Posts Tagged ‘ theology ’

Doctrines of Theology in Relational Perspective

Earlier in the week I posted the first part of a review of Relational Theology: A Contemporary Introduction. In that post I talked about the introduction by editor Tom Oord. I also promised to talk about the four sections of relational perspective that divide the book.

Doctrines of Theology in Relational Perspective is the first and largest section of the book, comprised of 12 essays. As I read through them I found that I like all of them and underlined most of each for quotes to use here. If I were to do that this review would be longer than the book and I would violate some copyright law by quoting almost the entire section. So, what I have decided to do is to select a couple of the fine essays, ones that stand out, to me. I hope that you will find them as interesting as I did.

Relational theologies don’t tell you how to think about God, but open doors of possibility for thinking about God, opening the doors of exploration. Well, at least that’s how I see them.

In his essay Relational Theology and the Holy Spirit, Amos Yong tells us that, “The Holy Spirit lies at the very heart of relational theology.” I think that he has something here, God in Trinity is by nature a relational being, the Holy Spirit brings us into that relationship.

If the Spirit is at the center of the relational life of God, the Spirit is also central to God’s relationship with the world….Ireneus held that the Father created the world with his “two hands”–the Word and the Spirit. If the Word of God structures the world and its creatures, the Spirit of God is the dynamic life force that infuses creativity and novelty into the rhythms of creation.

I love that last line, “the dynamic life force that infuses creativity and novelty into the rhythms of creation.” It is packed full of possibility.

Human beings find meaning, fulfillment, and significance precisely in relationship one to another, bonded together by the common creator Spirit.

In a fallen world, the bonds of human communion have been broken and people alienated from themselves, others, and their natural environments. But God’s redeeming work consists of healing the estrangement of our hearts, reconciling human beings with one another, and restoring harmony between humanity and the cosmos.

This is a brilliant little essay, so full of possibility based in the redemptive power of God.

The Image of God by Samuel M. Powell talks about how our Imago Dei  relational.

Because we are created in the image of God, our existence is marked by relationships. To be the creaturely image of God is to be essentially and unavoidably related to God, to fellow humans, and to the rest of creation.

Because we are created in God’s image we are afforded certain rights and responsibilities of relationship.

Because we are created in God’s image, each of us is due the highest moral consideration in every respect.

To be created in God’s image is to be a member of a human community in which everyone should receive respect, dignity, and consideration.

Everyone, not just a chosen elite, everyone, isn’t that how Jesus treats people?

I am going to quote from one more essay in this section.

Faith in Relations by Wm. Curtis Holtzen.

Relationship, like “faith”, is a multifaceted notion and not easily defined. When we explore relationship through the notions of love and trust, however, we see that faith and relationship become inseparable.

If faith is a relationship or communal bond, shouldn’t we think of God as someone of faith? … “Yes!” Faith is relational and relationships are reciprocal, two-sided. Because God is relational, God has faith. God’s relationship with us is not only loving but also trusting.

There are nine other essays in this section. They talk about love in relational terms, sin, and salvation in relational terms. They all open up the possibility of thinking about God and ourselves, theology in new ways, relational ways.

The  third part in this series, Biblical Witness & Christian Living in Relational Perspective is up.

Again the book is Relational Theology: A Contemporary Introduction,  (2012), Eds. Brint Montgomery, Thomas Jay Oord, and Karen Winslow, Point Loma Press, San Diego. It is available from Amazon in both paperback and Kindle editions.


Relational Theology: A Contemporary Introduction

Relational Theology: A Contemporary Introduction is a collection of short essays on relational theologies. There are 31, each about three pages long. Short, concise very good for those of us with short attention spans. Short, concise yet packed full of information.

In the introduction, What is Relational Theology?,  Thomas Jay Oord tells a little about what relational theologies are and the need for them in the Christian theological landscape. Dr. Oord tells us that in the biblical descriptions of God, by His very nature He is relational.

God instructs, expects, and responds to creatures–all of which are relational activities.

Dr. Oord goes on to explain, and even show graphically, how several other theologies fall under the umbrella of relational theology. Theologies such as process, liberation, feminist, and missional all are relational theologies.

The essays are then broken down into four sections of relational perspective: Doctrines of Theology, Biblical Witness, The Christian Life, and Ethics and Justice. In future posts we will explore each of these sections.

If you don’t want to wait Relational Theology: A Contemporary Introduction is available from Amazon. It is a very good book, well worth the read.

The first section Doctrines of theology in Relational Perspective and the second & third sections, Biblical Witness & Christian Life in Relational Perspective are now up.

People I Follow

Listed in the side bar (sounds like something from the OJ trial (have I dated myself?)) are a number of links to a number of websites, most of which are blogs.

I try to check into each one everyday, but not all of them have new material everyday. No one is as bad as I am about posting, but then I don’t always have something to try to say (can’t say that I have ever said anything because I am not as good a communicator as those I follow.

I only list those sites that I recommend to others.  However, out of these there are a few that deserve special attention. And I conveniently group them in to categories Blogroll, Poetry and the Arts, Theological Resources, and Theology. Not all sites are Christian.


Sarah Moon: Christian Skeptic, this young lady is intelligent, articulate, and very talented. It won’t be long and the world will know who she is. Sarah writes on a variety of topics, not the least of which is abuse in relationships, self-abuse, doubt in faith, etc. Please visit her site and read several posts, you’ll be hooked.

The Lazy Skeptic, Another in a similar vein to Sarah Moon. Lots of questioning, which I admire.

Mike Friesen’s Blog Mike is articulate, Anabaptist, peace promoting, questioning. You will be enriched.

Glass Dimly Is a blog that is concerned with the Christian response to oppression and injustice in the world.

Jaime The VWM Witty, oft irreverent, down to earth commenting that really needs to be said.

Rachel Evans  What can I say, read her popular blog, buy her book.

Poetry and the Arts

Extreme Emo Poetry that speaks to me. Elen is often dark, often tragic always worth the read. She has something to say and is saying it. When I read her poetry I am reminded of Sylvia Plath.

Creative Stylings… “We’re alike, me and cat. A couple of poor nameless slobs.”   – Holly Golightly. A full range of blogging, painting, drawing, and graphic design.

Jessica Kristie Poetry and images.

Paints with Words I think the name says it all. Follow her on Twitter for her short poems.

Theological Resources

CRI/Voice Biblical scholar Dennis Bratcher offers many articles from himself and others in the Wesleyan theological tradition. Vast number of resource material from Biblical topics, to theology, to liturgy. When I have questions this is the first site I check.


Love of Wisdom, Wisdom of Love My friend Tom Oord, theologian at Northwest Nazarene University writes about his theology of love, open theology. Read his blog buy his many books–you will not regret it. (I reviewed at least one here).

Well, there are more in the list and more will be added as I find them. I hope you will visit these sites and support these bloggers, poets, artists, and theologians. May you be enriched as I have been.

Thank you,


PS While you’re here please take a few seconds to help support To Write Love On Her Arms help people who have depression, maybe hurting themselves or on the brink of suicide. It only takes a moment and only costs you that time.