Can there be peace amongpassionately faithful people?
From the place where we are rightFlowers will never growIn the spring.The place where we are rightIs hard and trampledLike a yard.But doubts and lovesDig up the worldLike a mole, a plow.And a whisper will be heard in the placeWhere the ruinedHouse once stood. Israeli poet Yehuda Amichai
"Historically, the amity, or goodwill, within thegroup has often depended on enmity, or hatred,between groups. But when you get to the globallevel, that wont work... That cannot be thedynamic that holds the planet together... Butwhat would be unprecedented is to have thiskind of solidarity and moral cohesion at a globallevel that did not depend on the hatred of othergroups of people." (Robert Wright, Nonzero: The Logic Of Human Destiny, quoted in Evolutionaries: Unlocking The Spiritual And Cultural Potential In Sciences Greatest Idea, by Carter Phipps)
Can Christians today build a new kind of identity ... based on hospitality and solidarity, not hostility, to the other? strong- benevolent
Four Challenges 1. Historical 3. Liturgical 4. Missional
Four Challenges 1. Historical 2. Doctrinal 3. Liturgical 4. Missional
Must doctrinal differences always divide us?
Doctrine can mean “loyalty test” - our tribal paint,tattoos, feathers, and accent that distinguish “safe us”from “dangerous them.”
But doctrine can have another meaning ... another purpose: Doctrine can mean“a healing teaching.”
What might happen if we took a second look at our core doctrines - not as hostile identity markers, but as healing teachings?
healing teachings intended to bindtogether what has been torn and broken (re-ligion)?
Our stealth doctrine:the shape of thebiblical narrative (pre-critical)
Eden Heaven Fall Salvation History/ The world Hell
Platonic Ideal Platonic Ideal Fall Atonement, puriﬁcation IntoAristotelian Aristotelian Real Real Hades
Pax Romana Pax Romana Civilization, Rebellion development, into colonialism barbarism Barbarian/ assimilation pagan world Destruction, defeat
Is there analternativeunderstanding?
sdrawkcab gnidaerRick Warren, Billy Graham, Charles Finney, John Wesley (or Calvin), Luther, Aquinas,Augustine, Paul, Jesusreading forwardsAdam, Abraham, Moses, David, Isaiah, John the Baptist, Jesus
Exodus: Liberation & Formation
Exodus: Liberation & FormationGenesis: Creation and Reconciliation
Isaiah: Peaceable Kingdom - Justice and Mercy Exodus: Liberation & FormationGenesis: Creation and Reconciliation
Tree of Life (good) - life as creaturesTree of Knowledge (good and evil) - life as gods
The Healing Teaching of Election (or chosen-ness)
uniquely blessedto be a blessing: us for all of us
The Healing Teaching of Incarnation
God joined with human ﬂesh ...all humanity taken up into God in solidarity
The Healing Teaching of the Deity of Christ
Not“Jesus is like God” but“God is like Jesus”
The Healing Teaching of the Holy Spirit
Pentecost Sermon (Paul Nuechterlein) For me, another clear sign of hope comes through the irony of God raising up a faithful disciple of Jesus Christ who was a Hindu and remained a Hindu. Im talking about Mahatma Gandhi, who said this, among many other things, about Jesus:Jesus expressed, as no other could, the spirit and willof God. It is in this sense that I see him and recognizehim as the Son of God. And because the life of Jesushas the signiﬁcance and the transcendency to which Ihave alluded, I believe that he belongs not solely toChristianity, but to the entire world, to all races andpeople...
Finally, the greatest sign of hope to me is how Gandhi helped deepen our understanding of the Spirit of Truth, the Advocate. He had his own name for it in Sanskrit: Satyagraha, he called it, which translates as Truth Force. Satyagraha moved him and many millions of people over the last century to learn Jesus way to peace through loving, nonviolent resistance to evil. Like Jesus on the cross, in this way to peace we risk taking that old way of sin, righteousness, and judgment on ourselves in order to reveal its futility, its wrongness, and offering instead Gods way of grace and forgiveness. Pentecost is Satyagraha poured out on us so that we may bring peace to our lives as family members, co-workers, neighbors, citizens, and, yes, as both Jesus and Gandhi compelled us to do, as children of God -- all of humanity, children of God. AmenRev. Paul J. NuechterleinDelivered at Prince of Peace Lutheran, Portage, MI, May 27, 2012
The Healing Teaching of the Trinity
diversity without dominationplurality without subordinationFatherness that honors son-ness in equality (& ends patriarchy)Son-ness that honors fatherness without rivalry (& ends patricide)Fatherness and son-ness that uphold Spiritness without homogeneity (ending absolutism)A God who generates the next generation of God!
