Good Friday: “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?”

Dear Friends and Family,

Today is Good Friday, the day we remember that Christ died on the cross and was buried; the day the light went out of the world.

When Christ was on the cross he called out, ‘“Eloi,Eloi, lema sabachthani?” which means, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”’ This is often read as the pain of separation, the Son being ripped from the Father. I’m not so sure. It seems this is a call to remember who God is. Below is Psalm 22, the very Psalm Jesus began to call out when he died. Read it and meditate on it today.



Psalm 22

My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?
Why are you so far from saving me, from the words of my groaning?
O my God, I cry by day, but you do not answer,
and by night, but I find no rest.
Yet you are holy,
enthroned on the praises of Israel.
In you our fathers trusted;
they trusted, and you delivered them.
To you they cried and were rescued;
in you they trusted and were not put to shame.
But I am a worm and not a man,
scorned by mankind and despised by the people.
All who see me mock me;
they make mouths at me; they wag their heads;
“He trusts in the Lord; let him deliver him;
let him rescue him, for he delights in him!”
Yet you are he who took me from the womb;
you made me trust you at my mother’s breasts.
10 On you was I cast from my birth,
and from my mother’s womb you have been my God.
11 Be not far from me,
for trouble is near,
and there is none to help.
12 Many bulls encompass me;
strong bulls of Bashan surround me;
13 they open wide their mouths at me,
like a ravening and roaring lion.
14 I am poured out like water,
and all my bones are out of joint;
my heart is like wax;
it is melted within my breast;
15 my strength is dried up like a potsherd,
and my tongue sticks to my jaws;
you lay me in the dust of death.
16 For dogs encompass me;
a company of evildoers encircles me;
they have pierced my hands and feet—
17 I can count all my bones—
they stare and gloat over me;
18 they divide my garments among them,
and for my clothing they cast lots.
19 But you, O Lord, do not be far off!
O you my help, come quickly to my aid!
20 Deliver my soul from the sword,
my precious life from the power of the dog!
21     Save me from the mouth of the lion!
You have rescued me from the horns of the wild oxen!
22 I will tell of your name to my brothers;
in the midst of the congregation I will praise you:
23 You who fear the Lord, praise him!
All you offspring of Jacob, glorify him,
and stand in awe of him, all you offspring of Israel!
24 For he has not despised or abhorred
the affliction of the afflicted,
and he has not hidden his face from him,
but has heard, when he cried to him.
25 From you comes my praise in the great congregation;
my vows I will perform before those who fear him.
26 The afflicted shall eat and be satisfied;
those who seek him shall praise the Lord!
May your hearts live for ever!
27 All the ends of the earth shall remember
and turn to the Lord,
and all the families of the nations
shall worship before you.
28 For kingship belongs to the Lord,
and he rules over the nations.
29 All the prosperous of the earth eat and worship;
before him shall bow all who go down to the dust,
even the one who could not keep himself alive.
30 Posterity shall serve him;
it shall be told of the Lord to the coming generation;
31 they shall come and proclaim his righteousness to a people yet unborn,
that he has done it.

Is Evolution Anti-Christian? Conor Cunningham, Charles Darwin, and the God who Creates

9780802848383Dear Friends and Family, While there is even bigger news I would like to discuss at some point, namely a new Pope and what that should mean for non-Catholic Christians (see, for the time being, Peter Steven’s excellent post on this subject), for the today I want to do a short post on evolution. Particularly in “conservative”, lower Protestant churches (meaning churches that focus on the authority of the Bible and don’t have an official liturgy), evolution as a scientific theory is seen as anti-Christian. It tells us that God had nothing to do with creation, that we are just an accident and are descended immediately from apes and distantly from protozoan slime. Well, according to Dr Conor Cunningham this is not the case. Conor is a professor here at the University of Nottingham (though he is currently at Princeton as a kind of visiting research fellow) and is often seen as something of a rock star. If John Milbank is the brains, and often words, of Radical Orthodoxy (something I’ll blog about later), then Conor is the face and voice of Radical Orthodoxy here at Nottingham. While I’m getting ready to write my next chapter on Deification and Creation, I’ve been reading Conor’s book, Darwin’s Pious Idea. I’m not done with it yet, but it has been an excellent and challenging read. Ultimately what Conor is trying to say is that science in general and evolution in specific are not anti-Christian. In fact, Conor sees fundamentalist Creationists (people who not only believe in a literal six-day creation, i.e. the world was created exactly as described in Genesis 1, but also think you must believe this) and Ultra-Darwinists (people like Richard Dawkins who think that Darwinian evolution explains just about everything we need to know about life) are anti-Christian and anti-evolutionary. Below I’ll embed some videos of Conor talking about evolution and Nature and Grace (a topic I may introduce at a later date). I know that for many this notion that Christianity and evolution can coexist might seem rather odd and maybe even heretical. If that’s you, I definitely recommend you check out these videos as well as Conor’s book. If anything, I hope these help you see that Christianity and science don’t have to be at odds and that there is more than one way to read the Bible. What do you think, especially after watching these videos, are evolution and Christianity at odds or does the notion that all nature is graced and upheld by God help us make sense of how creation and evolution can work together? For more videos from the University of Nottingham go here. Yours, David