Wednesday, September 30, 2009

μετάνοια & ἄφεσις

Definition:

1. a change of mind, as it appears to one who repents,
of a purpose he has formed or of something he has done

"Metanoeite: change your tune, adjust your tuning, change your mind and heart, transform your whole disposition, your "Stimmung", your moodedness, your whole way of being in the world and being with one another. Immerse (baptezein) your old heart, your old mind, and wash away the meanness that is centered solely on itself so that you can be transformed."

How does this flow into this thing called forgiveness? Once an offender turns towards the offended in a new way, having turned from themselves and towards the other....

"..in forgiveness...I must give up the power, forgo repayment, or give away (fort-geben) the advantage I have over you. I wipe the ledger clean so that the offense is gone, actively wiped away, wiped out, and you are released. But...the wonder here, the amazing grace, is not annihilation, for what is in the past is still there, but re-formation or transformation, where the offense is transformed into a moment of forgiveness into something that is no longer hanging over us, no longer between us, not anymore.

The eventful character of the forgiven past is that the past is not simply retained or sustained or simply wiped away - nothing is simple - but retained AS wiped away.....the past is neither annihilated nor forgotten, but it is given a new meaning, the meaning of the "as if it never happened," which presupposes that it did, which constitutes the temporality of forgiveness as an event." Caputo


Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The New Wings

So it's been an intense summer and pre-season. We've said goodbye to several big names. We've welcomed back a couple old friends. We've installed some future big names.

Did we win every pre-season game? Nope. Although we did win some good match-ups.

But pre-season fluff is over. Now we find out what we're made of.

Here's the starting line-up as we head to Sweden for the first 2 season opening games against Saint Louis:

The Detroit Red Wings’ season-opening roster (by projected forward lines and defense pairings):

Forwards (13)
Johan Franzen-Pavel Datsyuk-Tomas Holmstrom
Todd Bertuzzi-Henrik Zetterberg-Dan Cleary
Ville Leino-Valtteri Filppula-Jason Williams
Kris Draper-Justin Abdelkader-Patrick Eaves-Kirk Maltby

Defensemen (7)
Nicklas Lidstrom-Brian Rafalski
Niklas Kronwall-Brad Stuart
Jonathan Ericsson-Brett Lebda
Derek Meech

Goalies (2)
Chris Osgood
Jimmy Howard

Sunday, September 27, 2009

out is in.

You've probably heard of Jesus.

My blog isn't that popular. My mom reads it. Some of my family read it. A few from my church read it. I'm one of the few listed on the Friendly Atheist's "Religious" blogroll. But for some reason, it's popularity doesn't go beyond about 20-40 views a day. My guess is because I often blog about personal, family, or hockey related stuff....enough that the strict theology-and-spirituality-only blog readers thumb their noses up at my lack of consistency.

I'm okay with that.

In this case, it allows me to know my audience. You are those who "know" what's going on in church. The "insiders". The disturbing thing to realize then, is that myself and most of you reading this....according to most of the parables told by Jesus Christ....would be the outsiders.

Who are the insiders, in the parables of Jesus? The prostitutes. The thieves. The tax collectors. The poor. The crippled. The prisoner. The addicts. Those with little or nothing to offer a community of people, and quite possibly might pose a risk for a community to welcome. These are the ones Jesus speaks of inviting to the parties. These are the ones it seems, like a Junior higher who wants to associate himself with the right crowd (only so much more than that), Jesus leans towards. These are those Jesus seeks to spend time with. These are the folks the healing power of Jesus Christ goes out to.

But on the same token, we know that if our church's are to see a renewal of life, and be guided in the direction of Jesus Christ, we need to have people at the "helm" who have a heart very close to God's heart, right? Like Bishop Kendall posted on his blog recently, we desire to find and develop those who are seeking hard after Christ...and develop/disciple them into leadership.

So how do we balance that out with the knowledge of who Christ newly labels as the "insiders"? Beyond just recognizing we're called to love them, but we're called to give them a place of prominence within our "parties". Surely Jesus wouldn't want us to let a thief come in and run some sort of ministry among people who assume our goal is to keep them safe from hell and anyone who might be "heading there"?

I suppose an easy answer might be that Jesus never calls this crowd any sort of leadership, or "host of the party type" name. They're often called "Guests". Which might be hard enough for many of us to relate to them as. Whether the pot heads in youth ministry, or the various groups that translates into as adults, etc. - we often naturally lean away from, sit away from, and altogether hope someone else pours love into them.

