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the story we find 
ourselves in
that became a 
modern institution 
and now must adapt to a 
Postmodern context 
modern context 
modern context 
modern context 
modern context 
modern context 
modern context 
modern context 
Post-colonialist 
Post-secularist 
Post-rationalist 
Post-communist 
Post-capitalist 
Post-nationalist 
Post-institutionalist 
Post-patriarchal 
Post-Christendom
Postmodern shifts 
beauty 
solidarity 
humility 
methodology 
liturgy 
mission 
networks 
story
Question 1: 
What is the shape of the 
biblical narrative? 
(A pre-critical question)
Eden Heaven 
Hell 
Salvation 
Fall 
Fallen History/ 
Fallen world
Platonic Ideal Platonic Ideal 
Hades 
Atonement, 
purification 
Aristotelian 
Real 
Fall 
Into 
Aristotelian 
Real
Pax Romana Pax Romana 
Civilization, 
development, 
colonialism 
Barbarian/ assimilation 
pagan world 
Destruction, 
defeat 
Rebellion 
into 
barbarism
Is there an 
alternative 
understanding?
sdrawkcab gnidaer 
Rick Warren, Billy Graham, John Wesley (or Calvin), Luther, Aquinas, Augustine, 
Paul, Jesus 
reading forwards 
Adam, Eve, Sarah, Abraham, Moses, David, Isaiah, John the Baptist, Mary, Jesus
Exodus: Liberation & Formation
Exodus: Liberation & Formation 
Genesis: Creation and Reconciliation
Isaiah: Peaceable Kingdom - Justice and 
Mercy 
Exodus: Liberation & Formation 
Genesis: Creation and Reconciliation
Exodus: Liberation & Formation 
G 
e 
n 
e 
s 
i 
s 
Isaiah: Peaceable Kingdom - Justice and 
Mercy
HUMAN DESTRUCTION 
Exodus: Liberation & Formation 
G 
e 
n 
e 
s 
i 
s 
Isaiah: Peaceable Kingdom - Justice and 
Mercy 
HUMAN VIOLENCE 
HUMAN EXPLOITATION
HUMAN DESTRUCTION 
Exodus: Liberation & Formation 
G 
e 
n 
e 
s 
i 
s 
Isaiah: Peaceable Kingdom - Justice and 
Mercy 
HUMAN VIOLENCE 
HUMAN EXPLOITATION
Exodus: Liberation & Formation 
G 
e 
n 
e 
s 
i 
s 
Isaiah: Peaceable Kingdom - Justice and 
Mercy 
kingdom 
of God
kingdom 
Isaiah: Peaceable God 
Kingdom - Justice and 
Mercy 
Exodus: Liberation of & Formation 
Genesis: Creation and Reconciliation
Creation
Creation 
In the beginning God created the heavens and 
the earth. Now the earth was formless and 
empty, darkness was over the surface of the 
deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over 
the waters.. (Genesis 1:1) 
Real or simulation? 
Finished, or ongoing? 
Your role?
Crisis
Creation 
Crisis 
Garden - hunter/gatherers 
Field - herders & crop farmers 
River valley - towns & cities 
Tower - walled cities/ civilizations
Calling
Creation, Crisis 
Calling 
The LORD had said to Abram, "Leave your country, 
your people and your father's household and go to the 
land I will show you. 
"I will make you into a great nation/ and I will bless you; 
I will make your name great,/ and you will be a blessing. 
I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you 
I will curse; 
and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you." 
So Abram left, as the LORD had told him… 
(Genesis 12:1-6)
Creation 
Crisis 
Calling 
Blessed to be a blessing 
Rejoining God’s story of 
creation, being saved from 
the crisis.
Captivity 
Revolutionary insight: 
God is on the side of the slaves.
Ex. 3:7 Then the Lord said, ‘I have Captivity 
observed the misery of my people 
who are in Egypt; I have heard 
their cry on account of their 
taskmasters. Indeed, I know their 
sufferings, 8and I have come down 
to deliver them from the Egyptians, 
and to bring them up out of that 
land to a good and broad land, a 
land flowing with milk and honey, to 
the country of the Canaanites, the 
Hittites, the Amorites, the 
Perizzites, the Hivites, and the 
Jebusites. 9The cry of the Israelites 
has now come to me; I have also 
seen how the Egyptians oppress 
them. 10So come, I will send you to 
Pharaoh to bring my people, the 
Israelites, out of Egypt.’ 
27
Captivity 
Getting slaves out of Egypt: 10 
plagues 
Getting Egypt out of freed slaves: 10 
commandments
Conquest
Conquest 
The Bible, God, and violence: 
An evolving understanding ... 
Pointing forward.
Conversation
Creation, Crisis, Calling, Captivity, Conquest 
Conversation 
Priests, prophets, poets, 
sages, storytellers 
through calling, journey, slavery, exodus, 
conquest, judges, kings, civil war, exile, 
return, continuing domination
Creation, Crisis, Calling, Captivity, 
Conquest, Conversation ... 
