The Hermeneutics Quiz

My girls are forever taking on-line quizzes. They’ll sit there giggling and bonding as they try to discover together which Harry Potter character each is, or which “Saved By The Bell” character each is most like. I just sit and quietly listen to the laughter and thank God that I have kids.

Well, last month I took a quiz to discover which theologian I am, and now I found The Hermeneutics Quiz. Here are my results:

  • Score 56
  • Evaluation You scored between a 53 and 65, meaning you’re a moderate on The Hermeneutics Scale. To learn more about what this means, click here.

For moderates it says:

The moderate hermeneutic might be seen as the voice of reason and open-mindedness. Moderates generally score between 53 to 65. Many are conservative on some issues and progressive on others. It intrigues that conservatives tend to be progressive on the same issues, while progressives tend to be conservative on the same issues. Nonetheless, moderates have a flexible hermeneutic that gives them the freedom to pick and choose on which issues they will be progressive or conservative. For that reason, moderates are more open to the charge of inconsistency. What impresses me most about moderates are the struggles they endure to render judgments on hermeneutical issues. [emphasis added]

I can live with that.

An Islamic Pascal’s Wager

For some reason I was thinking about Pascal’s Wager today.† I have never been a huge fan or it, or any other attempt to make faith more an act of man’s reason than God’s grace.† (Not that I think faith is unreasonable.)† It occured to me that perhaps the biggest flaw with Pascal’s Wager is that almost anyone could use it.† Consider:

Become a Muslim.† If Christian universalism is true youíre ok anyway because all will be saved.† If Christian predestinationism is true and youíre elect, youíre ok.† If youíre reprobate then what can you do?†If Cathloicism is true and works count then as a Muslim youíll probably at least get into purgatory.† If atheism is true, youíre no worse off than you are now.†† If karma is true then youíll help yourself come back better in the next life.† If Islam is true, and you faithfully practice it, you’ll go to Paradise.

Rules For Living

  • Cultivate kindness, patience, gratitude and wonder
  • Practice forgiveness
  • Deal with the concrete person before you, not abstractions, generalizations of characterizations
  • Cause no unnecessary suffering
  • Be a good steward
  • Put people ahead of things
  • Do the little things when you can
  • Be present where you are
  • Develop a right relationship with food
  • Pray consistently
  • Devour the Word
  • Time is the greatest gift you can give another, especially a child
  • Keep things in perspective
  • Do good work

A Legacy of Faith

legacy of faith coverI was just handed a copy of this book by my pastor, who won’t have time to read it until after Lent. Apparently Rick Hathaway lives somewhere near me, and he came by the church and gave the pastor a copy. I’ve skimmed it and read the first two chapter just now at lunch, and it is one of those right-books-that-fell-into- my-hands-just-when-I-needed-to-read-it kind of moments.

I’ve been struggling with the concept of blessings. I’ve been praying that God make me able to be trusted with good things. Life has been a real struggle the past couple of years, not least of all on the financial front, and this book is a much needed tonic that takes “a fresh look at blessing.”

I am not and have not been looking for abundance, only “provision and preservation” (31), and I have been struggling with the theology of providence for some time. This book isn’t so much about that as it is a reworking of the concept of blessings, contra Jabez, I suppose, but he has yet to mention that particular book, and also morality, self-esteem and mentorship.

Of late I have also been praying that God’s grace be sufficient to me (2 Cor 12:9) and today’s reading in Streams in the Desert is on just that. The devotion comes from someone who had just been saying the same prayer when it it him:

In one moment the message came straight to my soul, as a rebuke for offering such a prayer as, “Lord, let Thy grace be sufficient for me”; for the answer was almost as an audible voice, “How dare you ask that which is?” God cannot make it any more sufficient than He has made it; get up and believe it, and you will find it true, because the Lord says it in the simplest way: “My grace is (not shall be or may be) sufficient for thee.”

Legacy of Faith came right on the heels of that reading today.

[more later, saved for now, back to work]

The Unchanging God Moved By Love

A discussion I first saw at Ancient Hebrew Poetry and then followed over to MetaCatholic on theopaschitism and the impassibility of God reminded me of something that I “grasped” in a meditation on the death of Christ a few Easter’s back but never developed and promptly forgot about.

Doug at MetaCatholic writes:

The mystery of the cross is that Godís free choice and action is to be done to, to be made the recipient of human action and hostility, to be made passive and to suffer. But if this is not a free choice, above all in his divine nature yet also in his human, but is instead a consequence forced upon him by others and their actions, then it loses, I think, its real power.

I think this is true. In the circles I ran in years ago in undergraduate school it was commonplace to hear people say “Jesus didn’t have to die on the cross. He could have called down legions of angels…”

He could, of course, have chosen not to die. He could have come in judgment. However, and here’s what I grasped during my meditation on the cross: He did choose to die, but He chose it before the creation of the world… and yet, chose to create the world anyway, knowing the consequence of that free act in His divine nature was to also choose the cross as a free act in His human nature.

I don’t know from theopaschitism, and the technical theological aspects of impassibility are beyond my pay grade, but I do know this: At the death of a friend, God wept. There’s more mystery than meaning in that, and all I can do is worship the unchanging God who is moved by love.