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RESISTERE, latin for resist: resisting the devil

“Resist the devil and he will flee from you.” James 4:7 NRSV 



In the Latin Vulgate, the translation uses resistere to encourage believers to take a stand against the Devil.  This stance is an oppositional one, but it is a prayerful, non-violent confrontation,  as it should be. This is exactly what Jesus does. When he was in the desert fasting (as many are during this Lenten season), the Evil One tempted him, showing him the militaristic glory and splendor of the Roman Empire and all of the other powerful kingdoms of the world in the first century. Rather than accepting the offer, or getting violent out of frustration from Satan’s pesky questions (I know I get annoyed when people ask me too many questions), Jesus preaches the Good News. The way that resistance happens is preaching the Gospel. #resistere

 

h00die_R (Rod)

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RESISTERE, latin for resist: Daniel (VULG), Ezekiel, and the Imago Dei

“He said to me, ‘Do not fear, Daniel, for from the first day you set your mind to gain understanding and to humble yourself before your God, your words have been heard, and I have come because of your words. But the prince of the kingdom of Persia opposed me 21 days. So Michael, one of the chief of the princes, came to help me, and I left him there with the prince of the kingdom of Persia, and have come to help you understand what is to happen to your people at the end of days. For there is a further vision of those days.” Daniel 10:12-14 NRSV.

Like Ezekiel a prophet before him, Daniel was blessed to see the Son of Man, the very Image Of God shining brightly before him. Daniel was overwhelmed, he was pale, & he was so sick, all of the people around him were frightened (v. 8), he did not have the voice to speak. But when he heard the mighty roar (v. 6) of this Image, Daniel was strengthened. The Image informs Daniel that the struggle between the Persians and the Jewish people and exile was not one of flesh, but between spiritual forces. Daniel is equipped to work for God and God’s empire because of his lifelong path of courage and humility. The king of Persia, the most powerful man on the planet at the time, was arrogant, was simply just not ready to experience God’s reign.  This is why in the Latin Vulgate, resistere is used for the action that the Persian ruler was taking, namely resisting God’s will. The Son of Man / Image of God promises that not only will he lead YHWH’s battle against the Persian empire (take that 300 and 300:Rise Of An Empire! ), but that he will also RETURN to fight the militaries from ancient Greece as well. These words would bring comfort to Daniel the Jewish prophet in exile, because he was exceedingly fearful of the rising Greek forces (7:15). The beginning of resistance to the wicked kingdoms of the Earth is humility in the presence of the Triune God, and being present with the humiliated of the world. #resistere

h00die_R (Rod)

priestly abolitionist time travelling supervillian

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Fundamentalism and Post-Evangelical Culture

saved faye

After the World Vision drama that spread all over the interwebs, there have been a few posts on postevangelicals farewelling evangelicalism (well, sorta?). Over at Christ And Post Culture, Hannah Anderson wrote an excellent post putting post-evangelicalism in historical context, Farewell Evangelicalism?: Not So Fast. At Canon And Culture, Rob Schwarzwalder asked, Why Younger Evangelicals Are Leaving the Church: Some Arguments Against The Conventional Wisdom

Thirdly, Dianna E Anderson posted last week, Life In The Borderlands: A Taxonomical Analysis of Post-Evangelicalism

As a guy who really digs church history, and who has studied the history of evangelicalism, let me add these thoughts. Post-evangelicals are not leaving evangelicalism, vis-a-vis actual evangelical churches and its institutions for its faults, like its anti-intellectualism, its social conservativism, and stuffy institutions. These three features aforementioned are actually found in mainline Protestant churches as well. And well, basically, U.S. American Christianity. This reputation of Christianity being a tool of right-wing politics in media is what Post-Evangelicals are protesting against. They don’t want to be seen as “not liking” the Bible like those evil Mainliners, but they want to definitely be seen as not being one of those Republican Conservative FundieVangelicals.

