12.26.2005



The Mesa's had a wonderful Christmas gathering at our place yesterday evening. Filled with fragrance, fellowship and food. All the toddlers were happy doing what they do. I believe our boys got their first taste of the gift and joys of communion with people. It was indeed a treasured time. Good conversation became occasion to appropriate the assimilation process of much of what I have been devoting my attention to in reading. I LOVE these moments...times....events! It is in such opportune's that great learning occurs, especially when the conversation is between two or more with differing views...."ahhhhhh....Ahhhhhhhh!" (you figure it out)

With that said, as you may already know the tension that comes from theological differences can be painfully frustrating. After a conversation that is not allowed to continue to conclusions which did occur Christmas evening I am left with lots of emotion and a sense of urgency. Do any of you feel this? Not that I did exhibit or often do, it is easy for me at first indication of my own positions being challenged to react with argumentative angst, at least very much inwardly. I do not mean that there is not such a thing as good argumentation but rather the reality that such tension deriving from differences of convictions exists already pose potential catalyst for frustration especially when the emotional angst that surges from impatience and an unwillingness to take the time to really listen to another prevents good dialouge. From there it just can get ugly and nothing or no one get's anywhere. As W. Jay Wood said in his book Epistemology: Becoming Intellectually Virtuous, "...situations that thwart understanding trigger negative emotions in us. We feel frustrated when our inquiries after truth fail, annoyance at superstition, outrage at beliefs rooted in prejudice, and anxiety or apprehension when our cherished convictions are challenged." Things did not even give a semblance of unrighteousness but the feelings of frustration and urgency did arise and stay with me even till now. But thankfully to and for the grace and mercy of God in Christ we are also being saved epistemically and that not divorced from a holy ethic of mind/heart or intellectual virtue.

Many of you who visit my blog are already more or less familiar with the thorough discussions in the church over theology, culture, philosophical (epistemic presuppositions) underpinnings and it's inseparable partner hermeneutics. If you have done some reading by the likes of Grenz, Franke, Vanhoozer, J. K. A. Smith and many others than you are informed to certain proposals to approach the above categories. These proposals are accompanied by some clear analysis and critique's of how theology has been conducted throughout the history of the church. If I am correct in my reasoning than the most critical subject in all this talk is in the area of epistemic justification or the legitimation of one's beliefs. Specifically in how to handle the bible. How to do theology and what is the purpose of theology. Or as John R. Franke well puts it, what is "The Character of Theology, it's nature, task and purpose?"

It remains to be seen for others that such questions must and needs to be asked. Some may have heard echoes of these conversations and have written them off as unecessary, high speculations, eruditely absurd and not worth the time to engage with and the paper that such works are published on. I staunchly and dogamtically say, "Errrrr....bad thinking! We need to sit together with say a black and tan if you will and do some necessary talking about faith and reason." Such dialoug that is occuring in the Christian community is not abstract missionally unrelated thinking. No, it has everything to do with the mission of God and us His church.

Currently I am reading Kevin J. Vanhoozer's First Theology: God, Scripture & Hermeneutics. Most books that I read have proven to be a semi drudgery of labor because the published works are really not written for the layperson but for those who are already very informed. But such works are still very much worth the read and great treasure is to be gained in doing so. Vanhoozer writes in his preface to the above title, "This is a book on theological hermeneutics. It is a plea for being hermeneutical about theology and for being theological about hermeneutics. It is an argument for treating the questions of God, Scripture and hermeneutics as one problem. This one problem defines what I call 'first theology' " Such wording and idea could not be more appropriate to those who are conscious to what is being talked about in the christian community. Well said Kevin.

Currently on my list of works I am devoted too are,

Kevin J. Vanhoozer, "First Theology: God, Scripture & Hermeneutics"
R. J. Rushdoony's, "The Death of Meaning",

"To Be as God"
W. Jay Wood, "Epistemology: Becoming Intellectually Virtuous"
Lesslie Newbigin's, "The Gospel in a Pluralist Society",

"Foolishness to the Greeks: The Gospel and Western Culture",
"Proper Confidence: Faith, Doubt and Certainty in Christian Discipleship"

Finished but referencing:

James K. A. Smith, "The Fall of Interpretation"
John R. Franke, "The Character of Theology: It's Nature, Task and Purpose"
Looking forward to read,
Kevin J. Vanhoozer, "The Drama of Doctrine: A Canonical-Linguistic Approach to Christian Theology"

What do you think?
Is it warranted to presuppose that one can discover the/a "system" of the bible? And if so what role is given to such systems? How should one read the scripture?
Could it be that in areas of the churches thinking there is an unfaithful handling of scripture? uh...that is obvious. And it is not limited to Mr. & Mrs. Prosperity Gospel. But more specifically could there be an unfaithful handling of scripture because of our understanding of the realtionship between faith and reason itself?
Please no yes or no responses. Really think through this. Your thoughts whatever they are is very much appreciated.

