Religious Trauma is a real thing. I know it. I feel it. I see it in others. And there is official recognition these days! A few years ago, I interviewed Teresa Mateus. Our Skype connection did not work so I had my computer record the squeaky voice that came through the speaker of my iPhone 4s. It worked. As I spoke to her, Teresa seemed to discuss people who have undergone serious abuse in the church. I did realize that such abuse happens in many different forms and intensities. I suppose in the back of my mind I even realized that I was affected too but I was mainly thinking about people other than myself.
Vanaf het moment dat de moderne wereld van zich liet horen is christelijke theologie in de verdediging geweest. Gaandeweg nam die verdediging steeds meer het karakter aan van crisismanagement. Steeds meer mensen vonden dat God niet incarneert, geen wonderen doet, en geen historische realiteit kan zijn. De bijbelse God werd alsmaar meer terrein ontnomen. De resulterende “God of the gaps” had steeds minder onverklaarbare zaken waar die garant voor kon staan en zo de toevlucht toe kon nemen.
While the United States celebrates the relocation of the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, the Israeli army shot and murdered 58 Palestinians. Yesterday Israel celebrated its 70th anniversary while Palestinians commemorated the great tragedy of the Nakba, their violent displacement that to this day has not ended and has resulted in refugee camps outside Israeli territory and two separated enclaves where Palestinians struggle for survival under economic hardship.
When the word theology is mentioned people either have no idea what you are talking about or they think you’re talking about something religious. This week I listened to the new album by A Perfect Circle and their songs TalkTalk and The Doomed spoke to me. Theologically! This band illustrates some aspects of what I mean by public theology.
Actually, I don’t believe in predestination. We are not robots! I hate predestination and consider it one of the great heretical ideas that have crept into Christian theology, first by the philosophically inclined medieval theologians, but then, in a horribly amplified version of the doctrine, by way of the Calvinists and their double predestination (some are destined for salvation and some for damnation). Through their ardent labor, millions have lived in agony about their whereabouts in the afterlife and have seen, in the misery of their earthly conditions, a sure sign of the divine determination to ransack and haunt them all the way from a hellish earth to a fiery hell.
A Devotional on the Cross
Imagine a cross. The cross has a vertical pole and a crossbar. It is not hard to imagine the vertical pole representing the dynamic between below and above. Christ was nailed to that cross. He hung suspended between heaven and earth, deserted by the dwellers of both. In Christ reconciled with God, Christians the world over are participants in that vertical dimension. The connection with God has been established. The vertical pole represents the relationship with God. They also have a responsibility in the horizontal.
A transcript from audio on the Desiring God website on January 22 gives Piper’s answer to the question: “whether women should be models, mentors, and teachers for those preparing for a role that is biblically designed for spiritual men.” He observes that, unlike in college, in Seminaries a young man “is now submitting himself to a community of teachers who, by their precept and example, are called to shape his mind and his heart for vocational pastoral ministry.” It is therefore Piper’s opinion that to “distinguish the seminary teaching role from the pastoral teaching role in such a way that the biblical restriction to men does not apply to the seminary teaching results in a serious inconsistency.” He concludes that ” in seeking to justify women teacher-mentors for aspiring pastors, one will be hard put to stress that they’re not in the same category as pastors, and thus, as we believe, out of step with the Scriptures.” Read More
(My recent blogpost over at Whiteboard//Blip)
There she stood. She had been shamefully and publicly exposed as one committing adultery in a society that has only one outlet for sex: what we would call monogamous heterosexual marriage. Such qualifiers were hardly necessary in that Jewish patriarchal society where she was standing now: exposed; caught in the act. Read More
I wrote this article for Dutch newspaper Reformatorisch Dagblad in December 2011. While my opinion concerning the relevance of the arguments for God’s existence has radically changed, I still consider this article meaningful. It represents a position that is still widely held in evangelicalism.
Hoe kun je in een pluralistische samenleving als de onze de waarde en waarheid van het christelijk geloof laten zien? Read More