Category Archives: Other Posts

The Angel of Great Counsel #advent14ccumwv

Angel of Great Councilhr

 

“because a child was born for us, a son also given to us, whose sovereignty was upon his shoulder, and he is named Messenger of Great Counsel, for I will bring peace upon the rulers, peace and health to him” (Isaiah 9:6 NETS)

This famous verse is different — and vastly so if you are considering Christological implications — between the Hebrew and the Greek.

Allan R. Bevere interviews the greatest internet personality of all time, Me

You can find it here: Allan R. Bevere: An Unsettled Interview with Joel Watts.

This is really the first time I’ve broached the topic of “fringe separation.” If we cannot even get along enough to talk about our issues, is there any hope? I believe orthodox inclusionists would find a more welcoming home in a Confessing Methodist Church than they would in any Progressive Methodist Church.

I’m shutting off comments here. Please post them there. I’ll take questions, of course.

the @logos Christmas Sale and super-awesome #giveaway

Go here.

you know how I feel about Logos and Macs. Like Mac and Cheese….

John Wesley on “lamb-like” #advent14ccumwv

The Sermons of John Wesley are included in our doctrinal standards.

john wesley lamb like

Behold… the lamb that comes to take away the sins of the world…

Call for Papers: Weaponizing Scripture

Weaponizing Scripture?

Second Annual Graduate Student Colloquium in Scripture, Interpretation and Practice

March 22nd-23rd, 2015 at the University of Virginia

sipgradconference.wordpress.com

The 2015 Graduate Colloquium in Scripture, Interpretation, and Practice welcomes submissions of original research from graduate students on the topic “Weaponizing Scripture?”

Religious communities have frequently appealed to their scriptures in contexts of conflict. Sacred texts play a role in defining communal boundaries and in furthering their own formative and institutional goals. Conversely, individuals and groups who are antagonistic towards particular traditions deploy those traditions’ scriptures against them. Political and military leaders, resistance movements, and minority groups may all cite scripture as a warrant for action. The Word(s) of God can even be portrayed as a weapon itself.

This conference, then, will explore cases, both historical and contemporary, in which scripture serves as a resource for/against the communities that are formed by it, as well as how it is instrumentalized for formational, popular, political, and/or polemical agendas. It further seeks to uncover ways that scripture transforms the character of the debates and purposes for which it is deployed. Accordingly, papers could examine such cases intra-traditionally, ecumenically, inter-religiously, or between religious and secular spheres.

We seek participants who will address this topic from a wide variety of disciplinary perspectives — historical, legal, theological, hermeneutic, ethical, political, and more. The following list is meant to be suggestive of topics rather than provide categories and is therefore not exhaustive:

  • How is scripture a resource and/or an instrument in the following contexts?:
    • in social/political movements (Arab Spring, Occupy Wall Street, Abolition, The Civil Rights Movement, Latin American Base Communities, Islamism, the Christian Right/Left, and so on)
    • within political and/or everyday speech
    • as warrant for
      • religious or political ideological stances, including secular ones
      • violence and war
      • non-violent action
      • social justice/activism
    • within religious traditions
      • as a means of formation, or as a means of inclusion or exclusion
      • in doctrinal arguments (classical or contemporary)
      • towards the reform of traditions and religious sects, or the formation of religious institutions institutionalization
  • Phenomena such as:
    • Portrayal of weapons in scripture, including depictions of scripture itself as a weapon
    • scriptural commentary, scriptural reading strategies, scripture interpreting scripture, rewritten scripture
    • religious groups/movements defined by a specific scripture or set of scriptures
  • Philosophical questions:
    • What is the place of scripture in nurturing our religious traditions?
    • What does it mean when a political leader cites scripture as warrant for a military action?
    • Is there a difference between scripture used as a warrant for a specific action verse scripture used as a means of forming particular communities?
    • Does scripture function as a warrant within communities?

Plenary Speaker: Dr. Sohail Nakhooda

Dr. Nakhooda is a scholar of both Islamic and Christian traditions, who, as senior advisor to the current Libyan ambassador to the UAE, played a significant role in the recent Libyan revolution. He is Co­-Leader of the Islamic Analytic Theology project at Kalam Research & Media (KRM) in the UAE, in association with the John Templeton Foundation. During the Libyan revolution he worked as Secretary of the Libya Stabilization Team and also with the Support Offices of the Executive Team of the National Transitional Council of Libya. He was also former advisor to HRH Prince Ghazi bin Muhammad of Jordan; a Junior Fellow of the Royal Aal Al­Bayt Institute; and Founder and former Editor-­in­-Chief of the award­winning Islamica Magazine. We have sought him out because he provides us a unique window into the role of scripture both within religious tradition and in the political and even military spheres.