One last thing. Have anyone of you read Tolkien's "The Silmarillion?" Danae gifted me this. I have heard about it and am excited. Although Tolkien's work strikes me as incredibly more complex and daunting than anything I have and am reading on theology. The book has a glossary with pronunciations!!!! Tolkien was a brilliant madman.





12.18.2005

Today will be one for the record. Today I officially joined The Beard Community.

C'mon Sir Joshua Cloud, become "emergent" and join the community! :)

12.15.2005


This man is only worth such a caption as this three sylable word brought to us by Elwood, Indiana's own Partyville itself!!



A pristine creek that I shot while on my route south of Orestes Indiana.

Aidan.......Dad the playground.......and Jonah (aka, Bonah)

Bare chested Jonah and Papi
Asher and Daddy,
Asher and Aidan in a basket waiting for FedEx to pick them up...

11.07.2005

Food Time!!


11.06.2005



"hmm..that sock that Aidan has looks really good!"

Two wild "Angel's"

10.06.2005

Happy Birthday Bungee's!!!

Aidan, Asher and Jonah are one year old today. Danae is 24 years old and Miguel is 28.

Haven't had the energy or the mental stamina to write in a long time. We are alive and well.

God be with you all.

9.12.2005

This is a worthy read of the late Stanley J. Grenz.

Concerns of a Pietist with a Ph.D.

If you can get a copy of Evangelicals & Scripture you will also find a similar read by Grenz with a more detailed call to avoid certain dangers.

9.11.2005



"Hi Danae."

9.07.2005


"Hey everyone, Adam here again! I don't know about you but I'm thinkin about takin off my shirt and runnin like a wild boar straight through them people down there and plungen so I can take me a bath cause I feel like a sweaty beast here in this sun!"

9.04.2005



Hello my name is Adam, and this is Miguel's blog...would you like to sit with me and drink some coffee and discuss issues of epistemological ridiculousness?

8.30.2005

Our Gnomes




8.27.2005

8.13.2005

How should Evangelicals “Do” Theology? The Theological Method Debate.

I encourage those interested in the title above to read this brief article.





Much is on the plate of time right now. Only so much time to spread for the use of doing things constructive and beneficial. Right now it appears that what is being done under the sun and moon is work, eat, sleep and spend what little time I have with my wife who deserves more than I have given her in the past and also with my little boys who are growing faster than the speed of sound. My reading is yeilding greater learning and insight which has been encouraging and fortifying. I look forward to discuss with my fellow heirs about the things that occupy our minds.
The Lord has made use of a vessel by the name of Roger (who is this families pastor) in encouraging toward Christ-like transformation in an indirect way and also exhortative to take dominion under the Lordship of Christ over our finances.
Liberation....renewal....hope revived...transformation....all this because of the goodness of God's graces in bringing about confession of sin and dependence on Him and his conduit of grace the church.

I am very excited about our (the church global) historical embeddedness in God's redemptive story.

7.30.2005



Worship is hard for me....

the worship that I speak about is worship through song when gathered with the local community. Often times I feel alienated from the entire experience. And while I know that this is symptomatic of something deep inside of me and could be for a multitude of reasons one of which being sin and sin in my life. But one reason that is starkly apparant to me is that what we the church usualy incorporate into our worship are the hymns, psalms and experiences of another.
It is not a bad thing to use the written works or our brothers and sisters whether written in past history or in the present. In fact these are good, I think, for reflection and meditation. These pieces should provoke us to think on God, Christ, faith, confession and so on. But often I feel that I cannot identify with the songs or with the practice of standing and raising hands and so on. Usually I just want to sit still and think of God, reflect upon the words if I can and press in deep to him. This is how I worship sometimes. What is hard is that I feel like other people understand worship as coming together stand, sing a few songs that may be disembodied from their hearts and sit back down to listen to a sermon. I feel this because I used to do this. It was an unconscience belief that this is what "church" is. We go to "church" and do this. I disagree now.
I want to a part of a rich dynamic of communal expression in worship that goes beyond what we have thought church is and how we do church. I am not saying that I want to see music and songs done away with but rather I want to see and be a personal part of expressing worship to God with His people in personally creative ways in which a resonance with our experiences in life with God are realized and expressed. Creativity in the sense that something of our hearts is expressed towards God and His people that will provoke us to greater worship in song, in reflection leading towards confession and therefore greater holiness in our lives. For example, I would love to sit together as a people and read poetry that we have written. I would love to read my expression of my experience in my christian life in a confessional, lamentable, praise filled sort of way. Our practice as the church in history has been to read and recite psalms. These psalms also were expressions of the heart to God. They were cry's, laments, confessions, praises to God. We can identify with these things. I want to see us the church bring forth our fruits in confession and praise. I want to see song arise from "our" the local church that speaks of it's longings, fears, hope in God and praise to God. This is worship that I can identify with. I long for an experience with His people this way. But this will only happen if I as a member of the church fulfill my active role of serving my local community. I aim to do this somehow.

