Rob Bell

If I was Rob Bell …..

I received an email from a pastor today.  He is part of a group that I will be speaking to in a couple of weeks.  The email contained a video clip of Rob Bell and a British theologian named Andrew Wilson.  The pastor in the email admonishes the group to watch the video before my coming to speak to the group.

In the video clip, Andrew Wilson has a very clear position that same-sex sexual behavior is sinful.  He is trying to understand Rob Bell’s position.  It is clear that Wilson and Bell differ in their perspectives.  What comes across in the video, however, is that Wilson is articulate and clear – and Bell is murky and evasive.  And the end result is further polarity, further misunderstanding, further perpetuation of distinguishing true believers from heretics by using gay marriage as a litmus test for orthodoxy.

Reflections on the Generous Spaciousness Conference Retreat

It has already been a couple of weeks since our first Generous Spaciousness Conference Retreat – hard to believe how fast time goes.  I have been so busy with meetings and presentations that I haven’t had that much time to simply sit quietly and reflect.  But as Wes and I went through our lists of “celebrate” and “improve” it was really wonderful to see that all the things in the “improve” column were about behind the scenes administrative type details.  And all the things in the “celebrate” column were connected to our hopes and goals for the experience.  That is amazing – and I am humbled and grateful.

"Torn" by Jason Lee

Review: Torn: Rescuing the Gospel from they Gays vs. Christians Debate

I was asked to write a review of Justin Lee’s book, Torn, for a Canadian Christian newspaper.

This particular paper is one that I used to read at my Pake and Beppe’s place (Friesian for grandparents) when I was growing up.  It particularly, but not solely, caters to people of Dutch and Reformed background.  It’s a paper that demonstrates the intellectual legacy of a group of Christian immigrants who built churches, Christian schools, and other social institutions such as a labour union, an office to pursue matters of social justice, and social service agencies for the disabled, unwed moms, those struggling with addictions etc.

The folks who read this paper will come from a variety of perspectives. Sometimes you find progressive thought in surprising places.  Sometimes you encounter a stronger conservatism than you might have expected.  But these are people who have a deep and strong faith.  People who want to honour Christ and build his Kingdom.  And with that in mind, and a strict word count, I offered this review of Justin’s book.  And, since you can’t access it without a subscription …. here it is:

Compassion as Justice-Love

I thought it was time to write a slightly shorter, less dense, lighter post than my last few series.  And as usual, a number of disparate things have been floating around in my mind.  So hopefully I’ll be able to weave these various threads together into some kind of cohesive whole.

There has been some buzz today about Rob Bell articulating his support, as many had assumed anyway, for gay marriage.  Speaking at an Episcopal cathedral in San Francisco Bell said, “I am for marriage. I am for fidelity. I am for love, whether it’s a man and woman, a woman and a woman, a man and a man. I think the ship has sailed and I think the church needs — I think this is the world we are living in and we need to affirm people wherever they are.”

Sexual Ethics & Generous Spaciousness: Part 3

I have decided to take another paper that I wrote for my doctoral program and break it down into several parts for the blog.  I have tried to make it a bit more readable – but it will likely still feel a bit academic.  I hope, however, that it will cause people to think and start some robust conversations.

Part 1 | Part 2

In light of my conviction that our sexual ethics must be reflected upon communally and enlivened in our interdependent lives together, acknowledging the reality of diversity in perspective is a critical factor in the development of my thought.   The dissonance and lack of integrity and consistency in position is, I believe, eroding the capacity of Christians to think courageously and respond with confidence to our rapidly changing sexual landscape.  In the midst of this uncertainty, the public witness to the life-transforming grace of Christ is distorted, particularly in the message to gender and sexual minority persons.

An ethics of generous spaciousness prioritizes a hermeneutic of justice and hospitality in engaging Scripture and tradition.  Generous spaciousness views these as overarching themes of the biblical witness. Justice means that all people are treated equitably such that they are valued and extended dignity and respect.  Hospitality means that all people are welcomed into the process of reflection, invited to listen, to discern, to wait, and to learn from others.

Generous spaciousness fearlessly opens discussion regarding the resources of reason through disciplines such as biology, psychology, sociology, anthropology, and philosophy.  In such discussion, it is acknowledged that there are competing ideas, theories, and interpretations concerning human sexuality.  Such acknowledgement creates room for people to differ in their understanding of human sexuality.

