Thursday, May 31, 2007

Bad Words and Foul Language

A comment Pitchford made on one of my posts a little while back got me thinking about a number of legitimately good, in some cases, biblical words that were ruined for me during my college years, thanks in large part to chapel "speakers". As I pondered some of them, I realized I wasn't the only one out there, so I offer a few samples below and would be interested to hear if there are any others floating out there that some of my peers choke on as well. Here's my offering:

Balance - of course, this was one of the ones that sparked my thinking. Since the vast majority of the folks encouraging me to seek such a position, had little concept of what true balance was, for YEARS, I thought this was a cuss word and still struggle in my conscience with using it. It was frequently employed in the context of free will (not to be confused with responsibility) vs. sovereignty, the balanced position of course being the one that trumped free will and squelched sovereignty.

Deference - While I completely reconize the fact that I am at times to restrain my blood bought liberty for the sake of others, I used to equate this term with not having the balls to confront pharisees masquerading as "weaker brothers" and "educate their consciences."

Brokeness - This was another one I had trouble coming to terms with because I equated it with going forward, crying at "revival" services (don't worry, that's next on the list) and burning or smashing my ccm (for those unaccquainted with the terms, think of it as standing for Christ honoring Christian music). Since then, I've come to grips with the fact that it's actually a biblical term employed by the psalmist.

Revival - It's NOT actually something you schedule once a semster/quarter, and if it occurs contiguous with the preaching of an "evangelist" or "revivalist" then the circumstances are pure coincidence (and that's coming from a Calvinist - the use of coincidence that is). Again, it's not necessarily equated with smashing cd's, tossing sticks in the fire or filling out decision cards. No, it's actually a biblical term and best summarized as learning to glorify God BY enjoying Him forever.

I could probably go on, but I'll stop there for now, but by all means, if there are any other suggestions out there, put them in the comments section...

Thursday, May 24, 2007

The Gospel Coalition

Personally I think the name leaves something to be desired, but I like the idea. I'd post a hat tip or hyperlink but it's easier to just say that if you haven't heard about it check out Justin Taylor's blog-it's all over the place. Fankly I'm surprised I haven't seen any other posts about it, particularly from my reformed brethren in the tidewater area (though to be fair Thomas' computer did crash). Anybody know how exactly it differs from T4G? It seems to be a lot of the same guys.

Pastoring vs. Professoring

I know this is a"dilema" I've wrestled with and continued to wrestle with and one that I think is not all that uncommon for seminarians. Of course, the ideal is the both/and, but McKnight has given some helpful thoughts on the topic here.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Ode to Google Reader: A Psalm of Repentence

Okay, so maybe this reads more like prose than poetry, but if you're reading more than three blogs even semi-regularly and you're not using Google're in sin. And I'm just barely joking - probably about 99% serious (it violates Paul's command regarding redeeming the time :-) Now I admit I have been the chief of sinners in this field, having ignored and put off the admonitions and confrontations of many a blogging friend whether the rebuke came in the form of personal testimony (on their blog) or private conversation. Nevertheless I publically repent in sackcloth and ashes and hereby testify urging anyone out there to flee the wrath to come and get thee hence to Google Reader (that is if I'm not the last blogger to make the switch).

Saturday, May 19, 2007

My Apologies

I really need to start reading things in their entirety before posting links to them. If you haven't read Kostenberger's review of Drama, which I linked to a week or two ago, don't bother. I just printed and read it and Barker, I'm sorry...I SHOULD have linked to yours instead. If you do feel lead or already did yourself the disservice of reading it, either disregard it and read the book anyway or at LEAST read Vanhoozer's response here (which Kostenberger had the decency to post).

