Wednesday, December 31, 2008

1 Corinthians 13

N. T. Wright comments, “So often at weddings, [1 Corinthians 13] has not often been heard as what it is, namely, a poem about the now/not yet tension of Christian living, and the way in which love, agape, is not so much a virtue to be worked at, though it is surely that as well, as the ultimate bridge, in terms of human character, from present Christian living into the future kingdom” (Resurrection in the New Testament, 296).

This comes in the middle of a long discourse on how 1 Corinthians is Paul’s attempt to help the Church in Corinth embrace a more Christian eschatology, that is, a view of the end and how it matters in terms how Christians live today. Paul was concerned that they were being influenced by other worldviews in which they were beginning to think that they had arrived at some kind of final state of perfection or glory. This poem on love is a way of broadening their imagination to see how on the one hand life in this age flows continuously with life in the next age through the pattern of love that has been revealed/demonstrated in Jesus. And of course Wright does a good job of showing that Paul was well aware that there was still a distinction between the two ages, but that’s not what I want to talk about right. I am challenged to think about those relationships in my life where people with whom I am in contact with don’t hear the music from the next age spilling into this one. They don’t have ears to hear. I am challenged to be carefully gracious in loving them, as we are not operating on the same ultimate, unquestionable assumptions. But love. Love is a music that reaches across assumptional boundaries with a beautiful harmony and a fresh and fascinating aroma.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Time and Memory through Benjamin Button

***spoiler alert, sort of***

It is becoming a tradition on both sides of my family to go and see a movie on Christmas day. This year we went and saw The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. I wasn’t sure how I would respond to this film. I think it is one of those films that I will find popping up in moments of reflections on life and death. There are some really provocative aspects to this film. I found the following article very interesting, especially in light of certain ways of thinking about aging (and life and death) in our world. It’s interesting what this person (Sandra Hall) says about Fitzgerald turning Twains observation sort of on its head. While Twain sees the beginning of life as better than the end, Fitzgerald sees the beginning and the end as essentially the same. Most important, for Fitzgerald, time (and death) have the last word no matter how the life cycle goes. This is really interesting for me to think about as I prepare for a class on the resurrection in the New Testament. For Christians death is a reality for everyone, but it is not the last word—resurrection is. Perhaps most interesting is how Hall (a la Fitzgerald) says that time/death are defeated through memory. Very interesting for people, i.e. the Church, who exist in memory—a “memory of the future” (says Zizioulas and others) that informs the present.

***Update***

I neglected to mention that the The Curious Case of Benjamin Button was originally a short story written by F. Scott Fitzgerald.

I also seemed to imply that resurrection is a reality for everyone just as death is. I don't mean to imply that I am a universalist. I don't believe we have biblical warrant for universalism.

I also wanted to say more about memory. Hall says, "Underpinning it all is a meditation on the double-edged nature of time and the spiralling twists a life takes en route to its end. Time is brutal, the film is saying. Fitzgerald was right about that. Yet there can be moments that defeat time by enduring as long as they remain in someone's memory." That memory defeats time and death is what I found interesting and why I think it links with Church's memory of the future in the Eucharist.

The Twelve Days of Christmas

I attended a Christmas eve service with my in-laws while I was in Escondido, CA. During the service the pastor mentioned the twelve days of Christmas song and what each day meant. This got me thinking again about how the church should think about the Advent and Christmas seasons, especially since next year I will be a dad. How should I speak about these seasons and their importance in the Church year in light of the cultural phenomenon that is Christmas in a consumer capitalistic society? How should we think about buying presents? For what reason do we buy presents? And all that jazz. The question I am specifically thinking about right now is how to integrate the full twelve days of Christmas (December 25-January 5). What are some ways we can actually break free in our homes from the necessity of spending money. I am thinking in lines with the Advent Conspiracy, but I am also thinking about how we will spend our time during those actual twelve days. Anyways, just wanted to throw that out there. Peace.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Ol' Brueggy at it again

This gave me pause for reflection this morning. In a few months I will become a dad. I have been thinking that the best thing I can do for my kids is to teach them to make sense of their world (their reality, their experience) according to a worldview whose foundational, unquestionable assumption is that Jesus is Lord ON THEIR OWN TERMS (terms being a loaded word, of course) and IN LIGHT OF THOSE WHO HAVE GONE BEFORE THEM. This is nothing new, of course.

"In the traditioning process of retelling and retelling in order to make faith possible for the next generation, each version of retelling (of which there were surely many in the long-term process) intends, perforce, that its particular retelling should be the 'final' and surely the correct one. in the event, however, no account of traditioning turns out to be the 'final' one, but each act of traditioning is eventually overcome and in fact displaced ('superseded') by a fresher version. The later, displacing form of the tradition no doubt is assumed to be the 'final and correct' one, but is in turn sure to be overcome and, in part, displaced by subsequent versions of the memory. The complexity of the text evident on any careful reading is due to the happy reality that as new acts o traditioning overcome and partly displace older materials, the older material is retained alongside newer tradition. That retention is a happy one, because it very often happens that a still later traditionist returns to and finds useful older, 'discarded' material though to be beyond use."

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Katie's new article

My lovely wife has written another article for Credo. This one is called Why Giving is Better than (For)getting. In this one she asks us to have a better memory about the nature of giving during the Christmas season. When we forget our story (God's story) and Saints like Nicholas we are all the more vulnerable to be formed by the story of consumerism and what it says is true about the world. If you want to check out an alternative Christmas practice, look up Advent Conspiracy.

Watchmen



I'm in the middle of reading the story. Looking forward to the movie. Post if you want to talk about it.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

One by Walter

The Little Gate to God
By Walter Rauschenbusch

In the castle of my soul
Is a little postern gate,
Whereat, when I enter,
I am in the presence of God.
In a moment, in the turning of a thought,
I am where God is.
This is a fact.
This world of ours has length and breadth,
A superficial and horizontal world.
When I am with God
I look deep down and high up.
And all is changed.
The world of men is made of jangling noises.
With God it is a great silence.
But that silence is a melody
Sweet as the contentment of love,
Thrilling as a touch of flame.
In this world my days are few
And full of trouble.
I strive and have not;
I seek and find not;
I ask and learn not.
Its joys are so fleeting,
Its pains are so enduring,
I am in doubt if life be worth living.
When I enter into God,
All life has a meaning.
Without asking, I know;
My desires are even now fulfilled,
MY fever is gone
In the great quiet of God.
My troubles are but pebbles on the road,
My joys are like the everlasting hills,
So it is when I step through the gate of prayer
From time into eternity.
When I am in the consciousness of God
Those whom I love
Have a mystic value.
They shine, as if a light were glowing within them.
Even those who frown on me
And love me not
Seem part of a great scheme of good.
(or else they seem like stray bumble bees
Buzzing at a window,
Headed the wrong way, yet seeking the light.)
So it is wen my soul steps through the postern gate
Into the presence of God.
Big things become small, and small things become great.
The near becomes far, and the future is near.
The lowly and despised is shot through with glory,
And most of human power and greatness
Seems as full of internal iniquities
As a carcass is full of maggots.
God is the substance of all revolutions;
When I am in him, I am in the Kingdom of God
And the Fatherland of my Soul.
Is it strange that I love God?
And when I come back through the gate,
Do you wonder that I carry memories with me,
And my eyes are hot with unshed tears for what I see.
And I feel like a stranger and a homeless man
Where the poor are wasted for gain.
Where rivers run red,
And where God's sunlight is darkened by lies?

