He has an essay on Washington Post On Faith today about the need for a spirituality of hope to undergird a politics of hope, here is the link
Nick also drops a bombshell, he is selling his soul back to Jesus, if you buy him an iPad, check it out. And let’s be honest, this is Nick doing what Nick does. He is being skeptical, and yet hopeful!No really all kidding aside. The more I think about the events that have led Nick to suggest re-entering Christendom through the use of a ipad, the more I think he may be on to something. Only time will tell really what that something is, but, it’s worth exploration.
You can pick up a copy of The Galilean Secret here on Amazon.
Hanging out with friends and listening to music is a wonderful thing. Honestly, there is something that happens especially when you listen to people living into thier passion. And then there is the music, or maybe it is just the muse that inspires and connect and calls people to reflection that is so critical. Reflection inspires and beckons all who will hear to a new level of being in the world.
Yes, this is community. Life with people living into their passions, hoping for a world not yet present, yet finding others willing to join the pursuit of that something missing yet glimpsed now.
In this podcast Josh grabs another round table podcast with the likes of Julie Clawson, Ben Lowe, and Tom Sine. The four of them discuss the (lack of a) Christian response to the oil spill in the gulf of Mexico as well as other issues facing the American Christianity’s move towards more active caring for creation.
You can also read Josh’s blog on the oil spill here.
If you wish to volunteer to help in the clean up efforts, please click here.
Finally, there is a first in this podcast. Drop us a line if you think you know what it is!
Nick & Josh
Dr. Pacini’s current research focuses on problems in Kantian and post-Kantian philosophy and philosophical theology, especially those of aesthetics and psychology as they evolved in late nineteenth-century and early twentieth-century texts that explore the boundaries of theological thinking.
This podcast, with Alex as a guest co-interviewer, focuses on Pacini’s most recent work entitled Through Narcissus’ Glass Darkly: The Modern Religion of Conscience.
Nick mentions the Brian McLaren, Bishop Spong, and Phyllis Tickle Podcast, it’s here
We have had our attention divided in the news as of late. Arizona grabbed us first with divisive immigration action that seems more like racial profiling than actual reform. Then came the oil spill, a catastrophe in itself, 11 lives lost and a huge threat to the livelihoods of fishers and drillers alike. We watch more closely each day as the slick pollutant threatens the shores of an already devastated state. And then an attempted terrorist attack in NYC. The glory of catching a suspect quickly and in a flash the headlines go back to Louisiana and the gulf shores.
My attention has been divided by another story, or maybe the lack of reporting on another story. Oklahoma recently passed two new abortion laws. They are the most stringent a state has put in to place yet and, while a month ago they would have grabbed national attention from women’s groups and leftist hippies alike, they are getting a pass because there is so much going on already. I have spoken to friends who have stood on the front lines of choice rallies and women’s rights protests, and almost all of them have not even heard a word about Oklahoma.
The first measure passed mandates that all women seeking an abortion must first have an ultrasound of their “baby”, and it is “their baby” not “the fetus”. Now while several states have passed similar regulations Oklahoma has upped the ante requiring the doctor to set up the ultra sound equipment so that the woman can see the image on the screen. The doctor is also required to describe the limbs and organs of the baby.
In an even more dramatic step Oklahoma specifically did not include exemptions for women who are victims of rape or incest. This would be the main reason sited for governor Brad Henry’s veto of the measure which was overrode by the state legislatures vote.
The second provision makes it illegal to sue a doctor for withholding information about birth defects while the baby is in utero. Which is to say that if your child is born with down syndrome and the doctor knew four months before the birth, you cannot sue the doctor for not providing all the information s/he knew about your child.
Supporters of the bill say that this is to keep women who would abort a child because of birth defects from suing their doctors after. I would say that it provides shelter for doctors to withhold and mislead patients and opens the door to many scarier scenarios.
To me, a Christian woman who has never faced the scary choice of an unwanted pregnancy, these laws seem like cruel and unusual punishment to the women who are put into that terrible situation. A girl, of 15 is raped, on the street by a stranger or in her own home by a family member, and before she can wrap her head around what has happened to her a doctor puts a monitor in front of her and describes in the most detail possible what thing is beginning to form in her womb. It strips her of dignity, it wares down her coping and defense mechanism, she is left more traumatized than she was moments ago, compounding the lasting damage of an already horrific event. This is what we have come to.
I know the argument, life begins at conception and God knew me in the womb (Jermiah1:5). But I also recognize that not everyone holds the values that I do and that I am instructed not to judge them for any choice they make. Which, I believe, is to say not punish them for any choice they make. We are told to love, unconditionally and completely.
