Monthly Archives: July 2014

Generous Orthodoxy – Part 2

Some insights from McLaren:

The 7 Jesus’ he has known

– Conservative. Protestant

– Liberal Protestant

– Roman Catholic

– Eastern Orthodox

– Pentecostal

– Anabaptist

– Liberation Theology

Son of God as the Radiance of God – looking at Perichoresis and Christ hymns.

He casts Jesus as Lord as

– the head of the household whose commands are to be obeyed

– the triumph over the powers

– the master/ apprentice


Jesus saving

– through judgement

– then forgiveness

– the saving of all creation

“‘Preach the gospel to all creation’ Christ said.  Are we only now beginning to understand what he meant?  I believe the unwritten melody that haunts this book every so faintly, the new song waiting to be sung in place of they hymn of salvation, to simply the song of creation.  To move away from the theology of salvation to the theology of creation may be the task of our time. ” from Vincent Donovan, on page 101

Generous Orthodoxy – Part 1

A few things on Generous Orthodoxy, firstly about the term itself (which comes from Hans Frei).

From Lesslie Newbiggin on other faith

Exclusive in the sense of affirming the unique truth of the revelation in Jesus Christ to those outside the Christian faith, inclusive in sthe sense of refusing to limit the saving grace of God to Christians.. (and the quote goes on – page 17)


Reading the Bible is like eating fish.  Enjoy the meat that’s easy to eat first; come back and work on the bones later if you are still hungry (page 22)

Chesterton “I am the man who with utmost daring discovered what had been discovered before … I did try to found a heresy of my own; and when I had put the last touches to it, I discovered it was orthodoxy. (page 27)

I can’t find the page which has Frei’s quote

“Generosity without orthodoxy is nothing, Orthodoxy without generosity is less than nothing.”


Sisters of Sinai

What to say about Sisters of Sinai, an example of a book that got better as it went on, possibly because it was about two sisters finding their vocation and honing their skills as they went on,

These two, Margaret and Agnes, were the best kind of Calvinists – engaged with the world, prepared to ask the questions, hot in pursuit of truth, and also ecumenically engaged.  They were people who made mistakes, but did their best to redress them; they were firm and idiosyncratic but ultimately good hearted; in them they want to discover the truth about the text, but also to embody what it stood for.

This is a book about vocation – a vocation that gradually emerges from half chances and encounters, and passions, and being led to things along the way – vocation that also meant much hard work, perseverance, and discovering the dead ends were actually what led to where the twins were meant to be.

This is also a book about 19th Century Biblical scholarship and textual criticism.  I think we can perceive the Higher Critics of the 19th century as unwelcome and iconoclastic layabouts, those who shied away from the real business of belief because they fell in love with rationalism.  In this portrait, the best of them are believers who believed they would meet God in truth, wherever the truth would take them. Continue reading

Seven Things About The Divine Word

J.I. Packer once said of himself “Packer by name, packer by nature.”  He loves compressed, theological density.

Here outlines the seven things that John’s prologue tells us about the Word:

In the beginning as the Word – the Word’s eternity

And the Word was with God – the Word’s personality

And the Word was God – the Word’s deity

Through him all things were made – The Word creating

In him was life – The Word animating

The life was the light of men – The Word revealing

The Word became flesh – The Word incarnate

(based on page 62)

Celtic Pilgrimage

One of my favourite poems, from Peter Millar, reflecting on the Iona Pilgrimage reaching St. Columba’s bay.

At Columba’s Bay
they met;
Two of Iona’s
countless pilgrims.
He, a pastor from Zaire;
She, a broker in Detroit.
And battered by the
autumn wind and rain
they shared their stories –
rooted in twentieth century realities,
yet both embedded
in a strange, life-giving
The hidden stories –
of poverty and torture,
of cancer and loneliness;
interweaving stories,
mirroring our
global interconnectedness.
And stories of faith;
of God’s unfolding
in their lives
through ordinary days.
And suddenly it seemed
that for a moment
on that distant shore
they glimpsed
that basic truth –
that truly,
we are one
in Christ.

From Julie McGuinness ‘ Reflections on Life’s Road’ (quoted on page 243, used to end the book)

Some people travel in straight lines:
Sat in metal boxes, eyes ahead,
Always mindful of their target,
Moving in obedience to coloured lights and white lines.
Mission accomplished at journey’s end.

Some people travel round in circles:
Trudging in drudgery, eyes looking down,
Knowing only too well their daily, unchanging round.
Moving in response to clock and to habit,
Journey never finished yet never begun.

I want to travel in patterns of God’s making:
Walking in wonder, gazing all around,
Knowing my destiny, though not my destination,
Moving to the rhythm of the surging of his spirit,
A journey which when life ends, in Christ has just begun.