Our prayer, theology and practice is closely related. Most Christians need to get out more, but not without the needed pauses to know where we are going. Some quick thoughts on the “gap” between “dignity, justice…running over… forgive.”:
For me the work of justice etc, is birthed out of a community that not only recognizes the need to put things right, but also the reality of the need to be forgiven. (That’s a very short sentence which needs unpacking) 🙂
Beyond the poetics – which is usually more to spark our imagination to the possible as well as theological, how all this translates to the practical requires, energetic projects & changed politics & policies – that fills those gaps.
A group of committed human agents empowered by this prayer, may paint this new picture from the sky to the ground. And of course, there are other painters as well whom may pray this prayer in a language quite different from what we are familiar with 🙂
Bono once said something to the effect, “The fact that the Bible is full of messed up people used to disturb me, but now I find it a great source of comfort.” No one is beyond redemption.
Politicians like Tony Blair will always get mixed reviews in history. But what he says here is worth some time.
Sadly, religion can be distorted into violent extremism. Having spiritual beliefs has never rendered a person incapable of doing wrong or evil. But far more often, faith can be a force for good. I have witnessed its positive impact wherever I’ve gone in the world. I’ve seen it at major disasters in the incredible humanitarian efforts of the Red Cross, Islamic Relief, or World Jewish Relief, all organizations inspired by belief. I’ve also seen it in the central role of synagogues, churches, temples, and mosques in helping the poor, vulnerable, and disadvantaged in every country. In every case, men and women of faith who are trying to put the idea of unconditional love into practice are leading these efforts.
We should not allow those who use religion as a divisive force to succeed. We can harness its power and common values to bring us together. This is more important than ever in an age when the Internet, mass communication, and travel are shrinking the world.
Some of us have been taking about how the insights of post-modern thinking and post-colonial critique for a while. Now it’s going mainstream with Brian?
It’s commonplace to talk about the extinction or evaporation of Christian faith in Europe, and in the US, we see this as a sad and tragic thing. But could it be that the faith that has been rejected in Europe is not the essential and original Christian faith, but rather the colonial Christian faith – the chauvinistic, Greco-Roman, consumerist, white-man’s Christian faith? And could it be that this faith should be rejected so something better can emerge in the void it leaves behind?
Could it be that our various modifiers these days signal parallel quests to rediscover – or create, or both – an authentic Christian faith, rooted in God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit, informed by the Scriptures, instructed by Christian tradition and history – and purged of longstanding and deeply embedded patterns of injustice? Could it be that diverse adjectives that have arisen – modifiers like emergent Christianity, big tent Christianity, missional Christianity, not to mention feminist, eco-, Latin American, black, and otherwise modified Christianity – are signs of diverse expressions of the same underlying impulse, or parallel mini-movements that will someday become one integrated movement?
Is “Trans” going to be the new pre-fix of a lot of upcoming discourse after “post”?
Religion cannot be studied separate from the larger forces of political economy, cultural changes, and impacts of globalization. Religion has sometimes been constructed as a separate sphere of life concerned largely with the private realm in Western academia and media. Such a notion of religion is based largely on the European experience, especially since the Enlightenment. Christianity is often used as a model or a blueprint to study other religious traditions. Sadly, many commentators in the American mass media still uphold such biases, which will not foster mutual respect and dialogue. It is critical to develop a transnational and transcultural approach to the study of religion to meet the challenges of the 21st century.