As I write this post I am in Mississauga, the overshadowed sister city to Toronto, the original location of the mid nineteen-nineties Pentecostal-Charismatic eruption sometimes known as the Toronto Blessing. It was more properly a Mississauga one, with its roots, as far as I understand them, in the extraordinary egalitarian relationships between early Pentecostal settlers and the Mississauga first nation Canadians. I return here regularly to engage with local facilitators seeking to work out the implications of these recent and more ancient past events for the reversal of hierarchy and the reinstatement of the marginalized, displaced and the poor of the city today.
One of my reasons for being in Mississauga this time is to engage with other thinkers and writers attempting to work out how to do theology the way Jesus did it. Tomorrow I’ll be getting to know new friends who I will be sharing in roundtable discussion with; C. Baxter Kruger the trinitarian thinker well known for his book The Great Dance, and Paul Young, well known for his book The Shack. Other friends will be joining, including Mike Love from Leeds. Michael Lafleur and David Peck will be facilitating and Sam Cooper and the Meadowvale Christian Reformed Church will be hosting. The idea is to make some of these discussions available online and I will provide links via this blog and twitter in due course.
On the way over I read Derek Flood’s new book Disarming Scripture. This is a crucial book, and having already seen excerpts, I’ve set it as a key text for the “Peace, Reconciliation and the Politics of Jesus” module that I will be teaching for the Westminster Theology Centre from September 2015 http://www.wtctheology.org.uk/ I made no mistake! His chapters on “Reading the Bible Like Jesus Did”, and “A Practical Guide to Enemy Love” are particularly helpful and complementary to my own work. I couldn’t recommend it more highly for those struggling to do theology the way Jesus did! His description of Jesus’ approach to the Old testament Scriptures as faithful questioning as distinct from unquestioning obedience liberates us from sovereignty-bound misunderstandings of lordship and rulership. It’s great stuff. He deals head-on with the infamous genocide passages and notes the way that Jesus and Paul boldly and unapologetically excised violent passages in their exegesis and application of the OT to their contemporary scene.