Archive for the 'eschatology' Category

Is God ‘A Recovering Practitioner of Violence’?

“Recovering? Who said I was recovering?”

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Walter Brueggemann

‘End-Times Remixed’ – This Book Will Change Your World (& It’s FREE)

preview the book

What comes to mind when you think of ‘the end-times’ or ‘the return of Jesus’? For some, this is a boring subject. For others, it literally defines their lives. For many, ideas about eschatology fuel their passion & faith in God; for still many others, those same teachings have caused untold pain.

From the 1970s – 1990s, books about ‘the end of the world as we know it’ became best-sellers that fueled entire cottage industries. But as the first decade of the 21st century seems to mirror more & more a real-life apocalypse now, it seems like Christians are questioning their inherited assumptions. At the same time, people of goodwill from all faith backgrounds (or none at all) are questioning the public good of ‘Left Behind’ spirituality. Environmental carelessness, turmoil in the Middle East, and a general attitude of war = end-times progress and peace = the antichrist have caused many journalists, theologians, ministers and ordinary believers to weigh the fruit of these popular ideas. They’ve been weighed and found wanting.

Thankfully there are other resources for faith and practice besides pop-culture interpretations of Revelation. Inquirers have been seeking out Scripture and church history with fresh urgency, to see what Jesus and his earliest followers might have been thinking about ‘the time of the end’ and Jesus’ return.

My friend Kevin Beck of Presence International has written a book exploring just these questions. No dogma remains unwalked; no sacred cow remains un-tipped in his exploration of a better way to tell this Story. Kevin and the folks at Presence have decided that this book is too important to sell – and I agree. Whether you see eye-to-eye with every jot-and-tittle is irrelevant; This Book Will Change Your World lives up to its promise, and deserves to be set free to as many readers as possible.

For this reason, Kevin has enthusiastically agreed to give away a digital edition of this book to everyone who will share it with their friends. You can share it with as few as 3 friends, or you can share it with your whole email address book, which I’m doing.

Kevin wants to share this book with everyone – not to manufacture consent, or tell you what to believe. Rather, his heart is to re-frame a well-worn paradigm and open a conversation, a vital dialogue on what is (spiritually, geopolitically, ecologically – you name it) one of the most urgent matters of our time. To get your free copy of This Book Will Change Your World, go here and click the ‘free e-book’ option. It’ll take you from there. I’m trying to get the word out about this, and I hope you’ll help me. Feel free to post a link to thisbookwillchangeyourworld.com (or my post here) to your blog, Facebook profile, email list, etc…

And let’s discuss it! In the comments here, or on The Ooze.

Guest Blog – John Crowder Speaks!

Controversial Spirit-filled minister John Crowder speaks for himself in this followup to my Charismatic Chaos or (Holy) Spirited Deconstruction? post. Want to read it? Then go here to my new blog home at MikeMorrell.org! Here you’ll be able to keep up with the latest. Please update your bookmarks & RSS feeds accordingly. Thank you!

What Is the Future of the Prophetic?

What great interaction on Charismatic Chaos or (Holy) Spirited Deconstruction! I will be interacting with all of your thoughtful replies soon. And while that post outlined my affirmations of this new bacchanal of the Spirit, I still have a few caveats, which I will be airing this week. But in the spirit of filial kindness or what have you, I’ve emailed Ben and John personally in hopes of getting them to give me some feedback first. I want to hear from them in their own words – whether in the tongues of men or angels.

I know they’re probably busy, so I’m giving them a coupla more days; they can even have a guest blog if they want.

In the meantime I wanted to share with you something my friend/professor/mentor Jay Gary wrote, reflecting on the US & European pneumatic prophetic movement. In studying Strategic Foresight, I interact with future possibilities through a variety of lenses: human, ecological, technological, economic, political and – yes – spiritual futures. I’m often asked by my charismatic and Pentecostal friends how my studies relate to the revelatory spiritual gifts of prophecy, words of wisdom, knowledge, etc…

I have yet to articulate a fully satisfying response. But the good Professor Gary – scholar, consultant, and futurist extraordinaire – sheds some light. Read on!

