Posts tagged ‘Faith’

August 28, 2011

The Power of Adapting Hymns

by Vince


N.T. Wright reflects in his book Surprised by Hope on the final stanza in the hymn How Great Tho Art:

 “When Christ shall come, with shout of acclamation
And take me home, what joy shall fill my heart.”

The second line, Wright argues, might be better read “And heal this world, what joy shall fill my heart.” Actually, the original Swedish version of the hymn doesn’t talk about Christ coming to take me home; that was the translator’s adaption. Rather, it speaks of the veils of time falling, faith being changed into clear sight, and the bells of eternity summoning us to our Sabbath rest, all of which has a lot more to recommend it.

Wright’s book focuses on rethinking heaven, the resurrection, and the mission of the church. If you are interested in these topics or want to find a more unambiguous understanding of what the church should preach, it is worth finding at your local library.

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August 26, 2011

Faith Questions for the GOP Candidates

by Vince

Bill Keller asks some good questions. Unfortunately, candidates such as Michele Bachmann may just not answer with a yes or no.

May 6, 2011

Political Cartoon of the Day

by Vince

Faith indeed.
H/T: Tony Auth

May 5, 2011

Reinhold Niebuhr and the Post 9/11 America

by Vince

A good quote from him now that OBL is gone:

Nothing that is worth doing can be achieved in our lifetime; therefore we must be saved by hope. Nothing which is true or beautiful or good makes complete sense in any immediate context of history; therefore we must be saved by faith. Nothing we do, however virtuous, can be accomplished alone; therefore we are saved by love. No virtuous act is quite as virtuous from the standpoint of our friend or foe as it is from our standpoint. Therefore we must be saved by the final form of love which is forgiveness.

March 18, 2011

Quote of the Day

by Vince

“To be faithful to God means not only to love God, but to love that which God loves – namely, the neighbor, and indeed the whole of creation.”
-Marcus J. Borg in his book The Heart of Christianity (p.34)

February 3, 2011

National Prayer Breakfast 2010

by Vince

Enjoy the full video. This is a must watch.

December 16, 2010

The Tea Party is not Love

by Vince

Lisa Sharon Harper explains:

Last week I sat at a breakfast table with prominent New York City faith leaders. The topic of the morning was: “In this post-election moment, what issues are you passionate about? And what scripture lays the foundation for your passion?” Great question. We each had five minutes to share.

I answered that there are two major commands in scripture. 1. Love God/ love your neighbor, 2. Do not fear. Why does fear matter so much? Because, according to Jesus, fear is the opposite of faith. Fear compels us to take things into our own hands. It tells us to crush our neighbors and ultimately, to crush the image of God on earth through oppression, greed, and apathetic disengagement, which allows poverty and injustice to thrive.

I’m heartbroken right now. The Tea Party movement rose in this country on a wave fear. It is a fear-based movement. It is not based on love.

Rand Paul was elected to the Senate after saying he would not have voted for the Civil Rights Act in 1964. This is not love.

The irony continues, especially since the majority of the Tea Party claims a divinity in either the Constitution or the Bible.

October 3, 2010

What To Do With Faith?

by Vince

I find the question of “what is one to do with faith” intriguing. This question circulates amongst church goers a bit, but it is quite the topic amongst agnostic crowds, religiously intelligent groups such as Jews, Atheists, and Mormons, and everyone else left unlabeled (middle aged, teenage, elderly, and those of all colors). Once you are past the demographics, the sheer thoughts on faith can be scary and unsettling or peaceful and stretching.

Regardless of whether you subscribe to being a “faith-goer”, the idea of it can be similar to the picture to the right: a spiraling ladder with very short spots that are flat and steady and has room for you to go up or down. I see many similarities between faith and life. Even more, I see both of them as intertwined.

The lectionary, a selection of scriptures based on themes and the time of the year, have been read by the saints and followers before us and serves as a unifying community before G-D. Henri Nouwen once said that “the space for G-D in community transcends all limits of time and place.” With that said, I come to the lectionaries recent theme of faithfulness.

“LORD Jesus Christ, you demonstrated faithfulness in all of life, even to death on the cross.” The opening invocation invites me into a presence of peace, supported by strength from those before me, all the while calling me to faith in a G-D that is faithful.

As I journeyed this week, the written word showed me faith as completely unexplainable and odd (1 Samuel 2:27-36; “the only one of you whom I shall not cut off from my altar shall be spared to weep his eyes out to grieve his heart”~v.33), it does not always pan out in our lifetime (Hebrews 11:1-31), calls us to a journey of knowing one self that we may know G-D (Hebrews 11:32-12:2; “…let us also lay aside every weight and sin which clings so closely…”~v.12.1), centers us on the truth behind G-D’s faithfulness (1 Timothy 2:1-13; “if we are faithless, he remains faithful”~v.4) and promises life eternal here as we dwell on earth (Revelations 2:8-11; “be faithful unto death and I will give you the crown of life”~v.10). The final aspect of eternal life on earth is usually lacking in churches while the focus is on the eternal life in heaven.

Each morning, the first activity I took on was reading Psalm 89. It was the first thing on my heart, not my list, to do each day. It takes you on a spiraling ride through ups (vv 1-37) and downs (vv 38-51). To know that G-D has “faithfulness all around him” (v.8), has a foundation of righteousness and justice (v.14), calls blessed those who walk in the light of his face (v.15) is encouraging and impressive. But I have seen that his faithfulness does not mean for my life to be in perpetual splendor (v. 44). He is bigger than my lifes doings, my feelings, my victories, and my legacy.

