Everything can be an object of theological trial and theological assessment except God. God is, by definition and after a widespread religious understanding, beyond any rational experimental attempt. Everybody who breaks this basic religious rule would immediately incur in a kind of unforgivable theological temerity, into a rough religious insolence and finally into pure blasphemy. Yet, seen from another perspective, trying to think God is the first task of any theology and of any healthy religious experience.
In the spring of 2005, my attention was curiously piqued by two major train wrecks in Asia. The first occurred during rush-hour in Tokyo on Monday, April 25, when an intercity train derailed with such force that it became embedded in the ground floor garage of an apartment complex. Investigators concluded that the crash occurred when the driver attempted to manoeuver a curve at 100km/h at a point on the track when the maximum speed was 70km/h.
170 years ago, Soren Kierkegaard wrote Fear and Trembling. Ten years ago, I read it for the first time and it changed my life. In it Kierkegaard outlines principles for living the life of faith by looking at Abraham, who he deems the knight of faith. Kierkegaard identifies five requirements to be a knight of faith. I do not consider these requirements to be hard and fast rules (in fact I will challenge at least one of them), but I do think that these are good things to think about if we are going to live a life of faith.
This year occurs the 40th anniversary of Gustavo Gutierrez’s English edition ofTeologia de la liberacion. Perspectivas (“A Theology of Liberation: History, Politics and Salvation, 1973).Although the “Theology of Liberation” has grown into an international and inter-denominational movement, it began as such within the Catholic Church in Latin-America in the 1960s–1970s. The term, coined in 1971 by Gutierrez himself and in dialogue with L. Boff, J. Sobrino, O. Romero, J.L.
George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four encompasses powerful social commentary that eerily portrays the reality of contemporary American society. The invisible Big Brother makes his presence felt through the totalitarian Party that is committed to the enforcement of mind control and is quick to criminalize independent thinkers for their thoughtcrimes. In the modern American context, Big Brother’s Party enjoys the support of both donkey and elephant and feels equally at home in a red or blue environment.
Over the last couple of days many around the country have been focused on the arguments on the constitutionality of Proposition 8 (Prop 8) and the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), taking place in the Supreme Court. It doesn’t make sense in this forum to give a summary or even a major analysis. There are good analyses out there. (I found Mother Jones and SCOTUSblog helpful), but there are some things that I want to highlight in reference to the arguments we have seen this week.
Bob Marley will probably be remembered as one of the greatest social prophets of the twentieth century. As a result of the enduring popularity of his lyrical and musical compositions, many of his moving creations have been embraced as classics that will withstand the whims of popular ditties whose only purpose is to temporarily excite. Those who have studied the lyrics to his socially conscious songs are fully aware that this son of St. Anne, Jamaica was gifted with a unique ability to expose the negative while elevating the positive.
The Barna Group, a non-partisan research group focused on the intersection of religion and culture, recently published some interesting findings on how we perceive the current state of religious liberty in America. Overall, a majority of Americans expressed some level of concern that religious freedom would become more restricted over the next five years.
Recently a friend (who, like me, grew up in an extremely Seventh-day Adventist family) and I were talking about the legalization of marijuana in Washington State, where both of us have lived. Something that was presented to us as instantly life-destroying can now be purchased in a store! The way our parents and teachers had taught us, marijuana wasn’t just something to avoid, but something that if used once would destroy you forever.
Carlos Raphael of Louisville, Kentucky graciously granted me permission to use one of his artistic creations for the cover design of my book, The Faith Factor. Titled “Ms. Rosa in Strength,” the painting depicts the painful struggle for Black liberation in the United States of America during the Civil Rights era of the 1950s and 60s. At the center of the otherwise somber collage is the profile of a colorful and jovial Rosa Parks who is encircled by strategically placed sepia portrayals of three contemplative religious icons of the movement: Dr.
On Monday, President Barack Obama was publicly sworn in for his second term as president of the United States. Every inauguration is celebrated as a testament to the peaceful transition (or in this case continuation) of power and to the democratic system. For me and many others, the luster of the festivities was tarnished by a tweet from Pastor Mark Driscoll, a Calvinist pastor who is popular in conservative evangelical circles.
Christians in general, and Adventists in particular, often have contentious discussions on how to understand scripture as it relates to the physical and interpersonal world. Within Adventism prominent hot button issues are: homosexuality, role of women and faith & science. The positions we form depend, at minimum, on two general categories: evidence and argumentative method (how we reason out the argument). Both can have problems independent of each other.
It was Shakespeare who opined, “All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players.” These famous words from the pastoral comedy, “As You Like It,” serve as the first two lines of a monologue depicting the seven acts experienced by every human on the journey from birth to death. However, in our age of reality television where newsrooms have been hijacked by shameless ideologues and provocateurs of sensationalism, the relevance of these lines extends beyond the individual to include all who have become objects of the public eye.
Last week, the big news in Adventism came from Uganda. On Monday of that week Pastor Balsious Ruguri, church president for East and Central Africa, came out in support of the Anti-Homosexuality Bill in Uganda. The bill, which is colloquially known as the “Kill the Gays” bill, makes it a crime to engage in homosexual activity in the country. Penalties includelife imprisonment and the death penalty in some cases.