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      "Paradoxy, Creating Christian Community,         Beyond Us and Them."   By Fr. Ken Howard

       A Video compilation on Fr. Ken Howard and             Practicing Paradoxy,  Bridging the Chasm facing the       Future of Christianity.

 Url links to purchase Fr. Ken's Books !  Sanctus Theological Institute recommends Fr. Ken's Books as essential reading for anyone interested in the future of the Church for today and in the future. We now make it required reading.  Fr. Jim Waters, PhD, Chancellor

http://astore.amazon.com/paradoxy-20


On Amazon for purchase via paperback or on Kindle for instant download!
==================================

 URL for Amazon store site

Jewish Christianity in the Early Church: How Christianity Forgot Its Jewish Roots [Kindle Edition]
by    Kenneth W. Howard

              PDF Complitation on Fr. Ken Howard, breathing Renewal into the discussion of the future of Christianity beyond the divide between conservatives and progressives.. A new paradoxy of Faith.  STI recommends and is incorporating this remarkable new book into all our programs. This is a must for all seminarians and clergy.   Click link below to read :
                       "Paradoxy, Creating Christian Community,                                                           Beyond Us and  Them."

"Paradoxy is a book that conservatives and progressives can

read together with mind and heart, grappling with issues of

pluralism and inclusion on the one hand and the integrity of

our faith and conviction on the other hand. It’s an excellent

meditation on our quest for a generous orthodoxy that is,

indeed, both generous and orthodox. Sanctus Theological

Institute recomends this book for all levels of study and for

all clergy in all faiths  !" 

 

click button to visit daily Blog with insight

and an ever deepening view on spirituality.

 

       Resources for Paradoxy to assist Clergy and Churches

     

             Rev. Ken Howard On "Paradoxy"                                  In The Christian Church                
Q&A: Rev. Ken Howard On "Paradoxy" In The Christian Church

Howard discusses the problem of "Us" and "Them" in religion in his new book.   By Jillian Badanes


In his recently published book, Paradoxy: Creating Christian
Community Beyond Us and Them, Reverend Ken Howard argues the
Christian church is being threatened by divisions and disagreements. At his own church in Darnestown - St. Nicholas Episcopal - Howard said he has worked with a diverse community to find ways to come together amongst differences.

Raised in the Jewish tradition, Ken Howard attended seminary and

became an Episcopal priest in the 1990's. He has drawn on both his

outside perspective of Christianity, as well as his experiences within

the church organization, along with years of study of theological

history to propose a new way for people to come together in faith.

Patch recently sat down with Howard at his church to discuss the

development of his ideas and his hopes for the conversation the

book will inspire.

A condensed and edited version of that conversation follows.

Patch: How long have you been developing the ideas in this book?

Howard: In some ways you could say I've been thinking about the

ideas ever since I became a believer. I grew up with parents of

different faith traditions - my mother was Jewish. My great

grandfather w
as a rabbi in the orthodox tradition in Belarus. My dad

was sort of a non-practicing tradition of a west-Texas Congregationalist,

so there was always this sense that there was something wider than one

tradition going on.

It was just amazing to me to observe all these different traditions

withinChristianity fighting with each other, over what looked to me to

be kind of small things. From my standpoint, they all believed in  Jesus;

they all held up  the idea that the core things lie in the relationship to it.

[In Seminary] I tried to determine the reason that the early fathers gave

for  excommunicating Jewish believers in the early church.

What I really came to believe in was that it was a terrible mistake;

that it was caused not by their belief system. But the main thing that got

them thrown out was that they wanted to worship in a Jewish way.

The thesis that I wrote [in Seminary as a Master of Divinity student]

 was basically following that whole transition and beginning  to put

forward the idea that neither in belief or practice defining  Christianity

in fact as a religion was really correct. That it was really a relationship,

that Paul and Jesus were not interested in starting a religion, it was

really irrelevant to them.

