Archives For Incarnation

 

The Most Important Word Christians Have for the World

Incarnation: The Surprising Overlap of Heaven & Earth
William Willimon

Paperback: Abingdon Press, 2013
Buy now: [ Amazon ] [ Kindle ]

Reviewed by Shaun C. Brown

 

In William Willimon’s latest book, Incarnation: The Surprising Overlap of Heaven & Earth, Willimon presents the first volume in a series of books for popular audiences called Belief Matters. Willimon says, “In the Belief Matters series we will joyfully explore the riches of the faith, the adventure of Christian believing, the gift of Christian theology. We are going to dare to think like Christians” (ix). While Incarnation and the following volumes are addressed to popular audiences, Willimon insists that these volumes will not seek “to be lost in dumbing down Jesus” (ix), for Jesus spoke a challenging word to people. Willimon seeks in Incarnation to discus the mystery of Jesus Christ, the God who became fully human, or as he says, “In Christ, heaven and earth meet; God gets physical” (xi). Willimon calls Jesus’ salvific work in the Incarnation “the most important word Christians have to say to the world” (92).

Continue Reading…

 

St. AthanasiusSt. AthanasiusToday is the Feast of St. Athanasius…

St. Athanasius of Alexandria (c. 296–298 – 2 May 373), also called Athanasius the Great, Athanasius the Confessor or, primarily in the Coptic Orthodox Church, Athanasius the Apostolic, was the twentieth bishop of Alexandria (as Athanasius I). His episcopate lasted 45 years (c. 8 June 328 – 2 May 373), of which over 17 were spent in five exiles ordered by four different Roman emperors. He is considered to be a renowned Christian theologian, a Church Father, the chief defender of Trinitarianism against Arianism, and a noted Egyptian leader of the fourth century.
 
He is remembered for his role in the conflict with Arius and Arianism. In 325, at the age of 27, Athanasius had a leading role against the Arians in the First Council of Nicaea. At the time, he was a deacon and personal secretary of the 19th Bishop of Alexandria, Alexander. Nicaea was convoked by Constantine I in May–August 325 to address the Arian position that the Son of God, Jesus of Nazareth, is of a distinct substance from the Father.
 
Continue Reading…

 

Jesse Zink - Grace at Garbage DumpMoving into the Neighborhood

A Review of

Grace at the Garbage Dump: Making Sense of Mission in the Twenty-First Century

Jesse Zink

Paperback: Cascade, 2012.
Buy now:   [ Amazon ]  [ Kindle ]

Reviewed by Mike Bishop.

Every movement within the Christian community adopts a set of favorite words.  In the 1990’s, the Church Growth movement rallied around words like Growth, Strategy, and Leadership.  In the 2000’s the Emerging conversation focused on words like Post-modern and Community.  But in the current decade, an ancient word has become a regular part of the Missional Church vocabulary: Incarnation.

In the book, Grace at the Garbage Dump: Making Sense of Mission in the Twenty-First Century, Jesse Zink tells his story of diving headlong into the incarnational life.  Jesse became an missionary sent by the Episcopal Church to a shantytown in the heart of South Africa called Itipini.  He struggles with the idea of mission, as many progressive Western Christians do, as the foundational idea for ministry in a foreign context:  “Here I was, a white man in black Africa.  I was stepping into a role that had been filled by so many men over the generations.  That legacy – and the legacy of the word mission – made me feel uneasy, no matter my professed and eager desire to serve others and save people in Itipini.”(16)

 

“To Honor the Incarnation”

A Review of
Advent Conspiracy:
Can Christmas Still Change the World
?

By Rick McKinley, Chris Seay and Greg Holder.

Reviewed by Chris Smith.

Advent Conspiracy:
Can Christmas Still Change the World
?

By Rick McKinley, Chris Seay and Greg Holder.

