Social Connects

 

Aug
29
2011

Underground Theology: Open Theism Needs New PR

Open Theism has a serious PR problem. In fact, it has several. For starters, the name is terrible. It simply doesn't clearly communicate the view's central tenet: the partially indeterminate nature of the future. Which is understandable, since the central tenet is obscure and unsexy. However, good PR is designed to fix that. Instead the name "Open theism" invokes the idea that it is a type of theism (which already sounds way too general) that is "open" to other theisms. "Open theism" sounds like the perfect name for a type of religious pluralism that considers every possible theism valid—making it very "open." Secondly, with the exception of Greg Boyd and perhaps a few others, the theology scholars who have written in favor of Open theism are not charismatic personalities. Most are pure academics. Already this creates a disconnect between the intended audience—Christian laypersons—and the author. This is only exacerbated when the academic author communicates as if he (and they are almost entirely men too) is writing to his academic colleagues. Finally, the most prominent Open theist authors are by and large not very culturally or technologically savvy. Therefore, you don't see the proliferation of well-designed, strategically-marketed materials promoting their view. By contrast, Neo-Calvinism resources are extremely well-designed and strategically-marketed. Therefore, it isn't very difficult to understand why that view is gaining more and more ground in the US each day.

Tags:
Links: Bookmark and Share

Aug
18
2011

Stop Lying About My City: God is At Work in Boston Planting Churches

Church planters from the 'Bible Belt' and denominations that lean toward Fundamentalism are often moved bombastically to proclaim their mission to Boston in the starkest of terms. They view themselves as soldiers called to fight in a war against the forces of atheistic darkness or secular humanism [dun dun DUUUN]. Take this excerpt from a promotional video for church planting made by the Southern Baptists:

"The patriots' [who fought in the battle of Bunker Hill] Commander-in-Chief said, 'Don't fire until you see the whites of their eyes'. They made a commitment to engage the enemy up close and personally. This epitomizes the church planting scene here in Boston, Massachusetts. We have been losing some battles, but we have decided we can win the war. Our supreme commander Jesus Christ is leading the charge in this spiritual battleground."

They sometimes describe themselves as pioneers braving the cruel frontier of a spiritual wasteland. They will cite skewed statistics that point to a bleak Christian presence and a defunct church. Now, I'm confident this sort of portrayal of Boston is highly effective at raising money from worrisome conservatives in Alabama and Mississippi, but I'd just like to publicly proclaim that IT ISN'T TRUE.

Tags:
Links: Bookmark and Share

Aug
16
2011

The Father Heart of God: Setting the Lonely in Families

Osheta and I just returned from Minneapolis, MN where we attended the Evangelical Covenant Church's Assessment Center for prospective church planters. We were so blessed by the experience and we are humbled and excited to join the East Coast Conference as church planters.

During the assessment, each candidate was asked to deliver a 10-minute sermon. The sermon I wrote and shared is on a subject so close to my heart, I wanted to also share it here on this blog. It is entitled: The Father Heart of God: Setting the Lonely in Families

Tags:
Links: Bookmark and Share

Aug
16
2011

Recommended to Plant a New Church

There was a time in my Christian life when I lost faith in the church as a vehicle of social and personal transformation. Instead I planned to express my ministry gifts and calling in a parachurch context. I dreamed of serving as a director of a faith-based nonprofit. Certainly they are much better at transforming the world, I thought. In the last five to six years, however, my faith in the church has been restored. Not primarily because I have had the privilege of serving and belonging to better churches, although that is true too. My faith in the church as God's instrument of transformation has been renewed primarily because of a renewed conviction that what the world needs most is not a social service agency, but a worshiping community to which to belong that incarnates the love and justice of God. I have come to believe that the church is much more than merely a collection of people who think similarly and occasionally give to charity. Instead, I have found that the church of Jesus Christ is the mystical family of God that continues to incarnate God's love and justice in the world as Jesus her bridegroom shows her and commands her to.

At the same time, I have also discovered that my personality is much more conducive to a creative environment where I have freedom to exercise my gifts, dreams, and create new things—something established churches unfortunately tend not to be. So where can a called and creative minister thrive in God's chosen vehicle of social and personal transformation: the church? The answer Osheta and I have sensed God providing is church-planting. Church-planting is not only conducive to creative personalities, it requires them. Only creatives have the type of improvising skills to roll with all the various punches that accompany church-planting. So, for the last year or so Osheta and I have been pursuing this area of ministry and just this last week have crossed a very important threshold.

Tags:
Links: Bookmark and Share

Jul
14
2011

A Bit on Gender, Men, Identity-in-Christ, and Public Rebuke

The evangelical church in the US needs to do a better job reaching men. And just as we are willing to play loud rock music to attract a younger crowd, or pretend we like hip hop like John Piper (as long as it's drowned in Reformed theological references), we also need to be able to meet men where they are. Many US American men are going to be stereo-typical. That's the truth—like it or not. They're going to be beer-drinking, sports-loving, less-in-touch-with-their-feelings. Let's not bury our heads in the sand and pretend this isn't generally true.

