The various modes of worship which prevailed… were all considered by the people, as equally true; by the philosopher, as equally false; and by the magistrate, as equally useful. And thus toleration produced not only mutual indulgence, but even religious concord.
On Saturdays we try to have a family day off together, so often on Friday nights I spend a lot of time looking through tourist information and what’s-on web sites trying to think of something interesting to do. If you look at the official Kyoto city tourist information web site, you will find that the number one most accessed page was (until the new aquarium opened) Kyo Power Spots. So what’s a “power spot”? From the same page: Read more about Is the church a "power spot"?
Just got a bunch of my books back from being in storage for two years and then shipped away for scanning, and I came across this interesting quote in one of them:
The problem that you come up with is that linguistically you want to be as much of a native as you can, but culturally there is a delicate dance that you have to perform. In one scene the dancer behaves like the locals. In other scenes he pulls back and asks am I going too far, am I crossing a boundary and interfering now with the local sense of identity. Occasionally the dancer goes too far and confronts an attitude of “Look, you’re obviously not one ofus; you’re trying to pretend to be one of us and the more you pretend the more we find problems with that, the more you make us feel uncomfortable. You’re intruding into our identity. You’re being presumptuous that you can really be one of us.” And that’s why I talk of being the ideal foreigner, that there comes a time in which you say, particularly in some cultures, “Look, I’m never going to be anything but a foreigner here.”
- Ronald Walton, National Foreign Language Center, Johns Hopkins University
Some sense from Koyama: (I taught on this chapter last week; I used Terry Jones’s picture to illustrate this section of my slides.)
Personally I don’t feel the need to have a clear and present image of unbelievers being subject to eternal torment, to motivate me to share the gospel. If others do I don’t object (although I may want to question how it shapes their approach). Piper’s seeming insistence that eternal punishment was the only legitimate motivation for mission was not only offensive to many present who hold different views but also a blatant attempt to rewrite Lausanne history. Stott himself refused to accept this position.This reminds me of two things.
It’s been a working Greenbelt for us, helping out with a couple of worship slots and occasionally manning the Redcliffe stand, so we didn’t get to see many talks. But I did want to get to see Stanley Hauerwas, especially once I saw that he was giving a talk discussing
the misconception that the “god” often appealed to in US political and religious rhetoric is the same triune God worshipped by the Church and confessed in the Christian creeds.
I’ve long believed that American Christianity is fundamentally unrelated to Christianity, and it seems that Hauerwas believes it too. Read more about Hauerwas on American Christianity
Shades of Lakoff in this quote from David Feddes:
Churches that require pastors to have academic credentials have an implicit metaphor of church as school. Churches that expect leaders to be entrepreneurs and organizers have an implicit metaphor of church as business enterprise. Churches that look for leaders to attract crowds through gripping performances have an implicit metaphor of church as theater. Churches that want leaders to be therapeutic facilitators have an implicit metaphor of church as support group. Churches that emphasize deference to hierarchies or councils have an implicit metaphor of church as government. Churches that expect leaders to have model families and to cultivate family-like relationships with others have an implicit metaphor of church as household… The church may properly resemble other entities in varying degrees, yet it is identical with none of them. Church leaders may bear similarities to leaders in other spheres, yet they must remain alert to ways that God’s church differs from other social units, and they must pursue leadership in tune with gospel values, not mere worldly values.
- Caring for God’s Household, CTJ 43 (2008): 274-299
Great quote from Niebuhr on the origin of denominations. The house church will not escape the routinization of charisma, because everyone systematizes in the end:
By its very nature, the sectarian type of organization is valid only for one generation. The children born to the voluntary members of the first generation begin to make the sect a church long before they have arrived at the years of discretion. For with their coming the sect must take on the character of an educational and disciplinary institution, with the purpose of bringing the new generation into conformity with the ideals and customs which have become traditional. Rarely does a second generation hold the convictions it has inherited with a fervor equal to that of its fathers, who fashioned these convictions in the heat of conflict and at the risk of martyrdom. As generation succeeds generation, the isolation of the community from the world becomes more difficult… Compromise begins and the ehics of the sect approach the churchly type of morals. As with the ethics, so with the doctrine, so also with the administration of religion. An official clergy, theologically educated and schooled in the refinements of ritual, takes the place of lay leadership; easily imparted creeds are substituted for the difficult enthusiasms of the pioneers; children are born into the group and infant baptism or dedication becomes once more a means of grace. So the sect becomes a church.
Also understand that the “slippery slope” claim of “all of the Bible is true or none of it is true” is simply an unnecessary rhetorical device designed to keep readers from doing precisely what scholars do every day: analyze each claim in the Bible on a case-by-case basis. It is not necessary to accept an “all or none” stance towards the Bible.
I wasn’t going to get into the whole “slippery slope” argument but I did have a couple of thoughts on it - my general stance on authority-of-Scripture discussions these days is pretty much exasperation that we’re still having this stupid debate. Read more about On slippery slopes