Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Biblical Witness to Peacemaking

As many of you know, my dissertation was on faith-based peacemaking, so this document, the Biblical Witness to Peacemaking, is quite interesting to me. I like how they break up so many elements to peace. That's one of the things I think is most important when "evangelizing" peace: It's not just nonviolence. That's a very limited perspective of peace. Rather, peace is better defined as human flourishing and prosocial actions. Anyway, I'll leave it at that for now. :)

Monday, September 28, 2009

Science and Religion

One of the things I've long been interested in is the interplay between science and religion. My perspective has always been that they mutually reinforce one another and that each should be taken very seriously. So a little while ago I subscribed to some science and religion blogs, and I have been shocked at how much time and energy is STILL being place on the creation-evolution debate.

Really?! I thought we had moved past that. To me, it does not make a difference which mechanism God used to create things, even if we cannot scientifically identify him. From an Incarnational perspective, we frequently cannot identify God beyond a shadow of a doubt. But that's not a problem because that's the purpose of faith and not always having all the right answers.

But I think that's where there's so much energy and time put into this debate on both sides: Those invested in creation or evolution get their faiths shaken by the other side. I think they get shaken because both have to be firm in their perspectives intellectually, with iron-clad arguments. We're not sophisticated enough in any field to have iron-clad arguments. Not that we should not seek that, but we also need to have grace for ourselves and for Truth and realize that the search for Truth is a journey.

Faith is found along the way and gives us confidence and a firm foundation when we do not know anything for sure.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Definition of Evangelical

I just took an interesting survey on the Emerging Evangelical Intelligentsia, which in part looked into the definition of "evangelical" and how much the responder identifies with that label. It had some excellent questions about how we define it and associate with it.

Have you thought about how much you do or do not identify with that label and why? Labels are interesting things, especially as we use them for ourselves...

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Mind-Body-Spirit Splits

I have long been a proponent of holistic care and de-emphasizing the mind-body-soul/spirit split, particularly from Incarnational perspectives. However, I have been really realizing lately how much I really do believe in those splits and how rooted a lot of Christian theology is in asserting that the body is separate from the mind is separate from the spirit.

We can talk all day long about how we do not believe this, but we see it occur in practice. I have seen it in the mental health field. As our research improves, we see how much can be explain by neurobiology and neurochemistry. In many ways, it is an updated version of the Freedom of the Will/Bondage of the Will debate between Erasmus and Luther.

However, I was amazed at how uncomfortable I would start becoming when I realized how strong the biological components of mental health really are. I realized I had an implicit assumption that there still was a very distinct portion of ourselves that would be mind and a portion that was soul/spirit.

If we do not separate these, we often assume that our own responsibility or even the transcendent intervention from God may not be all that powerful. Frankly, most of our theology is grounded in those two points.

I'm still not sure how to reconcile these beliefs with a more holistic, non-split perspective of humans. Few people provide solutions. Any ideas?

Perhaps this is one of the struggles that may not have a clear answer, but in searching for it, other wisdom and insight is created...


Got a question, struggle, or doubt you'd like to see addressed here? Contact me, and I'll try to discuss it (and may even help you get an answer).