Thursday, August 20, 2015

Is God angry with me?

Some chap over at the NZ Baptist Magazine is pontificating on the subject of God's anger, why not head on over and tell him what you think of his incessant whining?

(Seriously, it makes me look good if my articles get more hits that everyone else's so just give it a click.)

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Forgiveness, Jacob and Systems Theory

So today I gave a little paper at a conference on forgiveness. It was fun.

The rough manuscript is here.

The power point is here.

Unfortunately the witty one liners and whiteboard genogram were not recorded.

This is the abstract:

“To see your face is like seeing the face of God”: Pastoral and Systemic Reflections on Forgiveness and Theosis in the Jacob Story

Esau is typically considered the bad guy in readings of the Jacob story, i.e. the one who imperils the continuation of Abraham’s line of faith through Jacob. The biblical narrative is, however, far more ambiguous. In fact, as the cycle reaches its climax Esau becomes closely and even confusingly identified with God. Jacob is returning fearfully to an uncertain welcome but Esau shows undeserved grace and favour to Jacob and so is compared to God (Gen 33:10-11). Psychotherapeutic theories of emotional systems highlight the dynamics of the Jacob/Esau conflict and demonstrate the necessity of a God-like intervention in the established reactive system of deception and violence. In rising above the reciprocal feedback of negative emotions Esau creates a new order out of the chaos of sibling rivalry. Forgiveness is thus dramatised as a participation in the nature of God, proving Alexander Pope’s famous adage: “to err is human, to forgive is divine.” This paper, after some brief remarks on methodology, will undertake a heuristic application of systemic theory to the Jacob narrative to explicate the contours of forgiveness and reconciliation in the Jacob-Esau relationship, before concluding with reflection on the pastoral outcomes of considering the narrative in this way.

If you were at the conference please leave a comment! If you weren't you are welcome to leave on too.

Monday, August 3, 2015

Capitalising your Divine Pronouns (or not)

So just had to explain this to someone and came a across a nice little blog post on the subject from a new to me blog from a chap with a very impressive beard.

1. There is no grammatical convention that capitalising a pronoun shows respect it is therefore meaningless to the uninitiated.
2. There is no precedent or command in scripture for doing this (Hebrew and Greek were originally lacking in lowercase anyway!).
3. If someone is going to judge you for not doing it they are wrong and creating a false religion, don't pander to them.
4. I once read a book where the author not only capitalised divine pronouns but refused to use capitals to refer to S/satan or H/hell, it was a book on spiritual warfare. The author boldly proclaimed his disregard for grammar in his desire to disrespect the enemy at the start of the book and confirmed for me that he was indeed fruitier than a nut bar. I now associate any such urges with foaming at the mouth loopiness.
5. My pastoral experience has revealed to me that the more a person feels the need TO PUT THINGS IN CAPITALS the more insecure they are about their ability to communicate or to keep a good grasp on reality. Write clearly and well, YOU DON'T NEED CAPITALS TO MAKE YOUR POINT!

However, for fear I am leading you astray, this helpful post gives the other side of the argument.