Who’s there?

When I started writing a blog, I wanted a place to dumb thoughts and ideas. I tend to ‘process out loud’ and this provided a means of doing just that, although through the written word rather than the spoken word. I also have a written journal, which is more personal but less convenient.
Anyway, from time-to-time I get an e-mail from someone (or perhaps a comment to one of my posts), and that person tells me that he or she reads this blog often and gets a lot out of it. Frankly, that surprises me – really! I’m not very eloquent… I’m a terrible proof-reader, etc. I do this for myself and don’t think any of it would really be of much interest to other people.
Okay, so now I am kind of interested in whether there are in fact people who read this stuff on a regular or semi-regular basis. I’m not out for an ego boost or anything like that, but I am interested. If you read this blog from time-to-time, let me know. Just send me an e-mail that says something like, “Yup, I do.”
Thanks. If there are in fact a good number of people who read this, well, that kind of makes me nervous. Kind of like chanting the Gospel during the liturgy makes me nervous.

“Anatomy of Reconciliation”

I attended the Trinity Institute Conference on Theological Reflection, “The Anatomy of Reconciliation,” a week or so ago. I was impressed (which isn’t difficult for someone of my limited theological knowledge. Actually, that isn’t really true – I was impressed by the way these four keynote speakers handled the topic and how the two theologians reframed many of the questions and assumptions about reconciliation, how God works within us and through us for His purposes in the world, and our response to God’s call.) James Alison, British Roman Catholic theologian, who happens to be gay and Miroslov Volf – systematic theologian from Yale Divinity School (formerly of Fuller Theological Seminary) – were the two theologians. There is a lot I still have to process. Perhaps I will write more…
In one of the final panel discussions, Alison commented on part of Volf’s presentation – Volf spoke for a long time on the process he went through in forgiving his military superior and severe interrogator when Volf was in the Yugoslav army. (As soon as he entered the military, he was immediately suspect because he had an American wife and studied in the West.) Alison said that as he listened to Volf’s presentation he found himself feeling envious because Volf’s enemy was so easily identified. I have to say, when Alison admitted that he sometimes wonders whether in fact HE is the enemy – in reference to Volf’s enemy being easily identified as his interrogator – I was greatly impressed, and saddened. Anyone who is honestly seeking Truth must be able to admit s/he can be wrong. In Alison’s admitting that, as most of the Church demands, as a gay man he could well be wrong and truly be ‘the enemy’ – I can relate! Look at all the terrible troubles ‘people like me’ have caused for our Church and the Communion. If I seek Truth, then I could well be wrong concerning any particular thing I may believe at this particular time, and what the anti-gay people say could well be true (at least theologically speaking… their demeaning stereotypes certainly don’t apply!). Alison was painfully honest, and if true reconciliation can ever be realized there must be vulnerability, humility, honesty, and integrity on both sides. Perhaps this is too much to ask of most people, but in Alison’s comments I see an example that is hopeful and helpful. Will the other side be willing to enter into conversation, or are they intent on… what?
In addition, Emergent conducted a theological conversation with Miroslav Volf this past week at Yale. One of the people who attended the conversation, Adam Cleaveland, commenting on his blog posted this template of Volf’s:
Miroslav’s Theological Template

who is god.
what is god doing in the world.
how is god achieving this.
who are we.
where are we going.
how are we supposed to get there.
connecting the two.
what should we ultimately trust.
how should we order our trusts, provisional and ultimate.

Where does this lead? – to more pondering. Oh, if only I had time to truly ponder!! I do appreciate Volf.
There is and has been developing a number of people who can engage in current theological controversies in ways that belie the normal and polarized conflicts between liberal and conservative theologies. I want to be part of this process, which goes back to my long-time construct that “the way of Jesus is always a third way.” I want to be part of the reconciliation that must, for the sake of the cause of Christ in this world, move forward in charity.
“Will the LORD be pleased with thousands of rams, with ten thousand rivers of oil? Shall I offer my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?
“He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” (Micah 6:7-9 (New International Version)