All posts by Robert Dean

Easter Encounters

“For the Church does not exist just to transmit a message across the centuries through a duly constituted hierarchy that arbitrarily lays down what people must believe; it exists so that people in this and every century may encounter Jesus of Nazareth as a living contemporary.  This sacrament of Holy Communion that we gather to perform here is not the memorial of a dead leader, conducted by one of his duly authorized successors who controls access to his legacy; it is an event where we are invited to meet the living Jesus as surely as did his disciples on the first Easter Day.  And the Bible is not an authorized code of a society managed by priests and preachers for their private purposes, but the set of human words through which the call of God is still uniquely immediate to human beings today, human words with divine energy behind them.  Easter should be the moment to recover each year that sense of being contemporary with God’s action in Jesus.  Everything the church does – celebrating Holy Communion, reading the Bible, ordaining priests and bishops – is meant to be in the service of this contemporary encounter.  It all ought to be transparent to Jesus, not holding back or veiling his presence.” – Rowan Williams, Choose Life: Christmas and Easter Sermons in Canterbury Cathedral (London: Bloomsbury, 2013), 145-46.

Xplore Series at CMU

I have been invited to return to Canadian Mennonite University and offer the six week lecture series on Dietrich Bonhoeffer that was cut short last spring due to the pandemic.  The series entitled, “Theological Resistance in Troubled Times: The Compelling Witness of Dietrich Bonhoeffer,” is being offered through CMU’s Xplore program that encourages learning among those 55 years of age and older.  My first lecture, this Thursday at 11:30 am Central Time, will provide a biographical orientation to Bonhoeffer’s life and legacy.  The series is being offered on Zoom this year, so if you fall into that demographic, you can register for $40.  You can learn more about the CMU Xplore series and register for the course here.

Newbigin’s Prophetic Insight

When I was teaching in Toronto, there was a period of several years in a row where I read Lesslie Newbigin’s Foolishness to the Greeks with my students.  I consider the book, written in 1986, to be something of a 20th century theological classic.  As evidence of that, I did try a few years ago to blog through Newbigin’s seven essentials for a church seeking a genuine missionary encounter with Western culture.  I only made it through the first four before other endeavors required my attention, but you can find links to those previous posts here. Continue reading Newbigin’s Prophetic Insight