Thursday, April 20, 2006


These are busy times during which I haven't the time to formulate the well thought out continuation of our conversation that I would like to. That being said, I will throw a bone out there to chew on. I am doing an independent study on Postmodernism and Christian Ethics. I have read much Derrida, Foucault, and Grenz of late and thus have had a chance to ponder some of the proposals they make about epistemology and ethics and such. I think that I can even tie this in to our discussion. We shall see.

I am currently reading Stanley Grenz’s A Primer on Postmodernism and I came upon an explanation that he gave of Michel Foucault’s views on knowledge and interpretation. He said, “Michel Foucault adds a moral twist to Derrida’s call. Foucault asserts that every interpretation of reality is an assertion of power. Because knowledge is always the result of the use of power, to name something is to exercise power and hence to do violence to what is named…. Foucault claims that every assertion of knowledge is an act of power.” (pg. 6) I want to disagree with Foucault here. I believe that although many certainly do use interpretations of experiences as a mechanism of manipulation at times, I also believe that many use those same interpretations, or observations of reality, as an invitation to another. Is that not ultimately what a statement of knowledge is; an invitation to share in the same experience, the same reality? When I name something, I am inviting others to share in that name. When I suggest a description of what some event looks like, I am inviting someone else to agree or disagree with me. I don’t believe that assertions of knowledge are inherently acts of power. I think more than anything they are calls for communication and reconciliation. Can these statements be powerful? You bet! But do they hold another completely captive to their assumptions? No. If they did, then all of God’s original assertions of knowledge to Adam would have been followed and we would not be in the predicament we are in. Rather, God’s assertion of truth to Adam was an invitation to share in the goodness that is present in fellowship with Him. Do I do a flower violence by calling it beautiful? Did God do violence to man by creating him and naming him? Names are invitations to interact, a starting place to discover more. Making a rule does not inherently do violence to another; it spurs the other on to discover why the rule was made.

Taste and see that the Lord is good!

Our statement of belief is an invitation to the lost man, to discover the sweet Lord that we have as our Savior.

I am not attempting to control you by discussing this matter, just trying to invite you to see what I have seen, to think what I have thought. Maybe, in our discussion, the Holy Spirit will help us see rightly; and help us communicate rightly about what we see.

Let me know what you think. Is this just the ramblings of a postmodernly fried brain?

More Interrelation to Come....

Friday, April 14, 2006

As we consider how our Lord died for our sins, and rose from the grave, let us remember that He died for all that might believe in Him. That he opened Himself, that all who hear and believe might enter Him and become a member of the interrelated Body of Christ. Let us remember that this day is not a day for the one, but a day for the many; many who bear the guilt, many who hear the gospel, many who are forgiven, and subsequently many who form the redeemed Body. Do not allow this weekend to “Passover” without considering one's responsibility to the Body.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

I would like to redirect our conversation to a degree and explain why it is necessary to do so. This blog is a conversation about why and how the "Church" should be characterized by "interrelation." One thing that has come up over and over in our conversations is how this idea affects the individual. This question needs to be addressed because one can only grasp the concept of interrelation in as much as one understands the limits of individuality. Thus I would like to propose a conversation on what are Biblical limits of the individual. What rights does the Biblical individual have that the Body must recognize or else consequently transgress God's will? Are there any contemporary understandings of human rights that go beyond the rights that God says an individual has within the Body of Christ? Please interact with this line of thinking and let me know what you think. If we can all come within close proximity of each other in suggesting where the defense of the individual should end, then we can move forward more concretely in defining how the Body should be represented in the local congregation of believers. I would like to primarily see Biblical passages here. A philosophy from an ancient or contemporary Christian scholar can be referenced as long as it applies to a relevant passage of Scripture.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

I believe the 1 John passage is a good passage to go back to in reference to the interrelation we are to have with other Christians. We have spoken a little about the difference between using our confrontation and subsequent interrelation with the Body as the starting point in the process of spiritual knowledge as apposed to the individual’s “enlightenment,” and subsequent decision to join like minded individuals. This idea, man’s autonomous ability to come to truth on his own, is what I am suggesting is a primary culprit in the “Church Invisible” losing its interrelational identity. Western Civilization, especially, has become so focused on the individual’s ability to objectively discern all truth for himself that the desire to submit one’s observations to the accountability of a larger community has become undesirable, if not suspect. Southern Baptists, of which I have traditionally been involved with, are some of the worst at pushing for the complete autonomy of every participant within the church system. The individual worshiper is autonomous in their spiritual life and thus can not effectively be held accountable. Each local church is touted as being autonomous and thus not inherently tied to the accountability of another church of like persuasion. Our associations consist of little more than websites for us to find our church listed and to organize an occasional softball league. With this bent toward individuality in mind, let’s look at an example in the Word where John is reaching out to the lost in order that they might be interrelated.

