Saturday, May 26, 2012

Off To Congress

It is that time again, Congress. Tomorrow I drive to Waterloo with my good friend Mike, should be a good trip. Tomorrow night it is the CETA exec dinner, then Sunday morning we begin with worship. Richard, the president, and I have put together a nice little liturgy to open our part of the conference. A little Vineyard worship mixed with a few hymns - I'm liking it. I wish I had time to swap my guitar strings though, they need changing. We have a full day of papers and then in the evening I have the CTS exec dinner. Monday I am chairing a joint panel - CETA/CTS which is kind of a big deal. We have five panelists: Lee Cormie, Jeff McPherson, John McKay, Margie Patrick, and David Goa. We are looking at the changing relationship between religion and politics in Canada with an eye on how it impacts academic theological education. Our starting point is Marci McDonald's Armageddon Factor, which if you haven't read, is a journalist's take on the rise of what she calls Christian Nationalists. Really she is fairly alarmed at the evident political involvement of those Christians who hold a restorationist theology, similar to what drives a lot of fundamentalist political engagement in the US. There are things I think we need to be alarmed about here - but, as Dennis Gruending astutely points out, McDonald simply does not have a good understanding of the evangelical subculture and how it works. BTW I will be doing a review of Gruending's book, Pulpit and Politics, soon. After this though it is mostly taking in papers and networking. I really need to come up with some leads on teaching work. 

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

God Loves Life - So Should We

 “The thought of death and a life after death can lead to fatalism and apathy, so that we only live life here half-heartedly, or just endure it and ‘get through’. The thought of a life after death can cheat us of the happiness and the pain of this life, so that we squander its treasures, selling them off cheap to heaven.”
Moltmann, The Coming of God, 50.

Thursday, May 03, 2012

Should We Lie For Christ?

Perhaps it is a product of reading Marci McDonald's The Armageddon Factor. At least that has brought fresh light to the idea that some Christians, especially in my Charismatic/Pentecostal world, seem to think it is ok to lie to further their ideological agendas. I framed the title of this blog deliberately because I'm sure that is what they think they are doing. Just today Canada in Prayer posted a dire warning about a supposed Wiccan festival this weekend in Mississauga. The post is filled with fearful language about lengthy pagan rites and sending curses on the land. When I first read it I was thinking that they were simply misrepresenting a psychic fair or something. I was going to comment but then thought I'd do some digging. When I found nothing I called bullshit on the post. So the most audacious response so far was even if it isn't true praying can't hurt. Seriously? So it is ok to spread lies about people and events just cause it might cause them to pray some prayer against some imagined threat/event? What would that accomplish?

Well let me tell you what that will accomplish. Spiritually - nothing. However, it will entrench an ideological bias against spiritual seekers who happen to be tracking with neo-paganism. I'm sure that will really bolster our ability to witness to them, not. It will also foster fear amongst those people already afraid that Satan is lurking around behind every tree ready to trounce on them. It will also foster an unrealistic relationship to the land. If we buy the lie then we do not have to own our own culpability for the state our society and world is in. We don't have to act to change things - we just have to pray. It was telling that one poster cut and pasted a long all-caps prayer in response to this imaginary threat.

Stuff like this makes me want to shake people and tell them to wake up.