The Healing Teaching of Inspiration of Scripture
“Manifold witness”The plurality of truth Unity around key questions - arguments over best answers
a fresh visionof encountering God in the other(genesis 26 ff)
Jacob and Esau ... or
25:21 Isaac prayed to the Lord for his wife, because she was barren; and the Lord granted his prayer, and his wife Rebekah conceived. 22The children struggled together within her; and she said, ‘If it is to be this way, why do I live?’*So she went to inquire of the Lord. 23And the Lord said toher,‘Two nations are in your womb, and two peoples born of you shall be divided;one shall be stronger than the other, the elder shall serve the younger.’[If the story stopped here ...]
24 When her time to give birth was at hand, there were twins in her womb. 25The first came out red, all his body like a hairy mantle; so they named him Esau. 26 Afterwards his brother came out, with his hand gripping Esau’s heel; so he was named Jacob.* Isaac was sixty years old when she bore them.27 When the boys grew up, Esau was a skilful hunter, a manof the field, while Jacob was a quiet man, living in tents.28 Isaac loved Esau, because he was fond of game; butRebekah loved Jacob.
Note:God upsetting the normal orderGod for the youngerGod for the womanGod for the “tent boy”God for the liar, cheat, coward!
Note:God upsetting the normal orderGod for the youngerGod for the womanGod for the “tent boy”God for the liar, cheat, coward! But does God show favoritism?
The stolen birthright - The stolen blessing ...27:18 So he went in to his father, and said, ‘My father’; and hesaid, ‘Here I am; who are you, my son?’ 19Jacob said to hisfather, ‘I am Esau your firstborn. I have done as you told me;now sit up and eat of my game, so that you may bless me.’20 But Isaac said to his son, ‘How is it that you have found it soquickly, my son?’ He answered, ‘Because the Lord your Godgranted me success.’ 21Then Isaac said to Jacob, ‘Come near,that I may feel you, my son, to know whether you are reallymy son Esau or not.’ 22So Jacob went up to his father Isaac,who felt him and said, ‘The voice is Jacob’s voice, but thehands are the hands of Esau.’ 23He did not recognize him,because his hands were hairy like his brother Esau’s hands; sohe blessed him. 24He said, ‘Are you really my son Esau?’ Heanswered, ‘I am.’ 25Then he said, ‘Bring it to me, that I mayeat of my son’s game and bless you.’ So he brought it to him,and he ate; and he brought him wine, and he drank. 26Then hisfather Isaac said to him, ‘Come near and kiss me, my son.’27 So he came near and kissed him; and he smelled the smell ofhis garments, and blessed him, and said,
‘Ah, the smell of my son is like the smell of a field that the Lord hasblessed.28 May God give you of the dew of heaven, and of the fatness of the earth, and plenty of grain and wine.29 Let peoples serve you, and nations bow down to you.Be lord over your brothers, and may your mother’s sons bow down toyou.Cursed be everyone who curses you, and blessed be everyone who blesses you!’
NOTE:The blessing ... Is God like a genii, under the control of a powerful man?Recalling Genesis 12:I will bless you ... I will make you a greatnation ...All nations will be blessed through you. Not exclusive blessing, but instrumental blessing.
27:41 Now Esau hated Jacob because of theblessing with which his father had blessed him,and Esau said to himself, ‘The days of mourningfor my father are approaching; then I will kill mybrother Jacob.’ 42But the words of her elder sonEsau were told to Rebekah; so she sent and calledher younger son Jacob and said to him, ‘Yourbrother Esau is consoling himself by planning tokill you. 43Now therefore, my son, obey my voice;flee at once to my brother Laban in Haran, 44andstay with him for a while, until your brother’s furyturns away— 45until your brother’s anger againstyou turns away, and he forgets what you havedone to him; then I will send, and bring you backfrom there. Why should I lose both of you in oneday?’
