If you say you’re a pacifist, you’ll usually get two questions right away: “but what about Hitler?” and “you wouldn’t protect your family if somebody broke into your house to rape and kill them?” I’m going to ignore the second and focus on the first because there is a strong parallel to how people are responding to ISIS.
The observant reader will have noticed that this post is going up at a new domain. If you didn’t, don’t feel bad – I attempted to make the migration as smooth as possible. It even has the same theme. It’s basically just a new name and a new About page.
Some will ask, I’m sure, why the new name. For a while now, I’ve considered dropping the “emerging” from the site name. If somebody asks me whether I am an “emerging Christian”, I would probably say yes. That said, the label isn’t nearly as meaningful as it was a few years ago when I started this blog. Some just think it means “liberal” or “mainliner pretending to be evangelical” (yes, I have heard that one). Others have never really encountered the label at all or have but give confused looks in response to it. It isn’t for nearly as many that it means what it used to mean for those who identified with it: the postmodern conversation between Christians of all types.
I’m a little late with a review on this one but Scot McKnight’s Kingdom Conspiracy has definitely given me food for thought. The central idea of the book is that a lot of people use the word “Kingdom” or phrase “Kingdom of God” and we all just have our own definitions of it. These definitions are usually loosely based on Scripture and Church tradition, but I have never personally seen an exhaustive attempt to define what the phrase means. Until now, that is.
Here I’ll just hit on 3 major ideas he covers which form a lot of the basis for the rest of the book:
My more liturgically-minded readers will know that today is All Saint’s Day (probably celebrated tomorrow in many churches). It might mean slightly different things to different people and different traditions, but the general idea is to celebrate the lives of the saints (to Protestants, that’s all Christians) who have passed away.
Eight days ago my wife and I made the trip to my hometown to remember the life of one such saint: Keith Hill. The funeral home was overflowing with people. We arrived only about 5 minutes after the visitation started – scheduled for an hour but took closer to two – and barely managed to get seats. He was very loved not only in the small church where I grew up, but in many segments of the community.
Jian Ghomeshi is generally a pretty well-loved figure for the under 40 crowd in Canada and syndicated across the US as well. I’ve never really listened to his show, though, so don’t have any particular personal attachment. Yesterday afternoon the CBC issued a 3 sentence statement that they were cutting ties with him over accusations about him. He quickly shot back, saying he would sue CBC for $50 million and writing a very personal Facebook post detailing the allegations. In that post, he talks about how he likes BDSM (bondage, dominance, sadomasochism) but that it was always consensual and now the accusations from jilted exes are that it was not.
Public transit has been a hot-button issue in many areas of Ontario in recent years. When we lived in Toronto, it was an issue there, and still is going into their current election campaign. When we lived in Hamilton, there was discussion of a light-rail line running east to west, but it was vetoed and they settled for bus lanes in the busiest stretch of downtown. We now live in Kitchener, part of the Waterloo Region, which has earned itself a bit of a reputation for being ahead of the curve on public transit development. They have spent years debating a light-rail line and recently broke ground on it. Nonetheless, some want to rip it up, even though it would cost a lot more to do that than to finish at this point, seemingly out of spite more than anything else.
Here’s five reasons why I think there is a moral social imperative to develop public transit systems as best as possible. (more…)
Yesterday much of Canada – and a lot of the rest of the world – watched as shootings occurred at our Parliament building in Ottawa. To summarize for anyone who wasn’t aware: one soldier, who was unarmed as it was a ceremonial position, was killed; a couple of others went to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries; the whole downtown area was on lockdown basically the whole day unsure if there was a second shooter or not; the shooter was a radicalized Muslim with some ties to ISIS.
I’ve seen three common streams of responses, with of course some being somewhere in the middle.
There’s been one of those viral challenges going around Facebook asking for your 10 most influential books. Here’s mine, not counting the books of the Bible:
- Repenting of Religion by Greg Boyd
- Disunity in Christ by Christena Cleveland
- The Great Emergence by Phyllis Tickle
- A New Kind of Christianity by Brian McLaren
- A Nonviolent Atonement by J. Denny Weaver
- The End of Religion by Bruxy Cavey
- God and Empire by John Dominic Crossan (even though there were some sections I really didn’t agree with)
- Scripture and the Authority of God by N.T. Wright
- Christianity’s Dangerous Idea by Alister E. McGrath
- Jesus for President by Shane Claiborne and Chris Haw
The last 2 took a while and on any given day could probably be interchanged for some others like Boyd’s God of the Possible and McLaren’s Everything Must Change, but for the most part, this is what I’m looking at for my core book influences.
On Saturday night Emily and I watched a PBS documentary on the Civil Rights Freedom Riders. I had a vague knowledge of the history (Emily had quite a bit more) but not many of the details. It really is an inspiring story on many fronts.
Beyond general inspiration, though, I couldn’t help but draw a lot of parallels with the events in Ferguson.