Patch: In your book you reflect on the history of the Christian  church

and  make projections for it's future. What is the significance of this

present time in history?

Howard: At so many levels we are kind of shifting our understanding

of wh
at it means to be a community. We can also see it reflected in

politics.

 Where you have on the one hand you have people who are  left or right,

really more interested in defeating the other side than  Actually 

accomplishing something themselves, versus a real desire for moving

beyond that. I think Obama was able to articulate that but so far has not

really been able toachieve, maybe in part because people want it really

bad but they don't believe it can happen.

Scientists are now realizing that there is no way for human beings to

observe reality without changing reality. One person unaided can never

get tothe truth. If you have two people, with different opinions or

different points of view to observe the experiment you find you get a

little bit closer to the truth, and if you have three people doing the

experiment from different points of view, you get a little bit closer to

the truth. In that argument, in bringing those  different points of view

together then we can finally begin to get somewhere.

Patch: Can similarities be drawn to the current state of national

government and politics?

Howard: David Brooks of the New York Times wrote an article on this,

called  "A Case of Mental Courage". He used the term metacognition,

the ability to stand outside and observe yourself. He said it's totally

missing from our discourse today. He spoke about how both Democrats

and Republicans will fight the reality of things because it threatens the

positions we already hold.We'd rather hold our positions than know the

truth.

He used for example the surge, in Iraq, on the liberal side everyone was

saying it wouldn't work, and it ended up working.  You could make the

logical arguments like at what cost, but people on the left weren't 

making those arguments. They were trying to deny that it was working, 

until it became too obvious that it was. The amount of vehemence and 

anger that was being focused on people who were saying that it was

working was amazing.

And of course it goes the other way as well, you have tea party people

and republican rank and file that will do the same thing. They will say

if Obama is putting it forward then I have to oppose it.

Patch: In your book you write about the recent trend of people

describing themselves as spiritual instead but not religious. Why do

you think that is?

Howard: In the book, I talk about there being three ways we've thought

about church that are failing us now.  The first one is this thought we've

had since the enlightenment, that we can be certain about things. And

with all the advances in science, we know that's not true anymore.

Another is the idea is that Christendom, that you can have some kind of

uniformity by exerting control or power, that you can have uniformity

and that uniformity will unite us, that's false.

And then the last thing that I see as falling is organized religion itself.

Christianity was never meant to be an organization — I think it was

more meant to be a movement.  The original believers referred to it only

as "The  Way".  I think that's what's happening where people are saying

I'm  Spiritual and not religious. They're saying spirituality has to be

something other than rules.

Patch: Do you identify yourself as more liberal or conservative?

Howard: I reject those labels. I would say that I'm very orthodox, that all

those things the church has traditionally believed, I believe. When it

comes to the specifics as how you live that out, I am hard to peg. On

certain issues people will think I'm very conservative, on other issues

they'll think I'm a raging, radical liberal.

For example, in the issue of sacredness of life. I would have to say

that I'm pro-life, which would make me conservative in some people's

eyes.  Although I believe people are called to make their own decisions

about that, which would make me liberal in some people's eyes. But 

then I am entirely non-violent, and I am opposed to war and yet I

understand that there are times in which there are no other options, but

war. But at the same time, that doesn't make war good. That makes war

an utter moral failure. People have a real hard time pegging me.

Patch: Do you still practice Jewish traditions or observe the Jewish

holidays?

Howard: We celebrate them at home. We do things like Hanukkah at

home, other seasons of the year we'll celebrate as appropriate. I'll often

do aHebrew blessing over the meal at home. Every service I do here at

St. Nick's, the blessing that I do at the end is Adam's blessing. I say it in

Hebrew and then say it English so they know what I said. Every other

year we do a Seder here. I do a pretty authentic sader, and reflect, what

could this mean to us as Christians.

Patch: What kind of feeback have you received about the ideas in the
book?