Jacob’s journey ... departure and returnRachel and Leah (cheater gets cheated,proper order restored)Jacob and Laban (No mother around to pullstrings....)Jacob ready to return home (a man now,facing final challenge)
32:6 The messengers returned to Jacob, saying, ‘We came to your brother Esau, and he is coming to meet you, and four hundred men are with him.’ 7Then Jacob was greatly afraid and distressed; and he divided the people that were with him, and the flocks and herds and camels, into two companies, 8thinking, ‘If Esau comes to one company and destroys it, then the company that is left will escape.’9 And Jacob said, ‘O God of my father Abraham and God of myfather Isaac, O Lord who said to me, “Return to your countryand to your kindred, and I will do you good”, 10I am notworthy of the least of all the steadfast love and all thefaithfulness that you have shown to your servant, for with onlymy staff I crossed this Jordan; and now I have become twocompanies. 11Deliver me, please, from the hand of my brother,from the hand of Esau, for I am afraid of him; he may comeand kill us all, the mothers with the children. 12Yet you havesaid, “I will surely do you good, and make your offspring asthe sand of the sea, which cannot be counted because of theirnumber.” ’
13 So he spent that night there, and from what he had withhim he took a present for his brother Esau, 14two hundredfemale goats and twenty male goats, two hundred ewes andtwenty rams, 15thirty milch camels and their colts, fortycows and ten bulls, twenty female donkeys and ten maledonkeys. 16These he delivered into the hand of his servants,each drove by itself, and said to his servants, ‘Pass onahead of me, and put a space between drove and drove.’17 He instructed the foremost, ‘When Esau my brother meetsyou, and asks you, “To whom do you belong? Where areyou going? And whose are these ahead of you?” 18then youshall say, “They belong to your servant Jacob; they are apresent sent to my lord Esau; and moreover he is behindus.” ’ 19He likewise instructed the second and the third andall who followed the droves, ‘You shall say the same thing toEsau when you meet him, 20and you shall say, “Moreoveryour servant Jacob is behind us.” ’ For he thought, ‘I mayappease him with the present that goes ahead of me, andafterwards I shall see his face; perhaps he will accept me.’21 So the present passed on ahead of him; and he himselfspent that night in the camp.
What’s most important to Jacob now?
32:22 The same night he got up and took his two wives, his twomaids, and his eleven children, and crossed the ford of theJabbok. 23He took them and sent them across the stream, andlikewise everything that he had. 24Jacob was left alone; and aman wrestled with him until daybreak. 25When the man saw thathe did not prevail against Jacob, he struck him on the hipsocket; and Jacob’s hip was put out of joint as he wrestled withhim. 26Then he said, ‘Let me go, for the day is breaking.’ ButJacob said, ‘I will not let you go, unless you bless me.’ 27So hesaid to him, ‘What is your name?’ And he said, ‘Jacob.’ 28Thenthe man* said, ‘You shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel,*for you have striven with God and with humans,* and haveprevailed.’ 29Then Jacob asked him, ‘Please tell me your name.’But he said, ‘Why is it that you ask my name?’ And there heblessed him. 30So Jacob called the place Peniel,* saying, ‘For Ihave seen God face to face, and yet my life is preserved.’ 31Thesun rose upon him as he passed Penuel, limping because of hiship. 32Therefore to this day the Israelites do not eat the thighmuscle that is on the hip socket, because he struck Jacob on thehip socket at the thigh muscle.
33Now Jacob looked up and saw Esau coming, and four hundredmen with him. So he divided the children among Leah andRachel and the two maids. 2He put the maids with theirchildren in front, then Leah with her children, and Rachel andJoseph last of all. 3He himself went on ahead of them, bowinghimself to the ground seven times, until he came near hisbrother.4 But Esau ran to meet him, and embraced him, and fell on hisneck and kissed him, and they wept. 5When Esau looked upand saw the women and children, he said, ‘Who are these withyou?’ Jacob said, ‘The children whom God has graciously givenyour servant.’ 6Then the maids drew near, they and theirchildren, and bowed down; 7Leah likewise and her childrendrew near and bowed down; and finally Joseph and Racheldrew near, and they bowed down. 8Esau said, ‘What do youmean by all this company that I met?’ Jacob answered, ‘To findfavour with my lord.’ 9But Esau said, ‘I have enough, mybrother; keep what you have for yourself.’ 10Jacob said,
‘No, please; if I find favour withyou, then accept my present frommy hand; for truly to see your faceis like seeing the face of God—sinceyou have received me with suchfavour. 11Please accept my gift thatis brought to you, because God hasdealt graciously with me, andbecause I have everything I want.’So he urged him, and he took it.
Where do you find God revealed inthis story?Only where God is overtly named?
Where do you find God revealed inthis story?Only where God is overtly named?Or in the human development and the human encounter?
7 Basic Plots (Christopher Booker)1. Overcoming the monster2. Rags to riches3. Quest4. Voyage and Return5. Comedy6. Tragedy7. Rebirth
Expanding the DialogueDifferences within and among Incommensurability Complementarity Point-Counterpoint Scholars & Mystics
Four Challenges 1. Historical 2. Doctrinal 3. Liturgical 4. Missional