Theology Feed

Christianity as a Way of Life

Christianity as a Way of Life: A Systematic TheologyChristianity as a Way of Life: A Systematic Theology by Kevin W. Hector
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

At times I wondered why he felt the need to give such an extensive argument for some point. Some times the understanding being developed was more traditional than I currently am. Some times it felt like aspects that should be left to metaphor and imagination were being over-analyzed. And then, some parts were profound, innovative, practical, preachable.

View all my reviews

Christianity and the New Spirit of Capitalism

Christianity and the New Spirit of CapitalismChristianity and the New Spirit of Capitalism by Kathryn Tanner
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Tanner brings a profound Christian critique to current finance-based capitalism. And it's not at the points where such a critique would be most obvious (such as exploitation of workers or the Earth). Rather, she takes issue with fundamental ideas that underpin contemporary capitalism--how it marks time, how it views the past and the future, how it views individuals and their relationships to the whole--and in each case demonstrates how contemporary capitalism runs counter to what Christianity believes on each of these points. A worthy read that will prompt deep thought.

View all my reviews

The Angry Christian

The Angry Christian: A Theology for Care and CounselingThe Angry Christian: A Theology for Care and Counseling by Andrew D. Lester
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

"I believe that our capacity for anger is one of God's good gifts, intentionally rooted in creation and serving important purposes in human life."

As a pastor, I've had quite a few congregants come to me over the years wanting help with their anger. And I too, especially in the couple of years after my divorce, have wrestled with the healthy expression of anger (my therapist and I were just discussing it yesterday even).

This book was excellent. Smart, well-researched, compassionate. You come away with both a better intellectual understanding of anger and tips for pastoral care and counseling. Now, I only wish there were a shorter, more popular-style version that I could recommend to laypeople.

View all my reviews

Doing Theology in Pandemics

Doing Theology in PandemicsDoing Theology in Pandemics by Zachary Moon
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

In a profound essay that opens this volume, Rita Nakashima Brock contends that the pandemic "created the conditions for an apocalypse, an unveiling of moral truth in the midst of the collapse of powerful malevolent systems."

She goes on to write about how we have all experienced moral injury during the pandemic and confrontations against racial injustice and police brutality. Her essay is the best theological reflection I've read yet on the pandemic.

The other excellent essay in this collection is Cody Sanders's "Feeling Our Way through an Apocalypse." He grapples with the emotions elicited from the end of the world as we know it. We care for our anger, fear, and sadness by cultivating wonder, gratitude, and grief, in community.

View all my reviews

Keeping Human

"Scripture is from first to last a vision of a world made otherwise than that based on hierarchy, domination, and the rule of money and violence," writes Timothy Gorringe based on the theology of Ton Veerkamp.  This book concludes with a final chapter drawing everything together for what transitions we need in order to create a different/better world.

He asks what kind of culture any community needs in order to be resilient.  I found this important, and one  of the reasons I have been reading all of these books this sabbatical summer, to be sure that our congregation is aware and prepared and doing what we should for the age we are now in and what is coming.

Gorringe believes too much around the climate is doom and gloom that has the effect of people feeling that they cannot act.  Instead he wants to follow the lead of some other scholars who believe that we need a vision of the future that entices people to participate.  Also a wise point for any preacher and pastor.

He believes our need for resilience is at root a spiritual problem.  Spirituality keeps people focused on hope and the future instead of succumbing to despair.  I was reminded of our Lenten worship series that focused on spiritual practices given the reality of climate change.

He writes:

These dimensions of resilience--solidarity, compassion, an ability to cope with tragedy, a sense of purpose, and an understanding of faith, hope, and agape--seem to me to be the real heart of 'inner transition.'

Church's might have to become arks, sanctuaries for the good life.  He returns to his idea of Benedictine communities in the dark ages, that he brought up in the introduction.  He concludes:

If I am right then a rigorous return to the traditions, practices, and virtues that Christians have nourished for so many centuries, but which at the same time the church has compromised so abjectly in relation to the present imperium, may be, to put i no more strongly, amongst the most important things that help to make and to keep human beings human in the dark ages already upon us.