Archive for the ‘Theology’ Category

More Pacifism

Cherice has continued the conversation of pacifism and its merits, and has the context of wrestling with the issue as part of a class in which she may be the lone pacifist amidst a group of just war theorists. I found the essay intriguing, but also enjoyed the comments that have followed, including the comment from the originator of the comments to which Cherice is responding.

It is interesting to note that, as my experience and Cherice’s tend to convey, that the majority of students attending seminary are strong, if not vehement, just war theorists. I am not sure that this bodes well for the church! Cherice’s interlocutor is quick to point out the main source of his just war theory is a reformed Mennonite, as if that provides the necessary validation for the topic. What of the many, as I have even learned this past week, who have converted to pacifism? Do their voices not carry at least equal weight in the conversation?

It is, to be sure, an age old conversation, and one I am glad folks are still pursuing. May it continue!

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A Response to Pacifism Comments

My most recent post has drawn a lot of interest, lengthy comments, and thoughtful interaction with the issue of pacifism. It has been a delight to read your thoughts and to continue to wrestle with the issue. I did want to provide some feedback to a few of the comments, which is what follows (my comments are in bold):

Rich Accetta-Evans wrote:

Even before that, when military service was not an issue but violence was, Fox had chosen to respond to violent abuse with what we would call non-violence. I don’t have the exact quotation handy, but I recall one occasion on which he was being man-handled and turned to offer himself as a target for more blows, saying “here’s Gospel for you”, a reference to Christ’s teaching about answering evil with good.

I really like this quote, Rich. It has been fun to imagine Fox uttering this line in the face of oppression for his beliefs, and I can clearly see the conviction with which he would have uttered the line. I can clearly see how Fox used love for Christ and love for others to infiltrate everything he did and said, one of the reasons I look to him as a spiritual hero.

Will T

It is not surprising that this was a process the early Friends were making it all up as they went along. It took a while to work out all of the implications of Quakerism for daily life and it was mostly a process of seeing what God required at any given moment.

Will T, my main issue with this is that it makes the earliest forms of Quaker belief/action as reactionary and not as a life lived with firm conviction based on what the Holy Spirit was doing in their midst as individuals but also as a community gathered in Christ.

Thy Friend John

God forbid that the Quakers should make a doctrine out of pacifism! But I believe that the living Christ made a doctrine out of pacifism, and gave it to us Quakers.

Thy Friend John, this is exactly why I wrote the post originally. Doctrinal positions have historically been avoided among Quakers, and yet you insinuate it was preposterous for me make such a comment. In the same way, it seems to me the closest Christ ever came to creating “doctrine” was in the Sermon on the Mount.

kevin roberts

Does it matter whether an issue like this conforms to a modern political orthodoxy?

Kevin, thanks for your comment. I guess for me it matters because there is correlation between someone’ s faith values and the expression of those in the public sphere. So a pacifist belief, while it should not conform to modern political orthodoxy, still highly influences modern political “praxis,” at least among fellow Quakers.

Thank you all, for the time you have spent in your lives considering this issue, and your desire to share it with others. May the Lord continue to bring you peace and the rest of the world peace.

Willard, part 1

This afternoon was the first of two speaking sessions Dallas is participating in this week. The first talk was a “fireside” chat with Dr. Stan Gaede, in which Stan asked questions about the current state of evangelicalism. The talk was very interesting, and I think one of the most intriguing parts of the conversation came when Stan asked Dallas about the emerging church movement. Dallas initially answered that the term “emergent” is a misnomer because the church already emerged 2000 years ago. Though the quip was humorous, and seemed to resonate with quite a few folks in the audience, I don’t think Dallas meant to disparage the movement. But, he did offer words of wisdom in regards to the new movement that I think are worth sharing. Continue reading

Dallas Willard comes to Gordon

Dallas is coming to Gordon this week. I am stoked. I value the work Willard is doing on spiritual formation and think it is very insightful and a bit abrasive. He has essentially moved away from a Freudian understanding of id, ego, and superego, and in its place provided a more integrative and holistic approach to understanding the essence of a person (adapted from Husserl).  Continue reading

Church and Pomo Conversation

There is a new series on postmodernity and the church, edited by Jamie Smith of Calvin College. The first installment of several is Smith’s Who’s Afraid of Postmodernity? And just a few weeks ago, John Caputo provided the second offering, What Would Jesus Deconstruct? As a supplement, there is also a blog – or slog as these guys call it – that provides supplemental conversation.

I bring this up here because what Smith et al are doing is very insightful, thought-provoking, and it seems to be fairly orthodox!! Continue reading

Dancing Together

I just finished It’s a Dance by Patrick Oden yesterday, and loved it. Oden uses narrative theology to begin a conversation on the emerging church’s view of the Holy Spirit. It is fresh in its approach, deep in its theology, and very readable.

The book builds nicely from chapter to chapter, and as someone interested in Church history, I love how it ends with a section from Tertullian’s writings. Doing so provides a link from the early church to the new(ish) emerging movement. Continue reading

Quaker Sacraments

It seems as though a general theme is occurring in the lives of a few Quaker folk. After reading Gregg Koskella’s blog this morning about the theme of his sermon this week, and this blog about new definitions of “church,” I thought I would share a bit of my own sacramental adventures in a non-Quaker church. Erin and I have been living in the Boston area for nearly 7 years now, and for the past 3 years we have been regularly attending a Christ-centered Episcopal church. I grew up Quaker, Erin Episcopalian… Continue reading