Ready for the Road Trip? process prep

in just a few shorts days folks will start to wander on down to the foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains, to the Claremont School of Theology for the 2012 Emergent Village Theological Conversation.

You can follow along and ask questions on Twitter at #EVTC where the main sessions will also be streamed live.

Some of you will be looking to download some last minute audiological goodness for your journey.
Here are some suggestions:

Philip Clayton was interviewed on Doug Pagitt’s radio show. Link is here [all of these are also available on I-tunes]

 Process Poetics with Catherine Keller

John Cobb on Christology (an early HBC interview)

Monica A. Coleman  on Process and Pluralism

Bruce Epperly on Process 101

TNT: Conversation Preparation all about the conference.

Robert Mesle introduces Whitehead’s thoughts

 

If you are looking for some reading on the flight here is Epperly’s Guide for the Perplexed on KINDLE!!  available for instant download for 9.99.

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Jesus loves you … some more than others?

In recent weeks both Tim Tebow and Marc Driscoll have been hot button topics of conversation in my circles. The whole thing peaked this week when Tebow was knocked out of the playoffs and Driscol was interviewed on a popular British radio show.

In the Driscoll interview (he was going after the host because his wife is a pastor) he said something that is hugely troubling about its implications for the value of certain types of people. Driscoll was asking about how many young single men have come to Christ in the past year. Not how many people, but how many of them were men. Still not satisfied, he asked about what kind of men they were – were they strong men?

 

Do you see the sequence? (some might call it a pecking order)

He asked not about numbers of people who came to Christ, not about Church health or the British context (ie. implications of having a Church of England)

  • How many were men … specifically young single men.
  • Not men in general, but a specific type of man (strong)

Some may want to simply dismiss this as an eccentric fascination of an isolated mentality. I beg to differ.  I see this as a ongoing, if below the surface, mentality that is pervasive in the North American Protestant-Evangelical-Charismatic camp (also known as ‘my people’).

I have written recently that we may worship success more than any God – and I don’t want to make sweeping generalizations about the fallout of the 20th centuries rejection of the Social Gospel or the inherent downside of anti-intellectualism that is still widely pervasive – what I am saying is that Driscoll’s views and Tebow’s fans are not an anomaly. They are the logical end expression of an underlying belief about who God is and how God works.

 

The Driscol-Tebow controversies are merely the public manifestation of an underlying theology surfacing in examples that bring to the public’s attention to what is always bubbling just below the surface – or behind the closed doors of the sanctuary.

The Gospel as it is configured in some quarters is surprising to those who are outside this stream. Does Jesus love everyone? Technically, yes. Is there a type of person that Jesus loves more … or a part of that person (soul, gender, etc.) that Jesus is more interested in?

If this concept is completely foreign to you – I may need to come at this a different way:

I had a chance to talk to a faithful saint who suffers from a chronic degenerative disease. She found a piece that I wrote about why we need to move away from old understandings about curses. She had undergone more than a decade of people ‘discerning in prayer’ that someone had placed a curse on her when she was younger and then attempting through intercession and deliverance to break the enemy’s power over her.

She was intrigued by my insistence that God was not picking and choosing who to intervene for and which situations to interfere in. She had heard last week’s interview with John Cobb where he said that we believe that God is doing in every situation all that God is able to do that in situation.

This is a radical assertion and a sharp departure from the common belief about how God can and does work in the world.

I told her about an old interview that Tripp did with Bruce Epperly where Tripp paraphrased him by saying “God does not hold out or run out”.   Think about the implications of those two statements:

In every situation God is doing everything that God is able to do

God does not hold out or run out

I love this view of God. Some people get really upset because God is not as powerful as the Zeus-Caesar (theos) character they have been told lives up in the heavens watching us all and intervening/interfering according to ‘His’ will. But we are actually saying that God is powerful – its just that God’s power is a different kind of power from the unilateral and coercive power that has classically been ascribed to the Divine Being.

In this past week’s TNT I said that I thought something really positive came out of the pushback we got from our cross-efforts with Rachel Held Evans and Kurt Willems. It became clear that Process-Relational thought really is saying something quite different than classical theologies based on Imperial assumptions and Greek metaphysics.

This is not a simple tweak of the existing system (like Open theology). This is not a program that you just download and install into your already in place operating system. It is not a patch that employ to get rid of the bugs and kinks in the classical program. Relational thought is a different operating system (to use the fun Mac v. Microsoft Windows analogy).

I am excited about the upcoming Theological Conversation Jan 31-Feb 2  between the Emergent Village and Process-Relational thought. I am not under the impression that P-R is for everyone or that many folks will ‘convert’. But I am hopeful that we can engage, in a significant way, the ongoing and persistent glitches that  (while they may rarely come to full blown Driscoll-Tebow levels) are perpetually just below the surface.

 

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Entry level Process

Some exciting things have been happing in this little corner of the conversation :

Rachel Held Evans put up Tripp’s blog about how God is not omnipotent

Our TNT podcast about why people should come to the Emergent Conversation this month is getting great feedback.

People are finding Marjorie Suchocki’s entry level PDF super helpful.

The schedule for the conference came together and looks amazing!

Bruce Epperly’s podcast with me continues to generate conversation.

I was reviewing his book Process for the Perplexed and found this quote that continues to rock me:

The world emerges from the dynamic interplay of flux and permanence, in which the eternal and unchanging finds its relevance through its relationship to the temporal and changing world, and the temporal and changing finds completion in its role as contributing to the ongoing universe, embraced by God’s everlasting and ever-expanding experience of the universe… God is not the exception to the dynamic nature of the universe, but rather the dynamic God-world relationship is the primary example of creaturely experience in its many expressions.

I am so excited that so many are open to having this dialogue about a faith that really a) works and b) makes sense.

 

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Keeping up with Epperly

I was so pleased to turn on the Doug Pagitt radio show podcast and hear the voice of Bruce Epperly. Several months ago I had the chance to interview Dr. Epperly – he made my job pretty easy.

As we get ready for 2012 Emergent Village Theological Conversation – which will feature conversation partners like Epperly – I wanted to highlight 3 recent connecting points with his work.

Doug Pagitt Radio Show (hour 2)  - also available on I-tunes

Blog about the Incarnation over at Patheos

A quote from his book “Process Theology: a guide for the perplexed

The world emerges from the dynamic interplay of flux and permanence, in which the eternal and unchanging finds its relevance through its relationship to the temporal and changing world, and the temporal and changing finds completion in its role as contributing to the ongoing universe, embraced by God’s everlasting and ever-expanding experience of the universe… God is not the exception to the dynamic nature of the universe but rather the dynamic God-world relationship is the primary example of creaturely experience in its many expressions. – p 21

I find Dr. Epperly’s thinking and writing to be so accessible and helpful for really wading into a thoughtful engagement.

Two other points of interest: 

You can get Doug Pagitt’s books – like Church in the Inventive Age – on Kindle instantly if you need a book for the plane flight home this holiday season.

My mentor Randy Woodley was on Doug’s show for Thanksgiving to talk about Native American theological and historical perspectives. It was a fantastic 46  minute interview

 

a thought from the blog listed above:

…God is present in every moment of experience as the source of possibilities and the energy to embody these possibilities in everyday life. Accordingly, we are all, in varying degrees, incarnations of divine wisdom and creativity. The greater openness toward God’s presence in our lives, the more God can be present, guiding, energizing, and inspiring our lives.  Jesus’ uniqueness is not to be found in an absolute discontinuity between God’s presence in his life and God’s presence in our lives, but in the nature and intensity of God’s presence in Jesus’ life.

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