Is anyone out there?
Have I really been gone from here since August? Wow. A lot has happened since my last post, and it is clear that it is time for a fresh start. So here we go.
I hope you will join me as I "start fresh" here at Spiritual (Re)Formation. A new look, hopefully some new topics, and a much greater consistency in writing will mark this new season here.
Let me give you a preview of some of the things that will be appearing here in the near future...
I have recently resurrected a series at the Central Church of Christ where I teach/preach where I am answering questions that are submitted to me from the members of my congregation.
Many of those questions I will soon be sharing here on Spiritual (Re)Formation. Some of those questions include the following:
- Is instrumental music a salvation issue?
- Why did Jesus cry out from the cross, "My God, my God why have you forsaken me?"
- When does seeking to be obedient become legalism?
- How should we use church history to shape our theology and practice?
- Who served as deacons in the first century church?
- What should be the relationship of the church and the state?
- How should we interact with (or pull away from) people with whom we disagree about theological matters?
These and other questions will arise as time goes on. Also, feel free to submit any questions you might have by sending me an email.
We will also be talking about issues of church and culture. What does it mean to be a Christian in the 21st century? How are we to react to and engage with the culure(s) in which we live?
Maybe more specifically, how does a movement that has been preoccupied with the "first century church" maintain a faithful and culturally appropriate posture in the places in which we find ourselves?
This obviously brings in larger issues about definitions of culture, what we mean by "church" and some of the ways that we read, interpret, and use Scripture to define both belief and practice. In time, we will lay some of this groundwork and see where it takes us from there.
I also hope to begin some sporadic posts about our history, traditions, and some of the major shifts that have taken place in our heritage (both good and bad). The goal here is to better understand our roots and the places that we have "gone off into the weeds" as some like to say.
My hunch is that many of us don't know the richness and depth of our heritage. While it can be easy to be negative and cynical about our tradition (this is from the voice of experience!), I believe that there are powerful things from our own history that can and should be reclaimed in the present.
Finally, I hope to raise some questions (and propose some options) in the realm of hermeneutics or biblical interpretation. The way in which we read Scripture dictates much of what we understand (or miss). Understanding the ways we have been influenced by forces and ideas that we have never formally been taught is important. Here we will be listening to voices both old and new, both local and around the world. Reading Scripture is both a wonderful privilege (that many in history have not had!) and a deep responsibility and challenge.
We will look at some of the ways that the people in Scripture have interpreted and used Scripture, we will explore some passages that seem to reveal some tension both in perspective and understanding, and we will also talk about ways that are dangerous to our engagement with Scripture.
Overall, I think that the future is bright here at Spiritual (Re)Formation. I believe that the Spirit of God is moving in powerful and sometimes shocking ways in the church today to make us more into the image of His Son in the world. The most important part of this journey here however will be your participation. So stop back often, comment when you can, and most of all pray that each of us will be continually (re)formed into the image of Jesus.