Continue reading ‘What Is the Future of the Prophetic?’

Charismatic Chaos or (Holy) Spirited Deconstruction?

Are you looking for one of my most popular posts – wherein I take a look at the ministry of John Crowder? You can find this post right here on my new blog, MikeMorrell.org! For more posts like this, please update your bookmarks and RSS subscriptions accordingly.

Thanks!

America-Backed Atrocities in the Korean War Discovered: Troubling Questions

“Grave by mass grave, South Korea is unearthing the skeletons and buried truths of a cold-blooded slaughter from early in the Korean War, when this nation’s U.S.-backed regime killed untold thousands of leftists and hapless peasants in a summer of terror in 1950.” More here (AP)

Disgusting. We aided in executing over 100,000 civilians (quite possibly three times that)–including women and children–in summer of 1950, while ‘back home’ we were revving it up for the (supposed) Leave It To Beaver decade. Mass extinction, all because our peace-loving democratic ideals were ‘better’ than their socialist/democratic/communist/revolutionary ideals. Preemptive idealicide. Jesus wept.

Continue reading ‘America-Backed Atrocities in the Korean War Discovered: Troubling Questions’

Disaster & Interconnectivity, Action & Contemplation

What a week. First the mass-deadly Myanmar cyclone and their government’s bizarre response; now this: tens of thousands are feared dead in a China 7.8 magnitude earthquake.

I don’t know what to make of all this. Of course, nearly 150,000 people on this planet make the Great Transition daily; this in itself is nothing extraordinary. But suffering is different than ‘mere death;’ it is more, and it is right that it elicits a different – pained – response in us.

I don’t know what to make of all this. But I do know – no, sense is more accurate – a few things:

We are all interconnected – matter, energy, spirit & biosphere. Not one organism or object on this planet or in this galaxy can claim independence from everything else. Christians believe that in Christ–the risen, ascended, cosmic Christ-all things coinhere. God in Christ is the All in all. This idea – God’s integral permeation of all reality – is normally one of great beauty. But from one vantage point at least, it offers cold comfort when contemplating life’s shadow side – rape, murder, enslavement, torture, ecological degradation, ‘natural’ disaster.

Continue reading ‘Disaster & Interconnectivity, Action & Contemplation’

Read ‘The New Conspirators’!

The New Conspirators cover

Boy oh boy. I recently got The New Conspirators from IVP’s new Likewise imprint–this is like their New Friars, but even more comprehensive. It’s a who’s-who of todays New Monastic, 24/7 prayer, and other communal movements.

Some reviews/excerpts:

Emergent Village

Open Source Theology is doing a multi-part interview/review.
Part Zero
Part One
Part Two
Part Three
Part Four

I’m looking forward to reading this, hopefully with other dreamers, practitioners, and rabble-rousers. Three cheers for Tom and Christine Sine, and their continuing work!

Related: Who’s going to the PAPA Festival this summer?

Opti-Mystic Friend of Jesus?

In the past couple of years I’ve been referring to myself in a cheeky-but-earnest way as an “opti-mystic friend of Jesus.” It’s my Religious Views affiliation on my Facebook and the tagline on this here blog. Every now and then I get people who ask me just what on earth this means (and they’re always Calvinists who ask, God love ’em). Sometimes the question is loaded with hostility, other times curiosity. Either way, here’s my response:

It’s a Christian…maybe. Or maybe that monicker has worn too deeply into our mental categories so that it’s shorthand for something meaningless to faithful and infidel alike.

So etymologically:

opti-mystic
The first being optimistic as opposed to pessimistic; to me the glass of God’s grace is overflowing. Rooted in resurrection and fulfilled eschatological hope.

mystic being (for my purposes) one who lives by the life of Another; animated by Holy Spirit and a God who is within, around, and permeating all existence.

friend listener, loyal, confidant. Willing to throw ones lot in with. Not a servant, but not someone who disregards service either.

of Jesus What is there to say about this man, this anointed one? Palestinian revolutionary peasant. Harbinger of God’s Renewed Order. Emmanuel–God with us, the government resting upon his shoulders. State-sponsored torture victim. Second person of the Trinity. Nonviolent victor over the Powers that Be. Bearer of Father’s true disposition for humanity and the cosmos.