Sexual Ethics & Generous Spaciousness: Part 3

I have decided to take another paper that I wrote for my doctoral program and break it down into several parts for the blog.  I have tried to make it a bit more readable – but it will likely still feel a bit academic.  I hope, however, that it will cause people to think and start some robust conversations.

Part 1 | Part 2

In light of my conviction that our sexual ethics must be reflected upon communally and enlivened in our interdependent lives together, acknowledging the reality of diversity in perspective is a critical factor in the development of my thought.   The dissonance and lack of integrity and consistency in position is, I believe, eroding the capacity of Christians to think courageously and respond with confidence to our rapidly changing sexual landscape.  In the midst of this uncertainty, the public witness to the life-transforming grace of Christ is distorted, particularly in the message to gender and sexual minority persons.

An ethics of generous spaciousness prioritizes a hermeneutic of justice and hospitality in engaging Scripture and tradition.  Generous spaciousness views these as overarching themes of the biblical witness. Justice means that all people are treated equitably such that they are valued and extended dignity and respect.  Hospitality means that all people are welcomed into the process of reflection, invited to listen, to discern, to wait, and to learn from others.

Generous spaciousness fearlessly opens discussion regarding the resources of reason through disciplines such as biology, psychology, sociology, anthropology, and philosophy.  In such discussion, it is acknowledged that there are competing ideas, theories, and interpretations concerning human sexuality.  Such acknowledgement creates room for people to differ in their understanding of human sexuality.

Sexual Ethics & Generous Spaciousness: Part 2

I have decided to take another paper that I wrote for my doctoral program and break it down into several parts for the blog.  I have tried to make it a bit more readable – but it will likely still feel a bit academic.  I hope, however, that it will cause people to think and start some robust conversations.

Part 1 | Part 3

Applying Sources and Norms to the Question of Gay Marriage:

Current and contextual ethical reflection recognizes the need to pay attention to all of the contributions that arise from scripture, tradition, reason and experience.  Additionally, there is an acceptance and expectation that conflicts will arise among these sources and that good ethical reflection will do the rigorous work necessary to resolve such conflicts.[1]  Each of these sources has a unique offering for the ethical task but also has limitations and weaknesses as well.

Sexual Ethics & Generous Spaciousness: Part 2

I have decided to take another paper that I wrote for my doctoral program and break it down into several parts for the blog.  I have tried to make it a bit more readable – but it will likely still feel a bit academic.  I hope, however, that it will cause people to think and start some robust conversations.

Part 1 | Part 3

Applying Sources and Norms to the Question of Gay Marriage:

Current and contextual ethical reflection recognizes the need to pay attention to all of the contributions that arise from scripture, tradition, reason and experience.  Additionally, there is an acceptance and expectation that conflicts will arise among these sources and that good ethical reflection will do the rigorous work necessary to resolve such conflicts.[1]  Each of these sources has a unique offering for the ethical task but also has limitations and weaknesses as well.

Sexual Ethics & Generous Spaciousness: Part 1

I have decided to take another paper that I wrote for my doctoral program and break it down into several parts for the blog.  I have tried to make it a bit more readable – but it will likely still feel a bit academic.  I hope, however, that it will cause people to think and start some robust conversations.

Part 2 | Part 3

Ethical reflection within a framework of faith in Jesus Christ is appropriately an evolving practice.  Christians who truly seek to follow the way of Christ will recognize that this way is never static or formulaic.  The way of Christ is always contextual and always open to the ongoing revelation of God’s story in our day and in our time.  Jesus promised the coming of the Holy Spirit who would continue to reveal, lead and guide his followers.  That this impacts our ethical reflection should come as no surprise or threat to those who recognize that this truth we seek to embody in our Christian faith is found in a person, not a proposition, and found through dynamic relationship, not rigid laws.

Sexual Ethics & Generous Spaciousness: Part 1

I have decided to take another paper that I wrote for my doctoral program and break it down into several parts for the blog.  I have tried to make it a bit more readable – but it will likely still feel a bit academic.  I hope, however, that it will cause people to think and start some robust conversations.

Part 2 | Part 3

Ethical reflection within a framework of faith in Jesus Christ is appropriately an evolving practice.  Christians who truly seek to follow the way of Christ will recognize that this way is never static or formulaic.  The way of Christ is always contextual and always open to the ongoing revelation of God’s story in our day and in our time.  Jesus promised the coming of the Holy Spirit who would continue to reveal, lead and guide his followers.  That this impacts our ethical reflection should come as no surprise or threat to those who recognize that this truth we seek to embody in our Christian faith is found in a person, not a proposition, and found through dynamic relationship, not rigid laws.