By now, we all know the type, the Hilary Faye’s (Saved!) hypocritical White Blonde Aryan spokeswomen for Hollywood’s view of Christianity. Sure, there’s some truth to these tropes, but I think underlying both the protest of PostEvangelicals that they are indeed different, and the ignorance of media stereotypes is the lack of knowledge of evangelical religious history. Post-Evangelicalism/The Emergent church represents the rejection of an Evangelicalism that came out of fundamentalism. U.S. American fundamentalism was, according to George Marsden in Fundamentalism And American Culture, a movement that came from the North before the time of the Civil War. The fundamentalist movement was (and continues to be) interdenominational and includes Calvinist, revivalist, dispensationalist, holiness, pietist and Reformed religionists. The Civil War was seen as a millennial event where God’s kingdom, in the eyes of some, prevailed (12-13). This millennialism, perpetuated by middle class Victorian-lite Northerners served as one of the forerunners of fundamentalism (21-22).

At that time, America was viewed as a New Israel because Jeffersonianism placed a very optimistic view of humanity. However, pre-millenial dispensationalism first advanced by C.I. Scofield rejected modern notions of progress and instead suggested true Christians withdraw from society. Scofield’s approach indicated a change that happened in evangelicalism that showed a drop in political and social activism on the part of American evangelicals from 1900-1930. The evangelist D L Moody (1837-1899), for example, was deeply set against the social gospel movement (37). The fundamentalists concerns were primarily doctrinal purity (118-123). Right ideas and thinking would lead to right action.  Not only were the first fundamentalists concerned with the purity of Protestant church teachings, they also were committed to racial purity.  D.L. Moody was a believer in the Lost Cause and defending the violent institution of Jim & Jane Crow law by hosting and preaching at race-segregated revival events.

Fundamentalism had a particular view of history. While it said it was adverse to liberal notions of progress, dispensationalist theology still held that history was on Christians’ side, and that the Rapture would be a supernatural, disruptive event where God destroys the world in order to, um save it? In a similar vein, Marxists views revolution as a man-made event (as opposed to fundamentalist supernaturalism) that has a similar disruptive effect. In dispensationalism, these acts include the promotion of perpetual warfare in the Middle East to initiate God leashing hell on Earth. In other words, the way to transcend history is by way of acts of violence.

One of the hallmarks of post-evangelicalism as it has manifested itself online is the form of tone-policing that I have written about on a few occassions.  Inherent to this fundamentalist-lite form of disciplining virtual behavior is the belief in authentic relationships yet without real risk of confrontation.  A commitment to “genuine” relationships has replaced the commitment of doctrinal purity.  Any variety of criticism geared toward post-evangelicals from the right or left is demonized as “vicious” or “aggressive” calling out culture.  Take for example myself; if I write a post critiquing Rob Bell book when it comes to race, I can expect both the comment section and Twitter to be filled with questions like, “So, do you REALLY think Rob Bell (or Wm. Paul Young, or whoever) is a white supremacist?”  Critiques aimed at institutional practices and social norms are taken personally because post-evangelicals, like fundamentalist icons  D.L. Moody, Billy Sunday, and  Billy Graham view sin as primarily an individual phenomenon.  It is this brand of individualism  that makes  fundamentalism and post-evangelicalism incapable of addressing their own complicities in institutional racism.

“Angry” Social Justice bloggers break the great social taboo of not adhering to postevangelicals’ (misguided) definitions of relationality.  Meanwhile, there exists a double-standard of Post-Evangelical bloggers remaining free to write speculative personal attacks about their least favorite celebrity mega-church pastors.  Small-minded people talk about people.

I think that what is telling is that at the end of almost every post-evangelical post declaring the evacuation of a label they left years ago, is that there’s a sense they believe that history is on their side.  Like the dispensationalists of old, it’s only a matter of time before progress (according to them) is made.  Allusions to “resurrection” without any acknowledgement of the cross reveals nothing but bourgeoisie Emergent Christian theologies of glory.  Frederick Douglass once said, without struggle, there is no progress.  But Post-Evangelical leaders see themselves as Transcendent, Universal, & context-less, somehow beyond history, and so the focus is more on the story of progress itself, rather than concrete narratives of struggle.

