Archive for February 2013

Lent 2013 – day 10

“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

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

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

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:

Lent 2013 – day 6

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:









*David Hallman, Spiritual Values for Earth Community

Posted February 19, 2013 by allanbaker in Christian Faith

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Lent 2013 – day 5




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

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

Lent 2013 – day 3

DSC00805What to do in Lent?

How does the physical work that we do daily fit with our spiritual growth?

“Life offers no shortage of opportunities to engage physical labor. Sometimes the work comes attached to an ice storm, offering you little choice but to freeze or to cope. Other times it presents itself to you as drudgery, which you may turn into soul work by choosing the labor rather than resenting it. However the openings come to you, they offer you the chance to bear the reality of the universe in your flesh like a thorn. The difficulty, Simone Weil says, is to look upon them with love. Succeed at that, and you can be sure that what you love is Real, leading you deeper into the More that is your heart’s desire.”

from Barbara Brown Taylor, An Altar in the World, page 153

Posted February 15, 2013 by allanbaker in Christian Faith, Inspiration

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Lent 2013 – day 2

IMG_0576What to do for Lent, 2013.

Theologian Bruce Sanguin writes about LENT*:

“We are often asked what we intend to “give up” for Lent. While this ritual can be trivialized, at its core it is a powerful spiritual practice. When we release our attachment to all that we believe is essential to our survival, we may discover that, in truth, they are addictions that are holding us captive, preventing our spiritual evolution, and stifling our capacity to proclaim and enact God’s kin(g)dom. …..

“The good news is that, as evolutionary creatures, we have the benefit of 13.7 billion years of resilience and the capacity to adapt to changing life conditions. … An ability to come through what the writer of Revelation calls “the great ordeal” is built into the fabric of our evolutionary soul.”

“Behold, the former things have come to pass,

and new things I now declare;”

Isaiah 42:9

* If Darwin Prayed by Bruce Sanguin, page 43, 44

Ash Wednesday, 2013

Sunrise at Cape Spear

Sunrise at Cape Spear

Ash Wednesday, 2013

What to do for Lent, 2013?

In 2012 I resolved to give up my silence. I resolved to initiate correspondence each day with someone who is in a position of power in this society. I planned to have each of my letters concern an issue of social justice issue. What am I called to do during Lent 2013?

What will make a difference in God’s world, and in my life as a part of this inter-connected creation?

I have resolved to read a book of daily devotions for Lent, published by the United Church of Canada, called: Diving Deeply.

A friend offered the suggestion of a carbon fast. An Anglican Bishop in South Africa has suggested this, and it would be a “good thing to do”.

Still, I’m uncertain. There is so much wisdom in James1: 22 “ be doers of the word and not hearers only”.

Lent is an important opportunity. I hope not to let it go to waste.