It's not surprising that the review appeared on a blog and not in SBL since Vanhoozer is regularly misread, misrepresented and/or misunderstood. In fact, the tone is very fundamentalist-ish and belongs more to the fbf's Frontline, Sharper Iron, or Sword of the Lord genre (a tone and spirit I'm fighting to hold back here...and probably failing) than an academic review. [Ironically enough, my computer just shut down while I was typing this due to the battery dying. I told my wife if the stuff I just typed was lost, then I'd take it as the Lord indicating it was inappropriate--it's still here...phew :-)]. It's surprising that he declares himself a Vanhoozer fan at the end because nothing in the review suggests it. All told I was VERY dissapointed and my lesson was learned.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Identity Crisis

A few weeks ago I had to go back on the phones for a few days...and was reminded of just how much I hated it. However, I knew at that time that it was just for a few days, so I wasn't overcome with depression. I say that halfway seriously...collecting 8 hours (7.5 technically) a day, 5 days a week can become incredibly emotionally/psychologically draining. I began to wrestle through just exactly what it was that I found so depressing. I was genuinely trying to view my job as worship and perform it as unto the Lord, yet failing miserably. The conclusion that I came to is reflected in the title of this post...I was in the midst of an identity crisis.

The problem was that I was allowing myself, my identity, to be defined by my job. Whether it was the people on the phone calling me a #$%&#er or a just seeing some aspect of my stats in the crapper; that was what I allowed to define my identity--who I was. In fact, just having person after person tell you that they won't make a payment despite your best implementation of the call model and wiifms, still takes more than a few check by phones to overcome. Of course a good day leads to a great attitude...but those are VERY few and far between, not to mention idolotrous.

Some collectors deal with it by belittling or demeaning the cardmembers...after they get off the phone of course. To be honest, I've been guilty of this myself. However, that obviously is not a cross centered way of overcoming adversity. Instead, I had to come to grips with the fact that my identity is defined by Jesus and not my circumstances; by the gospel and not my job. Sure I want to suceed at what I do...but that's not to be what's primary. My life is hidden with Christ (Col 3) and ultimately my sucesses and failures are irrelevant...His success is counted as mine. The battle is keeping this perspective at the center and thus avoiding the identity crisis. Sola deo gloria for the Spirit and the Word.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Work Smart, Not Hard

This advice was given to me at one of my first jobs and has stuck with me ever since. If you haven't seen this already, Danny Zacharias has gone a long way in pointing out some great ways to implement the internet to do just that in The Wired Scholar. Still not convinced? Are you sick of typing bibliographies and too cheap to buy citation? I am (and was) and for once procrastination has paid off - one of the tools Zacharias points out is OttoBib. All you have to do is input the isbn number (which you could always find online) generates a bibliographic entry for you in either MLA, APA or most importantly Turabian. And that's just one of the tools....

(HT: Mike Bird)

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Loving Wayward Children

While I genuinely hope and regularly pray this is not data that I will need some day, I don't know the future and this is an AWESOME resource. Abraham Piper (son of John) rejected the Christian Hedonism that his father wholeheartedly embraced for years. I heard John give personal testimony of the heart breaking agony he and his wife went through, when I heard him preach in NC last year. Abraham has since come to Jesus and now offers 12 ways to love your wayward children and by wayward he means Christ denying. If you have kids or ever plan on having them, you need to read this; it's excellent.

That's a Darn Good Question

I recently came across a blog post that raised an issue I have been thinking through for the last year or so, but never had the guts to admit to anyone. The post encouraged me to go public with the question: Is Spiritual Formation Biblical? Sounds pretty unspiritual doesn't it? Take a look at the post; it's brief, but anticipates a series upcoming on sanctification. But I've wondered the same thing for some time now. With the exception of prayer, much of what we strongly encourage regarding spiritual disciplines finds little resonance in biblical texts. Mind you, that doesn't necessarily mean it's wrong -- that's an entirely different question than whether or not it has biblical warrant. Some things are biblical, some unbiblical, but there is also the "abiblical" or extrabiblical category (and if you think this violates sola scriptura, Vanhoozer will take you over his knee and spank you with Drama). We need to be careful whenever we venture into the extrabiblical category that we don't minimize the pneumatological aspects of sanctification (about which the scriptures have a LOT to say) for the anthropological aspects that morph into 21st century keeping of Torah. Any thoughts?

