I have returned...
This past weekend I went to a Cursillo. It was quite an experience. The leaders were exceptional and the whole thing was an impressive display of grace and support. I can see how, if led poorly, it could be a difficult experience. I can also see, if not managed effectively, how it could be divisive in the individual church. Mostly, though, I was impressed with the talks (rollos), the support from so many people (palanca) and the integrity of the people involved and participating. Some of the individual theologies were a little weird to me, but then I settled into the realization that we were all Christians in a single place and that was what was most important. I would recommend the weekend for anyone wishing to energize their faith or learn about the "Christian life" more deeply. I also think there are other ways to get the same thing in different ways. All that said though, it was a beautiful time with some exceptional people and by the time it was done I was proud to call myself a follower of Christ.
I have spent January reading ahead for my spring classes. I have a systematic theology class focused on Creation and one of the books I have to read is called "She Who Is" by Elizabeth Johnson. It is an examination of feminist discourse and the mystery of God. I am all for deconstructing the prevailing mindset and cultural worldview. I am all for reframing the Gospel and our images of God in order to better understand them relative to our culture. But so far, what I am getting is something equally monolithic and unrelenting as the patriarchy she criticizes. For the record, the patriarchy should be criticized. So should the nacent matriarchy, the prevalent nationalistic oligarchy, the judicial legalisms of hierarchy and the empty spirituality of our church "archys". In other words, replacing the patriarchy with matriarchy will get us no closer to realizing the New Jerusalem, the Kingdom of God. Instead, maybe if we let all our personal, nationalistic and religious human attempts at control and power dissolve into the overwhelming love of Christ, we might come closer to entering that Kingdom. Maybe she will come around.
I am also reading Christian Dogmatics by Braaten and a bunch of other heavy hitting Lutherans, a couple of books on pastoral care and some Old Testament criticisms by Bruggeman and Fretheim.
Peace to all!