A discussion on How (Not) to Speak of God

Church and Postmodern Culture kicks off an online conversation with Pete Rollins TODAY that will continue all month. I blogged about Pete Rollin’s book last year. Some of you have read it. Now its time to discuss it. Pete is a delightfully funny and thoughtful friend of mine and I am hoping that many of you get to know him over October as you kick his material around. I always end up talking Zizek and Marion with him when we meet which is cool. Pete says . . “The biggest compliment that someone can pay me over the book is not that they liked it but rather that they take it seriously enough to reflect and engage critically with it.” Start here.



Resources:Pete’s interview and Adam Cleveland’s essay called . . . and see if you can say it 5 times really fast . . “APO(CATA)PHATIC INTERPLAY: AN ANALYSIS OF THE ROLE OF APOPHATIC THEOLOGY AND THE INTERPLAY BETWEEN APOPHATIC AND CATAPHATIC THEOLOGIES IN PSEUDO-DIONYSIUS’ MYSTICAL THEOLOGY [pdf].

Related: Slavoj Zizek – who I discovered in 2002 with The Fragile Absolute and the Postmodern Bible Reader and have often quoted, comes to Wheaton on Oct 9 which is TODAY, but their date may be wrong.

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Andrew

Andrew Jones has been blogging since 1997. He is based in San Francisco with his two daughters but also travels the globe to find compelling stories of early stage entrepreneurs changing their world. Sometimes he talks in the third person. Sometimes he even talks to himself and has been heard uttering the name “Precious” :-)

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  • NOTE : The text below got deleted from another blog–and so I decided to post them here at this present blog. Pardon if they seem a bit off topic, but I wanted to post them on some blog –lest the observations not see the light of day , and also since I am too borderline computer illiterate to post them on blogs that require registration .
    I’m a person who finds BOTH postmodernism and fundamentalism wrongheaded approaches and wanted to express dissatifaction with the NON-consistent thinking found in both and also show that , historically speaking , postmodernists are NOT the only one who have reservations about the fundamentalist conceptions of an irreversible hell . Here below is the excerpt from another message board that was deleted .
    I’ve been observing these exchanges and though duty leads me to hate postmodernist/relativist ideology with an infinite vehemence , duty also leads me to avoid the post-modernist tendency to mix two or more separate contexts .
    TWO SEPARATE CONTEXTS :
    The notion of trying to save everybody —an active quest that there may be a universal salvation of everyone is *separate* from the relativist /postmodernist denial of absolute truth in favor of subjectivity .
    The individual named Steve posted , “It is not Biblical to say we are to save all people with the gospel” . Well Jesus in Luke 19:10 said ,
    ‘For the son of man is come to seek and to save what was lost . ‘
    Why then did Jesus say, “I have come to save some of them that are lost” ? Or why did he NOT say , “I have come to save many of them that are lost, but I’ve got to be realiistic and say I won’t be able to save everybody” INSTEAD of saying those two last quotes , Jesus of Nazareth says in Luke 19:10 ,
    ‘The Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost .’
    Notice that Jesus said the son of man is come to *seek* and to save that which is lost . NOT just to save but to seek out those that were lost. Does Jesus ever at some point give up on seeking out a lost person ? Does the patience of Jesus ever run out towards someone .? There is a contradiction if one holds the premise that God has un-ending patience, and yet only gives people a finite amount of chances to repent .
    The book of Isaiah 57:16 quotes God as declaring , ‘For I will not contend forever, neither will I be always wroth ‘
    and gives the following reason
    …;for the spirit should fail before me and the souls which I have made. ‘ (King James Version)
    In the following verses it is made clear that God extended mercy even to him as verse 17
    ‘went on frowardly in the ways of his heart .’
    Consider the following , in the book of Numbers 14 verses 11-20 Yahweh (God) sees the the offensive behavior of the Israelites which offends him . He tells Moses that he plans to disinherit them and smite them with disease and then Moses prays to god and presents respectful arguments to God on behalf of the Isrealites as to why he should not go through with the announced plan to destroy the Isrealites. God after hearing the arguments presented by Moses then is apparently persuaded NOT to go through with the plan he had earlier announced to Moses to smite the Israelites with disease . God then, after listening to Moses, pardons the wayward Israelites and does NOT go through with the earlier plan to disniherit them .
    Thus there is precedent in the Bible for people interceeding to the Creator on behalf of those that offend God .
    So the question is : shouldn’t we then pray on behalf of every person that has ever offended God that one day in some time to come that God would send Jesus to redeem every person who has ever lived —including those persons who have lived and died unbelieving or unrepenting? (or at least give them some sort of remediation if not full repentence) .
    After all, shouldn’t we adopt the attitude of Moses which sought maximal clemency for the “lost” ? Didn’t Moses provide us with an example of the right outlook to follow in Numbers 14:19 ? Shouldn’t we go beyond merely praying that people will believe the gospel while physically alive to praying that all people will one day be tranformed by it regardless . (Granted people should should hopefully believe sooner rather than later –after all the sooner people align themselves with God the sooner God’s glory will be expressed) .
    Fundamentalists sometimes like to quote the verse in the letter to the Hebrews 9:27 which reads ,
    ‘It is appointed unto men once to die and after comes judgement’ .
    Yet Divine judgement can be be used to redeem and not necessarily to irreversibly damn
    Isaiah 1:27 reads ,
    ‘Zion shall be redeemed with judgement ‘ .
    The we-can’t-save-everybody not even eventually approach leads to a rather odd position in terms of the moral questions. Looking back on the people I had wronged in the somewhat distant past (various acquaintances) –some terribly –some of those people may have developed such a mistrust of others–as a result of the emotional wounds I inflicted on them , that they would be so wounded as to trust noone..and may even hold such a mistrust towards God or all that speak to them of God. It would be all too easy to adopt a resignation and with a solemn sounding (yet inwardly cavalier) mood say something like ,”Well I truly regret the sin of how I treated them , that I didn’t provde them with the picture of Christ in my actions BUT they are ultimately responsible towards how they answer to God’s call either to accept it or reject it” and so on . If I did adopt such a cavalier attitude dressed up in solemn sounding usual evangelical “rhetoric” ..and adopted an attitude of resignation and went on to enjoy the delights of a heaven not retaining guilt on how I might have leaned them towards spiritual destruction by the unkindness I had shown them …would that attitude be much different (though maybe toned down a little) than
    the attitude of the pharisee who says to God, “I thank you that I am not as other men are” and disparages the publican in the parable in Luke 18:11-14 .
    Zaccheus when he came to Jesus in Luke chapter 19 told Jesus, that
    ‘if I have taken anything from any man by false accusation I restore him fourfold’.
    Shouldn’t I always hope that if any person I have done terribly wrong to in the past are in a hell, that I should restore the comfort and well being I had taken from them fourfold even after they were dead, and not merely be at ease in a heaven if I had any role in leaning them to anything of a “hell” of any sort ?
    (By the way, we should all prefer the gospel according to Jesus the Jew to the lacerating gospel of Charles Spurgeon).
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