Sermon – Thomas, Faith and Doubt

John 20:19-31
Sermon preached at Gorbals Parish Church, April 11th on the Second Sunday of Easter

Together with a small group from our church, we spent a wonderful few days on the Island of Iona, taking part in the life of the Iona Community. We shared meals together, we set the table and washed dishes together, we took long walks together, reflecting in our pilgrimage on different significant spots on the island. We also we joined in worship in the Abbey every morning and evening. I can probably say for all of us who were there, that we did experience what Celtic spirituality calls ‘thin places’; those places where heaven and earth meet, and you feel close to God in a special, indescribable way.

I can probably talk about this all day, but as I said, this is something that you have to experience for yourself. It is not something I can describe in words. There is something special and otherworldly to find yourself in one of these ‘thin places’ where the presence of God is experienced unlike anywhere else. It is not a case of being lifted up into the heavens and leaving earth behind, but rather it is a case of heaven and earth coming together, which is actually what we are hoping for in the future, at the Second Coming of Jesus, when God will make a home with his people.

Continue reading

David Fergusson on Rudolf Bultmann

I found this video on James McGrath’s blog and I found it very useful in understanding Bultmann’s demythologizing programme. I have to say, it made a lot of sense to me. Have a look and tell me what you think:

(Prof. David Fergusson was one of my professors at New College in Edinburgh. I took a course in Church Sacraments with him and enjoyed it tremendously!)

Leaving triumphalism behind

I don’t know about you, but I’m getting rather tired of watching clergy and apologists defending the church. There is so much energy being spent in defending the church against Atheism, or Antitheism or any other theism for that matter, that there is no energy left for moving forward. Every single debate I watch in which the church is involved in a way or another, the church’s representatives have the bad habit of over-emphasizing the good that the church has done in society in the past, and minimizing the mistakes at the same time. I think that is rather distasteful and counterproductive, which is probably why I’m not an apologist.

Continue reading

No single meaning

Quote from Walter Brueggemann, “Divine Presence Amid Violence. Contextualizing the Book of Joshua”, p. ix:

“The conviction that Scripture is revelatory literature is a constant, abiding conviction among the communities of Jews and Christians that gather around the book. But that conviction, constant and abiding as it is, is problematic and open to a variety of alternative and often contradictory or ambiguous meanings. Clearly that conviction is appropriated differently in various contexts and various cultural settings. Current attention to hermeneutics convinces many of us that there is no single, sure meaning for any text. The revelatory power of the text is discerned and given precisely through the action of interpretation which is always concrete, never universal, always contextualized, never ‘above the fray’, always filtered through vested interest, never in disinterested purity.”

Saving Jesus?

This is a very interesting and provocative discussion with Brandon Scott, a New Testament scholar, former Roman Catholic. He has a very interesting perspective on the Constantinian hijacking of Christianity, with its departure from Jesus to an imperialist structure. And yet…

A failed religion?

Quote from Brian D. McLaren, Everything Must Change (p.33)

Brian McLaren, Everything Must Change“More and more reflective Christian leaders are beginning to realize that for the millions of young adults who dropped out of their churches in the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries, the Christian religion appears to be a failed religion. […] it has specialized in dealing with ‘spiritual needs’ to the exclusion of physical and social needs. It has specialized in people’s destination in the afterlife but has failed to address significant social injustices in this life. It has focused on ‘me’ and ‘my soul’ and ‘my spiritual life’ and ‘my eternal destiny,’ but it has failed to address the dominant societal and global realities of their lifetime: systemic injustice, systemic poverty, systemic ecological crisis, systemic dysfunctions of many kinds.”