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The shalom big picture engaged

The shalom big picture engaged

In our last episode Noel presented some of the “big picture”–the idea of shalom–where it comes from, what it means, connections it might have. In this episode, Noel engages Tim, his co-host, regarding his impressions of and reflections on this big picture.

At the start (1:15-3:29), Tim expresses his appreciation for the comprehensive shalom vision Noel has offered. In particular, a Jesus-centred shalom vision of faith and life offers a clear alternative to the fundamentalist evangelicalism he grew up in. At the same time, it captures some of the key insights of the ecumenical, liberationist, and anabaptist forms of Christian thought and faith that have been part of his faith journey.

The conversation then turns (3:29-6:10) to a discussion of two contrasting ways of thinking about Christianity—one, “world-averting”; the other, “world-affirming.” The latter has been informed, for Tim, by Dutch Reformed, Liberationist, Ecumenical, and Anabaptist theological movements. A key difference between world-averting and world-affirming faith is the place that this life and world has within a larger economy, including a life and world to come. The latter (world-affirming Christianity), unlike the former, does not treat community, cultures, and politics as of secondary importance for the life of faith.

This leads into a discussion (6:20-8:00) of how the theme of shalom is present in these other faith traditions (Dutch Reformed, Liberationist, Ecumenical, and Anabaptist), but still in need of something more—a deeper engagement with tradition; a wider engagement with contemporary currents of thought.

After the interlude (8:00-9:00) the conversation picks up again (9:00-14:00) with some cautions or reservations Tim has with regard to the biblical basis of shalom as Noel has presented it. He introduces the idea that there are two implicit narratives in the scripture, what might be called a creation narrative (which tends toward universal and general claims) and a salvation narrative (which tends toward more tribal and political claims). A concern is raised about Western tendencies to abstract from narrative into general principles, for example, the tendency to treat “Kingdom of God” as a general, creation notion. Noel responds to these (14:00-18:35).

The conversation moves toward conclusion (18:35-20:10) with Tim’s return to a more affirmative posture regarding shalom as a big, comprehensive picture or vision, one that can provide significant aspiration and orientation for faith life.

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