Monthly Archives: May 2005

She Must And Shall Go Free

I’ve been listening to the first solo CD by former Caedmon’s Call member Derek Webb, ‘She Must And Shall Go Free’. (I know it came out two years ago but I’m catching up.) It’s a concept album based on the theme of the Church as the Bride of Christ. The final track is called ‘The Church’ and the chorus pulled me up:

‘cause i haven’t come for only you
but for my people to pursue
you cannot care for me with no regard for her
if you love me you will love the church

It made me think of a number of my posts on the old blog: for example, How Stupid Is The Church Of England? or It’s All About Who, Jesus? I can be very caustic about the Christian Church. I often need the reminder that my criticisms must be for love of the Church, whom Webb describes in what old-fashioned people like me who remember vinyl LPs used to call the sleeve-notes as “both wretched and radiant”. Uncritical, no, but critical out of loyalty and love. And hopefully with three fingers pointing back at me, too.

Thanks Derek for the reminder.

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The Gospel According to eBay

We’re getting ready to move house soon, and have lots of stuff to sell. Much of it is going on eBay. Today I had an email from them, congratulating me on getting my fifth positive feedback. ‘Only five more to go,’ they say, ‘and you’ll have your first Feedback Star!’ (Mmm, can’t wait.)

Then comes the theology. Yes: theology. ‘Your Feedback reinforces the eBay value that ‘People are basically good.”

My Christian ears pricked up at this, and so I looked up the values. They’re very positive:

We believe people are basically good.
We believe everyone has something to contribute.
We believe that an honest, open environment can bring out the best in people.
We recognise and respect everyone as a unique individual.
We encourage you to treat others the way you want to be treated.
In reverse order, they’re pretty Christian. Treat others how you want to be treated sounds pretty Christlike. Respecting everyone as an unique individual for me comes from humans being created ‘in the image of God’. An open, honest environment reminds me of Paul’s words about ‘speaking the truth in love’. Everyone having something to contribute is redolent of the idea that all have gifts.

The difficult one for many Christians is the first one, where I came in: ‘People are basically good’. Classically we’ve said ‘People are basically bad’. But as one of the characters in Brian McLaren’s novel ‘The Last Word And The Word After That’ says,

“I’m not denying the old doctrine of original sin, but it can be abused in a way that shifts the focus away from human injsutice, oppression, and suffering on Planet Earth. It shifts the focus to getting your hiundquarters into heaven after you leave Planet Earth. So it makes you worry less about how bad humanity is and more about how mad the deity is.”

So there has been a shift in more postmodern thinkers to a creation-centred spirituality, but which runs the equal and opposite danger of under-estimating the human capacity for evil. Just how do we keep the two in tension? It’s one of those paradoxes with which Christians always need to live.

We’ve Only Just Begun?

Hi, and welcome to the new location for my blog. Previously this appeared mainly at this place and sporadically here, but Modblog wasn’t right for me and Blogger was altogether too unreliable. So here I am at Typepad, given that several blogs I enjoy appear here and look rather better than my previous efforts. I’ll post something more substantial soon, but it’s late at night now and so I wish you goodnight.

We’ve Only Just Begun?

Hi, and welcome to the new location for my blog. Previously this appeared mainly at this place and sporadically here, but Modblog wasn’t right for me and Blogger was altogether too unreliable. So here I am at Typepad, given that several blogs I enjoy appear here and look rather better than my previous efforts. I’ll post something more substantial soon, but it’s late at night now and so I wish you goodnight.

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