I would like to know what others think.

7.28.2005



How has and does Modern and Postmodern Philosophy Set the Theological Agenda? I have an understanding of this to a degree but desire greater depth. And since I cannot get the book I will have to be very intentional in seeking conversation on this with those who would be willing. I am trying to understand the epistemological /hermeneutical bearings that are employed to the theological agenda/bible reading, explication and therefore teaching. This is presently my focus in studies...please feel inclined to not leave me in this morass and join me if you have anything to say on this topic and question in particular.

7.26.2005

Does anyone have a copy of Nancey Murphy's Beyond Liberalism and Fundamentalism: How Modern and Postmodern Philosophy Set the Theological Agenda that they would be willing to let me borrow or keep?...hehe. Seriously.

7.22.2005

David Robinson had this posted on his site...I thought I would do the same.


PBS interview on the Emerging Church.



***************************

7.20.2005

Danae

If you know my wife Danae like I do than you will know that she possess' an uncanny ability to communicate in very unlikely terms. It is awesome. I cannot tell you how many things said by her that could go in a book of famous lines. I remember one time, and this one really stands out, although I cannot recall the context of our conversation I do remember her referring to the quintessential adage of old that speaks of using up time in idle fashion or avoidance as, "beaten the bush." I say no more to this one.

Well I had to post this one because the mental image that it leaves is beyond comedy.

Just after finishing my most recent post my lovely wife Danae calls me to the kitchen saying, "Migue, there's a bug!" I chuckled aloud knowing the beauty of my wifes little idiosyncratic behavior with "bugs", it's very cute. I walk into the kitchen and see her staring and pointing beneath the cupboards above our counter saying, "It's under there....it just went up through the crack...it's the same bug that I killed last time." "What did it look like?" I asked, and she replied, "It was long and it had antlers."

I cracked up. She is very cute.

This day in history July 20th,
1969 Neil Armstrong and Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin become the first men to walk on the moon.

1976 The Viking spacecraft lands on Mars and begins taking soil samples.

1981 Brandon Capuano the first Man/Hybrid was born. Studies conducted on Brandon on the day of his birth reveal that he is actually a part of the moon. Armstrong and Aldrin's journey to the moon in 1969 on the same date brought back core sample's of the moon which are of the same mineral composition as of the moon. This mineral is no where else to be found in recorded history. NASA and other scientists concluded that the soil brought back by the astronauts twelve years prior to the brith of Brandon Capuano was an embryo. This embryo or core sample was just thrown into the trash just after examination in the early 1970's. Later a local custodial engineer picked it up and planted it in his back yard next to his Redwood tree. Then on July 20th, 1981 Brandon was born. Doctors and all scientists of every field of research are still trying to find out why Brandon was born in Rochester, NY instead of in the Floridian back yard of the Maintenance man. Theories say that Brandon teleported himself to New York in a supernatural way.Whatever research uncovers will no doubt be nothing short of a mysterious anamoly.

A film directed by Chris Churchill entitled, "The Hybrid and his theology: A documentary into the life of Brandon Capuano and his Biblical doctrine of being a hybrid", will be out next summer in all IMAX theaters.

On July 15 and 19 Scotty Miller wrote on some things that resonate with me. This resonance has provoked me to think through these things that we share alike in a very helpful and needed way. I am very thankful for this. What I write below is an interaction with Scotty Millers recent posts. I write it here so that it will not be placed in a little blog comment box. The reason why is to see who other than Scotty and I also may resonate with this and interact with them to see what kind of creativity is about. For this to make sense you will need to read Scotty’s post’s on the above dates. Click on the Millerman.

Scotty said,

"I really don't want to miss this time with the kids. Even though I do struggle with being present and in the moment while I'm here I long to get better at this."

This is me also. I get overwhelmed at all that my mind is trying to wrap itself around. There is so much to think through that strikes me as essential and vital to communicate to our culture and to the body of Christ. Because of this there is a constant and unrelentingly restless gnawing in me that creates a conflict of interests. Time is so very precious and I need to learn to prioritize it better. I need to make the best use of time for the most important things. And for that I must be able to identify what "my thing" is too. I am certain as to what my thing is. It is now for me to work my energies with single minded devotion to these areas. As you say, time to pray and time to play as a family is essential. And this is one of the priorities that I need to structure from the inside of me out. This is not easy.

Scotty said,

"Nonacademic training is what I'm after then. What does that look like for me? I suppose we'll have to get creative. Could it be done in such a way as to enrich those existing and potential relationships? Hmm..."

This is exactly where the other priority lies for me like you. "Nonacademic training" is an interesting/amusing way to put it. Depending on what the training is that you speak about it does and will have a direct bearing and influence on existing and potential relationships. To make this be what it ought is a matter of perspective. Being able to pin-point what exactly is the foremost needed subject to give our undivided focus is going to bring the learning experience to be a fruitful one. To prioritize our interests in a systematic way will cater to our sanity and ability to be able to be communal as we are to be. And surely if our pursuits are not a means to being better communally in the Kingdom than as the Apostle Paul said, we’re just a sounding gong!

I have a plate full of subjects that I want to devote to in order to understand the beauty of the Kingdom of God and so that I may serve in the Kingdom better. But if my shelves are full with all the books pertaining to these interests it would be foolish of me to give myself to multiple subjects at once let alone to two. But this is what I do sometimes. And this turns me into a rubber ball. My mind is bouncing to and fro, here and there with no bearing; aimlessly filling my mind but unable to assimilate. In order for one to be a specialist, become proficient or an expert on a subject one needs to wholeheartedly devote oneself to that specific and delve into it in every degree possible. Hence, a “degree”. We need to be able to consciously assimilate and interact with what we give ourselves too. Otherwise it may only lead to information rather than transformation.

I recognize this now. I know that I need to concentrate hard on my subject and ask questions and talk and listen. I am going to attempt to do this now by identifying the subjects in order of importance or by the issue that undergirds them all. This is how I am going to systematize my studies. To take our areas of focus seriously much as a student in an institution of learning would and should than we will reap the same desired results. If we can use time constructively by giving ourselves to our families as we should in praying and playing and not be encumbered with other leisurely hobby like interests than we should be “degreed” in a fluent and respectable way. By respectable I mean that if we pursue are studies judiciously and scholarly than it will prove itself. Our local churches need to be proactive in being institutions of learning that are provocative and stimulating. This will only happen if and when the members (clergy and laity) of these churches seek to learn and to engage with the Christian communities thinkers and bring the collective thinking to bear upon these local’s. This is a necessary reformation for the church.

Go tell it on the mountain!! Massiel is blogging again!!

Forget talk about Supreme Court Justices and CIA operatives cover's being blown; A Cuban in Michigan married to a Mexican named Jesus is on the scene!!!

woooooooooh!!

7.18.2005

C'mon!

Who out there is familiar with the work of Stanley J. Grenz? By familiar I mean nominal to a thorough understanding of his books. I have read Beyond Foundationalism and A Primer on Postmodernism in conjunction with John R. Franke's Reforming Theology thesis. I am looking to see what is next in the developing stage in regards to the proposal that have already been set forth in Beyond Foundationalism and Franke's essay. What does this theology look like or something akin to this is what I am looking for. I know Grenz has many books like Renewing the Center, Revisioning Evangelical Theology, 20th Century Theology and Theology for the Community of God. I just don't want to read what may be redundant to what has of late been set forth already. I am not saying that it would not be beneficial in reading the books listed. I just want to know if what I am looking for is developed in these. And because these works predate Beyond Foundationalism and Franke's essay I assume not needing to read them. Is this wrong? Any suggestions or comments? I am hoping that Franke's The Character of Theology will be worthwhile in the direction of the development of what is being called a post-foundational or post-evangelical.

C'mon hit me with something.....Riley, David, Chewbaca, anyone?

For those who are new to these terms, dont be afraid and don't assume that the church is being lost in a sea of relativistic plurality. Christianity is not being undermined...just in process; as it always has been. And I don't mean something "new" in a process as in that it is necessarilly done away with the "old". But a different approach. Key word here is approach.


