Posted by: rogermitchell | January 8, 2019

God

I’m looking forward to being involved in the forthcoming Sparks event at Ashburnham Place. This year the theme is Other Land God Self and among other things I will be leading a session on God. As part of my preparation and in response to encouragement to blog more this year, here are the substantial points that I will be making. They focus around faith, hermeneutics, and politics.

Faith

I am a person of faith in Jesus. That is to say that I take the view that the Jesus of the gospel testimony is both the Jesus of history and the God of eternity, come to show us what God is like, what human beings are intended to be like and how we can be like it. The substance of this faith is both existential and rational. It is based on a choice I made as the result of experience and relationship, and the apparently historical testimony of Jesus confirmed it. I can’t prove any of it, I can only add my testimony to the existing testimony of the gospel narratives and the testimony of countless others down the centuries since.

Hermeneutics

I follow a Jesus hermeneutic. This means that I use the gospel testimony as the lens through which I understand and interpret God and everything else. This is quite simplistic, even childlike. I make no apology. I don’t insist on being right. I only offer myself and the practical theology that I derive from it as a catalyst to my fellow human beings. We are all hermeneutes of one kind or another, whether we recognise it or not. What I find interesting is what a different view of God Jesus gives us to that which has been central to religion generally and to the Christian religion in particular. The biggest difference is that this is not a sovereign God who must be obeyed but a kenotic tri-personal God who gives themself in love to all.

Politics

The politics of the West has largely displaced a Jesus hermeneutic and replaced it with an imperial one. Instead of the way for human society being peace through love it has given way to peace through the dominance of the rich and powerful. This was precisely the way of empire that the testimony of Jesus opposed, but which has been the genealogy of the Western world since church and empire embraced in the days of the Roman emperor Constantine in the fourth century. This has been so deeply embedded in the common mindset of the so-called Christian world that it continues to determine our interpretation of God and the political system that a sovereignty view of God has legitimated, even in its secular expressions. This system is breaking down and unless something worse is to ensue we need to configure, live out and commend the trinitarian God of love.

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Responses

  1. I love this. We have been learning this. My mindset has changed with what we have learned but it takes a long time living it out to really have these ideas take hold in practice. This is the clearest I have come to understanding and I know it will lead to more. Keep teaching us Roger! Hope to connect again soon, Connie

  2. Glad you like it Connie. Hope to see you soon!

  3. Reblogged this on hungarywolf and commented:
    An interesting and reassuring piece from Roger Haydon.

  4. Dear Roger. I have been on a long slow burn on this and all that you have been sharing for years. 2018 so much finally dropped in deeply. Your pocket book Fall of The Church continues to be helpful and challenging!

    For your interest, I want to signpost the newly established Red Letter Christians UK, and their new Director Rev Dr Ash Barker who with his wife Angie work out of Newbiggin House in Winson Green, Birmingham. They totally operate with the Jesus hermeneutic, agree with the centrality of response to the poor, and that Love is a radical welcoming, barrier-busting dynamic to undermine the politics of Empire. I am part of East London’s RLC UK hub in Newham. Be encouraged that more people are working it out!

  5. Good to hear from you Matthew and your commendation of Ash and Angie Barker and Red Letter Christians UK. Thanks, Roger


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