When seen in this historical light, we see that indeed, post-evangelicals resemble their fundamentalist forebears more than they like to imagine. While the Calvinist variety of fundamentalism is owned by the TGKKK with their “farewells” to all heretics, post-evangelicals deploy shame versus dissidents with faux-gressive, hegemonic calls to Christian unity. Saying “farewell” and making passive-aggressive crocodile tears over “unity” are two sides of the same coin.  Sometimes, old Fundamentalist habits die hard.  

 

h00die_R (Rod)

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Open Theism, Moltmann, Patristic Thought, & Divine Apatheia

In a recent facebook group discussion, we have gone back and forth about the meaning of what does it mean for God to be impassible?  Does God really not suffer, and therefore is not able to relate to humanity? A current stream of polemics in BOTH conservative evangelical and mainline liberal Christian academia consists of making Platonism along with any other form of Greek philosophy to be enemy of the one, true pure biblical perspective. The use of this argument is valueable but it does have it limits. As Christians, we are to experience the world Pentecostally, in that God has reconciled all nations and tongues to Himself in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, and in the Sending of the Holy Spirit to the Church to go through out the world. Each language, philosophy, academic discipline can be used for the glory of the Triune God. The confusion of Babel comes in when Christians, for example talk about capitalism as Christian freedom, or when the early Church Fathers appropriated the Gentile, philosophical writings of their contexts with words like “apatheia,” “immutability,” “impassibility,” and the like. How can the God who died on the cross be considered unchangeable and incapable of suffering in any way?

Pentecostal Hybridity [not syncretism, since cultures and languages are fluid, and they can change], leads to language barriers and conflicts, and yes, definitely extended debates. Christian engagement with the “world” [prevailing cultures] does require something more than nuance, it requires discernment. By the power of the Holy Spirit, we are must examine the prevailing texts of the day, appropriate the good, and discard the bad by measuring them with the Cross. A while back, Open theologian John Sanders wrote a post on the Early Church Fathers on Hellenism and Impassibility. While in some of his published works, Sanders took a more critical stance on the Church Fathers’ and their appropriation of “impassibility,” Sanders is now arguing (rightfully) that the way the Fathers understood God’s impassibility was really quite different from Greek philosophy. Sanders notes,

“From the second through fourth centuries there was no standard definition of divine “impassibility.”[i] For Christian writers it did not mean that God was apathetic, distant, or lacked compassion. God did experience mercy and love. Christians disagreed with one another whether God experienced anger depending on whether or not they thought this emotion “fitting” for God. The word functioned in a couple of ways. First, it was a way of qualifying the distinction between creator and creatures. God is incorruptible while we are not. But we will be made impassible (incorruptible) in the eschaton. Also, we are prone to be overwhelmed by emotions, particularly negative ones, but God is not. Hence, it was used to safeguard divine transcendence (aseity) rather than deny psychological emotions to God. Second, it functioned to distance the Christian God from the gods of polytheism. They were passible in the sense that acted capriciously and lost control of themselves. In contrast, the Christian God faithfully loved, was patient, and acted consistently.[ii] Hence, it is clear that when the fathers said God was impassible they did not intend to rule out that he has emotions or that he is affected by and responds to us.”

This observation holds especially true, particularly when one looks at the corpus of one Clement of Alexandria. Clement worked really hard to distance the God of Christianity from the Roman imperial Egyptian divinities of his day. Clement understood the gods of that pantheon to be greedy, lustful, sexually immoral, and controlled by their desires; and of course, their worshippers followed in their footsteps. What Clement did was argue that God is apathetic to what these gods desired, that the God revealed in the Divine Logos-Person of Yeshua the Messiah was fully capable of controlling himself, and also served as the source of our holiness, our own participation in the divine apatheia.