Dude, the other nite Danae and I had a relative of this beautiful streak of light hangin out at our bedroom window while we tried to sleep....his name was thunder. And thunder was very obnoxious. He stood right outside our window rippen, pounden and cracken. I think thunder very much exhibits his beauty in sound and compensates much for what he cannot exhibit like his sister Lightning.......thanks for hangin out and not waken up the boys.

7.17.2005

"China to send pig sperm to space!"

what the ----?

I have gotten rid of Haloscan and introduced blogger's comments.....hopefully there will be no problems with this one. All of my former comments are now no longer living........(can you hear the taps playing?)

7.16.2005

Haloscan which does my comments has been acting funny lately. For some reason my post from this morning has removed my comment by Shannon and my response. I hate this....

I am probably going to get rid of Haloscan and go to the "blogger" comments.

Sorry.

Joshua and I webcasted a live session of Laymen Lounge once again last nite. It was a continuation of our discussion on theological development. Joshua took the time to give a scriptural justification on his present emphasis "the objectivity of the covenant." I am sure anyone who listens to the scriptural justification will find an appropriate biblical and balanced view on the salvific particularities that Reformed Theology has presented to the church throughout history. Also, we had open lines and took some calls. One by John Williams (the man with no blog) and a surprise phone call by none other than Chewbaca the Wookie.
What does election, the visible/invisible church and assurance of salvation have to do with this? Listen to Theological Development II and see what the objectivity of the covenant has to say.

7.10.2005

Joshua and I re-recorded our topical conversation on "theological development." This one was much more engaging and specific to where we are and what our present focus consists of. If you are interested in listening click on the link below to the website of Laymen Lounge and scroll down to the session of "Theological Development."


Laymen Lounge; Theological Development

7.04.2005

~A note about my recent post below~

After re-reading my most recent post it occured to me that what I wrote about a "humble engagement" gives the impression as if it is a new insight for the christian community. I use the word "proposed" and it just struck me as a wrong choice of words. I offer this disclaimer before reading below.
Being quick to listen and slow to speak is the admonition of God to his people. The only thing that I attempt to offer for the art of listening and learning making no pretense that I am the model artist of such thing, is to suggest that we as a people look at the failure of our thinking and the consequence for the failure. So in place is offered a hermenuetic or approach to knowledge or an approach to listening and inquiring.

“Quick to listen……slow to speak”. An issue needing addressing before the other issues are.

In the community of the body of Christ, there is one dominant godly characteristic that often is not exhibited and therefore lacking. The characteristic of which I speak is the mark of humble engagement. I will explain. Humble engagement is the virtue of discoursing with others on whatever topic or subject matter with no other agenda but to seek mutual understanding. This involves an ability to identify our own presuppositions and persuasions and to view others, specifically those contrary to our own, not with suspicion, but with nothing other than to seek an understanding of the issues being presented. Humble engagement takes into consideration that we in and of ourselves are not perfect and do not possess infallible knowledge.
What has been influential to me lately, is an approach to inquiry called the “hermeneutic of finitude” and the “hermeneutic of suspicion.” This is the foundation for the proposed “humble engagement”. Our approach to understanding a matter should (assuming we embrace seeking the truth) be fixed on the “meditation on the meaning of human created-ness and human fallen-ness.” 1. This vantage point of thinking assumes that we are all in constant process of the development in learning and becoming.
While we all dearly hold to views that shape the way we think and live, it is important to know that we have not fully arrived to the time where, “we will know as we are known.” In the past, I have not engaged in the proper pursuit of truth. And I still am learning how to converse with others of different views in a way that is honoring to listening for the truth. I have betrayed the spirit of a truth seeker and have quickly judged and written off others with their views and attempts in communicating to me. This is a very, very sad place for anyone to be in, and more specifically the church.
When those who are communicating to others their thoughts on a matter, the other is being pre-judiciously closed to really engage in humble dialogue. We have a pre-judgment about the issues involved when we have not fully heard the matter. A red flag goes up in our heads, telling us, “were not in agreement about this” and instantly assumes, or pre-judges thinking, “your wrong, I’m right!” In doing this we do not seek the truth of a matter in an honest way that says, “there may be something to what your saying that I am missing and need to understand.” This is humble engagement. Where there is the lack of this virtue there is also being bred a polarization between peoples. Isolation occurs. This diminishes our appropriation of community in the kingdom of God before the consummation of all things. This is detrimental to our relationships and to our God ordained community of the body of Christ.
I admit, that while the prospect of finding a mutual agreement seems impossible on an issue where one person is dogmatic, and the other is unconvinced or finding the issue relative. But it still is our calling and our admonishment to extend our best efforts to communicate why we think such ways and try to uncover each of our own presuppositions that we bring to the discussion. Fidelity to maintaining the “unity of the spirit in the bond of peace” albeit the peace of Christ is an endeavor where we as a people of God must agonizingly strive for.

