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May
03
2014

Justo González and the Politics of Impassibility, Part 4

This is the fourth part of our series on Justo González and the politics of impassibility. (If you’re just tuning in, be sure to check out parts one, two, and three.)

Two the best chapters in Mañana 1, are chapter 9: “On Being Human,” and chapter 10: “And the Word Was Made Flesh”. In these two brief chapters, González accomplishes something most theology scholars could devote dozens of books to and not address nearly as thoroughly. In the span of 30 pages, González takes readers through a seminary degree’s worth of insights into human nature, church history, Scripture, and Christology. But if that wasn't enough, he continues to integrate the socio-political nature of faith into his discussion. 

In this fourth part, I’ll attempt to synthesize González’s thought on human nature from chapter 9, the implications it has on Christian theology, the church, as well as the socio-political ramifications. Let’s dive in!

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Apr
24
2014

Justo González and the Politics of Impassibility, Part 2

In part one of this series on the politics of impassibilty, we surveyed the argument made by Hispanic theologian Justo González for the rejection of the false god of the pagan, Gentile philosophers—which is actually an idol—in favor of the self-disclosing God of the Bible, supremely revealed in Messiah Jesus of Nazareth. We demonstrated that there is a socio-political dimension to the theological conclusions at which one arrives. The doctrine of impassibility comes from an Athenian society built on the backs of slave labor. Impassibility was the natural outflow the Athenian aristocracy’s indifference to the suffering of the lower classes. They projected their value of personal impassibility onto their conception of God.

“The interests of a dominant social class work much more subtly, pervading the mentality of those who form part of it, and even of those who are subject to it, to such a point that those interests are eventually confused with pure rationality.” 

“It has often been remarked that Plato’s understanding of the ideal state and its order was essentially aristocracy, although an aristocracy of the intellect rather than of wealth. What has not be remarked as often is that the same is true of his metaphysics.” 1

In part two, we’ll look at González's explanation for how the early Christianity made the turn from triune God of the Bible, revealed in Jesus to the idolatry of the philosophers God-conception.

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Apr
23
2014

Justo González and the Politics of Impassibility, Part 1

Doing Theology in Spanish

Theology has everyday implications for life. Christian faith is more than just the abstract ideas one holds in one’s head; faith is the lived reality one embodies in the world. In fact, in parts of the world today, theology remains a matter of life and death, the difference between privilege and oppression. 


Few are better than Justo González at connecting the dots between what a person thinks about God and Christ, and how a person lives as a result. In his book Mañana: Christian Theology from a Hispanic Perspective, González starts by confronting the myth of objectivity. He knows that every human being who explores the mystery of God, and every person who reads the Bible, has a context and a culture that impact their perspective. He himself is no exception.

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Mar
23
2014

Muslim Open Theists, Politics, T. F. Torrance, and Why the God-Man Matters

Muslim Open Theists?

People arrive at the conclusion that the future is at least partly 'open,' and that God knows it as such, 1 from multiple starting places. Since the 1994 publishing of The Openness of God 2 by five evangelical authors, many have arrived at these conclusions from within the evangelical subculture. This subculture is obviously Protestant, and overwhelmingly Trinitarian. 3 Others arrive at these conclusions through philosophical reflection on the nature of the future and on human agency. Not uncontroversially, others still arrive at these conclusions from contexts wholly removed from evangelical Christianity. (Whether or not the label "Open theists" should be ascribed to these non-Christian theists is still an active debate among evangelical Open theists.) 4

Nevertheless, Michael Lodahl, professor of Theology and World Religions at Point Loma Nazarene University, contributed a chapter to the book Creation Made Free: Open Theology Engaging Science titled "The (Brief) Openness Debate in Islamic Theology." 5 In this chapter, Lodahl reports that, according to accounts in Islamic history and philosophy, there arose a group of Muslims which rejected the traditional theological determinism/fatalism of Islam for a form of free will theism that included the epistemic 'openness' of the future.

