Richard Rohr – Everything Changes

We’re calling this year’s theme “Old and New: An Evolving Faith.” The term “evolution” may be challenging for some Christians who believe that science and the Bible contradict each other. We’ll look more closely at the Bible (and how Jesus interpreted it) next week, and later this year we’ll focus on Creation and science. For now, let’s simply consider how the inner process of change and growth is fundamental to everything, even our bodies. Having undergone several surgeries, cancer, and a heart attack, I’ve been consoled by the way my body takes care of itself over time. The miracle of healing comes from the inside—but with help from doctors and nurses!

In religion, however, many prefer magical, external, one-time transactions instead of the universal pattern of growth and healing—which is always through loss and renewal. This is the way that life perpetuates itself in ever-new forms: through various changes that can feel like death. The pattern disappoints and scares most of us, even many clergy who think death and resurrection is just a doctrinal statement about the lone Jesus.

There is not a single discipline today that does not recognize change, development, growth, and some kind of evolving phenomenon: psychology, cultural anthropology, history, physical sciences, philosophy, social studies, drama, music, on and on. But in theology’s search for the Real Absolute, it imagined a static “unmoved mover,” as Aristotelian philosophy called it, a solid substance sitting above somewhere. Theology has struggled to imagine that once God includes us in the narrative then God is for sure changing! Is that not what the Bible—at its core—is saying? We matter to God and God thus allows us to change the narrative of history . . . and the narrative of God.

Religion tends to prefer and protect the status quo or the supposedly wonderful past, yet what we now see is that religion often simply preserves its own power and privilege. God does not need our protecting. We often worship old things as substitutes for eternal things. Jesus strongly rejects this love of the past and one’s private perfection, and he cleverly quotes Isaiah (29:13) to do it: “In vain do they worship me, teaching merely human precepts as if they were doctrines” (Matthew 15:9). Many of us seem to think that God really is “back there,” in the good ol’ days of old-time religion when God was really God, and everybody was happy and pure. This leaves the present moment empty and hopeless—not to speak of the future.

God keeps creating things from the inside out, so they are forever yearning, developing, growing, and changing for the good. This is the generative force implanted in all living things, which grow both from within—because they are programmed for it—and from without—by taking in sun, food, and water. Picture YHWH breathing into the soil that became Adam (Genesis 2:7). That is the eternal pattern. God is still breathing into soil every moment!

Evolutionary thinking is actually contemplative thinking because it leaves the full field of the future in God’s hands and agrees to humbly hold the present with what it only tentatively knows for sure. Evolutionary thinking must agree to both knowing and not knowing, at the same time. This is hard for the egoically bound self. It wants to fully know—now—which is never true anyway.

(Source, HERE)

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No Evolution Allowed (RJS)

 

Scot McKnight on Jesus and orthodox faith in the 21st century

Source: No Evolution Allowed (RJS)

Here is the story of Tremper Longman’s ‘conversion’ to theistic evolution.

He stands in a long list of rmarcable people, of (more or less) Evangelical persuasion, who went on a similar pilgrimage of faith. Here is the list of those who share theiir testimonies in this book, along with the above mentioned biblical scholar: N.T. Wright, Scot McKnight, Francis Collins, Jennifer Wiseman, Denis Lamoureaux, James Stump, James K. A. Smith, Richard Mouw, John Ortberg, Daniel Harrell, Ken Fong.

And, for full disclosure, I have to say that I have personally followed the same track, mostly for reasons related to biblical hermeneutics.

NT Wright Sings ‘Genesis’

N.T. Wright presenting a song whose words he wrote with Francis Collins. A song based, of course, on the song ‘Yesterday‘, by the Beatles.
N.T. Wright was an Anglican bishop and is a leading New Testament scholar. He received his Doctor of Divinity degree from Oxford University and he teaches presently at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland.

Models, Models, Models (RJS)

Models, Models, Models (RJS).

Here are Gerald Rau’s six models for the question of beginnings: on how what is came into being. Worth delving into.

Richard Rohr – Incarnation Makes Evolution Inevitable

St. Bonaventure, who lived shortly after St. Francis (1181-1226), and John Duns Scotus a little later yet, both observed as intellectuals what St. Francis was seeing and doing intuitively. They saw that he, exactly like Jesus, found the transcendent not “out there” but “in here”—the transcendent was largely revealed at the depth and “inner” of things. Years ago, a dear friend and theologian, Walter Wink, made the strong case that this was what we actually mean by “angels.” Angels are the transcendent within of things. Everything, therefore, has its angel or “messenger”! They make all things “fly,” as it were, and all things are messengers of deeper messages. Continue reading “Richard Rohr – Incarnation Makes Evolution Inevitable”

A Tale of Two Scientists: What Really Happened ‘In the Beginning’

Darrel Falk grew up in a “wonderful home and a wonderful church” near Vancouver, British Columbia. A shy, serious child, he had a reputation among his friends for never lying or swearing. He asked Jesus into his heart at age 4, and through an altar call at age 10, asked for a second work of grace, in the holiness language of his Nazarene church. “I feel so clean inside,” he said afterwards in tearful wonder.

Todd Wood was born a generation after Falk in Rives Junction, an unincorporated village in the heart of Michigan. His father was a truck driver, and they lived on 13 rural acres, out of sight of the nearest neighbor. Northwest Baptist, a small, fundamentalist church his parents had helped to start and many relatives attended, was at the heart of his life. He attended a K-12 Baptist school with 25 students in his graduating class. A quiet boy, Wood loved doing research papers, going far beyond teachers’ expectations in tracking down extensive sources. Few in his acquaintance had been to college, and he had never met a scientist.

Both Wood and Falk grew up with absolute confidence in the Bible, a strong sense of family, and a belief that church was the place to find meaning and community. Both of them had an unusual aptitude for mathematics and an interest in science—though neither one had much idea what science was. They could have followed very similar pathways, and in a sense, they did. Continue reading “A Tale of Two Scientists: What Really Happened ‘In the Beginning’”

Intelligent Design is Creationism 2.0

Intelligent Design is Creationism 2.0.

‘Why do so many Americans reject the modern theory of evolution? Why does creationism, thoroughly refuted by scientists, retain such popularity among the public? Is the perceived conflict between evolution and Christianity genuine, or is it merely an illusion peculiar to Protestant fundamentalism?

Seeking answers to these questions, mathematician Jason Rosenhouse became a regular attendee at creationist conferences and other gatherings. After ten years of attending events like the giant Creation Mega-Conference in Lynchburg, Virginia, and visiting sites like the Creation Museum in Petersburg, Kentucky, and after hundreds of surprisingly friendly conversations with creationists of varying stripes, he has emerged with a story to tell, a story that goes well beyond the usual stereotypes of Bible-thumping fanatics railing against coldly rational scientists. Through anecdotes, personal reflections, and scientific and philosophical discussion, Rosenhouse presents a more down-to-earth picture of modern creationism and the people who espouse it. He is neither polemical nor insulting, but he does not pull punches when he spots an error in the logical or scientific reasoning of creationists, especially when they wander into his own field, mathematics. Along the way, he also tells the story of his own nonbeliever’s attempt to understand a major aspect of American religion. Forced to wrestle with his views about God and evolution, Rosenhouse found himself drawn into a new world of ideas previously unknown to him, arriving at a sharper understanding of the reality of science-versus-religion disputes, and how these debates look to those beyond the ivory tower.

A personal memoir of one scientist’s attempt to come to grips with this controversy-by immersing himself in the culture of the anti-evolutionists-Among the Creationists is a fair, fresh, and insightful account of the modern American debate over Darwinism.’ (From Amazon)