Citation:
1. Merold Westphal, Overcoming Onto-theology (cited in John R. Franke’s essay Reforming Theology: Toward a Postmodern Reformed Dogmatics)

7.02.2005

A must read if you have not.

Presently reading an article by Peter Enns who is Associate Professor of Old Testament at Westminster Theological Seminary that may be of interest to many out there. Click on title for direct link.

"Apostolic Hermeneutics And An Evangelical Doctrine Of Scripture: Moving Beyond A Modernist Impasse."

Riley I remember a conversation you and I had last summer at a Borders Bookstore in which you mentioned something of the subject matter that is also discussed in this article. Very good stuff.

Here are some qoute's, "in the same way that grammatical-historical exegesis is vital for our understanding the words of the biblical authors, a hermeneutical-historical approach is vital for our understanding of the hermeneutics of biblical authors. In other words, we must extend what is implied in grammatical-historical exegesis, the principle that original context matters, to the world of apostolic hermeneutics."

"My impression as to why the dabate over Second Temple influence on the NT authors continues is not because the facts are in serious question (although they should always continue to be thought through), but because these facts cause difficulties for a doctrine of Scripture that modern evangelicalism has constructed for itself."

"An understanding of the hermeneutical practices of the Apostles must be undertaken first and foremost by studying" the "evidence. This will lead, I hope, to an articulation of a doctrine of Scripture that Scripture is better prepared to support, rather than one that drives us to explain away what is in fact the case. A doctrine of Scripture that can account for the historical-hermeneutical setting of the Apostles, indeed, a doctrine of Scripture for which apostlic hermeneutics is a central component, will need to move beyond conventional modes of explanation."


Also, a book was just recently published by him entitled "Inspiration And Incarnation: Evangelicals And The Problem Of The Old Testament"

From Grand Rapids to Indianapolis and thinking I know it all to knowing I know very little......


Being brought up in what is at best labeled an ultra-nominally catholic home I was able to be exposed to a form of religion. My father did not worship but did attend mass with my mother if I can recall one time throughout mine and my sister Massiel’s childhood. My mother was the main source of sending us to a Catholic school for our education which involved attending mass every Tuesday. I celebrated my first communion when I was 11 or 12 years old. But through all of this my education into Catholicism was meager. All I new was that there was Jesus dying on a cross and there were his men called the Apostles. I remember reciting the Apostle’s creed and praying the rosary but that is all it was; recitation and action. But I thank God that I was surrounded by His name from an early age. The fact that there was a form of veneration towards the God of the Bible in my early age was a blessing….Fast forwarding through my high school years where I gave myself to the common pursuits of a hedonistic life I wind up graduating with a sense of no identity. From high school to the Factory I was but not without the companionship of my old New Age buddy Ram Dass’ books (of which now I do not recommend reading unless you want to be a New Ager). He gave me a very temporal satisfaction to my spiritual longings to the point I would go, “OMMM” . Up to this point in my life however detached I was from truth my theological development boiled down to that of, “….there is a God, and it’s not me.”After meeting the men who set a trajectory of following Christ for me in ‘98 I began to read the New Testament and than on began the journey into the simply extraordinary…to the incredibly complex and pain’s producing realm of theological studies. The church did not tell me of it’s theological smorgasboard. The only theology I thought the church possessed was the “rapture!”In a span of six years I went from a dispensationl arminian (woooooooh…I love labels!!!!) to getting married, moving from the beauty of Grand Rapids, MI and it’s wonderful scapes 40 minutes west of there towards Lake Michigan unto the largely populated mix of Indianapolis, IN and my semi-concrete jungle neighborhood to becoming something of a post-millennial Calvinist reformed dude. From Chuck Smith’s biblical expositions, Charles Spurgeon, Ray Comfort’s use of the Law in “evangelism” to John MacArthur Jr.’s Lordship polemics and detailed expository works and other of the great classic reformed thinkers and becoming well steeped into the realm of polemical issues in the church from soteriology, eschatology, theonomy, paedo/credo baptism, the question of hermenuetics, “emergent” thinking and back to simple spiritual formation with a desire to understand the possibility of having some kind of ecumenicissm in the church. (Get ready for another one of my notorious big fat run-ons!!) While the issues above are of interest to me and have a bearing upon my quest for spiritual applications my strongest urges are in the questions and thoughts that have been and are still being developed in the arena of hermenuetics (and it’s theological counterpart), embracing spiritual formation as worship and seeing worship as a community and in a corporate gathering become conversant with all of redemptive history and making it rich to myself and others, identifying my presuppositions and moving onward towards the fulfillment of roles within my life as a husband, father, churchmen, son, friend, neighbor and employee.On the forefront of my list of thinkers involve men like Stanley Grenz, John Franke and Robert Webber.There is an identified point of common interest that I hold with these men and like thinkers that are offering solid provocative discussion for the church. The content of which opens the door for a myriad questions that is beneficial to the church. My desire is to move beyond label's (labeling myself calvinist, reformed or what have you) and worship with the people of Yahweh God through Jesus Christ in a rich transformational way (as if there is any other alternative in worship) while reaching to fulfill my role's as a human being now realized and then die happy. But on the path towards that is an adventurous journey that the Sovereign God has made for us all ranging with experiences high and low and not void of intense drama. So let’s turn off our t.v.’s and live the real drama of the journey of God’s redemption.

