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Irony and the Kingdom of God

In his doctoral thesis, On the Concept of Irony, with Continual Reference to Socrates, Kierkegaard writes of the ironist who approaches life as a spectator:

The ironist stands proudly withdrawn into himself; he lets mankind pass before him, as did Adam the animals, and finds no companionship for himself…For him life is a drama. He is himself a spectator even when performing some act…He is inspired by the virtues of self-sacrifice as a spectator is inspired by them in a theatre…He lives hypothetically and subjunctively, his life finally loses all continuity. With this he sinks completely into mood. His life becomes sheer mood.

Continue reading “Irony and the Kingdom of God”

The Alternative to a Perverse and Dystopian Christianity

The New Testament is not written to create the fellowship of the Spirit but to preserve it. Reading the New Testament, doing theology, worship, or prayer cannot create the koinonia but can help preserve it, appreciate it, inhabit it and celebrate it. The danger which the letters of the New Testament address is not that of failing to attain the bond of unity in the Spirit of Christ but of disrupting it through false teaching, poor behavior, or simple neglect.  Every letter which Paul, along with the other writers of the New Testament, composes is aimed at preserving something which the churches already have but are in danger of losing.   Continue reading “The Alternative to a Perverse and Dystopian Christianity”

A Fascinating But Dangerous Story: Part II

The story I have told has focused on the lure of history and historical theology in which this history creates something of a double bind. The theological understanding that has developed often posits a gap – on the order of the law (e.g., Anselm) or an objectifying vision (e.g., Aquinas) – in which God’s presence is to be sought in an extraordinary inward journey or ecstatic union. This theological gap is compounded with the notion that the turn of theology reflects the turn of the Church itself from an authentic Christianity (e.g. the Constantinian shift). So this authenticity is held out as a lure that needs to be reconstituted. If only we could return to the way of the first Church – thus movements of continual restoration; if only we could overcome the hurdle posed by inauthentic theology – thus the turn to a supposed Biblical Theology which would be conducted apart from the church’s theological biases. Or, as in the mega-church movement, if only we could attain the health and wholeness held out in the lure of charismatic sales-preachers. Continue reading “A Fascinating But Dangerous Story: Part II”

A Fascinating But Dangerous Story

Let me tell you a story which is a kind of lure. While it is true, it is luring or leading you along by withholding the whole truth. You might be fascinated with the way the story works and miss the construct of the story, so I am warning you. Those who fall into the abyss which the story is leading you toward often never return. I want to lead you to the edge of the abyss so that you might recognize the entry points and the way out.  Continue reading “A Fascinating But Dangerous Story”

The Two Kingdoms Begins with the Peaceful Subject

If Jesus embodies the Peaceable Kingdom and the Church is the inauguration of the Kingdom of God on earth, then the means and methods represented by swords and spears are to be replaced by the means and methods represented by ploughshares and pruning hooks (Is. 2:4). The people of God are to be about the work of cultivating and harvesting (the work of the ploughshare and pruning hook) new life in and for the Kingdom of God. Continue reading “The Two Kingdoms Begins with the Peaceful Subject”

Is the Kingdom a Present Reality? – The Meaning of “Forging Ploughshares”

And they will hammer their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Micah 4:3

The key question concerning the peaceable kingdom portrayed in Micah and Isaiah is whether this Kingdom has become a reality in the life of Jesus of Nazareth. The forging of swords into ploughshares describes a universal reality, that even in these pre-Christian passages, evokes a present tense walk: Continue reading “Is the Kingdom a Present Reality? – The Meaning of “Forging Ploughshares””