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Mar
30
2013

Politics, the Jesus Way (A Quick Reminder)

Jesus's "disciples" are His apprentices. That means, when we signed up to be a part of His army—this Jesus Movement we call the Church—we covenanted to do things His Way! Jesus's Way was to walk along the villages and towns preaching the Good News, healing the sick, and loving on people despised and rejected like Him. Jesus's Way was Not to put more rules on people on whom the Pharisees had already put so many—but to be ruled by Love. Jesus was in relationship with people who were different from Him: people the religious establishment called 'sinners.' Jesus's Way was Not to force anyone to follow Him, but to Invite them to follow him—to show them a better Way of being-in-the-world. This is what Jesus called the Kingdom of God.
 
When we, Jesus's apprentices, cozy up with the Empire and use their methods (laws, legislation, force) we are not following the Way of our Master: Jesus. Instead, we are following the ways of the world. All the kingdoms of the world operate the same way: By Force! Either you pay your taxes, or prison! Either you obey the laws, or prison! And, ultimately, every law is backed by the power of the sword to enforce it.
 
The Way of Jesus is not the way of the sword, but the Way of the Cross. Jesus's Way is to lay down our lives for our friends, our neighbors, even our enemies!! Jesus's Way is to triumph over Satan through unconditional, self-sacrificial love—because it is More Powerful Than The Sword! Jesus's Cross is the most powerful force in the universe—because it defeated sin, Satan, and reversed Death itself!
 
So, to love our neighbors the Way Jesus loved His neighbors (or enemies, if they are outside your empathy), is to advocate for them, to treat them with dignity as people made in the image of God, and to lay down our lives for them: demonstrating unconditional, self-sacrificial love for them.
 
That is the Jesus Way!
 

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Jan
18
2013

Honor Dr. King by Not Making Him an Idol

Empire and Idolatry

When you consider that during the height of the Civil Rights movement, the federal government was extremely suspicious of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., having him surveilled around the clock for anti-government activity, it might strike a person as odd that he today has a national holiday and a memorial in Washington D.C. in his honor. This, however, is actually to be expected. When we human beings follow the pattern of this world (set by Satan and the fallen powers) we seek power over any movement that threatens our self-centered way of life. We tend to resist radical change until we have no other appealing alternatives. So we tune out much of Dr. King's radical message, informed by his Christian faith, because it cuts directly to the heart of our self-centered ways. 
 
So, how can the federal government acknowledge this great leader and the movement he led without actually putting into practice the way of life he preached? Easy: They give him a holiday and a statue.

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Jan
05
2012

The Seduction of US Politics and the Freedom of Christian Discipleship

Whenever election time comes around in the US, the air is filled once again with polarizing partisan rhetoric. It is the candidate's job to paint his or her opponent's views, policies, administration in the starkest of terms when contrasted with his or her own. It's the candidate's goal to convince you and I that he or she will "do a better job," understands the "founding principles of America" better, or isn't an "Washington insider," etc. etc. Furthermore, candidates tell the story of the American dream again, selling us on hope that this is the "land of opportunity," that we can "make it, if we work hard." Each candidate wants us to believe that their election will ensure this outcome, remake the world.

I have a confession: I've bought into this sort of thinking more times than I'd like to admit. I confess that I have too often believed that the election of a particular candidate is the determing factor in my well-being or the well-being of those for whom I care. I've believed that if "those guys" are in office, the world will go to hell in a hand-basket. But if "my candidate" is elected, there will be justice, peace, [add your utopian ideal here]. I confess that I've fallen prey to the seductiveness of political coercion.

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Apr
12
2011

CBN Interviews Donald Trump, Hilarity Ensues

In the US, every potential presidential candidate must participate in the perfunctory Christian inquisition. "Are you a Christian?" "What church do you belong to?" are some of the typical questions. When you're running for president, you don't want to be a part of a controversial Christian group. Just notice how fast Palin disowned her Pentecostal background. It's best to stay in the Mainline denoms. Bush Jr. chose to claim the Methodists. The Episcopal church used to be a safe choice. You don't see that much anymore.

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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.

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