Friday, November 9, 2012

The Things I've Read

Blogging is so much easier when you just read the stuff written by other people and post it on your own blog.

Reformed Christian theologian Kevin Hargaden wrote two excellent posts on some of the liturgical symbols of the modern state: the flag and the poppy. With these symbols citizens remember the dead and hold onto eschatological hope. The church, however, has been given different symbols. We've been given bread and wine to remember a different kind of death/dead and a different kind of hope. 

Perhaps the problem with the Presbyterian Church in Ireland -- if I can be so bold as to begin a sentence like that -- is that it doesn't remember that we've been given these symbols. I'm currently attending (?) a Presbyterian church in Belfast, and have worshipped in Presbyterian churches in the past on roughly ten Sundays. As far as I can remember, not once did I participate in communion during those services. If the church is to resist the narrative of violence that underlines the state's authority and makes our subservience to it intelligible, we can do little more than to remember what we've been given.

Jordan Mattox has written a good piece on Pete Rollins and the movement he is associated with. His conclusion is on target:

Like the new age movement, Rollins movement seems a perfect fit for the guilty and anxiety-ridden liberals. If he wants to break from the system, I am not certain that the answer will be found in theological therapy of this kind. Theology then becomes a way to deal with the anxiety of being human and that is not the telos of Christianity.

Which brings me back to Kevin, who can be quoted as saying that what Ikon and its kind need to do is read more Karl Barth. Rollins's aphorism that to believe is human, to doubt is Divine is, at best, self-serving. At worst it is how not to speak about God. Basing your doctrine of God on Jesus's cry of "My God my God, why have you forsaken me?" is like basing your justification of violence on Jesus's clearing of the temple. The words and the action need to be seen as part of a much larger narrative that tells the story not of doubt and fear and -- never far behind -- violence, but of faith, hope and love.

Finally, Daniel Kirk posted this on his blog. If you are what Hauerwas calls "an animal that has learned to pray", then do please pray as I consider what my next step is going to be.

1 comment:

  1. The holy spirit told me to tell you to come to Aberdeen with us. And then stay on and do your PhD also.