EastOfEden.tv was born of a realization that Christianity is in a period of transition. Some find this time of change exciting! Some find it terrifying! Still others are completely unaware of it.
Author Phyllis Tickle has observed that about every 500 years, "the church cleans out its attic and has a giant rummage sale." About 500 years ago (1517) was the Protestant Reformation. 500 years before that, (1054) the Great Schism occurred, breaking the communion of what are now the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Churches. 500 years before the Great Schism a Benedictine Monk named Gregory the Great established the monastic orders that would preserve Christianity through the dark ages, and 500 years before that was...Jesus Christ.
This brief history lesson is just to say that we've been here before. The turmoil that many believe is driving Christianity into cultural irrelevance may actually be the birth pangs of the next reformation! EastOfEden.TV was created to give voice to authors, bloggers, theologians, musicians and others who are actively involved in this "giant rummage sale"-people who we may look back on and number with the likes of John Calvin, Martin Luther, Menno Simons, Gregory the Great and others who were instrumental in giving birth to a new expression of Christianity - a Christianity that may be more "Christ-like" than anything the world has seen before.
What about our name?
We chose "East of Eden" as our name, not because of John Steinbeck's famous novel of the same name, but because of the story in the fourth chapter of Genesis where Cain kills his brother Abel in an attempt to gain God's approval. He then leaves and goes "east of Eden" into the land of Nod (which means the land of wandering) and builds the first city. Rene Girard understands these events as the founding of human civilization-civilization born of violence toward one's brother, which leads humanity away from the presence of God only to wander and build successive cultures apart from God. The story reveals that in a few generations, retributive violence has increased seventy-sevenfold.
If we left the story there it would indeed be discouraging, but the treasure of the Hebrew Scriptures is that they record the history of an oppressed people (the Jews) from the perspective of the oppressed. This simply was not done in ancient times. The victors wrote the history, and it was written to hide the plight of victims and glorify (mythologize) the winners.
In this story God calls Abraham to leave his home and seek a "city whose builder and maker is God," in other words, a kind of civilization that was unlike anything the world had known since Eden. The Hebrew prophets caught glimpses of this city, but it wasn't seen clearly until the advent of Jesus of Nazareth who in his Sermon on the Mount fleshes out this city whose builder and maker is God...a city that Jesus calls his followers to populate and model for the good of the world-a city built on seventy-sevenfold forgiveness rather than seventy-sevenfold retribution.
EastOfEden.tv was created to be a place for people who are seeking to build this city of living stones with Jesus as the cornerstone. We hope you'll join us in this exciting construction project which Jesus calls the kingdom of God.