Tuesday, June 27, 2006
Monday, June 26, 2006
Sunday, June 25, 2006
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
* 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.
Tuesday, June 20, 2006
"Sometimes the implications of listening to the voice of God is that we ruin our reputation in the public square. Loving God, as the Jesus Creed teaches, involves surrendering ourselves to God in heart, soul, mind, strength--and reputation. The minute we turn exclusively to the Lord to find our true identity is the day reputation dies."
- Jesus Creed, p. 79.
What's the distinction he's making between identity and reputation you ask (or may have already figured out)?
"Our reputation (what others think of us) is not as important as our identity (who we really are). Spiritual formation begins when we untangle reputation and identity, and when what God thinks of us is more important than what we think of ourselves, or what others think of us."
- Jesus Creed, p. 76.
Now that's a quotable quote; it's also something the Lord has been (and still is) dealing with me on a number of levels in recent days.
Monday, June 19, 2006
Now, if your begining to wonder what in the world I'm doing publically offering private information, like someone's phone #, you've been had, just like I was. Though the number I listed above is the number I was given, it is by no means a private listing for someone's residence (I'd NEVER put that type of stuff in a public forum). No, the number listed above, I discovered both to my dismay and delight, is the number for the rejection hotline. Don't believe me? Give it a call. If it says all circuits are busy, be patient and try again until you get through. Trust me, it's worth it.
Sunday, June 18, 2006
"Paganism is a self-destructive mode of being human; Paul offers, instead, the fulfilment of the Jewish vision of humanity, a humanity characterized by wisdom and holiness."
- WSPRS, p. 143.
On the Galatians' struggle with embracing Torah:
"They have seen their former pagan idolatry and immorality for what they are, and are determined to go instead for the way of true humanity, of holiness and worship. The 'agitators' (those who infiltrated the Galatian community after Paul had left) have told them that they can achieve this end by embracing Torah. Not so, says Paul: if you do that you will simply be emphasizing that which binds you to the old humanity, to the flesh...as a result, you will again be in the self-destructive mode of human existence. If you want the genuine article, you must walk by the Spirit, whose fruit is love, joy and peace."
- WSPRS, p. 144.
Saturday, June 17, 2006
"If the road to true humanity is true worship, the end and goal of God's renewed humanity is of course resurrection...the basic point I wish to make can be stated as follows. When Paul is expounding the resurrection hope of God's people in Christ he is again offering a reality of which (in his view) paganisim is the parody; and again, announcing the reality to which Judaism had pointed."
I love the description of paganism as the "parody" of the reality discovered in Jesus!
Tuesday, June 13, 2006
The whole point of the long paragraph which begins in Romans 1:18 is that Gentiles are idolaters, and that therefore their humanity self destructs. Idolatry, Paul is saying, is seriously bad for the health of your humanity. The pagan world knows God, because in creation pagans can see his eternal power and deity; but they refuse to honour him as God or worship him, and turn instead to worship images of birds, animals and reptiles. As a result (since humans become like what they worship; this is a basic spiritual law), they cease to exhibit true and full humanity, reflecting the image of God. They exhibit, instead, all the signs of a humanity that is coming apart at the seams:
They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, 30 slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; 31 they are senseless, faithless, heartless, ruthless (Romans 1:29-31 NIV)."
- Tom Wright, WSPRS, p.138.
"What then is the solution? God as called into being a new community...there is, then, a people that worships God in truth. This people is the true humanity, the people that
- Ibid, 138-139
Piper calls preachers to "labor to find language that is worthy of God." I think the statements bolded above are fantastic examples of powerful language. Describing idolatry in terms of a self destructive lifestyle and humanity coming apart at the seams both connects with contemporary cultural expressions and accurately describes what's going on in Romans 1.
Monday, June 12, 2006
Scot McKnight on the perpetual virginity of Mary - I think you might be surprised at some of the theologians who held this view.
From the Thoughts and Adventures Blog - Mohler and Patterson on Election (hint: they're not on the same side).
Not to mention a crazy collage of headlines on CNN's home page:
- Alberto evacuations ordered | Video | Path
- Fake ID beats Homeland Security's security
- Poll: Zarqawi death bumps war opinion | Interactive
- Sniper hunted after judge shot at court
- Pilot killed when plane crashes into house
- Has Ann Coulter gone too far?
- Missing boaters call may be a hoax
- 'Rock star' Clinton delivers cash and crowds
- CNNMoney: Stock in wrestling stars soars
- Stripper stabbed to death at bachelorette romp
- SI.com: Steelers QB seriously injured in bike crash
- Gay man's dad revamps church policy
- Study: Warming turns bears into cannibals
1) The Centre of Renewed Humanity: Worship (incidentally Logan, that's not a typo, it's British spelling :)
2) The Goal of Renewed Humanity: Resurrection
3) The Transformation of Renewed Humanity: Holiness
4) The Coherence of Renewed Humanity: Love
5) The Zeal of Renewed Humanity: Mission
BTW: for those who might not be big Wright fans, WSPRS stands for What Saint Paul Really Said. For some reason, his fans (and some foes) have taken to abbreviating all of his books that way (and being a fan, I have followed suite). Thus, NTPG stands for The New Testament and the People of God, JVT = Jesus and the Victory of God TRSG (I think it is) = The Resurrection of the Son of God. I know I was confused by some of the abbreviations at first (I confused TRSG with TSKS from Wallace, but that's another story), so I thought this might be helpful.
Friday, June 09, 2006
Incidently, my favorite quote from the post is:
"24 is easily the best show on television despite the many reasons it conceivably should not be."