Iris is a guest blogger who works in Southeast on human rights issues. She is an Episcopalian and lives in a sustainable community with other community activists.
Update: It is important to note that the Attorney General for Oklahoma has put a 45 day hold on both of these new laws while the state retains council due to a pending suit from The Center for Reproductive Rights. A similar law passed in Oklahoma in 2008 was deemed unconstitutional.
The other night while watching the show Life I was amazed. There were these ants that would eat these mushrooms and then rush off to die under trees where new mushrooms would sprout from their dead heads. I mean, when it comes to tv, this is serious stuff. So serious in fact, that it seems odd that you could call it anything but natural. I mean lets face it, although it is somewhat mysterious that the ants love to eat the plants which drive them crazy, it really is just a natural cycle of a natural creation. It is life.
What is happening in the Gulf of Mexico this week as a result of BP Chemical’s failure to make good on its promise to protect the wildlife of the world’s oceans while extracting oil to be used for cars is not something to marvel at. Species of fish, pelican, squid, duck, and who knows what else are all being swallowed up into the black gulf of oil which will not only limit their capacity to fly or swim, but will inevitably be the cause of much death. Death that is both unnatural and preventable!
Preventable or not, the disaster is here. The question I have is: where are all the Christians? I mean honestly, here you have an example of humans exacting a kind of injustice on the creation that they claim to be responsible for stewarding, and there has been no effort to try to help or to mobilize (at least from what I can find) people as good stewards to action. And whereas many Christians in the empire were more than ready to suggest that drilling for oil was Biblically justified on a stewardship basis, few are coming forward to take up responsibility for clean up or care.
I have to admit that as I write I am more than a little bummed that if you Google “Christian oil spill volunteers,” you actually find an Atheist organization recruiting volunteers to help with clean up before you find Christians. Now this isn’t to say they are not out there, only to say they are not activating their bases, they’re not stepping in and saying “we love to drive our cars with our fish on them, and so we too are kind of responsible for this mess.” They are not even saying that the oil clean up is part of their responsibility as people of faith in the public square.
But shouldn’t a Christian response to this crisis be equally as measured as a response to other tragedies like hurricanes and earthquakes? Or, in some classic sense, do most Christians still fundamentally believe that God only cares about human life and human surviving? Is there a way in which this oil spill, like the slowness of Christian response to HIV/AIDS in the early years of the pandemic, will be the beginning of breaking of this kind of disconnect? Maybe, but maybe not.
Maybe response really depends on how one views God’s relationship to Creation. If one views God as completely other and distant then it makes sense why caring for the animals about to be destroyed would matter less. And if you buy the Left Behind logic, it matters even less as everything is going burn.
But what if Sallie McFague was right when she suggested thinking about the relationship between the world and God this way: “the world is God’s body?” Would our response be different? Would we be quicker to help if we experienced the violence against the earth as violence against the goodness of God?
McFague’s understanding of the world as God’s body challenges and calls disciples of Jesus to re-imagine the doctrine of creation not merely as God’s acting upon the world, but as God “sharing” divine power with humans that all of creation may flourish. In McFague’s articulation, not only does God meet with humanity in the “intrinsic and intimate” details of their lives, but in the everyday experiences of life at home in planet earth. With this vision of earth as home, McFague hopes to inspire humans to not only be planted as good stewards of the earth (as God’s body) but also to bear witness to the goodness and sustainability of creation in God. (Some might even argue, that it is this way of understanding God/World that allows Christians to challenge the injustices they experience under any political system.)
Might not this view call more Christians to a sharing in clean up? Might not this view make for a kind of green revolution necessary for sustainable life on earth for all that share it?
You may remember that Glenn Beck infuriated Christians all across the US just a few short weeks ago by suggesting that people should report their pastors for using any kind of social justice language in the church. Beck’s point at the time was that these pastors were just buying into a liberal socialist agenda of the Obama administration and that Jesus’ movement had nothing to do with it. Well, on this point, maybe Beck will have nothing to worry about. For it seems to me that the Church is still very much behind the times with regards to creation care. Or, maybe I’m wrong! Let’s give Beck something to talk about and let Rush know that though he may wish to blame ‘the environmentalists’ for this tragedy, its everyone in the empire who is to blame!
I’m convinced that there is a huge need for Christians to wake up and to respond to this crisis as good stewards of a good creation. As people who ought to be working already to participate in the healing of the world, it is our duty! I’ve started rallying my circles and my networks to mobilize people towards action. Won’t you join me?!
As you hear of opportunities for Christians to get involved in the clean up, please link here in the comments section! I’ll put a list together for ongoing circulation!