Formation episode 20 - The Bible: What to do with violent scriptures?

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In this episode we discuss the violence that we find in scripture. What do we do with this violence that is often carried out by biblical heroes, or can even appear to be endorsed or even committed by God? We talk about the way that the scriptural narrative unfolds an evolving view of what God is like. And so the violence in the bible tells us a lot about the human condition and our tendency to use God to support our own violent ends - rather than prescribing belief in a God capable of this kind of violence. In the end, the biblical narrative undoes the view of a violent deity, inviting us instead to consider a view of God shaped by the story and ethics of Jesus.

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Clint Gibson
Formation episode 19 - The Bible: Reading in the mystical tradition

In this episode we discuss how a mystical approach to Christian spirituality can shape the way we engage in reading the bible. In this tradition, we are invited to see an evolving of God-consciousness present in the text, and to see the scriptural stories as the journey of sacred experiences of God, rather than a divinely imposed super-text that rules over the world.

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Clint Gibson
Formation episode 18 - The Bible: true myths

There are some curious stories in the bible and it can be hard to know how to approach them. Some people want to take a very literal approach, and so when Adam and Eve are in the garden talking to a snake, this is a time when snakes could talk. Or at least this particular snake could talk. Then other people look at a story like this and think, what a ridiculous idea… a talking snake, whoever thought of such a thing, these are just ancient myths which are not true. The bible is clearly a ridiculous piece of literature and anyone who believes these silly tales is ignorant and naive. But are these the only two options? Or is there something else going on these stories that might be available to us, and if so, what do we do about that? 

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Clint Gibson
Formation episode 16 - How do we belong?

In this final Formation episode for 2018, we explore the subject of belonging through the ideas of grace and hospitality. These invite us to think about about how we can find a meaningful sense of belonging, without having to give in to the temptation to exclude and marginalise others.

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Clint Gibson
Formation episode 15 - Christian faith and religious pluralism

This episode asks how we navigate belonging to a particular religion (in this case Christianity) in a culture and society where people hold to diverse religious beliefs. We reflect on a number of interreligious encounters found in the Old and New Testaments and ask how they might inform the way we live side-by-side with our religious neighbours.

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Clint Gibson
Formation episode 14 - The body of Christ in a polarised world

The world is heading into increasingly polarised camps. In and out. With us or against us. So what does it mean to belong to a church community in this kind of world? In this episode we re-examine some New Testament texts and explore ways that the divine Spirit was connected to social identity, belonging and the breaking down of barriers between ‘us’ and ‘them’.

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Clint Gibson
Formation episode 12 - Christian Empire and the Roots of Exclusion

For the first few centuries, Christianity was a minority movement on the underside of the Roman Empire. Christian action in the world was subversive, inclusive and socially transformative in subtle and hidden ways. But when Christianity becomes the dominant religion of the Empire in the 4th century, theology and salvation both become issues that hold political implications, a move which radically reshapes the nature of the conversation. So what does this mean for how we think about the Christian tradition today, and what it means to include, exclude and belong?

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Clint Gibson
Formation episode 9 - Naming the Antichrist

Revelation moves backward and forward in time, it collapses different images together … Moses, Elijah, David, Sodom, Jezebel, Babylon … all caught up in a swirling cacophony of images and symbols. and ultimately all centred around the story of Jesus Christ as it challenges the dominant narrative of the Roman empire. All telling and re-telling the story of God and Christ from multiple angles and perspectives. Jesus is portrayed as confronting the violent powers of Empire, and he conquers over it precisely through sacrificial love.

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Clint Gibson
Formation episode 8 - What the Hell?

If God is a God who tortures people forever for not getting their religious choices correct, then God is a monster. That kind of God can be used to justify violence and war and oppression. That kind of God sets us up for tribalism. God asks us to forgive, and when we say ‘how many times’ he says ‘again and again and again.’ So does God do the same? Do we hold God to a lower ethical bar than we hold each other?

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Clint Gibson
Formation episode 7 - Heavenly Creatures

In many ways heaven is a difficult topic to talk about. It’s difficult because there are so many ideas about what it entails, and it’s difficult because despite all of these ideas, no-one really knows exactly what we’re dealing with.  And the more you talk about it, the more it can start to sound like a science fiction movie and we end up sounding a bit delusional! Pearly gates. Clouds. Wings. An old white man playing God. Maybe some streets of gold. A mansion for you, and you and you. What do we do with all of this and where do all of these ideas come from?

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Clint Gibson
Formation episode 6 - What is the gospel?

Throughout this series we have offered 4 ways of looking at the meaning of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ: Jesus as archetype, crucifixion as the "death of God", the kingdom of non-violent love, and the overturning of scapegoating and the sacrificial system. In this episode we discuss together what the "good news of the gospel of Jesus" might mean for us now.

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Clint Gibson
Formation episode 5 - Saved from Sacrifice

The events of Easter are a rejection of sacrifice as a way to please God or to bring peace. It is a repudiation of the image of a bloodthirsty God, and of scapegoating as a means to manage human violence and appease God (or the gods). Jesus enters into the human system of retributive and "redemptive" violence, experiences it, exposes it, and then invites us to move beyond it into something new.

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Clint Gibson