“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.
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
I sometimes challenge my students to reflect more deeply upon the reality of the Christian faith in our post-[insert your choice of noun here: Christian, modern, secular, truth, etc.] context by inverting the popular cultural slogan and claiming that I’m “religious but not spiritual.” Continue reading More Religion?
In 1962, the Swiss theologian Karl Barth made his one and only trip to the United States. The visit was a whirlwind tour, eagerly followed by the media, that saw him deliver lectures at the University of Chicago and Princeton that would be published as Evangelical Theology and even visit San Quentin maximum security prison seven years before Johnny Cash would make it there. On several occasions Barth spoke out about the wretched conditions he witnessed in American prisons. He knew a thing or two about prison conditions from his regular preaching to the inmates in Basel. Continue reading Every Christian is a Politician
““ Peace ” is also finally an apocalyptic concept . It cannot be separated from conflict . Peace with God means conflict with the world , even as peace with the world means conflict with God . The peace that passes all understanding is a peace that remains restless until the end. Continue reading Apocalyptic Peace
A penetrating excerpt from Adam Neder’s excellent little book, Theology as a Way of Life: Continue reading The Challenge of Teaching the Faith Today