Monday, March 30, 2015

Art, Music, Creation, Difference, Violence, Harmony, and the Trinity

"Creation is the work of a dynamic, three-personed God and the members of the Trinity enjoy an eternal giving and receiving among one another. The doctrine of the Trinity informs us of both the personality and the dynamism of God - qualities that are suggested in the ancient term applied to the Trinity - perichoresis. It refers to the mutual indwelling of the persons of the Trinity by extension perichoresis can be used to refer to God's relationship to the world whereby all things exist in him and through him; in him we live and move and have our being... why move?  Are we dancing when we have our being?
All of creation is somehow engaged in the life of the trinity is well.  John 17 in particular comes to mind where we read that in our growth in Christ God indwells us and we indwell Him.  So Father Son and Holy Spirit are dancing around each other and the Christian life is our entry into that dance.
Orthodox theologian David Bentley Hart notes that while God was under no necessity to create, the act of creation flows out of the infinite love that's experienced by the members of the Trinity.  Hart writes:
"God's gracious action in creation belongs from the first to that delight, pleasure, and regard that the Trinity enjoys from eternity as an outward and unnecessary expression of that love.  Thus creation must be received before all else as a gift and beauty."

Thursday, March 26, 2015

What is Worldliness?

“Modernity presents an interlocking system of values that has invaded and settled within the psyche of every person. Modernity is simply unprecedented in its power to remake human appetites, think processes, and values. It is, to put it in biblical terms, the worldliness of Our Time. For worldliness is that system of values and beliefs, behaviors and expectations, in any given culture that have at their center the fallen human being and that relegate to their periphery any thought about God.
Worldliness is what makes sin look normal in any age and righteousness seem odd. Modernity is worldliness, and it has concealed its values so adroitly in the abundance, the comfort, and the wizardry of our age that even those who call themselves the people of God seldom recognize them for what they are.”
David F. WellsGod in the Wasteland (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1994), 29.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

On "Givenness" ...

"I've tended to use 'givenness' in reflecting upon the given order that God has placed in creation, but creation also has a 'gift-quality' about it.  It's very existence doesn't need to be.
When I was in Sunday School as a kid, the first theological definition I can remember receiving was 'grace is unmerited favor'.  And we usually think of grace as coming after our sin, and yet the existence of all creation is an unmerited favor.  We didn't have to wait to sin to receive God's unmerited favor.
When we receive a great gift, we're delighted in the gift, but we're also delighted in the generosity of the Giver.  And so it is with the reception of a powerful work of art.
When I hear a thoughtful and attentive performance of a carefully crafted piece of music or when I watch a masterfully constructed film, I often have a sense of gratitude, not just to the performers or composer or director - but a gratitude to God as well; gratitude to live in a world where such joys are possible.
The gratitude that is felt by recipients of a gift typically resonates with the delight that is known by the Giver of the gift.  And that is a pattern built into creation."

- Ken Myers

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

The Perils of Exegetical Preaching

"The challenge for us who want to exegete the hair on a flea; we want to extract and reduce and deconstruct the rose and then tape it back together and pretend that it's a rose ... it's not!  You don't invite people into a morgue.  You invite them into a church to see a resurrection. You don't want to show them an autopsy on the text!"

- Dr Reg Grant, chair of Media Arts and Worship at Dallas Theological Seminary