- Jason Byassee on tradition, Jaroslav Pelikan and the Masai creed: ‘I love the way Herbert McCabe, the Dominican priest and theologian, put it: “We don’t know what Christians will believe in the 24th century, but we know they will not be Arians or Nestorians.” Creeds, usually occasioned by a new teaching the church must either bless or condemn, cut off certain roads. But they do not mandate which road we all must go down for all time. Future ages will have to figure that out, while submitting to what has come before. But that submission is a granting of freedom, not a tragic cutting off of possibility’. There are some important implications here for the conversation currently going on in my own denomination about writing a new confession of faith.
- Anthony Gottlieb on God and gardens.
- Cynthia R. Nielsen continues her series on Gadamer with two more posts.
- Stanley Hauerwas responds to Obama’s Nobel Prize acceptance speech.
- Renardo Barden reviews Dylan’s Christmas album: ‘Occasionally Dylan chases and misses the high notes and botches daring full-throttle endings. His church Latin is no good, and he’s losing yet more ground on his claim to sing as good as Caruso. But he’s still out there, making new of what’s old, light of what’s silly, and merry for merriment’s sake’.
- Halden Doerge offers some critiques of individualism as will to power: ‘… “individualism” is only scary to those who want to control the social lives of others. Honestly I don’t think it can possibly be a coincidence that the folks most virulently critical of individualism are white males who have significant university posts. Indeed I’m hard pressed to think of a single female scholar who has attacked individualism in ways akin to say Robert Bellah or Zygmunt Bauman … It seems to me that critiques of individualism invariably come beset with a totalizing vision of “the good society” that, ostensibly should be actualized whether people like it or not (because obviously they don’t like it or they’d be doing it already). In short, I don’t know how critiques of individualism, as such, avoid the charge that they are simply instances of the will to power. They are always animated with angst, fear, and revulsion towards the current shape of social life and deeply desirous of reshaping society in accordance with their own vision. It’s hard for me to image that not being ultimately fascist (Milbank is perhaps the most sophisticated example of a theological fascist writing today)’.
- Andre Muller posts on music.
- Finally, I’ve been posting on advent: Part I, II, III, IV.
From the reading chair: Celtic Christianity: Making Myths and Chasing Dreams by Ian Bradley; The Quest For Celtic Christianity by Donald E. Meek; Banner in the West: A Spiritual History of Lewis and Harris by John Macleod; Why Study The Past?: The Quest For The Historical Church by Rowan Williams; Loving God With Our Minds: The Pastor As Theologian edited by Michael Welker and Cynthia A. Jarvis; Why Your World Is About to Get a Whole Lot Smaller: Oil and the End of Globalization by Jeff Rubin; Liberating Reformed Theology, Christianity and Democracy: A Theology for a Just World Order and Theology & Ministry in Context & Crisis: A South African Perspective by John W. de Gruchy; Witness to the World: The Christian Mission in Theological Perspective by David J. Bosch; Black and Reformed: Apartheid, Liberation, and the Calvinist Tradition by Allan A. Boesak; Praying with Paul by Thomas A. Smail.
Through the iPod: Kind of Blue (50th Anniversary) by Miles Davis; Looking for Butter Boy by Archie Roach; Daughtry and Leave This Town by Daughtry; Draw the Line by David Gray (this is easily in my top 10 for 2009); X&Y by Coldplay; Christmas In the Heart by Bob Dylan (Judy says that it won’t be being played in ‘our’ house this Christmas, so does anyone want me over for lunch).
Best books: Geoffrey A. Studdert Kennedy, After War, Is Faith Possible?: The Life and Message of Geoffrey “Woodbine Willie” Studdert Kennedy (Eugene: Cascade Books, 2008). (Reviewed here)
Best music: Geoffrey Gurrumul Yunupingu, Gurrumul [2008: This is one of the best albums I’ve heard in a long time]; U2, No Line on the Horizon ; Bob Dylan, The Bootleg Series, Vol. 8: Tell Tale Signs – Rare and Unreleased 1989-2006 ; The Panics, Cruel Guards ; Paul McCartney, Flaming Pie .
Best films: The Reader 
Best drink: 2007 Two Paddocks Pinot Noir
I’m facing a potential crisis with my soon-to-be-two-year-old daughter. She prefers Colin Buchanan’s Follow the Saviour to Bob Dylan’s Highway 61 Revisited. Now it’s not that I don’t like Colin; in fact, I reckon the guy (and his music, and his theology) is awesome. But I’m trying to introduce my daughter to the classics, the greats of music, like Dylan and Bach. (For the record, she really likes Bach; it’s just Dylan, and Iris DeMent she won’t listen to for more than a track or two. She definately takes after her mother here!)
My questions to fellow parents are: 1. ‘Is this a crisis I really need to avert?’ 2. Is Colin part of the necessary diet of milk (albeit milk of the best quality) through which one must progress in order to get to the meat (like Bach)? 3. If so, are there other flavours of milk that your kids (and you) are enjoying at the moment?