Sunday, December 31, 2006

Boanerges 3.0

Finally, Boanerges gets the facelift that was sooooo long overdue. A new look for a new year. Dawn and I have been in NH for the last week or so visiting family and the week before, I was working 10 hour days (with 2 mandatory 1hr breaks) so I was gone for most of the time I wasn't sleeping. Hence the silence in cyberspace over the last few weeks. I was wanting to make a few changes to my blog anyway, so I figured I'd change it up before making any new posts. In addition to the new template modifications, I've upgraded to the new version of blogger and STRONGLY reccomend that you do so if you haven't yet. It's soooooo much better. I've also added a few new links that were long over due. Russell White (OT-Wannabe) is finally using his blog for something other than a blogging ID now. His template looks pretty cool and his posts are regular and substantive. Also two relative newbys from the Bible Believer's body began blogging (sorry, throwback to my fundy aliteration days) - Josh Jones (J to the 3rd power) and Scott Osborne (Scott's OT Corner) have been churning out some good posts in recent days. Both Scott and Russell bost blogs with special interest in OT studies which puts them in a small minority in the blogosphere (and perhaps the church universal) and fulfill a long overdue need.

A few new years resolutions should help me pick up the pace a bit on my blogging. I'm aiming to finish at least 1 solid book a month this year. By solid, I intend several things: 1) Over 200 pages in length 2) Not written by Tom Clancy or in a genre he might inspire 3) Not written by Mark Driscoll nor containing any of the language so common to his vernacular (this might also rule out Luther's Stein and Thomas Colloquims). Also I want to get back up to at least 3-4 regular posts a week. An additional resolution here is for les typos fore Logan to profreed this yaer :-) Here's to a new year of substantive blogging!

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

The Real Jesus?

For those who haven't seen it yet, the latest edition of US News and World Report claims to be "In Search of the Real Jesus" on the cover. Of course why try the novel approach of searching the scriptures, right? Alright, forgive my sarcastic pessimism but since the Da Vinci Code (both book and movie) and National Geographics marketing of the Gospel of Judas (Ehrman probably deserves honarable mention in such a list too), the popularization of alternative christianities has become almost naseuating in the mainstream media. It's not as if these things are cutting edge issues that have never been considered before in the history of Christiainity. Furthermore, some of the extremes (I have Dan Brown in mind here) don't even deserve the attention they've earned. Though I was silent in the blogosphere back when The Davinci Code was the hot button, suffice it to say I haven't seen the movie yet. Not due to conscience, but due more to the fact that it got terrible reviews. Since I did read the book (at least the half I could stomach) and concluded without finishing that it sucked (historically, theologically and as most of all masquerading as work of literature), I saw little need of seeing a movie that even those who liked the book disdained.

Anyway, this rant is sourced in the ridiculously slanted piece of so called journalism in the aforementioned latest edition of USNWR. While this periodical is typically fairly conservative politically (at least relatively speaking), they apparently could use a new religion editor. The article is punctuated with slanted phrases like "In that struggle -- arguably the most improtant waged by self-styled correct believers againt the so-called-heretics," "soldiers of orthodoxy," "the prominent second century hersy hunter, Bishop Irenaeus" and a picture of NT Wright in full clerical garb and an somber expression that makes him look a morbid misanthrope (or perhaps the 20th century heir to Irenaeus, the heresy hunter).

To be fair, I still need to finish the article, though I've already skimmed the remainder of it. However, the opening few pages had me so heated, I thought I'd vent a few words online. These issues have been on my front burner in recent days as I've been reading through Jesus and the Victory of God and am anticipating dipping into
Bauckham's most recent treatise soon. Furthermore, due to a recent rebuke from reading Euangelion, I've been wading my way through some of the apocryphal and gnostic literature (Tobit, 1 Maccabeas and the Gospel of Thomas in the last few days). Anyway, all of this has put me in the frame of mind to want to gag while reading this sort of yellow journalism parading itself in the name of objective reporting. Instead, the article is guilty of the very sort of ideological imperalism that it accuses early orthodox christianity of. Nevertheless, it affirms the necessity of familiarizing oneself with the extra-canonical (if you'll excuse such a subversive, repressive term) literature. These issues are becoming more and more common in mainstream media and it is only fitting that believers have an informed answer.

**Postscript - I finished the article and it ends with more substance than it begins. There are some good quotes from Wright and Luke Timothy Johnson. However, the conclusion does not salvage the first half in such a way to make me retract anything I've said above.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Letters Along the Way

I recently received a voicemail from a college guy I've been "discipling" with questions regarding the issue of Predestination. While I did not go into the depths of exegetical/theological wrestling, I thought it was an interesting enough discussion to post here and see who I could get riled up. I thought it better to respond, rather than a 30 second voicemail, with an email that I've included the text of below:

I thougth it may be easier and more helpful to respond to you via email. I hope all is going well, and look forward to seeing you in a week or two!

Regarding the "election" of the unsaved:

This is a VERY touchy area theologically. My view is different from most at CBTS, but I'll describe both. The question is essentially "Does God elect people to damnation in the same way that He elects people to salvation." I say "yes" but be advised I'm in a SMALL minority. Most, even the most Calvinists say "no."

Those who say no, even the calvinists typically describe this topic (commonly referred to as reprobation) in terms of God "passing over" those He hasn't elected. In other words, some He chooses to salvation and this is CLEAR from Scripture (remember Ephesians 1?). The rest, He simply doesn't choose...that is, He leaves them to go their own way, in there depravity. Without His intervention, they naturally don't choose Him (Rom 1:18, 3:11) and thus spend an eternity under His condemnation. Since scripture does NOT explicitly say that He elects them to damnation, this option supposedly provides what theologians refer to as a theodicy, that is a justification or vindication of God. I infer (perhaps they imply) that it would be morally wrong, or evil of God to elect people to damnation; entirely capricious. Since it is all of grace that He chooses ANY to salvation, He is not compelled to choose all; hence those He doesn't choose, will never choose Him.

The problem I have here is that I'm not convinced this "vindicates" God (as if we had to). [Editorial note - My wife's somewhat less theologically nuanced, though equally satisfying response to this argument was: "That's stupid! It doens't solve anything."] If He COULD have done something and He DIDN'T, I don't see how this makes Him anymore benevolent or less capricious. Furthermore, I think there are at least two scripture passages that have direct bearing here:

Romans 9:17-23 For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, "For this very purpose I raised you up, to demonstrate My power in you, and that My name might be proclaimed throughout the whole earth." 18 So then He has mercy on whom He desires, and He hardens whom He desires.....22What if God, although willing to demonstrate His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction? 23 And He did so in order that He might make known the riches of His glory upon vessels of mercy, which He prepared beforehand for glory...

1 Peter 2:6-8 For this is contained in Scripture: "Behold I lay in Zion a choice stone, a precious corner stone, And he who believes in Him shall not be disappointed." 7 This precious value, then, is for you who believe. But for those who disbelieve, "The stone which the builders rejected, This became the very corner stone," 8 and, "A stone of stumbling and a rock of offense"; for they stumble because they are disobedient to the word, and to this doom they were also appointed.

These verses are pivotal for me. I emboldened the most significant phrases, but in the larger context, they are even that much more persuasive. To be sure, others don't ignore these texts and would offer up alternate interpretations or ways of getting around them. Bottome line: you must wrestle with the texts and correlate them into your understanding of the doctrine of God. The reason why it's such a touchy issue is because of what some people infer (which is different from imply) from this doctrine. Many think to come to the conclusion that I do is to impune God with with evil actions or motives. However, it comes back to your understanding of sovereignty (which is a worldview shaping doctrine). Here's a quote from Karl Barth that I recently posted on my blog (be forewarned though, quoting Barth at [his college] won't do much but get you in more trouble :-)

"From the act of atonement that has taken place in Jesus Christ, it is clear that in evil we do not have to do with a reality and power which have escaped the will and work of God, let alone with something that is sovereign and superior in relation to it. Whatever evil is, God is it's Lord."

