Wednesday, January 21, 2009

What Did I Do?

I am not entirely sure what I started here (as you could tell from my comment in the previous post).  I started with asking the question regarding Jesus' intent in giving the Sermon on the Mount (or Matthew's . . . whatever).  I do not want to lose sight of the fact that there is an establishing of authority here.  And that from this Jesus is clarifying the authority of life and the authority of death.  I assumed that this meant that part of the intent was to create a crisis between the two authorities/economies.  From this I broadened the question to ask whether not natural/political occurences also speak of this crisis.  I felt that this was most certainly the case for Isaiah and the Gospels too I should add have the natural and political order shake at the resurrection and apocalypse.  So from here I hoped to move to the contemporary.  Now I would like to keep in mind the stimulating conversation on demythologization over at The Fire and the Rose.  Is the natural order any longer connected to the Word of God and further, to what is the Word of God connected?  The social practices of the church?  The sacramental practices of the church?  The preaching and hearing of the Bible?  The expressions of the Good, True and Beautiful in the world wherever they may be?  Does all of reality carry the potential of hearing the Word?  Is serenity as much a medium as crisis?  In the discussion below I moved quickly to the extreme of the Holocaust.  The other move I suppose is to 9/11.  This event has significant markings of a prophetic/apocalyptic event.  Punks and gangsters sang about 'dropping bombs'
but then some guys came along and dropped bombs not in strategic empirical move nor in random desperate move but in a symbolic move.  An Abomination that causes Desolation.  If we can assume that there is an overlay of the Economy of God and the Economy of the World then to what extent to these orders run parallel and to what extent do they rupture and hemorrhage?  Would subscribing to a Bultmannian view of demythology mean that there is no overlay and they there is only surface or perhaps a palimpsest of interpretation and translation?  This would mean that all of existence is interpreted within the kernel of truth that is Gospel, right?  I can't really follow that path.  But I suppose prophecy only becomes canonized after the event and perhaps after the community has discerned the event.
I understand that my thinking is not getting much clearer but I hope (at lest for my own sake) that continuing this monologue will help either develop my thinking or expose its absurdity. The question again is whether God acts in nature/social order with the purpose of creating crisis.  My gut response is still to say yes, yes, yes.  And then to say that this has nothing (necessarily) to do with condemning or justifying people's actions within that economy.  It is only to say that there are multiple economies that at times run contrary to one another.  Sometimes our actions create ruptures and other times we are caught in something larger than our personal actions.  Does this make any sense?


Monday, January 19, 2009

Mark Driscoll Kicks his Own Ass

Lord have mercy (or not)
In Houston, Driscoll was intent on making absolutely clear that he is in favor of masculinity. At the 2 hour, 15 minute mark, he invited five pastors from the audience to take the stage, put his hands behind his back, stuck out his chin, and said, “Hit me with your best shot. Go on. I won’t hit you back. I want to show everyone what this is all about.” When none of the five took a swing, Driscoll had them escorted from the building and proceeded to hit himself five times.
Driscoll Punch
“This is what being a pastor is about, guys. If you can’t handle it, go back to teaching yoga or playing My Little Pony with the other girls.”

PS Geez, He really is becoming his own punching bag!


