Wednesday, April 8, 2009

DOING A NEW THING

I’m trying something new with the words you are presently reading. It’s not as though I’ve never done a similar thing before. For almost half a century I have written out sermons on a fairly regular basis. I pen a column for the shelter newsletter on a monthly (soon-to-be bi-monthly) schedule. But I’m slow to get caught up in things technical. My children marvel that I am only now learning how to “text” and I’m still not able to take pictures with my cell phone, although that’s coming soon. But there’s this interesting feature now called a “blog.” People write whatever is on their mind, put it out there for others to read, challenge, correct, or laugh at. And maybe even a few of those folk will respond with their own ideas and a little learning can take place. So, welcome, to my first blog.
The idea of doing something new isn’t easy for me. I don’t even like the word. My significant others will tell you of my distaste for anything new that ranges all the way from clothing to automobiles. If it’s really broken in, a bit rumpled and fits comfortably, then I’m happy. I can’t stand shopping for most things, but thrift stores are mildly manageable. The less I have to pay and the older it is, the better.
But I find myself caught on the horns of a dilemma. A beautiful faith community called Grace, where I hold membership, consistently pushes to the edge of something new. The history of Grace has been an exercise in exploration, struggle, questioning, seeking, as well as challenging tradition and long-held concepts. During this year’s season of Lent, our journey has built on Isaiah’s statement that God is “doing a new thing.” In the whole, overall scheme of things, I’m not sure if it is really all that new or if we are just slow to catch up and catch on. Whatever, it’s bound to be different from some of the history we have known.
What we call Christianity has had segments in its time of reformation or renewal. Dramatic shifts took place in thinking, interpretation, and action. I’m not enough of a prognosticator to know if we are presently in such a time, but I hope we are. I try to be a follower of Jesus even though I know that on most days it is from a very great distance. But I’m having a harder time calling myself a Christian because of what I see reflected through the media and in society in general. If most of that is what it is to be Christian, then I’m out of here. What can I call myself? Any suggestions?
There is a movement presently underway called Progressive Christianity. I like what they seem to be saying even while I do not care for their self-description. Any group who is doing anything at all could fancy itself progressive. But I believe they are asking good questions. They are resisting much that has corrupted the process thus far. They are performing that perilous, shaky task of saying perhaps we ought to pay a bit more attention to what Jesus taught and did instead of just focusing on his birth (the description of which is questionable at best), death, resurrection, ascension, and return. These matters are important, but even they may need some re-interpretation. For sure, we have a whole block of material related to his life that we have conveniently explained away if not outright ignored.
So, maybe you can detect the direction in which I am heading. I think everything is up for grabs. I like what one church says about its existence. They emphasize “critical scholarship and unfinished personal experience.” None of us has a corner on truth. But if we are seekers, I think we need each other. And I am now at a place in my life where I need to re-think everything. God, Jesus, Church, the Bible, why Jesus died, what means the resurrection………everything…..open to examination. To do that is, indeed, a new thing. To do so has been condemned, not encouraged. The church has manifested itself, in the main, as a control freak, not as an avenue of liberation.
So I hope you will join me and give your input. We don’t have to always agree. Let’s try to be as honest as we can. I will come to you on a fairly regular schedule. I will probably give you a suggested reading list so that, if you are interested, you can at least be singing on the same page with me even though you may not like the text or the tune on some days.
The graphic on this blog is a cowboy boot. I chose it because I like them and am a long-time wearer of them. I also chose it because I know that there may be moments when it seems the fertilizer is getting pretty deep. Nonetheless, let’s wade on in.

7 comments:

  1. I have never followed a blog but have finally found one worth following.

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  2. I look forward to a journey together with Gary and friends!

    Doug

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  3. This is great. I look forward to provocative banter about the multifarious topics we enjoy to ponder debate and dissect. As the lonely Trinitarian, or should I say, one who is looking for new ways to interpret the Trinity, I welcome the exchange. I accept the invitation to "wade on in" and what may be the start of something new for me theologically.

    Bryan

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  4. love it. We are along for the ride and look forward to the journey!! we too have cowboy boots in case we need them!!

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  5. Well, cowboy boots are one thing, but I often find that I am in a little deeper...I think I will put my muck boots up as my profile.

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  6. 請你這一次不要再刪
    跨宗教 跨領域
    悉怛多缽怛囉阿門證據時效
    Blogger 未分類文章 提到...

    *Weiss 前世今生來生緣

    「大師們。」她輕聲說:「他們告訴我的。他們說我活過86次。」

    「帶著對任何有關輪迴轉世的科學論文的強烈渴望,我翻遍了醫學圖書
    館。讀得越多,就越意識到,儘管曾認為自己頭腦的每方面都受過良好的
    教育,但我的知識還是很有限的。有許多這方面的研究和出版物,都是由
    知名的臨床醫生和科學家們實施、驗證並重複的,但是很少人知道。他們
    有可能都錯了或者都被欺騙了嗎?證據是如此的確鑿,而我還是懷疑。不
    管確鑿與否,我覺得難以相信。」

    「這經驗再加上隨後其他病人的經驗,我的價值觀開始轉變,從物質轉入
    精神,而且更關心人我關係,不再汲汲於名利,我也開始理解甚麼是可以
    帶走而甚麼帶不走。確實,在這之前我一定也不相信肉體死亡後我們的某
    一部份還有生命。」
    * 於 March 12, 2009 02:46 AM 回應

    *

    57樓

    57樓

    「那幾週,我重溫了在哥倫比亞大學念一年級時所學的比較宗教課的課
    本。在《聖經》舊約和新約全書中確實提到輪迴轉世。公元325年,羅馬康
    斯坦丁大帝和他的母親海倫娜,將新約中關於輪迴轉世的內容刪去了。」

    在《前世今生》一書中也提到,大師們通過凱瑟琳共示現了10餘次,談話涉
    及到人類的不朽及生命的真正意義:「我們的任務是學習,豐富知識成為
    神那樣的生命。直到我們可以解脫了,然後我們會回來教誨和幫助其他
    人。」



    蔡昀叡?"! 靈修

    2009年3月11日 下午 12:04

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  7. Hi Dad,

    I checked your blog this morning on behalf of my lovely wife. That entry you mentioned is written in Chinese. From just an educated guess, I think the lady who commented on your blog either mistakenly wrote on your wall instead of someone elses, or she's a spammer. Her profile says she's 22 years old, so your guess is as good as mine.

    Here's a link to her blog (maybe you have an international fan): http://www.blogger.com/profile/02346328150693740298

    Greg, Sarah, and Maya all arrived here safely last night. The metamorphsis of Greg is utterly astonishing. All's well.

    Enjoy the rest of your day.

    Love,
    Donny

    ReplyDelete