Posts Tagged 'eschatology'



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!

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’

Heresy Hunters: I Get By With a Little Help from My Friends

You know you’re doing something worthwhile when all the right people are denouncing you.

A couple of weeks ago Herescope denounced Jay Gary, Diana Butler-Bass, Brian McLaren and myself, who will be hanging out at the World Future Society‘s annual conference in D.C. We’ll be talking about “The Future of the Religious Right” and of global Christian faith in general, but the Heroscope team sees our work as promoting “new theologies and practices,” and “disparaging…of biblical prophecy.” Somehow, they suspect that all this winds up “creating an evolutionary convergence” where we all sing Kumbaya and venerate Gaia and Easter bunnies. As if that’s a bad thing!

Moving along: I’ve already told you the kind of flack The Shack has been getting recently with the heresy-hunter websites. Well, as Steve Knight reports at Emergent Village, now our ‘ol pal Mark Driscoll is in on the action too (you can watch his eight-minute YouTube rant on the E.V. link). Apparently he’s mighty uncomfortable with the sacred feminine, anthropomorphic depictions of God, and the idea of the Trinity (and thus, human relatedness) as mutually submissive rather than chain-of-command hierarchical. Sigh. Co-publisher Wayne Jacobsen blogs his response to the question “Is The Shack Heresy?”

Of course Frank Viola has had his share of critique concerning Pagan Christianity–not all from shrill heresy hunters, but certainly enough of it. Well, Tim Dale over at Karis Productions produced this pretty funny spoof response:

I have two observations about all the shelling and attack from this past month: Most of the people above are friends of mine, and for the most part, we can all laugh this off (in the cases of Frank and Team Shack, they can laugh all the way to the bank, as these books have really struck a chord with most readers and have become best-sellers)–even if we don’t know whether to laugh or cry sometimes. Others, though, are not so fortunate–heresy-hunters can cost people their livelihoods.

I don’t have the privilege of knowing Peter Enns, but his story has been all over the blogosphere recently. As Christianity Today reports, Enns has been suspended from his teaching post at Westminster Theological Seminary for writing his 2005 book Inspiration and Incarnation: Evangelicals and the Problem of the Old Testament, which takes a hard look at the messy, complex, and human aspects of Scripture from an evangelically-informed text criticism point of view. The Board of Trustees said:

“That for the good of the Seminary (Faculty Manual II.4.C.4) Professor Peter Enns be suspended at the close of this school year, that is May 23, 2008 (Constitution Article III, Section 15), and that the Institutional Personnel Committee (IPC) recommend the appropriate process for the Board to consider whether Professor Enns should be terminated from his employment at the Seminary. Further that the IPC present their recommendations to the Board at its meeting in May 2008.”

I understand that confessionally Christian schools are not as enamored with “freedom of thought at any cost” like their liberal arts counterparts; I get that evangelical higher learning institutions are trying to maintain a precarious balance between intellectual integrity and nurturing creedal faith commitments. All the same, Enns is not Bishop Spong or something–he’s asking questions about Holy Writ that the rest of the Church (and world at large) have been asking since the 19th century. Like it or not, those who read and love the Bible are going to begin pondering its more troubling aspects with greater honesty and ideological flexibility.

Heresy-hunting is far from the world’s worst problem. (Next time, I’m going to blog about sex trafficking. Please try to refrain from throwing yourself off a building.) Nonetheless, it is a downer. As I mused last year, sometimes I wonder why I even bother participating in this kind of ‘dialogue’–it all seems so insular. Sometimes I just want to throw my blog into the ocean (so to speak) and becoming a wandering hermit…with my wife and child, of course. But for now, I suppose I’ll leave everyone with an easily-rebuttable maxim: If you don’t have something kind to blog, don’t blog anything at all.

Related:

Mike Todd’s The Shack Film casting call

John MacArthur launches Nothing Must Change tour

Heretic Hunter video

Brad Cummings and Wayne J have something constructive to say about all of this in their Doctrine Police podcast at The God Journey

How Does Social Change Occur?

Recently for my LMSF 602 Survey of Futures Studies course I was asked to reflect on my own ‘theory of social change’–that is, how does change occur? Some base their guiding narratives on power, others on progress, still others on ideas. As a friend and follower of Jesus, as well as a futurist-in-training, I offer some rough thoughts:

 


Being thoroughly postmodern and suspicious of neat meta-narratives, I don’t have much confidence in the Story of Progress as was propounded through the Enlightenment era. On the other hand, looking at the broad sweep of history, I cannot come to the nihilistic conclusions that some of my secular and religious friends have come to, that the universe is essentially meaningless or that we’ve all going to hell in a handbasket. There has been real change over the past several thousand years, and it is generally (sometimes very generally) positive. But there is no invisible hand guiding us to some inexorable destiny. I suppose I believe in a realized eschatological world, where emergent nested creativity (which I see as a Triune God with real personality and kosmic-and-personal dreams) abounds, ready for humanity and creation to tap into. I am a realist. History has, in many cases, been guided by self-interest of a powerful few, hell-bent on maintaining and expanding their privilege. But in the midst of this, we’ve maintained humble, celebratory wisdom traditions that give dignity to individuals and communities—thus the spirit of innovation and adaptability continues.

