Convergent Friends Featured Quaker The Cultural

Remixing Faith in the 21st Century (Barclay Press)

I’ve posted my June essay on Barclay press if you care to have a read (it’s nice and long!). Here’s and excerpt:

This past April Radiohead did another thing that sparked imaginations and challenged the preexisting structures of the music industry, yet again. They setup a website and invited people to remix one of their singles, “Nude.” Along with the invitation, they released the audio tracks containing the guitars, strings, drums, bass, and vocals through the iTunes music store. They invited people to participate in a contest to see who would make the best remix of their song, all the votes would be made by Radiohead fans (the winning remix received 38568 votes). By looking at remix culture, I think the church can learn something about how creativity and imagination interacts with existing ideas and structures and builds off those resources while also moving beyond them in new ways.

Click here to continue reading this essay.


Rufus Jones’ Future Hope

Here’s a nice long quote from Rufus M. Jones about what he hopes to see in the future of Friends. The quote comes from a lecture he gave at the Baltimore Young Friends Yearly Meeting in 1944:

I am looking for a time, and counting on it, when we shall have a Society of Friends not composed of a few awakened leaders and a body of unkindled quiescent members who move in the ancient grooves of habit and routine. But instead a live membership of persons who have thought out their principles of life and not merely adopted them second hand. It was that unique high level of the total membership of the body which made early Quakerism such a convincing and conquering body of people. They knew what they believed and they lived in the power of it. They had a philosophy of life and they transmitted it.

There is very great need to have the unique aspect of spirit in man and its relation to the divine spirit in the universe freshly interpreted in a world that has become bogged down with material conceptions of life and the world.

There is very great need of a more vital grasp of the unique Person at the headwaters of our faith lined up with the Real Presence of the inward Christ who is the Life of our lives…We can very well have a moratorium of divisive theological doctrines and focus our minds on a religion of life, vitally, livingly, constructively grasped and expressed in life and character.

Jones, R. M. (1944). What Will Get Us Ready? The Baltimore Young Friends Yearly Meeting Lecture for 1944. Baltimore Yearly Meeting, p 6.

Blog Entries Church in Mission

Returning to Woodbrooke

It’s been really nice to return to Woodbrooke Quaker Study Center this past week. I’ve been here now for about a week and a half and have just about that much time left in the UK before I make a return trip to Ohio for a little vacation with the family. The familiarity of returning here, having friends I looked forward to seeing, and having actual conferences, as well as studying to do has made it even more fun to be in Birmingham than last year, albeit also very busy. I’ve been spending my mornings getting up around 8am, eating breakfast, going to morning worship and then studying until about 4 or 5pm, doing dinner and then meeting up with friends.

Blog Entries

NT Wright on The Colbert Report

One of my favorite New Testament scholars Anglican Bishop NT Wright was on my favorite evening talk show, The Colbert Report. On the show they discuss Wright’s latest book “Surprised by Hope” and what that has to do with heaven, the mission of the church, and new creation.

Convergent Friends Featured Quaker The Theological

Douglas Gwyn and the Convergent-Covenant

Just came across these two quotes from Quaker historical-theologian Douglas Gwyn’s book “The Covenant Crucified,” and it got me thinking about some of the work I did in a previous project I’d never written about:

Given its biblical frame of reference, the religious Right retains a more explicit covenantal self-awareness.  But because the biblical code is metaphorical, not analytical, the religious Right (indeed, all biblically based groups) often struggles over how to live a biblically faithful life in our present social grid, how to address a modern, scientific, and technological society using this code.  Under these conditions, fundamentalist groups shift decisively toward the purity/pollution code of covenant consciousness.  Here, questions of private morality, sexuality, family relations, and devotion to church life are foreground, and wider, structural dimensions of covenant faith – a just and peaceful society (the gift/debt code) – recede into the background.

Douglas Gwyn, Covenant Crucified, 366

For Gwyn, the “Religious Right is puritanical??? because moral standards “become fetishes, detached from evolving patterns of life,” and operates out of a desire to reinstate Christendom, often at whatever cost. While the left holds onto contraction philosophy, over against the early Quaker and biblical notion of covenant, which ultimately, “reduces covenant faith to constitutional rights” (367).