But if there's one thing I've learned about being a host from my wife (the natural host), guests are taken care of. Welcomed, and made to feel welcome. A host goes out of their comfort zone, and overextends themselves, making sacrifices to welcome a guest. May we be welcoming/inviting hosts to this party of the Kingdom of God...and may we realize who the "guests of honor" truly are. (not us)

Saturday, September 26, 2009

possible missing link...

About a year or so ago, our church seemed to desire a re-emphasis on prayer. We watched some dvd's from Brooklyn Tabernacle. We were encouraged to read books on prayer. Times of prayer were scheduled, etc. It was talked about that we needed to be a "praying church", and that quite possibly through that path - something similar to what broke out at Brooklyn Tab could happen in our neck of the woods.

Over time, the excitement and zeal over this thing called "prayer" died down a bit. Sure, we're still people who believe in prayer. Sure, we still pray. The expectation is that everyone is praying, and may even be praying more than before the re-emphasis. But we don't do a whole lot of it together.

Why is that?

I can't speak to the church as a whole. But I do know in youth ministry, the temptation is simple. I get paid to do ministry. I get paid to lead and talk and "minister". When I come to a Sunday or Wednesday, the temptation is to "prove" somehow that I'm worth what I'm being paid. To show off what I've studied. To establish myself as someone who has book learnin'. To poke my head into the world of church elders and assert that I am so much more than a pizza party and flip flops.

I also approach prayer as routine. Why? Because it's been a routine. Maybe I do it quietly in a closet where no one is near. Maybe I do it in a group, reciting familiar words and phrases. I do believe in prayer. I don't understand it completely, but I believe God is up to something in and through and from it.

Earlier this year, my wife and I experienced something that I think renewed the desire to pray in both of us. We were led through several guided prayer exercises (experiments). The Free Methodist Church paid a lot of money for an incredible speaker to come and give us guided times of silence. He was well worth the money.

Ever since, I've begun experimenting in the realm of youth ministry. I think it has been working well. I believe whatever may be lacking between the praying church we are, and the praying church we could be....involves guided prayer experiences that remind us that prayer can be MORE than routine...can be EXPERIENCES once again. Containing life and transformation and hope and renewal and....God. :)

My advice? Even if you're not in "youth ministry". If you want to know more about experiments in experiencing guided prayer....check out "Downtime" and go where that points you. :) Family devotions....Sunday School....personal time......etc. So many great opportunities for renewal....

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

chick tracts

So...the tracts appearing here are MILD compared to the one I found on our church resource table (Why the yellow race will not take over the world), placed by someone who hopefully meant well but perhaps didn't read the tract they were leaving behind. But these types of beliefs are stewing behind the veil in many of our congregations. How to approach the topic in a loving way, to those who hold these beliefs as foundational to who they are, and who the bride of Christ is?

Read at your own risk, and know that these are NOT MY beliefs/views. There is a SMALL amount of Biblical Truth in each of these (kinda), but it is taken way out of context and used as a tool of fear. How would YOU respond?




Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Wesley: A Bad Example

Okay okay, don't worry...I'm not losin' any love for John Wesley. But it's occurred to me lately a major difference between him and myself. Wesley traveled all over the place, preaching, teaching, admonishing, launching ministries, etc. To the point where he even authored many things while riding horseback between events in his life. It is a big difference:

I am a family man.

I think the same could be said for *gasp* Jesus also. While there is an incredible amount to gain by paying attention to the life and ministry of both of these men (one more than the other, for obvious reasons), I think we generally overlook the lacking element of being a husband (a decent one, at least, in Wesley's case) and a father.

Thankfully, I have had some pretty good men in my life. Men who have lived out what it meant to be a good husband and father. Yet still, in Christianity we see Pastors and lay people alike, seeking to reflect the ministry of men like these, as opposed to the heart and Spirit. Plates are full, and we run around trying to make sure every plate continues to spin without crashing; all the while adding a few more here and there.

Would it be more productive to not get married and/or have kids, and be able to devote more of my time and energy to the work of the Church? Yup. For the past 3 years, and the rest of my life, the church I minister among will be forced to recognize I'm a father and a husband. My church does a great job of embracing that role in me, and giving me freedoms to do it well, even if I don't always seem to.