That last statement in bold is fantastic and thoroughly biblical. I grant you this is a short and perhaps slanted response, but that's the nature of email. Let me know if you have more questions or if there are other texts in particular that you're wrestling with. Of course none of this rules out moral responsibility. Yes we do make genuine choices that have eternal consequences, but NONE of this is outside of the sovereign control of God. "Whosoever will may come?" Yes. But be sure to balance it with "No one comes unless the Father draws them" (John 6:44). There is a tension to be sure, but who ever said theology was easy? :-)

- Nate

PS, I think I'm going to post a copy of this on my blog, if you don't mind. You've raised an excellent question that I think is worth wrestling with in a public context.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Symbolic Suggestions

While this doesn't quite parallel the poll I took on our family blog, I would like some input from any of the regular readers of this blog. If I were to get a tattoo (wow, I never thought I'd start a sentence that way :-) I'm convinced of what I'd want it to say:

Post Tenebras Lux

Translated from Latin, the phrase means "after darkness, light" and was one of the battle cries of the Reformation (and there would probably be a little double entendre if it were to be scripted on my arm). Google it if you want to see more. The problem? I don't think I just want a script. So I'm looking for some good ideas for a symbol to put it on or with. Think in terms off it being on a shoulder. I've surfed the web for some ideas and come up wanting. A cross is about the only offering and unless it was a decent graphic, crosses may be overdone. So, any ideas?

Friday, November 24, 2006

The Way I See It # 95

Now that Barker has liberated my conscience, I'm back to blogging :-) (See the previous post's comment section if you don't know what I'm referring to) I have a few quotes off of Starbucks' cups that I was wanting to blog on. Since we're into the X-mas season, there probably won't be too many more for a while. Furthermore, GOOD quotes on Starbucks cups are few and far between. Nevertheless, I think #95 was pretty interesting if you allow me a few reader-response tweaks and adjustments.

"Our species survival depends on how fast we embrace the moral shift from 'patriot' to 'global citizen.'" - Chris Anderson, creator of TED a conference of leading thinkers in technology, entertainment and design.

The "tweaks" are probably fairly obvious: I'm not too concerned about the survival of our species. But if you were to christianize the thought - that is, sift it through a christian worldview - I would posit it something like: "Our stewardship of the Gospel demands we embrace the moral (or perhaps cultural) shift from patriot to global citizen. " In other words, the world around us is rapidly making such paradigmatic shifts, of course largely as a result of technology. Sadly, too many believers have confused Christianity with Americanism and resist such shifts. The result is that much of the American church is behind this shift, rather than leading on the cutting edge of it. After all, Christianity is NOT about baseball, the fourth of July and apple pie. Sure, America is a GREAT place to live; but as believers we should have long ago recognized our place as global citizens. Our citizenship is not of this world, but to be sure we will inherit the earth. Thus, we ought to be global citizens in the truest sense of the word. After all:

"And they sang a new song: "You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, because you were slain, and with your blood you purchased men for God from every tribe and language and people and nation. You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God, and they will reign on the earth." -Revelation 5:9-10

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Getting it Wright from an Early Age

Okay, I think I've established the point that it's virtually impossible for me to bring up Tom Wright on this blog without a junior highishly overdone pun...nevertheless, that's part of who I am :-) I thought I'd demonstrate just how seriously I take the responsibility of parenting by posting a picture of me recently reading Noah a "bedtime story." As you can see this young scholar in training is far more engrossed in the current volume than his post-grad dad.

However, don't let his apparent interest deceive you; he only sat still long enough for me to read him about a page and a half. After that his attention could only be maintained through other means...

I've been out of the blogosphere for a little over a week due to internet problems (those dang neighbors need to upgrade their connection). Things seem to be back on course now, and I should be back to regular blogging (whatever that is) soon. Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Woman may not preach, but they sure can blog!

I thought I'd give a shout out to my wife and do a little shameless advertisement for our family blog. Dawn has posted her first "substantive" post with some expositional thoughts on Phil 4 and worry here. She doesn't consider herself much of a writer, but I think she's got some great reflections on the text. Be sure to check out the pics too...we've got some shots of Noah's contribution for election day.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Barth on Evil

Since several who are also reading up on Barth right now have already posted, I felt compelled by the peer pressure to toss in my two cents. Ok, so that's not exactly the case but I thought I would pass on a quote or two that particularly stood out. I've been reading John Webster's introduction Barth: Outstanding Christian Thinkers (recommended by Barth fan Ben Myers on the reading list on his blog) and am just about finished (I know, I know... finally I've finished something other than Driscoll and Clancy). The book is pictured at the right and despite the fact that the latest cover makes it look like a kid's book, it's been a good read. Don't misunderstand me, I don't claim to understand all that Webster's saying (let alone what Barth says) but it has served as a helpful intro in view of my lacuna with reference to neo-orthodoxy. Regardless of what you may think of Barth, he definitely has some great things to say at times. I liken Barth to a Glock pistol. For the non-shooters out there, glocks are double-action only and have a 5.5lb trigger pull. The result is that most people shoot them and either love them or hate them; there's no in between. Likewise with Barth (at least for me so far) read something he's said and either love it or hate it. Granted, on occasion, there may be an additional category (i.e. you just don't plain understand it), but I think the comparison fits. Anyway, Barth seems to be the only person I'm aware of that places a greater emphasis on Freedom and Sovereignty that Scott Logan (perhaps there's a connection there somewhere :-0) and I find it quite refreshing. I thought the following words on the problem of evil were excellent:

"From the act of atonement that has taken place in Jesus Christ, it is clear that in evil we do not have to do with a reality and power which have escaped the will and work of God, let alone with something that is sovereign and superior in relation to it. Whatever evil is, God is it's Lord."
- (IV/1 p. 408 as cited in Webster,
Barth, p. 125)

I LOVE IT!!! however, you want to define evil, metaphysically or ontologically or however else you want of speak of it...whatever else you want to say about the the nature and existence of evil in this world -- it does not, cannot escape the dominion of Jesus. God IS it's Lord!

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Unbelieveable Resource

Check out this site for some incredible online resources. Access is free until the end of the year and a nominal fee will be charged for those who can afford it after that point. If you're tempted to ignore my suggestion and NOT click on the link, let me give you just a teaser but pointing out you can access the full text to the volumes of the Word Commentary series free. It shouldn't take much more than that...

(HT: Dave Griffiths)

Friday, October 27, 2006

Simpsonian Apologetics

This is actually the third attempt on this post, that is if you're reading it. Who knows, maybe it will actually be 5 or 6 by the time it posts. Anyway, you've probably heard of classical and presuppositional apologetics; the title of this post is not an attempt to offer a third alternative, but rather to answer the excellent question raised by Lyndsey in the comments section of the previous post. The ever present question..."What about the Simpsons?" In other words, the ensuing discussion is intended to be a defense of The Simpsons, more or less. I've actually never addressed this topic in a public forum and this seemed like an excellent opportunity to do so. After all, I am always ready to give an answer for the...well, never mind. I'll get right to the point: In order to "interpret" or appreciate The Simpsons, you have to recognize the show's genre. Are Bart and Homer terrible role models for our children? Yes. Definately. Of course. However, The Simpsons was never intended to be taken on par with Aesop's Fables or even Sesame Street. The show is straightforward, simple satire and nothing more. Virtually every episode I've ever seen (and I've seen a few, courtesy of syndication and double episodes on the WB) satires at least one (though typically more) aspect of contemporary culture. In fact, it's almost become a sort of status symbol to be mocked by the Simpsons. From political figures like Bush and Carter to pop cultural icons like The Rolling Stones and Tom Petty, numerous culture brokers have done cameos over the years, some more than once. Everyone from Steven Hawking to Steven Speilberg have been sketched into their episodes. Their primary tools for the satirical undertaking are sarcasm, irony and hyperbole (are their anyothers?). However, ignorance of the contemporary culture may cause viewers to miss these elements. In fact, I would suggest this is the primary reason there has been a reaction among fundamentalists and other social conservatives over the years. But stop and think: Homer is the quintissential portrait of a blue collar worker - wears blue jeans and a collared shirt everywhere; that is except when he's walking around in his tighty whiteys. Beer drinking, job sleeping, head of the household that's run by his wife. He is the essence of a blue collar worker - at least in a hyperbolic sense. He's a characterization and that's intentional. That's what satire's all about. And that's one of the reasons it's T.V.'s second longest running show (second to 60 Minutes I believe). One more good-diddly-ood example should suffice: you guessed it -- Ned Flanders. While the writers may not be believes (I don't know), they've certainly run into enough fundies to satire the fundamentalist christians. I've even heard good ole Ned leading his kids in songs we've sung in children's church. Is it malicious and satanic? NO! It's just satire. Get over it. Better yet, learn from it. They're exaggerating all the quirky things that different elements of society embody. I could go on with the doughnut eating Chief Wiggins, the philandering mayor of Springfield, Marge's two chain smoking single sisters, etc. So what's my point? Am I offering a full scale endorsement of The Simpsons? Of course not. I am suggesting, however, that you know and understand what you're condemning before you condemn it. And no, this logic doesn't lead to justifying porn; that's a ridiculous logical fallacy. Porn is not a liberty issue in Scripture; satire is. In fact, Jesus was willing to use some of the elements mentioned above in his own teaching. Finally, I do want to offer a few qualifications: 1) Don't be confused by the fact that The Simpsons is a cartoon -- it is not a children's show. Most kids don't have the intellectual tools and discernment to distinguish between fodder for emulation and satire. In fact, some adults don't either. 2) Even I think some episodes are in appropriate. Some of their religious satire deals with God and Jesus and crosses into what I would consider blasphemy. But it's satire right? Heck no! I shut these types of episodes off faster than you can say "Doh!" 3) Don't violate your conscience. If you think it's sin--Don't do it! That's my paraphrase of Paul in Romans 14. Life will go on just fine if you never see an episode of The Simpsons. However, know why you do what you do and don't do what you don't do. Above all, when trying to evaluate elements of culture, yes base it on Scripture. Duh. Obviously. But also make sure you understand the elements for what they are.

