Archive for February 2013

Lent 2013 – day 10   Leave a comment

“He set his face to go to Jerusalem.”

Luke 9: 53 (NRSV)

IMG_0435What is one to DO in Lent?

On this 2013 journey through Lent I have been asking questions about updating one’s theology. What would that mean?

Rev. Joan Silcox-Smith has written one of the daily Lenten Reflections that I’m reading in a book called, “Diving Deeply”. Joan’s reflection for Day Ten is on the scripture that is quoted at the beginning of today’s blogpost. She raises the question of whether Jesus knew what the consequences might be when he, “set his face to go to Jerusalem?”

Do I have the courage to gather up my fortitude and begin the journey of updating my theology?

Do I continue to read re-affirming words of authors whose thoughts comfort me, or do I read those whose words I find challenging?

As with Jesus, the journey will bring consequences. Personal growth always has, in my experience.

I can only offer a prayer for the journey:

Ever-present Spirit,

you are always with us;

through every deep valley, and on every mountaintop.

Help me feel your Holy Presence,

that I might be guided in Your Way;

the Way of love and justice. Amen.

Posted February 24, 2013 by allanbaker in Christian Faith

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Lent 2013 – day 9   Leave a comment

What is one to DO in Lent?

If one is to update one’s theology, why not look for where God’s Spirit is active in God’s world today?

The image above is from a demonstration in Washington, D.C. on February 17, 2013. Thousands upon thousands of people attended. The numbers vary, and are in contrast to what one may have read in the corporate media. The demonstration had a spirit about it that reminds one of the Spirit that was alive during similar demonstrations for civil rights in the U.S.A.

There is a possibility that God’s Spirit is active in these actions that call the political elite to make decisions that respect God’s creation! After all, we know that life on God’s earth is being  diminished by a religion dedicated to consumerism and growth at all costs. This is called econotheism.

God’s Spirit has never been constrained by “organized” religion. It is always moving through God’s world where it will, not necessarily where the Christian church wills it to be. 

If we are to update our theology, we ought to be looking for where God’s Spirit of health and wholeness for all creation, and God’s dream of people living with respect IN creation, is present in God’s world.

Lent 2013 – day 8   Leave a comment

Trinity Episcopal Church - 1790

Trinity Episcopal Church – 1790

What to DO in Lent?

Is this an opportunity to update one’s theology?

Barbara Brown Taylor begins her book, “An Altar in the World” by writing:

“If I had a dollar for every time I heard someone say, “I am spiritual but not religious,”  then I might not be any wiser about what that means – but I would be richer.”

I am tempted to respond to the “spiritual but not religious” meme by responding that “I’m religious, but not spiritual”. It might be interesting to see what response that might bring. Surely, to be religious is to be spiritual. No?

If one is to be a “spiritual person”, does that not mean having a theology? If so, how does that theology relate to all of life on earth; life that began in an instantaneous “big bang”?

Spirituality is, is it not, about relationships?

Religion is, is it not, about relationships?

Posted February 21, 2013 by allanbaker in Christian Faith

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Lent 2013 – day 7   Leave a comment

IMG_0159What to do in Lent 2013?

Yes, updating one’s theology might be the beginning of a new journey into the unknown, with God’s Spirit. Was that what Sunday’s Gospel reading was about? Did Jesus model the beginning of  his ministry with a wilderness experience, accompanied by God’s Spirit?

On day 7 of Lent 2013 I received a blogpost from a friend in the Roman Catholic denomination of Christianity; Ted Schmidt.  Ted also wrote about updating our theology – no kidding!  

He says that:

“The  bigger story for Christians  is the acknowledgement that we are living in the midst of a massive paradigm shift in history, one in which the old theology is hopelessly unable to discern.”

Part of Ted’s conclusion is that:

” The Church needs to recover its “kingdom” focus, to be a herald of that evolutionary power. When it does maybe religion can make a comeback. Right now most people  have moved beyond it to spirituality.”

The full post can be found at: http://theologyinthevineyard.wordpress.com

Lent 2013 – day 6   Leave a comment

Dorway to ... ?

Dorway to … ?

What to do in Lent, 2013?

IF one is to “update one’s theology”, that would have an effect on one’s spiritual values, no?

David Hallman writes;

“When I talk about spiritual values, I am focusing on those creative, life-enhancing influences that are linked to our souls and our relationship to the spiritual dimension of existence.”*

Hallman also refers to “spiritual values” as:

gratitude

humility

sufficiency

justice

peace

love

faith

hope

*David Hallman, Spiritual Values for Earth Community

Posted February 19, 2013 by allanbaker in Christian Faith

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Lent 2013 – day 5   Leave a comment

 

"Sortie"

“Sortie”

What to do in Lent 2013?

Yes, updating one’s theology might be the beginning of a journey into the unknown with God’s Spirit.

The Gospel of Luke contains a story about Jesus being driven into the wilderness by “The Spirit” (Luke 4: 1 – 13).

 Bruce Sanguin writes that:

“At a psychological and spiritual level, wilderness is the psychic space in which transformation occurs. It is the harsh and often chaotic landscape that a soul must inhabit to undergo spiritual evolution. Wilderness is where we’ll find hope. For Jesus to evolve into the person God intended him to be, and for Jesus to be able to embrace his mission, it was necessary for him to inhabit both dimensions of wilderness(the physical dimension and the spiritual dimension). The wilderness is also where the Spirit is driving us today.”*

Updating one’s theology may mean entering an unknown space, but having the faith to undertake the journey. Am I, are we, being “driven” by the Spirit into the wilderness?

There is a prayer in the hymn book of the United Church of Canada that addresses the issue of entering the unknown. It is something like what follows:

Eternal God,

you call us to ventures of which we cannot see the ending,

by paths as yet untravelled, 

and through perils unknown.

Give us faith, we pray,

so that we may go forward with courage,

not knowing exactly where we are going,

but also knowing that your hand is leading us,

and your love surrounds us,

through Jesus, the Christ. Amen!

* Bruce Sanguin, Darwin, Divinity, and the Dance of the Cosmos, page 30

Posted February 19, 2013 by allanbaker in Christian Faith, United Church of Canada

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Lent 2013 – day 4   Leave a comment

Weathercock near Waupoos, Ontario

Weathercock near Waupoos, Ontario

What to do in Lent, 2013?

What if I were to begin to update my theology?

Who would seek medical advice from a Doctor who did not have the latest medical methodology?

Would anyone submit to serious surgery where the surgeon was using 19th, or 20th century methods? What if your pharmacist was trained in 1980, and has not taken any courses since?

Our scientific knowledge is expanding exponentially. Lawyers, teachers, and even financial advisors use the latest in knowledge and theory. Why not theologians? There is a possibility that the church at the local level (congregations) is not keeping up with the latest developments in theology. Maybe my task in Lent is to begin to update my theology?

Theologian Bruce Sanguin writes*:

“There are ways to update our faith, of course, but unfortunately these can’t be downloaded directly to our neocortex. Updates in the life of the Christian tend to be for more unsettling. This is because our religious beliefs and practices form the core of our identity. When we identify ourselves with our beliefs, an update can feel; like we’re being torn apart. Nevertheless, if we want to function optimally as people of the Christian faith, updating is even more critical in the realm of faith than it is with our computers. The predominant virus that slows us down is called “outdated beliefs.” Updating, I contend, is a work of God’s Spirit in an evolutionary universe.”

“if we want to function optimally as people of the Christian faith, updating is even more critical in the realm of faith than it is with our computers.”  Hmmmm….

* from “Darwin, Divinity and the Dance of the Cosmos by Bruce Sanguin, page 29