Christ

fragments on… living in creative tension

As the calendar changes, we often consider how we ourselves want to or are changing. Whether it is a new season or a new year, that brief moment of introspection causes to re-evaluate our self and our place in the world. “Calling” is what we pursue. Book after book discusses it, how to find it and live it. Blog after blog gives you enumerated lists to help you discover your calling.

I feel in such moments, when I am told how wonderful I am in God, and the great “calling” on my life, that I am attending the wedding dressed in rags. I am an imposter. (more…)

Advertisements

How Did We Get Our Creeds?

Around 308, Rufinius wrote an exposition of our most popular, the Apostles’ Creed,  and popularized a legend that each of the 12 (excluding Judas Iscariot) contributed a line. Fun legend it may be, but poor history; the real story is far cooler. I did some digging for a class on how we got our creeds (specifically the Apostles’ and Nicene), and found our Christian creeds are built upon:

Apostolic testimony

(more…)

How biography writes theology

For this reboot of Warrior Poet, I want to introduce and discuss the theme: Biography writing Theology. Who you are, and who God is to you, interact forcefully, for both good and ill, on the individual and social levels. Yet every composition needs edits – thus the reverse is even truer that the Biography must write our theology: Jesus, the incarnate God, the perfect image of the Godhead, is that Biography. Keeping with our theme, let me illustrate from my life.

The fatherhood theme is interwoven into my biography and theology. In fact, this theme now holds it together. Yet before the Biography rewrote my theology, I had a badly written composition. I will not depart long into the story but skip to the end: every father I had left me feeling uncared for and abandoned. You see, when I wanted my fathers to be there, they weren’t; when I needed help, I had no one to teach me; I couldn’t depend on a fatherly largesse to help me in life.

My biography wrote a theology that my God was a careless and absentee father. Whenever I was in distress, indebted or discontented, I didn’t turn to God. Whenever I didn’t know how to do something, I didn’t ask God to teach me. If I was in need, I didn’t ask him. I had imputed to my heavenly Father the things my earthly fathers were.

Then, Jesus. A beautiful sentence in itself, so complete is he. These words by the Biography rewrote mine:

If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!

I came to see that I am his son; my Father does know – he actually is attentive and caring to my needs. He knows how – how much I suffer and want, and how to do things I need help doing. “How much more” has rang powerfully in my mind for years now; however good I can imagine an earthly father I can always say how much more is my heavenly Father. The Biography rewrote my theology to help me see the Father as he is, not as I imagined him to be.

He is still rewriting my theology. I haven’t arrived—I still struggle to fully embrace my sonship. But I strive to do one thing: tossing away the old drafts and writing this new theology with Jesus.

I will expand in later posts on Jesus as the Biography, but I find questions help spiritual progress, so I leave you with this: how do you think your biography has written your theology?

Chapter 2 of “Jesus & the Disinherited”: “Fear”

The resources of the environment are made into instruments to enforce the artificial position. Most of the accepted social behavior-patterns assume [injustice] to be normal–if normal, then correct; if correct, then moral; if moral, then religious. Religion is thus made a defender and guarantor of the presumptions. Thurman, Jesus and the Disinherited, pg 43

The Beloved Disciple John said that there is no fear in love, rather, perfect love drives out fear (1 John 4:18). Fear then, is the antithesis of love; and if God is love, fear is inimical to the very nature of God. In the 2nd chapter of Disinherited, Thurman takes up the issue of fear. (more…)

DC Abbey: But Jesus Got Up Again

Welcome to Part 5 of a blog series ‘DC Abbey’, reflections on my 3 days at a Benedictine monastery in DC NE, St. Anselm’s Abbey. I share to hopefully inspire others to a monastic retreat. I value critical feedback, so please comment below.

In Part 4 I explained that Jesus, fully divine, yet also fully human, understands our persistent desire to disobey God. The Spirit’s beautiful play on words that Jesus ‘fell’ on the way to Golgotha, helped me to see Jesus in a completely new light. Jesus knew what ‘falling’ – a word Christians often use to say we sinned – felt like. It was amazing to know that Jesus knew what I felt like in my moments of failure. Jesus was brought closer to me than I ever imagined he could be.

(more…)

DC Abbey: Jesus Fell Too

Welcome to Part 4 of a blog series ‘DC Abbey’, reflections on my 3 days at a Benedictine monastery in DC NE, St. Anselm’s Abbey. I share to hopefully inspire others to a monastic retreat. I value critical feedback, so please comment below.

Drawing to the end, it’s time to get more personal.

I went to the monastery to tackle a problem: I don’t live with enough vigor, and often feel prone to weakness. Not sure if you can relate, but it’s my struggle. Many times I’ve started on the way of righteousness and slowed down, not taken it seriously, even taken detours and at times, nearly derailed my faith. I wanted to learn to live vigorously. I felt in danger of living cowardly, and I knew this was not the Way. (more…)

Will the poor *really* always be with us?

In a popular exchange from Princess Bride, Inigo Montoya replies to Vizzini’s constant use of “Inconceivable!”, saying “You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.” In the same way, Jesus says many things in the gospels that modern American Christians find inconceivable, so to soothe the cognitive dissonance, we do some interesting eisegesis so Jesus’ word means what we want it to mean. I can hear Inigo Montoya now…

It would take a book to cover those sayings properly and exhaustively, but I want to focus on one. (more…)