This essay is both a reflection on Gary Black’s book The Theology of Dallas Willard, and a huge note of gratitude to Gary for shedding light on a much needed subject. This book has not only helped me make sense out of my own spiritual journey, but it has greatly enhanced my dissertation work in the area of missional spirituality in the suburbs.
(The following is a personal narrative of how I interacted with Black’s book. Click here to view my annotated highlights from the book.)read more
(this reflection was originally written in January, 2012 for the course Vocation of the Theologian) God reignited my call to ministry in 1994. I was convinced that if I were to be an effective leader in the church that I would need to pursue higher education and seek a Masters of Divinity, and perhaps a PhD someday. I lived in the desert—both metaphorically and literally. Las Vegas was not ripe with higher theological education, so I was at a loss as to which school I should allow to shape me into the man of learning and wisdom I thought I should be.read more
“If the gospel is to challenge the public life of our society, if Christians are to occupy the “high ground” which they vacated in the noontime of “modernity,” it will not be by forming a Christian political party, or by aggressive propaganda campaigns. Once again it has to be said that there can be no going back to the “Constantinian” era. It will only be by movements that begin with the local congregation in which the reality of the new creation is present, known, and experienced, and from which men and women will go into every sector of public life to claim it for Christ, to unmask the illusions which have remained hidden and to expose all areas of public life to the illumination of the gospel. But that will only happen as and when local congregations renounce an introverted concern for their own life, and recognize that they exist for the sake of those who are not members, as sign, instrument, and foretaste of God’s redeeming grace for the whole life of society.”(pp. 232-233)read more
The Deep in the Burbs Research project is a postmodern story about navigating the treacherous waters between the Scylla of absolutism/positivism/foundationalism and the Charybdis of relativism/nihilism/deconstructivism. It is my basic assumption that these dualisms are a cause of much of our difficulty in the church today.
A dualism is when you find two polar opposite options to a single question that both have evidence for being correct. This is true in theology. Is Jesus God or human? Is it predestination or free will? Is reality physical or spiritual? Is God three or one? The answer to these questions seems to be “yes” but then common sense tells us that you can’t say “yes” to both options.read more