Explorations in Theology

The series explores a theology that is human friendly! Jesus as the true human shows us who God is, and because of his consideration for us ('who are we, that God should make note of us?') defines who humanity was created to be. The nature of sin is to fall short of the glory of God. The glory of God as revealed in the truly human one - 'we beheld his glory full of grace and truth'. This volume is a foundation for the other volumes. And there are ZOOM groups available...
Volume 2 Significant Other now also available!
El libro electrónico (en Español) también ya está disponible

So go on... you know you want to!!! Order a copy Boz Publications

Going beyond the [B]ook

For the past few weeks I have been lamenting, well occasionally reflecting. I am not very good at reflecting, and as for lamenting – not even too sure I know what the word means.

My reflectful lament has been over the four books written so far – the two you all rushed to buy and the two in the pipeline for publication. I have realised that the readership will be predominantly people like me (not the majority world). People who have a strong background in the evangelical (and likely charismatic) world but are willing to consider concepts that some think are outside the box. I am not going to get an atheist to read them and desire to join a zoom group, but I sure would love honest dialogue in that direction. Not to ‘convert’ them (when was that part of the job description of the Great Commission?) but to present Jesus as the ‘face’ of God and as the ‘face’ of ‘actualised’ humanity – OK theologically ‘true humanity’.

So I have made a start at writing for that audience, and also for those who do not position themselves completely at that end of the spectrum of faith / non-faith. (The other audience I would love to dialogue with are those born after 1980, so help me God!) I am not writing an apologetic, there are others much better equipped at that, but trying to write something that is open and transparent. It is interesting in trying to do that cos one’s own presuppositions have to be challenged in the process. A few days ago I said to a friend / neighbour who expressed (past tense) he was an atheist, and then (present tense) ‘I would like to believe, but…’, that perhaps faith wise I need him as much as he needs me. I need him to challenge my faith, cos although faith cannot explain everything it must have substance.

I am planning an opening chapter on Jesus and a second one on our holy book, the Bible. In doing so I wrote the obvious concerning Jesus that he grew up in a prejudiced world, that was also fed by an interpretation of the holy scrolls that he looked to. It is hard to believe Jesus also did not have biased perspectives, particularly with respect to Gentiles and women. Scripture clearly says he ‘became mature’ through what he learned, and as I have written in an earlier post he is the great teacher because he was the GREAT LEARNER. It is amazing that he broke through beyond the culture and his own preconceived perceptions. To be fully mature by 33, and in that culture… Here I am all-but double that age and… (Any way to follow this through the interaction with Gentiles and women is very informative to observe the learning process in Jesus.)

The guidance that the holy scrolls gave Jesus is instructive for us and the guidance we receive from the Bible. Today I wrote:

Jesus was so far ahead of his culture and setting, and that his holy book (set of scrolls) both helped to shape his life and thoughts and at the same time restricted his progress. And of course this is something we have to consider also when we as Christians read our holy book, the Bible, consisting of Old and New Testaments.

Never articulated it like this before, but seemed obvious as the words appeared on my screen. We are very grateful for Scripture. Jesus must have been so grateful as he meditated on texts and saw in them his true identity and destiny. I am not sure if the right word is ‘balance’, but let me use that. We have to balance that invaluable guide that the Scriptures are with the realisation that we can also be restricted by the pages we read. Of course there are good restrictions, but there are also restrictions that prevent us moving beyond the pages. Yes beyond. For the Scriptures are to speak of Jesus, not of themselves, and Acts 28 is an unfinished record of the continuation of what Jesus is doing and teaching. A progression beyond has to faithfully follow the trajectory set out but if the whole journey is not described in the pages we have to go beyond.

13 thoughts on “Going beyond the [B]ook

  1. Vamos!!!
    ‘Shaped, but restricted… ‘
    Now that’s what I call wisdom. Brave, honest and true. Muchas gracias.

    1. Thanks Rosie. Much appreciated. Writing with a different audience in view has been a good experience.

  2. I have a particular very good friend who would be really interested in reading such a book. He asks all the questions and I have done my best to answer him over many years but in a limited way. He is pretty intellectual so your approach he would appreciate. He veers between being agnostic to atheist and brought up as a Catholic but long since dispensed with that. He has prayed in emergencies and often had answers. More than I have in fact!!

    1. I need to keep focused and write. Made a good start and been a very good discipline. Would love if it connected to your friend and people like him. Vamos a ver – let’s see!

  3. Yes would be great I would definitely get a copy for him. I really hope the writing goes well it is certainly a challenging and important project.

  4. :helped to shape his life and thoughts and

    at the same time restricted his progress’

    What a great thought to wake up to, I look forward to reading more!

    1. Glad you ‘woke up’!!! Strange thing writing as when the text appears it is often then an ‘aha’ moment of, ‘I would never have put it that way, but seems so clear now.’

  5. Yes Martin. Been thinking that you need to write that book. What is their to lose but a world to gain. May you be spirit inspired. More power to
    Your elbow

    1. Thanks Russ… Of course some edits to come, but have written now something around 40% of what I have planned. So big thanks for the encouragement. My thoughts are not to set out to convert anyone… (not our ‘job’) but to present Jesus, who was crazily radical – truly ‘truly’ human!

  6. I’ve been thinking about how radical Jesus really is. He is presented as someone who is totally anti imperial (As is the NT when you get down to it, hey there are strong aspects of that in the OT too!). But he focused his ire on the sell outs, those Jewish leaders who supported the imperial oppression of Jewish people in the name of righteousness. He did not expect much from the Romans themselves. We are in such a moment right now with the rise of authoritarian, right wing movements, all of which would love to bring in more authoritarian rule, oppress others to gain power. This is really Jesus’ moment if we can get past a couple thousand years of church history, so much of which has been corrupt and yet again, a sell out to imperialism. As someone who left religion, faith and the church years ago in disgust, I find Jesus a fascinating challenge. Not sure what that means about ‘god’ at this point, but he is such an interesting character. If he is the face of God, then much of what claims to be Christianity has been quite far off the mark. This is a moment to rediscover an anti-imperial, anti-sell out Jesus.

    PS: I note his radical respect for women and his refusal to condescend to them. The women I know would really appreciate such Christlike behavior in their relationships. Just saying.

  7. I think this might just be your most important book yet. The one that break things open. Whether it’s read by the one or the many, it may catalyse something. We’ll see.

    1. Thanks Rosie. Would love it to have some traction. Not as an apologetic in the traditional sense, but as a presentation of ‘Jesus’ without the baggage, and set in his culture. People can then make a decision what they think of him and any response they wish to make personally.

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