Thursday, August 27, 2009
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
The subject: Barak Obama’s call to religious leaders this past week reguarding health care reform...
Here is a recap:
Jim Wallis: God’s will is for health and not sickness when we are instruments of bringing good health we are doing the work of God… our system is broken.
Tony Perkins: [Obama] is not being forthright. [Under the Bill] Abortion would be expanded and paid for with tax payer dollars
Jim Wallis: Let’s take abortion off the table… [Jim Wallis makes Assurance he is not wavering on his Pro-Life stance] Good healthcare reform… could reduce abortion.
Tony Perkins: There is a problem in healthcare… [It’s] a top issue the church should be involved with. [Tony then talks about changing laws to keep people insured, but argues that until there is no tax funded abortion in the Bill there can’t be a “discussion” on law changes]
Jim: We have to commit ourselves to a debate that is honest… more people need good choices… [we] need to talk about how [lies] are keeping us from having a… debate.
The Lord be with you!
At seminary I feel the question "What is the Role of the Mystic in Study?" in almost every class in some way.I will try to comment on this more over the weekend but here are two quotes to stimulate some dicussion: I NEED YOUR THOUGHTS ON THIS!
"A theologian is one who prays, and one who prays is a theologian." - Evagrius of Pontus
"[God is] the inscrutable One out of reach of every rational process. Nor can any words come up to the inexpressible Good, this One, this Source of all unity, this supra-existent Being. Mind beyond mind, word beyond speech, it is gathered up by no discourse, by no intuition, by no name." - Pseudo-Dionysius (whoever he may be)
There comes a point where our devotional and even academic life must go beyond the logic of modernism and allow God to encounter us holistically... that is if we're interesting in encountering God.
One more quote:
“The general fact is simple. Poetry is sane because it floats on an infinite sea; reason seeks to cross the infinite sea, and so make it finite. The result is mental exhaustion… To accept everything is an exercise, to understand everything a strain. The poet only desires exaltation and expansion, a world to stretch himself in. The poet only asks to get his head into the heavens. It is the logician who seeks to get the heavens into his head. And it is his head that splits.” - GK Chesterton
Grace and Peace
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
This is not the first example of this kind of unethical work environment and it won’t be the last unless we really ask our fellow believers to take a stand and examine more than the price of something when they buy it.
Amanda Kloer at Change.org had created a petition you can sign CHECK IT OUT!
The best leaders, the people do not notice.
If you have no faith, people will have no faith in you,
Monday, August 24, 2009
Bart came up today in my New Testament Class at North Park seminary. And I must say it created a good discussion. The class mostly discussed the poor journalism involved in the BBC article discussing the Codex Sinaiticus (Click here to read it for free online woot!) entitled "The rival to the Bible"
I was wondering what you all thought about him.
I have a few questions about Bart:
1) Bart has said the problem of Evil is what ultimately caused him to leave the church.
I'm sure there were many other unanswered questions he had. What made this one the reason for a final break?
2) Bart often talks about Jesus as Apocalypticist. I think this is often focused on at the expense of many other aspects of Jesus' mission. I was wondering if he could comment on his views of alternative views like those expressed by Tom wright and other third questers.
3) Bart Ehrman is very popular, and teaches in a very concise and accessible way.
Sometimes I feel he puts on a bit of a show though, by communicating information very selectively. Which can lead to some very sensational interpretations of what he's said. For example I have many friends who will watch him on the discovery channel and come to me and ask me something like "why the church has been hiding the true story of Judas." I am left in the awkward position of trying to explain that gnostic gospels are not a good source for history. Why doesn't he take more time to set the framework of the scholarship he is commenting on.
Tony Jones interviewed him a little while ago Download it!
Some thoughts by Scot McKnight
Watch Bart Ehrman on The Colbert Report:
Friday, August 21, 2009
Watch it Here!
