I’ve been collecting some of these links for several weeks, but the busyness of the new term has forced me to put it off. I’m only weeks away from relocating from Aberdeen back home to Washington State, and though life will stay plenty busy — I’ll be doing some adjunct teaching starting in January — I do hope to blog here more frequently starting around Christmas or New Year’s.
I also know that your other faithful Out of Bounders are cooking up new posts as we speak, so don’t go anywhere.
- The United States is finally finished with another bitter election cycle, and Steve Holmes (St. Andrews) has an insightful outsider’s perspective on American politics — particularly, social media and the worldwide immediacy of reactions to such events. Among other things, it seems evident that the response to the candidates and the final results by Americans are rather dissonant with reactions by others around the world. Says Holmes:
An alternative would be to disengage from social media and so to avoid the disorientation; this might be the best answer for some, whose struggles in the area of Christian charity are particularly acute. For most Christians, however, I think we should receive the disorientation and challenge of our brothers and sisters on social media as a gift, a gift that challenges us to discover the extent to which our opinions are shaped by the gospel, rather than by the culture we inhabit — and that challenges us to understand the breadth of opinions that might be consonant with the gospel.
Those of us who have endured friends and family on both ends of the political spectrum making use of Facebook, Twitter, et al both to vent their frustrations and to display their joys know that this is a significant issue. I think it’s not too much to say, in fact, that it is an issue for the church.
- Fred Sanders throws a great deal of clarity on one of Evangelicalism’s biggest contemporary debates: Does the relationship of God the Father and the Son within the divine Trinity indicate that male-female relations should be “complementarian” (i.e. subordination of women to men, especially in marriage)? As one who has watched some of these arguments from the outside, but rather concerned about the theological issues involved, I’ve always found it astonishing that such an analogy is made at all. As Sanders puts it: “A theological account of gender relations … is properly situated far away from the doctrine of the Trinity, across the great divide that distinguishes God from everything else.” Not even a leap from God to creatures via the doctrine of the image Dei is permissible.
My suggestion (which, if I’m remembering right, is shamelessly pinched from a past post from Bobby Grow which I can’t presently locate) would be that not only are the theological conclusions bogus, but the analogy itself is without basis. It suggests that God and creatures are on a sort of continuum, the creature (and its relationships) a sort of mediate instantiation of the divine life. This sort of analogia entis is the only basis upon which such a predication of male-female relationships is possible.
- Rachel Held Evans’ new book is out now, exploring the notion of “biblical womanhood” and the sort of presuppositional hermeneutics in which Christians so often engage. Of particular importance is this lengthy blog post in which Rachel replies to the somewhat uncharitable critique of complementarian Kathy Keller. This is well worth a read, not only to see what it is Rachel is trying to do in her book or as another entry into gender debates, but to understand the way in which Christians (all of us!) tend to read the Bible in the absence of any self-critique of our methods for making sense of it.
- I’ve been looking forward to reading the new book from Oliver Crisp (Fuller Theological Seminary), Retrieving Doctrine: Essays in Reformed Theology, and thankfully Travis McMaken at Die Evangelischen Theologen has a review (via the journal Koinonia). He suggests that “Crisp succeeds in contributing to contemporary theological reflection insofar as he draws attention to aspects of the theological tradition that such conversation has unhelpfully passed over.”
- Also newly reviewed is the published volume of essays on Karl Barth’s ethics, from the 2008 Barth Conference in Princeton. Commanding Grace: Studies in Karl Barth’s Ethics is edited by Daniel Migliore and reviewed for the Center for Barth Studies by Princeton graduate Matthew Puffer.