Tag Archives: Anthony Bradley

Relevance As The New Legalism

Figure of a Missional Perspective

Figure of a Missional Perspective (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I don’t know how many times I think I can say this, but Christians just need to get rid of the words “Missional” and “relevance” out of their vocabulary. Seriously. If I may wax Stanley Hauerwas, the church is not called to be relevant, the most political thing that it can do is be the church first and foremost. Now, exactly what does that mean, what does that look like? We can have a conversation about that. But what’s not up for debate for Christians is following Christ’s Great Commandment, to love the Lord Your God with all of your heart, soul, mind, and body, and love your neighbor as yourself. Also, the whole language of intentionality is questionable at best, prioritizing intent over and against faithfulness.

Jeremy said it best:

“That people can even be of service is a function of being parts of the one body of Christ. The question is whether we actually value all the body parts equally, or if my bad back is thought of as a waste. The burden that Piper and his ilk put on individual Christians is overwhelming, and I think a function of addressing masses of individualistic Americans (me) instead of anything resembling an ekklesia. I don’t actually have an average, ideal description of a Christian. I HAVE A CHURCH. When we forget that, we get into the kind of exhausting millennial/genx obsession with being special and how we have to make a huge difference in order to be significant. If you add Christianity to that you get descriptions of the Christian life that are almost impossible to maintain without fetishizing experience and potency. If you add politics to that you get empire.”

– PJ contributor and writer Jeremy McLellan on facebook.

Dr. Anthony Bradley says it best:

“Being a “radical,” “missional,” Christian is slowly becoming the “new legalism.” We need more ordinary God and people lovers (Matt 22:36-40).”

Please read and share his article: The New Legalism: Missional, Radical, Narcissistic and Shamed

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The New Black Theology And The Patristics

TOWARDS A CRITICAL RACE THEOLOGY?

A T-shirt parodying the political neologism &q...

Traditionally, the Patristics and their work were used as apologetics to protect Christians and our propositional truth claims. Tertullian agrees with me! No Augustine agrees with me! Origen is a heretic! Clement of Alexandria? Can you say liberal?

Recently, there has been a trend in the discipline of black theology to use Early Church thinkers toward anti-racist ends. The cover story in The Christian Century: The New Black Theology highlights this move brilliantly.

“What is revolutionary about these three black theologians is that they rely heavily on dogmatic texts from the patristic period to the Reformation. Why is this novel? Because nonwhite male theologians have historically been hesitant to trust these sources—and for good reason. In the worst of times, classic theological texts have been used to oppress persons of color and women. In the best of times, the overwhelming attention given these particular voices obscured other voices, giving the impression that the only Christians speaking and writing about God for the last 2,000 years were European men. Those who did not fit that description simply did not know how to relate to a tradition that claimed to speak for but did not reflect them.”

I would highly recommend that you give the article, linked above, a read. I am filled with excitement for this trend, if you couldn’t already tell. But first, I would like to show gratitude to the theological foremothers and forefathers who came before me, the crazy Zilpha Elaws, Julia J.A. Footes and James Cones, whose sharing of the Gospel have had a great impact on me theologically. The great news about this “new” black theology, Black Theology 2.0, is that theological resources from Early Christianity, and from the Antebellum South are read as equals. These acts in themselves are subversive, for they challenge our racist, sexist academic canons in theological studies that now exists as the hegemons that racial minority scholars have to face.

Two more important and encouraging signs about this theology is that #1, these black male writers are arguing how racism against blacks has its history intertwined with the histories of anti-Semitism and anti-Judaism, as Frantz Fanon argued a long time ago. Secondly, the “new black theology” has begun to make Christian theology an essential resource for critical race theory in general. That is why, even though I really, really hate neologisms, I have some desire to tentatively call this new theology, to escape the black-white binary, Critical Race Theology. I am still working on it, so it is a work in progress.

For more information about what I am calling “CRITICAL RACE THEOLOGY”:

Visit J. Kameron Carter’s blog ; I also did a review of his book: Race: A Theological Account as well as Willie Jennings’ The Christian Imagination: Theology and the Origins of Race.

See also Brian Bantum’s blog, as well as from the evangelical perspective, Anthony Bradley’s site.

Network on FACEBOOK with theologians and religion scholars doing critical race theory:

Theology and Critical Race Theory

The Journal for Race, Ethnicity, and Religion

Society of Race, Ethnicity and Religion

You may also be interested in reading my Master of Theology Thesis, Beyond Liberated: Divine Transcendence and Cultural Hybridity in the Theologies of Clement of Alexandria and James Cone.

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@FoxNews : Critics of Tim Tebow are like the Segregationists!

Tis the season for the War on Christmas, and hating Christians everywhere! Oh, and yah, and did you know critics of Tim Tebow are just like the segregationists who opposed the Civil Rights Movement?

That’s the illogic of Fox News for you, my friends. In this article, “Why are anti-Christian bigots so eager to prey on Tim Tebow?,” Todd Starnes compares Anthony Bradley, a professor of ethics at an evangelical school (whose black), of being like Bull Connor for criticizing Tim Tebow.

“Perhaps the good professor would suggest Christians enter restaurants through the back door and use separate drinking fountains?”

Ummmmm. What, come again, Todd? Who brought up race in all of this? This is about religion, right? Oh wait. Let’s make that white privileged move to compare every struggle to the Civil Rights movement.

It’s so funny how Mr. Starnes can compare Bradley to pro-segregationists (even though he is black, right?) when Starnes ends his post with a rather racialized conclusion:

“At the end of the day, though, which NFL star would you want your little boy idolizing? A dog killer? A guy who beats up his girlfriend? Someone who is communicable? Or a man who loves Jesus, helps orphans and builds hospitals for the needy?

I’ll take Tim Tebow in my huddle any day.”

HUmmmm, pray tell? Who is the Dog Killer? Oh, and Someone that is communicable? You mean someone who is not those inarticulate, uneducated black athletes, like Michael Vick, right?

I hope Tim Tebow fans can call out Starnes for his racially biased defense of #tebowing.