Often dismissed often as a pantheist heretic and for his kenotic Christology, Juergen Moltmann in his The Crucified God: The Cross Of Christ as the Foundation And Criticism of Christian Theology, made similar arguments as John Sanders and Clement of Alexandria concerning divine apatheia. Our conversation starts on page 269,

“An examination of the discussion of apatheia in ancient Greece, Judaism, and Christianity shows that apatheia does not mean the petrification of men, nor does it denote those symptoms of illness which are today described as apathy, indifference, and alienation. Rather, it denotes the freedom of man and his superiority to the world in corresponding to the perfect, all-sufficient freedom of the Godhead. Apatheia is entering into the higher divine sphere of the Logos. [...] Love arises from the spirit and from freedom, not from desire or anxiety. The apathetic God therefore, could be understood as the free God who freed others for Himself.”

For Moltmann, it is essential for Christian theology to have both apatheia and pathos (which we find in the Old Testament). Thus, Moltmann concludes about apatheia, “Christian theology can only adopt insight and the longing of Hellenistic apathetic theology as a presupposition for the knowledge of the freedom of God and the liberation of fettered man” (page 275) Contrary to the popular saying “freedom isn’t free,” freedom is free, and its source is found in the Open God of Liberation. Just as no one desire or emotion is able to claim the Triune God as its own, neither can any oppressive tradition or institution possess the freedom that the Christian has been given by the Creator.  In the words of Clement of Alexandria, “For God bestows life freely, but evil custom, after our departure from this world, brings on the sinner unavailing remorse with punishment.” (Sermon to the Greeks, Chapter 10).

The Crucifixion of God’s Son is the one true source of humanity’s liberty.  The God-Man’s death on the Cross must be seen as God opening up God’s covenant for all humanity. Undergirding this premise for Moltmann is his CORRECT observation that the downward pathos movement of YHWH can only be understood as part of the special revelation in the Hebrew Bible, and in God’s communion with Israel.

“Therefore, there is for it a direct correspondence between the pathos of God and the sympatheia of men. On the basis of the presupposition of election to the covenant and the people it is necessary only to develop a dipolar theology which speaks of God’s passion and the drive of the spirit in the suffering and hopes of man. This presupposition does not exist for the Christian, especially for the Gentile Christian. Where for Israel immediacy is grounded on the presupposition of the covenant, for Christians it is Christ himself who communicates the Fatherhood of God and the power of the Spirit. Therefore, Christian theology cannot develop any dipolar theology of the reciprocal relationship between the God who calls and the man who answers; it must develop a trinitarian theology, for only in and through Christ is that dialogical relationship with God opened up.”- Page 275, once more (Bold Emphasis My Own)

Moltmann’s move is a significant gesture, a critique of the Gentile imperial arrogance we know as natural revelation. Moltmann at once contextualizes himself in the story of the Crucified God as a German Gentile, and at the same time is able to articulate the narrative of God’s people (Israel) and God’s Messiah. Now, Moltmann goes on to argue that the beginning of Trinitarian history happens at Golgatha; I disagree. God’s own Trinitarian history begins with liberating Exodus event and the Incarnation of the Logos, the Word made fetal flesh. The history of full human participation in Trinitarian history begins with the Crucifixion, I would contend, since God sovereignly chose to embrace us ragged Gentiles into the salvific equation. The Openness of God for us begins with the sweet embrace of Jesus nailed to the tree.

h00die_R (Rod)

priestly abolitionist time travelling supervillian

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RESISTERE, latin for resist: Judges 6 & the right kind of resistance

“Because the power of Midian was so oppressive, the Israelites prepared shelters for themselves in mountain clefts, caves and strongholds.”

- Judges 6:2 NIV

So the way I judge a Bible/ Bible translation is its wording for my favorite chapter, Judges 6. I know some go with Romans, others, Isaiah, and others the Gospel of John. But honestly, Judges 6, and story of Gideon from beginning to end (chapter 9 with the rise and fall of his tyrant son) is my fave. Anyways, I have been trying to get back to trying to study Latin, and the little Greek I used to know. I have come across an interesting PLOT TWIST. In the Greek text (LXX) and Hebrew (MT), in verse 2, both versions have the Israelites running, hiding in the mountains, caves, and strongholds. The scenes are ones of desperation, fear, terror. In the Latin Vulgate however, a verb is added: repugnandum. Repugnant, as in the Israelites stood in opposition, and failed.

