Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell: The Theological Version

Many modern Theologians should – apparently – never ask, or tell, the following:

Don’t ever ask what the Bible says,  it won’t conform to the answer you desire.

Don’t ever tell anyone what you really think, it will make you unpopular.

Don’t ever ask your colleagues why they think they’re right, they will find you distasteful.

Don’t ever tell an atheist that he’s wrong.  The swine will angrily turn on you and savage you.

Don’t ever ask emergents how they have arrived at their position, they won’t have a scriptural answer.

Don’t ever tell the seeker sensitive they’re wrong, they aren’t in their minds, and for them, that’s the only thing that matters.

Don’t ever ask a fundamentalist why they believe more in their ability to grasp a fact than in God.

Don’t ever tell a fundamentalist that they are the same thing as an atheist; both have exalted their own understanding above heaven and they don’t appreciate it being pointed out.

Don’t ever ask a Lutheran how Christ can be everywhere at once bodily (as they assert happens in the Supper) or they will exalt at your death.

Don’t ever tell someone that homosexual behavior is contra-scriptural.  You’ll instantly fall out of favor with them.

And finally, don’t ask for someone’s opinion if you don’t really want to hear it.  If they have substance, they’ll tell you it.

These are, it seems, the rules of the modern theologian- things they must not ask or ever tell.  Because if they do, they’ll just provoke loathing. Which reminds me of a tune on that very subject…

Elio Jucci: Between Beginning and End- Glares of Light in the Jewish Tradition

That’s the title of of an essay by Professor Jucci in a new volume itself titled Representing Light Across Arts and Sciences: Theories and Practices.

[Here’s the URL in case the link above doesn’t work.  Oddly when I copy it the blank spaces are filled in with code and then the link itself doesn’t work for me.   http://lettere.unipv.it/seth/ej/Jucci – Glares of Light.pdf]

It should be of interest to numerous readers here.

Tyndale Is Launching a New Site

Tyndale writes (for those of you who didn’t get the email)

On February 1st we will be introducing a newly designed, more user friendly, and information packed site.

And here’s the part I think you’ll appreciate:

To celebrate the launch of this new site, Tyndale is giving away four books a day in the following categories: Fiction, Non-Fiction, Bibles, and Kids. All you have to do is visit the site to sign up. If you don’t win one day, keep coming back to sign up, and visit www.tyndale.com starting on February 1st for a chance to win!

Conference Announcement: Mercer University Lectures

Dr. Kwok Pui Lan, a pioneer in Asian feminist theology and postcolonial theology, has been named Mercer University’s 2010 Harry Vaughan Smith Distinguished Visiting Professor of Christianity. Dr. Kwok will give three lectures in February as part of her appointment. Each lecture is free and open to the public.

The William F. Cole Professor of Christian Theology and Spirituality at the Episcopal Divinity School, Dr. Kwok is an internationally known theologian who has been a pioneer in developing postcolonial theology and a theological critique of empire. She is also a noted Asian Christian feminist theologian and has created a network of theologians from developing countries committed to developing new ways of reading scriptures and traditions in light of the demands of the 21st Century.

Dr. Kwok will speak in Newton Chapel on Mercer’s Macon campus. Each lecture will build upon the theme “Christianity in the 21st Century.” The times and subjects of each lecture are:

“Postcolonialism and World Christianity” — Tuesday, Feb. 23, at 10:50 a.m.

“The Bible and Sexuality: Does the Church Have Anything Good to Say about Sex?” — Tuesday, Feb. 23, at 7:30 p.m.

“Obama, American Empire, and Prophetic Christianity” — Wednesday, Feb. 24, at 10 a.m.

True Words

Jeff Oien on sarcasm: ‘Sarchasm : The gulf between the author of sarcastic wit and the person who doesn’t get it.’

There must be a considerable gulf separating me from some of my readers- I’m from hence calling it ‘sarchasm’.

Bullinger: On the Office of the Prophet

A public lecture read on Karlstag, in 1532 (i.e., the 28th of January).

Zwingli had been dead a scant three months when Bullinger, having just arrived in Zurich to be Zwingli’s replacement, offered his views on the work of the Prophet.  The speech / sermon / public lecture is brimming with a fiery (if not as fiery as Zwingli) call for preachers to be prophetic.  Yet, it also calls on them to be sensitive to their times and situations.

It’s a fabulous work, summarized in one fine phrase (or perhaps summarizable) –

Der Prophet seine Regel hat: die Gabe des Glaubens und der Liebe. … als Mitschüler, nicht als Richtersind sie zu lesen.