Sunday, October 22, 2006


It's Sunday night and I've been sitting for the last hour and a half watching some of the Heroes marathon. While the title and some of the trailers mays suggest that it's an attempt to cash in on the age old superhero genre, the plot seems far more pomo. As I understand it, the show is taken from the graphic novel genre, which I readily admit I'm not too familiar with; nevertheless, two episodes have left me with what I think is a pretty good feel for the show. Amidst other things, it appears that the program is wrestling with/advancing the notion that contemporary heroes are not as perfect as those of bygone eras. Sure Superman had his kryptonite, but this isn't the type of weakness this show wrestles with. All the superhero's from my day (it's sad that I can date myself already) though they may have grappled with occasional physical infirmities, were upstanding at all time in their moral character. NBC's new program grapples with the darker side of their heroes. For example, the narrator of the storyline is a man who can see the future and is mapping out the fate of the characters through his paintings...which are composed during his heroin induced trips. Likewise, the wholesome cheerleader who apparently cannot die and gladly saves a stranger from a burning train wreck also kills the boy who tried to take advantage of her by racing his car (with him in the passenger seat) into a concrete wall at 80 plus miles per hour. The gentle Asian man who can stop time to save a young girl from being hit by a truck, also uses the same skills to beat the house in Vegas. I grant that it's still early in the season and perhaps these moral dilemmas will be righted...however, I suggest postmodernity has struck again...this time deconstructing the superhero. Either way, the show is certainly intriguing.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Taking Another Look at Galatians 3

Jessie Trach and I were talking recently about Galatians 3 and he raised some interesting questions that caused me to sit down and take a look at the text again. I found myself with my NLT in my lap as I flipped open to this familiar chapter, only to find that I saw it through different (fresh) eyes. As I looked at it a second time, I concluded that the primary things that caused me to see this text afresh throught the lenses of the NLT were the rending of seed as child and sons as children. Certainly both legitimate translations, from a functional perspective, this nuanced difference gripped me in a new way. Needless to say, by the time I was done in the text, I found myself "singing a different tune" about Father Abraham :-) I've included some of the more significant verses from the NLT below for your own reflection.

Galatians 3:14-16 Through the work of Christ Jesus, God has blessed the Gentiles with the same blessing he promised to Abraham, and we Christians receive the promised Holy Spirit through faith. 15 Dear brothers and sisters,1 here's an example from everyday life. Just as no one can set aside or amend an irrevocable agreement, so it is in this case. 16 God gave the promise to Abraham and his child. And notice that it doesn't say the promise was to his children, as if it meant many descendants. But the promise was to his child -- and that, of course, means Christ.

Galatians 3:26-29 So you are all children1 of God through faith in Christ Jesus. 27 And all who have been united with Christ in baptism have been made like him. 28 There is no longer Jew or Gentile, slave or free, male or female. For you are all Christians -- you are one in Christ Jesus. 29 And now that you belong to Christ, you are the true children of Abraham. You are his heirs, and now all the promises God gave to him belong to you.

My Latest Adventure

I just posted some pictures with my latest enjoyment of the "culture" over on our family blog. Rather than double post it, I figured I'd just post a link here.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

The Danger of Creating a Christian Subculture

Since I praised Driscoll's books without end below, I thought I'd post a choice quote from the first installment (pictured at the right). Having noted how crucial it is that Christians understand and grapple with culture, he applies his observation with the following words:

Why is this significant? Because issues of style and culture affect how you live your life, how you worship God, and how you will be perceived by lost people in your culture. In practical terms, your cultural preferences help determine the way you dress, where you live, what you drive, the enterntainment you enjoy, whom you trust , what friends you have, and how you perceive and communicate the gospel.

-The Radical Reformission, p. 101 (emphasis mine)

I was captured by this quote because I realized this is the danger of overdeveloping a Christian subculture. To be sure, believers and the the Church are to be a countercultural presence in the world, but unfortunately many fundamental and yes, even conservative evangelical churches have confused this with creating a subculture. Most of our time is spent with Christians: Our friends and kids' friends are christian, we read christian books, listen to christian music, watch christian movies, go to christian mechanics, buy from christian sellers (real estate, cars, etc) and speak christianeze, etc. The dress and worship style of many churches in this category is a continuation of the 1950's leave it to beaver with few variations. What's wrong with all this? Well, for starters, it may mean that we're not taking risks by rubbing shoulders with unbelievers, but that's another post. More importantly, we are so insulated from the culture we have little idea how to contextualize the gospel in our culture(s). We have learned and perpetuated the christian subculture in our attempt to avoid worldliness (which we should avoid) but largely because we have misunderstood what worldliness is. As a result we fail to be countercultural, because we are so out of touch with our culture. I would suggest this represents a fundamental misunderstanding (if not inversion) of what it means to be "in the world, but not of the world" or "light in the darkness." The solution? Repent and resurge (to put it in Driscollian terminology).

Monday, October 09, 2006

Finally Finished!

I've finally broken my pattern of philanderous reading habits and seen not one but two books through to the end! This past week I plowed through Driscoll's two books The Radical Reformission and Confessions of a Reformission Rev. I highly commend both to anyone interested in either culture or pastoral ministry. By the time I finished Confessions (which incidently, I read first, out of order) I was ready to jettison my post-grad plans and go plant a church somewhere....almost :-) Seriously, both are great reads that will leave you in stitches, convicted and probably at some point offended. Driscoll defines himself as theologically conservative and culturally liberal and it's certainly an apt description. The man loves Jesus and is not afraid to take risks...even if it means he fails at times (hence the title and cover of the second volume pictured here). Driscoll knows he's not perfect, but also knows he's accepted because Jesus was (perfect). If you haven't read either, you owe it to yourself to read one. They're both easy reads and hard to put down once you start. The first volume is a little more formal; each chapter follows almost a sermonic structure (intro with a story, 3 alliterated points with illustrations and a conc). The second is primarily a narratival tracing of the development of Mars Hill (their church) and the senior pastor (him). Of the two, this was my favorite, but both are great. Read, but be ready to be challenged, shocked (at least for the culturally conservative) and encouraged!

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

It's In!!!

My free copy's in (and has been since last week)! If you ordered yours off of my link, yours should be in soon too. If you didn't, repent in sackloth and ashes and scroll down to the link and see if it's too late! I've already skimmed several of the chapters and it seems excellent. It's classic christian hedonism put on a level that a high schooler could grasp, yet definately profitable for even the most seasoned christian.

Friday, September 29, 2006

McKnight on "Calminians"

Scot McKnight has been doing an interesting series of posts over at Jesus Creed on Calvinism and Arminianism. Though he is no Calvinist, the posts are excellent and needed; especially if you're a "Hiper" Calvinist (yes logan, that's intentionally spelled wrong - I'm referring here not to those who forbid freely preaching the Gospel to all, but to calvinisits who are hiper about it [you know, of the Adam Thomas variety]). Since I include myself in this category and many who read this blog are also, I've linked to one of the posts here. I love the last sentence because it's soooo true and most attempting to straddle the fence won't admit it. Nevertheless, he brings a very good balance (even though I hate that word :-)

Akeelah and the B.S.

Since one of the express purposes of this blog is to interact with cultural issues, I thought I'd post some thoughts on a movie we recently enjoyed. Yes, I did say "enjoyed" regardless of what you may be presupposing based on the post title. Akeelah and the Bee is a very wholesome movie that also very enjoyable; it's both positive and uplifting, as far as entertainment goes. However, it was the philosophical proposition that undergirded the movie that I would suggest is metaphysically bankrupt - hence the title of the post.

Receited a number of times, at crucial moments throughout the film, the thematic proposition was not exactly subtle. At length it goes:

‘Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond imagination. It is our light more than our darkness which scares us. We ask ourselves – who are we to be brilliant, beautiful, talented, and fabulous. But honestly, who are you to not be so?