Howard: Since the book has been out, I've really been surprised at the positive response to it. As I've made presentations on it, what it has felt liketo me, is that people have had some level of deep yearning in finding some kind of way to transcend this kind of false choice, saying we have to be enemies or we have to be in total uniforminty to be  friends.

Nobody has had the language to either critique it or articulate another way. It's almost like I've been introducing another language. I don't think the book is a be all and end all, it's the first stab at kind of articulating a theology, it's a new thing.

Patch: You talk about the book as starting a conversation. How do you

hope  those conversations and discussions will continue?

The publisher is giving out a thousand copies to clergy across the

country and they're giving it out to bishops in all the mainline

denominations across the country.

I really do think that this is one of those shifts that happen. When

paradigms shifts happen, they happen. You don't stop them. You can ride

it or you can miss it. You can try and fight it and get drowned. If you

want to survive you have to find a way to ride it. I think if people can

learn to think this way, then the church can survive and thrive in a

somewhat different form and can be kind of a  beacon to society about

how society might be.

               E-MailFr. Ken Howard at.....
               Foreword to the Book by Rev. Brian McLaren,                                  Author and Spiritual leader.
In this exciting new book, Ken Howard does what good leaders do in times of change and challenge. First, he describes where we are. Then he tells the story of how we got here. Then he gives us a vision of where to go from here.

In describing where we are and recounting how we got here, Ken strikes a beautiful and difficult balance: he simplifies, without oversimplifying, complex historical and philosophical developments. His approach provides a good on-ramp if we don’t have a lot of historical, theological, or philosophical background, and yet it won’t insult our intelligence if we’re more knowledgeable in these matters.

The vision Ken proposes isn’t a step-by-step plan. It can’t be, because we live in vastly different settings and face different opportunities and different obstacles. Instead Ken offers an intriguing vision, evoking a twist on Robert Frost’s famous poem. Where Frost pictures two leaf-strewn pathways diverging in the yellow wood, one of which is “less traveled by,” Ken sees two wide and well-traveled roads, but between them, a barely visible path. That’s the one he invites us not only to explore, but to widen by our walking it so that others may follow.

Along the way, he provides apt and intriguing quotes, much like roadside rest stops with interesting historical markers, to remind us that though we may feel like pioneers moving into uncharted territory, we are part of a long tradition of pioneers who blazed trails of their own in the past, making possible the future we know as the present. Seen in that light, suddenly it matters very much whether we seek to preserve the church in its current state, abandon it altogether, or help it become a creative agent for a better future—the world that will be the present for our great-grandchildren.

The key to that creative work is not simply good ideas, but true faith, hope, and love, rooted in the living God in whom we trust and love, and by whom we seek to be empowered. It’s at that point of connection with God, not just in theory, but in experience and practice, that Ken’s proposal—what he calls Incarnational Orthodoxy or Paradoxy—offers a vision that transcends old polarities between liberal and conservative.

As a person from a very conservative background, I know that what conservatives cherish beneath their arguments and divisions is the experience of God, the nearness of God. It’s their pearl of great price, and in defending a lot of other things, I believe this is what they really are seeking to defend. And as a person who has grown first to accept, then begrudgingly to respect, and eventually to love liberals, I also believe the same is true for liberals. On both sides a lot of other issues get mixed in, but in appealing to this core treasure, this core desire—and not only in appealing to it, but more, in embodying it—Ken offers a way forward that I believe has the only real hope.

It’s no accident that Ken “gets” this way forward and embodies it, because it flows from his own biography, spanning Jewish and Christian, conservative and liberal, Pentecostal and liturgical, academic and pastoral. And beyond that, as you’ll learn in these pages, Ken also knows this way forward because he has seen a church polarize and divide, and then saw another church take shape beyond schismatic polarity.

For Episcopalians and for all mainliners, this book holds great value, and for Evangelicals and Charismatics, I believe the same is true. It can help us discover an identity where those terms become less like epithets applied to enemies and more like family names applied to neighbors.

May that better day come!

—BRIAN MCLAREN

 

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