Re-inventing the Church by Berit Kjos

Below I'm presenting the view of what I take to be a reactionary writer who resists all the changes that have taken place in the Christian world's thinking in the past 150 years. What I find intriguing is that her arguments are really against ethical relativism--and on that point I agree with her, particularly how that relativism becomes a slippery slope toward subordination to the capitalist marketplace and its ideals (though she doesn't make that point even while quoting from market mystifiers like Drucker). What she completely misses, and thereby distorts, is that many of the modernizers of the church whom she is resisting were actually doing precisely what Jeremiah (whom he quotes) advocated--a return to the old ways of the Bible. The major critique of liberation theology is that the old fashioned Church that has been under assault in the modern era was itself an abandonment of the Bible and its old ways--its powerful call for social justice and care for the poor that the Church and most other established religions have managed to honor more in solemn intoning of those values than in actually living them. So the modern liberation theologians, and their current embodiment in Pope Francis, are the ones who are rejecting the accommodation of the Church to the realities of the powerful (the principalities) and insisting on a return to the (implicitly) Jewish ethics that call for redistribution of wealth every fifty years (the Jubillee) and forgiving of all debts every seven years, and of "loving the stranger" (which in today's world means everyone on the planet, not just your own nation or religion).

Jesus and the Jews

Jesus is not what many people think he is. As a cradle Christian, ordained for nearly forty years in the United Church of Christ, it pains me to see how many people at the gate in need of a healing touch have been driven away from that touch by his identity theft.

Names of God

Fourteenth-century mystic and activist Meister Eckhart says “all the names we give to God come from an understanding of ourselves.” If he is correct, then as humanity’s self-understanding and understanding of the cosmos evolve, then clearly our God-names will evolve in response. Rabbi Arthur Waskow reminds us that the Book of Exodus is also known as the Book of Names because God goes through two name changes within its pages. Why is this? In his article “When the World Turns Upside-Down, Do We Need to Rename God,” Waskow suggests it is because “the old Name cannot inspire a new sense of reality … God is different when the world is different.”

So where do we go for new names for God? The ancient texts of Buddhism say: “God has a million faces,” and ancient Hindu texts discuss “the one Being the wise call by many names.” Thirteenth-century Christian theologian Thomas Aquinas is much wilder—he says that every creature is a name for God—and no creature is.