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Groaning of Creation: Final Thoughts

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We share our final thoughts on The Groaning of Creation.  Despite its relatively small size, it was densely packed with rich ideas to discuss and explore as Southgate covered a broad range of theologians and philosophers.

Here we give our final thoughts on this book.

We look forward for all our readers to join us for our next book in 2018.

UPDATE: Groaning of Creation: Chapter 2 – Roads Not Taken – Part 1

 

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Is God violent?

 

This past Sunday, we discussed whether or not God was violent, the theology of Teilhard de Chardin, and the model of God portrayed in process theology.

Here are our essays.

 

 

 

 

 

“Groaning of Creation: Chapter 2 – Roads Not Taken” – Part 1

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We will cover the first half of Chapter 2 of “The Groaning of Creation”.

Please answer one of the following questions:

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UPDATE: The Groaning of Creation” – Chapter 1 “Introduction”: Part II

 

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Is God Responsible for extinctions that happen throughout nature?  Does he cause them? Is there something good that can come about through the extinction of a species?  Or is it a total waste?

 

Yesterday, we discussed how extinction may not be a total loss, the role of humans in God’s creation, an eschatological ‘need’ for redemption, a response to Ivan Karamazov, and whether or not God played a direct role in the evolution of homo sapiens.

Our response are here.

 

 

 

 

UPDATE: “The Groaning of Creation” – Preface – Chapter 1-1.5: Part I:

 

We completed our first session of our new book last Sunday.

One of the takeaways of the session was the discovery that when dealing with issues in theodicy, it wasn’t necessarily that we had a problem with the horror of suffering, death, and randomness in the world, but rather the real issue was that we had an issue with God – namely the goodness with God that we were having a hard time with.

You can read our essays here.

The youtube clip above gives us an interesting overview of the moral issues we have over animals.  Why is it that we have no qualms eating a cow, but we are repulsed by the idea of eating a pet cat?  They are both animals right?  Why is one right and the other wrong?  Answer seems simple and obvious, but it’s interesting to think about at another level.

 

 

A Look at Christmas – Some Different Viewpoints

 

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Merry Christmas everyone!

Around the world, people (Christians and non-Christians alike) are celebrating this perennial winter holiday.

Here are some interesting articles I recently came upon that explores what the Bible says about the Virgin Birth (really technically the “Virgin Conception”) and the genre of the gospels as well.

The Not-So Virgin Birth of God” and “Six Problems with the Virgin Birth: Biblical and Historical Perspective“.

And an interesting article on how the date of December 25 came to be celebrated as Jesus’ birthday.

Here are our group’s personal reflections on Christmas and the Virgin birth as well from earlier in the year.

Some things to chew on for this Christmas season.

 

 

UPDATE: “Confessions”: Book IX – Chapters 7 – 13

Clergymen bow and touch relics of Lebanese St. Rafqa as they are displayed for visitors on Nov. 6, 2014, at Our Lady of Lebanon Maronite Catholic Church in Easton.

 

Today, we concluded the autobiographical portion of Augustine’s Confessions.  Most colleges courses covering this book would normally stop here, but we will continue with the rest of the books.

It is interesting, as one person put it, that when he went seminary in his late 30’s, he was surrounded by young 20-year olds straight out of college.  When it came to reading Augustine’s Confessions, many of the young people found it a bit boring and less applicable; however, the handful of older people in the class felt a deeper connection while reading the book because they went through the same struggles, experiences, and questions as Augustine had but afraid to share them with others.  So I guess when you re-read Confessions later on in your life, the deeper the connection you feel with Augustine.

We discussed whether or not traditional “biblical” gender roles still apply till this day, as well as how Protestants uphold the doctrine of Sola Scriptura  and some problems it has in today’s context; the use and abuse of relics in the Church in history; Augustine’s Neoplatonic view of the afterlife after his vision or epiphany with his mother Monica; and Mike (not written here) talked about whether or not salvation was conditional or unconditional – the Bible seems ambivalent in some respects with the issue.

Our essays can be found here.

 

 

UPDATE: “Confessions” – Book IX: Chapters 1 – 6

 

Here are our essays for the first half of Book IX of the Confessions.

We covered the role emotions play to religious and spiritual practices; how conversion changes our view of others and the world around us; the use and place of the Bible in a believer’s life; and whether or not non-believers will be rewarded for good works in the afterlife.

 

 

“Confessions” – Book IX: Chapters 1 – 6

Baptism of St. Augustine of Hippo, from a fresco cycle of the Life of St. Augustine, 1465 by Benozzo De Lesse Gozzoli, c. 1420 – 97, Italian

 

 

For this Sunday we will cover Book IX  Chapters 1 – 6 of Confessions.

 

In this book he ties up his autobiographical story by telling the aftermath of his conversion, in particular, the events leading up to his baptism.

 

He describes his stay in the fall and winter months of 386 at the country estate of his friend Vercundus at Cassiciacum near Milan.  This provided Augustine and his friends a quiet place of withdrawal as they prepared for baptism that coming Easter. While there, Augustine wrote a series of dialogues based on the conversations he was having with his friends there.  These writings (On the Happy Life, Against the Academics, On Order, Soliloquies) show that he was working out some of the solutions to his theological problems.

 

By the end of Chapter 6, he, along with his son Aeodatus and friend Alypius get baptized together.

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Update: “Cofessions” – Book VIII: Chapters 7 – 12

“The Conversion of St. Augustine”, Fra Angelico (c. 1395  – 1455) and workshop

 

In the latter half of Book VIII, Augustine wrote a lot about free will, however, everyone in the group decided not to write about it (I was betting someone was bound to) surprisingly.  We did come around to discussing free will in the beginning and was equally surprised to learn that a majority of our group thought that free will was more or less an illusion and that everything was deterministic, even from a theological standpoint.

Interesting.

Anyway, here are our essays about whether or not conversion to Christianity limits your options and freedoms; thoughts about original sin; the role of shame and repentance prior to conversion (whether it’s necessary or not); and bibliolatry and the Barthian or “encounter” view of Scripture.