All The Things I've Tried that Failed

All The Things I've Tried that Failed

If I were writing a book about my work as a chaplain it could be suitably titled All The Things I've Tried That Failed. In this post I search for a different way of measuring my (our) participation in the mission of God. Exploring Moses, who the Lord knew face to face; Paul, who came in gentleness; and Christ, who set the bar at love - there's a way of 'measuring' the Christian life that subverts and redeems all manner of downward slanting graphs.

To love God and love neighbour is to be drawn beyond ourselves and our own interests – it is, first, to seek fully and forever after a God who is both entirely beyond and within. It is to praisefully devote ourselves to the hidden and invisible God who we can know intimately. It is to experience and allow ourselves to be transformed by the Spirit of fire, without being consumed, without forfeiting agency. It is, second, to seek fully and forever after the interests of our neighbours who cannot be contained, controlled, or categorised. It is to joyfully commit ourselves to their flourishing and liberation, affirming their humanity as made in the image and likeness of God. It is to experience and allow ourselves to be converted by these encounters, without ever losing the confidence that who we are, as fearfully and wonderfully made, is, when coming to rest in God, enough. 
Read More

The Gospel and Black Power: thoughts on and from James H. Cone's Black Theology and Black Power: "The Gospel of Jesus, Black People, & Black Power"

The Gospel and Black Power: thoughts on and from James H. Cone's Black Theology and Black Power: "The Gospel of Jesus, Black People, & Black Power"

The 4th post in the series on the writings of James Cone. Here I reflect on Cone's response to questions such as what is the gospel of Jesus Christ, what is the righteousness/justice of God, and whether Christian love is compatible with Black Power.

Therefore violence may be the only way to express Christian love to the white oppressor, as it is the only way to confront the white oppressor as a thou, to remain a thou in the face of the threat of nonbeing, to remain true to the worth, value, and humanity that God has bestowed through the initiating agape love, the only way to embody love as righting the wrongs of humanity because they are inconsistent with God’s purpose.

 

Read More

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."
Read More

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..."
Read More

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."
Read More