You are a child of God, small games do not work in this world. For those around us to feel peace, it is not example to make ourselves small. We were born to express the glory of god that lives in us. It is not in some of us, it is in all of us. While we allow our light to shine, we unconsciously give permission for others to do the same. When we liberate ourselves from our own fears, simply our presence may liberate others.’

While some have attributed this quote to Nelson Mandela, a bit of brief research on the internet inclines me to believe that he likely said it in a speech, but was citing Marianne Williamson in Return to Love: Reflections on a Course in Miracles.

There are two lines in the quote that I agree with: 1) [If] You are a child of God, small games do not work in this world. 2) We were born to express the glory of God that lives in us. However, the context of both of these sentences obviously invalidates them (unless I apply a post-modern hermeneutic, which may just be culturally acceptable). Yet, even here, my aim is not heavy theological analysis. It's the opening two sentences that really rub me the wrong way, primarily because they defy common sense and experience. Furthermore, they were the lines that stuck out the most in both the movie and its promotion. What I dont' understand is who in the world could fall for such nonsense? Show me ONE person in the world who does not fear that they are inadequate in some capacity. This is the essence of all insecurity. Besides that, what is there to fear in being omnipotent (if indeed one considered this a genuine trait of all human beings)? Are you starting to see where the title of the post comes from?

Anyway, that's my rant. No epistemologically rigorous worldview analysis here, no theological sparring, just a rant. Don't misunderstand me, if you haven't seen it, I'd encourage you to rent it. Wholesome, feelgood movies are few and far between. Just be aware that it is put out by Starbucks Entertainment. Thus, it's kind of like Starbucks: tastes great, but philosophically less filling. In other words, I love their coffee and atmosphere, but I reject much of their worldview. So it is with Akeelah and the Bee.

Monday, September 25, 2006

New Link Added

I just checked out the website Apollos for the first time and was so impressed I wanted to add it to my links immediately. If you haven't seen it yet, spend a few minutes exploring the articles they have won't be sorry!

(HT: Mike Bird)

Interview with Ehrman

For those who havn't seen it yet, there's an intersting interview with Bart Ehrman over at Evangelical Textual Criticism done by Pete Williams. I just skimmed it, but it looks good. Pete is an excellent evangelical scholar (and a young guy at that) and just about everybody knows who Ehrman is nowadays. Kinda like ying and yang...

Boanerges Gets a New Look

I was just as surprised as you may have been when I saw the new template on my blog this morning; it didn't look like that when I went to bed last night! I was messing around with other templates, but it kept throwing my sidebar down to the bottom, so I gave up before I saved anything...or so I thought. However, it appears the new template stuck. I'm not sure what I think, I just wanted to try a change and this was one of the few templates I hadn't seen used a lot that I thought looked decent. Let me know what you think in the comment section. Which looks better, the old look or the new?

Following the Word

I'm still plowing my way through Kevin Vanhoozer's First Theology and am enjoying it immensely. Though it may not be an easy read, Vanhoozer is consistently insightful and remarkably quotable. His observations below on what it means to understand the text are worth quoting at length:

"What, then, is it to understand the Bible? As the Yale school has pointed out, there are many 'spirits' of understanding--historical, literary, sociological. The Christian understanding, however, is the one that follows the Word. 'Following' has at least two senses. We can follow an argument, or an explanation , or directions, or a story. But the other sense of following is the kind Jesus wanted when he said, 'Follow me.' The difference is, I think, the same as between explanation and application. The meaning of the Bible's promises, warnings, commands and so forth 'lies plain before their eyes,' but the are suppressed in unrighteousness. The most profound kind of understanding, however, has to do with cultivation of the ability to follow the Word of God, not just in our reading but in personal response to what we have read. 'One who understands a text will be able to make use of the text in ways that demonstrate--and in some sense constitute--understanding.'* Understanding is our ability to follow the Word."

-First Theology p. 228

* Wood, Formation of Christian Understanding, p. 17

Saturday, September 16, 2006

On the Nature of Doctrine

I came across an incissive quote by Alister McGrath on the nature of doctrine that I think certainly fosters humility in theological pursuit and thought I would pass it on. He asserts that we must remember that doctrines are:

"...perceptions, not total descriptions, pointing beyond themselves toward the greater mystery of God Himself."*

This does not imply that they are not accurate or adequate; rather only that they are not exhaustive in their articulation. After all, this is really nothing more than a corollary of the hermeneutical spiral (you could even say a necessary corollary, but that's a whole nuther issue). Perhaps a greater appreciation for this observation would foster greater unity in the body.

* From Genesis of Doctrine, p. 17 as cited by Kevin Vanhoozer in First Theology p. 148.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Upcoming Conference

The sister school of my alma mater (I still don't think I spelled that right...I guess I should just stick to Greek and English) is hosting a 50th aniversary conference. Some of the lecture titles look interesting but there's two that stand out in my mind: 1) Rolland McCune: What happened to the New Generation, and Why? I'm hoping this isn't a talk on former interns (I say that in complete jest!!!). The second is Charles A. Hauser: Does Dispensationalism and Covenant Theology Hold to a Different Gospel? This one SCARES me (I say that in complete seriousness and sobriety). First, the answer had better come out as no, but then why do a lecture on the topic. I don't know Dr. Hauser though, so I want to give him the benefit of the doubt. Second, if the answer is yes, then I'm really scared of the implications for dispensationalists. Depending on the outcome, A.T. may have a new ax to grind :-)

Post Grad Studies in American Universities

Since doctoral studies are looming on the not so distant horizon for me and a number of my peers, I thought some might find this article at the online version of First Things to be informative and interesting. In the spirit of US News and World Report's recent ranking of universities and colleges, Reno has ranked doctoral programs in states. Strangely enough, this seems to be a frequent topic of discussion in the blogosphere in recent days. A number of my friends (at least three of them) will be pleased to see that TEDS is the only evangelical seminary named, and primarily because of Vanhoozer at that. Interesting food for thought, but I still say cross the pond!

(HT: BW3)

Monday, September 11, 2006

Active Obedience as the Thematic Structure of Matthew's Gospel

If that title arouses your attention the way it did mine, the opening line on the short essay by that title here will probably also crack you up. This is an appetite whetting piece by Doug Wilson (prof at WTS I believe) that intrigued me. It's a short read and well worth the time. The imputation of active obedience has been frequently undercut in recent days on the grounds that there is no scriptural support that can withstand exegetical scrutiny; in other words it's an improper logical inference. Either way, Wilson proposes a more holistic presentation that's...well at the risk of repetition...intriguing.

(HsO: Justin Taylor)

* Since there was a hat tip to Taylor on the last post and it seems terribly lazy blogging to generate two consecutive posts that are recapitulations of someone elses link, I put an HsO. The link was just too good not to post and I DEFINATELY wasn't going to just link to Wilson as if I had stumbled across it randomly online. HsO you ask? If HT is a hat tip, then HsO is hat's off to Taylor for his recomendation on this one :-)

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Encountering Theological Drift on the Internet?

The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association drifting towards Calvinism? Maybe not but it's a great way to get a FREE BOOK BY JOHN PIPER. If you don't already own Don't Waste Your Life by John Piper PLEASE click on this matter who you are. It's absolutely free and it's excellent!

On the other hand...the SBC drifts towards fundamentalism? Maybe so. If the position on alcohol didn't convince you, check out this story.

(HT: Justin Taylor)

Friday, September 08, 2006

Crossing the Rubicon

As usual the title to my post is probably a bit of an overstatement; nevertheless, I've come to a moment of truth. We are finally introducing a family blog. Though I love publicly journaling my musings on and exploits with Baby Noah, I''ve found it more than a little depressing to embrace the fact that the posts that get the most hits and comments are those that have pictures of the little man. Not that that's depressing in and of itself, but when a blog is supposed to be devoted to wrangling about cultural and theological issues and more of my friends' wives are reading it for updates about Noah than my friends are for theological banter, then I know it's time to cross the Rubicon. I've been hesitant to introduce a family blog...but the time has come.