I think social change happens when individuals and communities generate and tap into powerful new ideas rooted in the old. Taking from our store-houses treasures old and new, we can become truly conservative and progressive, preserving the best of the past while reimagining life together into the future. This will happen through humility, foresight, and imagination. It is a good time to be alive.

Living New Heaven & Earth Realities

My friend Kevin strikes gold again in his unique voice (you can get one of these every week here):

jesus-in-light-large.jpgDrawing from their ancient predecessors, John and Peter — both belonging to the group of Jesus’ original twelve friends — envisioned the arrival of a New Heaven and New Earth. Peter encouraged his original readers to hasten the day, and John believed that the time was at hand.

The New Heaven and New Earth expected by the apostolic witnesses was not a refurbished space-time universe. Instead, they believed that the day of a kosmic transformation had arrived, and a new world order had begun. The first one — glorious in itself — was being surpassed by a new one of exceeding glory. The first one was characterized by law, judgment, and promise while the second one would be filled with righteousness, grace, and fulfillment.

The first world divided people as good and evil, clean and unclean, us and them. The last world order transcended differences and integrated humanity into one new being. It is this new Heaven and New Earth that we dwell in today.

Awakening to New Heaven and New Earth realities transforms everything about us. Our thinking, relationships, and place in the world undergo a transfiguration as we begin to thrive in the all-in-allness of the God who is Love. Thinking in terms of a New Heaven and New Earth created by the power of Love allows us to experience four intersecting dimensions of fulfilled living and to conceptualize life in terms of four three-dimensional spheres.

Each sphere represents an aspect of your own garden that God has entrusted into your hands to tend and keep. As you nurture each sphere in love, you’ll find the healing fruit of the Spirit blossoming year-round. The first sphere is the Inner-Sphere. This includes your individual head and heart space. This is the single-most important sphere to cultivate because this houses our core self. Jesus affirmed that out of our heart comes the fruit of our lives. An Inner-Sphere overgrown with anger, frustration, and bitterness results in physical and emotional suffering. However, planting the small seeds of love, compassion, and kindness brings forth a harvest of self-care that reaches into the other spheres.

The Second Sphere, the Inter-Sphere, involves your interpersonal relationships, your dealings with others. Bringing conscious love into your family and friendships opens the way to deepening integrity and intimacy. Ignoring your closest relationships brings about inner turmoil and separation. However, filling the Inter-Sphere with love causes the New Heaven and Earth of your relationships with other people to bring about feelings and actions that promote healing and growth.

The Trans-Sphere cuts across the various organizational, national, and cultural boundaries you participate in. This sphere allows you to gain a global perspective, recognizing that nearly 7 billion people currently inhabit spaceship earth. In the Trans-Sphere, we share a common space regardless of our apparent differences and acknowledge the interconnected Presence of God look into one another’s eyes. It is the way to recognize the collective all-in-allness of God.

Finally, the Supra-Sphere transcends time and place in order to develop a link with the all-in-all across the ages. All people of all time, the entirety of the kosmos, the environment we inhabit, the fullness of God, and the blessed spiritual unfolding constitutes the Supra-Sphere. David wrote sacred script for a “generation not yet born.” He sensed his own place in the Supra-Sphere and consciously contributed his unique loving gifts to it.

Focusing solely on one or two of these Spheres leaves the others empty, but balanced living attends to all four of these spheres. As you discover the fullness of God’s love pervading all of four spheres, you’ll find the New Heaven and New Earth expanding to include and embrace the continual emerging perfection of God’s graceful dwelling. J. Krishnamurti observes, “To transform the world, we must begin with ourselves. However small may be the world we live in, if we can transform ourselves, bring about a radically different point of view in our daily existence, then perhaps we shall affect the world at large, the extended relationship with others.”

Stephanie Dorwick notes, “The goals of self-discovery are attuned to life.” So begin attuning to your life by asking yourself, “What would my Inner-Sphere look like with love? How will love for myself transform my head space and heart space?” Stay with that for a while and revisit it often, becoming aware of the answers you find emerging. Then, do the same for the other three spheres. As you consciously tend and keep your worlds in love, you’ll discover the ever-increasing blooming from the tree of life.


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