Featured The Cultural

Boycotting Amazon (And Borders and B&N)

[[Warning Containing Rant]] I’m joining Dan in his Amazon crusade (see here and here), which basically means, I’m not selling books on there (I pulled all my for sale books down today from their site), and I’m not buy books from there (unless maybe there’s the one long lost used Quaker book I absolutely need and cannot find in any library or anywhere else). ((In actuality I have literally under 10 (new) books from Amazon out of my entire library)) I’m not one to be too dogmatic but I do think it’s about time to put my foot down on this. A while back Dan challenged me on my usage of Amazon affiliate links on my blog, a practice I never really felt great about but had my (somewhat justified) reasons for doing so. I make a decent amount of money on my blog every month from book sales and text-link-ads to help defray the cost of my school book budget, so while I pretty much never buy new books from Amazon, I felt that making a little cash off a sale wasn’t a bad deal. But then he showed me that you can do the affiliate links elsewhere (Powell’s) and so I decide to stop link to Amazon books. ((At this point I don’t think I am going to go back through all of my old posts and remove my amazon affiliate links just because that would take a ridiculous amount of time. But all new links will be affiliate links to Powell’s or non-affiliate links elsewhere.))

So that’s part one. Part two is really the point of my boycott.

Blog Entries

Rocketboom on Epistemology

The daily video blog Rocketboom “explains” epistemology yesterday, very interesting to watch. What are you thoughts on it? One problem is that Decartes “I think therefore I am” is apparently still the litmus test that no one else has been able to overcome in any satisfactory way. Really?

Blog Entries Reviews The Theological

McClendon on Convictions and Pluralism

Last week, I read James Wm. McClendon and James M. Smith’s book “Convictions: Defusing Religious Relativism,” it’s a highly recommended book for anyone interested in religious language and rationality, ethics and theology. It is difficult to get through due to his heavey useage of philosophy, espeically JL Austin’s “Speech-Act Theory” but McClendon’s clear writing style helps to make this difficult subject matter more palatable. I was reading it in preparation for my upcoming presentation I’m working on for a Quaker conference in June. Questions of religious relativism and pluralism are certainly on my mind because of this and I have been on the lookout to see what others have said on the subject. One main question I have is “How do other traditions work through and deal with religious pluralism?” I’m recognizing that rationality, and how we make truth claims about our religious experiences and faith are essentially some of the main questions Quakerism now struggles with. That said, I found McClendon’s book somewhat of a dog to get through, but worth the effort (if you want a somewhat briefer read chapters 1, 2, 4 and 6). McClendon was a baptist/free-church theologian of the highest order: his three volume systematic theology is one of the best peace church theological resources we have from the past century. It’s a treasure trove. If you haven’t, please take a chance to read something by McClendon you won’t be disappointed.   Here are a few standout quotes from the book:

Blog Entries The Biblical The Theological

Goldingay on The “Wrathful” OT God

Scot McKnight is slowly blogging through “Old Testament Theology Volume 2,” by one of my absolute favorite professors from Fuller John Goldingay. You can follow his posts on the book through this search link. Anyways, here’s a noteworthy quote I came across that I love:

“Everyone knows that the OT God is a God of wrath; the NT God a God of love. Oh no they don’t??? (108). Maybe the best section I’ve read in the two volumes of his work. Here are some themes he sketches about God’s love in the OT … and there is discussion for each and I can’t include but one reference for each:

1. Fatherly dedication (Mal 1:6).
2. Parental “carrier??? (Jer 1:5; Isa 44:2, 24; 4;9:5)
3. Motherly compassion (Deut 32:18)
4. Attentiveness (Ps 79:5-9)
5. Mercy (Isa 57:14-21)
6. Healing (Isa 57:14-21 again)
7. Commitment (Ps 62)
8. True faithfulness (Ps 31:5)
9. Passion (Ezek 16:8)
10. Cleansing (Ps 51:2; Ezek 16:63)
11. Carrying (Ps 85:2-3)
12. Getting over (Mic 7:18)
13. Pardon (Jer 36:3)
14. Risk (Gen 22:1, 12)
15. Sadness (Hos 6:4)
16. Letdown (Jer 26:3)
17. Grief (Gen 6:5-6)

Well, alongside this sketch of themes in God’s love, Goldingay has a sketch of God’s hostility: weary skepticism, hiddenness/withdrawal/absence, anger, rage, redress, self-assertion, repudiation, ruthlessness, slayer, warrior, enemy, vintner.

Read more here.

Featured Quaker The Political

Peace Church Colleges Debate Having Armed Guards

The other day in a Washington Times article there is a discussion about peace church colleges working through questions about whether to employ armed guards for student protection. Two Church of the Brethren schools have recently decided to authorize their guards to carry firearms. Given the catastrophic campus shootings of Virgina Tech and Northern Illinois University, not to mention all the other school shootings in recent years, it’s not hard to see why this is becoming an important question to address (even though statistically these campus crimes have been decreasing in the last ten years). In the article they also mention two Quaker colleges: Guilford and Earlham, both of which do not have armed guards but do have good working relationship with local law enforcement who understand their position on the matter. This is also true for Mennonite Goshen college in Indiana where our former pastor is president. I like what Donald Kraybill had to say about it: