Posted by Tripp Hudgins 2 weeks 5 days ago
Editor’s Note: Jim Wallis’ latest book On God’s Side: What Religion Forgets and Politics Hasn’t Learned About Serving the Common Good is sparking a national conversation of what it means to come together on issues that traditionally divide the nation. Bloggers Adam Ericksen and Tripp Hudgins are having that conversation here, on the God’s Politics blog. Follow along, and join the discussion in the comments section.Benedict of Nursia is on my mind this morning as I ponder what it is that Jim Wallis is trying to accomplish with his new book, On God's Side. Adam Ericksen pondered the virtues of baseball, winning, and losing in his post from earlier this week. Adam questioned the metaphor. What do we do with our losers? How can we all win?What would it mean if people of faith began transferring their human identities from class, racial, and national loyalties to a global identity in a new beloved community created by God?~ Jim Wallis, On God's SideToday I'm wondering about where Jim was when he started pulling all of this together. Jim shared that he went on retreat (a good practice, in my humble opinion) to gather his thoughts for this new book. He went to a monastery (also a good practice, in my humble opinion). He prayed the hours. He wandered the grounds. He spent some time in silence. He read the Narnia books and gave some serious thought of C.S. Lewis' Aslan. All of this led to a question, well, many questions, but this question I've pulled out is what caught my attention. What if, indeed, Jim. What if we were to do this thing ... the beloved community?It is no surprise to me that this question would emerge while Jim was at a monastery. Of course it would. And that he riffs on Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., in a way is also wonderfully telling. "Our goal is to create a beloved community and this will require a qualitative change in our souls as well as a quantitative change in our lives," said Dr. King. Our souls must change. So too must our lives. Dr. King said much about the beloved community. So too did Benedict of Nursia.There's so much to say here. I'm a little stumped. The beloved community is the Church, but it is exemplified by the monastery where people relinquish their individual control of their worldly goods. Monastics take vows to pray and work together. There's a shared rhythm of life. There is a shared mission. It's a challenging and difficult life, and not all Christians are called to it. Obedience, stability, conversion of life. If we want to be the beloved community, then the we must avow ourselves to such a Rule. Indeed, we must give up our personal or private identities to the service of all. But how do we do this as a culture, a global church?
Posted by Tripp Hudgins 3 weeks 5 days ago
Editor’s Note: Jim Wallis’ latest book On God’s Side: What Religion Forgets and Politics Hasn’t Learned About Serving the Common Good is sparking a national conversation of what it means to come together on issues that traditionally divide the nation. Bloggers Adam Ericksen and Tripp Hudgins are having that conversation here, on the God’s Politics blog. Follow along, and join the discussion in the comments section."I'm hesitant to talk about the common good as if it's a discovery. This is not news. But maybe, maybe Jim's right in that we've forgotten how to practice it. So this is what I want to know, invoking the spirit of Fred Rogers as I do it: 'Who is your neighbor?' ... Because I wonder if one of the things that we can think about in terms of the common good is learning to practice neighborliness in the inconsequential moments so that when we face the bigger political difficulties of our shared life — when we start talking about the common good in the larger sense around some of the other issues like violence, and fear, and money — that maybe if we've already built up habits we can have these larger conversations with greater ease."
Posted by Tripp Hudgins 5 weeks 1 day ago
Here are the criteria for post-Christianity according to Barna: 1. do not believe in God2. identify as atheist or agnostic3. disagree that faith is important in their lives4. have not prayed to God (in the last year)5. have never made a commitment to Jesus6. disagree the Bible is accurate7. have not donated money to a church (in the last year)8. have not attended a Christian church (in the last year)9. agree that Jesus committed sins10. do not feel a responsibility to “share their faith”11. have not read the Bible (in the last week)12. have not volunteered at church (in the last week)13. have not attended Sunday school (in the last week)14. have not attended religious small group (in the last week)15. do not participate in a house church (in the last year)As I read through the list I am struck by the evangelical bias. There are very specific practices included in this list (Bible study, house churches, sharing the faith, small group attendance, Sunday school) that reveal this bias. They are asking about practices they consider normative, their presence and their absence. There is no mention of receiving the Eucharist, charitable giving, or social outreach such as volunteering in a soup kitchen. Let me be clear, I am not judging them positively or negatively on their list. Instead, I'm intrigued ... deeply and profoundly intrigued, truth be told.
Posted by Tripp Hudgins 7 weeks 18 hours ago
Nuanced or not, are Christians, especially evangelicals, perceived as being against things like peacemaking? Or is it that their version of peacemaking is backward looking toward some halcyon day of yore (or 1950s America)? At this point in the book, Rob spends a lot of time walking us through the development of justice in the Bible from “eye-for-an-eye” to “turn the other cheek.” I want you to read this chapter for yourself and make your own conclusions about what Rob sees and tell me if you see it, too.Rob's thinking is that people are gradually cluing in to God's vision of a world without retributive violence. “Revenge always escalates,” he writes. Always.
Posted by Tripp Hudgins 7 weeks 2 days ago
It's the Monday after Easter, and I couldn't think of a better day to talk about God being with us. Adam Ericksen wrote about the dance of doubt and faith on Good Friday, the challenge and beauty of embracing the fullness of the journey. Rob takes that all one step further in this chapter: With.There is, I believe, another way to see God, a way in which we see God with us— with us, right here, right now. This isn’t just an idea to me; this is an urgent, passionate, ecstatic invitation to wake up, to see the world as it truly is. (Kindle Locations 1201-1203)Suddenly I have “Right Here, Right Now” by Jesus Jones playing in my head. Excuse me for being a child of the 80s.My take-away? This God doesn't choose sides like we do.
Posted by Tripp Hudgins 7 weeks 6 days ago
This is going to be a problem. This chapter on faith and science and quantum mechanics is going to be a problem. Why? Well, because this faith and science thing has been done to death. Did you know that the Vatican has an observatory and that one of the authors of Red Shift Theory was a Jesuit? Yep. The famed Scopes Monkey Trial was more than a century ago and those of us in the Protestant Mainline have long ago made peace with it. The Vatican apologized for the oppression of scientists, most specifically it said that Galileo was right. Scientific inquiry and Biblical interpretation are not the same thing. So what's Rob's purpose for this chapter?Well, it's manifold. He's an evangelical. He's writing in some ways to other evangelicals, specifically those who have felt cut off from the tradition. Here in the States, the classic evangelical line holds echoes of the arguments used during the Scopes Monkey Trial. Some in that Christian tradition are still fighting that fight. Heck, some progressives are, too. Powerful (if false) dichotomies have been established.
Posted by Tripp Hudgins 8 weeks 2 days ago
This letter was written on a plane a week ago. I posted it originally on Facebook as a status update. Out of curiosity I took a gander at it again and decided I wanted to share it here. Things are so fluid on the Ol' F-Book that I thought keeping it here would be good to do. Rob's new book, What We Talk About When We Talk About God, offers someting new and something familiar all at once. What I think Rob is doing is not so much giving us new ideas (though, given some of the ecclesial silos many of us have been reared in some of these ideas might seem new). Instead, Rob is lending his voice to many Christians. His pastorally framed theology is just the kind of thing many people have been clamoring for these last several decades. My grandparents would have loved his new book. So would have their parents. I kid you not.This book is not about a "new" thing. It's simply about God and how we come to know God in this world.
Posted by Tripp Hudgins 8 weeks 3 days ago
We're anticipating.We're jubilant!“Hosanna in the highest! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!”So, we dance and we sing.But just before this moment in the story there's this surprising passage. The Gospel of Luke reads, "As they were listening to this, he went to tell a parable, because he was near Jerusalem, and because they assumed that the kingdom of God was to appear immediately.""Immediately." Well, at least they knew their own minds. This is the trouble about knowing our own minds. It's not the same thing as having a thesis with a well constructed argument. And it's not the same thing as being right.
Posted by Tripp Hudgins 11 weeks 1 day ago
It's an important question. Mark Driscoll, the famed neo-Calvinist, wants us to believe that we are God's enemies and God desired our destruction until Jesus, God's own Son, put himself in harm's way and saved us from God. Interesting theological gloss...but there's something in this I'm pondering right seriously this morning......What's it like to wrestle with the Divine One? You know, like Jacob did there in the desert one night. You can contend with God, can you not? Is God not then your enemy in some way? Well, perhaps your adversary? I don't know for certain if any of this language suits, but I'm pondering it because God and I are engaged in a cage match and I am mustering all the courage I have not to pull out a folding chair or some such mess knowing full well that God cheats.
Posted by Tripp Hudgins 19 weeks 20 hours ago
The only reason that I am Christian is because I am spiritual-but-not-religious.Right. That's it. Let me first say that in my own thinking, I don't separate these two things, religion and spirituality. I get that many do and I can see the rhetorical advantages to doing so. I just don't do so for any other reason than popular conversation has done so.Here's why, and please forgive the autobiographical nature of this post. It's a testimony of sorts and dreadfully difficult to summarize. I'm pretty well convinced that I'm not all that unique in what I'm about to share. Also, if you have been paying attention (assuming you've known me for some time or been reading my blog) none of this should come as a surprise. The only reason that I am Christian is because I am spiritual-but-not-religious.
Posted by Tripp Hudgins 19 weeks 2 days ago
There will be, I assume, a thousand different ways to dismantle what it is that I am about to say. I get that. I respect it. I invite it. This is a conversation that we need to have and, thankfully, are having at a national level. That said, sometimes I wish we still lived in a time when talking about one's faith in public was considered inappropriate or rude. Sometimes, that is. Only sometimes.Lillian Daniel has a new book coming out. I'll refrain from sharing my opinion about the book until after I have read it. You can read Robert Cornwall's review here. The book is entitled WHEN "SPIRITUAL BUT NOT RELIGIOUS" IS NOT ENOUGH: Seeing God in Surprising Places, Even the Church. There are some handy quick reviews on the amazon.com page. My favorite is from Shane Claiborne. Lillian is as fed up with bad religion as anyone else, but she's also careful to celebrate good religion and good spirituality that brings people to life and makes the world a better place. May her book invite us to stop complaining about the Church we've experienced and work on becoming the Church we dream of.
Posted by Tripp Hudgins 20 weeks 5 days ago
There are a lot of emergent folk who shun creeds. They have let go of much of their free-range evangelicalism, but the anti-creedal posture still holds a principal place. Still, I am thinking about music and liturgy, spiritual formation (that troublesome word again, formation), and the creeds we keep in our hearts though no agency has "approved them for community use." Instead these creeds are "sanctified by use," if you will. Here's mine.
Posted by Tripp Hudgins 22 weeks 17 hours ago
O Flower of Jesse’s stem, you have been raised up as a sign for all peoples; kings stand silent in your presence; the nations bow down in worship before you. Come, let nothing keep you from coming to our aid.In 2012 more than one hundred young people were killed by gun violence in Chicago. More than a hundred. If you start adding up the numbers, there was a time there in the summer where Chicago was more dangerous than Afghanistan. Well, parts of it were. It's a big place, you know.As tragic as the shooting was in Connecticut —and I am truly not interested in minimizing the grief or outrage — we have to wake up and realize that more children are killed every year in the U.S. and we seldom cry in outrage. Not as a nation. There were marches in protest by Chicago churches. The news media covered the march but not the murders.
Posted by Tripp Hudgins 25 weeks 4 days ago
Is "sabbath" a verb?Can one "sabbath?""I'm sabbathing right now"...or..."Mike is not available right now. He's out sabbathing somewhere and cannot be reached for comment."I don't know.I'm pondering this grammatical reframing of the word. Why? Well, it's a Commandment. Keeping the sabbath is a commandment (Exodus 20:8) right there with not murdering, lusting after your neighbor's wife, or worshiping other gods.Yep, it's a commandment and I'm just plain terrible at keeping it these days.
Posted by Tripp Hudgins 27 weeks 2 days ago
I cannot think that you don't sound or breathe weep or grieve I will not think that you don't want or ply the cosmos with love or grace seeking us lost again I can believe I can lose you I can thwart you I can set you up I can watch you fall to die again you breathe weep cry sing and I am here seeking better signs
Posted by Tripp Hudgins, Adam Ericksen 28 weeks 17 hours ago
It's a joke. Well, it was. There we were talking with Diana Butler Bass and others from SOGOMedia in an online forum about the Presidential Election and the words flowed forth: Neighborliness is the new sexy. It was ridiculous, but then I started mulling the idea over and this is what happened. Adam Ericksen and I started pondering what Seven Marks of Neighborliness might look like.1. Be a regular somewhere: Our neighborhoods are actually rather expansive spaces. Some of them involve strip malls. Some of us commute to work and, in that sense, we live in various neighborhoods. Yes, plural. How can we root ourselves in these places? ...
Posted by Tripp Hudgins 29 weeks 22 hours ago
In the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy, thoughts on natural disasters, the divine, and 'why bad things happen to good people.'
Posted by Tripp Hudgins 29 weeks 1 day ago
What is it that music actually does? What is that thing? I'm not entirely sure.That music has physical qualities is unquestionable. A certain pitch can shatter glass. Low notes can cause the trunk of the car stopped next to you in traffic to shimmy and shake. Volume hurts our ears. Music, temporally bound, is material.It affects the world around us. It engages the world around us. Sound waves travel through various substances...with greater or lesser ease depending on the substance, but it does travel. It moves. But does it live, move, and have being?Cosmic Christ – depth of reality. The resurrection of Christ is also of the body…exit wounds and all. So can the music that changes the shape of the world we live in not help us access the God who inhabits the world and heaven at the same time?So often I read passages like the one above from Rock and Theology (an amazing blog, by the way) and I wonder what the hell we're all going on about. Music does not have agency in any conscious sense. It is substantive, of course, and could be analysed liturgically like any other liturgical object.
Posted by Tripp Hudgins 29 weeks 1 day ago
How do we find a job? How do we find work? Maybe we shouldn't worry so much...LEAN into what feeds you.Get out beyond the castle walls. The Kingdom of God is not a castle. It's a kingdom.Sometimes it is our friends who remind us there is this kingdom and there is this Christ...And a lot for "The Nones" to chew on here, too.See the latest Busted Stuff video inside...
Posted by Tripp Hudgins 29 weeks 3 days ago
It's been a very musical weekend.Pictured at left is a Foster 7-string guitar. It's just like a traditional 6-string acoustic, but with the added rumble of a low-b string. It's an interesting beast to play. Lovely, really. I like that extra resonance in the low end, plus, if truth be told, I like singing with it. Here is a little recording from Soundcloud. I recorded the file below on my phone. Any tinnyness is purely because of the phone.
Posted by Tripp Hudgins 29 weeks 5 days ago
Reentry is often a pain in my ass. It's true. I get a chance to get away from it all, to spend some time with friends and begin to unwind and it's glorious. But then there's the return trip home. It always takes longer. It's like slogging through Chicago slush. Painful. Unpleasant. So, after years of dealing with this side of my personality, I've tried to develop a habit of articulating the positives of leaving.I rise on the wrong side of the bed the day after spending time in contemplation and wonderment. It happens. I apologize to Spouse and try not to step on any toes. Rev. Crankypants is in the house. So, to undo the crankyness, I want to thank Brother Rob for his kind attentions over the last few days. I want to thank him for letting me use his name in such a scandalous way as I have. His coattails are long. It's astonishing how using his name in such a title can bring traffic to one's blog. It's a little embarrassing, really.Rob is a good man trying to do some radical stuff. He has a ministry to those who understand the call to be fully awake and alive in this world as a radical posture.
Posted by Tripp Hudgins 29 weeks 6 days ago
I was standing there on the shore, jeans rolled up, my ankles in the surf.It was day two of the Rob Bell event and people were surfing.Yes, surfing.Rob brings in a couple of surfing instructors and, if you want to, you can rent a board and take a lesson. It's a good time. I watched a lot of people surf for the first time as I stood on the shore ... watching ... waiting.
Posted by Tripp Hudgins 30 weeks 21 hours ago
Rob Bell,...what a jerk. I'm spending some time with Rob Bell this week. It's reading week at the GTU and it just happened to be the same week that Rob Bell was hosting one of his "events." It's Rob and 90 other people in a room taking about Spiral Dynamics, competition in ministry, Jesus, and other things that are fun to discuss. It's a good thing. So, since the timing could not be better, I made my way down I-5 to Lauguna Beach a.k.a., "The Shire."I'm now contemplating relocating here to finish my Ph.D.Already, Rob has me thinking. Rob Bell is @&^*!ing with me. He's not actually singled me out, but there it is no less. He's the tallest impish human being I have ever had the pleasure to meet. Whip smart and creative, he presents a familiar, open artist's palate of the movement of the Holy Spirit. The underlying question for Rob, as he states that God redeems everything, is simply this: Are we paying attention? He speaks with such joy. He's fired up. It's good news. He's dragging me in. "Everything belongs," Rob says, quoting Richard Rohr.What a jerk.
Posted by Tripp Hudgins 30 weeks 1 day ago
What do you have to say about "living abundantly"? How do you deal with anxiety when you think about the future of churches?“Very truly, I tell you, anyone who does not enter the sheepfold by the gate but climbs in by another way is a thief and a bandit. The one who enters by the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep hear his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes ahead of them, and the sheep follow him because they know his voice. They will not follow a stranger, but they will run from him because they do not know the voice of strangers.” Jesus used this figure of speech with them, but they did not understand what he was saying to them. So again Jesus said to them, “Very truly, I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep. All who came before me are thieves and bandits; but the sheep did not listen to them. I am the gate. Whoever enters by me will be saved, and will come in and go out and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly. ~ John 10:6-10
Posted by Tripp Hudgins 31 weeks 48 min ago
Editor's Note: Theologian extraordinnaire Tripp Hudgins put together this edition of First Thoughts on living with abundance, butting up against living with anxiety.
Posted by Tripp Hudgins 31 weeks 2 days ago
[The "nones"] recite history and Christian leadership's collusion with the agents of empire-building and warfare. Then they say something like, “I'd rather live like Jesus than be a Christian.”They see the Church as the rich young man and they wonder if anyone actually follows Jesus anymore.Of course, this is not the only demographic shift at work in the religious life of the world.There are more Anglicans in Nigeria than there are in England.More Presbyterians in Ghana than in Scotland. ..More Baptists in Southeast Asia than in the Southeastern United States.More Christians go to church in China than in Europe.In 1900, 71 percent of the world's Christians were in Western Europe. By 2000 that percentage dropped below twenty percent in some European nations.Here's the real kicker: these are not problems to fix. They are simply realities to be faced.
Posted by Tripp Hudgins 31 weeks 6 days ago
Editor's Note: Theologian extraordinnaire Tripp Hudgins put together this edition of First Thoughts prior to the first presidential debate. Still applicable before this evening's Vice Presidential debate.
Posted by Tripp Hudgins 32 weeks 6 days ago
Today is the Feast Day of St. Francis of Assisi.You likely have heard of him. Il Poverello. He's the 13th-century aescetic who founded a religious order.It was, on one hand, a protest order...protesting how the Church had lost its way in relationship to money and helping the poor. It was on the other hand an opportunity for people to come together and do someting rather remarkable in caring for the poor by joining in solidarity with the poor.The Friars Minor were formed in 1226. St. Clare of Assisi was co-founder. She has her own feast day, of course, but don't lose this opportunity to get to know her as well. (There was also an incredibly trippy movie made about his life titled Brother Son, Sister Moon. Some day, when no one is watching, you should rent that film. Outrageously strange.) Francis' prayer is well known, but today I want to offer up this quotation which is similar, but presents a different focus. Less a prayer and more a philosophical edict, these words moved me this morning:“Where there is charity and wisdom, there is neither fear nor ignorance. Where there is patience and humility, there is neither anger nor vexation. Where there is poverty and joy, there is neither greed nor avarice. Where there is peace and meditation, there is neither anxiety nor doubt.”