Okay, so most of the above paragraph was dramatic overstatement dripping with sarcasm as well. In fact, I think a family blog will be kind of fun and I know the grandparents are thrilled :-) It's actually a blog that I've been using for the last several months strictly for posting pictures for use online. Then it kind of morphed into a storage site for pictures of the baby so that family could see the lastest shots (it's actually easier/more efficient to blog them than it is to email them). That may help explain the web address as well as why the archives go back so far when he's only six weeks old today. I decided to just transpose it into a family blog by cleaning it up a bit and giving it a name. In fact, family blog may be a bit of an overstatement, since most if it will be devoted to stories about and pictures of the little stud. Anyway, I'm putting a link in the margin with the other blogs, but if you're interested you can check it out here.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Long Overdue

It has been suggested on several occaisions that I may be guilty of a sort of blogo-snobbery in my neglect to link to Dave Wetzel's blog :-) Perhaps the real reason is the name: Boan-head-erges - Sons of Blunder. I'm not sure if I should feel flattered or mocked - probably a combination of both :-) Either way, I admit it has been long overdue, though not for any of the above reasons; rather because I'm lazy and other than updating my link to Euangelion, I haven't modified my links since I started this blog. Anyway, you'll notice Dave's blog in the links on the left margin and get some genuine enjoyment out of his posts if you check it out. Wetzel, to make up for the wait, I have dedicated this entire post to your blog :-) Cheers!

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Lessons Learned Along the Way

I've been out of the blogosphere most of this week due to the end of the month flex schedule at work. The good news is that I get a 3 day holiday weekend...however it comes with a price. This week calls for a six day work week (Sunday-Friday) so what little spare time I have has been spent playing with Noah and sleeping. However, with my increased time at work and increasing boredom with the same old same old, I began to reflect on what I've learned over these last four months as a professional bill collector (boy it hurts just saying it out loud...but it's probably cathartic...somehow). Be forewarned: unless you have experience in collections or a call center, you may think most of these points are stupid or that they don't make sense; you may just want to skip down to the last two. However, if you've smiled and dialed 8 hours a day, 5 days a week, etc....well, you'll know exactly what I'm talking about. It's kind of like the parable of the sower - let those who have ears to hear...Anyway, here's the top ten list of things I've learned as a collector:

10. 50% of the population does NOT know what a "spouse" is.

9. Apparrently the other 50% that do, think it sounds remarkably similar to "cell phone."

8. It doesn't sound as cool as you think when on your answering machine you try and make it sound like it's really you an not just a recording.

7. You are the only person in the world that thinks it's cute to let your child record the message on your answering machine in gibrish.

6. A surprising number of people think that credit card collectors don't actually realize what day it is when they call on Sunday.

5. An even greater number of people who don't think you should call them on the Lord's day, have absolutely no problem taking His name in vain when the tell you as much.

4. Despite what you may think, people actually will set up a check by phone in the tub, on the john and with the police waiting outside (I speak from experience here).

3. Strangely, not everyone knows what "personal" means when it's used to modify the phrase "business matter".

2. Hanging up DOESN'T actually stop the calls (for the uninitiated - it increases them :-)

and finally, the number one lesson I've learned as a professional collector is one I had already learned during my stint in construction:

#1 The "F-word" can be employed as any part of speech if the customer's angry enough (verb, noun, adjective, preposition, etc...).

Now THAT was cathartic :-)

Updated Link

For those who aren't already aware, Euangelion has a new address with the addition of Joel Willits (I think I spelled that right). Just thought I'd mention that I've updated my link accordingly for your surfing pleasure.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Boanerges Gets an Upgrade

Boanerges 2.0??? Okay, maybe not, but I did make two new additions. First of all, Dave Griffiths long time ago asked me to syndicate my blog in order to make it more easily accessible. Though I'm not exactly sure how it all works, Boanerges has been syndicated (at least I think so, someone who uses the features, please let me know in the comments section if I succeeded). There's a link to the site feed just under the rest of my links in the left hand margin. Second, I added a site meter. From time to time I find out that somone has been reading my blog without ever commenting. That's not a problem, but each time I hear about someone I didn't know was reading it, it causes me to wonder how many more people are out there reading in the shadows :-) So, this second addition was more or less just to satisfy my curiosity. There may be more changes in the future, for example I'd like to hunt down a cooler looking template, but for now these upgrades have more than satisfied (perhaps exhausted) my technological appetite.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Another One Book Meme

She took me up on the offer and said Dave laughed when he saw I mentioned his blog :-)

A Guest Post by Annalisa Wilson

1) One book that changed your life: To avoid repetition of Desiring God, I’ll go with another – my dad’s Greek NT. I couldn’t actually read it at the time, but because I wanted to so badly, it changed my life. Books that changed my theology: Ladd’s Coming of the Kingdom, and Edwards’ Religious Affections.
2) One book you’ve read more than once: I was obsessed with Victor Hugo in Jr. High and High School and subsequently read Les Miserables four times, I think.
3) One book you’d want on a desert island: Can’t decide between NASB or NLT. At first I thought I’d go with G and opt for a Morse code manual or survival guide of some kind. But then I got realistic and realized that I’m so wimpy that my chances are slim even with such assistance. So I’d rather prepare for death than pathetically delay it.
4) One book that made you laugh: I’m sure there’s been others, but most recently My Life in France, a posthumous memoir by Julia Childs about a big Texan girl who grew up on roast beef and canned vegetables moving to France as a newlywed. I laughed out loud in B&N and embarrassed myself.
5) One book that made you cry: Mary Pipher’s Reviving Ophelia: Saving the Selves of Adolescent Girls. Also embarrassed myself in B&N with this one, but by crying. Anyone with a daughter needs to read this book. I also remember crying through Sing Me to Heaven a theology PhD student’s memoir of her husband’s death from AIDS.
6) One book you wish had been written: A Theology of Femininity: Bringing 1 Tim 2, Priscilla, Junia and Prophetesses Together by Paul. I would actually give everything I own, lose a limb, maybe even my life to bring this into existence. (which would actually be pointless, because then I could just ask Paul…)
7) One book you wish had never been written: Tragedy of Compromise. Grrr…
8) One book you’re currently reading: The Price of Motherhood, a Pulitzer-prize-winning-economist’s look at my future job, Blue Like Jazz, on and off, because I want to see what all the fuss is about, and about 25 various volumes on the Sermon on the Mount as class prep (which Joel Dailey will probably take my husband for ransom for soon…)
9) One book you’ve been meaning to read: Wright’s Resurrection of the Son of God and anything by Driscoll. I’m wondering if I can fit both a baby and Resurrection on a boppy… can you ask Dawn about that for me? =)

Post Script: Sorry, but Dawn said, "Don't count on it, at least during the first 3 weeks! See if you can get it on audio." :-)

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Poythress on Hermeneutics

If you haven't seen this yet it looks like a great resource: Poythress' notes on Hermeneutics from WTS. He's also got a syllabus on Revelation, but I've already got too many amill friends...I'll let the rest of you hunt that one down on your own (HT: Justin Taylor). I'm inclined to print them off now in case the link disappears.

*Post Script: Before you get too excited, it looks like most of them are power point slides. I thought only dispensational fundamentalists pulled that :-)

Saturday, August 19, 2006

100th Post!!!

I was updating the pic for my profile (I've finally tired of Baylor's remarks about the sweater vest enough to change the picture, though I'm sure the legacy will live on) and I noticed on the dashboard that the last post (The One Book Meme) was the 100th post composed on Boanerges. Though, I'm not sure it quite calls for a celebration, I still thought it was kinda cool seeing I had no idea as to whether or not I'd stick with this blogging thing 6 months ago (a half year anniversary as well). Well, the excitement is getting the best of me, I think I'll call it a night and head to bed.