May God's sunlight shine again. Thy kingdom come, God!

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Rowan Williams on Christian Faith

"Christian Faith has its beginnings in an experience of profound contradictoriness, an experience that so questioned the religious categories of its time that the resulting organization of religious language was a centuries-long task. At one level indeed, it is a task that every generation has to undertake again. And if 'spirituality' can be given any coherent meaning, perhaps it is to be understood in terms of this task: each believer making his or her own that engagement with the questioning at the heart of faith which is so evident in the classical documents of Christian belief. That is not, it must be said, to recommend any of the currently fashionable varieties of relativism or to romanticize a wistful 'half-belief.' The questioning involved here is not our interrogation of the data, but its interrogation of us. It is that intractable strangeness of the ground of belief that must constantly be allowed to challenge the fixed assumptions of religiosity; it is a given, whose question to each succeeding age is fundamentally one and the same. And the greatness of the great Christian saints lies in their readiness to be questioned, judged, stripped naked and left speechless by that which lies at the center of their faith."

Rowan Williams, The Wound of Knowledge: Christian Spirituality from the New Testament to Saint John of the Cross

Sunday, November 30, 2008

First Sunday in Advent

O come, O come, Emmanuel
And ransom captive Israel
That mourns in lonely exile here
Until the Son of God appear
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.

O come, Thou Rod of Jesse, free
Thine own from Satan's tyranny
From depths of Hell Thy people save
And give them victory o'er the grave
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.

O come, Thou Day-Spring, come and cheer
Our spirits by Thine advent here
Disperse the gloomy clouds of night
And death's dark shadows put to flight.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.

O come, Thou Key of David, come,
And open wide our heavenly home;
Make safe the way that leads on high,
And close the path to misery.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.

O come, O come, Thou Lord of might,
Who to Thy tribes, on Sinai's height,
In ancient times did'st give the Law,
In cloud, and majesty and awe.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.

Monday, November 24, 2008

music

I just want to through it out there that right now my favorite stations on Pandora are Gillian Welch radio and Gregorian Chant radio. However, I am always looking for good suggestions. What do you all recommend on Pandora?

Friday, October 31, 2008

Rilke and solitude, Bonhoeffer and grace

Over the past few months I have become fascinated with a little book by Rainer Maria Rilke called Letters to a Young Poet. A lot can (and has been) said about Rilke’s “rejection” of Christianity, most of which I am not able to really go into. But I will agree that you can’t read Rilke and ignore the Christian tradition that offered the backdrop against which he was able to create his own spiritual ideas (cf. Johannes Wich-Schwarz). I wonder how much he was actually able to escape God. While he rejects Christianity (particularly the rejection the concept of a transcendent God), his words regarding the immanence of God (pantheistic) challenge Enlightenment deism and are thought provoking for how the church can reclaim a theo-logic of the incarnation. Maybe more on this later.

For now, I want to consider some of Rilke’s thoughts on solitude with something I read from Bohoeffer’s in Life Together.

Bonhoeffer writes in Life Together, “the person who comes into a fellowship because he is running away from himself is misusing it for the sake of diversion, no matter how spiritual this diversion may appear” (76). For Bonhoeffer solitude and fellowship inform one another, give way to one another. He says, “both begin at the same time” (78).

The basic premise of Rilke’s Letter’s is that there is a young poet writing to Rilke, who is an established poet at this point in his life, about how to be a better poet. The occasion for the young poet (Mr. Kappus) to write letters is his continual rejection of being published. And so Rilke writes, “Now (since you have allowed me to advise you) I beg you to give up all that. You are looking outward, and that above all you should not do now. Nobody can counsel and help you, nobody. There is only one single way. Go into yourself.” (16). Rilke encourages Mr. Kappus to dive deep into his own life to find that which compels his to write, to ask “whether you would have to die if it were denied you to write” (16). This is the heart of Rilke’s concept of solitude. And the rest of the book is further expositions on this theme.

There is something about introspection and knowing yourself and knowing how you make sense of the world that I find so good. For Rilke solitude is about asking questions, and more than that it’s about learning to love and live those questions in the moment (27). Rilke hits the nail on the head for me in terms of offering words that express what I feel when I try to think about the big picture as if it was mine to decide what happens next for the whole world, which only leads me to exhaustion and despair. Rilke says, “Solitude, great inner solitude. Going-into-oneself-and for hours meeting no one—this one must be able to attain. To be solitary, the way one was solitary as a child, when the grownups went around involved with things that seemed important and big because they themselves looked so busy and because one comprehended nothing of their doings” (35). There is something comforting in the world according to a child, an awareness that there are ultimate concerns that I cannot quite make sense but am sure that there are others who can. It’s not about having all of the answers but about making sense of the world as genuinely as we can, portraying our experience. Of course, making sense of experience always depends on what ultimate categories one embraces. For me as a Christian it is making sense of a world in which I am somehow given the gift of personality and community in Jesus Christ as an icon of God. Thus, I can’t help but think of how Bonhoeffer says that it is reflection on the Word that affords us words of grace to speak to one another. Speaking grace comes as we know that we are known and loved by God.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Two Poems on Cain and Abel

Abel looked at the wound
His brother had dealt him, and loved him
For it. Cain saw that look
And struck him again. The blood cried
On the ground; God listened to it.
He questioned Cain. But Cain answered:
Who made the blood? I offered you
Clean things: the blond hair
Of the corn; the knuckled vegetables; the
Flowers; things that did not publish
Their hurt, that bled
Silently. You would not accept them.

And God said: It was part of myself
He gave me. The lamb was torn
From my own side. the limp head,
The slow fall of red tears - they
Were like a mirror to me in which I beheld
My reflection. I anointed myself
To the doomed tree you were at work upon.

-R.S. Thomas, Cain


I read it here in your very word,
in the story of the gestures
with which your hands cupped themselves
around our becoming--limiting, warm.

You said live out loud, and die you said lightly,
and over and over again you said be.

But before the first death came murder.
A fracture broke across the rings you'd ripened.
A screaming shattered the voices

that had just come together to speak you,
to make of our a bridge
over the chasm of everything.