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Review of Drama

Finally! No, not mine, but Kostenberger's. I'm still stuck just past the half-way point, but I always love reading reviews on heavy duty books, especially when they're written by someone smarter then I am. I haven't read it yet (looks long enough to print) but offer it here.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Driscoll and the Emerging Church Conversation

I've had various talks with various people in various venues about the emerging church conversation. Generally speaking, I'm favorably disposed towards it, and think there is a lot to emply, though of course without embracing all of its tributaries (as if that were even possible). Many people view the conversation through the lens of Brian McLaren and others of his stream. I tend more towards the Reformed stream and often refer to Mark Driscoll. I haven't read anything first hand by McLaren (which is admittedly myopic on my part) which may be why I don't get so fired up when people bring up the topic, but I love Driscoll.

HOWEVER, people regularly, though with varying degrees of certainty, inform me that I am incorrectly associating Mark with the emerging church and that he left it a while back or at least disassociated himself. Granted, my take is based on his book Confessions of a Reformation Rev. Yet, the subtitle inclines me to think I'm right (hard lessons learned from an emerging missional church), not to mention the summary on the back cover (which opens with "Mark Driscoll's emerging missional church...). However, if that's not enough, I thought I'd point out several statements he makes in the book that I came across while rereading it this past weekend:

"Since the movevment, if it can be called that, is young and is still defining its theological center, I do not want to portray the movement as ideologically unified because I myself swim in the theologically conservative stream of the emerging church" (p. 22).

"For some Emergent [which Driscoll sharply distinguishes from the broader emerging] leaders, this critique may be as welcome as water on a cat. But I assure you that I speak as one within the Emerging Church Movememtn who has great love and appreciation for Christian leaders with theological convictions much different from my own" (p. 23).

Now granted, the book was published in 2006; maybe something has changed since then. Yet, I think his disassociation is more with people in the movement, and/or Emergent, which should not be confused with the emerging church conversation/movement (which is MUCH broader). I remain open to more recent correction if it's out there. In the meantime, I STRONGLY commend Scot Mcknight's lecture on the four rivers of the Emerging Church delivered at Westminster. It's a great explanation from a scholar within the movement communicated to those of a conservative, reformed mindset outside the movement. Very helpful and balanced. You can read the PDF here. I tried to find the audio files for it, but it appears you have to pay money for it now. Still, it's worth the read.

P.S. In case I was too subtle, this does indicate I finally finished ANOTHER book and in one weekend at that! Yeah, yeah, it WAS a Driscoll book and I HAD already read it, but heh...200 pages is 200 pages, and I'm not done for the month of May :-)

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Joe Zichterman

Remember A Passion for Thee and Perfect Peace? While I have heard snippets here and there, first hand second hand, three time removed and embellished, it's good to hear a first hand account of how the Lord has been working in Joe's life. If you haven't heard the lecture he delivered a few weeks back at TEDS (yeah, we know...easy sweet guys) check it out on his website here. Look for the audio link Why I joined Willow Creek Community Church. You might not like it all, but it's definately interesting. Of course you can check out all the dorm room gossip in the usual place(s) after (if your sanctification can stand it), but make sure you hear what he has to say first.

(HT: J to the Third Power) While this hat tip may seem strange seeing at the time I posted this there was nothing on his to who it is due leads me to tip my hat to Jones for pointing to this link. Likewise, I believe he has some thoughts brewing that will most likely shared in the next 24 hours or so--so keep your eyes on J to the Third Power too!

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Stuff Around the Web

Wow. If you haven't read this yet, you should (caution: NOT for the faint hearted or weak stomached).

On a lighter and more utilitarian note: A list of books relevent to the study of Scripture within Google books.

(HT: Evangelical Textual Criticism, who HT'd Stephen Carlson)