My quiz results...

It has been years since I've tried answering online quizzes so that I could post them on my old blog. I did that back then with my old blog and just now since I don't have much to do (better yet have a lot to do but I lack the concentration required to do them) and have a lot in my mind I decided to take one in Beliefnet entitled: What Kind of Christian Are You?

The funny thing with quizzes is that it often misses the point...

...I mean since when has historic Christian identity been identified with personalities other than the person of Jesus of Nazareth?

Anyways I decided to post it here for good clean fun.

Equality as the synthesis of faith and works: A theological reflection on James 2

Personally I’ve always found James 2 disturbing. Since for a long time in my walk of faith I’ve held such high esteem on faith (or what I’ve understood as faith at the time) that is based on intellectual adherence to doctrinal stipulations that was taught to me by my teachers at the time. However, that would be shaken with my exposure to ‘real life’ outside the church which has a lot to do with the ordeal of walking my talk as actions speak louder than words.

Equality in praxis (1-13)

Following James’ theme of responding to God’s implanted word in action in the previous chapter (1:22-25), the author now starts situate the behavioural patterns that ought to be manifested by his brothers and co-servants who have received the word. He does so with the emphasis of practicing equality within the church.

Big Tent Christianity: Being and Becoming the Church

On September 8-9, 2010 in Raleigh, North Carolina, a first-of-its-kind national conference of church leaders in the United States of America will take place, Big Tent Christianity: Being and Becoming the Church.

What's interesting about this conference is that apart from it being the first of it's kind, it is a national event organized by Conservative Christianity's favorite whipping boy the so-called, Emergent Church Movement --however what makes this really great is that it seeks to put together some of my favorite contemporary speakers, pastors and theologians but also tries to bring Pat Robertson and Bishop John Shelby Spong to the event and to my mind perhaps the emerging moving toward a new ecumenical movement, I just hope that they'll be able to get the two of them there and maybe even get them on the same page about this easier said than done question of what it means to become a Christian Church in today’s complex society.

Below are short profiles of some of the speakers in the conference whose works I admire.

Carrying on the divine conversation

Summary and reflection on Nicholas Wolterstorff’s 4-part article series entitled: The God Who Speaks

The view that God is speaking as this has been somewhat of a contentious topic among the present theological landscape, in light of this I would like to tender a summary of four articles written by Nicholas Wolterstorff entitled: The God Who Speaks.

Using Augustine’s conversion story Wolterstorff, pushes forward a thesis that the God of the Bible is very much a speaking God. By weaving Scripture with Augustine’s conversion, He argues that God spoke to people as reported in Scripture, he argues: God spoke to Augustine by way of a child’s sing-song; and God spoke by way of Scripture itself; lastly God spoke, above all, in and through Jesus Christ. The God of Scripture the God of Christian experience who spoke in diverse ways and on many occasions to human beings.
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Bishop Joseph Johnson on Divine Justice

In the process of writing yesterday's reflection I wanted so bad to put this portion of Bishop Joseph Johnson's sermon, however I felt that the length and the way it would be used in the reflection would not do justice to its message so I decided to instead post it here instead.

Everybody was there: Native Americans who had been slaughtered, robbed of their land and confined to reservations, black Americans with the psychological scars of slavery and continued racism etched indelibly upon their minds, black Africans whose land had been raped and cultures devastated, the Chinese, the Vietnamese and other people of Southeast Asia and the Pacific who had been exploited by Western technology, the people of India and Pakistan who had been ruled by the refined British empire, the Hispanics who had often been played off against blacks in the fight over crumbs, the Jews who had been the victim of Hitler’s madness, the Lebanese who were victims of Zionism gone astray –all were there.

Finding God in a punk rock record

It has been said that spiritual formation happens through human experiences.

It is in the ordeal of living the whole of human existence that one comes into contact with this dynamic encounter with the God who transforms us via the agency of our lives, to which the experiences that our sensory faculties (like seeing, feeling, and hearing) functions as the arena where transformation takes place. In this case I would like to highlight the sense of hearing as an arena to which I discover God and His loving identification with people in the midst of human pain and anguish.

As it is no secret to those who know me that a lot has been going on in my mind lately. Life and all its complexities that come along with aging and varying circumstances leads one to question so many things and to lose hope –to despair, get angry, cry out to for and against God.

I would write of the details of this pain and struggle but I am at the same time afraid to lay bare my soul as well as space cannot be enough to put what I am feeling into words that would make sense. It is in the middle of these things that I find myself clinging once again, in consolation to the music of my adolescence –to punk rock.

Prayer, Belief and Control

"Faith is at once the most wonderful and the simplest of things. In it a man opens his eyes and sees and accepts everything as it - objectively, really and ontologically - is." - Karl Barth1

Why do we pray?

I cannot help but ask this question over and over.

If God indeed knows everything, and administers everything according to His will why then speak about our desires to this all-knowing, all-powerful God upon whom all things and its existence out-and-out depend on?

I cannot say that I know the answers to all these things.

Living with the nuisance of transformation

Genesis 1:27 says that human beings, male and female, are created “in the image of God.” While, Colossians 1:15 convey that Jesus Christ is the “image of the invisible God.” Thus to say that we are created in the image of God is to say that we are created in Jesus Christ.

That is why over the course of our exploration of this belief in our spiritual formation we are always reminded over and again with the realization that to be spiritual is to be human and that life is the arena of the journey towards being more fully human and that our human existence finds its basis, origin, and form in Jesus. He is our prototype and fulfilment.

However, that in itself is but a portion of this greater reality as we have come also to learn that even now we are gradually being transformed and our lives and all its facets are being pieced together to re-orient us with the startling reality of God’s future that has been inaugurated by Jesus Christ, the kingdom that approaches even now and sets our present lives within the context of God’s reality –which culminates towards our transformation to Christlikeness: to becoming indeed fully human!

In the End...

I remember reading about how in the end of all things there will, only music – the rhythm of our triune God who loves us.

I remember feeling this vivid singing in the middle of Grace Bible Church’s 61st Anniversary service where church goers from the generations that have been involved in the church sang the hymns and anthems of their eras in sobering act of worship to the God who sustains –His body His church. A few days later a young Andrew Caleb Gorospe led the Asian Theological Seminary’s chapel with his personal songs of worship and awe at the God who inspires art and music…

I see these experiences as glimpses of this celebration that Hans Urs von Balthasar was talking about at the end of his epic 5-volume work on 'theodramatics' entitled: Theo-Drama: Theological Dramatic Theory where the action of God and the human response, especially in the events of Good Friday, Holy Saturday, and Easter Sunday are examined unto which he concludes: “It is, finally, a word …beauty is the word that shall be our first. ”1

But for now I can only anticipate, with hesitation, with anxiety and constant expectation that in the middle of all this dissonant noise right now, there is hope that in the end there will only be music…beauty and the triumphant realization of this now omnipresent reality: that indeed God is all in all!
1 Urs von Balthasar, Hans. Theo-Drama: Theological Dramatic Theory (San Francisco: Ignatius, 1988) p. 609