Chaos Reexamined
2008-05-13 by Steve Schuette

            Relatedness is certainly key...

            Along with that relatedness of Trinity I can’t help but think of the fourth dimension – the one whom this Trinity longs to make whole, the focus of the Trinity’s energies, the outlet for all the Trinity’s creative enterprise….the world and we who are made in God’s image.

            I had always assumed that the “chaos” or “original mix” was the object of God’s reorganization in a way that brought order out of chaos…..very Reformed or even Gnostic?, I suppose, thinking of the chaos as having a moral dimension of evil over against God’s goodness.

            And then, in Matthew is the odd tag to the beautiful scene of relationship, “…some doubted.”  There it is:  a little chaos in the middle of it all.  Jesus doesn’t react or get sidetracked.  There’s no attempt to begin a “reform” movement with them.  He simply moves on with the commission.

            So…what if God’s whole creative enterprise is relational rather than managerial?  What if, rather than opposing the chaos with order God works with it like Michelangelo, who claimed that the figures were already in the stone and he was simply bringing them out?  Could God’s objective have been not to subdue the chaos but to work with it creatively?

            I do know that genuine human creativity does not destroy such tensions, but enters into them, exploring them, and sometimes even lives with them until more clarity comes.  Maybe that’s a better option than the way we’ve traditionally understood the “dominion” of Gen. 1:26 both in terms of faith and U.S. policy.  Maybe the image of God in which we are created (and creating) invites us to a very different sense of dominion that honors relationship.  At any rate, I know that it is out of what seemed chaos that my life’s greatest learnings have emerged.





Value, Clarity, and Freedom in the Trinity
2008-05-13 by David von Schlichten

The above traits all strike me as important to the best relationships. Such relationships are ones in which we feel valued, have a clear identity, and have freedom to be ourselves.

Are these traits we see in the Trinity? Each "person" is indispensible, has a clear identity, but also has freedom, I suppose (God, by God's very nature, must be free, yes?). 

I am probably doing my theology backwards by starting with anthropology and then moving to the Trinity, but perhaps there is benefit in my doing so. What do you think?

Thank you to our guest blogger Joretta for inviting us to submit reflections on the relationality of the Trinity. I pray others will step into the tub. I am glad Rosemary and Steve have.

Yours in Christ,

David von Schlichten, Lectionary Blog Moderator





Journey in relationship
2008-05-12 by Rosemary Beales

All preaching is contextual, and the context in my congregation this week is the "graduation" of our first group of youth to complete the Journey to Adulthood. These young people have journeyed together for six years in the company of faithful leaders and a congregation that has supported them. The end of this journey is, of course, the beginning of another, as they move into the world of college and beyond.   The relationships they've formed -- and that have formed them -- will sustain them as much as, or more than, any specific doctrine, prayers or practices they've learned. Our hope for them, and for each member of the congregation, is to be sustained by relationships that help us reach our potential as co-creators with God -- continuing to form the world that we were given "in the beginning."  I appreciate your insight that "human beings cannot be anything other than relational." Godly relationships with other human beings, other creatures, and our precious earth, help move us closer to the Trinity.



Our guest preaching blogger this week is
2008-05-12 by David Howell

Joretta Marshall, Professor of Pastoral Theology and Counseling at Brite Divinity School in Fort Worth, Texas. She is an ordained United Methodist Elder from the Rocky Mountain Conference. Currently Joretta is the President of the American Association of Pastoral Counselors.

Joretta invites you to participate in this experience with her. Click on Submit a Question or Submit an Article above.





Moving Toward the Trinity
2008-05-12 by Joretta Marshall

Each of the texts this week can, on its own, supply rich and powerful insights into our life and faith. Each is a text worth drawing upon in preaching this coming Sunday. In these texts we find the imagery of the creation stories, the power of the psalmist to articulate a vision of this Creator-God; the reminder that “faith, hope and love abide, these three; and the greatest of these is love”, and the call to join the activity of Christ and the Spirit in the world. What an abundance of wisdom for theological reflection.

 

What strikes me about the texts together is that they engage us in the theme of relationship. So many theological questions jump to my mind: What does it mean for God to be the embodiment of relationality through what we know as the Trinity?  How does God – Creator, Judge and Redeemer, Sustainer – come to life in the world through God’s relatedness? Does the Trinity suggest to us that God not only desires “right relationship”, but that this Holy One cannot be anything other than relatedness? Is the good news this week that relationality is so embedded in God that humans cannot be anything other than relational?  What does it mean to move toward the Trinity?

 

As I write this blog, I am in the midst of living out a day where we honor a piece of our relationality as human beings through our celebration of Mothers. I happen to have one of those Mothers whom it is easy to celebrate; but I also know that this not common and that there are many for whom this day brings up feelings of despair, hurt, pain, anger, or hopelessness. What is clear is that relationships bring to us a richness that includes feelings of love and care, as well as hurt and pain. Our experiences of relationships are not one-sided or simple; they are often not either good or bad. Instead, our relationships are marked by tensions and creative possibilities. I wonder how this complexity about relationships mirrors the God in whose image we are created?

 

As I sit in this moment thinking about the texts for the coming Sunday, I am aware that the way that God lives in relationship with the Godself ought to have an impact on the way that I live in relationship with all of creation – the earth, other human beings, myself, my family and neighbors. During this coming week on this blog, I invite you to reflect and engage one another in what it means to be created in the image of this God of relationality. How does our capacity for right relationship get compromised through our arrogance or our human limitation, through our hate or our anger? How do we claim the redemptive gift of relationality when it is also one of the places of our deepest pain? Is there not something in all of this complexity that is also reflective of God’s experience through Mother/Father, Christ and the Spirit? What does it mean for human beings to move toward the Trinity?

 

I look forward to your insights and gifts to this conversation with a focus on relationality.





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