I call upon faith each morning with a thankfulness for the day, a request to know and see G-D in the ordinary aspects of life, and a hope for someone else to see G-D. If that is through me, my work, my lessons, my choices, or my tone of voice, let it be. Each of the bricks in my foundation have come from such an ecumenical community of “believers”. The books that I read that I wouldn’t read now have made me who I am today. The people I was around that are not in my life today have made me who I am. The place in life I am now in that I wouldn’t of pictured for myself before is making me who I am to be. I choose to be faithful each step of the way.

In the end, this is just what I see as true and know to work for me.

But isn’t this all bigger than my thoughts and decisions?

There is more out there than what I know.”

[Picture by Eduardo Meza
Descendiendo del cielo / Descending from heaven
Shot with: Leica M6, Summicron C 50mm f2, Ilford FP4 125]

September 28, 2010

Look Out For

by Vince

Some good political material this afternoon as well as a piece reflecting on how strange faith can be in our world today.

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September 21, 2010

What About The Children? Malignancy Rooted in the Marriage Debate

by Vince

Updated; added a link to DADT below (as of 9/21/10 at 8:49pm)
Andrew Sullivan continues on with the sulfuric same-sex marriage debate by reading the cover story by the National Review. He and I agree that this issue, along with DADT, are absolutely a theological issue first and a political issue second. The NRO stance echoes the Vatican doctrine of marriage: primarily for procreative purposes.

The article is a mass of non sequiturs. It assumes that if marriage is “for” something—regulating procreative sex—then using it for anything else must be “against” marriage, which is like saying that if mouths are “for” eating, we mustn’t use them for talking or breathing. It claims (conjecturally) that marriage would not have arisen if not for the fact that men and women make babies, from which it concludes that society has no stake in childless marriages.

Since this is primarily a theological issue, this all can’t be solved in political terms. Even court rulings dictate what is legal or illegal but cannot override the popular consensus amongst the church pertaining to same sex marriage. The key verses that are always thought of in mind, sometimes even recited verbatim on call, are Genesis 19 (make sure to read Ezekiel 16:49-50), Leviticus 18:22, 20:13, Romans 1:26-27, 1 Corinthians 6:9-11, and 1 Timothy 1:9-11. See chapter 7 in Love is an Orientation for a better effort than I can ever muster at unpacking those “Big 5”.

The material to dig through related to this topic is literally endless. The material I have read, in short listing, has been enlightening but in my eyes (and the eyes of a graduate from a feminist woman’s college) has fallen short of fully encompassing the subject.

I could pontificate about the annals of political movements dabbering with this subject, but that is all downstream from the ultimate priorities and beliefs that make up the foundation of the same-sex marriage polemic. A spiritual mentor of mine in college, who is happy with being a neophyte when it comes to politics, always said that politics are downstream from our hearts, our faith, and our religious beings.

July 12, 2010

Eating Yak Eyeballs vs. Locusts

by Vince

Bear Grylls, the host of Man vs. Wild, is a claimed Christian and finds inspiration in being with God in the wild:

Perhaps there is something about the wild that inspires belief.

The Bible is full of prophets having visions while they’re wandering alone in the deserts. John the Baptist didn’t eat yak eyeballs but he did eat locusts. The Prophet Mohammed received his revelation in a mountain cave. The Buddha received enlightenment under a bodhi tree.

July 12, 2010

The Apostate: A Memoir

by Vince

A Sunday Book Review:

Yet Lax does not seem interested in cultivating a spiritual life shot through with doubt. He doesn’t want an ambivalent (or, one might say, mature) faith; rather, he writes, recalling the aftermath of his parents’ deaths, “what I wanted to have was what I’d always had, but the faith I had accepted without question and could articulate with catechismal rote could not be recaptured.” Of course, many of us come to a place where such faith is neither possible nor even desirable; I suspect my own small Episcopal church would be largely empty on Sundays if anyone who ever questioned the Creed, anyone whose faith life included seasons of aridity, stayed home.

Memoirs that succeed do so in part because the writer’s question is also, somehow, the reader’s. I am a reader who has — amid many doubts — clung with tenacity to faith, and I found that my questions hovered around this sympathetic and engrossing book, too. The explicit question is, How did one man drift away from faith? But for me the book provoked another question as well: What kind of faith might be possible even after the verities of childhood have passed away?

June 10, 2010

SCOTUS and Religious faith

by Vince

Stephen Prothero addresses the varying views by many American citizens pertaining to the religious diversity of the Supreme Court:

Notice the language here. When it comes to American religion and politics, I continue to be surprised at how often we get bogged down in the rhetoric of should and supposed to be: public officials are supposed to be unbiased; they shouldn’t act on the basis of their private faith. This is a lovely sentiment, but it is miles removed from the real world. Here in the world of flesh and blood, each of us carries around a laundry list of biases, preferences, and interests that shape what we do 24/7. Or, as James Madison wrote in the “Federalist Papers,” “As long as any connection exists between man’s reason and his self-love, his opinions and passions will have reciprocal influence upon each other.”

If Supreme Court justices were impersonal computers, taking in laws and facts and spitting out impartial decisions, then we would not need religious diversity on the court. We wouldn’t need racial or gender or regional diversity either. Nine old white Catholic men would work just fine. Or for that matter nine young African-American Muslim women. But the world is what it is. And it is in the real world, not the world of should and supposed to, that the flawed and imperfect human beings we call justices operate.

June 9, 2010

Morgan Freeman on Science, Faith

by Vince

An alright interview. What an awkward moment when the one host says that Morgan is a man of God.