Thou Shalt Slow Down: Ecology, Time, and Sabbath

 

I’ve been having a lot of random (or maybe not so much…) thoughts about the connections between ecology, Christianity, and what has become of modern society. Rather than committing to or promising a whole series about these matters, I will simply write about them whenever I feel inspired (and so, naturally it’ll probably turn into something of a series..)

One thing I’ve been thinking about a lot in the past year is the societal notion of time. It’s an idea that we take so much for granted and may not even realize/notice despite it being so imminent in literally every corner of our lives and consciousness. What’s worse are the ills that come of our problematic relationship with time. Our society moves so fast that we don’t even notice most of the time. Strict rationalism preceded neo-liberal economic thought which preceded private property rights/individualism ( for white men) which preceded maximizing efficiency and acquisition of wealth which preceded greater technological advancements which preceded the fetishizing of progress and speed- that which is faster is preferable to the slow-moving former..
The health disparities (and wage disparities..) associated with FAST food
The enslavement and destruction of life and freedom by those oversees (many children) because of FAST fashion – fresh Nike sneaks, etc.
The myriad accidents that are essentially numbingly mundane that litter our highways with speed limits of 55, 65, and 75 miles per how
Or maybe even the health complications that are born out of and significantly exacerbated by stress related to meeting deadlines and getting to work and obligations “on time” constantly..
And the list could go on further and further, yet humanity still seems to preference this heightening of speed – it’s like we’re moving so blindingly quick and eager off of a cliff- because none of us seems to know why and where we’re headed at this speed. We salivate at the prospect of a bullet train – taking us from NY to Paris in a matter of minutes. We all love our high-speed internet we used to read this blog post. For what purpose? We’ll get to our destination faster but we’re not suspended from the human condition anymore than if we moved slower.
All of these examples come from human ecology, yet natural ecology moves at a rate far slower than its human counterparts. The formation of fertile soil, the growth of crops and food, the development of some of the world’s greatest mountain chains, the decomposition of plants and animals , the water, carbon, and nitrogen cycles, the passage of spring to summer to fall to winter – some of these things happen at timescales millions of time longer than the human life span, others thousands, hundreds, ten times as long- but all of these things ( and many more things) in ecology move SLOWLY compared to human civilization of today. Nature seems content to move at its slow pace, never rushing yet everything gets accomplished somehow.
We gaze out at the backyard finch through our windows in the morning and watch as it chirps and frolics through the air in between foraging for food, building its nest, feeding its young- we begin to envy this critter and many others because of the abundant wealth of time they have. We gaze out at them and then look at ourselves and our obligations and have to shake our heads at the absurdity of the speeds with which our lives and obligations move, a little bit of us even mourns because we know life could be this way. Slowness of pace is one of ecology’s most important lessons.
Perhaps this is what YAHWEH is invoking in instituting the Sabbath. The designation of a whole day to taking a rest from the mundane in our lives, the business and the restlessness. A time to be present with ourselves and with our God and to trust in his ability to sustain.
Perhaps this is what Christ is invoking in Matthew 6:25- 28
25″For this reason I say to you, do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? 26″Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they?… 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? 28 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin.

Our obsession with speed is ultimately an obsession with the desire to control, to master, to possess to eliminate uncertainty about the future. We think be speedily moving ourselves from point A in time to point B we can eliminate the “gook” in between these two points, but a lot of life happens between these two moments that we’re attempting to just erase by moving faster and disregard anything that happens between points A and B. Our obsession with speed is about the angst, anxiety and restlessness of our culture to produce, consume, compete and remain abreast of our competition. Therefore by encouraging opposing this manner of living Christ provides a manner of resisting empire- slow down !

Harry

Like a Lotus: Born into the murky, muddy waters I was, l ived, I breathed In awe of starry veil above me and the verdant radiance around me I gazed, I glowed, I gasped Striken with gale winds I braced, I fell, I felt Like a dove He descendeth He is, He lives, He breathes Like a lotus summoned by the sun’s rays I opened, I blossomed, I live

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the divine feminine: a trinitarian perspective: a series

Let’s be upfront. There’s probably no way for me to write a series like this and not be called the dreaded “H” word: “heretic.” Earlier this year, fellow Southern Baptist Owen Strachan farewelled Rachel Held Evans for a post she WROTE TWO YEARS AGO. I really don’t expect Strachan and the like to change their views. However, there are a lot of Christians who are earnestly seeking to partake in the larger tradition of historic Christianity. Orthodox historic Christianity does NOT BEGIN AND END with The United States of America.

What I am looking for in a Trinitarian theology is a theology that includes both Western and Eastern Christianity, that can reconcile the two, as well as witness to the reconciliation that Christ has brought between men and women.

