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Dec
31
2015

Evil and the God Who is Love: 
A Review of Thomas Jay Oord’s 
_The Uncontrolling Love of God_

Dr. Thomas Jay Oord is one of the most prolific and well-known Wesleyan theologians in the United States. He has written, edited, or contributed to over twenty books on theology, philosophy, science and the combination of them. In his latest book, The Uncontrolling Love of God: An Open and Relational Account of Providence, Dr. Oord proposes a new model of divine providence that wedges itself between voluntary divine self-limitation (espoused by most Open theists) and providence as an impersonal sustaining force (espoused by most Process theists). Oord calls his model "Essential Kenosis" and points to the divine nature itself as the constraining factor in divine providence. For Oord, love is necessarily noncoercive and necessarily gives freedom/agency to others. For God to be love means that God cannot fail to be noncoercive nor fail to give freedom/agency to others. Therefore, God cannot prevent genuine evil insofar as such prevention is constrained by God's nature of love.

Here's an excerpt from the review:

"Besides being a gifted philosopher and teacher, Dr. Oord is also a very talented photographer. From surveying his work over many years, it appears that one of his favorite things to capture is a beaming sunset over an beautifully textured landscape. He goes on long hikes into deserts and mountains to compose the perfect shot at the perfect moment. Dr. Oord’s photographic instincts mirror his theological proposal in [The Uncontrolling Love of God] in many ways. In a timely and winsome way, he has composed a snapshot of providence that is a shining ray of light in the very textured landscape of theologies of divine providence."

Check out the full review at Academia.edu

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Aug
23
2015

Hermeneutics 101, Part Three: The Bible is a Story that Points to Jesus + Love

Two weeks ago, I began a three-part seminar on hermeneutics, an introduction to biblical interpretation. Part One of the seminar was entitled, "The Bible is Alien to Us," and introduced participants to the translation process and comparing English translation approaches, introducing participants to the historical and cultural context of the Bible (i.e. the ancient Near East), and introducting participants to some of the literary elements of scripture (e.g. genre, metaphor, idiom, and myth).

Last week, I taught Part Two, entitled: "We Read the Bible Through Lenses," and introduced participants to Social Location and to a "Community Hermeneutic."

This week, I taught the third and final session of the seminar, entitled: "The Bible is a Story that Points to Jesus + Love." In this session, I introduced a Narrative approach to interpreting the Bible, a Greg Boyd's "Cruciform-centic hermeneutic," an ethical reading of the Bible (i.e. a "Hermeneutic of Love"), N. T. Wright's "Five-Act Model," William Webb's "Redemptive-Movement Hermeneutic," and a hermeneutic I develop called, "Kingdom Air Hermeneutic."

For PDF versions of the manuscript and slides, see my Academia.edu account:

Hermeneutics 101, Part Three: The Bible is a Story that Points to Jesus + Love (Manuscript)
Hermeneutics 101, Part Three: The Bible is a Story that Points to Jesus + Love (Slides)

Enjoy!

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Aug
16
2015

Hermeneutics 101, Part Two: We Read the Bible Through Lenses

Last week, I began a three-part seminar on hermeneutics, an introduction to biblical interpretation. Part One of the seminar was entitled, "The Bible is Alien to Us," and introduced participants to the translation process and comparing English translation approaches, introducing participants to the historical and cultural context of the Bible (i.e. the ancient Near East), and introducting participants to some of the literary elements of scripture (e.g. genre, metaphor, idiom, and myth).

This week, I taught Part Two, entitled: "We Read the Bible Through Lenses," and introduced participants to Social Location and to a "Community Hermeneutic."

For PDF versions of the manuscript and slides, see my Academia.edu account:

Hermeneutics 101, Part Two: We Read the Bible Through Lenses (Manuscript)
Hermeneutics 101, Part Two: We Read the Bible Through Lenses (Slides)

Enjoy!

