Christianity


Rowan Williams has a great series of lectures on the Gospel of Mark given in Holy Week 2010 during his time as Archbishop of Canterbury.  The audio links are provided below.

The beginning of the gospel – Reading Mark’s Life of Jesus:

1. History & Memory

2. Unveiling Secrets (with separate Q&A)

3. A Lifelong Passion

The series has now been published as a book.

book_cover

Rowan_WilliamsPhoto credit: Marcin Mazur

As Dr. Rowan Williams steps down as Archbishop of Canterbury it worth drawing attention to his reflections and contributions to Science and Faith interactions/issues during his time as Archbishop.  The Archbishop of Canterbury website is very good and contains a database of all Rowan Williams’ sermons, talks, interviews, publications etc during his time in the job.  There really is a wealth of useful material here.  Helpfully the contributions have been tagged according to category and so we can pull up all those that relate to Science, see link below:

http://rowanwilliams.archbishopofcanterbury.org/tags.php?action=view&id=209

Rowan Williams’ dialogue with Richard Dawkins can be found here, but for me the highlight is this excellent lecture and the question and answer session that followed.  Much to ponder, here are some quotes:

“Scientific research seeks to identify the causes of particular phenomena and clusters of phenomena, including of course that remarkable cluster of phenomena which is the observable universe as we now know it. Faith states, not as a matter of explanation but as matter of trust, that any form of energy whatsoever, at any stage of the history of the universe, depends upon the free initiative of God.

“religious faith can and ought to support and encourage science: science as a practice, with an impressive morality and spirituality, a commendation of attention and humility, the setting aside of self very frequently in the context of addressing the most painful vulnerabilities of the human world; a practice that trains selfless, even contemplative approaches to the world.”

Note that materials related to Rowan Williams are now stored on an archive site as Justin Webly takes over as Archbishop.

Dr. Rowan Williams (104th Archbishop of Canterbury)

Justin Welby (soon to be (current!) Archbishop of Canterbury)

Happy Christmas and New Year – better late then never!

“We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.” Matthew 2:2 (NIV)

I’ve posted on the star of Bethlehem before (see here), but I’ve just come across some interesting thoughts by Greg Boyd that I’d like to share.  In my previous post I laid out three possible astronomical explanations for the ‘star’ of Bethlehem (1. a conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn, 2. a comet, 3. a supernova); at the time I concluded that none of them really fit the biblical account which says “… the star … stopped over the place where the child was.” (Matthew 2:9).  However, Greg Boyd explains that this is just a turn of phrase, like we might say “oh look at the moon over the mountains” – obviously the moon isn’t really stopped over those particular mountains!  He then goes on to summarise Molnar’s hypothesis (option 1 above) as being interesting and worthy of consideration.  Check out the short video:

I’ve read the first book and am looking forward to reading the next two.  I thought the film was excellent, really well done, especially the scene leading up to the entrance into the arena which was extraordinary gripping.  The book and the film are so good in that they challenge long after you’ve finished.  In many ways the world of the hunger games resembles exploitation happening today in our own world.  I’m left with a lingering realization of my own compliance and everyday acceptance of the injustices in our world.

If your interested in some of these provoking themes check out the following links:

Julia Clawson has written what sounds like an excellent commentary on the hunger games trilogy.  The book (currently only an e-book) is called The Hunger Games and the Gospel: Bread, Circuses, and the Kingdom of God.   Homebrewed Christinity interviewed her on their Theology Nerd Throwdown podcast – well worth a listen, here’s the link.

Jesus in ‘The Hunger Games’ a magazine article in Christianity Today

“The natural world is a gift from God, but we are also called to join with God in sustaining and caring for it.” John Sentamu, The Archbishop of York.

Today is Earth Day so I thought I’d post this video to mark the occasion.  It’s a Veritas lecture given by Ecology Professor Kyle Van Houtan entitled: Is God Green? – Jesus, the Church, and Caring for the Earth.

The Empty Tomb by Ghislaine Howard

“Now very early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb and saw that the stone had been moved away from the entrance. So she went running to Simon Peter and the other disciple whom Jesus loved and told them, “They have taken the Lord from the tomb, and we don’t know where they have put him!”. Then Peter and the other disciple set out to go to the tomb. The two were running together, but the other disciple ran faster than Peter and reached the tomb first. He bent down and saw the strips of linen cloth lying there, but he did not go in. Then Simon Peter, who had been following him, arrived and went right into the tomb. He saw the strips of linen cloth lying there, and the face cloth, which had been around Jesus’ head, not lying with the strips of linen cloth but rolled up in a place by itself. Then the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, came in, and he saw and believed. (For they did not yet understand the scripture that Jesus must rise from the dead.)” John 20:1-9

The Body of the Dead Christ in the Tomb by Hans Holbein the Younger

“Then they took Jesus’ body and wrapped it, with the aromatic spices, in strips of linen cloth according to Jewish burial customs.  Now at the place where Jesus was crucified there was a garden, and in the garden was a new tomb where no one had yet been buried.  And so, because it was the Jewish day of preparation and  the tomb was nearby, they placed Jesus’ body there.” John 19:40-42

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