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Mar
17
2013

Two Different Thabitis: The Calvinist and the Abolitionist

Recently, I wrote about the ruckus Christian hip hop artist Propaganda caused when he released a track called "Precious Puritans," which begins as a hard-hitting critique of the Neo-Calvinist hypocrisy of placing Puritans on pedestals while ignoring their slave-owning. Even as a Calvinist himself, Propaganda was nevertheless struck by the deep, visceral disconnect between the praise attributed to Puritans by Neo-Puritans such as Piper and Driscoll and his own outrage at their slave-owning. Unfortunately, what could have been a watershed moment in U.S. theological history was cut short by Propaganda's own self-critique which robbed that beautifully prophetic piece of nearly all its weight and sting. With the hypocrisy of Neo-Puritans in his crosshairs, he refused to pull the trigger.

Equally, if not more, complicit in the Neo-Puritan hypocrisy is Thabiti Anyabwile, the token black blogger at the Gospel Coalition (for which "The Calvinist Coalition" would be a more accurate descriptor). Several times pastor Thabiti has attempted to decouple the Puritan's theology from their practice of slave-owning, saying, for example:

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Mar
16
2013

Freestyle Providence: Hip Hop, Improvisation, and the Praiseworthy Wisdom of God [Throwback Post from 2009]

I spent longer than normal on the bus today because I needed to get a haircut in Allston, which is out of the way of my usual trek from Cambridge to Roxbury. This detour gave me time to listen to music and think. I listened to staples like Pac, 100 Portraits, and Jason Morant. But the extended trip gave me the opportunity to indulge in some favorites by Jill Scott and the Roots crew. While Jill and the Roots make music in two separate genres—R & B and hip hop respectively—the two share in common that jazzy Philly sound. This got me thinking about about the many connections hip hop and jazz share. From there, my mind shifted to theology—as it often does.

God and Improvisation

In Openness circles, the analogy of dynamic providence to improvisational jazz is well-known and affirmed. For Open theists, God's relationship to humanity, particularly regarding his salvific economy, is more analogous to the improvisation of jazz musicians than the direct rendering of notes from a musical composition. The brilliance and the artistry of the music is found in its creativity and spontaneity, not its ability to follow a pre-programmed routine.

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Mar
13
2013

On Love and Using the Bible as a Weapon...

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Mar
08
2013

Third Way Womanhood: What Does it Mean to Be a "Biblical" Woman?

Evangelical Christian women naturally want to be "biblical" women. Yet there is a deep-seated divide in evangelical circles amongst women regarding what "biblical womanhood" specifically looks like. One camp (the "Fearlessly Feminine"), argues that biblical womanhood is characterized by Calvinistic theology, complementarianism (male headship in both the home and Church), and Western, stereotypical expressions of femininity. 1 Another camp (the "Liberated Christian Women"), argues that biblical womanhood rejects complementarianism as patriarchy, and endorses feminism or egalitarianism (interchangeable gender roles in both the home and Church), and a missional view toward oppressed groups like women. This latter group often maligns Western, stereotypical expressions of femininity.

In this series of post, my incredible wife Osheta reflects upon her: a) encounters with both groups of Christian women; b) the values she appreciates from both groups; and c) where her journey has led her to now—which is not to identify entirely with either camp. She calls the journey she's on "Third Way Womanhood."

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Feb
27
2013

The Lamb at the Center of Worship: St. John's Revelation and Greg Boyd's Cruciform-centric Hermeneutic

Intro: Christians Who Don't Worship Christ

Until recently, I took it for granted that all Christians understood and agreed on at least one simple fact: That the Bible teaches Messiah Jesus of Nazareth (his life and teachings) is the definitive, perfect, and final revelation of God. After all, the writer of Hebrews makes this much clear: 

"In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom also he made the universe. The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven."
- Heb. 1.1-3 (NIV, emphasis added)

Or consider Jesus's answer to Phillip's request to see the "Father" (God) to whom Jesus keeps referring,

"Philip said, “Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us.”

Jesus answered: “Don’t you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?
- John 14.8-9 (NIV, emphasis added)

Or, if Jesus's words don't impress you (as has especially become the trend among Calvinists), and you need Paul's didactic teaching style to convince you, consider this gem:

"See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the elemental spiritual forces of this world rather than on Christ. For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form…"
- Col. 2.8-9 (NIV, emphasis added)

What a fool I've been: I presumed there was at least one common area of agreement among those who call themselves "Christians"—that we worship Christ!  But, from recent discussions online and offline, it appears I was wrong. Instead, what I've learned is that some look for a god behind and beyond Jesus. For them, other revelation must be added to Jesus in order for them to receive God's "full" self-revelation. Why they insist on calling themselves "Christians" then, I couldn't tell you. Perhaps a more appropriate label might be "godians."