I think the key here is to understand remember YHWH’s message to a nameless prophet before God eventually commissioned Gideon., “This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: I brought you up out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. I rescued you from the hand of the Egyptians. And I delivered you from the hand of all your oppressors; I drove them out before you and gave you their land. I said to you, ‘I am the Lord your God; do not worship the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you live.’ But you have not listened to me” (Judges 6: 8-10).
Suffice to say, not all persons and would be “revolutionaries” who come in the name of “resistance” are legit.  For example, PaleoConfederates today and of yesteryear who are committed to White Supremacy and The Lost Cause, see themselves as a form of resistance.  In actuality, they have rejected the God of Exodus, and they do not understand what freedom and reconciliation in Christ Jesus means.  In sum, all political movements are empty without the God of Liberation at the forefront. Israel’s “repugnance” at the Midianites (because they could NOT stand) up to their oppressors was due to the fact that they had abandoned the very source of their freedom, the God of Abraham. ‪#‎resistere‬.

h00die_R (Rod)

priestly abolitionist time travelling supervillian

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RESISTERE, latin for resist: the meaning of resistance

GEORGE YANCY & EVERYDAY FAITHFUL CHRISTIAN RESISTANCE

“”To resist (resistere or “to take astand”) suggests the capacity “to stand back,” to acquire an oppositional perspective vis-a-vis a given set of objects. And while every act of agential behavior is not an act of resistance, every act
of resistance is an agential form of behavior. And while
cows might be said to ‘”resist,” they do not “take a
stand.” Deborah White (1999) notes, “While some
Southern whites called such behavior ‘rascality’
[breaking tools, for example], slaves [or to be enslaved]
understood it to be an effective form of resistance” (p.
77). As we shall see, some Black steamboat workers
consciously inverted the meaning of “rascality” as a
term of self-activity to describe their informal work
endeavors. Consider Alcey. an enslaved woman,”- George Yancey, “Historical Varieties of African American Labor: Sites of Agency and Resistance,” Page 345

 

The past few months, the topic of resistance when it comes to theology has dwelled on my mind for some reason. As a Protestant, I know we are ever living in PROTEST of authority, and that Protest Tradition in and of itself becomes a norm, and therefore, authoritative. As an African-American, our community’s religious and political life has been defined by our PROTEST of White Supremacy.  When I read books on black religion and/or black theology, there is an assumed oppositional, we are poised against this or that, it’s us versus the world attitude.  As part of Christianity’s institutional racism, portraying  people of color as perpetually angry and destructive has been part of the norm, and as far as arguments against liberation  theologies play out, this is exactly the case. Scholars from POC communities have critique liberation theologies etc., for not standing FOR anything (other than survival) and standing against/being defined by suffering and sin.

Resistance means “taking a stand,” and this stand can be for standing against racism, because we are standing FOR the Kingdom of God, standing FOR racial justice and reconciliation, standing FOR love. All stands are political, and so really, that standing doesn’t have to be “oppositional” as if the lives of Persons of Color are all just about struggle. It  could be standing back in admiration, looking at a work of art, or standing in pride after reading a book, or making a sports accomplishment, or perhaps even stand up comedy! God’s very own grace is the source of all true, legitimate resistance; [ the act of resisting] is everyday, it is liberating, and it is peaceable. 

