I. Turning from Idols to the True and Living God (I Thes. 1.9b)
People are not their positions. Positions are ideological affirmations a person holds at a given time, but which a person can also renounce or just grow out of. If you have been journeying on a theological pilgrimage for any significant amount of time, your positions have no doubt evolved. If they haven't, I would question how critically you've examined those beliefs, and whether you've interacted with the best alternative views.
Fundamentalists often assume, and would have others believe, that the flood narrative is a straightforward account of divine violence. But such a wooden interpretation does theological violence to the character of God. So, instead of approaching this story with either the pseudoscientific or "plain meaning" hermeneutics of Fundamentalists, a trained Christian student of biblical interpretation will instead seek to get inside the story and understand it from the perspective of its original hearers. And secondly, Christian interpreters will interpret the story in the light of Christ's Advent, Passion, and Mission of New Creation. Christian interpreters ask "What does the life, ministry, death, and resurrection of Christ have to say about this?" Therefore, the Christian hermeneutic necessary for understanding this story is one of historical, cultural insight combined with a Christian perspective of the whole biblical narrative.
Tuesday was my 31st birthday. In the days leading up to it, and on the day itself, I didn't really get the chance to reflect much. But now that a few days have passed, and I've sown up several loose ends, I'm looking back with renewed vision, and deep gratitude. Not only have I lived to see another year, I am also incredibly blessed with a wonderful family and greater clarity as to my calling in life than I've ever had. When I look back on who I was at 16, before I became a Jesus-disciple and entered this adventure called discipleship, I can't help but stand amazed at who God has made me, and continues to pour out grace on my life. I was a rage-filled, violent teenager on a self-destructive path. But the love of God transformed me, and every day I get to tell my story and witness God at work in the lives of others. I am a richly blessed man!
James Cone is a prophetic voice to US American Christians, and particularly to black and white church communities. Cone understands his social location as both a constraint on his viewpoint, and as an invaluable opportunity for unique insight. His insight draws upon his identity as both a Christian theologian and a black US American man.
In his lecture: "Strange Fruit: The Cross and the Lynching Tree", Cone utilizes the terrifying and soul-scaring reality of lynching in the US as a powerful symbol of the extreme, unjust victimization that characterized the cross—as well as a powerful symbol of the limitless hope and liberation that the cross provides for those who see God's suffering solidarity with humanity in it. Cone reminds us that we cannot ignore the reality of lynching and yet glamorize the cross; they are both symbols of gruesome violence wrought at the hands of evil empires. He also reminds us through both these symbols, millions of people around the globe have glimpsed the eschatological hope that characterizes the Christian faith, and have been compelled to seek justice in this world for the marginalized, the oppressed, and the stigmatized.
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.