Tuesday, April 27, 2010
Wednesday, April 14, 2010
Tuesday, April 13, 2010
What is the theology of the cross? I have tried on many occasions, in both sustained argument and more metaphoric ways to describe this “thin tradition”—as I called it in my first book on the subject, Lighten Our Darkness. I know that I will never do justice to it because, to begin with, the theology of the cross is not an “it”—not a specific and objectifiable set of teachings or dogmas; not “a theology”—it is, rather, a spirit and a method that one brings to all one’s reflections on all the various areas and facets of Christian faith and life. I have never been able to improve on Moltmann’s metaphor when he says that the theology of the cross is “not a single chapter in theology, but the key signature for all Christian theology.” This is a theological approach that is not easy to pin down, as one can (with care) pin down terms like “orthodoxy,” or “neo-orthodoxy,” or “liberalism,” or “fundamentalism.” But theologia crucis as a spirit and method of theological thought cannot be stated in a formula. It may, however, be recognized when it is heard or experienced, whether in sermon, serious theological writing, or artistic expression.
- The Compassion and Solidarity of God
- The Cross as World-Commitment
- Honesty About Experience (Christian Realism)
- The Contextual Character of This Theology
- The Refusal of Finality
I continue to recommend Hall to colleagues and friends, while continuing to read Hall myself. (I am currently reading Professing the Faith, the second volume of a trilogy in which Hall addresses the future shape of Christian theology and life in North America.) For those not willing to tackle the trilogy, I recommend Lighten Our Darkness and The Cross in Our Context: Jesus and the Suffering World.
Sunday, April 11, 2010
The first false community is the kind in which everyone has to think alike, to adopt the party-line or they're out. We saw this in the Soviet Union with its Gulags for dissidents and we can see it in some Christian communities where members are required to adopt a particular interpretation of the Christian faith.
The second false community is the kind where you can believe anything you want because no one is really paying attention to you or taking you seriously. If you want to struggle with your doubts and fears, don't bother to do it in this kind of community, because no one really cares.
When Thomas came back to the community of the disciples after their Easter Say experince of seeing the Risen Chirst, he didn't find a false community which demanded that he accept Simon Peter's or anyone else's understanding of what had happened on Good Friday and Easter. Nor did he find a false community that didn't care if he had doubts. He found instead a community of unconditional love that accepted him as he was - doubts and all - and provided him a place where he could struggle with those doubts and come to faith.
Jesus had formed a community of unconditional love around himself in the months before his death by reaching out to all sorts of folks, even those who were unacceptable in the eyes of the religious establishment. When he breathed on his disciples on Easter, inviting them to receive the Holy Spirit, he gave them the power to create the same kind of community of unconditional love. And that's what they did, and it was that community that Thomas found when he met with the disciples.
We are called to be a community of unconditional love, to welcome all sorts of people with all of their doubts and uncertainties and to provide a space where together we can come to deeper faith.
Are we willing to be that kind of community?