Sunday, June 24, 2012

Good News for Anxious Christians - TofC

Reading through this little guy right now, Phillip Cary's Good News for Anxious Christians: 10 Practical Things You Don't Have to Do. I plan on writing more about it later, but for now, suffice it to say, it's one of those books where you don't have to read it to know what it says. A mere perusal of the Table of Contents is sufficient to get a pretty basic grasp of the books entire argument. So with that said, for those of you who don't actually plan on reading this book, here's the TofC:
  1. Why You Don't Have to Hear God's Voice in Your Heart
    Or, How God Really Speaks Today
  2. Why You Don't Have to Believe Your Intuitions Are the Holy Spirit
    Or, How the Spirit Shapes Our Hearts
  3. Why You Don't Have to "Let God Take Control"
    Or, How Obedience Is for Responsible Adults
  4. Why You Don't Have to "Find God's Will for Your Life"
    Or, How Faith Seeks Wisdom
  5. Why You Don't Have to Be Sure You Have the Right Motivations
    Or, How Love Seeks the Good
  6. Why You Don't Have to Worry about Splitting Head from Heart
    Or, How Thinking Welcomes Feeling
  7. Why You Don't Have to Keep Getting Transformed All the Time
    Or, How Virtues Make a Lasting Change in Us
  8. Why You Don't Always Have to Experience Joy
    Or, How God Vindicates the Afflicted
  9. Why "Applying It to Your Life" Is Boring
    Or, How the Gospel Is Beautiful
  10. Why Basing Faith on Experience Leads to a Post-Christian Future
    Or, How Christian Faith Needs Christian Teaching
The book concludes with "How the Gospel of Christ Is Good for Us." My personal faves are #2, #3, and #9.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Sola Scriptura?

On facebook, Seth Hahne asked:
Hey Christian peeps, question here. While I like Sola Scriptura for the normative interpretive cycle, clearly a *strict* Sola Scriptura is inadequate because it doesn't leave room for either the Regula Fide or canon formation (perhaps arrived via Regula Fide).

So here's the question: are there any adequate or necessary alternative models you like?
It was a question that I haven't really thought much about, nor studied very deeply, so I mustered up the best response I could:
Asking "How do we decide what the Bible says?" without first contextualizing the "we" and "the Bible" makes one vulnerable to reading in assumptions and presuppositions that simply may not be shared or which may not even be legitimate.

The "we" seems easy enough to explain. "We" are the Church founded on the teaching and fellowship of the apostles sent by Jesus. "We" are the work of the Spirit sent by the Father to build and knit together the Body of the Son.

Placing "the Bible" seems less straightforward. Obviously, "the Bible," as we know it today - a mass-produced, single-volume, closed text - did not exist in the minds of the apostles (though I believe Ridderbos, to some degree, contradicts this). It's been well-noted before that this deflates the *strict* Sola Scriptura view fairly quickly: after all, the Bible itself does not seem to concieve of the Bible itself, at least as such. Rather, the Bible says that Church is built, not from the Bible itself, but rather through the Spirit. The more appropriate question, then, might be, "What is the economy of the Spirit and the Church, especially with respect to Scripture?"

To use the typology set forth in the link shared by Mr. Nguyen, I would identify my own position in the whereabouts of the "Prima Sciptura" or "Regula Fidei" camps. This, in part, stems from studying Scripture according to itself. Given its wantonness for dressing itself according to creeds and customs which it simultaneously shapes and is shaped by, I find that any attempt to make an *absolute* distinction between Scripture and Tradition to be ultimately indefensible, much in the way that Derrida would say that absence is the limit of presence.

I'm well aware of the problems my own position brings me, and I don't have those well sorted out, but the upshot of this is that it makes the Eucharist the heart of biblical interpretation, because all hermeneutical acts become protologically, eschatologically, and liturgically shot through with the Body of Christ as the grammar, end, and exercise of our worship (though at every point assuming, modeling, and assembling the ecclesiastical orders).

Sunday, June 10, 2012

One Lord, One Faith, One Baptism

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Reading as Privation

One of the paradoxes of study, reading, writing is that as much as it broadens, opens, and exposes oneself to the world and experience of others, it simultaneously alienates that same self. Augustine's comments notwithstanding (cf. Peter Candler), the choice to read a book, is a choice to shift attention from one world to another - which is to say, you don't bring a book to a party, or to a friends house, or to church. The choice to read is the choice to exile oneself, to ignore (at least, temporarily) the needs, wants, and attention of others, and to pay attention instead to someone who is present only as text who exerts no such needs or wants. All reading reflects the impetus of the monastic, at least in part.