Open Mic Thread 44


The open mic thread is where you have the floor and can raise or discuss issues of your choice. There is no such thing as off-topic here. The comments of this thread are free for you to:

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Over to you!

As I am currently taking a break both from standard blogging and from commenting, I won’t be participating in these threads for a few months.

Earlier open mic threads:
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About Alastair Roberts

Alastair Roberts (PhD, Durham University) writes in the areas of biblical theology and ethics, but frequently trespasses beyond these bounds. He participates in the weekly Mere Fidelity podcast, blogs at Alastair’s Adversaria, and tweets at @zugzwanged.
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12 Responses to Open Mic Thread 44

  1. mnpetersen37 says:

    Is anyone else familiar with Talal Asad?

  2. Alex says:

    Do you pray directly to Jesus or the Holy Spirit? I find myself praying either to the Lord as one or to the Father but rarely to the Spirit or Jesus individually.

    Also, do you find it strange to refer to a person with the article “the”? As in THE Holy Spirit. Would it be better to simply refer to Him as “Spirit”?

    • mnpetersen37 says:

      The Greek sometimes has the article, and sometimes does not. For instance, John says “I indeed have baptized you with water: but he shall baptize you with Holy Ghost” (no article); but Jesus says “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost” and “For David himself said by the Holy Ghost, The LORD said to my Lord…” (both times with the article).

      I believe Stephen prayed to Jesus, but prayers to Jesus are rare in Scripture, and prayers to the Spirit, non-existent, though they do exist in liturgies, for instance the Orthodox services contain the prayer “O Heavenly King, Comforter, Spirit of Truth, Who are everywhere present and filling all things, Treasury of blessings and Giver of life: Come and dwell in us, and cleanse us of all impurity, and save our souls, O Good One”

  3. Liam says:

    Where in scripture do folks source a sense in which intercession ‘moves’ the heart of God? Where is the space for this understanding outside of an open theist-type position. Or do we solely believe (as CS Lewis said once apparently) that prayer simply changes *us*?

  4. quinnjones2 says:

    Hi Liam,
    When I read your question, I thought of Peter’s miraculous release from prison (Acts 12).
    In verse 5 we read: ‘So Peter was kept in prison, but the church was earnestly praying to God for him.’ I don’t know the content of these prayers – maybe the church did pray for Peter’s release. I don’t know if the prayer of the church moved the heart of God – maybe God had already planned to send an angel to release Peter from prison. It is true, however, that the church prayed for Peter when he was in prison and that God then released Peter.

    • Liam says:

      Thanks, Are you aware of reputable theologians who deal with the efficacy of intercession? In the sense that it *moves* God?

      • quinnjones2 says:

        No, I’m not, but then I don’t know much about theology and theologians anyway – sorry! If you find out any more about this, I would be interested to hear about it. Just a personal comment – I believe that, in response to prayer, God comforts, heals, strengthens, encourages and corrects, and that He also grants wisdom, discernment, and other gifts of the Spirit, and sometimes gives revelations. Sometimes it seems to me that God lays it on my heart to pray for a particular person at a particular time. In our fellowship we often talk about prayer and the ways in which God seems to answer prayers.
        I just have one comment about one of my pet hates – when people make what I think of as pretty crazy claims about God intervening on their behalf in response to prayer. Two of the most crazy instances were a lady who insisted that God sent snow on Christmas Day a while back because she prayed that He would, and another person who insisted that God made sure all the traffic lights were on green for him when he was driving and was pushed for time!
        Anyway, I would be interested in anything you find out about the efficacy of prayer from established theologians

  5. mnpetersen37 says:

    What about Saba Mahmood?

  6. mnpetersen37 says:

    I got Chauvet’s The Sacraments: The Word of God at the Mercy of the Body, and am finding it helpful and stimulating, but also problematic. I’ll try to blog on here about it in the next week or so (progressively as I go) and would welcome comment from any other readers. But I’ll probably just write “blog posts”, hoping for interaction, but not specifically addressing anyone.

    • mnpetersen37 says:

      I’ll expand later, but I’m concerned by his discussion of the symbolic order. The Word is prior to man (Jn 1:1), not contemporary to man. The word iscommand, Mitzvah, from the beginning (Genesis 1:28, Genesis 2:16) to end (Ecc 12:13, translated as “this is the whole end of speech: We will hear. Fear God, keep his commandments. This is the whole man.”). And names are not, in the first instance, in the ob/subjective cases, but in the vocative. The paradigmatic use of names is vocative, like in Genesis 22:1, 11 Exodus 3:4, and 1 Samuel 3, all of which have a parallel structure: God speaks the name of the one he addresses, they say “here I” and facing him, hear LORD their God (1 Sam 3:10), He commands, and they do. We are faced up to hear and do when our name is called. (Even Genesis 2:19b could be translated “And He brought to Adam to see how he would call to them, and however Adam called to him, that was his name.”). Whereas, on the other hand, it seems that Lacan’s discussion of a name refers by a name spoken in the ob/subjective case, perhaps by one parent to another. And finally, we do not form, in the first instance, a community of speakers, but listeners. This “there exist only speaking subjects and speaking to an other speaking subject” (p. 7) perhaps should be “there exists only listening subjects listening to an other listening subject.” (Yes, listening presupposes speaking, but speaking presupposes listening, so that objection applies to both formulae.) The reason is that the first command (and command is the first and last speech) is not “Speak O Israel” but “hear O Israel.”

      (I’m also concerned about how it speaks of animals. Non human animals recognize themselves in mirrors, postpone the immediate realization of desire, know their places in social orders, learn their desires from other members of the same species, perceive snow differently depending on their climate, etc.)

  7. Pingback: Open Mic Thread 45 | Alastair's Adversaria

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