Random Links 129

Meditating as a Christian: Waiting Upon God
I need to do this more …. I’m reminded from this section on “Light from Martin Luther” on how he tweaked the Lectio Divina that I could relate to:

“In a little essay entitled “A right way to study theology” he proposed three rules – oratio, meditatio, and tentatio – which he claimed to find set forth in Psalm 119 ( in Preface to Vol. 1. of the Wittenberg edition of his Works of 1539: in W.A. vol. 50, pp. 658–661.) Working from his strongly held view that the contents of Holy Scripture (which teach the doctrine of eternal life) make foolishness of the wisdom of all other books he urged the pastor or student to act in this way: “Kneel down in your study and pray to God in true humility and earnestness, that through his dear Son he may grant you his Holy Spirit to enlighten, guide and give you understanding”. This is oratio – prayer.

The next step is meditatio and he advised as follows: “You should meditate not only in your heart but also outwardly, repeating and comparing the actual, literal words in the book, reading and re-reading them with careful attention and thought as to what the Holy Spirit means by them”. Further he cautioned the meditator: “Guard against being satiated or thinking that when you have read, heard, or said it once you have understood it fully – for this will never make an excellent theologian”.

The final – and perhaps surprising step to modern ears – is tentatio, trial. Luther believed passionately that the true theologian would confront the devil in his ways and works and be severely tempted by him. The trial, or the proving, of faith was Luther claimed “the touchstone that teaches you not only to know and understand but also to experience how right, how sweet, how lovely, how mighty, how comforting is God’s Word, the wisdom above all wisdom”.

There is usually more than a glimmer of truth in everything Luther wrote and here he surely has put his finger on something quite important. A theologian, to be genuinely Christian, must be a person who prays, who meditates, and who seeks to fight with and for Christ against the world, the flesh and the devil!”

Mere Mission: N.T. Wright talks about how to present the gospel in a postmodern world
This is good … for our conversations on “Gospel”: ” … the great emphasis in the New Testament is that the gospel is not how to escape the world; the gospel is that the crucified and risen Jesus is the Lord of the world. And that his death and Resurrection transform the world, and that transformation can happen to you. You, in turn, can be part of the transforming work. That draws together what we traditionally called evangelism, bringing people to the point where they come to know God in Christ for themselves, with working for God’s kingdom on earth as it is in heaven.”

Rock Music & the Brain
Fascinating …

How Does Saddam’s Execution Make You Feel?
Before this question was posed, I didn’t seriously think about it.

Waiting for Our No to Become Yes
I’m relearning the following afresh … while being a little scared ..
“… Calls often seem immoderate, beyond our abilities or our wildest dreams, beyond what we believe possible, and immoderation is contrary to most spiritual wisdom. We balk, but it makes perfect sense that we should be called to go beyond our limits, because the One that calls us is beyond all limits.

… “If it feels safe, it’s probably not the right path,” Mark Gerzon says in Coming Into Our Own, “but if it scares you, it probably is.” The degree of resistance, too, is probably proportionate to the amount of power waiting to be unleashed and the satisfaction to be experienced once the “no” breaks through to “yes” and the call is followed.”

The New Imperialists?
An Asian American perspective and questions worth a listen:
“What happens when Asians begin to exploit other countries and become the new imperialists?

How does that sit with us, as Asians who come with long histories of oppression and subjugation, yet now tempted with opulence; as Americans who consume ravenously and only seem to grow in our own navel-gazing; and most importantly as Christians who have remained safety-centric, economically unconscious, and for the most part nostalgic about our influence in the culture.

As an Asian American Christian, how do you feel today if it’s true that Asians are the new imperialists? What would you do differently?”

Defining Postcolonialism
Interesting attempt:
“Colonialism: a system of racialized and/or gendered constructs that maintain various forms of control over another national or ethnic entity.

Neo-colonialism: a tragic trend resulting from the impact of global capitalism whereby new forms of control and domination supplant displaced political hegemonies, preponderantly by means of economic leverage.

Postcolonialism: an intentional, self-critical, other-sensitive modus operandi of pressing those in power beyond the unconscious or deliberate tendencies toward economic, political, cultural and religious hegemony.”

More Snow, More Globalizing Theology
Much to chew on … wonder how this looks from when it comes to those of us who are pastors in the global south (how is it similar or dissimilar compared to the scholars mentioned here:

“”It is clear that Christan scholarship and theology are not yet endeavors in which scholars and theologians from Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the Pacific Islands participate fully. The theological scholarship from these new centers of Christianity still needs to make its mark in a substantial way. As Frans Wijsen writes ‘Often European theologians eagerly take up contextual theologies from Africa, Asia and Latin America, but they do not change their Western outlook and view of theology. They treat third world theologies as if they are exotic fruit to supplement their traditional European dishes.’ As long as this situation remains, there will not be full participation by the producers of these ‘exotic’ theological creations.”

“The full participation of theologians and scholars from the new centers of the Christian faith presents a number of challenges (which Tienou later unpacks). It may be useful, therefore, to review some of these challenges by asking the question, Why, to use (Andrew) Walls words, is ‘the rule of the palefaces untroubled’ in Christian theology and scholarship? In my mind, ‘the rule of the palefaces’ continues because of the paradox observed by Kenyan theologian John Mbiti: ‘The Church has become kerygmatically universal, but is still theologically provincial’. Perhaps this paradox helps explain why relatively few people realize that the change in Christianity’s center of gravity (global North to global South) ‘has not only statistical but theological implications as well (Frostin)’. One may indeed acknowledge that the theological implications of this reality should lead to the development of Christian theologies from Africa, Asia, and Latin America. Nevertheless, the theologies of the Western ‘province’ of the church continue their dominance, even if today ‘Western theological leadership of a predominantly non-western church is an incongruity’ (Walls). “

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