Posted by Tripp Hudgins 33 weeks 19 hours ago
Should the market have so much control over liturgical music?There is nothing new to this question. Not at all. Now, however, there may be much that is new in discoverng the answer. Once upon a time in the European West, liturgical music was created by musicians who were supported by the patronage of a noble class.* Byrd, Tallis, you know the gang.Before then it was the monastic composer (Hildegard, et al) who seemed to rule the charts with their chant. Musicians were supported by the Church and the Wealthy in some way and thus created music for worship.The old markets, of course, have given way to new markets over the centuries, but throughout the history of the Western marketplace, markets (and the people they represent) have had tremendous say in what music we deem as sacred.Now, in our post-colonial, neoliberal marketplace, how shall we choose liturgical music?
Posted by Tripp Hudgins 33 weeks 6 days ago
What if music were ethics?You know, the art of listening and producing sounds as ethics? I'm just thinking on the old blog here. I'm preaching next Sunday and I'm thinking about listening and music and how we learn to be good to one another. Somewhere someone wrote "It is better to give than receive."
Posted by Tripp Hudgins 36 weeks 1 day ago
My children don't remember.I mean, the younger children in my church don't remember. It was eleven years ago. The oldest of them was six when the towers were destroyed and we went to war. I'm wondering how I talk to them about it. I wonder how I tell them the story without subjecting them to the trauma so many people experienced that day.So, no video footage. No point in giving the kids nightmares. I'm just going to talk about how many kinds of religions there are in the United States. No longer simply a liberal posture, it's an issue of national security, no? If we want to be at peace with our neighbors locally and globally, we need to understand them. We need to have something to work with, some kind of conecpt of how they live.
Posted by Tripp Hudgins 37 weeks 1 day ago
Hello fellow Sojourners!This is a brief missive for your enjoyment. I just returned from the Wild Goose Festival in Corvallis, Ore.Yes, Oregon and not North Carolina. You see, in a fit of wisdom, the good people of Wild Goose found a west coast location. I hope it worked well for them because I'm sold on the place. I wish you could have been there. It was amazing. To tantalize you into attending next year, here (in no particular order) are Nine Good Reasons to Attend The Wild Goose Festival. 1. There are no bugs.None. Well, some flies, but this is Oregon and not North Carolina and though the nights are chilly and the mornings moreso (I awoke the last morning to see my breath in the air), the sun arose and everything warmed up to make for some of the most beautiful weather you'll ever experience. 2. All the notables are there.Rachel, Richard (and Richard), Brian, Nadia, Gareth, Bruce, Christian, Amy, Yvette, Hilary, Greg, Steve...So many people to meet and to know.
Posted by Tripp Hudgins 40 weeks 17 hours ago
Psalm 78:1-8Hear my teaching, O my people; incline your ears to the words of my mouth.I will open my mouth in a parable; I will declare the mysteries of ancient times.That which we have heard and known, and what our forebears have told us, we will not hide from their children.We will recount to generations to come the praiseworthy deeds and the power of the Lord, and the wonderful works he has done.He gave his decrees to Jacob and established a law for Israel, which he commanded them to teach their children;That the generations to come might know, and the children yet unborn; that they in their turn might tell it to their children;So that they might put their trust in God, and not forget the deeds of God, but keep his commandments;And not be like their forebears, a stubborn and rebellious generation, a generation whose heart was not steadfast, and whose spirit was not faithful to God.I'm pondering the first few lines of this Psalm. They strike me as remarkably different from much of what we're saying these days about generations and faithfulness. It is, it seems, always the younger generations who fail us, who are stubborn and do not recognize the gifts of God. Every so often someone will throw the Baby Boomers (I mean, that's fun, right?) under the bus, but the majority of our attention has been on the future generations or those who are simply young now. We who analyze religious trends are practitioners of religious prognostication.
Posted by Tripp Hudgins 40 weeks 2 days ago
Tony Jones has asked some of us progressive Theobloggers to chime in on God, you know, perhaps some kind of definition or doctrine (that word many of us progressives despise). You can read his invitation here. Tony doesn't want us to talk about Jesus, per se, but about God. I get that. He's in his evangelical context and he gets tired of all the Jesus talk. Lately it seems that the Emergent conversation has been all Jesus all the time. Now, that doesn't bother me, but then again I feel that in my end of the progressive mainline (free church progressive) we don't talk about Jesus enough. We talk about God all the time. Jesus, well, he's a bit of an enigma. What else is there to say? Nevertheless, Tony's invitation is an interesting one and I'm willing to chime in.One caveat: I'm doing this as a way to speak of one Person of a Trinity. To speak of the One is, in many ways, to speak of the Three and the Unity. But this is just a blog post and not a 20-page essay. So ... yeah.My answer: If you want to know God, get Religion. (Have you got good religion? Certainly, Lord!) Religion is a combined set of activities embodied by people. These activities are not limited to but may include the following behaviors: liturgy, charity, politics, and even theology (mystical and systematic), and doctrine. Religion can be communal or individual. Religion is the principal craft by which we know (cognition) and understand (hermeneutics) God.