As Christians, and especially as those in ministry (I know our jobs are extremely taxing sometimes, but I also know we have certain freedoms that assist us in achieving "balance" that some secular employees seriously envy.) we need to be husbands and fathers who practice an example of Kingdom work through being spouses and parents. Not by discovering a united "manhood" with other men, and adding another plate called "manliness:discovering and being". But by letting a few of the plates crash, or be spun by others, so that we can spend time and resources on our families and marriages.

We've been trained that the work of the Kingdom is "saving souls". When we reduce the ministry to that, then yes....it becomes easy to sacrifice family time for trying to convince one more sinner to repent. But when I view my family and my marriage as a crucial part of my ministry...as one who says with Christ, "follow me"...then I must set marital and familial health as high goals.

I don't say all of this as someone who has figured it out, by any means. I'm simply giving myself a lecture prior to a busy October, and allowing others to hear it; in hopes that maybe someone else needed to hear these words also. :)

Sunday, September 20, 2009

encouraging reminders...

"The "kingdom of God," then, represents the infinite task of making good on Elohim's "good," of repeating his "good" from day to day, which means letting God's rule obtain."

"The Sabbath is to be a day of recreation, of re-creation, of continually renewing the ongoing work of creation, of mending the broken and healing the sick, of straightening the crooked and making the lame to walk, of inscribing Elohim's "good" on the bodies and the minds of those whose lives he touched."

"To be pure of heart is to be released from sin, which means to break the shackles of sin, quite the way a crippled man is healed and thereafter able to move about freely. These shackles are self-imposed, and God releases us from them. So when Jesus taught "your sins are released," he meant, you are made healthy again, no longer crippled or impaired." - Caputo

Perhaps we've made too much economy in the realm of forgiveness. Two words used in the New Testament for forgiveness - "charizomai" and "aphiemi". Neither are economic words. Jesus didn't go around balancing the Kingdom's budget of offenses. He went around healing and bringing new life, and releasing prisoners.

But then again, we do see Jesus teaching us how to pray - "forgive our debts, as we forgive our debtors". Which in Matthew appears to be simply that, although the word used can be a metaphor for sin - the version in Luke clarifies the question by actually using the word for sin...revealing that Jesus was indeed speaking a language the people could understand. Which word did Christ actually use in the Lord's prayer?

Perhaps the mixed message is on purpose. The Kingdom of God is about being released from this debt, AND from this debt-mentality. Both in a financial and property-based sense, and the keeping track of offenses sense - as we see later in Jesus' dialogue about how often one should forgive their brother.

May we live our lives as people who are free from debts, allowing us to relate to others free from any indebtedness to us. In every way possible. And to live that, knowing God has brought/is bringing release and healing to creation through those created in His image living from such freedoms...

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Why Small Groups? by John Wesley

From "A Plain Account of the People Called Methodists"

And yes, I recognize that John Wesley may not have been an advocate of how some small groups operate today. To read a quick summary of the purpose/details of his groups...check out this link. Small groups today could gain something from the heart for God/others found in these.

"11. But it was not long before an objection was made to this, which had not once entered into my thought: — “Is not this making a schism? Is not the joining these people together, gathering Churches out of Churches?”

It was easily answered, If you mean only gathering people out of buildings called churches, it is. But if you mean, dividing Christians from Christians and so destroying Christian fellowship, it is not. For, (1.) These were not Christians before they were thus joined. Most of them were barefaced Heathens. (2.) Neither are they Christians, from whom you suppose them to be divided. You will not look me in the face and say they are. What! drunken Christians! cursing and swearing Christians! lying Christians! cheating Christians! If these are Christians at all, they are devil Christians, as the poor Malabarians term them. (3.) Neither are they divided any more than they were before, even from these wretched devil Christians. They are as ready as ever to assist them, and to perform every office of real kindness towards them. (4.) If it be said, “But there are some true Christians in the parish, and you destroy the Christian fellowship between these and them; “I answer, That which never existed, cannot be destroyed. But the fellowship you speak of never existed. Therefore it cannot be destroyed. Which of those true Christians had any such fellowship with these? Who watched over them in love? Who marked their growth in grace? Who advised and exhorted them from time to time? Who prayed with them and for them, as they had need? This, and this alone, is Christian fellowship:

But, alas! where is it to be found? Look east or west, north or south; name what parish you please: Is this Christian fellowship there? Rather, are not the bulk of the parishioners a mere rope of sand? What Christian connection is there between them? What intercourse in spiritual things?

