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.