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
I have now moved to Chicago.... sort of. This semester I will be studding at North Park Theological Seminary. For a long time I have wanted to work toward becoming a pastor, and that journey has led me to a little denomination called the Evangelical Covenant Church. I will tell you all about them later, but today I wanted to share about my hosts in Chicago while I wait for student housing to open up.
They are called the Jesus People USA or JPUSA for short. JPUSA is a Christian community in Chicago. They live in a old hotel that they bought at some point and live communally together. I'm not really sure how many people live here but there are at least a few hundred. It's been a great experience so far.
The first day I showed up and was greeted by Otto. (Otto, it turns out, used to plan shows with my old friend Tony Weatherly. Small world!) Dinner was in full swing so I said goodbye to Joan and then hung out with Otto for a bit. He has a pretty cool coffee gadget collection. Then I went to my room and tried to find some space. I'm currently living with a guy named P.J. He's a great guy. On the fist night I felt really lonely but eventually did some prayer and talked to P.J. Which helped ground me a lot.
The Second day I spent the morning in the Coffee shop/ Skate shop geeking out about coffee and theology with JPUSA folks.
JPUSA has an amazing coffee shop on the ground floor of the building. It functions as a private coffee shop for residents in the morning, and then turns into a skate shop in the afternoon. It seems there are always a bunch of the local skater kids rolling through, it's pretty amazing what the shop is turning into!
I spent the afternoon still in the shop but working on http://billyandjoan.com
In the evening Robert (one of the single men's coordinators) led a really great Bible Study about holding onto the living God, and not falling back on old habits.
Then I had a great conversation about prayer in the dinning hall until bedtime. When I got upstairs P.J. showed me how to use Word press as the back end of a web page... pretty cool stuff.
Today - Day three! I spent most of the day at school. We had orientation today. I've been really stressed out about finances since I haven't been able to find a job yet. They have a great prayer garden here so I went outside to pray. while I was out praying a new friend of mine named Justin came out, and we had a great conversation about our lives, and what God is doing with us. It was such an answer to prayer! I needed it.
I'll keep you posted as time goes on I still have another week and a half here... I'm off to bed!
Here is a Video from another visitor:
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
The book follows the life of Diana through the lense of congregations she has been a member of in the Episcopal church. It was a really interesting story of pilgrimage in a faith tradition. It seems I am being attracted more and more to stories that talk about spiritual journeys in community. The book gave me a great flavor for both Diana Butler Bass and the Episcopal church. Both have undergone some pretty major changes in the last 30 years and Strength of the Journey offers a powerful and personal treatment of the evolution of the author and her beloved church.
Leo from Road to Priesthood also posted a really interesting talk by her this week.
Here is a video of Diana talking about some of the changes within the church today.
Sunday, August 9, 2009
Saturday, August 8, 2009
Many of you may have seen the Brick testament. It's a common feature on my StumbleUpon adventures. It's a collection of bible stories and wisdom illustrated by elaborate lego people. In my years of youth ministry I found that a lot of the kids absolutely loved it. I was actually surprisingly moved by it. . Rarely do you see a certain sayings of Jesus put to images. For example the passage about gauging you eye out if it causes you to sin. But the Brick Testament artist doesn't hold back.
Today I came across a german video using Legos to animate the conversion of paul. I really liked it!
Check it out.
Is this retelling of the Bible through my favorite childhood toy a good thing?
I personally love it. What do you think?
Wednesday, August 5, 2009
If you listened to the talk by Phyllis Tickle last week and found yourself resonating, as I do, with denominational ties but also want to engage with other Christian traditions you might be a Hyphenated Christian.
Here is a new interview with Phyllis here she talks to Spencer Burke about the future of protestant denominations. Take a peek!
What role do our denominations play?
Is Tickle right that our Denominations only have 18 months?
What does that mean?
Tuesday, August 4, 2009
I have been reading a book called The Way of a Pilgrim recently. It's a really interesting story about a mans quest to pray without ceasing... I have a lot to write about in regards to the book itself, but one of the characters got me thinking about something somewhat unrelated, reading the Bible.