1 John 1:1-4
“1What was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we have looked at and touched with our hands, concerning the Word of Life—2and the life was manifested, and we have seen and testify and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was manifested to us—3what we have seen and heard we proclaim to you also, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ. 4These things we write, so that our joy may be made complete.” (NASB)

Do you notice all the “we”s involved in this passage? He is certainly talking from the perspective of a collective. And what is the purpose of this intro? Is it not to reveal to the ones in the dark that there consists a community of light within Jesus Christ that calls to them, that they might see and become a part of the “fellowship?” “You too may have fellowship with us: and indeed our fellowship is with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ.” Where is the individual in this play of wills? Where is the autonomous self? “What was from the beginning” was revealed to a fallen, un-interrelated community so that a new interrelated community in Christ, The Body, might be inaugurated. Ever since the inauguration, our call to others has been “Join Us,” not “Join Me.”

Saturday, April 01, 2006

The Divine Foundation of the interrelated Body.

What is the foundation that creates, supports, and drives an interrelational idea of church? I believe that a further explanation of a statement I made in the opening post will help guide such a conversation. I wrote, “So therefore, the Foundation on which we stand as an interrelated body, Christ Jesus, must be represented in a faithful way, a way that is faithful to His revelation of Himself.” It is assumed by all of Christianity that Christ Jesus is the Rock on which we stand. Yet, He is not only the foundation on which we stand, He is the image which we are to bear. This image bearing aspect assumes a particular makeup or structural representation. If this structure, the makeup of the Body, is to rightly represent Christ, it is important to at least have a general understanding of the relational quality of our Christ within the Trinity. To present this from the Biblical text I will focus first on various passages from John’s Gospel.

John 1:1-2 “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God.” (NASB)

This verse forms the foundation of John’s Gospel as it should serve as the foundation of our understanding of the church. Christ’s personhood within the Trinity must serve as the basis for every tenet of our Faith.

John 1:14, 17-18“And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth… For the Law was given through Moses; grace and truth were realized through Jesus Christ. No one has seen God at any time; the only begotten God who is in the bosom of the Father, He has explained Him.”

These scriptures bear at least two important tenets for our discussion. First, the Word (Christ Jesus) became one of us in order to explain the Godhead. The Father used the Word’s incarnation as the method of revealing Himself, Himself as three persons that make up One God. In John 14:9-10 Jesus states; “He who has seen Me has seen the Father; how do you say, ‘Show us the Father’? Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father is in Me?” He showed us, in Christ, that there is interrelation within the Trinity that cooperates in all things for the sake of the will of the Father.

Secondly, within these three verses are two references to the cooperative characteristics of grace and truth. We will speak more of these later in our discussions but let it suffice now to suggest that “grace” and “truth” serve as the scriptural basis for the qualities of “openness” and “limit” within an interrelational understanding of the Body of Christ. If Christ is full of “grace” and “truth” (in order that He might explain the Father), and we are to represent Him properly, then we must also be characterized by both. Jesus’ words in John 5:30 further explain this quality; “I can do nothing on My own initiative. As I hear, I judge; and My judgment is just, because I do not seek My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me.”

The Father and Son are interrelated to an extent that is impossible for us to fully define and in such a way that we are inherently incapable of reproducing. But, we can represent the image of this relation by serving as an interrelated body. John reports Jesus as proposing this very concept on several occasions.

John 10:30 “I and the Father are one.”

John 17:11 “I am no longer in the world; and yet they themselves are in the world, and I come to You Holy Father, keep them in Your name, the name which You have given Me, that they may be one even as We are.”

John 17:22-23 “The glory which You have given Me I have given to them, that they may be one, just as We are one; I in them and You in Me, that they may be perfected in unity, so that the world may know that You sent Me, and loved them, even as You have loved Me.”

We observe, even from these few passages, that Christ desires for us to live in unity not just for the sake of a peaceful existence among Christians but more importantly so that we might represent the relationship that the Son has with the Father. Although I do not agree with every bit of Stanley Grenz’ ethics, he still does a wonderful job in reminding readers that God has revealed Himself to us as a Holy Trinity and wants us to worship and reflect Him as such (See The Social God and Relational Self). Our view of the Body, and thus of the Church, should begin with our understanding of the Head of the Body, Christ Jesus, and the characteristics of His relationship with the Father and Spirit. Give me your thoughts on how viewing such a relationship as the foundation of our ecclesiastical structures might change the way we formulate our local congregations.