In particular, the "Christians" with whom I've been discussing are angry about Greg Boyd's proposal of a "cruciform-centric" hermeneutic 1.  Boyd is unabashedly influenced by Anabaptist theology, which has historically advocated for a Christ-centered (christo-centric) reading of Scripture. This is nothing new. Even Calvinists claim to be Christ-centered these days. 2  What Boyd adds to this interpretive methodology is the biblical idea that discipleship is the process of emulating one's Master. (Shocking, I know!) Since Jesus laid down his life, and we are Jesus's disciples, we too are called to lay down our lives—to demonstrate radical, self-sacrificial love (Eph. 5.1-2; Phil. 2.1-11; I Jn. 3.16). This process is now being called "cruciformity"—being formed by the cross, living out cross-shaped love. 3

The objection from some is that this approach is an external grid being imposed on the Scripture, and is therefore eisegesis (importing meaning to the Text), rather than exegesis (drawing meaning from the Text). Objectors also claim that such an approach undermines Scripture's inspiration and authority. By applying the lens of Jesus's cross to passages where God is depicted as violent (for example), these objectors also claim Boyd is attempting to ignore portions of Scripture or cut them out of the Bible entirely. 4

In what follows, I will demonstrate that the Bible itself, namely the book of Revelation, teaches Jesus-disciples to apply the cruciform-centric hermeneutic that Boyd describes. In so doing, I will prove that the cruciform-centric hermeneutic is not some external grid being imposed upon Scripture, but is instead Scripture's own teaching for Christians. Therefore, the cruciform-centric hermeneutic is the appropriate interpretive methodology for Christians (i.e. those who worship Christ).

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Feb
24
2013

Scandalizing Jesus: Discipleship, Allegiance, and Olivia Pope

Scandal is the latest show I've started watching since binge-watching House of Cards and reaching grief-stage 5. The show revolves around professional "fixer" Olivia Pope (played by the gorgeous Kerry Washington). A fixer is a crisis manager, an expert in public relations and the law. Pope's character is loosely based on real-life person Judy Smith, who represented figures like Monica Lewinsky and worked as Special Assistant and Deputy Press Secretary in George W. Bush's administration. What might distinguish Smith from the Pope character in Scandal, is that Pope is herself deeply-embedded in scandals—which simultaneously make her desperate to hide her own secrets and gives her leverage by hiding others'.

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Feb
19
2013

When I Met a Prophet: A Personal Reflection on the Legacy and Impact of Dr. Richard Twiss's Life

 
On February 9th, 2013, Dr. Richard Leo Twiss (Taoyato Obnajin "He Stands with His People") went to be with Creator, after suffering a major heart attack and spending several days in critical condition. He was only 58 years old. In his final days he was surrounded by his immediate family, his wife and his four sons, who all loved him dearly. Though Dr. Twiss is no longer with us in his first body, he remains with us in spirit.

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Feb
12
2013

Midwinter 2013: Mission Friends—The New Class

This past week, I had the honor and privilege of attending my third "Midwinter," the annual gathering of the Evangelical Covenant Church's clergy and friends for mutual support, fellowship, worship, equipping, renewal, and rest. Midwinter is usually held in Chicago (where the ECC is headquartered), but every third year the Covenant holds it somewhere else. This year it was in San Diego! But the weather wasn't all that San Diego-like. Mostly, the weather was chilly and rainy.

Nevertheless, the time spent in San Diego with Covenanters and friends was amazing! So many highlights, I'm not sure I'll be able to list them all, but I'm going to try.

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Feb
03
2013

Ask a Pacifist FAQs - Hitler and Home Invasion

Since I'm a Jesus-disciple, I'm committed to Jesus's nonviolent Way. Since Jesus's nonviolent Way is not typical in Americanized Christianity, I naturally get asked a lot of questions—often the same few questions. What follows are a few responses I've given lately to two of the questions I'm asked most frequently.

1. What should Christians have done during WWII? (a.k.a. "The Hitler Question")

As far as WWII goes, I think two of the biggest fallacies out there are: 1) Bonhoeffer abandoned pacifism when he resorted to violence; and 2) War was the only possible way to stop Hitler from killing all the Jews and taking over the world.

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Feb
01
2013

Daddy Issues (Part 1?)

I'm leaving the door open for this to become a series of posts. But for now, I'm just recapping where I'm at now in my journey in meeting my biological father.
 
Next week I'll be in San Diego for the first time since my mother moved us to Illinois, where she was from, before I was old enough to remember. I was born in San Diego, as the result of a fling my mom had with her married doctor. She couldn't go through with the abortion, so here I am. I don't know if he knows I exist, or if he cares. But since I had his name, profession, location and age-range, I was able to track him down with relative ease just by Googling him.

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Welcome to TheologicalGraffiti.com

T. C. and Tyson Moore

Theological Graffiti is the offical blog of T. C. Moore @tc_moore ...a Jesus-disciple, husband, father, urban church planter @NewCityCovenant, designer @NewCityPro, teacher, student, and friend. Discussion is welcome, so long as it is conducted in a spirit of charity. First and foremost, this blog is for self-expression—then community. More About.Me

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