For the next couple of days, I will explore a few biblical passages, using the Vulgate, to describe the type of everyday faithful Christian resistance I am talking about.

h00die_R (Rod)

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Postmodern Scholastics And Their Theologies Of Glory

A lot of scholars in the theological academy are under the presumption that their theologies are neat and squeaky clean, that the categories that they rely on, the labels such as “heretic” and “orthodox,” “pantheist” and “biblical,’ whatever the case may be. I think that they are sadly mistaken. Much like the current state of Hollywood where producers have no original stories to offer, theologians today fear radical breaks with tradition out of fear of being made outcasts. If scholasticism was and is the continuous time-honored intellectual pursuit of Christians working to reconcile special revelation (Christ + Scripture) and the prevailing philosophies of their/our days, then ultimately, these efforts should be considered projects informed by Gentile hubris. Systematic theologies’, especially of the classical variety are not as stable have we have been lead to believe, especially when confronted with the story of Exodus and Exile from the First Testament. Wanna claim that God is ineffable? Sure, go ahead! But we as Gentiles can only do so from a Gentile perspective. Moses, the judges and prophets were friends of God, and as such they had personal conversations with the personal deity YHWH. Once we Gentiles are able to finally recognize Jesus is The Center of our knowledge, and not Gentile arrogance, then, and only then are we able to speak of the Creator God of Israel.

One primary example I would like to give as an example of Gentile arrogance (as much as us Gentile Protestants love to talk about humility, right?), is the case of the Reformer Martin Luther. Martin Luther begins with a Theology of the Cross, the Crucifixion of YHWH’s Son on his mind, being in solidarity with the peasants (my reading of the 95 Theses). Luther’s Reformation sparks the Protestant Reformation, the Catholic Reformation, and the Radical Reformation. However, in his pursuit to win over persons (most likely on the fence) of his position, Luther decides to hold to a few “mediating positions, such as ‘con-substantiation.” It is this idol of the middle ground that continues to be a problem for would be Christian revolutionaries. The “middle ground” is this folk-loric place where change-agents through out history “compromise” in order to look RESPECTABLE. In other words, acceptance becomes the prevailing value rather than revolutionary change. A number of theologians (from all denominations) today I feel are stuck in the mode of the Scholastics prior to the Reformation, where everything they write is to preserve the traditions of the Cornelius Van Til’s, Martin Heidegger’s and Paul Tillich’s.

I am sure you can name more, but for brevity’s sake, I would venture to say that the way of the “Middle Way” inevitably leads to an affirmation of the status quo. Always has. Always will. This is why this so-called “Radical Center” is always going to be at odds with Theologies of the Cross. You see, because the apostles saw Jesus’ death as being OUTSIDE the camp (much like the Scapegoat in Leviticus), theologies of the cross will always be out on the margins. Becoming mainstream, respectable, or powerful is the direct anti-thesis to theologia crucis. There is nothing respectable about the Cross, only wretched ugliness. There is nothing that speaks to power-over/dominating others at the Cross; there is only the power of meekness and love for the powerless. There is nothing mainline or mainstream about the cross; only rejection and abandonment.

h00die_R (Rod)

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Patristics Carnival XXXIV: Easter Edition

Patristics Carnival XXXII

Happy Glorious Resurrection Day everyone! And what better way to celebrate Easter and our Risen Savior than the return of the ONLY blog carnival that highlights the Church Fathers and the apostolic tradition?

Miscellanies

Speaking of Easter, Bible Belt Catholic (Fr. James Melnick) shared a portion of an Easter homily by Athanasius of Alexandria.

Jim West pointed us to a book on Philip Melanchton’s reception of the Greek Fathers.

William Weedon (not to be confused with Joss Whedon!) shared some of his favorite quotes from John Chrystosom, Leo the Great, and St. Ambrose: here, here, here, and here.

Gabe Martini did a book review of On The Divine Liturgy (Popular Patristics Series)

Nathan A. Finn informed us of Southeastern Seminary’s new PhD program in Historical Theology, which will include researching the Church Fathers.

Tom and Dwayne hosted a guest post by Father Al on Open Theism and the Church Fathers’ commitment to God’s ineffability.

E Lawrence of Woman In Theology wrote a post on Teresa Of Avila and spirituality.

Father Antonio Kaldas posted part 7 and part 8 of his Being Orthodox series: Apostolic and Patristic and Connecting Past, Present and Future

Mike Skinner has aMaundy Thursday reflection with Cyril of Alexandria as well as a post on theological interpretation, Cyril and Luke 10:23-24.