And what they have stammered ever since
are fragments
of your ancient name.

-Rainer Maria Rilke, I Read It Here in Your Very Word

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Famous INFJ's

So, I found this list of famous INFJ personality types, INFJ meaning (Introverted, Intuitive, Feeling, Judging). I think overall I would say I'm in good company.

Nathan, prophet of Israel
Aristophanes
Chaucer
Goethe
Robert Burns, Scottish poet

U.S. Presidents:
Martin Van Buren
James Earl "Jimmy" Carter

Nathaniel Hawthorne
Fanny Crosby, (blind) hymnist
Mother Teresa of Calcutta
Fred McMurray (My Three Sons)
Shirley Temple Black, child actor, ambassador
Martin Luther King, Jr., civil rights leader, martyr
James Reston, newspaper reporter
Shirley McClain (Sweet Charity, ...)
Piers Anthony, author ("Xanth" series)
Michael Landon (Little House on the Prairie)
Tom Selleck
John Katz, critic, author
Paul Stookey (Peter, Paul and Mary)
U. S. Senator Carol Moseley-Braun (D-IL)
Billy Crystal
Garry Trudeau (Doonesbury)
Nelson Mandela
Mel Gibson
Carrie Fisher
Nicole Kidman
Jerry Seinfeld
Jamie Foxx
Sela Ward
Mark Harmon
Gary Dourdan
Marg Helgaberger
Evangeline Lilly
Tori May

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Chili Egg Bake

Serves 10-12

Ingredients:
10 eggs
1 lb cottage cheese
1 lb Jack cheese
1/2 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup melted butter
2 tsp onion powder
1-2 cans chopped green chilies (4 oz cans)

Instructions:
Beat eggs. Add cottage cheese, Jack cheese, flour, baking powder, salt, melted butter, onion powder. Blend well. Stir in chilies. Bake in greased 9x13 pan at 350 degrees for 35 minutes or until center is firm. Poke knife in center. It should come out clean when done. Serve with sour cream and salsa on the side.

Bon appetit!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Monday, September 15, 2008

brilliant

Even if you are a conservative these days, if you can't appreciate a good satire when you see it then you are taking yourself way to seriously. Tina Fey, you nailed it!

Watch video here.

Seven Steps to a Corny Worship Song

Katie has written another article. This one has to do with corny worship songs. Check it out . . . now!

Monday, September 08, 2008

Revelation and Over the Rhine

A friend and I have the opportunity to teach a class on the book of Revelation for a few weeks at our Church. To be honest this is a daunting task. If one breaks down the numbers, we have 6 weeks, forty minutes per week to go over twenty-two chapters. And since it’s Revelation, the need for time is all the more apparent, especially since we are not approach it according to current Left Behind standards. But we don’t have talk to really compare different ways of interpretation. I think you get my drift.

We have decided to approach the class according five “visions” of God, world, evil, church, and new creation. And our theological guide/assumption to whole class comes from Matthew 6:10, “Your Kingdom come, Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” Basically we are trying to approach more a theology of revelation as opposed to a verse-by-verse interpretation.

In our preparation, Jodi drew my attention to a song by Over the Rhine called The Trumpet Child. I have to say that this song is brilliant! For the sake of space, here is a link to the lyrics. This is a song that you have to listen to many times. The title comes from Revelation 10:7, when the seventh angel is about to blow the trumpet. This is one of the images of new creation in Revelation, when it will be on earth as it is in heaven. Notice the way Over the Rhine thinks about God as a person involved in re-creation and not as some cosmic clock waiting for things to wind down according to a set schedule, as one “improvising a kingdom come” and “riffing off love.” Like many people today, Over the Rhine is thinking about God in terms of music, particularly Jazz, as they make reference to the manner of God’s playing new creation into reality as Louis “Satchmo” Armstrong and Thelonious Monk, the beauty of Jazz being improvisation, originality, and surprise. So here’s the song.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

"If I wanted to go that route I could just walk around the mall and think about Jesus"

During my Sociology of American Evangelicalism class I was reminded of the accuracy and sheer awesomeness of this King of the Hill clip.

Church Hopping

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

"at ease, at home in air and light"

The frog with lichened back and golden thigh
Sits still, almost invisible
On leafed and lichened stem,
Invisibility
Its sign of being at home
There in its given place, and well.

The warbler with its quivering striped throat
Would live almost beyond my sight,
Almost beyond belief,
But for its double note-
Among the high leaves a leaf,
At east, at home in the air and light.

And I, through woods and fields, through fallen days
Am passing to where I belong:
At home, at ease, and well,
In Sabbaths of this place
Almost invisible,
Toward which I go from song to song.

-Wendell Berry

I often kid that my goal as a pastor is to just get lost in the city among the people, walking about as I meet whoever comes my way. Of course I wouldn't be simply wandering around. Some intentionality would be good, right? Perhaps something along the lines of the works piety and mercy.

When I read this poem I am invited to get lost in peace and rest. I am invited to be at home, my true home. Sabbath. I thought about Paul's words Romans, "from faith to faith" when I read "from song to song." For Berry I think we are invited to see that Sabbath, although the place where we ultimately belong is a reality of some kind, almost invisible, here and now.

This is inviting for one who often feels overwhelmed by the immensity of such a task and pastor, let alone Christian.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

"with the possibility of being"

THIS IS THE CREATURE

This is the creature there has never been.
They never knew it, and yet, none the less,
they loved the way it moved, its suppleness,
its neck, its very gaze, mild and serene.

Not there, because they loved it, it behaved
as though it were. They always left some space.
And in that clear unpeopled space they saved
it lightly reared its head, with scarce a trace

of not being there. They fed it, not with corn,
but only with the possibility
of being. And that was able to confer

such strength, its brow put forth a horn. One horn.
Whitely it stole up to a maid - to be
within the silver mirror and in her.

-Rainer Maria Rilke

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Wainwright on liturgy

"Into the liturgy the people bring their entire existence so that it may be gathered up in praise. From the liturgy the people depart with a renewed vision of the value-patterns of God's kingdom, by the more effective practice of which they intend to glorify God in their whole life." -Geoffrey Wainwright, Doxology, 8

Friday, August 15, 2008

"and wounded patience sucks them dry"

Only retrieve them from the cities' guilt,
where everything for them is anger and confusion,
and wounded patience sucks them dry.

Has the earth, then, no room for them?
Whom does the wind seek? For whom
is the wet glistening of streams?

Is there by the banks
of the pond's deep dreaming
nowhere they can see their faces reflected?

They need only, as a tree does,
a little space in which to grow.

