speaking of tension…

OK, Steve over at theopraxis.net is BLOWING MY MIND. Seriously, I feel like this guy is consistently doing one or both of two things for me:

1) Writing about things that are on my mind, or that I’m currently wrestling with, and doing so in a way that is gradually helping me to make sense of all this… and/or

2) Writing about things that I haven’t been thinking about, BUT somehow seem to be natural extensions of things that I AM thinking about, so much so that it’s like he’s thinking about what I will be thinking about a little ways down the road…

Does this makes sense? Regardless… good stuff.

So, back to the main point of my post. You need to go and read his latest post, it’s called “Scriptural Dissonance.” And it’s basically about how he thinks there’s all these big themes in the Bible that seem to contradict sometimes:

“By themes, I’m thinking of those Big Picture ideas that make the Christian story what it is – things like God’s sovereignty and human agency, like image and curse, like the humanity and deity of Christ, like the present and future nature of the Kingdom.”

The really cool thing about it is how he’s saying that maybe part of what it means to be a Christian, is somehow recognizing these seemingly contradictory things, and rather than trying to explain them away, somehow find a way to live with them. That somehow, someway, there is a tension that exists and should exist. I feel like this might be hard for people to grasp and to be OK with (me too!), but at the same time, we have accepted Paul’s whole thing about how he doesn’t do what he wants to do, and does what he doesn’t want to do (Romans 7:14-20).

So, if we can accept the tension in that, can we take it one step further that maybe there’s more tension elsewhere in the Bible? That maybe it’s not so simple to just read through it and nail everything down into categories and bullet points? I guess that thinking like this should be scary, but for some reason it makes me feel better!?!

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3 thoughts on “speaking of tension…

  1. Your blog is great. You’ve really got me thinking about stuff. A lot of it is coinciding with a book I’m reading about post-modern culture.

    I agree that there is much tension between many things in the Bible. Thinking about those things and wrestling with them is good. And as you said, I think it comes down to being able to live with the tension. We accept that we can’t understand some things fully NOW. Paul writes that we see things as through a dark glass.

    What’s so weird, though, is after I’ve gone through a huge life trial, I’m able to understand some of those tension points / oppostie points a bit better. I can see what Jesus and the other writers mean – much more clearly. Like – losing your life to gain it; counting it all joy in the midst of suffering; to come like a little child; to want to be like Christ in His suffering…

    All those things that are an antithesis to self.

    I really like Rob Bell’s teaching on Jesus Came to Save Christians – especially the one about the parable of the Rich Man and Lazerus. I’ve listened to it many times. The whole thing about our thinking we’re superior to others and even to God – yet that is what separates us from others. The things we hold onto – these keep us apart from others and from God.

  2. Thanks for reading! I’m glad that it’s getting you thinking, I think we could all use some thinking/reflection time… we’re always so busy going from one thing to the next that we barely ever stop and really think about stuff…

    Cool point about understanding things more through trials… that in and of itself is an explanation for how we can find joy in suffering, because we learn from it, and are better off later.

    That Rob Bell sermon was great… thanks for the reminder, I need to go listen to it again too!!! His ones called Calling All Peacemakers are really good too…

  3. the one unfortunate baggage of the modern era is the thinking that we have to define and categorized EVERYTHING… the scientific method, while a wonderful tool, has been used to try and kill off some very powerful parts of Christianity…

    It is these kinds of discussions, talking about the tension of the known and unknown that brings me back to anselm… i love to go back to the proslogion everynow and again to soak on some of his thoughts on the nature of God… and come away joyous about the fact that I don’t have to know all there is about God… I just need to know him…

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