In the book one of the characters the protagonist runs into tells him he is in the habit of reading one of the gospels every day. That means every month he reads each gospel through at least 7 times, and almost 100 times a year. It got me thinking about how people read the Bible. My wife has a list of readings she tries to go through every day, other friends of mine do morning and evening prayer which takes them through the psalms and songs through out the bible with a few brief readings a day. I love the Bible but I've noticed a real lack of Biblical literacy in many Christians. So I have a question for you.
Have you read the whole Bible... Every Book, Every Chapter, Every Verse?
(in your respective community I know we have different cannons, but have you read your own)
If you haven't you should...
The Bible is the most influential book of all time. It's words have inspired many of the greatest works of literature, art, music, and countless lives including my own. I always struggled with the bible as a child. I tried reading it a few times but I was bored stiff... If that's where you are I sympathizes. I didn't really start to get into it until I was in high school. I'll never forget the first time I caught a glimpse of the beauty of it. I read though the whole new testament in a week, and then read it again.
I thought it might be a good idea to post some links and sites that will help you read the bible in it's entirety. It really is something everyone should do even if they don't have faith.
Top Ten Tools to Read it!
1) Get a reading plan - There are probably 100 reading plans try this one. I recommend reading a chunk from the old testament then a chunk from the new then try something from psalms, proverbs, or the prophets. If you do that every day you'll be done in no time. You can even get one E-mailed to you - This one is really easy. Go to http://www.bibleplan.org/and sign up for one of their many options. If you read just three chapters a day you can make it through the bible in a year (you have to read 5 on Sundays)
2) Read in community - Get a plan get some friends do it together! Check out http://www.biblein90days.com/ for a community plan that will get you through the whole Bible in 3 months.
3) Get a check list - Want to make sure you did it all CLICK HERE to get a checklist of all the chapters in the Bible!
4) If it's your first try don't read from cover to cover. I don't know very many folks that have made it past Deuteronomy this way.
5)Diversify your reading... read a few chapters on one section and a few of another....
6) Get involved with tradition and liturgy. Look into your church see if they offer a daily reading list. One of the best resources is the Catholic daily readings found at http://www.usccb.org/nab/ this page even has audio recordings you can read along with which helps me!
7) Know the context before you start a new book research it. Learn the genre and style of writing being implemented. Get to know the author, and the history surrounding the work. Do your homework!
8) Find a translation you connect with. There are ones that are really easy to read, others that are more poetic, still more that really get into the shades of meaning! go to the book store and read a few versions before you settle on one.
9) Take Notes - Write about what you read.... Highlight passages that you like... Write in the margins... blog. Getting through the bible is a lot easier if it's an interactive experiance!
10)Invite God into the process. I know many of you don't even believe in a God, but I can personally testify that this step really makes the whole thing much more powerful. Even if you don't believe me give it a try.
Monday, August 3, 2009
When I drive around I generally like to listen to lectures on religion... My wife on the other hand is more looking for something funny. We only have one Car so this difference in preference usually means one of us has to give way to the other. More recently, though, we can't really find stuff that's even tolerable. The main issue we run into is most of the stuff I want to listen to is pretty dry. I feel guilty about even trying to put her through listening to it. Finding something funny is even more difficult. We like Car Talk, but thats a weekend only show. We also like David Sedaris, but there is only so much of his stuff you can get your hands on. The only thing we both could agree on for a while was classic rock.
This week however all that changed. I started listening to the audio book for A year of Living Biblically by A.J. Jacobs.
The book is an account of his quest to live the ultimate biblical life for an entire year. To follow every single rule in the Bible – as literally as possible.
This book is informative and hilarious. I have been shocked by how even handed is approach to religion has been. The author comes from a secular background, and considers himself an agnostic. I have learned new thing, and have had new light cast on some things I have known for a long time.
In the book he documents his struggles with envy, lust, and lying as well as recounting his attempts to stone adulterers and celebrate the feast of booths in his apartment. My favorite part of the whole book is seeing how his wife handles all these changes! If your out there A.J. THANKS!