“God’s long funeral is over, and we are back where we started. Two thousand years of history have melted into back story, which nobody reads anymore. We have returned to Year Zero”.
The intro to Ferdinand Mount’s new book, ‘full circle’ where he claims the world we find ourselves in, this (post) postmodernity, bears a striking resemblance to the classical world of the Romans and the Greeks. He suggests that our attitudes to sex, food, religion are paralleled with the Roman world.
Our thinking hasn’t so much evolved as “revolved” (to quote alan partridge).
For the past year I have been reading books about Jesus and the Empire of Rome. Books that sought to help us understand Jesus’ and Pauls’ gospel message in the shadow of the empire. Titles such as colossians remixed and Jesus and Empire. So it intrigued me greatly when I heard about Mount’s book.
Have we truly gone full circle? What will this mean for how we read the gospels and the New testament letters? Will it make it easier to read and understand? What will it mean for us Christians as we seek to live out the gospel under the shadow of the postmodern empire?
I have only just finished the introduction so I will share some more thoughts as I work my way through the book.
I saw Prince of Persia last week. It’s not going to win any awards but it was a bit of hollywood fluff that didn’t outstay its welcome.
The film follows the exploits of Prince Dastan, a street orphan, who is adopted by King Sharaman of Persia. Through a series of events, he is forced to go on the wrong after being wrongly accused of the murder of his adopted father and comes into possession of a dagger that control time. By pressing the button on the dagger he is able to travel back in time by one minute, but if it is inserted into a certain holy wall then he can travel back as far as he wants.
We’ve done something or said something that we later regret and wish we could go back and sort.
I know I have.
But it got me thinking about a more interesting idea. At the end of the movie (spolier alert) Dastan goes back in time in order to prevent Hell on Earth (quite literally). He has seen what is going to happen and goes back and changes his actions accordingly.
Discussions about God’s divine providence still go on today. How much does God know about what it is going to happen? How much is He in control of events?
The Book of revelation has been often read as a guide to what is going to happen at the end of world. A kind of crystal ball. I’m certainly not convinced that was the aim of John when he wrote it but I understand how people can come to that opinion.
What I do believe is this.
The death and resurrection of Jesus brought about the start of a renewed creation. It showed us we are to partner with God in bringing about this new creation. I believe in the poetry and story of Revelation that one day God will dwell on earth and everything we do now will somehow have meaning then. Because we know how the story will end, we should live accordingly.
Are we about bringing Heaven to earth or Hell to earth?
What kind of world do we hope will exist when God renews everything?
Let’s start working with God to bring about that renewed world now.
Been doing some reading and reflecting. Wanted to share some of the quotes I’ve found exciting and challenging.
“All Christian doctrine arises from Christian experience”“
What does that mean for our theology?
Should theology be a series of intellectual systems of theological speculation?
Or should our theology arise from our own experience? Does this give permission for our theology to change, grow and develop?
“Todays orthodoxy was yesterday’s heresy”
That gives me a lot of hope.
” we have developed a theology and ecclesiology that controls and constrains rather than liberates the church to become what she could be. “
“We have reduced the revelation of Jesus to an ethical code or to a notion of what is true, where discipleship is seen as no more than assent to a set of propositions. This is no more truer when we think of church. This living hope for humanity, has been reduced to a set of propositions, with articles of faith about who is in and who is out. ”