Friday, January 25, 2013

What Are America’s Most Bible-Minded Cities? | American Bible Society

What does it mean to be biblical? Or even Bible-minded? It is interesting that the graph the American Bible Society puts forward argues that it is consensus that establishes truth. Actually it is arguing from a set of preconceptions about the nature of the Bible - namely that it merely needs to be read a lot and believed to be accurate for one to be "Bible-minded". But the term "Bible-minded" has a lot more weight than just those presuppositions. It implies, at least in the evangelical world, that something is more desirable or more correct. We do this with our theologies when we claim they are "biblical" regardless of how many other theological propositions contradict ours yet also claim to be "biblical".

A mentor of mine once wisely told me that just because the majority of people believe something does not make it true. He urged me to think for myself. And my theology has grown a lot from that little piece of advice (I would never have a theology of an open table if it were not for him.) So when I see an appeal to consensus like this I get a bit concerned that someone is offering an easy way out - and easy ways often impoverish our faith.

Perhaps I wouldn't enjoy being in the most "Bible-minded" of American cities. But I do enjoy being around people who take the Bible seriously by wrestling with its words and not simply buying what other people have to say about it.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

There is Still Time!

Call for Papers:

Canadian Evangelical Theological Association Annual Meeting
University of Victoria, Victoria, BC
June 2, 2013

The Executive of the Canadian Evangelical Theological Association (CETA) welcomes proposals for papers to be presented at the June 2, 2013 Annual Meeting to be held in conjunction with the Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences at the University of Victoria, in Victoria, BC.

CETA encourages submission of high quality papers on any topic of theological relevance to Canadian Evangelicalism. The theme for this year's Congress is @ the Edge and papers which address this theme in relation to Canadian Evangelicalism are encouraged.

Papers should be scholarly but not highly specialized presentations of about 25 minutes, aimed at an audience of scholars from across the spectrum of theological disciplines, including biblical studies; theological readings of Scripture; historical, systematic, moral, and pastoral theology; theology that engages culture, the church, other academic disciplines, etc. Proposals from graduate students are welcome.

Proposed titles, along with an abstract of no more than 250 words, should be accompanied by a short CV. To facilitate anonymous review of proposals, please include your name, paper title, institutional affiliation, and contact information on a separate page from your paper proposal. All proposals should be submitted electronically to the address below in Word, ODT, or RTF format by January 31, 2013. Please entitle your email “CETA 2013 Paper Proposal.” 

Papers chosen for participation will be notified by March 1, 2013.

Please email all conference paper proposals to Dr. J. Richard Middleton, President, Canadian Evangelical Theological Association.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

The Pastoral Concern

This is too important not to engage with. UK evangelical Steve Chalke has come out in favour of same-sex marriage. What I feel is so important about his stance is that he articulates the very real pastoral concerns that I know many pastors are struggling with. How do we love like Jesus loved?

All through the gospels I see Jesus challenging the established norms about inclusion. Even with the Syrophoenician woman in Mark 7 (a passage I struggle a lot with) the key was how Jesus' challenged how the disciples were growing increasingly exclusivist and as a result the miraculous power of God seemed to be decreasing (read the context, before and after and ask what changes). History has also born this out, when we focus on keeping tight reigns on the church we see God begin to move outside of our expectations and even our comfort. As my charismatic friends would say, you can't put God in a box.

Tony Campolo declares that this could well be a watershed moment. Campolo is not willing to go as far as Chalke, but he does represent the engagement with this issue that is going on throughout evangelicalism. Chalke is not going to be as easy for evangelicals to dismiss as Brian McLaren who also recently endorsed the blessing of same-sex marriages through participating in the wedding of his son.

These are interesting times.

(edited: is back up so I linked the reference to Campolo's response, also worth reading.)

Monday, January 14, 2013

Getting Down to Brass Tacks

Yeah, sounds impressive doesn't it. Actually I have a paper down - waiting for feedback. Now it is finally time to put everything else aside and finish my thesis! This week is getting my head back into the game, rewriting the intro to include a slight change as well as make my background research chapters count. Next week it is time to reboot my physical fitness work. By the end of these two weeks I want to establish a work routine and a workout routine. If I'm good I'll reward myself with some gaming, if not I'll tie myself to my chair until I am good! At least that is the plan.