The whole business of prayer got me thinking recently: there are things that I believe abstractly and do not do, and things that I do than I cannot justify theologically.
I said I'd write something about the theology of children. I used to love and hate doing "children's work" in my church. Hate it because it involved hours of preparation, thinking up games, putting crafts together and so on - not my gifting, as the usual cop-out goes. But love it because I got to spend time hanging about with kids. On the whole I'd get more sensible conversations that way than being in the adult's church.
I'm sorry that I only blog when I'm depressed. That doesn't mean that I'm often depressed, it just means that depressing things give me the energy to rant. I have three or four happier blog posts on the go but they require more research than a good old-fasioned rant. And I've been saving this one up for weeks…
So I finished reading another book on the WEC booklist, "Faith on Fire" by Stewart Dinnen; another hagiography, this time of Norman Grubb. I wrote a long blog post critiquing the book and the actions leading up to the founding of WEC, but realised it would probably be a Career-Limiting Move. It's unlikely, but there are probably people who would interpret a criticism of WEC-then as a defamation of WEC-now, and bugger it, I don't want to take the risk any more.
Hindsight is 20-20 vision. If someone suffers horrendous persecution, is nearly killed but "miraculously" survives, it's not so much "God's will" as it is simple Bayesian posterior probabilities.
I want to reclaim another idea from what our Field Workers Manual helpfully calls "dangerous ecumenicalism".
Someone was talking to me the other day about the Fellowship of Independent Evangelical Churches. This is an oxymoron. You can be independent, or you can be church. You can’t be both. But the reality is that independent thinking pervades the church, and it was never meant to. Read more about Independence, interdependence
The wonderful David Bosch says in "Transforming Mission" that we need to realise that different religions are "worlds unto themselves". What he means is that it is impossible to enter into dialogue with someone with a different religious commitment to you and assume that your viewpoints are going to be the same; different religions either come from or give rise to different worldviews, which are incommensurable. When a Christian talks about God incarnating himself amongst his creation, he's saying something good; but someone with a Buddhist background is hearing something bad, and someone with an Islamic background is hearing something impossible. I remember Dave Burnett taking apart John 3:16 and showing how it meant to a Buddhist listener the opposite of what it means to a Christian listener. God loving the world? What an unGodlike thing to do! Eternal life? That's what I'm trying to get away from!