Richard Mourdock: misogyny, poor taste, or bad theology?

“I struggled with it for a long time, but then I came to realize that life is a gift from God. And I think even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that it is something God intended to happen.” That’s the quote from Richard Mourdock that lit the blogosphere on fire. So what’s going on here? Is it misogyny, poor taste, or bad theology, or some combination of all three? It really depends upon how we define misogyny. I don’t think this quote proves that Richard Mourdock hates women; I have no reason to think he isn’t a perfectly humble and compassionate gentleman to all the women in his life. But I do think that his bad theology caused him to think in abstract, ideological terms about a delicate issue with the result that he said something in extremely poor taste that does real emotional violence to the rape victims who read it. And since I’m a theologian, I’m going to focus on the theology. Continue reading

The false dichotomy between God’s will and our will

I’ve been reading Thomas Merton’s No Man is an Island. The fourth chapter called “Pure Intention” talks about how doing God’s will is actually doing what we really want to do as opposed to settling for what we think we want. This is because God is the source of our being as opposed to being just another being in the universe. I wanted to share some reflections on Merton’s insights to point a way beyond the never-ending theological debates between Calvinists (who champion God’s sovereignty) and Arminians (who champion human free will), which seem to be firmly grounded in the tendency of modernist thinking to falsely anthropomorphize God. Continue reading

Agonizing Over the Will of God

When I visited my grandfather’s church in Corpus Christi, Texas a few years back, there was a pastor named Bubba who announced one day from the pulpit that he’d had a dream from God. He described this dream in way more detail than any dreams I ever remembering having. He then laid out a plan for an elaborate outreach and prayer ministry. This public unveiling of Bubba’s vision from God was the first communication about it that he had made to the church. He had not talked to the deacons or anybody else prior to sharing it with the whole assembled congregation. A few months later, there was a new pastor in the pulpit at First Baptist Corpus Christi. Continue reading