What watching over each other’s souls? What bearing of one another’s burdens? What a mere jest is it then, to talk so gravely of destroying what never was! The real truth is just the reverse of this: We introduce Christian fellowship where it was utterly destroyed. And the fruits of it have been peace, joy, love, and zeal for every good word and work."

Monday, September 14, 2009

atheism vs. foolishness

Recently I listened to the 2008 discussion between NT Wright and Bart Ehrman on "The Problem of Evil". They introduced both men as widely renowned scholars and men of certain status in their fields. There was appropriate applause. Then NT Wright began with a 20 minute message of how he has a real Hope in the midst of grappling with the existence of evil. I'm a bit biased, obviously, but it was a solid 20 minutes that I think a LOT of Christians NEED to listen to.

Then it was time for Mr. Ehrman. A one time Baptist pastor and theology professor who became an atheist after a journey of biblical scholarship combined with how much is wrong with the world...etc. Granted, I've never heard of this man or heard him speak. But the difference between his attitude/approach to scripture and life in general; and the way he spoke almost made me wonder how he would be given the same podium as Wright. But a few of the key phrases, and opinions he presented over and over again brought up a good point.

Lately I've been spending time in the wonder of the "Foolishness" of God. When we stop pretending Christ makes sense in our world, and stop selling God as a one-way ticket to avoiding hell....Christianity becomes a whole lot more real and revolutionary, and most importantly - NEEDED in our world. But it's still foolishness.

Now, a lot of what Mr.Ehrman spoke about are beliefs that Christians have somehow gotten over the centuries without much foundation. Wright would challenge many of those beliefs with just as harsh a rhetoric. I haven't been able to listen to the part where they're each allowed a rebuttal, but I'm looking forward to it. But to focus on (people who dismiss "evil" as a simple problem that was "dealt" with in a simple way by God......people who believe that there's a rapture coming soon where we're all gonna get "sucked up into heaven"....or focus on people who put their foot down that all creation was created in 6 days, and evolution is satans tool") and to spend time calling that foolish is to miss the true redeeming foolishness of the Gospel.

This is the same foolishness highlighted in just about any atheist blog/book or popular movie also. Atheism and believers in other faiths attempt to promote THESE as the types of foolishness we are known for. And many Christians will sit back and say "well yes...we ARE supposed to be fools for Christ...so this is fine with me."

We're not foolish because of our biblical interpretation. We're NOT foolish because we try to force God's Kingdom in public and unloving ways around the world. We're not foolish for believing in a God that we can't even begin to understand, but we love to try. We're foolish for the Gospel.

Foolish for letting go of power. For giving without expecting return. For loving to the point of death, even those who would seek our ruin. Foolish for forgiving tresspasses. Foolish for welcoming the poor, broken, smelly, and not-able-to-do-anything-for-us as our closest friends. Foolish for leaving our "doors unlocked". For believing that Christ is the beginning and the fulfillment of so much that God is accomplishing in creation, and believing we've been invited to participate in that. For believing there is purpose to each day, not just in eternity, but IN THAT DAY to love others, and reflect God and His call from/to the unknown.

May we live as people, and become known as a body that exhibits the foolishness seen in Christ...a foolishness that is needed everywhere in creation.

Friday, September 11, 2009

nine - eleven.

You've probably received the e-mail by now, the one that reminds you to "fly your flag" in remembrance of September 11th, 2001. Honestly, we don't have a flag or even a flag pole anywhere outside my house, and I'm okay with that. However I do find it unfortunate that, at least in the version I received, someone had written "Obama is trying to downplay this event!". Making an obvious politically charged statement for selfish reasons in the midst of something that was probably started with good intentions.

Obama actually added to the "Patriot Day" by recommending a moment of silence at 8:46am this morning, on top of all the flags being at half-staff. (If you missed it, I'm sure it could still be an honorable endeavor...take a moment now.)

As Patriotic as we tend to get about this day, and the moment we remember on it, it can be easy to miss the larger picture. On September 11th, 2001 - we saw the brokenness of our world on a grand scale. What usually relegates itself to "getting mine" in the world, and driving like the road was made specifically for me, that day was manifested in something much larger. Some parts political, some parts religious zeal, man turned on fellow man, choosing for them that day would be their last. Innocent men, women, and children from all over the globe were killed.

