Here’s our first attempt to make an invite video…
Here’s our first attempt to make an invite video…
Listen and learn with your favorite liquid refreshment.
Here’s our first attempt to make an invite video…
The second season of The Story of God with Morgan Freeman kicks off this week on Monday night, January 16th. I am pretty excited about the National Geographic Channel picking the show back up. I have enjoyed the show and all the conversations Morgan and friends have inspired. We are living in a time where awareness and understanding of the diversity of religions across the globe is needed and this show puts it on display.
Barry Taylor and I will be bringing back the Story of God-cast
where we discuss, unpack, and get nerdy about each episode. If you have yet to subscribe (or leave a nice review) do it!
We also share a bit about our upcoming online class this February – Questions for the Believing Skeptic. You can sign-up for the fun today.
Prepare yourself, because we are about to get all Cappadocian up in the podcast.
Brian Matz, Fontbonne University’s Endowed Chair in Catholic Thought, is talking about his book Gregory of Nazianzus. Why look at an old church father like Gregory? Brian gives several great reasons why more Evangelical communities are embracing the church’s historical and liturgical traditions:
Brian then dives deep into the life of Gregory of Nazianzus, the reluctant pastor who wanted to do great things but hated the limelight, the Nicene Creed and it’s legacy in Gregory’s life, how he refines monotheism through his discussion of the Trinity, theology as a reflection on our baptismal practices and our belief in salvation, what it means to participate in the divine life of God, how he used the language and ideas of the culture around him to explain and translate his deep personal relationship of Father, Son, and Spirit to others – and how we can do the same.
Not to mention his amazing Easter sermon and his commitment to social justice for the poor and the oppressed.
Do you often ponder yourself and how awesome you are at Madden while smoking a swisher sweet? Do you ever find yourself looking in a mirror with a sexy gaze, unable to stop winking at your image as you shoot a finger gun? Do you ever non-ironically dance the Roger Rabbit at weddings?
Then you might be God in the context of a theology of glory.
I might be speaking to the choir on this one. I’ve not heard much about a theology of glory on ol’ Homebrewed Christianity, and I’m glad for it. So, folks, let’s team up here make fun of the most pernicious type of Christian theology I can think of: theologies of glory. Here’s what they are and why they’re as helpful to theology as a bear doing your dishes is to your household economy.
Theologies of glory sum up all of God’s actions in the world to be done for the sake of bringing praise, glory, or some kind of honor to God. God acts so as to make himself known and, in making himself know, sits back with a Zima, his feet directly on your dining room table, and belches in a third-person epithet, “YHWH rules!”. This might not sound bad at first. Since when is “God making himself known” a bad thing, we might ask? Well, never—so long as the subject of that knowledge is not God’s self, which is precisely what a theology of glory presupposes.
Yep, in a theology of glory, which we can find in many otherwise awesome and awesomely named theologians such as Hans Urs Von Balthasar, Karl Barth (two favorites of mine, actually), God becomes the subject of his own knowledge. God acts in the world. The world comes to reflect God’s perfection and order based on the way God arranges the world (which if we’re honest, isn’t a ton different than how Sid in Toy Story 1 arranges his army figures), and then God looks at the whole shebang with a “Yep, I’m pretty rad for doing that.”
John Calvin might be the worst on this front. You see, aside from the bad name Calvin gets, he actually does lay out some pretty cool stuff, especially on the concept of the divine nature (God’s a God willing to Be who God is). But most of his theology is grounded in precisely the above theology of glory, which comes to fruition in his doctrine of double predestination. The doctrine of double predestination holds that God wills and even nigh causes from the beginning of all eternity some to turn toward God and enter into eternal bliss and some to turn away and enter eternal torment—and that both are necessary to fill out the whole of finite creation, showing that God is both just by sending some to a place of hell and merciful are merciful by holding a praise concert for all eternity for the elect. (That’s my nightmare, by the way.)Any particulars aside, here’s what’s wrong with a theology of glory and why we should reject them as quickly as Calvin’s God rejects the reprobate.
When we look at the Christian narrative, the logic at play is not a logic of self-fulfilling glory but a logic of kenotic love. God is not a God who acts by wearing a tank-top on a cold to simply to show off his guns; God acts for our sake and for the sake of a creation that God by no means needs but beckons and calls into existence either way. In other words, it’s the selflessness of God through Christ that should emerge in any genuine Christian theology, and it’s a selflessness that ought to draw us into our own finite but real “best possibilities,” that we might freely reflect a divine in love that has come to us for no reason unto himself but out of love for us.
