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a magnificat christmas: mary & jesus’ birth

As Christmas approaches it would be odd if I did not have at least one post about it on this blog.

Since there are literally thousands of theological articles on the web about Christmas 2011, and since I have basically nothing original to say, I will keep mine short.

What do we say about Christmas? What does it mean for us?

It seems common for Christians to chide society for the reduction of Christmas to a consumeristic holiday, though the irony of simultaneously engaging in said consumerism seems lost on them.

The problem is that merely insisting on the presence of Christ in Christmas is not an articulate expression of the meaning of Christmas.

Some go further, emphasising the birth of Jesus with a view to him eventually dying for our sins—Christmas is really about Easter. This might be caricaturing things a little, but for some the birth of Jesus, and indeed his subsequent life, holds little to no meaning apart from the atonement.

Are these adequate ways of articulating the importance and power of Christmas?

Read the rest of this entry

the crucified (nonviolent) God

As Easter comes upon us for another year, and we think about the death and resurrection of Jesus, we must ask, what does this event mean for us here, today?

Atemporal “answers” aside, 2011 has been a year, among other things, of great political turbulence across the globe.

War, uprisings, rebellion, and violence have been a hallmark of human history, but seem to be especially concentrated at this stage of the historical drama (at least as far as we know).

Without naming specific conflicts, what does the death and resurrection of Jesus mean for a world seemingly overflowing with violence? Read the rest of this entry

christ > mission > church

A couple of days ago I started reading ReJesus by Mike Frost and Alan Hirsch. It is a great book, and I would recommend it to everyone. The foundation of the book is basic, but highly imperative. To illustrate I will utilise the scraps of artistry I have at my disposal;

What we see here are three different areas of study in the discipline of theology. Ecclesiology refers to study of the church; its expressions and forms. Missiology pertains to the study of the mission of God and his people; their purpose and function in the world. Christology refers to the study of the person and work of Christ.

In my experience when Christians talk about what they need to do in the world, or what they need to change to be more effective, the conversation most often turns to ecclesiology, that is to say, the conversation ends up being about Church. What should we change? Is it boring? How can we make it more exciting/relevant/effective/engaging/worshipful etc. etc. etc. Keep Reading…

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