Now, there are some Christian writers that claim that people who refer to God as She/Her have left orthodox Nicene-Chalcedonian Christianity altogether. Is there a theological surplus that makes room in Nicea-Chalcedon that makes room to discuss the divine feminine? Also, what are the trajectories and ethical implications of including the divine feminine in our liturgical practices and sermons? This I will discuss and more in dialogue with early Christian communities and church historians.

Here is the order of the plan series:

the divine feminine: God the Father

the divine feminine: God the Son

the divine feminine: God the Holy Spirit

the divine feminine: Trajectories and Ethics

the divine feminine: Conclusion

h00die_R (Rod)

priestly abolitionist time travelling supervillian

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Just In: Evangelical Postcolonial Conversations

Well my! That was quick! I mailed in my review book copy suggestions to IVP on Friday, and one of them arrived today: Evangelical Postcolonial Conversations: Global Awakenings in Theology and Praxis editted by Kay Higuera Smith, Jayachitra Lalitha, and L. Daniel Smith. Looking forward to engaging this text!

h00die_R (Rod)

priestly abolitionist time travelling supervillian

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In the Mail: The New Jim Crow

Will all of the books I have stacked in my living room ready for me to review them, buying a book would not make much sense. Not unless it’s Michelle Alexander’s The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness.  I have done preview reading on the Prison Industrial complex from Christian theological perspectives: The Executed God: The Way of the Cross in Lockdown America by Mark Lewis Taylor  and Good Punishment?: Christian Moral Practice And U.S. Imprisonment.

 

From everything I have read, this is a must read for those who wish to do activism and critical race theory in the first decades of the 21st century. Looking forward to engage this work! If you have time, do yourself a favor and watch this video with author Michelle Alexander:

h00die_R (Rod)

priestly abolitionist time travelling supervillian

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In The Mail: Out of My Mind

From WIPF & STOCK, I received a review copy of W.J. deKock’s Out of My Mind: Following the Trajectory of God’s Regenerative Story.  I plan on reviewing  this text. From the looks of it, the topic is on theology and epistemology (ways of knowing). I think it may be relevant to a series over the summer I plan on doing on constructing an epistemology grounded in more emancipatory ways of knowing, being, and doing.

 

h00die_R (Rod)

priestly abolitionist time travelling supervillian

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2 free online events on race and Christianity #MennoNerds #AnaBlacktivism

There are two exciting conversations on race and Christianity I wanted to highlight.  First, my friends over at MennoNerds will be having a dialogue entitled, “MennoNerds on Race, Mutuality, and Anabaptist Community” on June 12th. 2014 at 6:30pm Central Standard Time. For more see the MennoNerds site, as well as participants such as my friends Drew Hart and Katelin Hansen. You can register for free at the following link: link here on Google plus: MennoNerds on Race

Secondly, to commemorate JuneTeenth, the blerdy scholar-activists at #AnaBlacktivist seminary have decided to host a Twitter Chat on Anti-Blackness, Liberation, and Shalom on June 19th [Time yet to Be Determined]. Please join us by following the hashtag: AnaBlacktivism

june19th

h00die_R (Rod)

priestly abolitionist time travelling supervillian

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Now Available: Origen Of Alexandria: Exegetical Works on Ezekiel

origen on ezekiel

 

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This morning I received an email with exciting news. Roger Pearse now has a book on the translation of Origen’s exegesis of Ezekiel. Not only do I love the book of Ezekiel but also the Alexandrian school. The work includes the Greek fragments of 14 homilies by Origen and is 742 pages long. It can be purchased in paperback or hardcover.

Here’s the description:

“Origen of Alexandria was the most famous ancient commentator on the bible. Time has taken most of his works from us, but what remains is still interesting and valuable even today. Fourteen of his expository homilies on Ezekiel have reached us, in a Latin version by St. Jerome, and these are presented in this volume together with an English translation. In addition all the fragments of the Greek text of this and his other works on Ezekiel are collected here, and translated into English for the first time.

This is volume 2 of the series Ancient Texts in Translation, edited by Roger Pearse.”

You can purchase it here on Amazon.com:

Origen Of Alexandria: Exegetical Works on Ezekie (Ancient Texts In Translation)

h00die_R (Rod)

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Just In the Mail: Grassroots Asian Theology

Thanks to the folks at InterVarsity Press, I received Grassroots Asian Theology: Thinking the Faith From the Ground Up by Simon Chan. I plan to review this book sometime this year.

