Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Breadth of vision

"To develop a broader vision we must be willing to forsake, to kill, our narrower vision. In the short run it is more comfortable not to do this - to stay where we are, to keep using the same microcosmic map, to avoid suffering the death of cherished notions. The road of spiritual growth, however, lies in the opposite direction. We begin by distrusting what we already believe, by actively seeking the threatening and unfamiliar, by deliberately challenging the validity of what we have previously been taught and hold dear. The path to holiness lies through questioning everything."

M Scott Peck - source unknown.

Friday, June 17, 2011

The Gospel is...

The Gospel is “...exclusive in the sense of affirming the unique truth in the revelation of Jesus Christ, but not in the sense of denying the possibility of salvation to those outside the Christian faith; inclusive in the sense of refusing to limit the saving grace of God to Christians, but not in the sense of viewing other religions as salvific; pluralist in the sense of acknowledging the gracious work of God in the lives of all human beings, but not in the sense of denying the unique and decisive nature of what God has done in Jesus Christ.”

Lesslie Newbigin, The Gospel in a Pluralistic Society, pp 182-3

Strong v weak

Too often the price exacted by society for security and respectability is that the Christian movement in its formal expression must be on the side of the strong against the weak. This is a matter of tremendous significance, for it reveals to what extent a religion that was born of a people acquainted with persecution and suffering has become the cornerstone of a civilization and of nations whose very position in modern life too often has been secured by a ruthless use of power applied to defenseless peoples.

Howard Thurman
Jesus and the Disinherited

Thursday, June 16, 2011

More theology, not less

“A genuine Christian radicalism cannot be built upon woolliness of belief, vague liberalism, or the assumption that theology and dogma do not matter. Theology is highly toxic and nothing could be more disastrous for Christian rebels than the kind of ‘theological striptease’, which divests itself of as much belief as possible. When we are confronting monsters, we need all the theological and spiritual resources we can get. We need more theology, not less” (p.76).

Kenneth Leech, “English Rising” in Prayer and Prophecy.

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Bad art

I’m convinced that bad art derives, like bad literary theory, from bad theology. To know God falsely is to write and paint and sculpt and cook and dance Him falsely. Perhaps it’s not poor artistic skill that yields bad Christian art, in other words, but poor Christianity.

Tony Woodlief
"Bad Christian Art" from Image

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Reading the signs

...nowhere in the New Testament does the ‘end of the world’ bring about the second coming of Christ. The New Testament looks forward to the very reverse, that the second coming of Christ will bring the end of destruction and persecution in the world. Anyone who reads the ‘signs of the time’ with the eyes of his own existential anxiety reads them falsely. If they can be read at all, they can be read by Christians only with the eyes of hope in the future of Christ.

Jurgen Moltmann, in The Crucified Christ, (page 21, SCM edition)

Thursday, June 02, 2011

The task of art

The task of art is enormous. Through the influence of real art, aided by science, guided by religion, that peaceful co-operation of man which now maintained by external means -- by our law-courts, police, charitable institutions, factory inspection, and so forth -- should be obtained by man's free and joyous activity. Art should cause violence to be set aside.

Leo Tolstoy
What Is Art?