A Patristic Explanation of the Symbolic Imagery of the Coming Judgement By His Eminence Metropolitan Hierotheos of Nafpaktos and Agiou Vlasiou

What Do You Know About The Gnostics?

This all started with Larry Hurtado making claims that the Gnostics were goofy heretics, not intellectuals. April DeConick made the case that the Gnostics weren’t really outliers of ancient thought, but serious thinkers. Larry Hurtado replied to her post. Phillip Tite add his viewpoint on the topic as a social historian. Adam Kotsko asked if we lost the term “Gnostic” to heretics because of anti-Marcionite struggles. Wayne Coppins also wrote a post on Gnostic teachers.

(Honestly, for what it’s worth, I am of the impression the term “Gnostic” was a fluid term, used for “mystic”: for more see Joel Watts‘s Praying in God’s Theater: Meditations on the Book of Revelation

What You Say About Jesus Having a Wife Now?

The New York Times tells us that the Gospel of Jesus’ Wife isn’t a fake, but really really old. April DeConick hopes that the fragment is a remain from a Valentinian Gnostic community. Katie asks why are people freaking out about all of this. Micael Grenholm asks why are people believing this document over the Gospels which are way older.

Other News and Notes of Interest:

In September of this year, St. Andrews’ Patristic Symposium will happen the 26th and 27th and the topic will be “From Alexandria to Cappadocia and Back Again”.

Elissa reflected on what it’s like to be called to do historical theology.

Charles A. Sullivan has revised Origen On The Dogma of Tongues.

Roger Pearse shares an account of the fall of the temple of Serapis in Alexandria

Joel Willits wants us to add The Encyclopedia of Ancient Christianity to our personal libraries.

Divorce and Remarriage

Cardinal Walter Kasper gave a speech challenging the rules about denying Holy Communion to the divorced and remarried. Some responses included references to the Patristics such as the notion of Confession as a life raft. Father John Zuhlsdorf offered his insights.

On This Here Blog, from Yours Truly:

A few posts on Clement of Alexandria, his take on Romans 8, the Parable of the Shining Pearl, and Christus Victor Atonement in Clement’s theology. I also added a post on James Cone and the Church Fathers, and the first 2 of 3 posts on my Race-ing Towards Nicea series: Part 1 on the Incarnation, and Part 2 on Constantine and W.E.B. DuBois.

Well, that’s all for this Patristics Carnival; the next Patristics Carnival will be held on or around June 8th during the day of Pentecost and hosted by Jonathan.

And don’t forget Jonathan’s Ancient Languages Blog Carnival which has a deadline of April 30th.

h00die_R (Rod)

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The Good Shepherd: Clement and Christus Victor

I have mentioned briefly on here the work of Gustav Aulen, and while I concede he needed more biblical exegesis for his case for Christus Victor, and a tighter grip on Church history, overall, I think he was right. Right smack dab in the middle of Christus Victor: An Historical Study of the Three Main Types of the Idea of Atonement, Aulen only briefly mentions the image of God as the Good Shepherd rescuing the sheep from the three big bad wolves named Sin, Death, and Satan. At the same time, Aulen dismisses Clement of Alexandria as a theologian who dwelled too much on philosophy and not enough on atonement. This is why Aulen stakes his claims with Athanasius of Alexandria.

This may have been an error on Aulen’s part because the prevailing metaphor for Clement when it comes to the LORD’s sacrifice for us is the biblical image of The Good Shepherd.  For example:

“But it has been God’s fixed and constant purpose to save the flock of men: for this end the good God sent the good Shepherd.  And the Word, having unfolded the truth to men the height of salvation, that either repenting they might be saved, or refusing to obey, they might be judged.  this is the proclamation of righteousness: to those that obey, glad tidings; to those that disobey, judgment.  The loud trumpet, when sounded, collects soldiers, and proclaims war.  And shall not Christ, breathing a strain of peace to the ends of the earth, gather together His own soldiers, the soldiers of peace? He has gathered the bloodless host of peace, and assigned to them the kingdom of heaven.  The trumpet of  Christ is His Gospel.”