And then this very sage bit of advice

Bete zum Herrn, dass er dich mit seinem Geist erleuchte, damit du die Dinge, die vom Geist eingehaucht worden sind, auch durch den Geist als Lehrmeister verstehst.

The editor of this booklet remarks in the introduction

Nicht jeder Prophet und schon gar nicht jeder reformierte Bürger muss ein so konfliktträchtiges Leben führen wie der streitbare Leutpriester.

I would add that many are called, but few are chosen to ‘ein so konfliktträchtiges Leben führen’.

Bullingers piece, then, is all about peace.  He didn’t have quite the stomach for conflict that his predecessor did.  Not everyone does.

Striking A Balance

Calvin steers us between the proverbial ‘rock and hard place’ in discussing human sinfulness.  He observes

… when a person is stripped of all good, from that he too quickly takes occasion for carelessness. Because he is told that of himself he has no power to do good, he does not bother to attempt it, as if it were none of his business.

On the other hand one cannot accord him the least little thing or he will puff himself up with vain confidence and rashness, and will also steal an equal degree of honor from God.

In order not to fall into such contradictions, we must keep this rule: that, when they have been taught that there is no good in themselves and that they are tangled up in misery and need, people may nevertheless understand how they ought to desire the good of which they are empty, and the freedom of which they have been deprived — and may be even more intensely driven and pushed to do that, than if one made them believe that they had the greatest power in the world.

There is no one who does not see how necessary this second point is, that is, to awaken people to their heedlessness and laziness.

People are sinful and depraved.  But that fact must never be allowed to grant them laziness or lack of effort.  Rather, that fact should goad them towards the goal of being better (which they can only accomplish by being in Christ).

Without the prod, the herd stands unmoved.

Total Depravity: The Molesting Mother Edition

A 41-year-old Nebraska woman is accused of having sex nightly with her teenage son when he was in seventh and eighth grades, officials said Wednesday. Omaha Police said the now 15-year-old boy reported the alleged abuse last week to a counselor, who notified authorities. The boy told police his mother was addicted to prescription drugs when the alleged abuse took place in 2008 and 2009 while he lived with her in Omaha.

The AP isn’t naming her, since her son is the victim of sexual assault.  That poor kid.  Behold, what addiction hath wrought.    The pot worshipper in the previous post may want to consider what happens to drug addicts.  They’ll do anything to get drugs and anything when they’re on them.

Another Haiti Miracle

This is very happy, miraculous, news indeed:

A French search team that wouldn’t go home pulled off another “miracle” rescue in Port-au-Prince, lifting a 17-year-old girl alive from beneath this cityscape of rubble. Above ground, hundreds of thousands of other survivors hoped for a breakthrough of another kind — in delivering badly needed food aid.

Brilliant!  Continue to pray for these benighted folk.

Being Stoned isn’t A Religious Right

A Colorado man says marijuana is the main sacrament of his religion and a drug charge against him violates his First Amendment rights. Trevor Douglas of Avon says he belongs to the Hawaii-based THC Ministry but was cited with marijuana possession after a Colorado state trooper pulled him over for having an expired license plate. The 25-year-old allegedly had less than an ounce of marijuana and a pipe.

Oh come on man, be real. Don’t try to cover your drug addiction under the cover of ‘religion’. Just be honest and admit that you’re a pot-head who likes to ramble around without any motivation to contribute meaningfully to society because you’d rather stare at your navel lint and be done with it. Being stoned isn’t a religious right- it’s blind unfettered ignorance.

The State of the Union Is…

Messed up.  So the Associated Press has taken a look at the facts in the President’s address and weighed them in the balances, finding a number of them wanting.

For instance

OBAMA: He called for action by the White House and Congress “to do our work openly, and to give our people the government they deserve.”
THE FACTS: Obama skipped past a broken promise from his campaign — to have the negotiations for health care legislation broadcast on C-SPAN “so that people can see who is making arguments on behalf of their constituents, and who are making arguments on behalf of the drug companies or the insurance companies.” Instead, Democrats in the White House and Congress have conducted the usual private negotiations, making multibillion-dollar deals with hospitals, pharmaceutical companies and other stakeholders behind closed doors. Nor has Obama lived up consistently to his pledge to ensure that legislation is posted online for five days before it’s acted upon.

Nothing changes in Washington, in spite of the rhetoric spewed by members of all political parties.  But that’s because politicians, and citizens, are looking in the wrong direction for solutions.