As Christians, may we remember. But not remember as an isolated event, out of the ordinary, and impacting the United States of America. May we remember/have vision to see this as another symptom of a broken world that God has promised and has begun making new. An event that unites us in calling out to Christ, Come Lord Jesus, Come.

An event that calls us to yield control of whatever plane we may be threatening to crash to make a point. Calls us to put others before ourselves. Calls us to LOVE others in the name of God, not desire to overpower, control, or silence those who don't believe with us. Calls us to be servants to a world who will take advantage of that.

And may it all begin anew, with today's' moments of silence...

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

dancing with metaphors

I used to wonder/worry about simplifying the message of Jesus Christ into a phrase like "ask Jesus into your heart".

I worried that my daughter might actually think that was it. That she would say those words, we'd throw a party, and she'd smile; having earned her Heaven badge. Added to it, is knowing that most church children's ministries and even our "Christian" pre-school actually state that in their goals. They want to achieve getting my daughter to say those words, and will probably call me or send a card home at some point...or many points if they each do it individually...letting me know my daughter has become a "Christian".

Why did I worry?

I think because I (confession time) stopped dancing with that metaphor myself. Not even "just" that metaphor, but many ways of speaking of Jesus Christ that seem like 5 year old speak. After all, I'm much older/more learned now. I can speak of Justification, Sanctification, and Resurrection Life, etc. etc. etc.

Perhaps what a lot of us need, and what Jesus emphasized in scripture if we'll remind ourselves once in a while....is to use 5 year old speak. Not in simply speaking it. But speaking it/thinking of it as a 5 year old would. My daughter is only 3, and already is asking a thousand questions a day. The word "why" begins and ends every conversation. Nothing is understood, but everything is grappled with.

So when my daughter comes home with a note pinned to her shirt, or I get a phone call or a card in the mail that tells me my daughter has prayed to "ask Jesus into her heart".....I will genuinely celebrate. Not because my daughter believes she has achieved any sort of badge or ticket into Heaven. But because she is participating in a conversation where her thousand "why's" can find full and redeeming dances with God.

Hopefully she'll invite me, and teach me how again...she's doing well so far....:)

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

αὐτάρκεια

(ow-tar-kay-ah)

1. a perfect condition of life in which no aid or support is needed.
2. sufficiency of the necessities of life.
3. a mind contented with its lot, contentment.


2 Corinthians 9:8 - "And God is able to provide you with every blessing in abundance, so that by always having enough of everything, you may share abundantly in every good work."

1 Timothy 6:6 - "Of course, there is great gain in godliness combined with contentment;"

May we understand the wisdom in which Paul uses this term (aka - may we read the verses before and after each of these). This is not an assurance that God will give us any sort of material wealth or status. This also speaks as a reminder that godliness is NOT a means of gain. If anything, it's a means of loss. A beautiful, foolish, and love-filled loss.

May we each seek autarkeia in our lives this week...

Friday, September 04, 2009

i am michigander.

Yesterday I had the ability to take a quick trip to Michigan with a friend willing to drive/endure the sheer Michigander-ness of it all. It ended up being a great trip, and one I recommend to anyone within a days drive who wants to experience the Great Lakes State.

Yes, there are equally and even MORE great parts of Michigan further upstate, especially around Mackinac, the UP, Sleeping Bear, Traverse, etc.

But for a quick trip that's never far from Interstate 94 - here's the prescription:

1. Exit 39 off I-94 - Coloma - This is your first stop. Awesome fruit stand with all the traditional Michigan produce you'd want and plenty of free samples. Drive up the road a bit, and visit Grandpa's Cider Mill. You can see their whole production line behind a giant glass wall. They're in action from Sept 9th until around Dec. 15th this year. Grab a hot cinnamon donut, and a frozen gallon for the road.Then head a block down that road and visit the Chocolate Garden. Sure, it's almost $6 for two truffles. But seriously. Try at least one. Don't get addicted, or you'll go broke. But everyone needs to spoil their taste buds like this occasionally.

2. Get back on I-94 and head south-west again. Exit 16 - Bridgman. Your going to Warren Dunes State Park. Odd how the only advertising is a small brown sign provided by the Gubment. Because this hidden experience is pretty stinkin' cool. Hike Tower Hill (give yourself plenty of time, and take it slow so you don't die on the way up.) and plan on chillin' out at the top (over 260 feet above ground). Bring a bottle of water, cause you'll be ridiculously thirsty up there. Enjoy a breathtaking view of Lake Michigan and the dunes.Then run down, jumping down the steep sand like a skiier on fresh powder, and head towards the Lake. But don't forget to look down. Petoskey stones (the Michigan State Stone) are hiding, even here in South-Western Michigan beaches.