- Clement of Alexandria, Sermon to the Greeks, Chapter 11

Or consider this other example:

” ‘All Wisdom is from the Lord, and with Him forevermore’;—with authority of utterance, for He is God and Creator: ‘For all things were made by Him, and without Him not anything made [John 1:3]–and with benevolence, for He alone Himself a sacrifice for us; ‘For the Good Shepherd giveth His life for the sheep;’[John 10:11] and He has so given it.  Now, benevolence is nothing but wishing to  do good to one’s neighbor for his sake. “

-Clement of Alexandria, The Pedagogue (The Instructor/Educator), Book 1, Chapter 11

Now, there are well-meaning Christians who remain skeptical about Christus Victor because of the little work done on it, plus its rise in popularity.  If something seems like it’s new or something ancient that is recovered, I would say there should be criticism, especially with very few works that focus on Scripture and Christus Victor atonement. The thing about Penal substitution is not that it is violent in God’s wrath towards us, but that it makes our human depravity the center of the doctrine rather than God’s goodness.  PSA translates very well into US American Christianity and our self-centered individualism.  What I am seeing in Clement of Alexandria’s atonement theology is that the doctrine that is founded on God’s benevolence, and making our Good Lord Jesus Christ the Center.

“As shepherds seek out their flocks when they are among their scattered sheep, so I will seek out my sheep. I will rescue them from all the places to which they have been scattered on a day of clouds and thick darkness.”

- Ezekiel 34:12 (NRSV)

h00die_R (Rod)

priestly abolitionist time travelling supervillian

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when progressives revel in cultural ignorance #CancelColbert

For my previous thoughts on #CancelColbert, see “men at work: how sexism operates.”

Very briefly. Last post on the #CancelColbert stuff. I just wanted to go on record with this. Recently, a progressive blogger posted a “Mission Accomplished” blogpost celebrating how Stephen Colbert had become victorious over the anti-racist slacktivists who “wanted” his show cancelled. Not only does the author in question get everything about the campaign wrong unlike my friend Jason, but he also managed to show just how much he valued cultural ignorance over cultural intelligence.

A few quotes from the Mission Accomplished post in question:

“I think I’ve made myself pretty clear about my disdain for people who are overly politically correct.  While I get the need to be sensitive towards some issues, it’s gotten to a point where I feel like sometimes people can’t say anything anymore without it offending someone.  Which I always find funny in a country like the United States where both liberals and conservatives go on and on about freedom of speech – yet both sides will often throw a fit when anybody says anything that they disagree with or find offensive.”

Oh and this goodie!!!

“I just think the people who were actually offended by this need to lighten up a bit. The entire tweet was meant to mock Snyder’s foundation by using offensive language in a fake foundation to show how ridiculous it is that Snyder created a foundation for Native Americans that includes a name many of them find highly offensive.”

So basically, what we are being informed is that the author regrets not having the liberty to offend people, even in the pursuit of a just cause. Basically, right wing attacks versus “political correctness” almost always boil down to a person desiring the right to offend other people. Because he is white, the author does not have to reflect on the racial stereotypes associated with the Colbert Report’s now deleted, infamous tweet. The author does not have to consider the racist laws that were enforced in the name of White Supremacist myths levied at Asian-Americans, especially during the creation of nation-wide railroads. In Texas in those days, one judge even ruled it was LEGAL to kill a Chinese man. LEGAL. The legacies of these injustices have been passed down through today, and ironic racism is still racism. Native Americans really do not need Colbert or Suey Park’s allyship, actually, and they certainly do not need Comedy Central’s hipster racism to raise awareness of the First Nations’ cases against being made mascots. Just look at the recent Navajo Nation vote (7-2) in favor of opposing racist sports team names.

If you want a good case for being culturally intelligent, look no further than this Guante youtube video. Class dismissed:

h00die_R (Rod)

priestly abolitionist time travelling supervillian

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