Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Can we see God? Jeremy Begbie explores the question.

An interesting unconcealment of the Trinity through the use of musical analogy (very fitting!) by Begbie

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

Rowan williams: Christ on Trial

Christ on Trial

The Time for Truth

This is where the meaning of the trial becomes clear, where we see what truth it is that this trial establishes.  Jesus before the High Priest has no leverage in the world; he is denuded of whatever power he might have had.  Stripped and bound before the court, he has no stake in how the world organizes itself.  He is definitively outside the system of the world's power.  He is going to die, because that is what the world has decided.  It is at this moment and this moment only that he speaks plainly who he is.  He names himself with the name of the God of Israel, 'I am', and tells the court that they will see the Human One seated at God's right hand, coming in judgement.  Humanity does not live in this world of insane authorities, but with God.  When God's judgement arrives, it will be in the unveiling of a true human face as opposed to the masks and caricatures of the High Priest's world.

Mark is inviting us to think again about what we mean by transcendence.  Normally, when we use such words, we think of God's surpassing greatness, but how can we avoid that becoming just a massive projection of what we mean by greatness?  If that is the case, we shall, like Peter in the Gospel story, rebel against what God actually desires to do and be in the life of Jesus.  If we are to have our language about the transcendence - the sheer, unimaginable differentness - of God recreated, it must be by the emptying out of all we thought we knew about it, the emptying out of all we normally mean by greatness.  No more about the lofty distance of God, the sovereignty that involves control over all circumstances: God's 'I am' can only be heard for what it really is when it has no trace of human power left to it; when it appears as something utterly different from human authority, even human liberty; when it is spoken by a captive under sentence of death.
(pp. 6, 7)

Monday, 11 April 2011

Abstract accepted for conference at York Uni

Abstract for Watching and Being Watched

Surveillance, the Death of God, and the Desire for Recognition
This paper will examine the rise of surveillance in society as that which fills the ontological gap left by the nineteenth century death of God seen in the light of the Hegelian struggle for recognition.  The exorcism of God from public and private domains unhooks the desire for recognition from its moorings in a fixed transcendence.  The desire on which such guaranteed ontological security is based returns in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries in a multiplicity of forms, not least of which is in the desire to be seen.  In line with Foucault’s analysis of confession as a tool in and through which the self both discloses and is constituted through that which is disclosed the near constant technological surveillance and self-disclosure endured today forms the apex of a very ancient discourse in which one is only insofar as one is seen.  Thus, along with surveillance by the state, the internet-at-large provides a replacement (and selective) omniscience in the form of a transcendent pseudo-metaphysical realm in which one can disclose oneself even in anonymity; in this sense, it doesn’t matter who is seeing whom or for what purpose, so long as one has a presence in the all-seeing on-line ether.  Moreover, in a secularised society of narcissistic-voyeurs, on-line forums such as Facebook and Twitter provide the only thing better than being seen, which is being seen to be being seen by no one in particular and thus by all.  From the perspective of the Hegelian struggle for recognition as the ground for one’s ontological security and the Foucauldian self-formation through disclosure of self, the question remains to be asked, what kind of human being emerges from under the all-seeing gaze of the technological web before whom all is being laid bare?  

Monday, 4 April 2011

Internet Monk: preaching Grace is a risky business

Some really good thoughts on the preaching of grace summarised below:

1) Young people have a difficult time understanding grace. I think that young people are so used to living in a world of rules and grades, so used to competition and being told to be good/do right, that the Gospel is hard for them to understand.
2) Another reason young people struggle with the Gospel of grace is that they’ve been the primary focus of all the cultural warfare Christians talk about.
3) I think it’s provable again and again that what we are comfortable saying to an unbeliever, we aren’t comfortable saying to a Christian. The Gospel is for Christians, too. 
4) We really don’t believe grace can conform our lives to Christ more effectively than law. I mean we don’t. We think we need the law to keep us in line. Especially, we think we need the terrors of the law to frighten us into being good Christians.
5) Here’s one always sure to get a rise out of evangelicals. “Once you are justified by faith, you can do what you want. And if you want to do all the things you did before you knew Jesus, then you just don’t get it.” The idea that we can do what we want just gets everyone nervous.
6) How does grace change us? The Holy Spirit gives us a new heart, the mind of Christ, new affections. We are changed and the promises of sanctification and perseverance are true. But the law can’t PRODUCE anything worthwhile in my life as a Christian.

I would recommend going to the post itself to see what he has to say in more detail.  It's superb!