Proposals in the form of a 250-word abstract should be emailed to kwfr@virginia.edu by January 23th, 2015. Acceptance notifications will be sent out by February 5rd, 2015. Final papers, not to exceed 2000 words, must be submitted by March 14th, 2015. For up-to-date information please check out our website: sipgradconference.wordpress.com

We are grateful for the financial support provided by the following sponsors:

Institute for Practical Ethics and Public Life; Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding at Georgetown University; Project on Lived Theology; Society for Scriptural Reasoning; Institute of the Humanities and Global Cultures; Office of Diversity and Equity; Department of Religious Studies; Virginia Center for the Study of Religion

United Methodist Centrist Movement is a Third Way, but it is not Via Media

English:
English: (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There is another plan aiming to combat not the problems of the United Methodist Church but manifestations of those problems. It is put forth by members of an Annual Conference in Ohio. They call it a centrist plan and it is a third way. However, as I must remind you, the middle or third way mentality is not via media.

Let me also say that like others who have taken the time to write a plan, prayerfully, I trust that these authors have crafted this plan with a love of the United Methodist Church and a distaste for the constant wrangling over one issue. Any perceived attacks on them in this post is due not to my intention, but to my inability to fully craft it with as much grace as possible. I am frank, and sometimes that comes across rough. That is not my intention. I honor those who put something forward in good faith.

Others, more capable than I, have addresses some of the issues. My goal in this is to address it from my position, that of via media.1

The first line is likely a deal breaker. It reads:

The United Methodist Centrist Movement is made up of clergy and laity who love our denomination and believe the local church is the hope of the world

Isn’t this one of the problems in the UMC? We has forgotten that we are supposed to proclaim that Jesus Christ is the hope of the world. Second, we have forgotten our connexional foundation and the universality of the UMC’s polity. It should be that what one UMC congregation teaches as doctrine and intent, another does as well.2 Indeed, this very line is at the heart of the problems in the UMC — our increasingly small communities centered not on our connexion but on individual personalities or geographic locations. We even see the rise of individualistic, and often baseless, interpretations of Scripture far, far removed from the greater Christian orthodoxy and Wesleyan orthodoxy not to mention Reason and Tradition. We cannot even agree on the role and definition of “experience.”3

They propose to do away with the General Conference, the only real voice for the United Methodist Church. As Watson has said, there is a bureaucratic mess generated with each GC. Yet, instead of tackling that particular issue, they want to do away with it and instead allow regional conferences to take its place. This would, within a short time, create the bureaucracy of the GC at the regional level. It would also lead to regional conferences becoming denominations within a short time. Not only that, it would likely cause us in the United States to abandon the voices from today’s Central Conferences, given they are more conservative than many of our jurisdictions. This is not the image I want to see promoted. This is colonialism, even if it is a reverse of what we usually understand as colonialism.

Their call to the current itinerant system is interesting. I agree it needs to be overhauled, with something along the lines of forced itinerant systems. One of the issues I believe we face today is the cult of personality, where pastors stay too long to be effective. This occurs in our larger UMC churches, where the pastors suddenly become the dominant voice. Not the DS, the Bishop, or even Staff-Parish. The pastor is now in control. Overall, I am not sure their plan here is all that bad.

Their section on “Mutual Respect” is more American than anything. It gives power to those who break the BoD, ending any responsibility for their actions. What good is it then to have the Discipline if it is merely a soft guide?  Mutual respect is first earned when we share in mutual responsibility. What about the mutual responsibility and accountability of Bishops? What about the respect to the Book of Discipline and our individual responsibility to it.

In the end, this plan is truly a third way plan because it runs away from the actual root of our problems. In effect, if something is a problem, they only seek to change the reaction to it, and not the root. That is not a pattern we need to set.

There is nothing here in rediscovering our doctrine, our creeds, our connection to the Great Tradition. Indeed, there is little in here that actually moves us forward, rather than backwards (congregationalism).

The Centrist Movement is Third Way, but it is not via media.

You can find and you should read the plan here: The platform and beliefs of the United Methodist Centrist Movement.

Thoughts?

the best thing about this plan is that it has killed A Way Forward. Rev. Mike Slaughter is one of the authors/supporters of this plan. 

I’ll edit this later, but wanted to put it out there now. 

  1. I do not speak for VMM, but speak as one who believes via media is the correct way forward.
  2. Note, this does not mean conformity in thought, but unity in doctrine.
  3. Experience means the Christian “new life” and it is but a tool in interpreting Scripture.

Quote of the day – George Orwell on #Pacifism

Those who “abjure” violence can only do so because others are committing violence on their behalf.

via George Orwell, “Notes on Nationalism,” May, 1945 .

Thought this might start a conversation…

a quick snapshot and video of the Canon Comparisons in #Logos6 @logos

I am doing a Fouetté rond de jambe en tournant right now because of this new feature.

First, the video:

Now, some screen shots:

Screen Shot 2014-10-27 at 11.42.14 AM Screen Shot 2014-10-27 at 11.40.59 AM Screen Shot 2014-10-27 at 11.40.54 AM Screen Shot 2014-10-27 at 11.40.50 AM Screen Shot 2014-10-27 at 11.39.37 AM

Over at Patheos: Progressive Brands, Sexism & DudeBro Politics: #CloseGamerGate

link to original post: here

Because this was now being handled in public, I was fortunate to receive the support of hundreds of people on Twitter – as well as attacks from others. I always expect some form of trolling, but I did not expect one of the attackers to be an editor at Salon, Elias Isquith, who questioned what my potential rape meant for “hashtags” and “brands”. “- Sarah Kendzior, On Being A Thing

Encountering the Emergent Church Brand

For a span of 2 years, my final semester of undergrad up until my second year in seminary,I tried and miserably failed to fit myself in the white Calvinist evangelical mold. As a black man in his early twenties, I didn’t fit in anywhere in predominantly white Christian educational settings. Some of my first friends in seminary were a group of white Christians who were well read with Emergent Christian literature: Tony Jones, Doug Paggit, Rob Bell, and Brian McLaren will all names that were dropped during our weekly Tuesday night taco dinners.  I would eventually leave the Neo-Calvinist movement on my own terms and started to see some freedom in the Emergent Church movement. Two of the more influential books on my journey were Scot McKnight’s The Jesus Creed and Donald Miller’s Blue Like Jazz. My Calvinist friends (who had not read these book/authors) were calling me a heretic for even reading these books, and as I look back then seven years ago, I can laugh.

I once preached a sermon on the Emergent church as the future of Christian tradition, and I even taught a Sunday School class on Black theology and Emergence Christianity.  However, I began to experience disaffection with the Emergent Church. All of the topics and controversies that the EC leadership wrote about/spoke about still made Whiteness as the center. Believers from marginated contexts were welcome to the table as long as they tacitly submitted to the ways of the dominant culture. In essence,  Emergence Christianities have become more about personal brands and the platforms of their recognized overwhelmingly White male leaders rather than being about the “future of Christianity.” You see, since we only live in the here and now, all talks of the “future of Christianity” are speculative. Yet, there is much money to be made when small groups of people decide to severe the multiracial Kingdom of God from any notion of the future. The “future” winds up looking very much like the status quo, and defenses (yes, even “progressive ones”) of the status quo are quite profitable.

Liberationist Killjoys And DudeBro Christianity

At Killjoy Prophets, there is a two-fold mission: first, we desire to center the experiences of Women of Color in Christianity, and secondly, we work to end DudeBro Christianity. Now, we often get asked, “what is DudeBro Christianity?” First of all, DudeBro is a descriptor of character traits; it is a politics in which any person of any gender, sexual orientation, or ethnic background can embody.  DudeBro Christianity is the passive embodiment of dominant cultural norms that conceal commitments to White supremacist and male supremacist narratives as defaults. The bodies of women and People of Color are made to be objects of contempt. The practice of DudeBro Politics includes someone who insists that all social encounters occur on their terms.  The future of Christianity is their private property (“post-Christendom”); like the plantation oligarchs, People of Color and the bodies of women are to be supervised by DudeBro Christian leaders.

