Friday, February 09, 2007

Wendell Berry and Theological Turnings...

I probably also should have titled this post: UNC came back and beat Duke last night, boo-ya. Anybody else see the heels come back and beat Duke at Cameron Indoor last night...that was awesome.

Well, there is so much stirring inside of me after reading Wendell Berry's collection of essays titled Sex, Economy, Freedom & Community: Eight Essays that I feel like I could share a little from every essay and it could provide fodder for months of conversation. As I sit out on the balcony in Sand Diego on this cool night, with the palm trees near by and the hills around me, it is still amazing to think how timely and appropriate Berry's collection of essays are for today. One of the most interesting essay's of the bunch was called "Peaceableness Toward Enemies." Let me just quote the second idea, which it is important to note that Berry wrote this in 1991 after/during the Gulf War:

II. "This latest war has been justified on a number of grounds: that it was a war to liberate Kuwait; that it was a war to defend "the civilized world" against a dangerous maniac; that it was a war to preserve peace; that it was a war to inaugurate a "new world order"; that it was a war to defend the American Way of Life; that it was a war to defend our supply of cheap oil. These justifications are not satisfactory, even when one supposes that they are sincerely believed." (pg. 69-70)

and also in part III.: What can we mean by the statement that we were "liberating" Kuwait? Kuwait was not a democratic nation. If it was imperative to "liberate" Kuwait after Saddam's invasion, why was it not equally imperative to "liberate" it before?...

The similarity in language and rhetoric used by both Bush presidents to lead the country into war is kind of scary. Or maybe it is a good thing, I guess the son listened to the father? All this to say, I think Berry raises some interesting points, first in questioning the justifications for going to war and the motivation in timing. I think both justification and motivation are questions that should continue to be asked about the current "liberation" attempts by our government.

Today I went to a seminar led by Brian McLaren called: Theological Turnings: Profound Questions that Younger Leaders are Asking About Theology (that Go Deeper than Candles and Goatees). I always enjoy hearing Brian speak and it was interesting being in a room with a lot of older pastors and church leaders and hearing the questions and comments, and often doubts with the way in which my generation, and young leaders (like me, you know I'm only 24) are beginning to express some theological turns. Which again leads me back to the ideas of what i want to explore in my paper for this conference: How does eschatology and the theological system which it is situated within influence the spiritual formation of the community which holds to that theological vantage point? Brian mentioned that he believed that there are five significant theological shifts taking place with younger leaders, one of which is a change in eschatology which will influence ecclesiology and formation of community. What kind of relationship should take place with eschatology and spiritual formation? How should it change from its current situation (if it needs to change at all)?

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