Monday, April 08, 2013

More questions from Philemon

I have been considering how it might be that scripture pushes certain questions towards us as much as gives the answers to our questions. Today, some more verses from Philemon (2&3) Apphia our sister, to Archippus our fellow-soldier, and to the church in your house: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

The questions:

1. Is the letter as much to Apphia as it is to Philemon?
2. What is meant by a "fellow-soldier" and what is not meant?
3. How much grace can be conferred in a letter?
4. Do the Father and the Son bring peace through each other?

Tuesday, April 02, 2013

Scripture (Philemon) as the question

Somewhere or other I came across Rowan Williams talking about Christ being the question rather than the answer. I'm not going to engage with that suggestion here but it made me wonder if the same might be said about scripture. Often we go to scripture looking for answers, but maybe we should go to scripture looking for questions. This may prove to be an interesting theological way of reading scripture - allowing scripture to question us in our existence as humans.

To try this out, I'm going to consider one of Paul's letters and look verse by verse at what questions it might raise. Philemon - being as it's rather short - is where I thought I would start!

Philemon verse 1 'Paul, a prisoner of Christ Jesus, and Timothy our brother, to Philemon our dear friend and co-worker,' (NRSV)

Here are some of the questions that I think the passage raises:
1. What does it mean to be a prisoner of Christ Jesus?
2. How literally is another Christian my brother or sister?
3. To what extent is someone who is not a Christian my brother or sister?
4. Can true friendship come through any other means than co-working?

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Bonhoeffer Stuff 3: The Christology Lectures

Great quotes from the Christology Lectures

Christology is "the science par excellence because it comes from outside study itself"

"God in timeless eternity is not God; Jesus limited by time is not Jesus. Rather we may say that in the man Jesus, God is God. In this Jesus Christ, God is present."

"Every Christology which does not begin with the assumption that God is only God for me, Christ is only Christ for me, condemns itself."

"God has the freedom to reveal himself in other ways that we know. But God has revealed himself in the Word. He has bound himself to the Word that he might speak to men."

"Christ is the mediator as the one who exists pro me. That is his nature and his mode of existence. In three ways, he is in the centre: in being there for men, in being there for history, in being there for nature."

"The incarnation “is the inconceivable, the impossible, belonging to the freedom of God, the coming of God which is totally unpredictable."

"He is only there as the incarnate, inseparably bound up with man."

"God in his totality and sovereign majesty is this incarnate one who meets us in Jesus."

"The humanity is taken up into the Trinity. Not from all eternity, but 'from now on even unto eternity'; the Trinitarian God is seen as the incarnate one."

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Bonhoeffer Stuff 2

Some highlights from Bonhoeffer's Doctoral thesis Sanctorium Communio: A Theological Study of the Sociology of the Church

"Person, community and God are inseparably and essentially interrelated." 

"But since I know God’s ‘I’ only in the revelation of God’s love, so too with the other person; here the concept of the church comes into play."

"God does not desire a history of individual human beings, but the history of the human community. However, God does not want a community that absorbs the individual into itself, but a community of human beings"

Community is "built upon the separateness and difference of persons, constituted by reciprocal acts of will, finding its unity in what is willed, and counting among its basic laws the inner conflict of individual wills."

the Church is "simultaneously a historical community and one established by God."

"it would be good for once if a presentation of doctrinal theology were to start not with the doctrine of God but with the doctrine of the Church."

"The Spirit is only in the church-community, and the church-community is only in the Spirit." 

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Bonhoeffer stuff

I am spending lots of time reading Bonhoeffer at the moment. Here are some highlights from Act and Being.

On  revelation and reason: "Reason can only be brought into obedience: the obedience of speculation, the obedience to Christ, or however else one may name it. There is a boundary only for concrete human being in its entirety, and the boundary is called Christ."

On revelation and human beings: "It is not because human beings are like God that God comes to them-on the contrary, God then would not need to come-but precisely because human beings are utterly unlike God and never know God from themselves." 

On revelation and philosophy: "A philosophy can concede no room for revelation unless it knows revelation and confesses itself to be Christian philosophy in full recognition that the place it wanted to usurp is already occupied by another – namely, by Christ."

On revelation and human understanding: "Untruth of human self-understanding is made clear only from within revelation and its truth, once it has taken place and has been believed."

On revelation and existence: "But existence is led out of itself into the crisis of self and placed into truth by revelation, by the Word."

Monday, August 06, 2012

T-Shirt Theology 4

Barth Truth Quote Organic Men's T-Shirt
Despite my enthusiasm for Barth and the genius of this quote, it's just too long and serious for a t-shirt.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

T-Shirt Theology 3

There is something so elegant  about this t-shirt. Not strictly theology, but considering some of his genius remarks about religion, worth including. (we won't go into the √úbermensch or Facism)