Friday, December 24, 2010
I don't know if they were Christians or Muslims, but that night, outside the Church of the Nativity, two Palestinian police officers, in spite of the fact that they were holding automatic rifles, managed to embody the hospitality, kindness, and gentleness that followers of Christ should emulate. I don't know anything else about them except for the few basic facts we were able to exchange across our language barrier, but that night it was Christmas.
Monday, December 13, 2010
Thursday, December 9, 2010
Friday, November 26, 2010
One aspect that I found interesting was the book's treatment of healing and exorcism. There are three essays on these topics. People who live in non-Western contexts often understand healing and exorcism quite differently than we who live in North America and Western Europe. I found this the most interesting part of the book. I only wish there had been more on this issue and that the essays had pushed a bit harder on these points.
There's quite a bit of post-colonial scholarship in the book. This is an important part of engagement with the two-thirds world. Yet I wonder if the degree to which the concerns of post-colonial criticism are represented in this book is proportionately represented in the religious lives and experiences of Christians in these contexts. I don't know the answer... just wondering.
Christianity is spreading rapidly through the global south, a fact which represents an evangelistic, proselytizing concern on the part of these Christians. I didn't see that perspective represented in the book, though, despite the fact that there is ample material in Mark that could lead one to reflect on issues related to evangelism.
All in all, despite the fact that I have some concerns, this is a helpful read. If you want think through the ways in which our cultural contexts shape our readings of the biblical texts, this book will prove a helpful resource.
Tuesday, November 23, 2010
The only program unit sessions that I went to were the three sessions of the Disability Studies and Healthcare in the Bible and Near East unit. There were some very fine papers presented in this session and I took a lot of notes, trying to nail down as many references as possible. The work being done in this unit is really innovative and interesting. It relates to many other areas of biblical scholarship. I can only see interest growing in the topics addressed by this group in coming years.
I think that an area that needs more attention has to do with intellectual disability and the Bible. I'm not sure how to get at this, though, because the category is so foreign to the biblical writers. Lots to think about....
Unfortunately, all the other program unit sessions that I wanted to go to (and there were several) were at the same time as the disability studies sessions, or they were on Monday or Tuesday (and I left Monday at lunchtime).
On Friday night of the conference I had the opportunity to hear N. T. Wright give a lecture called "The Kingdom and the Cross." It was typical N. T. Wright: eloquent, theologically interesting, and thought provoking. Yet the highlight of the evening, in my opinion, was the respondent, Michael Bird of Crossway College (Australia). Bird's response was not only pointed and well informed, but engaging, humorous, and well delivered. Though relatively young, Bird is certainly making a name for himself in the field.
On Sunday night, the Association of Theological Schools honored Dr. Kathleen O'Connor of Columbia Theological Seminary for her work in theological education. O'Connor gave an outstanding address on the vocation of the theological educator and the need to listen to voices speaking from a variety of contexts as we engage the Bible in the classroom.
Every time I attend SBL I'm more keenly aware of how much I have to learn. Then again, I suppose that's at least part of the point. Complacency is the enemy of good scholarship.
Friday, November 19, 2010
Thursday, November 11, 2010
Friday, October 8, 2010
Friday, October 1, 2010
Rabbi Brad Hirschfield is one of the more interesting figures in public religious discourse today. He'll be a Stillwater UMC near Dayton, Ohio, on December 1 at 7:00 p.m. to speak on the topic "Finding Faith Without Fanaticism." If you can make it, I'd love to see you there.
Monday, September 27, 2010
Sunday, September 26, 2010
Friday, September 10, 2010
Thursday, September 2, 2010
Nancy Eiesland died at age 44 from cancer. One wonders how her work would have continued to evolve over another, say, thirty years of writing and reflection. Nevertheless, she has left us this very important work which has become essential reading for all who care about the relationship between people with disabilities, God, and the church.
Tuesday, August 17, 2010
Saturday, August 14, 2010
Tuesday, August 3, 2010
Saturday, July 31, 2010
I think that canonical criticism could be a very fine method for working through issues related to the Bible and disability. We have in the Bible texts that one would not think of as helpful for people with disabilities. Likewise, there are texts that people of faith who have disabilities may find hopeful, liberating, and saving. There are tensions in the Bible around these topics, tensions that we need to work through not simply abstractly as scholars, but also as communities of faith who come to know God through scripture.
Sunday, June 20, 2010
Tuesday, May 18, 2010
Thursday, May 13, 2010
Wednesday, April 28, 2010
Tuesday, March 23, 2010
Is there a particularly Wesleyan take on the Bible? Wesley was, for the most part, what we would consider today a "biblical literalist." He called himself a "man of one book." Of course, there's nothing especially unique about that. He was, in that sense, a product of the Reformation.
Many would dispute, however, that Wesley was indeed a man of one book. Ever since Outler we've had this "Wesleyan Quadrilateral" that has been thought to reflect a Wesleyan use of scripture, tradition, reason, and experience. In that sense, Wesley was a good Anglican in the tradition of Richard Hooker, although he seems to have added experience to the mix. That's not all that unique, either.