Interested in what Simon Chan has written? Check out one of his articles for Christianity Today: Why We Call God ‘Father.’

h00die_R (Rod)

priestly abolitionist time travelling supervillian

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Baptists are the Reavers: my thoughts on #protfuture

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A while back, I reviewed a book on science fiction and social theory. Surprisingly, this little book had a lot to teach me about how we view eschatology. Essentially, our views of the futures are often times shaped by notions of exclusion. Which ever tribe (usually tribe, in the case of First Nations persons) we see as not being able to make it is based usually on historical circumstances, like for instance, genocide and war to continue on with my example.

Recently, I watched the conversation held at BIOLA University on The Future of Protestantism sponsored by First Things magazine. Dr. Peter Leithart, who originally wrote the provocative essay The End of Protestantism re-introduced us to his idea of Reformational Catholicism, going back to the Reformers and their Catholic view of theology, the sacraments, honoring the Church Fathers. Protestantism is a movement and a theology that doth protest too much, a project that was found to be susceptible to tribalism, nationalism and anti-intellectualism.

The responses offered by Evangelical Wesleyan theologian Fred Sanders and Reformational theologian Carl Trueman were concise and highly critical of Leithart’s project. What I found interesting is that there was this over-arching theme fretting that the culture wars, for a particular band of Christians, had been lost. I will leave you to read up and believe why that was the case, and the cultural biases behind that belief.

What I want to talk about is the BoogeyMen, who are the Reavers to this Brave New World called the Conservative Evangelical Protestantism of the Future. First Things and this conversation are running a first-class Firefly spaceship, and they are trying to avoid the cannibals we call The Baptists. The notion of a Reformational Catholicism precludes any adherence to traditional Free Church ecclessiology. Autonomous, local congregations are derided as “cults of personality.” Word-Centered worship services being replaced by the Table-Centered/Eucharist traditions. I think that in and of itself is something that cannot be called being faithful to the Reformation, or the Old and New Testaments.

I also found it odd that both parties were willing to give our Catholic sisters and brothers grace, but aren’t willing to extend it to mainline Protestantism. This I find absolutely hypocritical. Forget about the leadership and direction of mainline Protestant denominations; there are many persons with conservative, evangelical beliefs in these churches. The Unity that #ProtFuture is in search for is a political hegemony, one where Conservativism is the same as preaching the Gospel. I’ll reserve my comments concerning the cultural hegemony of where the conversation went, and where it usually goes, but suffice to say that it takes a similar approach to “Third-World Pentecostalism” as “progressive” emergent church leaders.  Maybe rather than asking how can we teach the new Christian majority, Charismatics from Global South to accept how we see things, how about asking, “what can these Christians teach us about the faith?”

I like that this discussion started an important conversation.  It’s a conversation that Dietrich Bonhoeffer commented on, that American Protestantism is a Protestantism without reformation.  This is primarily due to the particular cultural milieu the U.S. finds itself in, the national culture wars among other things. I guess what I envision as a possible future of Protestant Christianity is a commitment to  A) the Theology of the Cross that Martin Luther first built the movement on with the 95 theses,  B) The Three Baptisms of the Radical Reformation– Immersed in Water, Immersed by the Holy Spirit, Immersed in Bodily Existence within the World (baptism of blood), and lastly  C) Word-Centered woship services where the Word is preached through sermons and prayers by the priesthood of all believers, women and men alike; where the Bible is the norming norm where we affirm and interpret the creeds and historic Christian writings and statements in light of the testimony of the Holy Scriptures, and where the story of God and humanity is seen as begotten by YHWH at the Exodus in the election of Israel, and begins anew with its inclusion of the Gentiles, and rightfully towards its TELOS in the Death and Resurrection of Christ Jesus.   

The Future of Protestantism conversation has helped me gain a little clarity in what I see as my hopes for the future of Christianity.  I am known to joke on occasion that here in Texas, everyone is a Baptist.  We wear our faith on our sleeve, we go to retail centers bragging about our congregations, and we’re just deeply stubborn to protest anything.  From the fifth grade students in a classroom, to your grocery shopper contending for what he believes is the right price of an item, we are all Baptists, even the Catholics.  I kinda think that’s what the future of Christianity could look like.  Not as a religion that hijacks notions of marginality and de-historicizes the real experience of exiles and refuges, but as a pure and undefiled religion that reveals the Holiness of God in the creative dis-location of our very bodies to be present-with the least of these, the Reavers of the world, a Church free to serve God and set the prisoners free.

h00die_R (Rod)

priestly abolitionist time travelling supervillian

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In the mail: We Confess!: The Civil War, The South, and The Church

Yesterday, I received in the mail a review copy of We Confess!: The Civil, The South, and The Church by Deborah Brunt.  I am excited to read and review this book.

h00die_R (Rod)

priestly abolitionist time travelling supervillian

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