Welcome back. Here’s the last of three posts on Questions I’m asking. It’s off the cuff and raw. It’s meant to be that way. What are you thinking about?

Questions I’m asking #64 – 93…

64. God gives Israel instructions on buying slaves from neighboring peoples. What’s up with that?

65. Is culture such a powerful force in the universe that God must compromise on universal/transcendant values to work within a particular context?

66. When God gives instructions for an inhumane act such as buying slaves, do we negate the evil of it because of an assumed trajectory towards justice?

67. We know God can experience new things, can He also learn? Grow? Change?

68. Should we read the story of the Bible and let the story develop our portrait of God?

69. Should we read the story of the Bible through the filter of an approved systematic/ orthodox framework?

70. Is (Are) the future(s) open or closed?

71. What’s the Bible say about the future?

72. Is cussing and anger among emerging pastors a plastic attempt at being authentic?

73. Luther, Calvin and Erasmus have something in common. None of them chose ministry as a vocation. What does this tell us?

74. Is there such a thing as “free will”?

75. Is Christianity a revealed religion or is it a sign pointing to the God who reveals Himself?

76. Assuming God is without beginning, without end, etc, did God limit himself in any way at creation?

77. Is a merger of the biological (the human) and the technological (the electronic) the next phase of evolution of the Sapient race?

78. What do we mean when we say we are under the authority of scriptures?

79. In the end, isn’t every person under the authority of his or her own interpretation (thinking/ feeling/acting) of scripture?

80. Is theology supposed to be static (i.e. understanding the systematic formulations of the past) or dynamic (i.e. allowing new questions to shape our theological formulations of the future)?

81. Is the understanding of the role of scripture in the church changing as we exit both the modern world and postmodern transition?

82. Is the relationship between Catholic and Protestant changing as we exit the postmodern transition?

83. What kind of God do we believe in?

84. Do all innovative churches look the same? Why?

85. If you could live forever known by noone or for a limited period and known by many, what would you choose?

86. Does God “want” all men to be saved?

87. What do we really want?

88. What is the Recreated Humanity of the church supposed to look like?

89. Should we be growing human organs in animals for harvesting?

90. How will we feel when we are introduced to the first human clone [Is he/she alive in infancy somewhere right now]?

91. Chimeras are animals that have their own cells and the cells of another animal growing side by side in their body. Geeps (goat-sheep combos) already exist. What’s next? Humanzees. How far is too far?

92. The possible futures offered by technology (GNR) are so much more substantial than the [accurate] postmodern critique of the modern, can we not say that we are in the Post Human era [Or bio-electronic, or transhuman]? [More ideas on what to call our age coming up soon]. [***GNR –Genetic engineering, Nano technology, Robotics]

93. What insights will we gain about the scriptures the first day they are read on Earth Colony Mars?

See you in the Mystic…

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18 responses to “What I’m thinking about (Part 3)”

  1. Andy Avatar

    Is “inhumane act” an oxymoron?

    Do any great doctrines of the church need to go?

    If yes, don’t we need some great heretics? Are we afraid of the wrong things: of breaking rules and traditions of men rather than missing God in our midst because of our addiction to control?

  2. Laurie Avatar

    Is cussing and anger among emerging pastors a plastic attempt at being authentic?Thank you for this! Our pastor loves to say crap. He gets a big reaction. Every time. He’s smart and does a good job, but why this sudden change? If you’re noticing it too then maybe it was in a book somewhere…
    God gave slave instructions and He also gave instructions to kill your disrespectful /misbehaving sons and daughters. The New/Golden Rule is treat others the way you want to be treated so I think slavery falls under that category. Sometimes God changes His mind. When Jesus was here He learned what it was to be human and so I think yes God can learn some things by experience. Honestly, now I feel a little uncomfortable saying that but what else could it be?

  3. Alex Avatar

    laurie, “uncomfortable”…welcome to my world.

  4. James Petticrew Avatar
    James Petticrew

    Clark Pinnock gave some lectures at my theological college on the openness of God and I think given the Incarnation we have to say that God is open to change, he becomes what he was not before, fully human, he enters human experience so fully he dies! These concepts stretch our intellect but I would be wary of God who is able to explained to our intellectual satisfaction in a few neat but trite paragraphs. I think the idea of the unchanging God crept into Christianity from creek philosophy, the God I encounter in Scripture is not detached and unmoved by life but is rather moved to anger, love and compassion, he embraces pain and exults in joy. Surely we cannot say God is love without also realizing that brings with it change. Is God different for having loved us, five wounds say He is!

  5. Shaman Avatar

    I could be (and probably am) completely wrong about this but … all my experience as a human and an artist tells me that doing art is not merely an expression of what already is in the artist but also an experience of growth and change for the artist. If therefore creation itself is the ultimate art project (what else could it be) and God the ultimate artist, then I believe He grows and changes with the doing.

    This does not need to imply that His power or character was ever incomplete or insufficient. But, to be, and never change or grow in any way? That makes me feel sorry for Him. Dear unchanging God … sucks to be you. (I’m sorry, is “sucks” a cuss word? If so, well, I’ve used it for much longer than I have been in leadership so it may be wrong but it’s definitely not plastic.)

  6. Elizabeth Avatar

    Heard it was your birthday–Just stopping by to say hope it was an awesome day for you!

