Archive for December, 2008

Hating Christmas, loving Jesus

hates-santaA friend at college created a group on Facebook yesterday called “People who hate Christmas but still love Jesus”, expressing the not terribly uncommon fed-up-ness that so many of us feel towards the festive season in general.  It was a sense of sort of morbid glee with which I accepted my invitation to the group, having just left a church Christmas party early and in a fairly grim mood!  But what’s up with Christians hating Christmas anyway?  Doesn’t being a Christian automatically disqualify you from disliking the festive season, unless you’re one of those puritanical killjoys who thinks Christmas is itself unChristian?  Put the Christ back in Christmas, we scream!…  Or is there another option?

I have a confession to make.  Two, actually.  First, I don’t actually hate Christmas – sorry Biz 😦  And secondly, just to contradict myself utterly, there are two major sorts of reasons why I do in fact strongly dislike Christmas.  One of these sorts of reasons is sort of high-falutin’ and theological and various other -ogicals and generally quite impressive.  And the other of those sorts of reasons is personal, specific to my circumstances, and generally quite pathetic.  Each reinforces the other to the point that it’s very hard for me to be objective about Christmas, but for the purposes of this post I will do my best!



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Judgement is hot, part 2

Having typed my last post so quickly, the main points I really wanted to think about were kind of lost in the aether.  So here’s a quick summary of what I was trying to work towards.

Just to freak you all out and lay a taster of a future post, I’m going to refer to God throughout today’s piece using female pronouns.

1: Judgement is a good thing.  This is something that’s easy to overlook in individual passages or verses, but in the great sweep of biblical narrative the theme is very clear: when God intervenes to ‘judge’, things change for the better.  There is no biblical concept of karmaic or retributive punishment: when God acts, she acts for the good of creation – even when it means that she herself has to go through pain and suffering to achieve that good.

2: Judgement is restorative.  God acts for the good of her creation – and the good news is, we are part of that creation!  As I touched on a couple of posts ago, God’s ultimate and final goal is to restore all of creation to perichoretical [a term coined by Gregory of Nazianzus, meaning “circle dance” – came to be used to describe the interrelationship within the Trinity and the depth of fellowship God desires with her creation] fellowship and community with each other and Godself.  Similarly, her goal when intervening in judgement is always to bring the world closer to that paradise she intends it to be.  This means that God is constantly acting – often in small, unnoticed ways – to prevent the world from tipping over the edge into total disaster and horror, as well as to maintain a transformative presence of good and nurture within it.  We see this pattern in God’s judgement time and time again in the biblical accounts, and even when it seems out of view in an individual text it usually shows up eventually in the bigger picture. (more…)

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Judgement is hot

Glib titles make me happy.

But not nearly as happy as thinking about the biblical concept of ‘judgement’.  The more I focus on “grand scheme” or “big picture” theology – starting from the great arc of biblical metanarrative rather than proof texts – the more this concept of ‘judgement’ intrigues me, particularly as it relates to the nature and character of God.

Unfortunately this a particularly huge topic, and to try and casually blog about it is gonna be pretty tough.  Nevertheless I’ll try to give a brief overview of the general direction my thoughts are going in. (more…)

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A bit about pulling back

So really, “Re:Creation”?  Seriously?  That’s my title?  It falls somewhere unfavourably between retro seventies-style supa-hip and corny-attempts-to-be-cool-by-inserting-random-punctuation-into-words (see Alan, that’s almost a whole sentence hyphenated!).  It’s also, however, a genuinely useful way to frame what I hope to be rambling about in future.  Read on for the skinny and the low-down, yo. (more…)

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The fantastic thing about studying for exams is that it galvanises me into doing all sorts of things I either (a) normally wouldn’t or (b) have been sort of vaguely thinking about but not gotten around to.  Starting a ‘blog’ falls into both those categories!  But apart from exam-induced boredom (great motivation for starting to write something no one will read, right?) I find that increasingly my essays and conversations at college don’t provide enough outlet for what’s going on theologically in my head and in my heart.  So here I am; we’ll see if I manage to use this properly.

I’ve just started reading a book called “The Bible on Suffering: Social and Political Implications” for my Old Testament class.  The focus so far has been on biblical ethics and the value – or lack thereof – of modernist theodicy (theodicy is the justification or defense of God’s goodness and absolute power in the face of human suffering and evil).  Perhaps when I get past page 12 or so I’ll be able to comment constructively on the book itself (so far I’m enjoying it hugely!), but right now it’s finally nudged me over the edge into the act of blog-starting!


Subjective ontology, or rather, an ontology of the subject.  It’s something I’ve been thinking about a lot recently and haven’t been able to do nearly enough reading around. (more…)

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