Emergent Christian leaders often make excuses such as, well many PoC and women just do not have a big enough platform to draw a big enough crowd for conferences. In other words, profit is the driving force behind abstract discussions of “the future” rather than the Kingdom of God, which is justice, and peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit.  DudeBro Politics is the anti-Christ, posing as an angelic voice of progressive Enlightenment in order to deny faithful victory over the sins of White Supremacy, rape culture, and economic exploitation. DudeBro politics can play out in non-liberating events such as a White Cisgender queer male informing me that I use too strong of language when describing economic policies as anti-black racism. DudeBro Christianity is when for the sake of inclusion in the United Methodist Church, a White CisHet man uses his privilege to compare the General Conference to date rape. In order to build her brand as a magenta politics leftist, one political theologian dismissed Sarah Kendzior’s claims to being threatened with rape. Jason is right: in order for DudeBro Politics to remain the pre-eminent regime in this kyriarchal, White Supremacist economy, men have to control the bodies of women and PoC.

“but I think it’s pathetic for some [recognized Emergent Church leaders] to stand around and comment on the failings [of Mark Driscoll/Mars Hill Church], while cowardly never admitting your own sh*& (which is strikingly familiar!!) misogyny, mental and emotional abuse all hidden behind a new found liberalism and feminism because the times they are a changin’, jumping on the same sex marriage band wagon because its the hot new ride in town, and you just might get to be relevant again…these people are very cunning and smart and they will use anything (theology, controversy, sensationalism) and anyone to get ahead. it’s a clinical diagnosis and a pathology that looks like this kind of carnage, and they ALWAYS leave bodies in their wake. soliciting white male leaders of the emergent church willing to cover it all up for their crony. wipe out evidence on organizations website. lies and betrayal.”- Julie McMahon, comment, Tony Jones On Mark Driscoll, What Came First, The Thug or The Theology?

On Ending DudeBro Christianity, #GamerGate, & #NotYourShield

Emergence Christianities and their leadership has unfortunately found itself more often than not on imperialist quests for fame and fortune rather than being in solidarity with the least of these. In the process, as Julie McMahon pointed out, brand-creation and marketing leave the bodies of the marginalized in its wake: objectification, emotional, physical and mental abuse, gaslighting, racist microaggressions, and “post-modern” defenses of White Supremacy. Progressive spaces such as Emergence Christianity have made it okay for others to promote themselves at the expense of others (women mostly). For example, the whole #GamerGate #NotYourShield movement is a whole group of gamer dudes violently backlashing against women gamers who have spoken up versus misogyny. Last week, my friend Drew Hart discovered that a #NotYourShield sock puppet had been using a picture of his to advance the racist*, sexist agenda of #NotYourShield / #GamerGate.

#GamerGate is more than a few Internet trolls. They harass their critics, take down their blogsites, spread vicious rumors, and send emails promising gun violence and sexual assaults towards women who dare speak out. It’s time for progressives to find new ways to brand themselves, and this should start by rejecting DudeBro Politics. It means living by the preferential option for the marginalized (women & People of Color), preferring to choose human life and people over profiteering and brand-making.  Such a rejection also means a public rebuke of #GamerGate / #NotYourShield.    #CloseGamerGate #CloseGamerGate #CloseGamerGate

“[…] upon this rock I will build my church; the gates of hell will not prevail against it.”- Matthew 16:18 KJV

Buffy the Vampire Slayer, “The Gift”
  • I refer to #GamerGate/ #NotYourShield as racist because of #1, the persistent blackface sock puppeteering that they do, and #2, their reliance on negative stereotypes of Blacks as thuggish, criminal, and culturally “backwards”/homophobic.

There are always two sides

 – One, a temptation to hostile inflexibility, that is, wanting to close oneself within the written word, (the letter) and not allowing oneself to be surprised by God, by the God of surprises, (the spirit); within the law, within the certitude of what we know and not of what we still need to learn and to achieve. From the time of Christ, it is the temptation of the zealous, of the scrupulous, of the solicitous and of the so-called – today – “traditionalists” and also of the intellectuals.

– The temptation to a destructive tendency to goodness [it. buonismo], that in the name of a deceptive mercy binds the wounds without first curing them and treating them; that treats the symptoms and not the causes and the roots. It is the temptation of the “do-gooders,” of the fearful, and also of the so-called “progressives and liberals.”

via Pope Francis speech at the conclusion of the Synod Vatican Radio.

And the middle, of course. Doesn’t this sound familiar? I mean, to those following UMC politics (I hate that) and the lead up to the General Conference in 2016, this above statement by Pope Francis as he closed the first portion of the Synod on the Family is familiar. It is exactly what is going on in the UMC.