Tuesday, November 04, 2008

He doth prattle on

More of Geoff Little's kind attentiveness unto me...

13 comments:

robin mg lawrenz said...

Thanks for sharing this, David. I hope you don't mind...I put a link to it on one of my blogs (http://the-brown-house.blogspot.com/). I know that you just mentioned it a bit at the end, but I've been encountering a lot of "hospitality talk" lately, and I was wondering if you wouldn't mind extrapolating a bit on what you mean by "the infinite hospitality that Jesus extends" or how Christian culture can/should embody that hospitality (i.e. what would that look like?). Any thoughts??
Thanks a bunch! Robin

Ferguson said...

I think this is a proper view of Jesus' importance as a "Savior." Although, I am not inclined to think of Jesus in such a dualistic fashion, nor am I implying you are either. But, rather, I think of him as an excellent "bloke" who cared about people and who has some definite qualities of Divinity, regardless.

Joan said...

That's some talking good with words, sir.

smallerdemon said...

Indeed, if what he did and taught really meant nothing at all, why would he have to grow up to be an adult at all? Or why would he need to be cognizant human being at all? He could have been mentally disabled or autistic.

As an atheist I puzzle with great wonder over the vocal minority of people that you are touching on here, the people that ignore what Jesus DID and focus only on his role. God may as well have sent a puppy down as far as they are concerned.

I was raised in a very dichotomous environment. I went to church every Sunday while also largely drinking, smoking pot, etc. with one of the preacher's kids. Still, before I was really a teenager, my grandparents were largely taking up the role of religious teachers in my life at the time and I learned quite a bit (sadly to the exclusion of nearly all other learning in my life at the time, save science fiction and rock music) and conveying a great amount of information to me about Christianity, and for years I certainly thought of myself as a Christian. The background is still there, of course, as you can never take away one's past, but the one very interesting thing I have noticed as my father has gotten older (and was not religious at any time in my life that I lived with my parents) and more religious, and my grandmother has gracefully grown older, is that ultimately they were raising me to be a very different person than they themselves have ended up being. They have fallen prey to a lot of very brutal ideas about this new version of Christianity as spiritual warriors in the sense of violent action toward non-christians. It is puzzling to say the least. When I was a kid, my grandmother admired Jimmy Carter as a great Christian, but now I find her steeped in jingoistic Christianity instead of the type she raised me with. It is puzzling and sad and I am not sure what to do about it except let her live her life with her beliefs leading her where she thinks she needs to be.

Karen Luttrell said...

Perhaps I've been out of the Nashville bubble for too long, but as someone raised in a conservative evangelical church/home/school, I've never heard anyone respond that Jesus only came to earth to die for our sins. That idea has always been embedded with the Christian response to salvation - to reflect the compassion and mercy of Christ, by being compassionate and merciful to his children. I'm confused as to who you're speaking of, because I've never encountered that sort of Christology you describe as "low." Perhaps, they disagree with the Jim Wallis/Sojourners interpretation of the calling of Christ to serve "the least of these" through political activism - which appears to be the approach that you're promoting.

nard said...

karen, i am in disbelief over your disbelief.

i've been mixing a few sundays at a southern baptist mega church in gallatin that exemplifies the 'low christology' david is talking about. the sermons frequently make reference to christ as the instrument of personal private salvation and as an object of affection and worship, but i have yet to hear in sermons, music, or otherwise, any exhortation to emulate his life and ministry or practice his words. they seem to take most of their practical and (sorry to say) political cues from only the black print in their bibles. not that i think the red letters and the black letters are necessarily at odds, though; you know what i mean. where is the harmony?

i don't wish to run on the fumes of my outrage at the theology at work in megachurches, televangelists, and dobson's 'letter from 2012', but i still think these heretical extremes need to be reexamined in a spirit of charity and neighbor love coupled with shrewd attention to the faith we've inherited.

most sundays i just keep my head down and try to make it sound good.

Karen Luttrell said...

Nard, I was drawn to this new incarnation of the social gospel found in the Emergent Church/Sojourners movement, so my family has been going to a church begun by one of its founders for the last 2 years. I must say, it has been disappointing. They may identify themselves as red-letter Christians, but the Bible is barely even discussed. Instead, they promote a spiritualism and desire to "know" Jesus, but rarely is the subject of sin, salvation and even grace mentioned. And the rare instances when the Bible is read - the passages are cherry picked. Their advocacy for social justice largely begins and ends at the voting booth. They congratulate themselves for buying a prius, but choose to live in larger, new homes away from the city instead of smaller, older homes closer to mass transit. This church can't recruit enough people to assist with children's classes. Every pastor there I've talked to laments the lack of involvement in every ministry. Until recently, they couldn't get the contribution above 60%. I wasn't raised Southern Baptist, but I would bet that an SB church has a more active outreach in fulfilling the call of Matthew 25. Call them hypocritical, inconsistent, even manipulative in their ideology, but claiming heresy suggests an arrogance that the accuser knows better the message of the Gospel and is more successfully living that out. My experience is that no one is getting it right, but the most effective way to promote disunity among Christians is to organize as a political organization and start wagging fingers. Ultimately, Christians just become another special interest group politicians placate and lie to, and the well-intentioned just end up getting screwed. There are plenty of nonpartisan/apolitical groups that advocate for environmental stewardship and social justice. I think encouraging this would be the best opportunity of introducing others to Christ's message and the never-ending effort to live out His message in our lives.

jdaviddark said...

Thanks for this word, Karen. I've had a much richer (thought not as lengthy) experience with people associated with these movements, and folks I've talked to share and receive your criticism (inspiringly self-critical, I've found).
Nard, I'll make a note to pray a prayer of solidarity with/for you whenever i notice you aren't at DPC. I'll have in mind the funkiness to which you're being subjected even as you control the volume.
we are a beginning.

nard said...

karen, thank you for your words. i certainly relate to your frustrations. i hope i would be accurate in saying that in our repudiation of both these extremes (perhaps i need not call them heretical), we need not simply gravitate in the opposite direction, but must press toward a both/and christianity that articulates both the personal and social dimensions of forgiveness, reconciliation, the coming kingdom.

again thank you for such a thoughtful response.

M. Lumpkin said...

from my 3 year old daughter, Eleanor:
"But this man is very boring. Read me this book."

from me: thanks again for putting words to the things we think and feel --even if it seems like boring "prattling" to some.

Elizabeth Dark Wiley said...

Funny. And from MY 3 year old daughter, "Mom, Uncle David is talking to me.....about Jesus."

jdaviddark said...

Gotta love that dramatic...pause.

Derek said...

I'm always a wee bit late to the party but have three half baked thoughts: 1) reflecting on one of your (DD's) Greenbelt talks: when President Bush says, "if I had to explain it to them they would not get it" - when asked what he means when he says that Jesus is his favorite philosopher, he is saying, at least, that he does not have to explain what Jesus said, and maybe even that it does not matter...
2)in the church I attended after a became a Christian in my teens we were warned against the Social Gospel. I have since realized that the Social Gospel is no threat - it just isn't the whole Gospel...
3) following NT Wright, throughout his ministry Jesus is constantly acting out and talking about the kingdom and bringing it in. We are called to do this with him, which makes all of his words and actions - from birth through to death and resurrection - worthy of rigorous, constant attention...