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What is Open Theism? (Video)

We had a great response to an earlier post about Open Theism on our Global Theology Countdown.

One of the authors listed in that blog, Greg Boyd, has created a short video answering some basic questions about Open Theism.

The questions posed to the theologian are:

  • What is Open Theism?
  • How is this relevant today?
  • How does this help the believer?

This video is posted as a part of a theological project at ReKnew.org, whose purpose is to explore issues and ramifications of Christianity.

Throughout the world, people are re-thinking what they thought they knew about the Christian faith. It is an age, it seems, in which many believers and skeptics alike are dissatisfied with the status quo.  Questions increasingly outnumber answers, and faith feels harder and harder to hold.

ReKnew is a place for those in the midst of these questions.

The Pastor and the Jedi-Master

Today’s guest post comes from Brainerd Prince. The comparative essay examines the leadership style of the Jedi–and its emphasis upon masterhood–and draws implications for Christian pastoral ministry leadership. For disciples to become more like Christ, a pastor must become more like a Jedi-Master. (Click to Tweet)

A Jedi Master Trains His Padawans

Jesus, after he was gone, wanted his disciples to be masters like himself rather than contemporary pastors! This is neither to be provocative for the sake of it nor purely an attention-grabber.  I am deliberately positing the image of a master in opposition to that of a pastor with a view to get behind these images and seek an ultimate reconciliation. I will begin with the master-image. Jesus was a master and in his becoming the ‘servant’ and ‘friend’ he was equally elevating his ‘servants’ and ‘friends’ to masterhood. That is why he was able to say to them, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do, he will do also; and great works than these he will do; because I go to the Father’ (John 14:12).

Being a master is a bit like being a Jedi-Master in the world of Star Wars, the highest rank of the Jedi order (more…)

Global Theology Countdown: Open Theism Theology

Open Theism theology views God as entering a guided partnership with humanity to actualize our history. God desires to work out our future with us rather than dictate it to us and, to that degree, created a world with a largely unknown future (i.e. “open”). By being responsive to human activity and prayers, God engages with us daily through Christ and the Holy Spirit in achieving the Kingdom’s reality here on earth. The doctrine is also referred to as Openness Theology or Free Will Theism, and is a distinct departure from Classical/Reformed traditions.

The Global Theology Countdown  breaks down a large topic into more easily accessible parts, linking to other sites for those who would want to go deeper.

  • 4 Keys to Understanding
  • 3 People to Know
  • 2 Blogs Worth Reading
  • 1 Book to Read Immediately

This post covers Open Theism theology and we welcome contributors to share on a different perspective or more information regarding Open Theism theology. Enjoy! (more…)

Art and Evangelism

Marilynne Robinson is an American author whose writing has carried subtle Christian messages and found resonance among wider circles, most recently a review in the New Yorker magazine. Allison Backhous has a recent piece in ThinkChristian.net considering her approach to creativity and the impact it can have on society.

This leads her to a question, can art be both true and evangelistic? (more…)

Place Matters

Have you ever considered how the environment around you shapes your perspective of life? how the buildings, streets, and neighborhoods influence who we are?

A few months ago, we had a piece on the theology of the Built Environment and the video below goes into more detail about the Parish Collective on Churches, Places, and Spaces

Where are those places where the whole church is in the whole neighborhood?

The Parish Collective is about connecting and resourcing the people of faith in particular neighborhoods to be the church in the place they live. The video above was produced by The Other Journal.

A Strange Word – Following Jesus in Postmodernity and Monastic Orders

“…from that moment many of His disciples turned back and no longer followed Him.  You do not want to leave too, do you? Jesus asked the Twelve.” – John 6:66-67

From time to time, Jesus said and did some things that were rather strange.  He broke every social taboo he encountered while on the way to Jerusalem.  He elevated the status of women in a patriarchial world.  He spoke of a Kingdom that inverts this world’s paradigm of power, authority and what it looks like to be “blessed”.  He is the High King of Heaven that conquered his enemy by dying on the cross.  He rose from the dead.  In the context of these verses Jesus just finished telling his disciples that one day they would have to eat his flesh and drink his blood.   Several of his disciples had said that was a little too strange for them and left him right then and there.  The Twelve’s response to Jesus’ rather vulnerable questions was the polar opposite, “Lord, to whom else would be go?  You alone have the words of eternal life.”

The strange-ness of Jesus both alienates and attracts those who come near enough to hear what he has to say. (more…)

Reciprocity of Meaning: How Non-Western Biblical Interpretation Benefits the Western Church

For generations, the stereotypical missionary method has been to train non-Western Christians to “think Western” in order to read, interpret, and apply scripture. This technique has been criticized, however, and there is a growing consensus that the most effective communication of the gospel message is one that is interpreted within the particular context of the local church. If this is the most beneficial practice, then the question must be asked, why should a Western church need to be concerned with culturally different forms of interpretation?

This article will examine briefly the value that these perspectives can have for a local church in a Western cultural context. (more…)

Self-Sabotage: The Lord’s Prayer

A series of short films, titled Self-Sabotage,  by Scott Brignac to accompany Derek Webb’s Feedback album convey graphically the significance of the Lord’s Prayer as experienced by several people.

Self-Sabotage: the deliberate subversion of oneself. Destructive or obstructive action that hinders the person who acts. See also: the Lord’s Prayer.

The Lord’s Prayer is inherently violent towards the one who prays it.

Self-Sabotage is an exploration of the Lord’s Prayer based on and inspired by Derek Webb’s electronic all instrumental album ‘Feedback’. It follows six characters in a narrative with no words – only the music to parallel the stories.

This film has come to pick a fight, and any viewing that fails to recognize that may put the viewer at risk in one way or another.  Self-Sabotage rests firmly amidst the tension between the prayed and the praying; the single-minded character and vision of the Lord’s prayer serves as the sub-text through which we enter into the lives of its characters. Their lives, like moving icons, open windows into the great mystery of communion through self-dethroning sabotage.

The film is embedded below (27 minutes) and available for download in HD here. We welcome response to the film in the comment section or as a separate post.

Incarnation as Celestial Migration

Christmas is all about a migration story.  I am not referring to Santa’s Christmas Eve sleigh ride around the world—that’s travel, not migration—and it’s also not what Christmas is all about.

Even Jesus, Mary, and Joseph’s escape as refugees to Egypt just after the visit of the Magi—while certainly a formative experience in young Jesus’ life and an experience upon which we would do well to reflect upon—is not at the very center of the Christmas story. (more…)

Soul-Less Theology – An Interview with Nancy Murphy

The Anglican Diocese of Melbourne has a transcript of a short interview with Philosopher/Theologian/Professor Nancy Murphy about her understanding of “soul-less theology” following a conference of the Institute for the Study of Christianity in an Age of Science and Technology.

Chris Mulherin: …Some Christians would say you’re doing too much disenchanting if you take away the soul. Tell us about your views on the soul. (more…)

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