Thursday, September 26, 2013

Liturgical Time vs. Clock Time

Read an interesting blog by Dr. Matthew Tan on the difference between liturgical/kairos time and clock/chronos time. It was something I had never really thought about before, and for that reason I found myself intrigued. Anytime I read something that brings an idea to me I have never even thought about or heard, I am intrigued..once again realizing the depths of learning and thought that are to be explored...especially when it is a thought about such a simple and taken for granted thing as time.

Tan questions the modern and post modern idea of "empty homogenized" clock time, where all of time is measured out into single and impartial moments that can be controlled. For me i was struck by the reality that not everyone always had clocks on there wall, and for all of time...time has not been measured by the passing of measurable moments. Another way of looking at time is as "liturgical", filling time with are some of my favorite quotes from the blog:

When time becomes defined by an endless string of moments, what becomes denied is the possibility of radical transformation, what Walter Benjamin calls a “Messianic cessation of happening”. Things are always the way they are, and things will always be the way they are. There is a despair that becomes particularly acute when you consider that in postmodernity, the essentially modern search continues for individual security. There is a hyper-emphasis on the isolated monad, which heightens the sense that social relations are, as Daniel M. Bell observes, merely relations of “combat and sheer assertion”.
 both modern and postmodern time requires stripping time of any significance. Liturgical time, by contrast, in following a liturgical calendar, actually fills the time with meaning. 

Tan's thoughts are interesting and deep, and I enjoyed reading through it. I just got onto Tan's work today, but I like what I initially see of him. Tan is a professor of theology and philosophy at the Australian Catholic University, he edits a blog called the "divine wedgie" and already I have found his doctoral thesis and another paper he wrote online: thick stuff that I am looking forward to getting into at some point. 

Monday, September 16, 2013

Whose afraid of Relativism? (Weekly Talk)

A friend of mine recommended this lecture series by James K.A. Smith entitled "Whose Afraid of Relativism". I have only listened to the first lecture which runs 38 minutes and is entitled "It Depends: Creation, Contingency and the Specter of Relativism." The 38 minutes is jam packed full of challenging, informing and transforming (the last adjective is spoken in light of James K.A. Smith's thoughts on education that he talks about in his book "desiring the kingdom") content and though it may be a bit over the heads of some people who have not read or thought much about postmodernism, philosophy or the sort of things he talks about, it is still much more valuable then 40 minutes on facebook.

Smith's thoughts on postmodern relativism will likely not be accepted by all, and they definitely should not be accepted unquestionably by anyone, however I think they are really valuable and worth listening to. Smith does not see relativism as a dangerous enemy of the church today, instead what he says as dangerous is the answer/medicine many churches throw in the face of the challenges of relativism...the certain and hasty declaration of "absolute truth". Smith says that while some forms of radical relativism can go too far by denying all truth claims, it also can be helpful in reminding us that we are finite, contingent, dependent and culturally conditioned people. Relativism attacks the "naturalism and realism" of the modern enlightenment and therefore can be an aide in the church's proclamation of a metaphysical reality beyond the scientific method. I have heard this message spoken by alot of people lately, and I think there is really something to be learned from this. Has the church given too much to modernism? Are we answering arguments from a rationalism which is already being debunked by postmodern philosophers? While some postmodernists do certainly say some things that go against the christian is so much more refreshing for me to hear people like Smith dialogue with the thinkers and ideas of current postmodernism instead of just clogging the ears and damning them to hell.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Hermeneutics of the Open Ear

I read a good blog yesterday from a link on the gospel coalitions website (

I really enjoyed the below quoted lines and I feel like they capture what I want my students in our Bible School to come away with:

"We shouldn’t idealize premodern interpretation of Scripture. We’ve learned a lot about ancient languages, history, and culture over the past few centuries, and that new information has immeasurably deepened our understanding of the Bible. Yet, as more and more theologians have discovered, patristic and medieval commentators knew things that we have forgotten, much to our detriment. 
They knew that biblical hermeneutics was a hermeneutics of the open ear. They trained themselves to be attuned to every inflection of God’s voice, to ponder the slightest twist of phrase, to hear every reverberation and overtone of Scripture’s music. A single verse of the Psalms could lead Augustine through the prophets to the gospels and epistles, with a side tour of the Song of Songs along the way."

Friday, September 6, 2013

Weekly Talk- how to make stress your friend

For the weekly talk this week, I chose a small 16 min video from Ted. It is short but packed full of two important points backed with scientific and psychological research:

1. We need to rethink our views on stress
2. Stress should lead us to interaction with others (community)