Christianity

As an intellectual exercise I chose 6 books from this millennium that I would pick as a kind of introduction/getting deeper into Christianity. Check out the what and the why and then sound off in the comments with what you would choose.

"After covering trends in world theology, the Godhead, and the crucifixion it's time to get into the Bible. Here, like with the following book, I decided that rather than an overview of the Old or New Testament I would go with a book on one book."
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James Cone and #BlackLivesMatter

James Cone and #BlackLivesMatter

How James Cone's ground-breaking, earth-shaking, woke-inducing, God of the Oppressed connects with the #BlackLivesMatter movement and speaks into (or against) the unfortunately too common response of 'all lives matter'.

Image of James Cone speaking at the Rall Lectures in 1969 in the Chapel of the Unnamed Faithful.

"Cone’s work grants a new perspective on those who criticise “Black Lives Matter”, insisting on the adoption of the ‘universal’, “All Lives Matter”. Cone (dealing with this before we had #’s) counters, that yes, all lives do matter, just as all are oppressed, but when the person contending that is not a member of the oppressed it becomes another way to silence those crying for liberation."
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We are, indeed, worthy

We are, indeed, worthy

Worship songs which stress our unworthiness not only miss the story of Scripture, but are also a danger for those struggling with depression and feelings of worthlessness. Painting by Heather Miller

"Jesus’ preferential option for the poor seems much more concerned with lifting the worth of an individual (not only societally, but in their own view of themselves in relation to God) than in ascertaining whether the appropriate belittling has already taken place."
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Outside In

Outside In

Is Christianity just another Inside/Outside division? Is it the only one? Is the the dissolution of all such boundary markers? Is this post solely questions? Not solely, no. 

"Does not Christianity revolve around the outsider, the wholly other? Because Christ, who being in very nature of God (eternally inside), did not consider being inside with God something to be used to his advantage and instead made himself nothing, took himself outside, by taking the very nature of a servant, and remained committed to the outside, even to the point of death on a cross (Phil 2:4-8, loose translation)."
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Faith, Love, Hope - Characteristic Postmodern Virtues

Faith, Love, Hope - Characteristic Postmodern Virtues

Notes from a workshop I ran as part of a series on the relationship/interplay between Deconstruction and Christianity for my work with the Chaplaincy at Mac Uni. This was the opening session, introducing a number of the concepts and exploring faith, hope, and love as "unconditional" (undeconstructable) compared to their "conditioned" (constructed) counterparts belief, expectation, reciprocity.

"That is a hope I hold, but that hope might be dashed, it might not be realised – that is why it is hope and not expectation, I’m hoping in a possibility… and I believe that this is the kind of hope that we as Christians are called to have..."
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The Incompleteness of Christianity

The Incompleteness of Christianity

Despite our desire to be in control, to experience things with a sense of completion (of being all tied off, done and dusted, sorted and settled) Christianity is a way of being in the world that promotes and indeed requires things to be incomplete. Faith, hope, love, forgiveness, hospitality; these Christian virtues all operate by disturbing cycles/economies of completion... leaving things to lie unfinished and incomplete.

"Christianity revels in incompleteness. In disturbing, disrupting, and breaking cycles of completion. In refusing to let cycles continue on ad infinitum. The characteristically Christian virtues not only promote, they require, things remaining incomplete."
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The Ghost of Grace: A Christmas Carol, Tillich, Caputo

The Ghost of Grace: A Christmas Carol, Tillich, Caputo

In A Christmas Carol, Scrooge receives three ghostly visitations awakening him to the separation that exists within himself (and and between he and others). Grace has a similar ghostly quality, it haunts and it spooks - provoking us out of our apathy with a call beyond ourselves.

Image: The Muppet Christmas Carol

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Jesus the trump card

Jesus the trump card

An extended reflection in two parts 1) why, despite the move away from Christianity and the church's diminishing public influence, do people continue to employ Jesus as an argument in political and cultural debates. 2) With that background in mind, what positive claims about Jesus can we contribute to these discussions (in an attempt to save Jesus from becoming just another trump card).

Image from Pinterest

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Proposing a Theological Task

Proposing a Theological Task

I was recently trying to address to a question about how to nurture and create "effective and contextual mission and ministry practices". In thinking about how to respond to this, I began to think about how to respond to the question of the theological task; i.e. what is the task of theology in both communities of practice and the broader culture?

This post is an attempt at forming a helpful proposal.

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