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Archive for the ‘Monthly Meetings’ Category

Coffeehouse Theology

Coffeehouse Theology (amazon.com listing)

Ed Cyzewski’s home page

NavPress’s book page

Just wanted to post another book idea for next semester.  Of course, we’ve got one more section of Moreland to go through as a group, but I wanted to post some ideas for what to do next, so consider this another one.

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November’s Meeting

If you’re wondering about the paucity of posts of late, you’ve never been a college student.  But soldiering on, “the group” will be assembling at Gyro Wrap on Broad Street this Tuesday,November 18, at 12:30 PM.  The reading material will be chapters 4, 5, and 6 of Moreland’s Love Your God with All Your Mind, and the discussion should be enjoyable. If you’re interested in attending but haven’t before, post a comment here, and we’ll know you’re coming.

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Passionate Intellect, the Amazon listing

Passionate Intellect from the publisher’s website

This is the book to which I referred yesterday but whose title I couldn’t conjure.  From what I’ve gathered online, the authors argue for an “incarnational humanism” that takes seriously Christ’s embodiment in human language and culture as well as flesh and bone.  It looked like a cool argument (perhaps too close to my own convictions, so I’ll need someone else to be the disagreeable one), so I figured I’d pitch it.

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Tomorrow is it, and it looks like we’ll be meeting at 12:30 PM at Tween the Pages on the Main Library’s ground floor.  Everybody is welcome, and a person could purchase a sandwich there at TtP or bring some lunch to the meeting.  We look forward to seeing people.

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Good Meeting Today

I can’t immediately think of any famous groups of five people in the Bible (five books, yes–five people, no), but nonetheless our first meeting, this afternoon at Doc Chey’s, was a good one.  Our Moreland reading was very brief, so there wasn’t too much discussion of that, but we did have very good talks about the nature of evil (it actually doesn’t have a nature–nice to have a Boethius teacher and one of his former Boethius students in the circle for that); relationships between philosophical frameworks and evidentiary claims; the relationships between faith, faithfulness, intellect, and empty intellectualism; and why pre-med majors won’t eat their vegetables. And in all of it, if nothing else, we lived out Moreland’s call for Christian intellectual discourse.

We have not yet decided when or where our next meeting will be, but check back here periodically, and certainly the information will appear.

And as always, whatever questions or ideas from classes, events on the lovely campus of the University of Georgia, or anywhere else in your sphere of humanity arise and don’t get the kind of inquiry they deserve, bring ’em here–contact one of our contributors, and we’ll make of it a blog post as soon as we can.

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Next week we’ll be meeting on Tuesday, September 23, not Wednesday, September 24, at Doc Chey’s on Jackson and Clayton in Athens.  Many apologies for the wandering time slot.  The topic of discussion will still be the introduction and first chapter of Moreland’s book.

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First, the monthly meeting, unless I hear differently, looks like it’s going to be on Wednesday, September 24 Tuesday, September 23 at Doc Chey’s on the corner of Jackson and Clayton in downtown Athens at 12:30 PM.  (I don’t know why I sandwiched the location between two time designations, but there are many things I do not know.)  We’ll be discussing the introduction and first chapter of J.P. Moreland’s Love Your God with All Your Mind, and in the next couple days some of us might just post some thoughts on the opening parts to get the conversation rolling before we even get there.

Wait!  It looks like someone’s doing so right now!  And it’s me!  Actually, this post is not live.  There’s no way you’d catch me up at this hour of the night.  Ah, the wonders of delayed blog posting…

Ah, yes.  The book.  First of all, Dallas Willard’s General Introduction was quite a nice thought with which to open, a reminder that all legitimate human enterprises are also enterprises within God’s creation and thus in their own ways good.  He also nicely articulates the relationship between being-forgiven and living-forgiven:

Jesus lived most of His life on earth as a blue-collar worker, someone we might describe today as an “independent contractor.”  In His vocation He practiced everything He later taught about life in the kingdom.

The “words” of Jesus that I primarily reside in are those recorded in teh New Testament Gospels.  In His presence, I learn the goodness of His instructions and how to carry them out.  It is not a matter of meriting life from above, but of receiving that life concretely in my circumstances.  Grace, we must learn, is opposed to earning, not effort. (Moreland 12)

I also like the fact that one of the epigraphs to chapter one is Neil Postman’s commentary on the demand for abstract thought implied in the ten commandments.  I think I might teach Neil Postman some day if I get the chance.

The chapter itself is a good summary of the problem at hand, namely that evangelical Christianity tends, not by any means uniformly but often enough to occasion concern, sets itself actively against the intellectual life.  As Michael implied in his post on university religion classes, German secularist historicism has to a large extent defined the terms for academic biblical studies, and although there are good Christians teaching in that field (I can name half a dozen in whose classes I’ve sat), there are others who relegate the Bible to a museum piece, interesting in its own right but best left in a glass display case.  On the other hand, although Fundamentalism began as a fairly robust intellectual response to German modernism (they invented Fundamentalism at Princeton Seminary, after all), in the decades between Wellhausen‘s Prolegomenon to the History of Israel and the now-infamous Scopes trial, small-f fundamentalism has come to signify withdrawal and academy-baiting.

I should pause here and note that, although I picked the book out, I didn’t do so because I agree with Moreland on all points.  (The only book that I can imagine agreeing with entirely is one that I’ve not yet written–once I write something down, I usually think that at least something could have been said better.)  For instance, I tend to think of German-style biblical criticism not as an entirely pernicious development but as something that could be a medicine or a poison to the Christian mind, depending on how one takes it in, so to speak.  (That’s why I thought P&P’s post on textual criticism was so good.)  Moreland seems unimpressed with the whole enterprise, making it one front in an “assault on Christianity” (23).  But I can imagine Moreland appreciating reasoned disagreement–it is, after all, part of what he’s after.

I’m going to close this little post with a question that anyone can take a stab at in the comment box or the blog’s other writers can take on in their posts.  I wrestle with how to define UGA’s range of ideologies constantly, and I know full well that there’s no simple way to schematize them–rolling around the campus and nearby streets, one sees fraternity houses that tell one story about what UGA is all about, wanders into English and philosophy classrooms, no two of which tell the same story but nonetheless participate in a common endeavor that is not identical with that of the big research labs on south campus.  Of course, this little romp is not exhaustive–one could look at Clayton Street at 1:30 Friday morning, the campus ministries at 7:00 Thursday night, and the freshman dorms at 3:00 on any afternoon to see a spectrum of living arguments about what this patch of land actually does.  But the question!  Yes, the question: to what extent do big, sweeping accounts of intellectual culture like Moreland’s help you to think about what you’re doing here, and in what ways might follow-ups (like, say, a group blog) improve upon and introduce more particulars into that picture?

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