What's a Petoskey Stone, you ask? Well, it's like this grey stone here - only it has rings....oh wait. This IS a Petoskey Stone! (seriously, that happened yesterday, here's the proof:)
Enjoy the beach. I know, it's cold...but you get used to it after a few minutes - promise. And if you're brave, walk up the small stream nearby to the natural source of clay. Cover your skin from head to toe, and walk back downstream toward the Lake. (although apparently this is discouraged now, due to its affect on nature in the area, oops) Wash off, enjoy the beach, and then head over Mikey's Drive-In restaurant for my wife's favorite - Olive Burger.

Kick the sand out of your ear, and drive home as the sun sets.
Breathe deep, you've just had a day in the life of a Michigander.

Repeat as necessary.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

ICE HOCKEY - TEAM USA - 2010

So now that practice is over, notes have been scribbled and friendships between enemies have been formed....slightly. That is, until the puck drops on the NHL season, and many of them must reveal their fangs, talons, and um....duck bills at each other.

34 Men, most from opposing NHL teams, were gathered to compete for spots on the roster for the 2010 USA Olympic Ice Hockey team. The official names will be announced around December 30th, 2009. So they will use several months of NHL performance combined with the results/etc. from this past weeks' training exercises/time together.

The Men's Ice Hockey games begin on February 16th, 2010, with the Gold Medal final game being played on February 28, 2010. The 2010 Winter Olympics are in Vancouver, Canada - which is the West Coast, but most of the games still seem to take place during the day (you can see the schedule here, all times Eastern Standard). So there is hope that we may be able to catch some of the games....if TV Programming understands how awesome that would be.

Here are the important games for Team USA: (times Eastern)

Feb. 16th - 3pm - vs. Switzerland

Feb. 18th - 3pm - vs. Norway

Feb. 21st - 7:30pm - vs. Canada - THIS IS A MUST WATCH!!!!

And then, obviously, other games will be announced the 23rd-27th.

Okay, so there you have it. Put it on your calendar. Go to work early/be home for the game. If anything, most of you should be able to watch the game against Canada - that will be some good hockey for sure.

TOHU WA-BOHU and TEHOM

So here's a debate I didn't know much about its' existence. Many thanks to Scott for giving me the heads up that this was an obvious tenet of the Mormon church, and frequently debated as a reason they're heretical in some eyes.

I checked throughout the Free Methodist book of Discipline, and it seems we're safely able to discuss this without having to land on one side or the other.

The issue? There are some Christians who believe that God did not create everything that exists "ex nihilo" (out of nothing). They say there are two Hebrew words (title of this post - "formless void" & "womblike deep") that existed along with God "in the beginning" before all the creation activity went on.

The truth is, none of us was there. So we gotta depend on humanity's understanding of cosmic pre-life forces, etc, etc. But in any case, I do appreciate the movement of emphasis from whether or not God created "being" (stuff, tangible-ness, metaphysical realm, etc.), to God creating "LIFE" in the midst of no life.

"Without the mythological tohu wa-bohu and the tehom, the horizon of the narratives is dramatically and disproportionately shifted away from that of beauty, goodness, and life and over to that of power and of being. They are turned into explanations of why the world is THERE, instead of proclamations that what IS there is beautiful and GOOD. The stories are not about being - being is there, given, mute, and barren - but about bringing being to life." - Caputo

Although I would say this still Christian viewpoint differs from Mormonism in a couple ways. One, Mormonism believes that all of these things existed even in some sort of "living" state in Heaven BEFORE they were brought into physical being. Two, Mormonism stretches the creation to somehow include God creating several different worlds in which Christ played a role in.

I'm not signing up as a "Caputo-ite" anytime soon. But I do like a lot of what he says, and think there's a lot of benefit to appreciating God as less of an omnipotent ace up our sleeve for the end times (or even now); and more of an infinitely unconditional "YES/GOOD" proclaiming, Hope indwelling, impossible new life calling/transforming, and humble lover of where "is" has become "lives".

And ya' gotta love the word "Tehomophobia".
Not sure if he invented it. But it works.