Accordingly, the opposite of a theology of glory, and its appropriate response, is the theology of the cross which holds that “This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person? Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.” (1 John 3:16-18)”
So, go give a buddy a sandwich and celebrate theology in its truest sense: not self-service but loving-service.
If you wanna keep having this much fun with theology and philosophy, give my audaciously titled book a try: Homebrewed Christianity Guide to God: Everything You Ever Needed to Know about the Almighty. It’ll put hair on your chest.
We are re-launching our TNT podcast as The Theology Nerd with these 5 Extremely zesty reasons you should go process!
Listen to (or watch) Monica Coleman give you:
We are putting this up on both podcast streams to remind you to subscribe to The Theology Nerd (formerly TNT) for more zesty episodes like this.
Will we be able to recognize God when God appears? We tend to look “up,” but perhaps we need to look down.
Isaiah 49:1-7 The work of the servant is playing out in plain sight: but God’s people aren’t seeing it, and God doesn’t seem to be honoring it. Will we know the work of God when we see it? God makes God’s glory and light known in people.
Psalm 40:1-11 Does God require sacrifice? Psalm 40 takes sides in this intratestamental dispute. God doesn’t need it! Do we demand it?
1 Corinthians 1:1-9 First Corinthians keeps us grounded. Where do we look to find the work of God? The holy ones are all around us.
John 1:29-42 John’s energy opens the story up for us, casting massive vision that explodes beyond the borders of our careful word-smithing. But what sort of Lamb is Jesus?
Fine literature discussed this week:
Doug Pagitt, Flipped
Richard B. Hays, First Corinthians
Gordon Fee, The First Epistle to the Corinthians (rev. ed.)
Anthony Thiselton, The First Epistle to the Corinthians (NIGTC)
J. R. Daniel Kirk, A Man Attested by God
Doug Pagitt is the founding pastor of Solomon’s Porch, A Holistic Missional Christian Community in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He is a national Initiator with Convergence a collective of faith-engaged organizations, individuals, institutions, and networks who seek to embody a generous and just Christian ethos leading to constructive collective action in the United States. Doug is a speaker and consultant for churches, denominations, and businesses throughout the United States and around the world on issues of Inventive Age culture, social systems Christianity, and Leadership. He is the author of books on spirituality, Christianity and leadership including, Flipped, Preaching In the Inventive Age, and A Christianity Worth Believing.
Daniel Kirk is a writer, speaker, and blogger who lives in San Francisco, CA where he is currently Pastoral Director for the Newbigin House of Studies. His third book A Man Attested by God: the Human Jesus of the Synoptic Gospels, is hot off the presses. Daniel holds a Ph.D. in New Testament from Duke University and is the author of, Unlocking Romans: Resurrection and the Justification of God and Jesus Have I Loved, but Paul? He blogs regularly at StoriedTheology.com (http://patheos.com/blogs/storiedtheology). You can follow him on Twitter @jrdkirk and on Facebook at Facebook.com/jrdkirk.
In 2016 Homebrewed passed over 2 million episode downloads! That is straight up crazy. I can’t tell you how honored I am to have connected with so many different theology nerds through this wonderful medium we call the podcast. Since we have a bunch of new listeners I wanted to highlight some of the best episodes from the past year so you can check out the ones that look interesting on your next road trip.
I had a hard time narrowing down the list, but here we go…
Oh while I have your eyes, if you enjoy the podcast and want to show your love consider joining the HBC Community. Over 90% of the support for the podcast comes from our members and they keep the audiological goodness flowing. If you are a member THANK YOU!
If you are a Lutheran, love Luther, or are on the fence about Luther, Robert Kolb is here to help.
Robert is on and talking with me about his newest book, Martin Luther and the Enduring Word of God. Robert is professor emeritus at Concordia Seminary and is also the author of Luther and the Stories of God.
Hear what made Robert first fall in love with Luther, how we can read Luther in his context and our own, how the distinction between law and gospel strikes at the heart of the human existential experience, and Luther’s theological love affair with passages in scripture that shaped his thinking.
In this interview, I ask Robert:
Plus, don’t miss Robert’s suggestions for those theology nerds who will be joining the Homebrewed Spiritual Pilgrimage in Germany this year!
Don’t forget to sign up for the new course, Questions for the Believing Skeptic, with Barry Taylor beginning in February. Each week includes audio and video lectures on questions surrounding our modern predicament. The idea is to be able to use this course, after you’ve taken it, in your faith communities.
We will also be turning the course material into a book, so don’t miss out.
I love learning with my earbuds in. On top of all my favorite podcasts I am a bit of an audio book addict. Between doing dishes, sitting in traffic and rocking half-asleep babies with ear infection into the early morning, I can get some serious audio book time in. Here’s the list of all the audio books I remember listening to (and finishing) over the past year.