It is also a fact that Mark Driscoll, like him or not, has massive appeal with a large and growing number of young, evangelical men in the US. He may be brash, he may even be vulgar at times, but he has met these men where they are and delivered faith in Christ to them.

I certainly do not agree with Driscoll on much. In fact, I get the feeling he's a little too threatened by these "effeminate" worship leaders. (Methinks he might protest a bit too much.) Nevertheless, I want to address the backlash against his tweet, as well as the backlash against the backlash.

Tags:
Links: Bookmark and Share

Jul
07
2011

Unplugged: Our 2011 Camping & Storyland Trip

This past weekend, the Moore family got away from it all at Crawford Notch Campground in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. We spent 3 nights in our spacious tent and grilled amazing-tasting food. We went hiking along the Saco river, Tyson and Trinity went tubing down it, and we saw a snake at one point. Then later, on our last night camping, the site adjacent to ours had a visit from a baby Black Bear that we all witnessed. Everyone had a great time, and no one got poison ivy (thank God!)

I have to say that one of the most enjoyable aspects of the time we spent in the woods was the complete disconnection from my 360° digital life. Out there in those woods, there was no wifi, no email—not even wireless mobile signal. It felt like a cleansing. For someone like me, who maintains near endless connection to the internet, it is vital that I unplug from time to time.

Tags:
Links: Bookmark and Share

Jun
22
2011

Reconciliation Theology: Efrem Smith Contrasts and Counters Calvinism's Hegemony

Have I mentioned lately that I love Efrem Smith, his thoughts on Calvinism's relationship to Christian Hip Hop, and his prescription of "Reconciliation Theology"? Well, I do. In his most recent blog post, Smith further fills in his criticism of Calvinism's dominance in Christian Hip Hop with some very specific points. This is so rare yet so needed. Because for many American evangelicals, the recent surge of Neo-Calvinism is viewed as a generally positive if not wildly encouraging occurrence. But when in all of history has the adoption of a theology that posits special election and calling by a powerful and privileged class of people in a society produced anything but oppression, war, and general injustice? Have we so easily forgotten what kind theology undergirded Nazi Fascism or Manifest Destiny? It appears some certainly have. But not Efrem Smith. And it feels good to no longer be alone in the public recognition of Calvinism's dominance in American evangelicalism as a potentially destructive force.

Tags:
Links: Bookmark and Share

Jun
20
2011

What Early Apostolic Preaching Teaches Us About the Essential Christian Gospel

There's been a lot of talk recently about what the Gospel is in its essence. Some partisan Christian groups with a particular theological viewpoint want to define The Gospel as their specific theological perspective—effectively rendering all other expressions of the Gospel error.

So what is the essential Gospel? Well, if we say it is the message delivered unto the early church by Jesus, how would one discover the content of that message?

I propose that one method would be to survey the content of the preaching and descriptions of the preaching of the apostles in the book of Acts.

Tags:
Links: Bookmark and Share

Jun
17
2011

You've Been Reading Genesis Wrong: A Review of The Lost World of Genesis One by John Walton

Author: John Walton
Format: Paperback
Publisher: Intervarsity Press (2009)
Language: English
ISBN: 9780830837045

Buy it at Amazon

I received a copy of The Lost World of Genesis One as an early Father's Day present. It's been on my reading list since it was published. And I'd been anticipating its publication since I watched a video lecture of professor John Walton explaining his view from a Wheaton classroom years before. So in short, I was very excited to read this book. And it didn't disappoint.

Tags:
Links: Bookmark and Share

Jun
14
2011

Community, Christology, and Corporate Atonement: What the Harry Potter Books Can Teach the Church

At Theology on Tap this week, Rev. Danielle Elizabeth Tumminio, an ordained Episcopal priest and doctoral student at BU, spoke on Christology in Harry Potter. She has taught a course on Christian Theology and Harry Potter, and written a book on it as well. She completed an MDiv at Yale studying with Miroslav Volf, author of Exclusion and Embrace (the book we are currently reading together in Tanks to Tractors).

In her introduction, she gave a brief overview of Christology to set the stage for the discussion of the Potter books. In it she surveyed the early Christian church's struggle to agree upon Christ's nature and work. She also gave an overview of the life of Christ throughout the Gospel accounts, noting both their similarities and differences. A central commonality she emphasized was Jesus' "radical hospitality." By this she is referring to Jesus' deliberate status-quo-challenging embrace of outsiders—women, Gentiles, the stigmatized, and the poor—for which he is scandalized and eventually executed.

Tags:
Links: Bookmark and Share

Welcome to TheologicalGraffiti.com

T. C. and Tyson Moore

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

Shalom,
T. C.

Books I'm Currently Reading:

Facebook Page

Follow This Blog

 
 

Member: MennoNerds

Browncoats Biblioblog Network

We Aim to Misbehave!

 

TC on Instagram

Recommended Books