You dig?

Emergent Church: Denomination or Common Grammar?

So my friend and former fellow communard, Johnny T commented on yesterday’s Why We’re Not Emergent post:

I dunno man…“Emergent” seems like just another denomination to me. As a group, they have their own “common” (more so than not)way at talking about and looking at things…just like everyone else…and like any denomintaion, they fall into the same traps that they make for themselves. (Just like individuals who place too much importance on why they are different)

While I agree, Johnny, that we all have traps we lay for ourselves (no matter what labels we share or shun), I’m not sure if it’s automatically a bad thing when lots of people (in this case, friends and followers of Jesus) begin thinking similar thoughts and taking similar actions and conversing amongst themselves. And I think the emerging conversation is actually more analogous to the charismatic movement in the 60’s-80’s than a denomination per se. The charismatic movement, interpreted by most participants as a move of the Holy Spirit, by and large touched people in whatever churches they were in. Whereas the early Pentecostal revivals made people leave their established churches (mainly because the ‘mother churches’ ostracized them, but no doubt too because the newly spiritually-gifted and enthused were likely quite fanatical in cases), the charismatic movement renewed already-existing churches for the most part. And a couple of denominations were also founded, like the Vineyard. But many stayed Catholic, Episcopal, Baptist, Methodist, etc…

Similarly today, most of us see ’emergent’ as the life emerging on the spiritual trees we’re already on–the fresh life budding on Lutheran, Anabaptist, Presbyterian, Quaker, Anglican, house church, etc… trees. The outermost rung of the bark, as it were. Check this directory out to see what I mean. And it’s not just an insular kind of “We’re sticking to our tree” kind of thing. For me, one of the most beautiful and helpful things about the emerging conversation has been its function as a common ‘grammar’ if you will, a way of speaking that’s allowed me to respectfully dialogue with Christians from across the traditions spectrum–and it’s even taught me how to share and converse with people who (gasp!) aren’t even Christians. It’s an open table where nobody’s trying to convert, which was rare in all of the heavily denominated churches where I grew up, where everyone thought they had a corner market on “Truth.”

I might be into fulfilled covenant eschatology, but I still don’t see how Jesus’ prayer in John 17 has been realized with any kind of tangible fullness. “That we all be one” has been my heart’s longing for 15 years now, ever since I first found that passage as a teenager. On its best days (when we aren’t spending all of our energy trying to defend ourselves to a tiny-but-vocal group of online critics that we have zero actual relationship with), the emerging conversation is a stunning example of grassroots ecumenicism and unity-building in our shared living amidst God’s kingdom. And of course on its worst, we can be as prideful, cantankerous, quarrelsome and unhelpful as anyone else out there.

Here is Josh Brown’s take on whether emergent faith is ‘becoming another denomination.’ His whole series on this is worth reading–see

1 – An Introduction, 2 – A White Man’s World, 4- A Public Service Announcement on Friendship, 5 – We Hate Scripture

6 – The Bastard Child of Evangelicalism

Anyway, here’s the thing: I consider myself an emerging contributor and an emerging beneficiary. I think that the emerging conversation (and Emergent Village in particular) often get an undeserved bad rap among those for whom the conversation is not helpful. But all the same–unlike Michael Vick–I don’t feel like I have any particular dogs in any particular fights. I can let all this go tomorrow; it’d be sad, but my guess is it’ll eventually happen–whether next year or in 10 years. Addiction to permanence is not my goal. Like I said yesterday, “I’ve been on a journey in, through, and toward a Christ-transformed reality before I began naming it in this way, and will likely be if and when this way of articulating things ceases to be helpful. But right now, that I do find it helpful.”


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    My Writings: Varied and Sundry Pieces Online

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