Paperback: Zondervan, 2009.
Buy now: [ ChristianBook.com ]

Advent ConspiracyConsumerism is one of the greatest challenges facing the churches in North America today.  Regardless of our own personal assets (or lack thereof), we are living in one of the wealthiest nations in the history of humankind and with our great wealth, we indulge ourselves with all sorts of amusements, luxuries and labor-saving devices at great cost to ourselves, the environment and the health and security of all humankind.  It is one of the greatest contemporary ironies in the Church that our bondage to consumerism becomes most apparent during the season in which Christ followers have traditionally celebrated the birth of the Christ child.  For the last several years, the Advent Conspiracy has been challenging churches to put our consumerist practices under careful scrutiny, especially during the Christmas season.  And now the three pastors that founded the Advent Conspiracy – Rick McKinley of Portland’s Imago Dei Church, Chris Seay of Houston’s Ecclesia and Greg Holder of St. Louis’ The Crossing – have written a book that challenges us to “Spend less,” “Give more,” “Love All” and “Worship Fully.”

The authors, however, begin this new book Advent Conspiracy: Can Christmas Still Change the World?, with the declaration that consumerism is the “fastest-growing religion in the world”:

The fastest-growing religion in the world is not Islam or Christianity; the symbol of this rising faith is not the star and crescent or the cross, but a dollar sign.  This expanding belief system is radical consumerism. It promises transcendence, power, pleasure, and fulfillment even as it demands complete devotion.  Many American Christians have decided they can, to put it bluntly, love both God and money.  … American Christians have incorporated their devotion to consumerism with their Christian faith. Yet every step we make toward consumerism is one step farther off the path of Jesus the Liberating King (21-22).

Continue Reading…

 

“Embodying Transcendence”

A Review of
God in the Gallery:
A Christian Embrace of Modern Art.

by Daniel Siedell.

 

By Brent Aldrich.

God in the Gallery:
A Christian Embrace of Modern Art.

Daniel Siedell.

Paperback. Baker Academic, 2008.
Buy now from: [ Doulos Christou Books $20] [ Amazon ]


First of all, to title a book of this complexity God in the Gallery is much too narrow; the encompassing image of a “transformed vision” that Daniel Siedell describes in this book points to an ecumenical engagement of the church, that is rooted in the liturgy, to form an “expansive aesthetics” (138) as a basis of living in “a world saturated with sacramental…significance” (91). What he narrates throughout is a fundamental way of living that is incarnational, that sees the kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven; art may perhaps be described as an embodiment of this reality, creating a focused artifact of contemplation and communion. For the church, the vocation is to daily embody this reality of incarnation and resurrection, of the hope of reconciliation in the world. Siedell argues that much or modern and postmodern art has likewise been “a witness to both our fallen world and hope for its redemption” (29). The dialogue that opens up from this correlation is expansive in both directions, urging the church to draw from an “economy of the icon” in which “the primary goal is to seek communion with God” (29) as a model to look to contemporary art practices, as well as suggesting how the “church’s spiritual practices and disciplines…can underwrite and sustain aesthetic practice” (148). In both directions, though, it is the “church’s aesthetics that underwrite aesthetics in the larger culture” in a way that “expands the aesthetic potential” (138).

Continue Reading…

 

“Following creatively
in the way of Christ”

A Review of
Incarnation
and Imagination,
by Darby Kathleen Ray.

By Brent Aldrich.


Incarnation and Imagination.
Darby Kathleen Ray.
Paperback.  Fortress Books. 2008.
Buy now from: [ Doulos Christou Books $20] [ Amazon ]


I and IGiven the church’s call to embody a contrast society, it becomes necessary to look critically at the principalities and powers that dominate discourse of the world, envision and imagine new ways of being that resist those powers, and look to our history to trace the ways in which earlier Christians have embodied this task; Incarnation and Imagination by Darby Kathleen Ray does all of this, developing what she terms “a way of living in the world in which imagination, courage, and scrappy resourcefulness function as primary positive goods, as life-protecting, world-sustaining strategies for thinking and living”(12). Her specific parameters for this as an ethic, though, is in the context of the Incarnation. It is because of the ingenious and subversive nature of the life and resurrection of Jesus that we are authorized to model it as an ethic.

Continue Reading…