Friday, December 26, 2008

Creational Intent and the Future of Creation

I recently discovered the phrase "creational intent." [Yes, I know it's been around for some time, and I'm behind the curve. Wanna make something of of it?"] A search on Google showed me that it is used in several specific theological contexts, but I'm interested in it as it addresses the matter of God's intent in creating the cosmos (the heavens, the earth, and the contents thereof) in relation to the destiny of the same. I have thought about aspects of that, though not in-depth, for years; now I have a shorthand way of referring to it. Stated briefly, what I have wondered is whether God created and populated the earth, only to blow it to smithereens at some time future to us and sweep some of that population (past and, at the time of the blast, present) away as incorporeal beings to a place called "heaven," where they will dwell forever. The thing that doesn't quite make sense to me is that God would create and organize a corporeal world in the first place, if his ultimate goal was to create a community of "spirit beings" to spend eternity with. I'm becoming aware of a body of literature that deals, directly and indirectly, with this notion of creational intent and the future of the created order. My intent is to read some of those writings as I study the biblical story, seeking the light that they can shed upon one another. Let's see where this goes!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Abuse and Belief

If you have been (or are) the victim of abuse -- physical, sexual, etc. -- check out this posting on Scot McKnight's Jesus Creed weblog: "How can that woman believe?" The posting elicited numerous comments, which are worth reading and pondering. One thing in particular struck me, from the comments of more than one person: for some (perhaps many) God is a convenient whipping boy. "If God exists and is all-powerful and all-loving, why is there evil in the world?" There are numerous issues tucked into that question, and I don't deny the potential difficulty in wrestling with them. But you know, it sure is handy to be able to deflect onto God and avoid our own responsibility.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

The Heavens Declare . . .

The star cluster above is known as the Christmas Tree Cluster. It's truly amazing how things like this just happen.

Upside Down

A dear friend sent this clever little video to me this morning:

Thursday, December 18, 2008

One Flesh

How's this for random? Here's a poem I wrote a couple of years ago:

One Flesh

God reached down,
touched the earth, and
made man.
And he became flesh.

God reached in,
touched man’s rib, and
made woman.
And she became flesh.

Man reached out,
touched woman, and
made love.
And they became one flesh.

No ancient tale to satisfy curiosity,
Nor holy myth to justify monogamy,
But a blessing – or a curse – for eternity.

[Copyright 2007 by Craig W. Beard]

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Integrity Strikes Again

The most recent addition to my 'People I Want to Meet' list is Billy Watts of Murfreesboro, Tennessee. According to a news story brought to my attention by my cousin Scott, the grandmother of twelve "found [a] purse with nearly $100,000 in it in a Cracker Barrel bathroom last week and gave it back." Not only did Billy return the purse to its owner, she didn't accept the $1,000 reward she was offered. You can read the story here.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Hello, Good-bye

In spite of how the title of this post may sound, I'm not giving up on blogging yet. [Some of you will recognize the title of a Beatles song (not least my friend Gene, who could tell you off the top of his head whether Paul or John was more responsible for the writing, where it was recorded, and on which album it appeared). Others will ask, "Who?"] Rather, I am reflecting on something God has reminded me of over the past couple of weeks: He knows better than I, even when we disagree . . . make that, especially when we disagree.

Though I haven't checked with Gene on this, I think it's safe to say that the focus of Lennon and/or McCartney was on human relationships, not on theology. But the point is valid nonetheless. Sometimes God is saying "yes" when I'm thinking "no," "stop" when I'm thinking "go." Hello? I don't know why. [Okay, enough of that before I ruin the song for you.] Truth be told, I do know why. Because God is God, and I'm not. My range of experience is somewhat more limited than God's; my vantage point is a bit less infinite than God's. Because of that, some of the choices I've made and some of the directions I've taken have not, to put it mildly, achieved optimal results. In plain English, I've screwed up. Or I've missed experiencing something really amazing. After some of those occasions, I sensed what I will describe as a cosmic sigh.

In spite of what some people will tell you, and in spite of God's being (if I may be allowed) deadly serious about the mess humankind has made of things (botching our relationships with God, with others, with creation, and even with ourselves), God is not eagerly waiting for us to screw up so he can go Medieval on us. The hymn "Amazing Grace" says, "the Lord has promised good to me," and that's what God desires: good. Recall, if you will, Genesis 1: "it was good . . . good . . . good . . . good . . . good . . . good . . . very good." But also recall Genesis 3: It was humankind's "yes" in the face of God's "no" that twisted "very good" into very bad.

Perhaps I've rambled a bit. I can do that -- this is my blog. But my rambling brings me back to the beginning. Though I'm a big fan of the Beatles, the longer I'm a follower of Jesus, the more I want to tweak "Hello, Good-bye" for myself:

You say "yes," I say "yes."
You say "go," and I say "go, go, go."

It doesn't make for much of a song. But it makes for a wonderful life.

Thursday, November 20, 2008


As I was checking my email, I saw the following headline for a story posted yesterday on Yahoo Sports: "Integrity Costs Golfer Dearly." Whenever I read about those who comport themselves as J.P. Hayes did, they go on my 'People I Want to Meet' list. If you have a moment, read the story. You might put Hayes on your list, too.

Taking Out the Trash

Over the past few months I have been flooded with email messages, from friends and acquaintances, stating how they feel about presidential candidate, and now President-Elect, Barak Obama. Actually, in some cases that's phrasing it mildly and kindly. Some messages were possibly libelous, but certainly mean-spirited . . . and, as I see it, un-Christian. I'm referring to such messages as the one with a watermelon under a box, which was propped up on one end with a stick with a string attached to it, captioned "Plot to Trap Obama." And the one featuring a man riding a motorcycle, wearing a tee shirt with "Nigger, please . . . It’s a White House" on the back. And the one I received this morning with the subject line "The Black Widow," referring to Michelle Obama. I have no problem with people expressing their opposition to a political candidate or public official; I have no problem with Christians engaging in such expression. In fact, I believe that Christians, in the prophetic tradition, can contribute to holding such people accountable. [Perhaps that's part of what we're to be about in the world as "salt" and "light."] However, when Christians do speak out, we should do so with integrity, not with what appears to be a the-end-justifies-the-means attitude. Brothers and sisters, let's speak the truth in love, and take out the trash.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

And So It Begins

Just what I need: a blog -- one more thing to keep up with. But hey, why not give it a try? I might enjoy it. [Are ya happy now, Lisa? :-) ]