Posted by Tripp Hudgins 41 weeks 1 day ago
This is the third and final installment of my little series on Harry Emerson Fosdick, his sermons about Modernism and Science, and how these century-old sermons remind us that our present conversations about the same are anything but new. They may be necessary, but they aren't new. You can read my first post, “I Love How History Repeats Itself,” and my second post, “Science, Faith, and An Ongoing Conversation.”I want to continue to focus on the same two sermons, "Shall the Fundamentalists Win?" and "The Church Must Go Beyond Modernism," and finish up a line of thought about American Christian Fundamentalism and interlace a third and final sermon entitled, “The Greatness of God” in which Fosdick outlines some of his own understandings of atheism, science, and religion. Typical of Fosdick, there is a tome hidden in between the lines of that sermon. Nevertheless, I'll try to share some of it with you.What does Fosdick say is the trouble with Modernism? In “The Church Must Go Beyond Modernism,” he lists a few problems. Here's a list:“... it is primarily an adaptation, an adjustment, an accommodation of Christian faith to contemporary scientific thinking.”for this reason it tends “toward shallowness and transiency” and thus cannot adequately represent the Eternal;“Unless the church can go deeper and reach higher than that it will fail indeed.”“... excessively preoccupied with intellectualism” eschewing the heart and thus missing much of Christian spiritualityexcessive sentimentality, which means the eternal progress of the human character and the eradication of evil and the loss of moral judgment, scientific progress being equated with human moral progress“... modernism has even watered down and thinned out the central message and distinctive truth of religion, the reality of God.”
Posted by Tripp Hudgins 41 weeks 2 days ago
The evening was warm. Seated at the small desk by the windows I opened my Bible and started to read from Jeremiah, "Seek the welfare of the city to which I send you." The passage was also inscribed over the entrance to the cloisters of Richmond Hill, the old convent turned retreat center in the Church Hill neighborhood of Richmond, Va., overlooking downtown. I was on retreat and seeking a little inspiration.Seek the welfare of the city, said Jeremiah. Pray for the city, say the people of Richmond Hill. Love the city. Work for the good of the city. This is the city of God. Every city is the Holy City.The verse from Jeremiah actually continues on. It's a bit more involved than the brief passage inscribed over the entryway:"But seek the welfare of the cityto which I have sent you into Exile,and pray to the Lord on its behalf,for in its welfare you will find your welfare." (Jer. 29:7)Oh no ... I'm gonna have to work this out.
Posted by Tripp Hudgins 42 weeks 22 hours ago
In a recent post here on God's Politics, Derek Flood suggested (as many have lately) that Christian communities need to start taking this whole "faith and science" thing seriously.I posted some relatively snarky comment on my Facebook page about it (I apologize for the snark) suggesting that the authors of these recent posts about faith and science are ignoring about a century's worth of conversation and theology. Perhaps more.Let me give you an example of what I mean in Harry Emerson Fosdick.***As I said just yesterday, Fosdick was famous for lots of things, particularly the sermon "Shall The Fundamentalists Win?" which he preached on May 21, 1922.It was a call to arms of sorts within the church, encouraging tolerance and a willingness to engage the minds of believers and unbelievers alike in a time of incredible scientific discovery.
Posted by Tripp Hudgins 42 weeks 1 day ago
Okay... for all my friends out there. No, history does not repeat itself. Yes, history is a human construct. Now, if you will all just work with me, take a gander at this longish quotation from the Introduction to The Meaning of Prayer (1916) by Harry Emerson Fosdick (pictured here). The introduction was written by John R. Mott. It could have been written last week. These meditations and studies on prayer are most timely. Never have there been such extensive and such convincing evidences of the poverty and inadequacy of human means and agencies for furthering the welfare of of humanity; never has there been such a widespread sense of the need of superhuman help; never have there been such challenges to Christians to undertake deeds requiring Divine cooperation; never has there been such a manifest desire to discover the secret of the hiding and of the releasing of God's power. Interest in prayer is world-wide. This is shown in the prominence of this subject in addresses and sermons in all lands, as well as by the growing volume of books and pamphlet literature in different languages. The multiplication of Calls to Prayer and of Prayer Circles, and the formation of Prayer Bands and of Leagues of Intercession, constitute similar testimony. Among Christians everywhere, and even among those who would not call themselves believing Christians, there is being manifested an earnest desire to understand what prayer is and to engage more fully in its exercise.... An alarming weakness among Christians is that we are producing Christian activities faster than we are producing Christian experience and Christian faith; that the discipline of our souls and the deepening of our acquaintance with God are not proving sufficiently thorough to enable us to meet the unprecedented expansion of opportunity and responsibility of our generation. These studies and spiritual exercises in helping men and women to form that most transforming, most energizing, and most highly productive habit — the habit of Christlike prayer — will do much to overcome this danger.