Theology and Religion Audiobooks
If you are new to audio books check out the free one month trial from audible and score two free audible audio books. Personally I have been a gold member since 2010 and love it. On top of getting any audio book or Teaching Company Class each month you get the daily audio version of the New York Times. For the audio addict like myself this is deal not to pass on.
For 10 Theology Books available on Audible check out my list from last year.
2016 was the first year I had the gift of teaching graduate theology classes all year long. Over the course of the year at Hatchery LA, where I am Director of Theology and the Humanities, taught a few different classes including Cultural Exegesis, Schools of Thought, Church & Culture, and Intro to Hebrew Scriptures with Walter Breuggemann. It is hard to describe how much I have enjoyed it. On top of these classes, the students at the Hatchery all got to pick their own texts to read over the summer and I read along with them so we could unpack it together. That meant I have read over 40 books just for the classes here and these have been my favorites from the year
If we just talked about the initial importance of Catholic cannibalism, maybe now we can bring up the real reason I want to talk Eucharist: to discuss just what this doctrine represents to the crazy, Catholic brain. Other than once overhearing someone discussing a piece of Eucharistic bread that had sat in the tabernacle too long and saying that “Jesus grew fur” (yes, Catholics have a sense of humor), “re-present” is, in fact, both the important and technical term to be discussed here. It’s the one that USCCB (United States Catholic Conference of Bishops, which I’ve heard is a lot like the Illuminati only with better wine and Apostolic decent)*, claims defines the Eucharist and its importance.
In other words, the Eucharist re-presents or “makes present” the sacrifice of Christ in a real and constitutive way, to which everyone but the Eastern Orthodox, some Anglicans, and a few Lutherans say, “Oh, come on….” In other words, we’re claiming that, in the Eucharistic mass, we are entering into and participating in the very divine itself. In the Eucharist, we meet God through the Incarnation in a mediated but nonetheless full divinity, and in the consumption of the body and blood, we come to exist within the peace of the divine life as the infinite comes down and touches the finite. We then extend this infinite love back to the world, or at least in our best moments are supposed to.
And, if we mean all this, it says something plain rad about God. Here’s why.
We Catholics like old-timey crap. That’s why when most of us look at process notions of God, we say, “sorry, Tripp, but I’m good.” I want to be clear: we can incorporate some of the relational language of process thought, and I’d encourage us to do so, but not at the expense of divine simplicity or divine Intellect. Check out why I argue this way in Chapter 4 “Sifting the Beer from the Suds” of my book, The Homebrewed Christianity Guide to God. You won’t be sorry.
So, Catholics tend to affirm the eternality of God, meaning that God is as God has always been and will ever be. God is changeless and simple and, combined with this doctrine of re-presentation things get interesting.
The first thing that the generally Catholic doctrine of God combined with re-presentation says about God is that God is the one who has eternally identified with the crucified and resurrected Jesus. What this doesn’t imply is that God is the one who has been eternally wrathful, deciding to crucify his Son instead of us. I love you Anselm, but I think the theologies of the cross that came after you kinda suck, including many Catholic ones. Nope. Jesus abhorred violence for the most part. He seems to have seen what violence and its draw into the nothingness of death did to the world, and he stood against it during every part of his ministry, eventually yielding himself to these principalities non-violently on the cross. He shows that God stands against, undermines, and re-works violence in all its manifestations and not that God used violence to beat us into adopted submission.
Again, check out chapter 9, “God Did not Look like a Norwegian Hippie” of my book.
What God’s eternal identification with Christ, however, does imply is that God has always been the one who would decide to enter into death for God’s creation—that God, in the ever-present being of God’s simple existence, is the act of overturning the powers and principalities of violence and nothingness for the sake of everlasting relationship with us. We—persons, animal, plant, and the whole of creation—are the ones who God has decided, in both God’s and our freedom, to related with eternally and lovingly.
Through the concept of re-presentation and the doctrine of transubstantiation, what we Catholics do is eat a little Jesus so as to enter into the eternal being of God. And this God is none other than the one who draws us into the eternal peace of the Lord that’s manifesting itself in creation, slowly—too slowly in my book—like yeast does in bread.
That’s why Eucharist rules.
*The USCCB is nothing like the Illuminati. I’m just trying to play on Protestant fears in the hopes that we’ll start an Ecclesial war that must be solved by way of a dance off.
January 5th, 2017
I love learning with my earbuds in. On top of all my favorite podcasts I am a bit of an audio book a[...]
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