I've Been Tagged

Though I've read a few, I was convinced I'd be able to steer clear of the One Book Meme; however I was reading Dave Griffith's blog this morning and realized it wasn't meant to be. So here's my go round:
1. One book that changed your life: Easy...and predictable for anyone reading this blog. Desiring God by John Piper (and maybe the first few chapters of Future Grace) have influenced me far beyond anything I've ever read, the book of Romans, excluded. I read it my Jr. year in college and it became a second conversion (to Christian Hedonism, of course) or a 2nd work of grace, if you will.
2. One book that you've read more than once: Shadow of the Almighty - Elizabeth Elliot's biography of her former husband Jim Elliot. I used to read it every fall when I went back to school. Also a life changing experience.
3. One book you'd want on a desert island: The Bible (NIV or nau 27 NT). Maybe something by Tom Clancy too, if it's going to be a long stay.
4. One book that made you laugh: I don't really read much that would fall into this category; however, there was a footnote in Five Views of the Law that cracked me up. Bahnsen, in his typically brash, sarcastic style, was responding to "Strickland's misrepresentation of theonomy" in footnote 4 pg 297. He says "Space restrictions prevent me from elaborating on Strickland's misrepresentation of theonomic ethics as denying that Israel was uniquely a nation with God as its supreme ruler and that she was set apart by God or guided by him in a special way. Years ago Meredith Kline courageously tackled the same straw man." I LOVE IT! "courageously tackling a straw man" -- Ok, so maybe you think I have a strange sense of humor, but I've employed that line in several papers since!
5. One book that made you cry: Be Ye Holy: The Call to Christian Separation, by Fred Moritz. You could also include here other books of the like that attempt to defend from the scriptures the practice of separation as implemented by most fundamentalists today. I'm not sure if I actually finished Moritz' book, but just the thought of advancing this sort of schism in the body is something I find more and more disturbing and upsetting.
6. One book you wish had been written: Engaging Culture: A how to manual by the Apostle Paul.
7. One book you wish had never been written: Balancing the Christian Life by Charles Ryrie. The title is an entire misnomer, for the book presents a two step approach to sanctification. There is little more destructive to genuine christian growth (unless the second step is the one alluded to under question 1 above :-)
8. One book you're currently reading: The New Testament and the People of God - N.T. Wright.
9. One book you've been meaning to read: The Gospel in a Pluralistic Society by Leslie Newbigin (sp? I'm actually plinking through it a few pages a month).
10. Tag 5 others: Osborne, Baylor, Barker, Thomas, and G. I'll also add a sixth with an invitation: Annalisa - if you'll do one and email it to me, I'll post it as a guest blog on mine, unless you guys are using Dave's.
AND.... I'm going to add another category:
11. Name one book you've read that really sucked: The Da Vinci Code. Above and beyond the blasphemy, Brown's writing style was extremely painful to read. Apart, from the controvesy surrounding it, I'm not sure how it became a best seller. To categorize it in the genre of dime store novels would be EXTREMELY generous (though perhaps dishonest). I never even made it half way through it was so cheesy.

Friday, August 18, 2006


I forgot to include the picture on the previous post, so here it is. I thought I'd also include one of the cutest one's we've obtained so far.

Update on Noah

It's been a few days since I've said much about the little guy, so I figured it was time for an update. Just so you know, we've been going to great lengths to make sure he's being raised appropriately: He's been receiving a fairly steady dose of breast milk, Jazz (he likes Norah Jones) and Reformed Theology (thanks to the Baylor's S.G. cd's and a little Derek Webb). Is there any better combination for raising a little one? We took him to church last Sunday night and he slept through the first 15 minutes of Jim's sermon, then faked me out. He started to let out a squeal/wimper (you have to hear it, it's pretty funny) that normally gives us a 45 second heads up that he's about to let go with some loud screaming. I balked and scooted him out of the auditorium only to find out that he was just playin me. He slept for the rest of the message...typical baptist.He's also already enjoyed two highly significant field trips: the day before he turned 1 week old, we took him to Starbucks (you can't start them too young). Then today, before he turns three weeks old, we took him to the beach. Since these two places are his Daddy's favorite places to hang out, I thought it only appropriate to get him there before he reaches the ripe old age of 1 month. I accidently deleted the Starbucks' pic, but thought I'd include a pic of us from the beach below. Though it may look like I'm going to immerse him, I thought it only fair that I mention that he christened me. A couple nights ago, he decided he wanted to give Dawn a rough night and keep her up. She had some milk in a bottle for me to feed him and relieve her for a couple hours. By the time I got him he'd fallen asleep and I had to wake him up. He hates having his diaper changed, so I thought that would be a good way to get his attention, only he got the last laugh. His diaper was dry and clean, so I cinched it back up, only not as tight as I should have. Apperently the "seal" around the right leg wasn't snug enough, for when I snuggled him in to offer the bottle, he proceeded to empty his bladder into his diaper which in turn poured freely out onto my chest and belly, completely soaking my shirt. I'm thoroughly convinced he did it on purpose. I guess this puts me even closer to the presbys than A.T. :-0

Friday, August 11, 2006

Whose Inheritance is it Anyway?

Since I haven't posted anything original in a few months, I thought it was high time. This summer I've been meeting on Wednesday mornings with a teenage guy I taught Greek to last school year. I thought the best way to introduce him to syntax was by reading the text with him and commenting as we go (go figure, what a novel approach...I know you're thinking I'm a radical). We chose the book of Ephesians (since I was familiar with it from my exegesis course last spring) and have been meeting at Starbucks Wed. mornings for about and hour to an hour and a half working through the Greek text (my kind of Bible Study and discipleship - studying the text in the agora!).

We were discussing Paul's prayer at the end of Chapter 1 recently, and I brought his attention to the inheritance in verse 18. The text reads:

pefwtisme,nouj tou.j ovfqalmou.j th/j kardi,aj Îu`mw/nÐ eivj to. eivde,nai u`ma/j ti,j evstin h` evlpi.j th/j klh,sewj auvtou/( ti,j o` plou/toj th/j do,xhj th/j klhronomi,aj auvtou/ evn toi/j a`gi,oij
- Ephesians 1:18

A few interpreters have emphasized the fact that the inheritance spoken of here is His inheritance, not ours. Personally, I think the syntax is flexible and could go either way (even in English). Without going into a detailed argument let me briefly give you my thought on the matter. First of all, every other time Paul speaks of an inheritance in Ephesians and Colossians (Eph 1:11, 1:14, 5:5, Col 1:12 and 3:24), he is speaking of the inheritance we receive. Second, the other three aspects of the prayer are directed towards us (true it is His calling, but we are the ones who receive his calling; likewise, His power is toward us). Finally, I have a hard time understanding Paul as praying that the believers would understand the wealth of God’s inheritance. I assume this would imply that the believers are God’s inheritance; does this mean that Paul wants them to know how valuable they are (as God’s inheritance)? This sounds more to me like a self-esteem psychology rather than Pauline theology. I think it is probably better to understand the phrase, “His inheritance” as the inheritance that has its source in Him. So the inheritance is ours (we will receive it) but its value or wealth lies in the fact that it comes from God. If this helps you –great! If you think I’m nit-picking or being overly technical, that's fine too. That's the beauty of syntax (with a healthy dash of postmodernism)!

Monday, August 07, 2006

More From Around the Web

Since I have little time between diaper changes to do my own significant/sustained critical thinking these days (okay, I'm already using my son as an excuse, I've never accomplished such a feat :-) I've been pulling some "cheat posts" that reflect some of the great stuff I've found on the web lately. Here's the latest. If you're not already regularly reading Mark Driscoll's blog, it's worth looking into. He only posts a few times a week, so it's not too hard to keep up with, and when he posts, they're usually good. Here's an exceptional example that looks like a jackpot. He's posted a number of interviews with the speakers for the upcoming DG conference on PoMo. Though I haven't listened to them all yet, some of the titles look intriguing. Check it out here.

Forthcoming Commentary on Acts - Not Mine

Speaking of books I can't wait to get my hands on (see the post below), here's the official word from the man, himself: Bock has completed the manuscript on his commentary on Acts (BECNT) and is hoping it will be out late '07 early '08. It's only one volume and a mere 1000 pages, but you don't have to take my word for it (sound like reading rainbow?) you can read all about it at

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Report from Piper

I took a quick gander around the blogosphere and hadn't seen this on anyone elses blog (At least not locally, [HT: Between Two Worlds]). Since all of us love and appreciate Pastor John's ministry I thought it might be worthwhile posting this link to this report on how he's been using his time on sabbatical. Particularly intriguing is his engaging N.T. Wright's view on Justification. I can hardly wait to read it and will pay top dollar to anyone who can provide a bootleg edition:-)
Two of my favorite authors going at it over one of my favorite topics to study!

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Christians and Politics

This is an area I've been quasi interested in for the last few years, but never interested enough to think it through to clarity. I still haven't and I know some people may think I'm an unfaithful steward of the Gospel for admitting such a verity. However, if pressed I would probably espouse something similar to what Scot McKnight has posted here.

*Interestingly enough this means I like Greg Boyd's statements (Never thought I'd be typing those words); at least as quoted by McKnight (I didn't read Boyd's article -- once again my political lethargy surfaces).

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

An Updated Picture of Noah - And the Most Important Lesson I've Learned About Parenting So Far...

I thought I'd post a more recent pictue of Noah, since it was difficult to see him in some of the other pictures. So far we think blue's his color :-) I also thought I'd impart some of the latest parenting wisdom I've gained for the benefit and entertainment (trust me...keep reading) of any current or prospective parents of newborns. My arsenal of parenting wisdom is growing exponentially each day (seeing I started at zero a just a few days ago any gain is significant). However, without question, I learned the most important lesson about parenting so far yesterday (Monday) morning. What is it you ask? Let me get right to the point: Husbands don't let your wives eat EGGS and breastfeed your babies. Now let me elaborate...

