Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Apologizing for God

There seems to be a prevailing opinion among postmodern evangelicals that we are apart of a kingdom that is continually being duped. We have said the prayer and have been baptized into an unholy communion, a bumbling and awkward people. We are apart of the church, but only to apologize for her.

This morbid tendency to self-laceration seems a dangerous state to be in, because it means that we will believe just about anything our critics want to say about us, true or false. More and more I come to wonder if, in the midst of accusations that Christianity, say, in colonialism, was co-opted by the powers that were, and made its puppet, if this is not getting it completely backwards. Perhaps it is the case that it is not God's kingdom that is co-opted, but His kingdom that co-opts. Here, dear reader, bear with my foolishness. Karl Barth once said that,
"[God's] power is neither a natural nor a spiritual power. nor one of the higher or highest powers that we know, nor the supreme power, nor their sum, nor fount. It is the crisis of all powers…"
God's great mystery is that he is wholly other, and yet makes himself known. The picture Barth evokes is fantastic, as it suggests a Power that is unobservable simply because there is no scale between it and us. It is God as an immeasurable point of light that shoots through dying flesh and breaks up the cellular matter of all being, whether physical, emotional, psychological, bureaucratic, political, or cultural. It becomes a kind of imperceptible healing cancer, with cells rebelling against the old man, forming glorious tumorous growths, negating old appendixes, recreating him into a holy other being. It is imperceptible because it is often so small and so slow, but its effect is immense. If he is among us, we may be equally unaware of his work as the world is. The difference is that we know he is at work.

The task then, is, not to impishly cede the victory to our Accuser, but to overcome him by the biumvirate of, as Revelation 12:11 puts it, Lamb's blood and the faithful testimony of the same.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

The Psalms in the Context of the Scriptural Story

Ellen Davis writes,

"...the psalms have nearly inexhaustible potential for making connections with the larger biblical story. This relieves the preacher of the anxiety that has become a modern trademark of the profession, namely, the perceived need to 'find an illustration,' on which the success of the sermon is often supposed to depend. That is a pernicious idea, for very often the illustration proves to be the tail that wags the dog of the sermon (and I use that last phrase advisedly). But if you make good use of the narrative potential of the psalms, then you will be led naturally to illustrations that are appropriately subordinate to the psalm text" (Wondrous Depth 28).