procrastination, heresy, and navel-gazing.

Friday, September 23, 2011

orthodox and catholic

orthodox means straight/normative (orthodontics, orthotics, orthoptics - straight teeth, straight [limbs], straight vision) teaching/opinion (doxa)

catholic means with respect to the whole (kata + holos)

so unless there is the either explicit or implicit linking of orthodox with eastern or greek or coptic, it just means true or right, teaching.

likewise, unless catholic is qualified by roman or marionite, it just means, this is the same thing all people believe.

i don't know whether we'll ever be able to retrieve either of these words for regular use, but it would be nice to be able to use them without qualification or substitution for wordy or unequal equivalents (such as universal or apostolic).

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Thursday, September 15, 2011

not a chiasm, but

further on Matthew 22.34-46 and the Shema - the parallel structures:
A Pharisees together (34)
        B Pharisees question Jesus (35-36)
                C1 Jesus Answers (37-38)
                C2 Jesus Answers (39-40)

A' Pharisees together (41a)
        B'1 Jesus questions Pharisees (41b-42a)
                C' Pharisees answer (42b)
        B'2 Jesus questions Pharisees (43-45)

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Monday, September 12, 2011

Matthew 22.34-46 and the Shema

still thinking about the trinity (first talk this Sunday. see previous post for details).

in Deuteronomy 6, we have the Shema: "Hear O Israel, the Lord your God is One." and following that is the command to love your neighbour as yourself.

and then when Jesus in Matthew 22 quotes the command, which sums up all the prophets, it's interesting that he follows it with a question about Psalm 110, one of the most popular texts in the NT for pointing to Jesus' identity as the Christ.

So my question is, is Jesus (or the evangelist) saying something about the Shema, in particular, questioning the identity of Yhwh as a monad, and perhaps making room in the description of Yhwh for the Christ?

or is there not really much of a link between Matt 22.34-40 and Matt 22.41-46? (or is it just a different link?)

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Tuesday, September 06, 2011

the story of the trinity

i'm going to be doing a series of three talks at wild street at 5 on the trinity.
here's my plan so far.
but it doesn't really sound like sermons, rather three lectures with some points i thought were interesting and worthy of inclusion.

so any ideas would be appreciated!

  1. the story of the trinity
    how do we get from the shema to the creed?
    act and being
    who's who in the OT?
    St Francis and the Crusades
    heresy? Trinitarian controversies i the 4th Century.
    dynamic vs modalistic monarchianism

  2. the story of the son
    eternal word in creation
    hypostatic union
    heresy? Christological controversies.
    4th Century truly God.
    5th Century two natures.

  3. the story of the spirit
    individual and communal
    spotlight on the son
    OT & NT indwelling
    Nazianzus: OT reveals Father clearly, Son opaquely; NT reveals Son clearly, spirit opaquely; Church reveals the Spirit.
    heresy? Pneumatological Heresies.
    continuing revelation (montanism, anabaptists, mormons?).
    4th Century: fully God.

UPDATE: i've added a few more things to the list. mainly the heresies.

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Monday, September 05, 2011

giving up hope

i like paul ricoeur. heaps. i'm writing 15,000 words on him (well, trying to).

but sometimes i don't get him. but that's also when i should most try and get him.

he reflected on Jesus' words 'whoever would save his life must lose it', and figured this included losing even the hope of the resurrection. [Critique and Conviction, 155-8]

his point is simple - holding on to the hope of reward means that you haven't given everything up. so his question is, in effect, would you still follow Jesus even if there was no new creation to look forward to?

so after my initial recoil, i think i get his point, but then i ask, who is this Jesus that bids us give up our all? he is the one who makes promises he can keep: 'in my fathers house there are many rooms,' 'blessed is the one who is persecuted on my behalf, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven,' and so on.

the life lost that it may be found is the life that builds up treasure in heaven and not on earth. faith is trust in the promise maker to keep his promises, despite appearances.

perhaps what Ricoeur is tapping in to is what it meant for Job to trust God chinnam (for naught)? but still, while this may represent one shade of meaning, it is not the final word, but qualifies what it is to trust in this life, without saying anything about the next.

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Friday, September 02, 2011

same kind of bad as me

Tom Waits' new album out soon.

here's the lyrics to a song from it, Bad as Me
You’re the head on the spear
You’re the nail on the cross
You’re the fly in my beer
You’re the key that got lost
You’re the letter from Jesus on the bathroom wall
You’re mother superior in only a bra
You’re the same kind of bad as me

I’m the hat on the bed
I’m the coffee instead
The fish or cut bait
I’m the detective up late
I’m the blood on the floor
The thunder and the roar
The boat that won’t sink
I just won’t sleep a wink
You’re the same kind of bad as me

No good you say
Well that’s good enough for me

You’re the wreath that caught fire
You’re the preach to the choir
You bite down on the sheet
But your teeth have been wired
You skid in the rain
You’re trying to shift
You’re grinding the gears
You’re trying to shift
And you’re the same kind of bad as me

They told me you were no good
I know you’ll take care of all my needs
You’re the same kind of bad as me

I’m the mattress in the back
I’m the old gunnysack
I’m the one with the gun
Most likely to run
I’m the car in the weeds
If you cut me I’ll bleed
You’re the same kind of bad as me
You’re the same kind of bad as me

you can listen to it here

i'm trying to work out what it's about.
on the surface of it, it's saying don't feel you're too bad to be with me, coz i'm bad too.
I know some people who've got in a terrible mess, worrying they're not good enough for the other person in their life. and they're not good enough. but neither is the other person!

although Jesus is an indirect object (especially in the first verse), there is something right in saying that Jesus is the same kind of bad as me. God lowered himself to become a man, to get down and dirty in the grime and muck of human existence. he identifies fully with us.
the author to the Hebrews writes
Son though he was, he learned obedience through what he suffered
Heb 5.8
and just before that we find
For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathise with our weakness, but one who has in every respect been tempted as we are.
Heb 4.15

Waits does use lots of Christian imagery in his music (Chocolate Jesus, God's away on business etc.), so i wonder if this is part of his Christian osmosis. that is, when weighed down by sin, we can know that God knows our struggles and temptations. and knowing us, knowing the wickedness of our hearts, he values us so much that he lived, suffered and died as one of us, in order to redeem us.
Hebrews 5 continues
being made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation to all who are obedient to him.
Heb 5.9

so Jesus is the same kind of bad as you, and he became that and died as that, sinless, eternal Son though he was, so that you might have life in him.

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Pogonotrophers ahoy

despite my positive thoughts about Rowan Williams below, this is a great opening comment from his fellow pogonotropher, David Bentley Hart:
In a bracingly venomous Spectator article on the Archbishop of Canterbury’s recent remarks about sharia law in Britain, the journalist Rod Liddle opined that it must be Rowan Williams’s beard that has won him the reputation of an intellectual. Certainly, Liddle remarked, “it cannot be anything he has ever said or written”. I have to confess my doubts that Liddle has really read much of Williams’s oeuvre. No one who had – whatever reservations he or she might harbour as to the Archbishop’s wisdom, prudence or pogonotrophy – could possibly dismiss the man as a featherweight or a fraud.
read the full article here

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