Thoughts of a Catholic convert

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Tuesday, September 28, 2010

It's so hot! :(

My air conditioner/heater broke down a couple of weeks ago. I had thought it was the best time for it to do so, as this time of year is neither hot nor cold, but for the last few days we've been having a heat wave - today it's 102 degrees - and I think my brain is becoming denatured from the heat. Anyway, it's too hot to write a detailed post, but here are some tidbits:

- an article at Thinking Faith by Jesuit astronomer Guy Consolmagno .... Couldn’t God have designed a gentler universe?

- an article at Christianity Today on the book To Change the World: The Irony, Tragedy, and Possibility of Christianity in the Late Modern World. Here's just the beginning of the article ......

Hunter, professor of religion, culture, and social theory at the University of Virginia, is author of "Culture Wars: The Struggle to Define America and The Death of Character: On the Moral Education of America's Children".

"To Change the World" comprises three essays. The first examines the common view of "culture as ideas," espoused by thinkers like Chuck Colson, and the corrective view of "culture as artifacts," as recently argued by Andy Crouch in Culture Making. Both views, argues Hunter, are characterized by idealism, individualism, and pietism.

Hunter develops an alternative view of culture, one that assigns roles not only to ideas and artifacts but also to "elites, networks, technology, and new institutions." American Christians—mainline Protestant, Catholic, and evangelical—will not and cannot change the world through evangelism, political action, and social reform because of the working theory that undergirds their strategies. This theory says that "the essence of culture is found in the hearts and minds of individuals—in what are typically called 'values.' " According to Hunter, social science and history prove that many popular ideas, such as "transformed people transform cultures" (Colson) and "in one generation, you change the whole culture" (James Dobson), are "deeply flawed."

The second essay argues that "the public witness of the church today has become a political witness." Hunter critiques the political theologies of the Christian Right, Christian Left, and neo-Anabaptists, showing that unlikely bedfellows—James Dobson, Jim Wallis, and Stanley Hauerwas—are all "functional Nietzscheans" insofar as their resentment fuels a will to power, which perpetuates rather than heals "the dark nihilisms of the modern age."

The third essay offers a different paradigm for cultural engagement, one Hunter calls "faithful presence." Faithful presence is not about changing culture, let alone the world, but instead emphasizes cooperation between individuals and institutions in order to make disciples and serve the common good. "If there are benevolent consequences of our engagement with the world," Hunter writes, "it is precisely because it is not rooted in a desire to change the world for the better but rather because it is an expression of a desire to honor the creator of all goodness, beauty, and truth, a manifestation of our loving obedience to God, and a fulfillment of God's command to love our neighbor." ......

- A few days ago an interview with Rowan Williams was published by The Times (subscription only) which touched on gay bishops in the C of E. Here's a bit about it from Ekklesia .....

Archbishop of Canterbury fails to bridge gay row gap

[...] It is Dr Williams' comments on gay clergy and bishops which have drawn instant attention from reporters and commentators, however.

He declared: "There’s no problem about a gay person who’s a bishop... It’s about the fact that there are traditionally, historically, standards that the clergy are expected to observe. So there’s always a question about the personal life of the clergy.”

Asked what is wrong with a gay bishop having a partner, the Archbishop replies: “I think because the scriptural and traditional approach to this doesn’t give much ground for being positive about it. The Church at the moment doesn’t quite know what to make of it...”

In the past, before assuming his key role within the Established Church, Dr Williams, as a pastor and acdemic, had affirmed gay relationships both pastorally and academically.

But he sees his priority now as holding the Church of England and the Anglican Communion - with its warring factions - together.

Responding to his latest remarks, gay human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell accused him of being inconsistent and hypocritical, while the hardline group Anglican Mainstream strongly objected to any gay bishops.

In its own leading article, The Times newspaper challenges the idea that the church has no room for reform or change on traditional, scriptural grounds - which has been the basis of the argument for welcoming gay people advanced by a growing number of evangelicals in recent years.

The paper declared: "In seeking a settlement within Anglicanism, Dr Williams risks diminishing its prophetic voice. If he were to worry less about politics, he might find the resources to strengthen Anglicanism and find spiritual fulfilment of his own. For with his profound theological insight, Dr Williams is better placed than anyone to, in the words of Matthew’s Gospel, discern the signs of the times." .....

- I can' remember if I mentioned this before, but those who are interested in learning more about Ignatian spirituality can read a online book about it - What Is Ignatian Spirituality? by David L. Flemming SJ.


Anonymous Richard said...

An odd heat too. It felt like a sauna. So sorry for you. Should get some relief soon :)

7:56 PM  
Blogger crystal said...

Thanks, Richard ;)

8:29 PM  

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