-Rainer Maria Rilke

Monday, August 04, 2008

Radiohead

I went to my first Radiohead concert yesterday. They played at the Verizon Wireless Music Center in Noblesville, Indiana. It was Fantastic! Dark! Mesmerizing! I really really enjoyed watching Everything In Its Right Place unfold electronically before my eyes/ears, plus this was the first Radiohead song I every heard (nostalgic). Bodysnatchers and Idioteque were fun to move to. I totally felt like I was in a dream when I heard How To Disappear Completely. You can’t imagine how loud the crowd roared “you do it to yourself” when they played Just. And National Anthem (my favorite song to blare in the car) followed by Street Spirit (one of my favorites on The Bends) ended the show perfectly. Here’s the set list. And some video.

15 Step
Bodysnatchers
There There
All I Need
Pyramid Song
Nude
Weird Fishes/Arpeggi
The Gloaming
Climbing The Walls
Faust Arp
Videotape
Morning Bell
Idioteque
Reckoner
Everything In Its Right Place
Just
How To Disappear Completely

-Encore 1-
You and Whose Army
Bangers and Mash
Exit Music
Jigsaw Falling Into Place
Karma Police

-Encore 2-
House Of Cards
National Anthem
Street Spirit (Fade Out)





Tuesday, July 29, 2008

"Everything I Expected"

My beautiful and fantastically talented wife has an article published in Credo! This is the first of many. She also has a forthcoming article on a satirical look at corny worship songs.

Monday, July 21, 2008

corny worship songs

So I'm curious . . . what would you consider to be the corniest line in a worship song you have ever heard? You can choose a line, verse, chorus, or even a whole song.

Actually, my lovely wife is going to be writing an article about corny worship songs. It's a satirical article meant to offer some exposure on the matter.

I'll offer my two-cents. It's the chorus from "On the Jericho Road." It goes like this:

"On the Jericho road there's room for just two
No more or no less just Jesus and you
Each burden he'll bear each sorrow he'll share
There's never a care when Jesus is there."

I mostly have a theological beef with this song. It seems that there is only room for two people on the Jericho road and the one singing the song is not one of them. It reminds me of the old riddle where two American coins add up to thirty cents but one of them is not a nickel. What are to two coins? (answer: a quarter and a nickel). Thus, two folks are traveling on the Jericho road and one of them is not you. Who's traveling with Jesus? And you get the point.

So, what do you got?

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Another from Cavanaugh on the Eucharist


“Each Eucharist performed in the local community makes present not part of Christ but the whole Christ, and the eschatological unity of all in Christ. For this same reasons, however, there can be no mutual exclusion between local Eucharistic communities. From the early centuries this principle was represented by the necessity for two or three bishops from other communities to participate in the ordination of any bishop. The Eucharist made it necessary to see the whole Christ in each local community, which at the same time unite the communities, not through a single external centre or structure superimposed on the local, but through the presence of the whole Christ in each. The one Christ, then, is the centre of each Eucharistic community, yet the centre appears in many different places. Here we might apply Alan of Lille’s comment about absolute Being to the Body of Christ: it is an ‘intelligible sphere whose center is everywhere and whose circumference is nowhere.’”

Friday, July 11, 2008

Two from Cavanaugh on the nation-state and the Eucharist

"Politics is a practice of the imagination. Sometimes politics is the 'art of the impossible,' but it is always an art, and engages the imagination just as art does. We are often fooled by the seeming solidarity of the materials of politics, its armies and offices, into forgetting that these materials are marshalled by acts of imagination. How does the provincial far boy become persuaded that he must travel as a soldier to another part of the world and kill people he knows nothing about? He must be convinced of the reality of borders, and imagine himself deeply, mystically, united to a wider national community that stops abruptly at those borders. The nation-state is, as Benedict Anderson has shown, one important and historically contingent type of 'imagined community' around which our conceptions of politics tend to gather."

"The Eucharist defuses both the false theology and false anthropology of will and right by the stunning 'public' leitourgia in which humans are made members of God's very Body. 'Just as the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so whoever eats me will live because of me' (john 6:57). Augustine envisions Jesus saying, 'I am the food of the fully grown; grow and you will feed on me. And you will not change me into you life the food your flesh eats, but you will be changed into me.' the contrast with Locke's explanation of property - that through labour one assimilates things from the state of nature to the property in one's person - is extremely suggestive. Indeed, in the Eucharist the foundational distinction between mine and thine is radically effaced (cf. Acts 2:44-47). Christ's restoration of the imago dei in humanity is consummated in individuals in the Eucharist, in which our separateness is overcome precisely by participation in Christ's body."

Thursday, July 10, 2008

searching tactics

At first I thought it might be fun to post a list of the various things I search for. Then I got to thinking about different techniques used to search for things on the internet, such "quotations to search for a specific order of words" and plus signs (+) to connect two words in a search, e.g. LOST + John Locke + philosophy. Things like that. I wonder what tactics ya'll use when surfing the net? In any case here is a list my searched a's, including spelling errors and bad grammar because I know that google will kindly offer me an alternative spelling option. Which brings up another question, which search engine do you prefer and why?

A might wind + chords
A thief in the night
Abalone
About Bob Dylan
About Bob dylan + “the times they are a-changin”
Absolution
Absolutism
Absolutizing
Acculturated
Acculturated
Achmed + youtube
Acme
Acme definition
Ad hc
Ad hoc
Advent
Advent + music
Advent + rolling stone
Advent themes + music
Agrarianism
Aim instant messenger
Alan Hirsch
Album + serve somebody
Allergies
Alright
America’s next top model
Amy grant
Analysis
Ancient near east mythology
And you will heap burning coals on their head
Anne
Anthropomorphism
Anthropopathis
Antm
Aporia
Apple products
Apprehendable
Arrabon
Array
Articles + spirit Christology
Asphyixiation
Assonance
Atimes.com
Atonement
Atonement + mechanic
Atonement + mechanics
Atonement + psalms
Atonement + theology
Atonement and violence
Audio book + the late great planet earth
Audiobooks + left behind
Augustine + on the trinity + perichoresis

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Newbigin on Evangelism

“How can this strange story of God made flesh, of a crucified Savior, or resurrection and new creation become credible for those whose entire mental training has conditioned them to believe that the real world is the world which can be satisfactorily explained and managed without the hypothesis of God? I know of only one clue to the answering of that question, only one real hermeneutic of the gospel: a congregation which believes it.

