Friday, August 27, 2010

The Crucified God

I have started to read the book The Crucified God by Jurgen Multmann. And I thought I would share some thoughts on the book here.
Chapter 1: "The identity and relevance of faith"
Multmann begins off by stating that theology and the church has a crisis of relevance and identity. If the church strives to become more relevant they are faced with the crisis of identity. For example if we work with and for the poor how is our work "Christian" as compared to some other non-Christian group? On the other hand if a church works at stating their identity they run into a crisis of relevance. If a church identifies itself based on dogmas, rights and morals they are really stating how they are different from the world, and therefore how are they relevant?
These two crises are seen working in the debate about social gospel or evangelism.
“In many Christian churches, similar polarizations have come into being between those who see the essence of the church in evangelization and the salvation of souls, and those who see it in social action for the salvation and liberation of real life.” (page 22)
Multmann says that we need to be involved in both:
“Personal, inner change without a change in circumstance and structures is an idealist illusion, as though man were only a soul and not a body as well. But change in external circumstances without inner renewal is materialist illusion, as though man were only a product of his social circumstances and nothing else.” (page 23)

At the end of the chapter Multmann suggests the way out of these crises is to recognize how we are different and still creatively love those who are different.
“But for the crucified Christ, the principle of fellowship is fellowship with those who are different, and solidarity with those who have become alien and have been made different. Its power is not friendship, the love for what is similar and beautiful (philia), but creative love for what is different, alien and ugly (agape). (page 28)

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Tuesday, August 17, 2010


In June as a family we travelled to Burma (also called Myanmar). There seems to be little awareness of this country in Canada (I knew next to nothing about this country before we decided to travel there).
Here are some quick facts:
  • It is in South-East Asia, bordering Thailand, India and China.
  • For the past 61 years it has been at civil war.
  • The government is a military dictatorship.
  • The primary religion is Buddhism.
  • There have been several movements that have attempted to bring freedom into the country (all of which have been harshly put down by the government)

I sat with my family eating breakfast, the same breakfast we had for the past nine days, in a small dining room in our 8 bedroom hotel. There is no air-conditioning outside of the rooms so there are fans hanging on the walls giving a bit of a breeze. We haven’t checked the temperature since we arrived in Burma, internet at the cafĂ© across the street is too slow to waste on things like that. It is hot and humid, most likely somewhere in the high 30s, and knowing the exact temperature would not really help cool off anything.
We here a gong sound indicating that the monks are soon going to be passing by collecting their daily offerings. Apparently whatever food they collect is the food they eat for the day.
We have to encourage the kids to eat, as usual. They only seem to want to eat at the western restaurant that we found near our hotel (which we ate at for six days in a row).
Later on in the day we would travel 2 hours in an old mini-van to a home for orphans. Once there we would play with the kids, Cindy would do some painting, we would just hang out. Sometimes if feels like we aren’t accomplishing anything. We aren’t building anything or preaching, we are just being with the people and playing with the kids. But perhaps this is enough. To just be with them, to be shaped by them and to love them. The kids at these homes are amazing.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Back from Sabbatical

Well I am back from my sabbatical. It was an amazing three months. Time went by very fast. Now I am trying to get back into the routine of life. Over the next while I share some stories about my time away.