Yesterday morning I rolled into the hospital around 9 am in order to help Dawn get her stuff together and bring our new born bundle of joy home. I arrived just as she finished feeding the little man and was preparing to shower. Of course this provided the perfect opportunity for father son bonding and I scooped the little guy into my lap. Shortly thereafter, I noticed a ripe aroma wafting under my nostrils. I thought it might be something in the trash can and it soon dissipated only to return a few minutes later. As I looked around the room, I lovingly and tactfully queried my bride: "Honey, was that you?" She assured me it wasn't. Shortly thereafter, I heard a squeaking noise and assumed it was Noah's foot rubbing against his diaper. That is, until my senses were barraged a third time with an odiferous assault. I looked down at the little guy sitting in my lap with his head by my knees and the business end by my waist and began to consider the precarious position I had placed myself in. I asked the mother of my child what she had eaten recently, only to discover that her breakfast had consisted of a cinnamon roll, cheerios may have guessed it already...EGGS.

Now I'm well versed in firearms safety owning several guns myself (SKS, 12 ga. pump, Glock 23 and a Colt .22). I know that you never look down the barrel of a gun and you always assume it's loaded. Yet here I was with the little one locked and loaded and the buisness end just under a foot from my face and he had been poppin' off SBD's all morning (Silent But Deadly for the uninitiated). I hadn't previously considered this possibility; call me weird, but it never occured to me that a little person only 36 hours old could fart, let alone do so repeatedly with a sent that hits you like a brick wall. But I had to come to grips with the facts: My wife had born me an 8lb 20 inch farting machine. I laid down the law for my darling wife, who was quick to agree: No more eggs until he's weaned! It took him the better part of the day to fully empty himself out and it was not a pleasant process, to say the least. Lesson learned and please learn from our mistakes.

I thought I'd bring this piece of hortatory narrative to a close by forming an inclusio of sorts. I point you back to the picture that I opened with. Were you oooohing and aaaahing about his increasing cuteness? While I did want to offer a more current picture, I think it is now appropriate to introduce the fuller meaning/significance of the picture. Let's just say the shutter wasn't all that was going off when I snapped this picture : -) Now that's what I call sensus plenior.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Introducing Noah John Mihelis

Finally, the preliminary pics are IN!!! First, a word of apology: I promised these would be up much sooner than they were. Sadly, though the maternity ward and L&D wing of Chesapeake General are phenominal in there nursing care (and I mean that; they were all AWESOME!), our beloved hospital is still in the dark ages. You guessed wireless. Even sadder, no houses in the neighborhood had a strong enough signal to steal from :-) Oh they are. Introducing....Noah John Mihelis (and family). First the lovely mama and the little stud:

Next, the big stud...okay, the Daddy and the little stud:

And of course, our first family portrait:

Finally, the little stud all by himself, posing no less :-)

Check the guns and the neck! It's already been predicted that he's going to take after his Dad and be a wrestler (spare the singlet comments Baylor :-) Furthermore, his personality in the nursery brought to mind that melodic refrain from the great poet/philosopher George Thorougood:

On the day I was born, the nurses all gathered gaze with wide wonder and the joy they had found. The head nurse spoke up....said leave this one alone....they could tell right away...I was bad to the bone!

Yes, when I got him out of the nursery, the nurse who works in there was all too happy to see him go. It appears he's a cute little bundle of depravity and he was throwing fits. However, he calmed right down in our room, so we like to think he just wanted to be with Mom and Dad.

Finally, the stats: Noah was born at Saturday July 29, 2006 at 4:17 pm weighing 8lbs even and measuring 20 inches. Feel free to visit us at Chesapeake General Sunday afternoon/evening! Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Why I Haven't Been Online Lately

In the odd event that anyone's still reading my blog, I thought I'd offer an explanation as to why I haven't posted anything in almost two weeks. Really there's no legitimate excuse other than to say that I've been lazy. This is my first time online in the last week or so, and I haven't even been reading other blogs. Basically, we've just been taking it easy/getting ready for Noah. Sometimes those two things overlap and sometimes they don't. That is, sometimes we just take it easy (hang out at the beach for the day, go to a movie, sleep in 'till 11, etc) because we know we won't be doing some of those things again for the next few months (hence taking it easy is a way of getting ready for Noah). Other times, we're actively doing things to get our apartment ready (read ENTIRELY rearranging everything but the kitchen). In fact, our bedroom is beginning to resemble a library (all my books are in there now) and the rest of the apartment is beginning to look more like a nursery (see picture on the left). I'm convinced that though he remains to be born, he still has more places to sit (swing, car seat, pack and play, crib, basssonet, another car seat, several varieties of jumpy seats, etc) and more clothes than Dawn and I combined. The swing pictured above was a result of the cooperate efforts of me, Dawn and my Mom who was down for the baby shower (at which we and/or Noah were royally spoiled!).

My literary liasons have continued, much along the same lines. My latests trysts have included a few chapters out of The Right Doctrine from the Wrong Text?, a chapter and a half out of The Gospel in a Pluralistic Society, and more of a long term relationship with Babywise. This last selection is, of course, a volume born out of necessity (if you'll pardon the terrible but intentional pun :-) With Noah on the way, I thought it best to peruse a standard volume, and I only have two chapters left (I'm planning on finishing up on Friday). Ironically enough, I think this will be the first book I've finished this summer. Oh, well...

Speaking of the little, guy, Dawn has begun to have some mild contractions, though I doubt we'll see him before this weekend. If nothing happens by Friday night, the doctor plans on inducing her beginning at 6 am Saturday morning. So keep your eyes on Boanerges over the next few days. If we go early, I'll shoot out a brief post announcing the fact (my laptops coming to the hospital with us). More importantly, though Dawn refuses to let me liveblog the birth (even she draws the line somewhere), I will most certainly post pictures of the little guy within an hour or two of his birth. Ah, the wonders of modern technology...

Friday, July 14, 2006

A Great Way to Learn Hebrew

Wanna learn Israel? Randall Buth is offering an opportunity for exactly that. Check out the link here. Buth would be a sweet guy to study with too, Klem had us read some of his articles on Text Linguistics for our class last summer. Though Niccacci was my personal favorite, Buth is certainly no slouch! Anybody up for a road trip?

Questions of Authority

Discussions about the authority of the scriptures have crossed my path more than once in the last few weeks. It's an interesting topic that I think is crucial to the health of the Church and currently under the microscope (and up often up for grabs) in the academy. However, my interest is in precisely how the questions relating to the topic are framed. Often the question is posed in terms of "Do you believe the scriptures are authoritative?" While this is an important question, and may be especially timely for broad evangelicalism (in the loosest way the term may be conceived) I would suggest that it may not be the most important question. One of the reasons I love reading Tom Wright is for the questions that he poses. Though I may not always agree with his conclusions, he is definitely asking the right questions. As I've been working my way though NTPG, one of the most significant issues he addresses in the Introduction pertains to this issue. But rather than ask "Are the scriptures authoritative?", he frames the question: "How are the scriptures authoritative?" This is something I believe conservative evangelicals have a hard time dealing with. While most believe they are authoritative, not many have cogently articulated how they are. I would suggest that this is one of the most troubling issues for laymen as well as they wrestle with the OT and the Gospels especially and perhaps a difficult issue for unbelievers to grapple with as well. The problem lies primarily in dealing with Narrative. I'll summarize Wright's excellent soldier analogy: When a soldier reports for duty, he expects to find his orders from his commander posted on the bulletin board. He anticipates finding a list of commands and instructions. How would the soldier respond if instead, he read the "orders" only to find that they began with the words, "Once upon a time..."? Surely he knows they are from his CO, but how does he obey a story? The analogy is very good in many ways. I think this is exactly the dilemma the laymen finds himself in when attempting to "obey" the vast narrative portions of the Bible. Surely he believes it is's the word of God! But how do you obey something that begins with, "In the beginning God..." The imperatives are few at times, and certainly far between. You feel the weight of the word, but are somewhat unsure what to do with it. Likewise, the unbeliever hears the Christian appeal to the authority of the Bible, but how can a document thousands of years old have any relevance or authority over a post-modern society? Sadly, I don't think many of those who trumpet the Bible's authority most loudly have not gone very far in articulating the nature of its authority. So here's the question I'm posing (or perhaps relaying) - How are the scriptures (particularly the vast narrative portions authoritative?