Does that sound too simplistic? I don’t believe it is. Evangelism is not some kind of technique by means of which people are persuaded to change their minds and think like us. Evangelism is the telling of good news, but what changes people’s minds and converts their wills is always a mysterious work of the sovereign holy Spirit, and we are not permitted to know more than a little of his secret working. But – and this is the point – the holy Spirit is present in the believing congregation both gathered for praise and the offering up of a spiritual sacrifice, and scattered throughout the community to bear the love of God into every secular happening and meeting. It is they who scatter the seeds of hope around, and even if the greater part falls on barren ground, there will be a few that being to germinate, to create at least a questioning and a seeking, and perhaps to lead someone to inquire about the source form which these germs of hope came. Although it may seem simplistic, I most deeply believe that it is fundamental to recognize that what brings men and women and children to know Jesus as Lord and Savior is always the mysterious work of the Holy Spirit, always beyond our understanding or control, always the result of a presence, a reality which both draws and challenges – the reality who is in fact the living God himself. And God’s presence is promised and granted in the midst of the believing, worshipping, celebrating, caring congregation. There is no other hermeneutic of the gospel.”

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Sunday, June 22, 2008

On the Eucharist

“So we approach to the mystical gifts and are sanctified, becoming partakers of the holy flesh and the honorable blood of Christ the Saviour of us all, not receiving it as ordinary flesh – God forbid – nor as that of a man sanctified and conjoined with the Word by unity of honor, or as one who had received a divine indwelling, but as truly life-giving and the Word’s own flesh. For being by nature, as God, life, when he had become one with his own flesh, he made it life-giving” (Cyril of Alexandria, The Third Letter of Cyril of Nestorius).

“Even as an act of the Church, therefore, the Eucharist is not to be regarded as independent act on our part in response to what God has already done for us in Christ . . . but as acts towards the Father already fulfilled in the humanity of Christ in our place and on our behalf, to which our acts in his name are assimilated and identified through the Spirit” (T.F. Torrance, Theology in Reconciliation).

“Author of life Divine, who hast a table spread,
Furnish’d with mystic wine and everlasting bread,
Preserve the life thyself hast given,
And feed and train us up for heaven” (John Wesley, Hymns on the Lords Supper of 1745)

“Come, Holy Ghost, thine influence shed, and realize the sign;
Thy life infused into the bread, Thy power into the wine.
Effectual let the tokens prove, and made, by heavenly art,
Fit channels to convey thy love to every faithful heart” (John Wesley, Hymns on the Lords Supper of 1745)

“In the Eucharist the church is always called to become what it eschatologically is” (William Cavanaugh, Torture and Eucharist).

“We know that real life is 'eucharist,' a movement of love and adoration toward God, the movement in which alone the meaning and the value of all that exists can be revealed and fulfilled. We know that we have lost this eucharistic life, and finally we know that in Christ, the new Adam, the perfect man, this eucharistic life was restored to man. For He Himself was the perfect Eucharist; He offered Himself in total obedience, love, and thanksgiving to God. God was His very life. And He gave this perfect eucharist life to us. In Him God became our life” (Alexander Schmemann, For the Life of the World).

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Virtual Communion

About a week ago I received word about an online bible college class who decided to take communion online as a way of concluding their class time. I took this article and presented into the Missional Theology class that I have been in for a few weeks in hopes of raising conversations about the implications of having virtual communion and the discussion has been fruitful.

We talked about a lot of things. We talked about the Gnostic aspects of a disembodied Eucharist, and the individualism of taking the elements yourself and not receiving them from another person. We talked about the efficacy of the event, whether or not they actually had the Lord’s Supper. We asked whether or not we might call this missional even if it is not the sacrament of communion. And we talked about Baudrillard’s notion of hyper-reality, which is where I find the most helpful critique of virtual communion.

I am no Baudrillard scholar so I welcome (plead) for correction if I misunderstand him. In short, his notion of hyper-reality is when illusion becomes reality. So, when our current Eucharistic practices fail (and note that they fail because of the Church) to be sign, symbol, foretaste, and instrument (a la Lesslie Newbigin) of the Kingdom of God then the church will turn to virtual reality (hyper-reality) for meaning and for “the real.”

At best what online communion offers is a mirror in which we look at our own inability to truly (really) take the Lord’s Supper. We cannot embrace the practice of online communion. It reveals the error of our ways, where we need to make correction in reality because their only reality. The turn to hyper-reality is a turn away from the real.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

context is freedom

"All the activity of the disciples is subject to the clear precept of their Lord. They are not left free to choose their own methods or adopt their own conception of their task. Their work is to be Christ-work, and therefore they are absolutely dependent on the will of Jesus. Happy are they whose duty is fixed by such a precept, and who are therefore free from the tyranny of their own ideas and calculations" (Dietrich Bonhoeffer, The Cost of Discipleship)

Email, the last hope

Do you know what will happen to your non-Christian friends when you get raptured? If you’re not certain, then why not have peace of mind with this new form of evangelism. It lets you reach out from beyond the heavens back into this stink-hole of a planet by way of technology, probably the same technology that will be used by the anti-Christ to manipulate most of human race that has been left behind, which is a sort of poetic justice in that Christians can use the very tool of the enemy towards his (because the anti-Christ in never a woman in the movies or the books) demise.

Don’t dilly-dally around! Pay the money for peace of mind. Surely the Kingdom of God is worth thirty pieces of . . . I mean $40. (Okay, that's a bit harsh on my part, I admit).

CAUTON: In case of rapture, this blog will remain unmoderated.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

"How does it look from where you stand?"

“If the hermeneutics of conviction declares, ‘Here I stand,’ the hermeneutics of humility asks, ‘How does it look from where you stand?’ The false humility of deconstruction degenerates into a despair of language and of our ability to interpret. True hermeneutic humility, on the other hand, is willing to receive something from the other, from the text, and from other interpreters. Does humility before the test rule out a critical moment in which the reader assesses its context? Am I advocating hermeneutic fideism: ‘Love God, and read as you please’? No, for understanding must be tested. Christian interpreters must endure every test that critics care to throw at them. Testing and enduring: these are signs of rationality and humility alike. Interpreters should never idolize their interpretations. I am seeking a degree of interpretive confidence somewhere between pride and sloth – the humble conviction that stands firm, even while acknowledging that it is rooted on earth rather than looking down from heaven. We do not yet have absolute knowledge. Yet we do have adequate knowledge, enough to respond to the overtures of the Word. Our first reflex upon being addressed should be one of trust. We must at least be willing to hear the other rather than drown out its voice, even when its message is a potential threat to our way of being in the world” (Kevin Vanhoozer in Disciplining Hermeneutics, 159).

who ya gonna vote for?

My Dad is asking for folks to post who they are going to vote for in November and five reasons why. If you got a few moments, head over their and offer your thoughts.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

missional theology, deconstruction, and paul

This is the epistle reading from lectionary this week.

“(1) Think of us in this way, as servants of Christ and stewards of God’s mysteries. (2) Moreover, it is required of stewards that they be found trustworthy. (3) But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged by you or by any human court. I do not even judge myself. (4) I am not aware of anything against myself, but I am not thereby acquitted. It is the Lord who judges me. (5) Therefore do not pronounce judgment before the time, before the Lord comes, who will bring to light the things now hidden in darkness and will disclose the purposes of the heart. Then each one will receive commendation from God” (1 Corinthians 4:1-5).

