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Archive for the ‘Theology and Doughnuts’ Category

Salvation As Divinization

Michael J. Bonnell © 1999

Let’s leap straight into some Bible verses: “[Jesus said] I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me.” (John 17:20a-21) “It is no longer I who live, but it is Christ who lives in me.” (Galatians 2:20a) “[God] has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world”. (2 Peter 1:4) (more…)

Salvation As Liberation

In this session we focus on the first of the theories from the previous discussion which characterises our redemption through Christ in terms of liberation. At its core: Christ in his crucifixion identifies with us and shares our suffering; in his Resurrection Christ is victorious over all the powers that oppress us. The connotations this liberation has as a victory won by your leader in battle makes it rather different from moksha– an equivalent of salvation found in Indic religion which is usually translated as ‘liberation’, but means one’s individual release from the cycle of rebirth. (more…)

The Eucharistic Prayer

‘Hoc Est’ © Elizabeth Wang 1992

You are a researcher sent from the planet Zog with special responsibility for studying human religions. You have noticed that every day (and especially on Sundays) millions of humans gather around a text and some food stuffs. (more…)

Images of Redemption

Crucifixion (Corpus Hypercubus) by  Salvador Dalí (1954)

Recalling the whole of the Jesus story (not just his death, but his life, teaching, way of dying, resurrection, ascension, and gift of his spirit to birth the church) we asked how does Jesus save us? The main points were:

  1. His death was an innocent, in him -a forsaken outcast- God is identified with injustice: new possibilities for divine love are revealed.

  2. The Resurrection gives us a promise of hope against fear and overturns violence with peace.

  3. Christians have access to this promise through faith in God.

The belief in redemption through Christ has been conveyed in a large variety of ways, as the Cambridge theologian David Ford relates:

It is as if the range of significance of the crucifixion was to be indicated by drawing on every sphere of reality to represent it. From nature there were the basic symbols of darkness and of seeds dying in the ground. From the religious cult there were sacrifice and the Temple. From history there were the Exodus and the Exile. From the law court there were judgement, punishment, and justification. From military life there were ransom, victory, and triumph. From ordinary life there were market-place metaphors of purchases and exchanges, household images of union in marriage, obedience, parent-child relationships and the redemption of slaves, landlords whose sons are killed by tenants, medical images of healing and saving, and the picture of a friend laying down his life.” (more…)

Paul’s Views of Salvation

In previous discussions we looked at the purpose of salvation and whether it was a gift or a task. With this discussion we begin to look at the how of salvation rather than the why, and since the Gospels only really give a description of the Resurrection we take our Biblical point of departure at Paul’s Epistles. Of the following key passages we explored both ‘What does salvation consist in?’ and ‘What are we saved for?’ (more…)

Salvation- Gift or Task?

Religion is difficult, but Christ’s yoke is easy- the burden he places upon us light (Matt 11:30). Christianity is a challenge, but it is also a comfort. Our redemption comes as a free gift from God, but it is not unconditional. So is salvation a gift or a task? (more…)

What Are We Saved From?

The kind of theology we are doing now is called Soteriology, the theory of salvation. There is a distinction between Salvation– the radical improvement of material conditions or people’s ultimate fulfilment, Atonement– the Christian concept of salvation which consists of mankind’s mystical union into the presence, activity and nature of the Divine (also called justification), and Redemption– the Christian concept of the means to atonement whereby God forgives mankind’s sins through the death and resurrection of Christ. (more…)

God as Almighty Creator

‘God’ by William Blake

The Apostle’s Creed begins: “I believe in God, the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth.”

What does the word ‘almighty’ bring to your mind (more…)

What is Theology?

The sources of discussion/language about God.

What then is theology? What do you think of when you hear the word?

Etymologically it is the study of God, and if we confined ourselves to that original meaning then the stereotypical derision of it as not a ‘proper’ discipline would be quite understandable. After all, there isn’t any way that we could study God like a pharmacist studies chemicals, and as a result it is often supposed that theology is all made up opinions. Theology cannot be straightforward and descriptive because religion is inexorably mysterious- God is fundamentally ‘other’ and cannot be adequately described in human language. (more…)

Thought for the Week 30/01/2012

From Chris Wakelin, Chaplaincy Treasurer:

This week’s Old Testament reading (Deuteronomy 18:15-20) reminds us of the dangers of being false prophets, perhaps allowing our own prejudices to affect how we represent God. At the same time it promises the people of Israel that there will come somebody who is able to speak authentically for God.

In the Gospel reading (Mark 1:21-8), Jesus does just that and we are told that the people were amazed by his teaching them “with authority” unlike the scribes. Later in the Gospels he criticises the scribes and the Pharisees for being certain of their own righteousness and of the sin of those who behaved differently to them.

I’ve always been rather suspicious of Christians (and others) who claim they “know” rather than “think” something to be true. This is especially so when opinion is sharply divided, as in the Creationist/Darwinian debate in the US or the ordination of women in the Anglican church. To me it is axiomatic that God never overides our freedom of choice – he doesn’t force us to be right, and as a result all our “knowledge” has to be provisional.

That isn’t to say we can’t be pretty sure about some things, such as God’s existence and his love for us, but perhaps we should always allow a little bit of room for ourselves to be wrong and God to reveal more of the truth to us.

As we’ve just come to the end of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, here’s a little bit of fun, with some truth in it alas: http://youtube/M0zIv2I37UU

See the Next Part of Theology and Doughnuts.

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