Monday, November 25, 2013

Jesus is Lord, or King, or say what??!?!?!

We use words, titles, images and ideas in our Christian lingo that perhaps don't mean what we think they mean.  Or what they used to mean.  Or what we want them to mean.  Or what we are afraid they mean.

This Sunday is the festival of  'The Reign of Christ', at least that is how it is known in the Anglican Church of Canada. In other traditions it is know as the 'Festival of Christ the King'.  The idea of calling God 'King' is fraught with difficulty, as is the use of so many of the images that many of us who have been immersed in Christian culture for some while tend to use.

So I felt the need to preach on some of the difficulties with the image of Christ as King, to touch on the issues of gender and power that come with such a title, to consider exactly what type of ruler we might consider Christ to be, and to respond to a conversation (some might even call it an argument) that has been taking place on my Facebook page following a status I posted a few days ago.  Here's the sermon.


Friday, November 22, 2013

Book Review - Awakening Faith

Every now and then I get books to review - and I am very glad I got this one!  Have enjoyed, and am enjoying it very much...  Here's a copy of the review I added to Amazon.ca

Awakening Faith - James Stuart Bell
Interesting insight into early Christian writings and an inspiring devotional
So often, as was the case in my own studies, introductions to that group of bishops, theologians, monks, writers etc that we call 'The Church Fathers' (not so many women, unfortunately) are only found in dense, dry, academic collections; so this gathering of devotions is a pleasant alternative which gives some idea of the breadth and depth of the Church in it's formative years.

With a substantial, but not overly taxing, amount of writing for each day (one page) along with a verse of Scripture, there is the opportunity to see something of what these early Christian's were wresting with, considering, praying over and formulating. Remembering that the Bible as we know it now was not in existence, that Christian Theology was in the early stages of its evolution, that many of these followers of Jesus were starting from scratch when it came to the words and ideas that have become the core of Christian faith, there is wisdom in this collection that is fresh, imaginative and exciting. Some of the phrases, concepts and expressions may jar with us - there are some quite negative attitudes to women or 'outsiders' that are difficult to disentangle from the writings - but we must remember they wrote in a different time, a different context and a very different world to that which we now inhabit and their dedication to Christ allows us to see the truth beyond the flaws.

The format is very helpful, devotions for every day stretching over a year. It feels enough to get the mind and heart working, without being too much to process in one go! The updated language is helpful too, readable and clear English.

Pep up your spiritual reading, a copy of Awakening Faith is a helpful reminder that the Christian Faith has twenty centuries of heritage, not just a few decades or a couple of centuries. It might even inspire more study of these Christian classics.

I received a copy of this book for review from Zondervan, through Cross Focused Reviews, but I am not under any obligation to review it positively - that's all due to the book itself!