It is becoming overwhelmingly apparent to me that the church just needs to not take itself so seriously. In other words, we make it harder on ourselves than it has to be. I am thinking about the marks of the church (one, holy, catholic, and apostolic), particularly the call to unity, or oneness. Could it be that the church has been trying to secure unity in the wrong way? Could it be that the church has been trying to come together on issues that were never meant to be agreed upon across the board? I am thinking particularly about structural patterns in local churches, but I am sure there are a variety of things one could discuss. In other words (with Paul) our unity lies in the gospel and the transforming call for responsibility. Our task is not about imposing our own culturally conditioned assumptions about the way things are in the world on other people, as true as they may be. Rather, as we the church face the freshness and challenge of each new day we are called to hold up our assumption with open hands to God and one another and ask (plea) for guidance and direction.

“The calling of the church to be missional – to be a sent community – leads the church to step beyond the given cultural forms that carry dubious assumptions about what the church is, what its public role should be, and what its voice should sound like. Testing and receiving our assumptions and practices against a vision of the reign of God promises the deep renewal of the missional soul of the church that we need. By daily receiving and entering the reign of God, through corporate praying for its coming, and longing for its appearance, and in public living under its mantle, this missional character of the church will be nourished and revived” (Darrel Guder, Missional Church, 109).

I am not necessarily trying to advance the cause of a Missional Theology. That leads us down the very road of absolutism and institutionalism that Missional Theology is hoping to steer the church away from. However, the basic premise (of this quote) indicates something that should always remain true: the gospel perpetually challenges all our assumptions until it is on earth as it is in heaven.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

coulrophobia

I received an interesting forward today in my email. I am not sure if the person who sent it was supporting the content of the forward or if they were just passing it on to everyone. I suspect the person does support the emails content. In any case it got me thinking about a few things.

The content of the email was about Barak Obama refusing to solute the flag (you can find a ton of stuff on youtube regarding this matter). The email quotes Obama saying,

“As I've said about the flag pin, I don't want to be perceived as taking sides . . . There are a lot of people in the world to whom the American flag is a symbol of oppression. And the anthem itself conveys a war-like message. You know, the bombs bursting in air and all. It should be swapped for something less parochial and less bellicose. I like the song 'I'd Like to Teach the World to Sing.' If that were our anthem, then I might salute it.”

To begin, I was given no indication as to where and when Obama said this. The quote has no source.

In any case, I want to consider this quote based solely on its own terms (words): (1) What if a Christian president took office not based on sides (America vs. the world)? (2) What if it’s true that the American flag is a symbol of oppression? We might about this in terms of war or global capitalism, if not just the shear ability to waste all our resources with a thought. (2) What if Obama wants to move America beyond its identity as a war-driven nation? Is he not aloud to critique or even protest and still be nationalistic? (3) Would it not be refreshing to see the president of the United States be driven by world peace through a common song/harmony?

To top is off this is what the person followed up with in their own words after this quote in the email:

“Yes, ladies and gentlemen, this could possibly be our next president!! I, for once, am speechless. He has absolutely NO pride in this country!!!!! This is outrageous!!!! He doesn't deserve to be [a] dogcatcher!!! (Oh, sorry dogcatchers, I mean you no disrespect.) LET'S SEND THIS CLOWN DOWN THE ROAD KICKING ROCKS!!!! Forward this to EVERYONE YOU KNOW.”

I suppose I am doing exactly what he wants. However, if someone comes across this on this blog I would hope that they might explore some of the other posts and consider the person (me) who wrote them as nonsupporting and that they might think critically about the content (of the email and my blog).

To clarify, I am not arguing in favor of Barak Obama. I am not in agreement with the content of his defense regarding this matter for a variety of theological reasons that I won’t go into now. I only offer this post as an attempt to expose some of the ignorance (with all due respect) of the church (and yes the email provider is a Christian) to think critically about these matters. To think about them in light of the gospel that challenges every assumption about the way things are in the world, even the Church. We all stand under the (loving) judgment of Jesus Christ who never wants to silence the other. Both Obama and his email opponent stand to be called into question by the gospel. Let’s see more of those emails flying around that speak with love and humility and respect to those who disagree in hopes that both sides might be called into question by the gospel because the Kingdom belongs to God, not His church.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

"and it leads some people to ask the sort of questions that lead further"

“No sharing of the good news takes place except in the context of a shared human life, and that means in part, the context of shared conversation. In such conversation we talk about real things and we try both to communicate what we know and to learn what we do not know. The sharing of the good news about the kingdom is part of that conversation and cannot happen without it … It is the kind of conversation which is not an alternative to but the occasion for sharing our hope, and it leads some people to ask the sort of questions that lead further.

Some, but not many. I certainty cannot tell any story of ‘success’ in terms of numbers. I guess that is the experience of many working in such areas. The church remains small and vulnerable. I do not find in this ground for discouragement. The kingdom is not ours. The times and seasons are not in our management. It is enough to know that Jesus reigns and shall reign, and to be privileged to share this assurance with our neighbors and to be able to do and say the small deeds and words that make it possible for others to believe.” (Lesslie Newbigin)

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

(dis)unity and the common good

I noticed something interesting in John Hagee’s apology to Roman Catholic Church (you can look up the controversy on the internet, I’m not up to finding links today). He says this in his apology.

“Out of a desire to advance a greater unity among Catholics and evangelicals in promoting the common good, I want to express my deep regret for any comments that Catholics have found hurtful.”

What caught my attention is his implying that unity between Catholics and Evangelicals lies in “promoting the common good” (my italics). Instead, I might ask about Jesus Christ and the mission of the one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church? The fact that his apology revolves around promoting the common good without saying anything about the disunity of the Church in and of itself is problematic. I am not saying that the Church shouldn’t have anything to say about the common good. I only wanted to point out that I thought it interesting that for Hagee in this situation the disunity of the Church was not so much a problem as that of promoting the common good. Whereas for me I might say that the Church struggles to witness (or, promote the common good, i.e. be a blessing to the nations) when she is divided. Anyways, I just thought this little snippet in the paper was interesting.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

movie meme

The meme madness is back! Thank you to the kind folk over at Faith and Theology.


Scott's meme

1. One movie that made you laugh
Dumb and Dumber

2. One movie that made you cry
Homeward Bound (every time that stinking dog comes over hill … )

3. One movie you loved when you were a child
The Natural

4. One movie you’ve seen more than once
Garden State

5. One movie you loved, but were embarrassed to admit it
Selena

6. One movie you hated
The Quiet Earth (although I was just a kid when I saw it)

7. One movie that scared you
28 Days Later

8. One movie that bored you
Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead (I don’t really get bored at movies, but I do remember fall in and out of awareness during this film.)

