1.1 - What is going on in our world?
This famous (alleged) words by Karl Barth frame one of the key tasks of the Christian faith: to bring the story of the Bible and the events of our world together. The Christian faith has always been an engaged faith–our journey of faith isn't supposed to happen disconnected from the world and the circumstances we find ourselves in, it is supposed to help us understand, and even speak into, our world around us.
However...I don't know about you, but doesn't this idea feel increasingly exhausting in our day and age? It feels like the world has gone crazy! Trying to understand what feels like rampant chaos and change just sounds tiring, doesn't it? Take just a few minutes and watch the 2019 year in review from MSNBC:
I feel energy just drain out of me...political drama, social crisis, murder, death and disaster seem to be on a nearly unlimited leash these days. How things are working just feels like it isn't working, and where do we even begin with our task of making biblical sense of all of this? Is it even possible in a world that is changing so dramatically and so rapidly?
I believe it is, but it's not a simple task, nor will it leave us unchallenged in the process. In order to wrap our head around the new world we find ourselves in, we're going to have to find new frameworks of thinking and look at how they inform our understanding of our faith's role in the world. While the pace of change might feel overwhelming, I don't believe that means we cannot understand or speak into what is happening, it just means we may have to go about it differently than we used to in decades prior. We can make sense of this, but not by thinking the way we did.
So...we're off on an adventure here! As we go, we will wrestle with new ideas, think more globally than we've had to in the past, and hopefully come to see and understand Jesus and the gospel in ways that make us fall in love with God all over again. What I ask of you is this: proceed with an open heart and an engaged mind. The ideas we are exploring here will likely be new–we have to think in new ways to make sense of our context–but new ideas and the journey of faith haven't always walked hand in hand well.
Don't worry; we aren't going to leave orthodoxy behind, so you don't need to defend against these new ideas. Consider them, weigh them against Scripture, see how they fit with the backdrop of our 21st century. If you agree with them, feel free to take them along for your journey as well. The kind of front-line thinking we're doing here is bound to capture some strands of truth and miss others. I realize that's part of the process and I'm okay with that. I don't claim to have absolute truth here, I just want to be part of pushing the conversation forwards.
It's going to be a stretching, wonderful journey, but first, let me introduce myself...