  7. jim jensen Avatar

    CS Lewis had some interesting observations about possible extraterrestrial beings in the Space Trilogy. Given a God who reigns throughout the universe (and not just planet earth), he postulates that beings on other planets could possibly be sinless and past the “Eden point,” or sinless and still in the first stages of existence, “in the garden.” In either case, contact with our fallen planet could only lead to disaster without His divine intervention.

    The Chronicles of Narnia offer another possibility- God incarnates Himself in multiple universes. Could he also incarnate Himself on other planets in our own universe? I find that unlikely, since Jesus has now become a human being. But…how do we know for sure? Should contact with other intelligent beings become possible in this universe, it would be an exciting question to ask them.

  8. Laurie Avatar

    Dean, your comment helped me understand that my discomfort was coming from implying that God’s ability to change could be construed as His being insufficient.

  9. Jason Avatar

    In response to question 67, I would say that God in one sense does change. With respect to emotions, God rejoices (Isaiah 62:5), grieves (Ephesians 4:30), is angered (Exodus 32:10) and loves (Psalm 103:17).

    But I think it is important to note that Scripture affirms certain ways in which God does not change. Malachi 3:6 says of God’s patience and mercy “For I the Lord do not change,” James 1:17 says that all good gifts come from God “with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow,” Psalm 102:27 says “you are the same, and your years will not come to an end” and Hebrews 13:8 says “Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever.” The “being” or character of God seems to be unchanging. Perhaps this is why Scripture often refers to God as the Rock.

    Biblically, this idea seems necessary. Supposing God could change in His being or His purpose, what does that say about God? He could change either for the better or the worse. If either of these options were true, wouldn’t that mean that God isn’t perfect in His current being? Also, how do I know that I can trust God’s promise if He is liable to change? When you think about this, the fact that God’s nature is unchanging really is a comfort to Christians. It allows those whom God is changing to rest in the full assurance of the One who is unchangingly holy.


  10. matthew Avatar

    I am going to have to agree with Jason on this one. To say that God can change this make Him finite and puts His character subject to His creation. He at one point in history allowed Himself to be subject, but His character-purpose-mission never did. If indeed He is subject to change then surely we would have seen it in the garden during his prayer. The flesh that God had subjected Himself to had the ability to change, but it was His unchanging mission that won. If God changes then what exaclty are we to become- if we hold to the scripture that tells us “be imitators of God as dear children”, are we there yet? Emotions- experience YES! But if God dwells not only in the present, but in the future as well- then does He experience new things as we understand that? I know one thing for sure- I will exit this world with plenty of questions.

  11. Lon Avatar

    Alex, just finally caught up with your posts here. all I’m thinking right now is these thoughts are phenomenal, they really show case your brilliance and future-orientation…

  12. Richie Merritt Avatar

    mmmm…., I will have 2nd Lon’s comments. I am assuming these are questions you are asking for yourself? Are you soliciting input or are you just pondering and formulating. The slavery one does intrigue me? Where is that specifically? I’d like to do an in-depth study on that – there has to be more to the story me thinks? Culture, necessity, a way of showing the other nations how to be humane to those whom work for you? I dunno?

    However, is it inhumane to be enslaved by a system or country? Say, through taxes, consumerism, debt, culture clashes, deadly shootings in our schools? Sure we can leave, but to where? We are all in some sort of bondage of sorts – no? Pain and suffering at any level is pretty much dependent upon one’s perception of their situation in the first place(I think that is what I meant to say?) Just a thought there.

    Either way…, when those issues come up, those are the difficult conversations when working the Acts 1:8 gig. God is just no real easy to figure out – but is he supposed to be? Or maybe we try too hard and He is just standing there right in front of us – just waiting for us to recognize and be Loved?

    Well…., I’m officially rambling! Love ya man! Happy Birthday to ya? I am knee deep in studies – but plan on being part of the IMN push as soon as my studies are over in the fall; that is if I’m not planting a church somewhere or sumtin? 🙂 Or maybe I’ll go to a cave and ponder these 93 questions? Come out a Guru with a long beard and hair with all the answers…… – not!!

    Peace & Love Bro,

    Richie Merritt

  13. Richie Merritt Avatar

    Dag…, I rushed that last one and notice my spelling leaves much to be desired. Oh well.., hopefully you got it all? 🙂

  14. […] are you {think}ing about?’ Jump to Comments For openers, thanks to Alex McManus’ ‘Into the Mystic’ for this great Utube reference that had me almost spit out my terrible tasting maxwell house coffee […]

  15. Daniel Avatar

    With regard to cultural changes, I submit that God doesn’t change with the culture but rather he would understand the place and time and show himself through those circumstances. Does that mean that God approves of slavery? That would only matter in our narrow view of things. I would not even want to understand that.

  16. Alex Avatar

    Daniel, I would.

  17. April Alderman Avatar
    April Alderman

    thank you for asking the questions that haunt my crisis of faith. your voice is loud enough to reach the ears of others. i wish i could sit with you and hear you explain your answers, and your lack of answers while still clinging to faith in the mystical, confusing God of Abraham. thanks.

  18. Alex Avatar

    April, You’re welcome. Haunt your questions right back by asking even more questions without fear. The God of Abram, Isaac, Jacob and You, may not answer, but, if we’re lucky, maybe He’ll be somewhat amused.

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