9. One movie that made you happy
Little Miss Sunshine

10. One movie that made you miserable
The House of Sand of Fog

11. One movie you weren’t brave enough to see
Shindler’s List

12. One movie character you’ve fallen in love with
Ahh, I can’t think of one. I buckled under the pressure.

13. The last movie you saw
Ironman

14. The next movie you hope to see
Fargo, or the Hudsucker Proxy

15. Your favorite movie (I added this one)
The Shawshank Redemption




Katie's meme (my wife)

1. One movie that made you laugh
Billy Madison

2. One movie that made you cry
Hotel Rwanda

3. One movie you loved when you were a child
Sleeping Beauty

4. One movie you’ve seen more than once
Love Actually

5. One movie you loved, but were embarrassed to admit it
Step Up

6. One movie you hated
Eye of the Beholder, or Lonestar State of Mind

7. One movie that scared you
The Ring

8. One movie that bored you
All the Star Wars films

9. One movie that made you happy
Big Fish

10. One movie that made you miserable
The House of Sand and Fog

11. One movie you weren’t brave enough to see
Shindler’s List

12. One movie character you’ve fallen in love with
George Clooney in One Fine Day

13. The last movie you saw
No Country for Old Men

14. The next movie you hope to see
Made of Honor

15. Your favorite movie (I added this one)
Unsure.


Now tag five people!!!!! I tag Wil, J.R., Tim, Mindy, and Dave

Sunday, May 11, 2008

pentecost reflection

"If you forgive the sins of any, their sins have been forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they have been retained" (John 20:23).

Perhaps an underlying assumption in this text is that should we ever retain the Sins of any we ourselves have retained our own Sins. In other words, when we do not forgive we ourselves remain unforgiven.

I often find that I have been formed to think of texts like this in terms of my responsibility to decipher which sins people commit ought to be forgiven and when. That’s just silly. Sin is bigger than that. Consider the full reality of Sin as that of a complex network of bad fellowship (physiological, emotional, physical) in which we are both victim and perpetrator of Sin in both intentional and unintentional ways. In this verse the risen Lord standing in the midst of His people breathing the Holy Spirit on them, the same Holy Spirit the empowered Jesus to fulfill all righteousness, or covenant faithfulness (both from God to humanity and from humanity to God), through whom we have the forgiveness of Sins, that is, through whom we have been redeemed, brought out, liberated from the power of Sin through this One who both effects and demonstrates our salvation.

To retain the Sins of others is to leave them still within this complex network of bad fellowship. It seems that Jesus is warning His people of the responsibility they now have to be a people of atonement, a people who forgive the Sins of many just like Jesus. Our responsibility is not to decipher when to retain forgiveness. Rather it is to be a people who live according to the rule and reign of God (good fellowship) in such a way that other can become incorporated into the body of Christ where there is forgiveness and redemption.

Monday, April 14, 2008

your TV queue

So, in the recent years I have found myself watching a variety of TV shows such as Scrubs, The Office, LOST, Alias, Entourage, Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, Heres, and Millennium. Lately, however, I have been wondering what shows people have in their "queue," so to speak. It's like your Netflix que but for TV shows that you have yet to watch. For me these shows would be Deadwood, The Wire, X-Files, Dexter (maybe), Firefly, and Eli Stone. What about you?

On the flip side, list a bunch of shows that you wish never existed. This sounds like fun! For me, right now, it's October Road. Cool premise, but it's painfully verbose.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

update

It's f***ing snowing in Kansas City in April! Don't they know it's baseball season!!

(Sorry for bleeping out the word up there. My mom would flip if she knew I used the word "freak" in my everyday vocabulary.)

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

My Friend Russell Easterwood

I just discovered the my friend Russell Easterwood has a new website. I know Russell through the Church and I very excited about this. I strongly urge you to check it out and possible buy some form of his art! I think at the moment he only has the cards he makes available. Check it out!

Saturday, March 01, 2008

a philosophy of The Terminator

Since the end of January, I have been an ardent watcher of the new television show, Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles. So far this is really a decent show! I have to admit that I was a fan of all things “Terminator” because of the movies, so I am not convinced that the show will convert anyone necessarily. I agree that there is an inherent problem that arises when a TV show or film is based around some sort of time travel concept. Plus, they can be pretty cheesy! Nonetheless such problems should not detract what he overall depth of a story (just ask any LOSTies after last Thursday time travel episode, which was phenomenal).

Something struck me in last week’s episode of Terminator. In the closing monologue, Sarah Connor narrates these words.

“Science now performs miracles like the god’s of old. Creating life from blood cells or bacteria or a spark of metal. But they are perfect creatures, and in that way they couldn’t be less human. There are things machines will never do. They cannot possess faith. They cannot commune with God. They cannot appreciate beauty. They cannot create art. If they ever learn these things, they won’t have to destroy us. They’ll be us.”


Don’t assume right off the bat that I am making any one-to-one correlations between this narration and the Christian faith. Nonetheless, what I find most interesting about these words is the concept of humanity. This narration seems to suggest that faith/communing with God and the ability to create art are the primary characteristics of what makes one human. These words take on much more depth and significance when heard while watching the scene unfold. In the show Sarah narrates the last part of these words over a scene where Thomas, a human from the future, is watching Cameron, the terminator sent back in time to project John Connor, performing ballet. Thus, one understands the perplexity revealed in his face when he sees a machine, artificial intelligence doing that which most characterizes humanity, performing art; something beautiful. A friend of mine raised a very poignant question about whether or not Cameron was just repeating what she saw in her ballet class. As a machine/articificial intelligence, she has the ability to repeat anything she sees or hears.

Another interesting point to consider is the perplexity of Thomas’s face. Consider how the roles reverse when human’s become so bent on their own survival that they neglect to do the very things that make them human (as revealed in the quote). Perhaps in trying to survive against the machines/artificial intelligence, humanity has turned into them: cold, ruthless, and narrow-minded.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Rubik's Cube


I learned how to solve a Rubik's cube! Now it's a matter of speed. So far 3 minutes, 18.53 seconds is my personal best. Fascinating.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

what do you think?

If you occasionally scroll my blog role and are particularly intuitive, you might have made the connection that my dad blogs! He is a pastor in Pasadena, CA at Bresee Church of the Nazarene. He has posted something over at his blog that is a particularly hot issue for a few people on the district with whom he is in conversation. He is asking for some comments regarding a quote that is of particular importance. So, head on over his way and help a pastor out! I have posted his post here, but comments there will ensure that he sees them in his email. It's real issues like these that make blogging particularly helpful. Thanks!

Wondering if anyone might respond to the following statement:

"A social justice that does not call forth repentance in persons
is not the social
justice revealed in the life and teachings of Jesus Christ."