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Aug
11
2015

Hermeneutics 101, Part One: The Bible is Alien to Us

This week, I began a three-part seminar on hermeneutics, an introduction to biblical interptation. Part one of the seminar is entitled, "The Bible is Alien to Us," and has three parts: 1) Introducing participants to the translation process and comparing English translation approaches; 2) Introducing participants to the historical and cultural context of the Bible (i.e. the ancient Near East); 3) Introducting participants to some of the literary elements of scripture (e.g. genre, metaphor, idiom, and myth).

For PDF versions of the manuscript and slides, see my Academia.edu account:

  1. Hermeneutics 101, Part One: The Bible is Alien to Us (Manuscript)
  2. Hermeneutics 101, Part One: The Bible is Alien to Us (Slides)

Enjoy!

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Jul
27
2015

The Bible is Not a Database: 
A Brief Reflection on Biblical Interpretation 
in the Digital Age

A few years back, I misplaced something. Instead of thinking, “Where did I last see it?” I unconsciously thought, “I’ll just run a Spotlight search for it” ...as if every item in my house (and presumably the rest of my life) was indexed in Mac OS X.

That was the moment I realized using computers had literally changed the way I think.

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Jul
06
2015

Emotions, Intelligence, and the Vulnerability of God

It’s been quite a while since I’ve blogged here, but I’ve had a lot going on. I took a new ministry role requiring me to move from the East Coast to the West Coast; I’ve been serving as ‘solo pastor’ in my new role while the Lead Pastor is on sabbatical; and I finally graduated from seminary. So, yeah, I’ve been a little busy. But, I’m taking part of my precious day-off/sabbath to write a brief post on emotions, intelligence, and the vulnerability of God because these themes have come up in so much of my spiritual formation lately. I thought it would be beneficial to document some of my processing on these subjects.

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Mar
31
2015

Why Did Jesus Die? An Introduction to the Atonement

Last week I finished Part One of a new seminar called "Starting Points,"

"Christian faith does not require a person to check their brain at the door. No, Christian faith is strongest when one’s head and one’s heart are in agreement. We may not find all the answers for which we search, but there are some critical starting points in our quest."

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Mar
25
2015

Who is Jesus? A Historical and Theological Primer on the Identity of Jesus of Nazareth

I recently joined the pastoral staff of New City Church of Los Angeles, and one of my responsibilities is teaching a seminar on three of the most important questions about Christian faith: 1) Who is Jesus? 2) Why did he die? and 3) How can I trust the Bible?

We're calling the seminar Starting Points

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Dec
21
2014

10 Books I'm Reviewing in 2015

One of the best things about being a blogger is reviewing books. And if enough people visit your blog, authors and publishers will send you books to review! This is particularly great when the books that I'm sent are books I'm excited to read. The next crop of books I'm reading to review might be my best yet. So here are 10 books I'm reading (or have already read) to review in 2015:

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Dec
20
2014

Fighting the Virus of Classical Theism, Part 1: Richard Rice and The Openness of God's Bold Rejection of Divine Impassibility

Last month, I traveled to San Diego, CA for the annual conference of the American Academy of Religion and the Society of Biblical Literature. More specifically, I attended the SBL/AAR annual conference to present a response paper in the second session of the Open and Relational Theologies group, which was commemorating 20 years since the publishing of The Openness of God by Clark Pinnock, John Sanders, Richard Rice, William Hasker, and David Basinger. Three of the original authors of the book (John Sanders, Richard Rice, and David Basinger) were there in attendance and presented reflections on the last 20 years.

Why commemorate The Openness of God (OOG) 1? Because that book signaled a theological shift in U.S. American, evangelicalical theology that has very few parallels. It was a bold vision that made claims about God that were shocking to the evangelical theological establishment then and still shock many evangelicals today.

Part 1 of "Fighting the Virus of Classical Theism," will focus on the claims made by Richard Rice in the first chapter of OOG about God's emotional sensitivity and capacity for emotional change. These claims continue to be controversial even now.

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Welcome to TheologicalGraffiti.com

Theological Graffiti is a blog written by T. C. Moore @tc_moore ...a Jesus-disciple, husband, father, Associate Pastor @NewCityChurch of Los Angeles, sometimes web designer, writer, and theology geek. For more about me, visit my Personal Website or my Online Profile. Otherwise, enjoy the graffiti.

Shalom,
T. C.

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