Posted by Tripp Hudgins 42 weeks 2 days ago
Old Crow Medicine Show's Ketch Secor and Critter Fuqua first met in the seventh grade in Harrisonburg, Virginia in Rockingham County, and began playing music together. They performed open mics at the Little Grill diner which was "really the first chance that . . Critter had to play on stage." Being "a bit younger" than the "college students at James Madison University who typically hung out there" Secor "was considered a townie." As Secor says today: "They knew that we had talent, but it was raw. I mean, I was up there beating on a jaw harp when I was 13." (wiki)Virginia boys.... Amen.Watch the video for the band's song "Wagon Wheel" inside the blog ...
Posted by Tripp Hudgins 43 weeks 19 hours ago
This morning I read and sang this canticle.Come, let us sing to the Lord; let us shout for joy to the rock of our salvation. Let us come before his presence with thanksgiving and raise a loud shout to him with psalms. For the Lord is a great God, and a great king above all gods. In his hand are the depths of the earth, and the heights of the hills are his also. The sea is his, for he made it, and his hands have moulded the dry land. Come, let us bow down and bend the knee, and kneel before the Lord our Maker. For he is our God, and we are the people of his pasture and the sheep of his hand. O that today you would hearken to his voice! Psalm 95:1-7 (Venite)Then I lamented. I lamented the work of human beings to tear down what God holds in God's hands. I lamented that my friends in the peace movement callously sent a press release decrying the gun lobby within what seemed like moments after the smoke cleared in Aurora. I lamented the inane anti-Darwinian posture of other Christians. We're all looking for something to blame. We cannot simply sit in our sackcloth and our ashes and lament ... lament our own failure, lament the actions of someone raised in church, lament our inability to protect the innocent, lament our powerlessness.We cannot and will not lament our powerlessness. We need to learn how.
Posted by Tripp Hudgins 43 weeks 1 day ago
Nothing is sweeter than love, nothing stronger, nothing higher, nothing wider, nothing more pleasant, nothing fuller or better in heaven or earth; for love is born of God, and can rest only in God above all created things.And so my musings on Thomas a Kempis, for whom Jesus the Christ was Love Incarnate, begin.Will it frame my day? Will it help me make sense of French class?
Posted by Tripp Hudgins 43 weeks 3 days ago
Maybe someone pursuing a Ph.D. in Liturgical Theology and Ethnomusicology is shouldn't be the one to offer this reflection.Heck, maybe a Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering or in Astrophysics would be a wise economic choice. I can't say.I've been mulling over some of the news stories out there hyping either end of the (political?) reality of spending more money (and time, let's not forget time) on higher education. It leads me to a couple of questions:Does the present rate of student debt have a snowball's chance in Tartarus in being repaid? Will the students, especially the so-called "nontradtional student" like myself, actually see a return in their investment? If you believe NPR, the answer may be "no."
Posted by Tripp Hudgins 44 weeks 1 day ago
I haven't written about the discovery of the Higgs Boson particle yet. I think I posted about it on Facebook or Pinterest or somewhere like that. I'm excited by the discovery. Actually, I'm excited by discovery in general. Discovery is good stewardship. This particular discovery is particularly intriguing (Get it? I used "particular" since we're talking about particles! I'm so clever in the morning.).So, let me begin with a simple prayer. I want to get into this a bit.God of the moon, God of the sun,God of the globe, God of the stars,God of the waters, the land, and the skies,Who ordained to us the King of promise.It was Mary fair who went upon her knee,It was the King of life who went upon her lap,Darkness and tears were set behind,And the star of guidance went up early.Illumed the land, illumed the world,Illumed doldrum and current,Grief was laid and joy was raised,Music was set up with harp and pedal harp.
Posted by Tripp Hudgins 44 weeks 2 days ago
Is the Mainline Liberal Church in decline? Numerically, sure. Absolutely. But what this means, I cannot say. Many have tried to make sense of it. In the wake of recent editorials, some theologians and others have offered up their thoughts. I surmised it might be helpful to collect one or two of the links here on the outside chance that you missed them. Can Liberal Christianity Be Saved - Ross Douthat offers some sharp critiques of the tradition. Once the bastion of the Social Gospel movement, the liberal mainline is not all "social" and very little "Gospel." "But if conservative Christianity has often been compromised, liberal Christianity has simply collapsed. Practically every denomination — Methodist, Lutheran, Presbyterian — that has tried to adapt itself to contemporary liberal values has seen an Episcopal-style plunge in church attendance. Within the Catholic Church, too, the most progressive-minded religious orders have often failed to generate the vocations necessary to sustain themselves."There have been a couple of good direct responses to Douthat's OpEd piece.