Saturday, July 08, 2006

The Zeal of Renewed Humanity - Mission

And this last quotable quotebrings my first mini-series to a close:

"The doctrine of the image of God in his human creatures was never the belief simply that humans were meant to reflect God back to God. They were meant to reflect God out into the world. In Romans 8, therefore, we see quite clearly what the end of this process will be: when God's people are finally renewed completely, in the resurrection, then the whole creation will itself be set freee from its bondage to decay, and share the glorious freedom of Gods' children. In the meantime, the mission of the church means announcing God's kingdom in all the world. Paul went about (according to Acts 17:7) saing that there was 'another king, namely Jesus'. He expects his followeres to do the same.

p. 148-149

The Coherence of Renewed Humanity: Love

I thought I'd finally get back to finishing my 5 part series on Wright's quotable quotes on God's renewed humanity. Since it's been a while, here's a quick review: The Centre of Renewed Humanity - Worship; The Goal of Renewed Humanity - Resurrection; The Transformation of Renewed Humanity - Holiness and now The Coherence of Renewed Humanity - Love. Here's two excellent selections:

"The critical thing is that the church, those who worship God in Christ Jesus, should function as a family in which every member is accepted as an equal member, no matter what their social, cultural, or moral background. The very existence of such a community demonstrates to the principalities and powers, the hidden but powerful forces of prejudice and suspicion, that their time is up, that the living God has indeed won the victory over them, that there is now launched upon the world a very different way of being human, a way in which the traditional distinctions between human beings are done away with."

"Clearly, the existence and flourishing of such a community is the thing that is going to reveal to the pagan world that the gospel of Jesus Christ is what it claims to be. That is why, when writing 1 Corinthians, Paul builds up his argument step by step showing at point after point the way in which this community is radically different from its pagan neighbors until at last he reaches chapter 13, when, like the chorale theme in Sibelius' 'Finlandia', the clear poetry and praise of love, agape, rings out, and we realize that this was all along the subtext of the entire letter:

Love is patient; love is kind;
love is not envious or boastful
or arrogant or rude.
It does not insist on its own way;
it is not irritable or resentful;
it does not rejoice in wrongdoing,
but rejoices in the truth.
It bears all things,
believes all things,
hopes all things,
endures all things...
- WSPRS p. 146-147

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Problems With Promiscuity

Don't worry, it's not what it sounds like. The problems are mine, but I'm referring to my reading habits and patterns. I have a hard time staying faithful to one book and reading it all the way through. The dreaded question came Saturday at the beach when Dave Wilson asked me what kind of progress I was making on the reading list I posted at the beginning of the summer. Ahh...dreaded accountability. Here's the score. I 'm a little over halfway through Wild at Heart which has more or less stalled out. Though I was intrigued at the beginning, it's gotten to the point that I've figured out the big idea and gotten board with the continuos development of it. Freakonomics while fascinating (even beyond it's blogan sounding title) was on the best seller list, which means it could not be renewed from the public library. Having returned it, I just couldn't work up the urge to check it out again. Now hear me, the problem is not in the is quite engaging. The fault resides solely in my perpetual tendency towards biblioinfidelity.

Now I have remained loyal, thus far, to my plan with the dictionaries, having read a few select articles from both of them. However, this is hardly bibliomonogomy since it is a compilation of authors on a variety of topics. Neither volume requires a significant attention span. NTPG is about the only one I've stuck with to this point, but even that is a bit embarassing. I'm somewhere around page 150 (roughly a third of the way through the book). Sad to say, that means I've just completed the introduction, which isn't as bad as it sounds. 150 pages of introduction you ask? Remember, it's the introductory volume of a major project projected somewhere around six volumes I believe. Furthermore, much of what he is doing is clearing the field of anticipated objections of pagan critics in order to establish the methodology he will be employing the remainder of the series. Anyway, 150 pages isn't bad, though I refuse to disclose when I actually started it and in my defense, you have to remember its single spaced text is probably about a 7 point font and I'm a slow reader to begin with. Anyway more on NTPG to follow in subsequent posts - it has been excellent food for thought.

At this point you may think that my problem is with committment rather than promiscuity. However, I've neglected to point out that in the face of all of these unfinished and abandoned tomes I've aslo accquired a few new volumes. I'm a little over a third of the way through Jesus Creed (though I haven't read from that volume in a few weeks), I just began The Gospel in a Pluralistic Society a few days ago and have plans to begin The Right Doctrine From the Wrong Text, if Logan ever gets through with it. I have also flirted with a few additional texts in recent days including: Confessions of a Reformissionary, Reading the OT (by Barton - as recommended by Baylor), The Birth of Christianity, and The World is Flat. I'll spare you from detailing the trysts I've enjoyed, working my way throught the new release and religion sections at Barnes and Nobles on many a lunch break. I apologize if my imagery is too blogan for your taste. Perhaps I should seek counseling, but the bottom line is I'm a biblioinfidel.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

An Open Invitation--to the Beach

This Saturday a bunch of us from HSBC all have the day off due to the end of the month schedule. The weather looks like it's supposed to be pretty and sunny. With that in mind, Dawn and I were thinking about going to the beach and spending the late morning-early afternoon up there. I've been mentioning to friends as we pass in the hallways, but I know I won't see everyone and not everyone works there. Therefore, if I haven't caught up with you yet and you're in the Hampton Roads area this weekend, come and join us! We're going to be up at Virginia Beach of necessity. Noah's so regularly on Dawn's bladder that we can't go to Sandbridge. VA Beach is the only one with enough outhouses to accomodate her frequent trips :-) We always hang out at 34th's far enough from the crowds at the pier that there's room to spread out. There's free parking on 33-37th streets two blocks back from the beach if you park on the side of the road. We'll probably be there by 10:30 am at the latest. I've already had a few couples say they will probably make it and I'll be bringing a frisbee, soccer ball and football. If you can make it, please join us!

Monday, June 26, 2006

On Breaking Fellowship with Believers

Though such a title may sound strange coming from my lips (or fingertips, as is the case), there's an interesting post by Mark Roberts on that very topic here. If you're not aware of the controversy currently rocking the PCUSA, you may want to read some of the other articles in this series. Roberts writes from an interesting standpoint having received all of his formal philosophical and theological training from Harvard, having taught at Fuller and pastored in the PCUSA for a number of years.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Why Mark Driscoll Bothers You (or Not)

This is an excellent post that gets me excited about body life and pastoral ministry. If you don't know much about Mark Driscoll, "Why Mark Driscoll Bothers You (or Not)" is a great intro. Even if you are familiar with him, it's a great read from the iMonk. I was convicted by how shallow my life and ministry seemed after reading it (which is probably a shallow observation at that).

Da' Belly - Take Two

It's been a while since I've given an update on Dawn and Noah, so here it is...

Gettin' pretty big huh (Noah, that is:-)? Since so many were impressed with my wife's gutsy willingness to let me post the last picture of her belly, I decided to see if I could talk her into another update. Here it is, with her permission of course, though the idea was definately mine and not hers. As her belly continues to grow, his kicks, cartwheels and sommeraults continue to get more powerful. Sooner or latter, he should get stuck in place for lack of room, but he's not there yet. His current hobbies include, keeping Dawn up all night, refusing to kick when people are watching and frequently employing Dawn's bladder as a trampoline. It's hard to believe that, Lord willing, it's just a little over a month until he'll be born. In some ways, it seems like we're not ready, while in other ways, we can hardly wait. For those interested I'll be live blogging the birth. Ooops...Dawn just read that over my shoulder, I guess I won't be live blogging the birth. Too bad, I know. I also thought I'd include a self portrait of the three of us (thanks to the timer on my dig. camera) below. As you can see, being out of school and working only 40 hours a week has been good for my tan, though Dawn's not too far behind, especially considering how light her complexion is. Since I'm not framing this summer, it's the first summer in 5 that I've had feet that were as brown as my legs.

Finally, for those of you who could care less about bellys and babies (in other words any guys reading this) I figured you could find consolation in the backdrop. The first picture above is the better of the two, for in it you'll find three of my most precioius worldy possesions 1) My wife 2) My son and 3) Most of the NT section of my library. And yes, that IS the order of importance.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Now Bruno's Vindicated Too! Sort of...

Following the observation about AT, Jack Bauer and Typology, Chris Bruno posted a link at CRBlog to Mark Goodacre's site regarding typology in the new Superman movie (with which Bruno indicated he could more readily identify). Now most people would probably consider Goodacre more of a sholar than Driscoll, and thus one could argue that Bruno has already been vindicated (or was never of it since he was just posting a link to someone else's site). However, I couldn't help but continue the goofiness a little longer. Anyway, for those interested in typology in Superman, there's an interesting article in this weeks edition of Time here.

* Post script - When I was establishing the link to Goodacre's site, I noticed he too commends the article and posts some quotes from it. Now even Mihelis is vindicated...sort of.