Elizabeth Scripturient (the delinquent, ecumenical (hermionesviolin) wrote,
Elizabeth Scripturient (the delinquent, ecumenical
hermionesviolin

[CAUMC] LtQ 2.1 "thinking theologically" [2006-10-26]

I wasn't impressed by this Living the Questions video.  There were a lot of interesting and sometimes compelling ideas, but especially at the beginning it felt like a whole bunch of thoughts and ideas that didn't really connect, and I was searching for some sort of theme holding them all together (Hey, Ari, apparently I can think in response papers ;) ).

[Note: Scribbled down notes were crosschecked with the Contributors list from the first night, but errors may still have been made in attribution.]

John Dominic Crossan posited 4 questions for 21st century Christians:
* What is the character of your God?
* What is the content of your faith?
* What is the function of your church?
* What is the purpose of your worship?

I liked that a lot.

Culver "Bill" Nelson suggested replacing "God" with "the divine," arguing that anthropomorphizing God is a problem and that we should conceive of God as a presence rather than a person.  I find this highly problematic for a number of reasons.

John Cobb mentioned the book Omnipotence and other Theological Mistakes, saying that the idea of God as omnipotent started in the second century.  I was reminded of Joel's concept of the OT God as on a learning curve.
If God has all the power, he has no power -- because power is relational.  [I squeed a little inside at this because that is one of the very few things I discerned/retained from Foucault -- okay, actually I think it was from my Queer Studies section rather than my attempt to read The History of Sexuality: An Introduction, but still, knowledge, having.]  Stanley Hauerwas responded, phrasing it as "God's power is persuasive rather than coercive."

Borg argued for a progression from "pre-critical naivete" through critical thinking to "post-critical naivete."  He said "pre-critical naivete" is the faith of a child, when you just believe things, when you "know" them to be true.  "Post-critical naivete" is making the choice to have faith, to say, "I don't know if it happened this way or not, but I know this story is true."
He said that modern culture is only culture in history to identify truthfulness with factuality.

Marcus Borg said that we need to redo Christology.  He said that people conceived of God as up above, so then they had to somehow explain how did get down here (in Jesus), and that we can see the progression of wrestling with that in the New Testament writings.
He said that Romans 1:1-4 is what we would nowadays call adoptionist theology.
Mark (written in the 70s) opens with Jesus' baptism.
Mathew/Luke (90s): conception
John: at the moment of creation.
He said that virgin birth stories were a dime a dozen in the ancient Mediterranean world, that it was how one indicated that this was something beyond the realm of what normally happens in the human world.

Cobb said that process theology makes sense of Incarnation for the first time.  [He never really explained what "process theology" is, though Trelawney gave me a decent explanation when I asked afterward.  Reminiscent of Wesley's ideas on grace and human perfection from last week.]  He said that there was a tendency to remove a piece of humanity to insert deity and that we can be proud of the Councils for their defense of Jesus' humanity.

John Shelby Spong argued that the difference between us and Jesus is a difference of degree rather than a different of kind -- that if Jesus was fully human then you can't also say there's a difference in kind between him and between us.
He mentioned Eckhart and also Robinson's The Human Face of God.
He said that the church should show people how to become fully human.
He posited that humanity and divinity on continuum.

Borg said that theology is bedeviled by excessive certitude and that theology's task should be to get rid of excessive theological obstacles.

Tex Sample used the Santa Fe Trail as a metaphor -- that he had expected it to be a trail of a single set of wagon ruts but that in parts it's three miles wide.
He quoted someone on "socially embodied, historically extended story" and quoted Milbank on "repetition with variety."

***

In the discussion, some people really affirmed the video, and Mike and I posited problems we had with it.  I'm definitely still learning how to articulate my problems with the "Let's discern what's true in the canon we're handed" approach and also with the "It all boils down to Love, so really our secular liberal beliefs can easily agree with the Bible" stance.

I Affirmed Mike as per usual, and he in turn said that we "share a suspicion of uncritical liberalism."

Trelawney said to me, "Have I told you how much I like your smile?  It's so full of joy and really brings out that part of your nature, and is infectious."  She also Affirmed the back/shoulder rub I gave her before dinner (which is what I'd expected her Affirmation of me to start with).  "I have happy shoulders now."  :)  [Her dad's been really sick recently, and that's just what I do.  Amusingly, we ended up with this little backrub chain -- me to her to Eric to Seth -- for a bit.]
Tags: church: caumc: ya group, church: caumc: ya group: ltq
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