Wednesday, April 28, 2010

What Would Jesus Deconstruct - Book Review

Last week our youth group visited a Hindu Temple.  Here is what I learned:  Three main deities in Hinduism are Brahman, Vishnu, and Shiva.  There are hundreds others but these are three main ones.  They are understood to be manifestations of the "one real."  Brahman is a creator god.  Vishnu is a sustainer.  And Shiva is the destroyer.  You might be struck by the parallel with the Christian trinity.  The Father is creator like Brahman. The Holy Spirit is a sustainer like Vishnu.  But can Jesus Christ be though of as a destroyer?  If one takes the cross as the central event of Jesus' life then perhaps.  Jesus questioned the status quo of his day.  Some might have feared that he had the power to destroy.  He died, his life was destroyed, on the cross.  In Baptism, we say that a person is baptized into the death and resurrection of Christ.  God does not leave destruction without the hope of restoration.  God restores.  God resurrects.  Hinduism, too, offers hope of new life in ways distinct to its tradition.

I don't want to force these two historically distinct traditions to align.  But it is interesting to hold our traditions in conversation and see what emerges.  Learning a little something about Hinduism helps me to appreciate something in my own Christian faith.  Resurrection comes after destruction.

In the book, "What Would Jesus Deconstruct?" by John D. Caputo, a case is made for considering deconstruction as helpful for the Christian life of faith.  The basic gist is this: conceding that everything can be deconstructed awakens the Christian from dogmatic slumbers.  Rather than put one's faith in a particular theological doctrine or reading of scripture, the Christian should put their faith in God alone.

Is it right to put faith in the project of deconstruction?  If we take deconstruction seriously then the answer is no.  Faith should be put in God alone.  But deconstruction might be a helpful path, that is, a dead end which allows a way to be made out of no way and the fullness of resurrection to be known.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

The Danger of Seminary

Seminary is a dangerous thing.  It gets you thinking.  And I’ve been thinking a lot.  Fortunately, at Our Savior’s (my home congregation) we are Encouraged to Think! So I’d like to share with you something I’ve been thinking about, it’s called: youth theology.

Youth theology is a perspective that values the theological insight of youth.  Have you ever been amazed at something a young person has said about God?  Just the other day one of our pre-school teachers told me about how a pre-school student, who is also a member of our congregation, explained the Trinity to one of her classmates.  She was able to explain the Trinity in a way her four-year-old friend could understand.  This is an example youth theology.

Young people have a way of interpreting classical ideas about God in a way that makes sense today.  This is a gift that they have.  If something does not make sense to a young person, they are not afraid to question and ask why.  Some churches might be afraid of this.  But thankfully, we are a part of a church that does not shy away from questions.  But when we ask difficult theological questions (questions about God) who as the authority to answer?  Do young people have any authority?

I recently made a video asking this very question and put it on the Internet to see if any young people would respond.  They did!  But the answers might surprise you.  When we talked about this question at youth group, the youth were quick to point out two things. One, yes young people do have authority because they have a unique experience and therefore insight about God. The Bible supports this notion.  See: 12 year old Jesus in the temple, 13 year old Mary, David the shepherd boy, Samuel the boy in the temple, etc., etc. Two, they did not want to say that adults had no authority.  Rather our youth were quick to affirm the authority of their elders!  Because the longer you live, they said, the more life experience you have.  The concluding point is that the experience of young people is not necessarily better or worse than that of adults, but it is different.  Therefore, if experience matters when it comes to talking and thinking about God, young people matter!

If the church leads the way in acknowledging the authority of young people when it comes to thinking and talking about God, then what would result if the rest of the world followed suit?  I encourage you to both speak up to share your experiences, and to listen to the experience of others around you.  In this way our theological understanding will be enriched by the insight of young people.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Spanish - Espanol

Buenos Dias senores y senoras,

Este dia, que ha hacido el Senor, es una nueva oportunidad trabajar por paz. Ayer, desafortunademente, habia un terrible ocasion de violencia en Los Angeles.  Unos organizaron un demonstracion de "white supremicy."  Ellos tendran un mensaje de odio y racismo.  Cientos de personas vinieron para contra-demonstrar.  Desafortunademente habia mucho violencia.  El "Los Angeles Time" dicen que la violencia fue causado no por los neo-nazis, pero de la contra-demonstracion.  Esta situacion me causa pensar en una pregunta: "Como responder, una persona, al odio?"

Que piensas tu?

[Es mi primer vez escribir en espanol en mi Blog, lo siento por el calidad peor]

Monday, April 12, 2010

Introducing the Theology Pirate!

Avast ye scurvy dogs!  Meet the theology pirate!  Who do you think has authority?