Monday, December 12, 2005

What's been happening...

Don't you just hate it when people start up a blog and then don't posts for weeks/months/years at a time? Well, it looks like there's a danger this might turn into one of those blogs.

I have been on a crazy ride the last few months. Being the perfectionist that I am, when I do post, I want to have well thought out "articles". I don't have time to write articles and since there hasn't been a lot of feedback on the site, I have no idea what to write. Do I need to convince people of universalism? Encourage people? Help people find resources? I don't know. I've got to get over that and just post what I can when I can. The articles can come later (or not at all).

I quit my day job a month ago. I am now working for myself full time. So, you'd think I'd have more time. Right?- Wrong. I am busier than ever now that I know I have to make my own business my sole income for the family. But, I am committed to making a lifestyle change at the same time and am making some progress on not working all of the time.

I've been taking a long hard look at the emerging church movement and am excited to say I've actually found some real flesh and blood people to talk to about it. I had lunch with one of the pastors at our church last week and admitted to not only being involved in the emerging church thing but that I am also a universalist. I haven't been ex-communicated (yet). So, that's a good thing.

I also met with an emerging church "cohort" on Saturday. That was really interesting. People of different denominations getting together (in a local pub) to talk about how we can do things differently to reach both the churched (some of whom are getting pretty sick of church) and the unchurched who want to explore their spirituality but who do not necessarily want to become "religious" because of all of the negative connotations that go along with Christianity. I am very excited about exploring both of these things more even though Universalism is not really central on the radar of emergence. At least when I am talking to these people, it's in a venue where people are open to listening to other ideas without immediately labeling you as a heretic.

So, that's what's been happening with me lately.


bruced said...

Thanks for the update, bro! I've been wondering what you've been up to. I keep thinking it would be cool to get together with you some time. I don't think we live all that far apart. Geo (Melting Paradigms) and I get together once in a while. Maybe next time, we head out your way. Maybe meet in the middle or something? Well, who knows? But it would surely be fun. Take care!

Rick Harper said...

I would like for you to present a clear Biblical case for Universalism. Most theological stances are completely able to present their stances Biblically. Two that I have yet to see are: a Biblical presentation of Free Will in salvation; and a Biblical presentation of Universalism. How does Universalism reconcile itself with a God who kills man, woman, and child in the OT? Or a God that rejects Saul for not killing Agag and even all of the animals? I would like for you to stay on topic with your response in positively, and Biblically, defending your stance without defending it by attacking other stances. Truly defend it. I'm not interested in philosophical reasoning, or emotional reasoning; only Biblical reasoning.

I look forward to your response and will be checking back frequently

grace and peace

Chuck said...

Brian, it was great meeting you at the cohort on Saturday (I sat across from you after the chair rearrangement). I agree with you that for the most part universalism is not a big part of the emergent conversation. It's definitely consistent with my own views. My own views stem somewhat from what I'm guessing is an opposite biblical hermenutic from "truth defender" above - I don't see the bible as the "word of God". I see it as more of a journal from the perspective of a specific culture - that cultures encounter with God and attempts to capture it in prose, hand it down, etc. So I don't expect it to necessarily be "self-consistent". I'm resistent to some typical statements that all paths are valid - I think that is a generalization mostly useful when attempting to be "politically correct". My perspective is that many paths contain components of truth intermingled with distortions. The good I see in Emergent is that they are trying hard to get rid of the distortions, while not trying to replace with a doctrinal statement. I depend largely on "collective intuition" and community to arrive at the components of truth needed for a given point in history.

Lots of implications here - perhaps the atonement only holds special and symbolic meaning to the Jewish culture in which it took place. My focus has always been more on the "cosmic Christ" viewpoint as discussed in early sections of John 1 and in Colossians. I believe this sense of "Christ within" is within reach of all. Many times we just have to break thru the cultural crusts to see it.

Brian said...

Truth Defender,

In hopes that you are a truth seeker and not just a truth defender, I will respond to your "challenge". Perhaps I'm wrong. But that is how I see your post.

I have gathered some information from various sources that I will post (as soon as I can figure out how to get a file up on this blog). I will also respond to your "rules" that the defence must be purely biblical ignoring philosophical emotional (and I'm assuming any other type of extrabiblical)"reasoning". I find the way you worded your request very intriguing.

Brian said...


I don't see the Bible as the "inerrant Word of G-d" anymore. I do see it as the inspired word (small "w") of G-d and think it holds a lot of truth and should be authoritative over those who would call themselves Christians. However, we must learn to read the Bible and not be closed to revelation from outside of the Bible. After all, did G-d stop talking 2,000 years ago?

As a Universalist (and there are many different types of Universalists), I think to be completely honest I would have to say that all paths lead to G-d. Would that mean all paths are valid? My answer would be "no". But, it depends on how you define valid. Not all paths are as direct. Some paths might involve more pain than others. Some paths might take one through "hell". But, G-d will reconcile all of His children to Himself. To get from Ohio to California, I could hop on a jet at the airport and fly to Los Angeles or I could hitch up a team of horses and take the scenic route starting out heading east to New York and then up across the North Pole and back down to California. Are both paths "valid" just because they eventually lead to the same destination?

I think the Christian path is the best path (certainly is for me anyway). But, I would not say other paths are not valid for other people and I do not close myself off to other traditions. Christianity contains a lot of truth (as wel as some distortions) just as does any religion.

It was great to meet you and I'm looking forward to sharing the journey with you guys.

rhonda said...

Hi Brian,

Because I'm a bible-based Christian Universalist, I'd like to defend the truth to Truth Defender. :)

Beginning with Gen 3:15; the prophecy that we see progressing toward fulfillment throughout the scriptures until all is fulfilled in Rev; and Death and Hades thrown into the Lake of Fire.

In Genesis we see what Adam lost: the opportunity to eat from the tree of Life; in Rev we see the Tree of Life offered to mankind.

We see all that Adam lost regained through Messiah.

Certainly, the terrible deaths recorded in the OT are more palatable once God's purpose is known, as is all suffering and death in this life--as all men since Adam have died, and all live again in Jesus Christ.


Every bible-based theology comes with difficulties and problems--as some apparent doctrine cannot be reconciled. But when God's plan is seen as all men being predestined for salvation--the Bible sings in beautiful harmony, as everything fits. God's qualities of Love, Justice, Wisdom and Power flow without any interruptions. :) Love and Blessings to All--rhonda

Geo said...

Do I need to convince people of universalism?

No, Just love'em and Father will lead them to His Truth