Item description for The Effective Pastor: A Guide to Successful Ministry (Theology and the Sciences) by Louis W. Bloede, John C. Polkinghorne & L. Bloede...
Overview This highly practical, step-by-step look at the life and role of the pastor is helpful for newly ordained clergy as well as the experienced pastor looking for guidance, practical wisdom, and renewal. Bloede offers specific advice and concrete examples on managing effectively the myriad roles in the daily life of clergy.
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Studio: Augsburg Fortress Publishers
Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 8.38" Width: 5.46" Height: 0.62" Weight: 0.59 lbs.
Release Date Sep 5, 2000
Publisher Augsburg Fortress Publishers
ISBN 0800627873 ISBN13 9780800627874
Availability 98 units. Availability accurate as of May 29, 2017 03:02.
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More About Louis W. Bloede, John C. Polkinghorne & L. Bloede
Louis W. Bloede is Director Emeritus of Ministerial Studies, Iliff School of Theology, Denver
Louis W. Bloede has published or released items in the following series...
Reviews - What do customers think about The Effective Pastor: A Guide to Successful Ministry (Theology and the Sciences)?
Typical Polkinghorne material, but very thorough Feb 8, 2007
Polkinghorne is usually a puzzling read for me. One admires his expertise in the exotic field of particle physics, and also his zeal in postulating a compatibility between physical science and his version of Christianity, but I usually come away from his efforts rather unconvinced of the merits of the proposed "merger" he proposes. On the one hand, he wants us to move forward from the ancient conception of God as brutally crashing through natural events to perform miracles, and instead conceive of God as the invisible gently-prodding hand behind all events. Such a model would not necessarily violate standard quantum mechanics. While this theological model has been proposed by others, and may indeed help modernize a believer's conception of God's possible action in the world, it is nonetheless difficult to reconcile with the traditional Judaeo-Christian image given by the scriptures themselves. If one looks objectively at the stories in the Bible, both Old and New Testaments, one sees an abundance of gross physical violations of natural laws, the kind that Polkinghorne obviously has trouble with when constructing his own "gentle guidance" theology. I say "has trouble with", because if one reads Polkinghorne's dialogue with fellow physicist (Nobelist and skeptic) Steven Weinberg, Polkinghorne clearly doesn't want frequent abrupt divine interventions into the natural world, as is often seen in the Old Testament, for example (anyone for killing a crowd of Canaanites this week?). And this observation is not diminished by the presence of other images that might help Polkinghorne's theology, such as the Apostle Paul's statement "in Him we live and move and have our being". In essence, Polkinghorne wants us to have our cake and eat it too-i.e., somehow remain "faithful" to the Biblical intervention narratives and yet up-to-date on integrating modern physical insights into one's worldview. There might be a fundamental incompatibility problem trying to keep both types of "actions"; something needs to give. Interestingly, it is Polkinghorne's own faithfulness to the Biblical narratives that gives way; he can't deny the physics. In fact, Polkinghorne has re-visioned the Biblical view of divine action into something neither Jesus nor his followers might recognize. Say we want to buy Jesus and Peter walking on water, for example. It wouldn't be conceivable with Polkinghorne's "gentle quantum manipulation" theology, being a sudden (massive) macroscopic violation of physics. Miracles of this type aren't conceivable to many moderns anyway, as there is no direct observation of such gross violations in the empirical world, but we are here examining Polkinghorne's own model, not a skeptic's. We can go further; none of the miraculous acts of Jesus or his disciples are adequately explainable by Polkinghorne's (sub-)quantum gentle-action. Of course, the fundamentalists will have none of this anyway; the events in the Bible are unquestionably God's abrupt intervention. Yet Polkinghorne's theology *is* one possible theology away from this, of course. Be that as it may, it is far from the worldview of Jesus or his fellow Mediterranean inhabitants; let's not kid ourselves.
Polkinghorne is powerful Sep 12, 2005
Polkinghorne is brilliant: he is way out in front as a scientist with his mastery at the leading edge of quantum mechanics. He is a very well read theologian. He brings both of these qualifications to bear in the explanation and support of his strong convictions about our need for a lively faith in a benevolent Creator God. This book has launched me into a journey through his other books; a journey that has all the flavor of a treasure hunt.