Christ
Christ 
Domination - Romans, Herodians, Sadducees 
Revolution - Zealots 
Purification - Pharisees 
Accumulation - Wealthy Judeans 
Victimization - Galileans, Samaritans, poor 
Isolation - Essenes 
Jesus - Another story …
Christ 
Kingdom of God … 
Calling everyone into 
reconciliation with God, one 
another, and creation
Christ 
Cross … 
God forgiving, not seeking revenge 
God revealed in an vulnerable 
victim 
Exposing myth of redemptive 
violence
Christ 
Resurrection ... 
Vindication 
Ascension - enthronement 
Bestowal of Spirit on “all flesh” 
New Embodiment of Christ
Creation, Crisis, Calling, Captivity, 
Conquest, Conversation, Christ ... 
Community
Community 
empowered and united by the 
Holy Spirit 
for mission 
for the good of the world.
Consummation/Celebration
Creation, Crisis, Calling, Captivity, 
Conquest, Conversation, Christ, 
Community 
Consummation/Celebration 
Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. 
Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you 
know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain. 
(I Corinthians 15:58)
Consummation 
Possibilities (creativity) versus plans (control) 
Promise as personal, not mechanistic 
Participatory eschatology
Creation, Crisis, Calling, Captivity, 
Conquest, Conversation, Christ, 
Community, Celebration
the story we find 
ourselves in
Fr. Vincent Donovan:
Religion is our own creation. Its horizons are necessarily 
limited to our horizons. Since it is our creation it will serve 
us. In a time of social, political, and economic upheaval, we 
look to it as that one, solid, taken-for-granted basis to our 
lives. It leads us to cling to the forms and structures with 
which we are familiar and which we have found 
comforting. At the dying of an age and the birth of a new 
one, religion will be in the forefront of those institutions 
clinging desperately to that immovable rock of unanalyzed 
assumptions. 
But revelation shatters that rock, disturbs our horizons, 
presents a God who is not like us at all, a destabilizing and 
surprising God who cannot be used to justify all our 
projects; instead, One who asks us questions we do not 
want to hear. (The Church in the Midst of Creation, p. 118)
Never accept and be content with unanalyzed 
assumptions, assumptions about the work, about the 
people, about the church or Christianity. Never be 
afraid to ask questions about the work we have 
inherited or the work we are doing. There is no 
question that should not be asked or that is outlawed. 
The day we are completely satisfied with what we 
have been doing; the day we have found the perfect, 
unchangeable system of work, the perfect answer, 
never in need of being corrected again, on that day 
we will know that we are wrong, that we have made 
the greatest mistake of all. (Christianity 
Rediscovered, 146)
There are many reasons 
to compare our churches 
to an old male tortoise 
…
50
51
52
54
55
the story we find 
ourselves in

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Zurich 3

  • 1. the story we find ourselves in
  • 2. that became a modern institution and now must adapt to a Postmodern context modern context modern context modern context modern context modern context modern context modern context Post-colonialist Post-secularist Post-rationalist Post-communist Post-capitalist Post-nationalist Post-institutionalist Post-patriarchal Post-Christendom
  • 3. Postmodern shifts beauty solidarity humility methodology liturgy mission networks story
  • 4. Question 1: What is the shape of the biblical narrative? (A pre-critical question)
  • 5.
  • 6. Eden Heaven Hell Salvation Fall Fallen History/ Fallen world
  • 7. Platonic Ideal Platonic Ideal Hades Atonement, purification Aristotelian Real Fall Into Aristotelian Real
  • 8. Pax Romana Pax Romana Civilization, development, colonialism Barbarian/ assimilation pagan world Destruction, defeat Rebellion into barbarism
  • 9. Is there an alternative understanding?
  • 10. sdrawkcab gnidaer Rick Warren, Billy Graham, John Wesley (or Calvin), Luther, Aquinas, Augustine, Paul, Jesus reading forwards Adam, Eve, Sarah, Abraham, Moses, David, Isaiah, John the Baptist, Mary, Jesus
  • 11. Exodus: Liberation & Formation
  • 12. Exodus: Liberation & Formation Genesis: Creation and Reconciliation
  • 13. Isaiah: Peaceable Kingdom - Justice and Mercy Exodus: Liberation & Formation Genesis: Creation and Reconciliation
  • 14. Exodus: Liberation & Formation G e n e s i s Isaiah: Peaceable Kingdom - Justice and Mercy
  • 15. HUMAN DESTRUCTION Exodus: Liberation & Formation G e n e s i s Isaiah: Peaceable Kingdom - Justice and Mercy HUMAN VIOLENCE HUMAN EXPLOITATION
  • 16. HUMAN DESTRUCTION Exodus: Liberation & Formation G e n e s i s Isaiah: Peaceable Kingdom - Justice and Mercy HUMAN VIOLENCE HUMAN EXPLOITATION
  • 17. Exodus: Liberation & Formation G e n e s i s Isaiah: Peaceable Kingdom - Justice and Mercy kingdom of God
  • 18. kingdom Isaiah: Peaceable God Kingdom - Justice and Mercy Exodus: Liberation of & Formation Genesis: Creation and Reconciliation
  • 20. Creation In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.. (Genesis 1:1) Real or simulation? Finished, or ongoing? Your role?