I think that, rather than seeking a Wesleyan understanding of scripture, it is more fruitful to identify ways in which scripture informs life lived with particular Wesleyan emphases, such as personal holiness and sanctification, social holiness, the work of the Holy Spirit, and assurance. This type of approach seems to be borne out in the Wesley Study Bible, which is a nice volume if you haven't picked one up.
Saturday, March 13, 2010
(scratching my head....)
Apart from the obvious problems with his reading of the gospels, how can the same word refer to both Communism and Nazism?
I could go on, but, why?
You can check out the story here.
Tuesday, March 9, 2010
At this conference, we talked a great deal about the viability of the principle of sola scriptura. In my own paper, I argued that sola scriptura does not reflect the use of scripture in in the first four centuries of the church when the New Testament canon was being formed. Rather, during this period the relationship between scripture and tradition was dialectical, each helping to shape the other. Scripture was never meant to do all of the theological "heavy lifting" for us. Further, sola scriptura unnecessarily limits the theological resources available to us through the Christian tradition.
I was surprised to find that many people agreed with this claim, though at least one person found it highly objectionable. I do think, though, that it's time for a renewed conversation about this issue.
Wednesday, March 3, 2010
Friday, February 12, 2010
Around the same time, I am also speaking at the East Ohio Conference UTS alum gathering on the topic of the Bible and disability. I have been learning about this topic for a while now, but I have not spoken on it before. Given this, you may be asking, "Why are you blogging right now, rather than working on these two projects, the deadlines of which are quickly approaching?" The answer is: I really don't know. Perhaps this is a form of avoidance behavior.
Tuesday, February 2, 2010
Wednesday, January 27, 2010
Dayton, Ohio, North America
January 27, 2010
Dr. Wendy Deichmann Edwards, a United Methodist elder currently serving as President of United Theological Seminary in Dayton, Ohio, stated that she was shocked to learn that an agency of The United Methodist Church knowingly plans to release a seriously misleading, damaging statement regarding United Theological Seminary later today. The seminary president said the forthcoming statement is not supported by the findings of the independent financial consultant recently hired by the denomination’s own Board of Higher Education and Ministry, and it contradicts the solid affirmation of the fiscal management of the school by both regional (Higher Learning Commission) and international (Association of Theological Schools) accrediting bodies. “I find it unconscionable that brothers and sisters in Christ would knowingly promulgate inaccurate and damaging claims—this will hurt the Church and its witness as much as it will hurt the seminary,” she stated.
The agency reportedly held a meeting last week and discussed accusations concerning the seminary without inviting a representative of the seminary to be present or even informing the seminary it was a subject of debate. Then, after making this incredible decision, advised the seminary of the matter less than 48 hours before the scheduled announcement. There is no way to stop this unfortunate action once it has been approved by the denomination’s University Senate, Deichmann Edwards was told Tuesday by denominational officials. The best she or even a bishop can do is to submit a request for reconsideration within 90 days after the fact and the President confirmed her intention to file for a retraction and public apology to the seminary. More information will be provided in an Open Letter to be posted on the seminary’s website, http://www.united.edu/, later today.
When questioned why a church agency would ignore the findings of authoritative accrediting bodies and of a credible consultant of its own choosing, and act in ways that would undermine the wellbeing of the seminary and the Church, Deichmann Edwards said it is difficult not to wonder whether there is another agenda at work. In a similar way, she pointed out, for many years United was pressured by the denomination to merge with another school against the seminary’s own best judgment and against the advice of highly qualified, professional consultants hired by the Church itself. She admitted it would be hard to conclude there was no conflict of interest involved in the genesis of the harmful statement by a denominational Commission composed primarily of CEOs from institutions that stand to gain financially if United’s growing strength and good reputation is compromised. The seminary president hopes it is not too late to stem the tide of a culture of divisiveness, scarcity and decline within The United Methodist Church. “God isn’t finished with us yet,” she stated, “because the Holy Spirit is always working and there is a whole world out there waiting to hear Good News.”
United Theological Seminary, founded in 1871 by the United Brethren in Christ Church, is one of thirteen theological schools in the USA now affiliated with The United Methodist Church. In the past several years, the school has built a growing network of support among vibrant congregations both small and large, along with bishops and other church leaders who want to revitalize the Church, make disciples of Jesus Christ and change the world. Along these same lines, United has embraced an educational emphasis upon the work of the Holy Spirit in renewing the Church for the mission of Jesus Christ in the world. The school continues longstanding emphases in biblical and academic study, spiritual formation, personal and social holiness, and the use of technology in education and ministry, now most evident in the increasing number of online learning opportunities for students. United’s new enrollment and financial gift receipts have increased dramatically during the past two years, part of a remarkable institutional turnaround that offers hope for the Church and other institutions committed to spiritual growth and renewal, according to President Deichmann Edwards. “This is not about us or what we are doing,” she asserted, “it is about what God is doing to bring hope and new life to people and we are just blessed to be a part of it.”
Monday, January 18, 2010
Friday, January 15, 2010
So, I'm blogging again, much to the great relief of my millions of readers worldwide.