And ensues the dialouge…….

6.29.2005

On one of my recent postings I used the word "fricken." Now from the moment that I typed that I thought to myself, "Migue, you don't like using that word, why are you typing it?" Yeah, I know Migue, your right, I do not like that word for the obvious reason, namely it is the alternative word for are ever popular obtuse and profane expletive the F--- Bomb.
I never liked frick for that reason. I hate the F-Bomb. Even in the mindless context of using it when it has nothing to do with what it means like saying, "Man dude, that movie was so awesome!" (insert in place of "Man" and "so" the "F-Bomb", except where the "F-Bomb" for "so" goes add the suffix 'ing' to the "F-bomb" and you'll know what I mean.)
Now while I hate the F-Bomb, I must admit that when it is used in the mindless context as above, it really cracks me up. It just strikes me as hillarious.
So all this I write to say that the reason I used "fricken" was to stress in a forceful but comic way my expression of being overwhelmed. I right this for my sake more than anything cause when I see the word "fricken," I keep hearing myself say, "I don't even like that word."

I know..I know, but it's just one of those "things." But I need to take this thing serious. I am an adult....yes, I know you may be thinking, "Sure he can grow a beard but he's really not an adult." But no really I am an adult. I am an adult with children. And now more than ever I am becoming more and more conscience of those things that are not good examples of an "adult" to my children or anyone else's for that matter. I have no justification for using that term in front of my children or anyone else.

I once read on a plaque,

"PROFANITY...........the effort of a feeble mind trying to express itself forcefully."

I think this is partially correct. The plaque was posted in the carpentry shop where whom the man that led me to Christ worked in. Contextually the definition was right for Lee heard people all the time using expletives of all sorts to express themselves in a forcefully and/or otherwise manner. Lee used this plaque to communicate to people in a loving way the state of mindless adaptation of the senseless and inappropriate ways of using vocabulary. So contextually speaking his definition was accurate. But the other is that the word Profane speaks to that which is irreverant and blasphemous. Any irreverant speach is that which is not glorifying to God, especially in using immorally ideaological thought forms.

I don't want my son's or anyone else's children have to try to speak using terms that are indentifiable with profanity. We or them shouldn't have to use the inappropriate to speak forcefully. There are alternatives.

So if you found my use of "fricken" funny, as I wanted it to be percieved lets "hahaha" and chuckle. But that's it. What's done is done. No more. I will not use "frick" any longer. My conscience is in agreement with this.

And now for the weather.....

Comments!!!

A word of note: for some odd reason my comments indicator does not read correctly. So while there may be two or three comments in a selected posting the indicating number in paranthesis is only reading (1). So please for the sake of the potential on going dialouge with your comments check these "comments" periodically to see if I have responded or what not. David Robinson being one fellow I have responded too that is not correctly indicated.

6.28.2005

So much to think about and what little time and energy we have for it.

I don't know about you, but when I see the myriad of books out there that I am interested in, the stuff that I really want to think about I get overwhelmed..... I mean, fricken overwhelmed. I really do. And always what comes to mind is O' King Solomon saying, "Of making many books there is no end; and much study wearies the body."......What? Man dude, Solomon was talkin to me. Although, he may well just of said, "Of making many books there is no end, and just looking at them all will take your breath away, or worse; it may make you feel like giving up."