  • 22. Creation Crisis Garden - hunter/gatherers Field - herders & crop farmers River valley - towns & cities Tower - walled cities/ civilizations
  • 24. Creation, Crisis Calling The LORD had said to Abram, "Leave your country, your people and your father's household and go to the land I will show you. "I will make you into a great nation/ and I will bless you; I will make your name great,/ and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you." So Abram left, as the LORD had told him… (Genesis 12:1-6)
  • 25. Creation Crisis Calling Blessed to be a blessing Rejoining God’s story of creation, being saved from the crisis.
  • 26. Captivity Revolutionary insight: God is on the side of the slaves.
  • 27. Ex. 3:7 Then the Lord said, ‘I have Captivity observed the misery of my people who are in Egypt; I have heard their cry on account of their taskmasters. Indeed, I know their sufferings, 8and I have come down to deliver them from the Egyptians, and to bring them up out of that land to a good and broad land, a land flowing with milk and honey, to the country of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites. 9The cry of the Israelites has now come to me; I have also seen how the Egyptians oppress them. 10So come, I will send you to Pharaoh to bring my people, the Israelites, out of Egypt.’ 27
  • 28. Captivity Getting slaves out of Egypt: 10 plagues Getting Egypt out of freed slaves: 10 commandments
  • 30. Conquest The Bible, God, and violence: An evolving understanding ... Pointing forward.
  • 32. Creation, Crisis, Calling, Captivity, Conquest Conversation Priests, prophets, poets, sages, storytellers through calling, journey, slavery, exodus, conquest, judges, kings, civil war, exile, return, continuing domination
  • 33. Creation, Crisis, Calling, Captivity, Conquest, Conversation ... Christ
  • 34. Christ Domination - Romans, Herodians, Sadducees Revolution - Zealots Purification - Pharisees Accumulation - Wealthy Judeans Victimization - Galileans, Samaritans, poor Isolation - Essenes Jesus - Another story …
  • 35. Christ Kingdom of God … Calling everyone into reconciliation with God, one another, and creation
  • 36. Christ Cross … God forgiving, not seeking revenge God revealed in an vulnerable victim Exposing myth of redemptive violence
  • 37. Christ Resurrection ... Vindication Ascension - enthronement Bestowal of Spirit on “all flesh” New Embodiment of Christ
  • 38. Creation, Crisis, Calling, Captivity, Conquest, Conversation, Christ ... Community
  • 39. Community empowered and united by the Holy Spirit for mission for the good of the world.
  • 41. Creation, Crisis, Calling, Captivity, Conquest, Conversation, Christ, Community Consummation/Celebration Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain. (I Corinthians 15:58)
  • 42. Consummation Possibilities (creativity) versus plans (control) Promise as personal, not mechanistic Participatory eschatology
  • 43. Creation, Crisis, Calling, Captivity, Conquest, Conversation, Christ, Community, Celebration
  • 44. the story we find ourselves in
  • 46. Religion is our own creation. Its horizons are necessarily limited to our horizons. Since it is our creation it will serve us. In a time of social, political, and economic upheaval, we look to it as that one, solid, taken-for-granted basis to our lives. It leads us to cling to the forms and structures with which we are familiar and which we have found comforting. At the dying of an age and the birth of a new one, religion will be in the forefront of those institutions clinging desperately to that immovable rock of unanalyzed assumptions. But revelation shatters that rock, disturbs our horizons, presents a God who is not like us at all, a destabilizing and surprising God who cannot be used to justify all our projects; instead, One who asks us questions we do not want to hear. (The Church in the Midst of Creation, p. 118)
  • 47. Never accept and be content with unanalyzed assumptions, assumptions about the work, about the people, about the church or Christianity. Never be afraid to ask questions about the work we have inherited or the work we are doing. There is no question that should not be asked or that is outlawed. The day we are completely satisfied with what we have been doing; the day we have found the perfect, unchangeable system of work, the perfect answer, never in need of being corrected again, on that day we will know that we are wrong, that we have made the greatest mistake of all. (Christianity Rediscovered, 146)
  • 48. There are many reasons to compare our churches to an old male tortoise …
  • 49.
  • 50. 50
  • 51. 51
  • 52. 52
  • 53.
  • 54. 54
  • 55. 55
  • 56.
  • 57.
  • 58. the story we find ourselves in