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The past couple of weeks in my D.Min. program have included some fascinating readings, lectures, and conversations. Dr. Alvin Plantinga’s newest offering, Where the Conflict Really Lies, kicked things off. In the book, he makes the argument that there does exist deep conflict between science and religion, but it is not the conflict that one ordinarily supposes.

Plantinga appeals to Newtonian and Quantum physics, microbiology, astronomy, and cosmology to show that what conflict does exist between Christian theism and science is superficial at best. He then uses those same fields to show deep concord between Christian theism and science, and deep conflict between science and naturalism. Scientific theory is agnostic about metaphysical and theological questions. Naturalism, however, is not.

Yet to follow the science, Plantinga asserts, one is forced to conclude vis-à-vis a naturalistic interpretation of the evidence that the trustworthiness of one’s cognitive faculties is very, very low. Why? Because a naturalist’s commitment to unguided natural selection as the driving force of evolution necessarily entails that only those functions which aid in reproduction and evolutionary adaptation have a high probability for selection and preservation in the future generations of a given species. Rational cognition, it seems, fails to meet the evolutionary adaptive criteria.

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“Oughtness” #dmingml

September 28, 2010 — Leave a comment


Shalom is us showing up and being church in our day.  Not defined by consumerism, individualism or the misuse of power, but by our gospel identity of being formed ‘in Christ’.  Shalom is us incarnating the servanthood of Christ in the most challenging issues that our neighbors are facing.  Shalom is caring about justice in a world of poverty.  Shalom is staying in a place of need when it’s more convenient to leave.  Shalom is loving your enemy.  Shalom is listening to your critics, being silent under judgment.  Shalom is about the other, not you.  Shalom is the way out, it is the way of freedom in a world of oppression.  Wherever you are, whatever you do . . . shalom.

To speak of “shalom” is to also speak of the coming kingdom. The relationship could be described like this: “shalom” is the presence (now and future) of the kingdom; the Spirit is the path/means to the kingdom; the Gospel is the proclamation of the kingdom.

So, yeah, really – it’s these four words. You don’t have a full picture of the work of the Spirit without the meaning of the kingdom. You don’t have a picture of the presence of the kingdom without the meaning of shalom. And of course the Gospel connects us to the mission of Jesus and through Jesus the missio Dei. To be missional is to pray for and proclaim the kingdom by demonstrating shalom — justice, peace, salvation — in the power of the Spirit, inviting others to belong and to believe and to follow Jesus.

It seems like I’ve been running across shalom a lot lately. Hunter talks about it in his book, bloggers I follow have been talking about it. But what exactly is it?

The most helpful explanation I’ve come across is in a book by Calvin Theological Seminary President Neal Plantinga:

The webbing together of God, humans, and all creation in justice, fulfillment, and delight is what the Hebrew prophets called shalom. We call it peace, but it means far more than mere peace of mind or a cease-fire between enemies. In the Bible, shalom means universal flourishing, wholeness and delight — a rich state of affairs in which natural needs are satisfied and natural gifts fruitfully employed, a state of affairs that inspires joyful wonder as its Creator and Savior opens doors and s the creatures in whom he delights. Shalom, in other words, is the way things out to be.”

So, what does living shalom look like from your seat?