Thursday, May 26, 2005

Truth is Stranger than Doctrine

(Edit: Dedicated to Sharyn, after all, 'it was the woman - she made me do it!')

I got the book, "Truth Is Stranger Than It Used To Be," a little while ago now.

I think it's by Middleton and Walsh.

I really don't know why some people get all worked up about books like this. In particular, the word, "liberal," gets thrown around alot when people don't like what they've been reading.

Granted, I haven't read all of it yet, but there always seems to be somebody complaining about any attempt to bridge the gap between 'conservative' theology and our ecclectic, postmodern, youth culture.

It's not like we can call ourselves anything other than that. Postmodern, I mean. Let's face it, I bet you and I could sit down and in half an hour have found out five beliefs that you value that somebody got burned to death or excommunicated for also believing sometime in the history of the church. Universal Orthodoxy? Supreme Magisterium? Come on, we're all a little bit too patchwork for that these days.

Take Anabaptism for example, *cough cough-hobby-horse-cough*. These guys (the "Radical Reformers") used to get burned by EVERYONE during the Reformation, and yet I must say that I know more than a few people who sympathise with their cause these days.

It's driving me mad... am I "conservative" or am I a big, fluffy, heretical "liberal"? Or, perhaps I should wonder, can anyone tell and who cares?

I respect the Bible to the highest degree. I even have highly preferential leanings towards good ol' six day creationism, heck... I think there might even be a real Hell.

And yet I find no worthy argument against Theistic Evolution (not, at least, from personal and group exegesis of Genesis 1-3), I think that Annihilationists might have something worth thinking about and I'm perfectly happy to accept that scribal errors exist in some of the many manuscripts that make up various books of our Bible.

So here I am, happy to believe what I believe - but equally happy to let others get on with their own opinions.

So does that really make me a person who lacks convictions if I won't go to war over these things that I claim to believe?

Does that make me a Liberal Postmodernist? I don't feel like one.

Of course, there are some things that I know and won't give any quarter on:

"And when I came to you, brethren, I did not come with superiority of speech or of wisdom, proclaiming to you the testimony of God. For I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified."
(1 Cor 2:1-2)

And, so:

"Whatever things were gain to me, those things I have counted as loss for the sake of Christ. More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ, and may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith, that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death; in order that I may attain to the resurrection from the dead."
(1 Phil 3:7-11)

Oh, and another thing, what denomination was Jesus, anyway?

Friday, May 20, 2005

Weird & Wonderful World

You won't believe this.

In the overwhelming madness of consumer choice that lies before us, the internet has managed to create one more amazing thing. Ok, maybe two amazing things.

Here, one man is selling a Marlboro cigarette butt on auction. Prices are, as of writing this, $7,475. Seven THOUSAND dollars for a used cigarette butt.

The deal is that this cigarette butt is the 'last' butt smoked in Auckland's Malt Bar before the new anti-smoking-in-Bars law came into effect. TradeMe auction here, Herald article here.

This next thing is for all the Christchurch subscribers of mine. If you're ever feeling lonely, you can always purchase a hug on the TradeMe auction. Yes, a hug. But not just an ordinary hug, this hug is a professionally delivered, caring and supportive COMFORT HUG. But if you're looking to score such an amazing hug, you'd better have at least $405... that's how much the last one went for here.

Upon noting that the hug is being delivered by an engaged, 28 year-old, male youth worker from CHCH, I really must add that the person who was outbid by $5 for the hug auction (i.e. bid $400) has a 2003 Ford BA XR6 Turbo Ute for sale at $34,000. How manly. In fact, the winning bid ($405) was by a married, Auckland man called Warwick.

How sad for Taihape's Sharon, Morrinsville's Margaret, Wellington City's John, Milton's Paula, Auckland's Jay-jay (Radio Host of The Edge's Morning Madhouse!), Wanganui's Ben, Auckland's North Shore Julz and of course Whangarei's Kim.

Warwick, you thief, you should have left the hug for somebody who needed it. Or did you?

What a world.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Pacifism, the third way

So you may have got the idea from one of my first posts that the topic of pacifism was bound to rear its head on my Blog.

Here it is, the culmination of many books read and many hours spent pondering.

It's my essay on pacifism.

It was written for my Gospel in a Post-Christian Society class, also the genesis of this blog, and I hope you enjoy it. Intro follows, article hyperlinked.

The life of ‘Modern Man,’ French theologian Jacques Ellul explained, is lived as if in a perpetual dream. We live in a world where the infinite particulars of our mundane existence are constantly bombarded and assaulted with a myriad of bigger, better and more global facts. This perpetual dream, our "explanatory myth," is The Story that holds all of these eclectic and sometimes competing facts – the phenomena – together; it provides the intellectual key and gives justification, meaning and coherence to all that we hear, see and read. But dream though it is, it is a realist’s dream – constructed by fact and figures, television footage and newspaper articles. These facts help validate the Story and yet it is in the Story that all knowledge coinheres. This Story is the essential element of every kind of human social group interrelationship (politik) and so the Modern Man clings to it, "with all his might, as a man involved in a mass-civilization, who could not break away from the masses without dying." But can we change our Story? This essay intends to examine the delicate DMZ – pun not intended – caused by the Postmodern critique of the Modern paradigm, with particular emphasis on the development of a radical, challenging ethic in the form of Pacifism/Nonviolence.
The first part of this essay will tackle the Modernist paradigm and some of the traditional criticisms raised against Nonviolence. The topic then will turn to today’s prevailing Western sociocultural worldview, Postmodernism, in an attempt to define some of its features and to clarify some of the stance’s benefits and disadvantages. The third section will focus on the development of Ethics in the context of a Modernist to Postmodernist paradigm shift specifically through focus and analysis on the difficult and potentially impractical Ethic of Nonviolence.

Read the rest of my article here.

Let me know what you think, I'd like that.

My mark was: A

Relax, have a coffee

Just think, when you enjoy a coffee (as I myself am prone to do) you can do one of two things:

You can help a community, or...

You can contribute to somebody's slow but sure destruction.

Here at my college we've just started the fight to get "Fair Trade" coffee into our cafe as an option, alongside the other coffee that we sell.
That other coffee, you may be interested to know, only gives the grower 3 cents with every cup sold. That other coffee, you might be surprised to learn, inflates in price by 7000% between the hands of the grower and your supermarket shelf. That coffee, you might be sad to find out, is now giving so little money to the grower (7 cents a kilo instead of 70 like it used to be) that its now almost at (or below) production costs for some of its farmers.

FairTrade coffee, like you can purchase from New Internationalist in Christchurch, tries to give a bit more back to the farmer (using the guidelines of the International Coffee Organisation, I believe).

I figure if drinking one brand is as easy as drinking another, I may as well exercise my postmodern muscles and flex them in the direction of the more globally conscious consumer choice.

Peace out.

p.s. You can grab a nice and clear .pdf written by OXFAM about the whole deal here.