Experience vs. Theology: A False Dichotomy

Experience vs. Theology: A False Dichotomy

Imagine that I never talked to my wife of 16-years. No sharing of dreams, passions, likes or dislikes. Nothing. Knowing that talking could lead to miscommunication, I, instead, choose to  experience her presence through snuggling up next to her or simply by being in the same room. After all, I reason, experiencing her presence is more life changing than any conversation could be. Or so goes the common thought when it comes to God. Over and over again well-intention people pit experience against theology with a bias towards one or the other. To do this is to reduce the fullness of God, placing him inside a self-defined box where he ceases to be who he really is. Theology, contrary to popular culture, isn’t having information about God or holding to the right doctrine. Simply put, theology is the study of God – meaning that we are dong theology every time we think about Jesus, talk about Jesus, read the Scriptures, ponder the deep meanings of life, etc.  Stanley Grenz & John Franke defined theology in their book Beyond Foundationalism as the “ongoing conversation among those whom the God of the Bible has encountered in Jesus Christ.” Accordingly I love theology as it brings me closer to Jesus while also giving me a glimpse into the different facets of him. Experience, similar to theology, is another way of knowing God. Which is to say that it is a way for us to emotionally encounter the living God who actively seeks us out. Experience in this way is more than simply having a charismatic phenomena happen in, through or around you. Sadly,...
Defining Healing: A Review of Rick Richardson’s book “Experiencing Healing Prayer”

Defining Healing: A Review of Rick Richardson’s book “Experiencing Healing Prayer”

The book “Experiencing Healing Prayer” was written out of Rick Richardson’s experience as an Anglican priest helping people find healing for the soul. Rick’s own personal journey in inner healing started when he told a friend about a recurring dream about a man coming at him with a knife. His friend suggested that they pray about Rick’s relationship with the gentleman in his dream.  When they did this, Rick experienced “the healing touch of God and the blazing light of his wisdom” (page 13). That day marked a turning moment in Rick’s life as it was the start of a journey helping others experiences the healing power of Jesus. The book’s seventeen chapters can be broken into seven major sections with each part focused on a different subtopic of soul healing. The first section (Ch. 1-3) serves as an introduction to inner soul healing. From there the remaining chapters are split among the six signposts Rick proposes as guides “along the way on the healing journey” (page 33). The first signpost or second selection of the book (Ch. 4-6) is focused on God’s presence and hearing “God’s still small voice” (page 46). The third selection (Ch. 7) talks about gender identity and replaying our “diseased images and memoires” with “healed and transformed images” (page 89). Chapters 8-9 make up the fourth selection or third signpost with an emphasis renouncing unreal identities and embracing an identity rooted in Jesus. The fifth selection (Ch. 10-14) tries to get to the “roots of pain and problems, not just the fruits or symptoms” (page 12). This is quickly followed by the sixth selection...
Hanging Out In Canada

Hanging Out In Canada

Tomorrow is the big day. After years of dreaming and months of work, I will be attending my first Master’s level class at St. Stephen’s University (SSU) in St. Stephen, Canada. Yep, I am in Canada for the next two weeks attending classes. *much happiness!* I arrived in St. Stephen’s early this morning at 2 am and crashed. After a few hours of sleep, I rolled out of bed and wondered into St. Croix Vineyard Church. The two pastors of the church are also professors at SSU: Dr. Peter Fitch and Dr. Walter Thiessen. What’s cool at St. Croix is that they have an early morning Celtic liturgy service followed by a more typically Vineyard style service. I was unable to attend the Celtic service this morning due to my late arrival – but I will do so much week!!! 😀 I would ask for prayer as my allergies are going crazy. Part of it is the cats at my place of lodging; part of it is being in a different part of the country. Regardless, I really would like to be able to think and not have a foggy allergy brain. =/ hmm….what else can I say? Not much is happening at the moment… hopefully I will have some time to post while I’m here. If not, I’ll try to catch you all up afterwards. Blessings.  ...
What is Christian Salvation?

What is Christian Salvation?

I’m reading an Eastern Orthodox book for new believers when I came across an explanation of salvation that was amazing! They truly have a robust view of salvation that puts the typical Protestant to shame. Seeing how wonderful their explanation is, I have posted their explanation below for you read (with some emphasis added at certain points). I hope it will speaks to you as it spoke to me. Blessings What is Salvation? What does it mean to be saved? What is salvation in Christ? Salvation is freedom – freedom from the tyranny of self centeredness, freedom from bondage of fear and death. Salvation in Christ is being freed from myself so that I can become they person God created me to be and intends me to become. Salvation is God lifting us up in Christ Jesus. It is God giving us hope. It is God working an unrelenting work in our personalities, in our characters, in our lives.  It is God not giving up on us. Salvation according to Orthodox theology is not the state of “I have arrived. I have made it. I am saved.” Rather, it is the sate of “I am on the way. I am moving. I am growing in God, for God, with God, and through the power of God.” Salvation is Christ overcoming for us our greatest enemy which is at the root of all our insecurity, the fear of death. God does not remain aloof in the heavens while men suffer and die. He takes on a body and by death destroys our death so that now death becomes a doorway...
2015 IMB Report at the SBC

2015 IMB Report at the SBC

With over 16 million members, the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) is the largest Protestant body in the US and the largest Baptist denomination in the world. Connected with the SBC is the International Mission Board (IMB), which, similar to its parent organization, is one of the largest missionary organization in the world. I mention all of this because I think it good to pay attention to what they do as it effects a large portion of the population. Below these comments is a video report of the IMB’s president, David Platt (pastor and author), given a few days ago at the SBC General Conference. In watching the video, two things stood out to me. 1)    The number of full time missionaries sent out by the IMB is steady dropping This decline in missionaries is due, account to Platt, mainly to the lack of funds. However rather than trying to get the SBC member churches to give more money, Platt announced that the IMB is changing the way they think about mission work. As it currently stands, the IMB has a narrow view of who constitutes a missionary (i.e. fully supported, full time missionary living overseas) – meaning that they have had to reject large number of people over the years who have not fit that narrow definition. Platt’s answer to this is to change the definition of a “missionary” to include college students, workers, or retirees living/studying overseas. As these new missionaries will be self-supporting, IMB would not have a huge increase in expenses – instead they would channel money normally used to house, feed and support a missionary...
Need An Awesome Easter Gift?

Need An Awesome Easter Gift?

Do you need an awesome Easter gift idea? Then look no further than LibrarsDonum’s handcrafted magnetic locking hollow book safes!! (how’s that for a sales line!) 😛 I have recently added some new book safes to my Etsy store and wanted to share them with you all. Keep in mind that I do take custom order if you have a specific book you would like turned into a safe. “Treasure Island” by Robert Louis Stevenson                   “The Story of America, 1975”   Southern Living Cookbook Classics   DeMaupassant Short Stories            ...