Posted by Tripp Hudgins 44 weeks 4 days ago
The most amazing thing happened this week.Maybe you missed it.The Episcopal Church held their General Convention in Indianapolis, Indiana. They gathered. They prayed. They sang. I'm told there were a few sermons, too! And you know they offered the Eucharist. They can't do anything without someone bringing bread, wine, and a blessing. God love 'em.This week they voted, too. They held up in their bicameral way of doing things and worked out some key issues. Among the issues at hand were whether or not to sell their offices in New York City and to find ways of investing their income in the future of the denomination. They did both. If you followed them on Twitter (Many did. #GC77 trended right up there!), then you know that there was hope and joy in their rooms. This is not why they made the news, of course. They made the news when they voted to formally allow for same-sex blessings within their communion.
Posted by Tripp Hudgins 45 weeks 2 days ago
"If you tell a lie, it will be all over the country in a day or two. But if you tell the truth, it will take ten years to get there." ~ Eddie "Son" HouseAnd the truth is what Jesus offered the people of his hometown in this tale from Mark's Gospel. Jesus offered his prophetic witness of truth-telling. He held up a mirror and showed them who they were. He held up a mirror and said to them, "The Kingdom of God is with you."They were enraged that one of their own would do such a thing. He was utterly astonished that the people who had raised him were incapable of facing their own truth.He also knew that if they could not face the realities of their own complicated lives they would not be able to embrace the healing and forgiveness that God offered.Jesus had the blues. He had the hometown blues.So, rejected, he fled his hometown. Then he sent his apostles out into the world proclaiming peace, healing the sick and the lame, and prepared to face the same rejection. People don't like to be reminded of the complications of real life. None of us like the feeling of being judged when the mirror is held up before us.
Posted by Tripp Hudgins 46 weeks 6 days ago
I have been thinking about the church of my youth. I have been remembering, if you will, as a guy who has read too much Updike (I'll never forgive him for the Rabbit books) might remember his youth.There is a melding of nostalgia for what was as well as what might have been. It's a mess, to be honest, a kind of lie that draws me in no matter how often I tell myself it is a lie. Sometimes these lies of memory are the heart's truth.
Posted by Tripp Hudgins 1 year 1 week ago
The Church is not a purity cult. We try to turn our institutions into purity cultus of behavior or belief all the time. We're really good at it. We've fought wars over our theologies wrapped in nationalism. We've crusaded from west to east all in the name of the purity of the Church. "Ex filio" was a war cry a thousand years ago.Rachel Held Evans is right. Evangelicalism may very well be losing a generation and by extension, we all are. But then some of us have been losing parts of generations for a long time. Some of the Boomers walked never to return. More of Gen X did the same. Now the enormous generation of Millennials is having its say. Many are voting with their feet. They are tired of the culture wars. They are tired of the purity fights. Many people from various generations are. They are all voting with their feet. The same thing is happening in Catholicism though some are choosing to stay. If it weren't for the influx of Catholic immigrants to the US, we'd see the same statistical free fall in Catholicism that the mainline is experiencing.
Posted by Tripp Hudgins 1 year 1 week ago
“Talk to me about your mother.”Such ominous words.But talk to you about her, I will. And it's not gonna be pretty.You see, my mother isn't perfect. Her love may be perfect, but she's not and like everyone else on the planet she has hurt the ones she loves the most in the very act of trying to love them.It's Mother's Day this Sunday and we'll honor our mothers, grandmothers, sisters, aunts, spouses, grandmothers and, and, and...We'll honor women and men who have mothered us. And we should.It's not easy work and Lord knows that Freud has helped us pathologize motherhood. In turn we have idolized motherhood and mothers. Neither approach works. Not really. So I would like to propose a via media for Mother's Day.Every Sunday as I'm driving to the church I serve I call my mother to check in. She lives by herself and I worry. I'm her son. I can't help myself.
Posted by Tripp Hudgins 1 year 2 weeks ago
This is a response to some of the NPR coverage on pastors who are losing their religion. It's a heartbreaking series. I say that not because people are losing their faith, changing their minds about religion. I'm heartbroken because I'm not hearing about any Christian tradition other than American Fundamentalism. That's Christianity according to mass media and, apparently, according to the men and women who have stepped away from the Church. They believe so strongly in the arguments of Fundamentalism that they cannot imagine another form of Christianity. They cannot imagine another God. They believe that Fundamentalism is the only theology out there. They believe in One God, the Fundamentalist God. So, in breaking with that rhetoric, they have to break with the whole Church.We who believe something other than American Fundamentalism have failed these people. We have failed again and again to successfully offer the alternatives to Fundamentalism. Instead, we sit in our beautiful neo-gothic buildings or in our hip-coffee shops or under the dome of the Pantokrator and wonder why people do not know us. It's simply crap. If all there were in Christianity was American Fundamentalism, I would be an atheist, too. Perhaps the Fundamentalists have won after all.