Any feedback (pro or con) will be appreciated, as I am in an ongoing discussion with several people who wonder about the way the church is choosing to address issues that come under the umbrella of Social Justice. This quote came up the other day, and I really would like some feedback.

Thanks,
Rick

Friday, February 15, 2008

World?

I have been thinking about humanities relationship to sin as both victim and perpetrator. In my New Testament theology class we watch House of Sand and Fog, which was to serve as a way to see just how intertwined we all really are in this organic complex we call sin. The point of watching this movie was also to understand that sin as pride, or intentionally disobeying God, doesn’t come close to grasping the dynamics of sin in this world. I might post on the movie later, for now you just need to go watch. Ask yourself when the movie ends, “who sinned, this man or his parents?” You’ll understand when you get there.

Now, back to what I was saying about being a victim and a perpetrator. I just received an email from Nazarene Compassionate Ministries. It’s one they send out to everyone who is interested. This email stated the good news that the Church of the Nazarene has surpassed one million members in world mission’s areas. It’s good news the many are becoming followers of Jesus. However, I am concerned about the disunity inherent in the language. The “world” of “world missions” completely excludes the United States! I am not really going to go into this. I just wanted to point out that when we create statistic like this we further fuel our participation in this organic complex of sin. We create opportunities to be the victims of sins ripple effects. Likewise, we become the perpetrators that oppress those who are forced to identify themselves as the “world” of “world missions” by placing our selves (the U.S. Nazarenes) at the top as the ones who have all the answers, thus the one’s who can be missional.

I will hold my comments about the decline in U.S. Nazarene membership for another day.

The First Day of Spring

Today's poem is brought to you by my friend John Swanton. John has been a faithful part of Trinity Church of the Nazarene for a few years now. His faithfulness to God and the Church challenges me every time I think about him. I am grateful for his friendship. While he is a baseball fan, his desire to serve God much exceeds his love for the game. And he's from Boston! Note, this poem was penned yesterday, which applies to the context.

Todays the day, so splendid in deed.
The first day of spring, so to me heed.
Though snow may fly and cold be bitter,
so do report pitcher, catcher, and hitter.
It comes upon us quickly and did sneak
our calender so useless and oblique.
What say you all? It's February still?
I hear your doubts and pray that you will
Regard not that weekly ledger you keep,
but look towards the ballpark, what fortune it shall bring
For today is surely the first day of spring.

Indeed, John. Indeed.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

non-profit's

As my last post indicated, I am taking a class on non-profit management. I thought it might be helpful/interesting to find what all my readers (ha ha) think in general about non-profits. So, what are the pros and cons of non-profit organizations? How do they inform our ecclesiology? How does our ecclesiology inform them? Are there underlying assumptions about participation in the state that is problemactic for the Church? Can non-profits become that which transcends state participation, thus becoming a witness to the state by subverting it's "power?" These are just some thoughts. Feel free to post another good question if you don't have any answers. I love me some good questions!

Monday, February 04, 2008

insomnia

I was in a class tonight on non-profit management where we were discussing Nehemiah 2:1-5, particularly that part about Nehemiah being sad in his heart. Our topic for the evening was on being passionate and purposeful. We considered a working definition of love as insight, or perception of the situation, anger/outrage at the injustice, and identification with those oppressed and marginalized. Our teacher asked us a question that I will now ask here.

"When have you ever had a sleepless night? When were you so angry/outraged that your whole being was affected?

So...

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Big LOST Questions

LOST kicked off its fourth season on Thursday. I, however, decided that I had better not watch the first episode and attend the last day of class for my Spring module. Big decisions have to be made! So, I watch the episode today at a friends house which sparked a conversation about some of the questions that we had about the show and what we thought might happen in the end. The conversation made me wonder about the bigger, overarching questions that we all have about the show. I got to wondering just what are the questions people are asking that would need answering if the show was going to provide some sort of closure. Here are a few we came up with. Did I miss any? I'm sure I did.

What is the Island?
How do you get to the Island?
Who is Jacob?
What does 4 8 15 16 23 42 mean?

There are of course more poignant questions so feel free to ask those as well.

Who is Penny?
Did Desmond travel in time?
What does Lock really know?
Who is Ben?

Monday, January 28, 2008

What are we going to do today, Scott? Try and subvert the empire!




In light of a class I am taking on Colossians, I thought it might be fun to offer various ways one might subvert the empire. I am open to any and all suggestions. And please, be creative.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

oh wait, you're sad again

So I have been thinking a lot about deconstruction in the past month or so. I got a wild hair (that’s for you Brandon) to read a book summarizing the life and thought of Jacques Derrida. After my brain finished imploding, I was ready to entertain John Caputo’s What Would Jesus Deconstruct? I really enjoyed this book! All of this leads me to what I have been reading in the book of Philippians.
“Work out your salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who is at work in you, enabling you both to will and to work for his good pleasure.”
OMG! (That’s, “oh my God!” for all you non IMing, Google-chatting folk). Paul, you’re so crazy! As if we could ever be so presumptuous to not fear and tremble before God. But then again, it is God who is at work. And perhaps we are a bit presumptuous, or smug in our perceptions about the world. And because we can’t box God in a corner (God is unboxable; He can’t be boxed), we have to allow Him to roam free a bit. Therefore, our salvation must be worked out with fear and trembling because it God, the unboxable, who works it in us. Our presumptions must be constantly challenged (deconstructed, if you will). And for what? To enable us to will (desire) and work (perform) for His (God’s) good pleasure. God works salvation in our lives for his own happiness! But God, "if it makes you happy then why the hell are you so sad?" Oh yeah, the whole fear and trembling thing. But in all reality, the whole fear and trembling thing really isn’t cool these days for us postmodern - folk - who - want - to - be - on - an - aimless - journey - with - no - absolutes - who - still - talk - way - too - much - as - if - they - have - something - to - say. Wait, that's not fair to Christian postmoderns (who still talk way too much!) Oh wait, your sad again.

I suppose you might say that if you want to see deconstruction applied to the Christian life (can deconstruction really be applied at all) find the one who fears and trembles before God.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

re-imagine

The good news of the gospel is that we can re-imagine the world. We can see things the way they are; the way God sees them. It’s difficult to re-imagine the world when your next-door neighbor had their car stolen right out of their driveway not one hour after she had arrived home. Why do the folks who can’t afford to buy a new car have to be the one’s who have their car stolen in the first place? The older cars are easier to break into, I suppose. However, the reason she is driving a 1990 Buick in the first place is because she can’t afford to buy a “better” car because they cost too much. And so it goes. I’m trying to re-imagine the world right now. All I can think about is what I would have done if I had shown up in the middle of the act. I can’t seem to re-imagine the situation as God might see it. I can't seem to re-imagine the world.