"seas too deep for simple knowledge" Jan 27, 2004
One may point to Polkinghorne's credentials as a theoretical physicist or an Anglican cleric, but in his writings we find that he is also a philosopher, theologian, and student of the humanities (art, history, comparative religion), although he is quick to label himself an "amateur" in these areas. A thoughtful reading of "The Faith of a Physicist" will be particularly valuable to philosophical materialists whose "skepticism" of Christian theism should itself be exposed to skeptical consideration. As Polkinghorne explains, dismissals of theism are often couched in convenient but ignorantly simplistic characterizations: "Scientists who are hostile to religion tend to make remarks such as 'Unlike science, religion is based on unquestioning certainties' [Wolpert]. They thereby betray their lack of acquaintance with the practice of religion. Periods of doubt and perplexity have a well-documented role in spiritual development . . . Religion has long known that ultimately every human image of God proves to be an inadequate idol." Considering metaphysic's classic poles of dualism versus monism, the author is inclined to reject each in preference to a "dual-aspect monism." In this he is not particularly controversial, nor in his interpretations of quantum theory in terms of its philosophical implications. Polkinghorne's biblical exegesis will be controversial on certain points (whose isn't?). Although he is sometimes accused of being a process theologian, it seems clear that he is not. His theology is ultimately rather classical, including certain elements of process ("There are aspects of Whitehead's thought from which one can benefit without accepting it in its entirety") and what he calls a "tinge of deism" (recognizing that the cosmos was indeed "wound-up"). If the reader thinks that one must either demand that Christian scripture is inerrant or reject it as being errant, then Polkinghorne will offer him/her no satisfaction. In fact, all readers will be rather challenged. (Regarding dual-aspect monism and David Bohm's metaphysics arising from his interpretation of quantum theory): "My instinct as a bottom-up thinker is to be wary of such grandiosities of philosophical fancy. Instead, I would want to follow the flight of such straws in a metaphysical wind as our understanding of the physical world provides. My own tentative ideas have been woven round two concepts: complementarity and openness." In other words, something like the particle-wave duality and something like the ordered-disorder of the so-called chaos theory. (Regarding Stephen Hawking's suggestion that his "no boundaries" model displaces the need of a creator): ". . . theology is concerned with ontological origin and not with temporal beginning. The idea of creation has no special stake in a datable start to the universe. If Hawking is right, and quantum effects mean that the cosmos as we know it is like a kind of fuzzy spacetime egg, without a singular point at which it all began, that is scientifically very interesting, but theologically insignificant. When he poses the question, 'But if the universe is really completely self-contained, having no boundary, or edge, it would have neither beginning nor end: it would simply be. What place, then, for a creator?' it would be theologically naïve to give any answer other than: 'Every place - as the sustainer of the self-contained spacetime egg and as the ordainer of its quantum laws.' God is not a God of the edges, with a vested interest in boundaries." Polkinghorne uses statements of faith taken from the Nicene Creed as a springboard for his apologetic. He offers a "non-literalist" defense of the doctrine of divine creation that assumes a general correctness to present cosmological and evolutionary theories but also finds them to be unexplained apart from the Divine action of an intelligent will. While questions certainly remain unanswered within the theistic view, the materialistic alternative is seen to provide no ultimate answers at all. He offers a defense of Christianity's doctrine of "eschatological destiny" which sees the "optimistic arrow of time" (Davies term for complexity in spite of entropy) and entropy's "pessimistic arrow of time" (second law of thermodynamics) as vectors converging in a significantly unique event. He offers a defense of New Testament uniqueness and reliability (not inerrancy); and a strong defense of the uniqueness of Jesus Christ. He argues that, when all is considered, the claimed resurrection of Christ is more credible than any alternate theories that have been proffered but which fail to explain subsequent events. Polkinghorne offers a defense of the doctrines of the Trinity and of eschatology, and concludes with thoughts of alternative views. If you find the last chapter (Alternatives) to be too brief, Sire's "The Universe Next Door" may be of further interest. In the course of the text here, Polkinghorne argues for a bold and far reaching teleology including, but not restricted to, physical theory, embracing "the natural theology of the arts". He argues also for a boldness in defending the authenticity of the canonical Christian gospel; a boldness not simply based in unquestioning fideism but arising from the best documentation of ancient history and human experience. In sum, it makes for a difficult but fascinating read.
Rich food for thought. Nov 10, 2000
For a volume that contains less than 200 pages, this book is certainly rich with interesting ideas. Furthermore, the author has mulled them over until they came to intellectual ripeness. Within an outline drawn from the Apostles' Creed, Polkinghome gives his view of the anthropic principle, the relation of body to mind, the nature of God, the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus, and other subjects, in a thoughtful manner. He strikes a good balance between authority and personal opinion. He refers frequently and in humility to what well-known thinkers on all sides of the questions at hand have said (he has obviously done his homework), but is confident, bold, and smart enough to pick his own path across the fields of fact. He argues, at one point, that "The titles assigned to Jesus play the role that models do in scientific investigation." In other words, the New Testament does not appear as a mass of dogmas artificially superimposed upon stories of Jesus' life. Rather, terms like "Son of God" show the early Christians groping for a way of coming to grips with remarkable facts. That is the kind of "bottoms up" approach Polkinghome appreciates.
I have three caveats. First, Polkinghome slips into theological jargon too often. Second, his idea that we do not have souls, but that at some point in the future, God will make copies of us from His perfect knowledge, not from the same bits of matter though, seemed weak to me. I mean, presumably God could do the same now -- there could be copies of us running around on other planets. But what does that have to do with you or I or the promises of Scripture?
Third, what Polkinghome primarily seems to give here is a cautious explanation of his faith, rather than a strong argument for it. His initial caution lends his ultimate conclusions about the resurrection of Jesus, for example, a great deal of weight. But while agnostics and atheists who make this book their token foray into Christian apologetics could do worse, they should be aware that the author is passing over some very strong areas of evidence for Christianity. Please do not put the book down saying, "Well, I survived that; I guess I'm safe." I suggest you also consider the psychological truths G. K. Chesterton discusses in Everlasting Man, the history Don Richardson relates in Eternity in Their Hearts, and the many testimonies of modern Christians on how God answers prayer. (Miracles are the most "bottoms-up" kind of evidence for God.) You might also find my new book, Jesus and the Religions of Man, worth a read, especially if the question Polkinghome raised about spiritual alternatives to the Christian faith is of interest.
A tough read that is well worth it Jun 16, 2000
Polkinghorne's method of exploration is simply to look at the world as a scientist and interpret it as a theologian. In The Faith of a Physicist we get the opportunity to explore with him as he does this. He asks many of the same questions and struggles with the same issues that I do, basic questions that run through the heads of people who think seriously about the world. Fundamentalists may well discard his theological conclusions, but those with an open mind will appreciate his attempt to stay true to orthodox Christian belief while exploring its interaction with modern science.
This book is dense and not one that I would recommend for speed reading (believe me, I tried when I needed to read it for class). It takes time to digest and to ponder Polkinghorne's thought processes and conclusions. In addition, I found the first two chapters to be more difficult reading than the rest of the book (perhaps I was just tired when I read them), so don't let them stop you from finishing the book. The rest of the book is great.