Sunday, January 18, 2009

God Did It

At a Christmas party this past December I was in a friendly conversation in which I was asked what I hoped to achieve or accomplish in my sermons. I talked a little about how at the very least I hoped the congregation could actually learn something about themselves, God or the world. I talked a little about my hope that the sermon contributed broadly to a person's overall spiritual formation. Then today I preached partially on Jesus's command to store up treasures in heaven. This passage of course is found in The Sermon on Mount. As I prepared for this message I began to ask myself what Jesus possibly could have hoped to 'accomplish' in his sermon. Before I could to anything very relevant I felt as though Jesus was first of all establishing his authority. Going up the side of the hill evokes images of Moses ascending Mt. Sinai to receive God's instruction. The imagery in Matthew is complete with a tiered ascenscion with Jesus at the top, the disciples in front of him, at the crowds in background (at Sinai the 70 elders ascended partway while the rest remained at the foot of the mountain). Jesus acknowledges the law but places under his authority. Following this I wondered whether Jesus hoped to create a crisis for the people. The sermon runs along in dialectical fashion always exposes the audience to the appeals of two authorities from which they must live.
I shared some this in the sermon and then in the adult educaton time afterwards we talked a little about the message. I asked the group about my suggestion that perhaps Jesus was trying to create a crisis in his audience. There was some general agreement to this idea but then the conversation quickly turned to whether or not God wills or creates 'crisis' in people's lives. To this we could not of course agree. God does not creates crises, right, though he seemed to be doing in so in his message.
Is this the difference between natural theology and dogmatic theology? Does natural revelation function in the same manner as special revelation. It did for Isaiah. And today I would argue that at the very least natural (and manmade) crises are in fact revelatory. Crises expose false foundations and de-centre our lives. The expose the spirit of a person or community.
Is it so horrible to say that indeed God caused perhaps even that God sent that crisis? Why does this have to then be equated with retribution for sin? Most often what a crisis reveals today is not the sin of those who suffered but of the ones who ordered things so that those might suffer. The connection of God with natural events carries a whole host of unhelpful associations. I am asking honestly, is it so horrible to say that God causes all or particular (I am not sure what is more helpful) crises? Is it possible to say that in a manner that then allows us then to appropriately discern and respond to the revelation latent within that event?


Saturday, January 17, 2009

Thanks for the Thankless

Here is a thank-you to all the devoted bloggers out there. I began blogging first to keep in touch and discussion with my peers from college. Then I blogged to work out some of my thinking. Now I rarely blog well or with any insight but I continue to read blogs. I am no longer surrounded by an academic community. I am no longer guided or challenged in my thinking or my reading. So I look to you faithful bloggers for my inspiration for my window into contemporary theology and social theory. Without you I would flounder in my work-a-day world peering through the single-pane window of popular thought. Because of you I remember that critical thought (can) shape practical worlds. Because of you I remember that the church is more than a western hobby. So I thank-you for the thankless pathology-filled task of sending posts into the void of cyberspace for I pilgrim there seeking outposts and sanctuaries, prophets, sages and scoundrels.
Thank-you Jodi for wrestling with social order and showing your scars.
Thank-you Dan for challening us and challening yourself.
Thank-you Levi for bringing contemporary metaphysics to the masses.
Thank-you Richard for opening the lens of pyschology for us to view theology.
Thank-you David for breathing life into the misunderstood field of systematic theology.
Thank-you Adam for swimming upstream in contemporary theology.
And thank-you Ben for bringing credibility to theological blogging.

There is much to criticize in the world of web 2.0 but I will stand as a witness of one who has been at least to some degree educated by this so-called democratic platform of knowledge. So keep it up. Unless of course you can get paid to do something else!

Your faithful and fellow blogger,
David CL Driedger


Saturday, January 10, 2009

You Cannot Shrink Everything

I wonder if at some point people will be begin the calm and honest discussion of how if young women in Hollywood continue to get anymore skinny their heads will continue to look more and more monstrous. You cannot shrink everything. I know this is not a new problem but my wife and I just got through reliving Beverly Hills 90210 when we heard about the new series and well to whatever shame their might be we enjoy it. However most of their heads seem just a little silly. Anorexic Kelly in the original would come off as bloated in the new generation. Is it just me or does it just start to look bad at some point?


Monday, January 05, 2009


I am almost always impressed with the book selection in my town's thrift store.  I addition to picking up a spare Greek New Testament I also found an excellent condition copy of Walter Benjamin's Illuminations for $2.  Here is a quote from the first essay titled, "Unpacking My Library: A Talk about Book Collecting."

Of all the ways of acquiring books writing them oneself is regarded as the most praiseworthy method.  At this point many of you will remember with pleasure the large library which Jean Paul’s poor little schoolmaster Wutz gradually acquired by writing, himself, all the works whose titles interested him in bookfair catalogues; after all, he could not afford to buy them. Writers are really people who write books not because they are poor, but because they are dissatisfied with the books which they could buy but do not like.

 This is great support for my rationale of why I have written any good fiction.  Its because I still find too many great works out there to read! (it helps me sleep better at night)