Monday, April 28, 2008

what is salvation?

So I am wrapping up a final semester of my M.Div. (dang, that has gone fast) and I'm taking a class called "What is Salvation?" We figure it out. We finish off the perfect theology of salvation in this class. Okay, not really. In fact we don't even try to. We do explore the various theologies found in the NT, historical theologies, and contemporary theologies that highlight different perspectives and theological spaces that are created throughout the history of the church.

I was reading James Cone today for my class tomorrow night, a book called God of the Oppressed, and came across this:

"Whatever else the gospel of Jesus might be, it can never be identified with the established power of the state. Thus whatever Christians ethics might be, it can never be identified with the actions of people who conserve the status quo. This was the essential error of the early Church. By becoming the religion of the Roman state, replacing the public state sacrifices, Christianity became the opposite of what Jesus intended." (Page198)

And also this:

"Liberation as a future event is not simply otherworldly but is the divine future that breaks into their social existence, bestowing wholeness in the present situation of pain and suffering and enabling black people to know that the existing state of oppression contradicts their real humanity as defined by God's future." (Page 159)

Powerful words that seemed quite timely for me in the midst of Obama's campaign and his pastor's remarks. If you ever get a chance to read Cone, I highly recommend his profound works on God, justice, racism, liberation, and salvation. I hope for more regularly scheduled blogging as school winds down and graduation grows closer...not to mention the new addition to the Hayden family!

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

in case you were wondering

(I know, I don't post in a month, and then twice in one day...)

Check out what we saw in the yard today!

So, yes, in case you were wondering I'm still a dork. I still watch birds. But come on, a bald eagle. That is awesome. Right in our yard.

so it has been a month...

Since I last posted.

Things have been a little out of control in terms of the busyness of life lately. We have had a lot of stuff to get ready for our new family member, school is kicking my butt this semester, and church has been busy too. Shey has also had a pretty rough go lately. We had a trip to the hospital on Monday after our doctor told us that we should go since Shey hadn't been able to stop throwing up for over 5 hours, and was having heavy stomach cramps, they wanted to make sure the baby was okay, and that Shey wasn't going into early labor. After a couple bags of IV fluid, some blood tests, and more throwing up, we headed home after about5 1/2 hour stay at the hospital on Monday evening/night. Our little man is well and Shey is well (in terms of the her blood work, not the throwing up part). But we are pretty beat. Just when you hope things would quiet down a bit so that you can hold the craziness together, it seems to have gotten busier.

But during this time, I've been reading some good stuff at school, listening to some great music, and seen some funny things, and had some interesting thoughts on politics, missiology, being a dad, poetry, Harry Potter, and bumper stickers. There is no way that I can even explain all that, but I thought that I'd throw out a couple of things that have been good for the soul as of late, and maybe a snarky comment or two about some missiology stuff.

First off, I finished the series of Harry Potter over spring break. Dang, it was really good. I wanted to hate that series so much, and think it was going to be a waste of time, thoughts, and energy, but it was sooo good. So much better than Chronicles of Narnia, on par with Lord of the Rings, and just a beautiful read overall. Some of the books made me weep over the sense of family, friendship, the intricacies of life and death, love, stubbornness, and community. It made me sad that I lived through the creation of those books and didn't read them as they were coming out...that I didn't get to embrace the excitement and longing for each book. On a completely different side note, but tied in with both Harry Potter and politics, I saw this bumper sticker this week on my way to school and laughed out loud:

While I haven't been writing on the blog, I have been doing a lot of schoolwork, and reading some blogs still. April's last three posts have been some of the best posts I've read in a while, you can find them here, here, and here. The McCarty's have been sharing some great pics from the farm, and have been a delight to read: in a post/letter to Wendell Berry, marriage/parenting, and being a parent and its change in the relationship between spouses. I read a roundtable discussion with Derrida, transcribed by John Caputo with his commentary on the discussion in a book called Deconstruction in a Nutshell that is a really good read, it made me laugh out loud (how often does philosophy do that?) and it was insightful in so many ways, specifically in articulating why people get so upset with postmodernism, and especially deconstruction. I've been reading some W.S. Merwin and have forgotten how good poetry is for the soul.

I have been really interested in the political stuff going down, especially the comments of Obama's pastor, and thought that The Postmodern Negro had one of the most helpful posts in how to approach and have helpful categories with which to talk about the issues. I have a lot I'd like to say, but little time to say it especially after reading James Cone last year which was amazing, so I'll point you to Anthony's post. I will say this however...I grew tired quickly of a bunch of rich white people speaking their mind about the situation like they were experts on either a) black theology or 2) racism. Lest we not forget, my parents (who just turned 50) went to segregated schools in VA that had to be integrated in Northern VA, near DC. Let's not forget the context of words like Pastor Wright whose life story has been informed by racism in ways that we must be careful not to forget.

Lastly, I mean seriously, what is this stuff from Dare 2 Share? I got a little flyer from them today, and one of the stories/testimonies that they share in the flyer to convince you to bring students says: "Before the D2S conference, my daughter was as likely to cough her lung up through her nose and reinsert it through her ear as to evangelize her friends. But the very night she got home from the conference she was simultaneously sharing her faith with four friends (including a Muslim she barely knew from one of her classes) on IM. Because she attended the conference with friends it's now normal for them all to share their faith. 'All my friends are doing it, Dad.' Wow! (italics mine)"

Seriously, this arrogance is what makes me crazy! She assumes, after one small conference, and a good dose of guilt that her story is better than the Muslim student, who she barely knows, and begins a conversation with them to convert them to their story. Where is the humility here? Is this kind of proclamation so easily assumed to be better than sharing life with people and having relationships rooted in reality rather than false conceptions of the "other"? Is anybody else catching the arrogance or humility in this way of "evangelizing?" I'm all for understanding mission and living/sharing good news, but this kind of stuff, especially in youth ministry is frustrating and prideful.

Anyway. sorry for the long post, but i hope folks are well. school ends in about another month. hopefully i will get to post more in the coming weeks...but no promises. much love to all.