Interview with author Ron Martoia [Part 1]

Thursday, March 5, 2009

I recently got the opportunity to send some questions to Ron Martoia for the benefit of all the readers of Tomorrow's Church. Ron has written a number of books and articles, but his most recent, Transformational Architecture, has been a really good read for me. It is both stimulating and challenging - I highly recomend it. Ron is on a mission to recapture our understanding of God, to be fuller and to help us regain our voice in today's culture. Enjoy.

1. Ron, what has God been speaking to you about lately?
I guess there are a few things that have been occupying my thoughts these days. 1. The need for us to engage a new transformational model of life change. All our information exchange is apparently not getting it done...lives aren't being changed if Gallup and Barna are even close to correct. 2. We need to figure out how to revoice Christianity. By revoice I mean what Karen Armstrong alludes to in The Great Transformation. We are known for being legalistic (think Dave Kinnaman's research in UnChristian) and narrow. How do we revoice and reposition our following Jesus in a way that is inclusive and compelling? 3. I am more convinced than ever we need a blending of kataphatic and apophatic spirituality, in fact this is the focus or the book I am working on right now.

2. For those that have not yet read Static or Transformational Architecture, how would you summarize those works into a couple of sentences.
Static was an effort to deal with 5 big static creating terms and reframe into a larger story the common fall-redemption story so common in evangelicalism, a story that makes it sound like the gospel exists to get people to heaven. Instead I suggest a creation-fall-redemption-restoration paradigm that starts the story of God with imago dei of Gen 1 instead of the fall of Gen 3. Kind of neat to start the story where God starts it huh? TA was an effort to take that bigger framing story and put it on the ground in spiritual conversations. A sort of postmodern...can I say the word....ugh...evangelism. Hate that word. But the point of TA is to help people rethink God, the goal of relationship with God and how to enter that from a variety of new vantage the drive we all have to be god, and the propensity to see God in creation.

3. The challenge to find the 'fuller' narrative of God is a beautiful opportunity to rethink our dialogue (or lack of) in our culture. How do we take that concept and apply it to the politics of our country? Or do we? The Christian voice exercised in the Democratic process seems to only play to our disadvantage. I think many of my younger generation feel disillusioned by how to play our faith out in a political way. What insights would you offer us?
Boy that is a loaded one but let me make a couple really brief observations. 1. Jesus' interaction with the politics of the day as a mechanism of change for the masses didn't seem to be a high agenda item for him. 2. While I think we need to work all we can for a more just society I wonder what models Jesus left us that invite us to plunge in neck deep to the political process. I struggle with answering that well.

4. Your description of 1P (first person), 2P (second person) and 3P (third person) views of God was really eye opening. I had not previously considered how I unintentionally interact with and perceive God. What are some ways you engage the 1P and 3P views of God in your own journey?
I often do field gaze mediation, a kind of eyes open centering practice that is a very 3P practice. My 1P experiences are more of me learning to realize this person sitting across from me is imago dei. They are "breath of God" creatures. What does this mean to how I love, interact, not judge them? Loving them as self is a 1P practice. Not loving them as I love my self that is very egoic. But loving them as if they were self...and they are...I'm imago dei and so are they. This is a daily practice I engage, and has it ever challenged me, uncovered my impure motives, nastiness, and how self centered I am.

...more to come tomorrow.


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