My interest was recently renewed and I knew I had been depriving myself of some serious mediation on the life and ministry of Jesus, so I decided to begin my own (informal) "quest", if you will. In the providence of God, He brought some reliable guides across my path in the form of recent book acquisitions. The New Testament and the People of God has been helpful in slaying the beast of intimidation regarding historical reliability and critical issues. Wright is a terrific guide here in terms of method. The Dictionary of Jesus and the Gospels had proven a fantastic tool to get me up to speed on many of the issues I knew by name, but never really understood what all was at stake. Finally, since my time has primarily been spent in Luke's gospel lately, Bock's two volume commentary has already been repaying fantastic dividends.
I'm greatful the Lord has brought me on this journey, as it has been a refreshing and revitalizing time meditating on the life of Jesus. In many ways, I feel as if I'm exploring a new frontier and it's exciting. I'm amazed at how much I have (in the past) been guilty of trying to force the gospel narratives into the grid of what I considered Christianity to be about, rather than letting my understanding of Christianity be shaped by the gospels; I certainly have a good deal of theological baggage. The epistles (where I used to hide out) are invaluable for shaping the Christian worldview; however, the terms of discipleship are never clearer than in Jesus' own call to the task. At the risk of an extremely overused cliche, I think I HAVE been guilty of putting Jesus in a box... or even FORCING Jesus into a box. There's more to be said, and I'll probably follow with some specific ways my thoughts are being remolded in the near future. However, if anyone out there has neglected the Gospels for similar reasons to the ones I identified above, I encourage you to get over it and get into them.
Tuesday, June 06, 2006
Monday, June 05, 2006
Anyway, on to more important matters...while I haven't finished the book yet, I'm almost halfway through John Eldridge's book Wild at Heart (WAH from here on). I thought I'd give a preliminary review (as per the first 100 pages).
The premise is actually quite simple to sum up: There is a question that haunts everyman - Do I really have what it takes (or Am I man enough)? The insecurity that many (he may say "all") feel that causes them to pose such a question and be fearful of the negative is a result of a "wound" (psychological - lack of affirmation) inflicted, most likely by the father. Within the heart of everyman are three desires: 1) A battle to fight 2) A beauty to rescue 3) An adventure to live. Up to this point, one might be inclined to agree to these general premises, but wonder what this has to do with theology. At least, that's where I came out. Eldridge maintains that these three desires, as well as the general state of affairs (other than the wound) are the result of the fact that man is created in the image of God. Just as God is a warrior (and thus, wild at heart, so to speak), man reflects that warrior image and craves the three things listed above. Though this is a bit simplistic, this is the gist of what he's covered to this point in the book.
While I admit, it's not terribly wise to judge a book prior to finishing it (nor to judge a book by it's cover, which as Thomas pointed out, may lead many to abandon this one), there is enough that has been said to this point to make some preliminary observations.
Overall, I think WAH connects with many of the basic desires within the heart of most men. What man doesn't desire a battle to fight, a beauty to rescue, and an adventure to live (Baylor excluded)? Furthermore, his portrayal of the characteristics of masculinity are refreshing in this day and age. WAH calls for men to be men and to raise their boys to be men. The quotes at the beginning of each section are also worth the price of the book alone. My personal favorite is the quote from Teddy Roosevelt right after the introduction regarding the credit going to "the man in the arena." While the book needs to be read with discernment, I have found many of it's pages to be challenging and liberating.
Despite these pros, I would commend this book only to those with a good theological footing. While Eldridge's prose is captivating and ought to be emulated in style, some of his theological conclusions lack sufficient justification and imho amount to non sequitars (how'd I do Logan?). I offer one example from pg 8: "So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them" (Gen. 1:27). Now, we know that God doesn't have a body, so the uniqueness can't be physical. Gender simply must be at the level of the soul, in the deep and everlasting places within us." Those of you who read my post a few months back regarding the image of God, understand that I find this conclusion less than satisfactory (for lack of accounting for all the data). While I don't expect everyone to agree with me here, to say "such and such simply must be such and such" without considering ANY other options is a bit too assumptive imho. Likewise, to jump from the image of God to gender being at the level of the soul, is a bit of a jump (not to mention ignoring some significant anatomical data [Uncle Victor excluded-see the road trip comments if you're confused here]).
In addition to this, I would add my concern regarding the theological position advocated in WAH. Eldridge comes across as an arminian, which does not ipso facto render it useless (despite what AT might think). It is instead, the statements regarding foreknowledge that I find disconcerting. Eldridge states "...for those who are aware of the discussion, I am not advocating open theism" (32). However, he is not so clear on what distinguishes his positon from open theism. If you didn't sense it coming from the overview above, the reason he maintains that we love taking risks is because we are made in the image of the Risk Taker. "God's relationship with us and with our world is just that: a relationship. As with every relationship, there's a certain amount of unpredictability, and the ever-present likelihood that you'll get hurt. The ultimate risk anyone ever takes is to love...but God does give it, again and again and again, until he is literally bleeding from it all. God's willingness to risk is just astounding..."(32). This statement is representative of the theology unpacked in chapter 2.
All of this is why I say it is worth the read for the theologically discerning. Unfortunately, from what I've seen, it's more often targeted at young men (jr. high and high school) without the theological ability to discern between good prose and good theology. It's an easy read and the portrait painted of masculinity is refreshing in so many ways. In fact, had the book been written sans the theology or by secular psychologist, I probably would enjoy it more. Much of what is said about masculinity rings true, I'm just not convinced that the theological connections that are intended to support it are on par. If things change as I finish the book, I'll let you know. Otherwise, I think I've "called out" enough individuals for today (Baylor, Logan, AT, Vic, and sort of Eldridge).