6.26.2005

Well, well, well says my soul.
My third attempt to publish Friday evenings event was successful. Thank you computer for cooperating. Thank you to the electrical system of my house for not "rebooting" if that's what you call what you do.
And I give God thanks for granting me the opportunity to do this without painting the walls of my house with dents and laptop juice. I have had bad episodes with my temper in the past and it hasn't shown it's ugly face in a long time and I was afraid that it might just happen if it were to happen again that I would think through, type this out and loose it.

Read below Brewing Theology to see what murphy's law was trying to oppress!

Brewing Theology

There is something special about the crafting chemistry of making stuff. A lot of stuff is made. And chemistry is involved with making everything. Matter mixed, elements combined equals stuff. Some of the best stuff that the hands of chemistry has produced is in the realm of cooking and brewing. For example, my father-in-law Damon, whom I call “Paw” is an excellent cook in the southern tradition. He experiments often with different styles and produces good ‘stuff.’ I love to eat his cooking. There is an art to cooking and also an art in appreciating and savoring food. Another one of my favorite things that the hands of chemistry have made is in the realm of brewery. Beer especially. Lager. Stouts. Ale’s, all of it. To take the things of the earth and make something as tastefully earthy as a Guiness or a Killians or a Michigan brewed Oberon and many of the fine brews out there is a wonderful thing. Some people may associate forms of alcohol (I say forms of alcohol because we also use a form of alcohol for the use of sterilizing and cleaning things), with sin. To say that alcohol is sin, or the use of alcohol is sin is like saying that eating swine or eating pig in the form of bacon is sin. Let us not be glutton’s and let us not be drunkards! With that said, the chemistry of brewery is a wonderful one. I enjoy the by product of master brewer’s.
This past Friday evening was a very pleasurable evening enjoying the works of chemistry and doing chemistry. I and eight other men, one of them being my new pastor in the faith sat around two circling tables atoped with two large baskets of Nachos Nuevo and our favorite imports at Applebee’s and engaged in some good ‘ole camaraderie! It would have been a crown to the evening if Merry and Pippen were there dancing on top of tables singin there hearts out with their pints!
Introductory comments, remarks and conversations revolved around San Antonio’s recent championship victory (which I might add was one of the best NBA playoff final series I have seen in a long while), Batman Begins, Land of the Dead (of which I retract my commenting on the then fact of desiring to see this film. Although I enjoyed Romero’s past works in the Dead series I cannot bring myself to see his recent and more than likely final installment ‘Land of the Dead’. I have no justification to see a film anymore of which I know beforehand that has sexually illicit, suggestive content and scores of potent blasphemy)……and getting drunk back in the day when lack of restraint and respect for the things of earth ran rampant in our lives.
What ensued after introductory dialogue and probably after our first of second rounds of drinks and cashing out the baskets of bought for you by Roger Williams Nacho’s Nuevo was the beginning of a thoroughgoing conversation that was mentally engaging and intellectually stimulating. Applied Theology was what we were all after. Talking about Evangelicalism’s present preoccupation with an atonement-centered gospel ex., “Avoid Hell…..Repent…..Trust Jesus Today..” but not limited thereto, and the need for a, albeit the biblical account of redemption as a whole. A redemption that addresses not fire insurance, as though salvation is only about going to heaven when you die, but rather a redemption of reality itself. The Kingdom of God coming into our broken and devastated world and lives and recreating all things new through the power of the birth, life, death, resurrection and present priestly intercession of Christ for his creation through his seated place at the right hand of God and his Spirit embodied in his church. A suggestion of the Christus Victor model of the gospel paved our dialogue’s path towards asking what it might look like for a community of faith that embraces our history of redemption (church history, historical theological developments and their implications for today) as a whole in an ecumenical way while serving our neighborhoods and cities. We began to sift through some presuppositions which led me to recognize or remember from Burke’s suggestion of 'mental models' in his book Making Sense of Church that we are in need of an examination of our mental models to see if we are aligned properly with the gospel as it is communicated in the scriptures or trying to replay 16th century church history as the sole defining point of redemptive history worth repeating.
Many things were said and not developed. Which is nice because for those of us taking mental note look forward to raise these things up again and see what develops throughout our conversation. And dominating in all of this talk is the hopes for an edification to take place that will result in bringing forth fruit unto righteousness.
I am stoked at the fact that Roger Williams and Mike Spencer are both involved in reading Grenz and Franke’s book Beyond Foundationalism. I have been wanting some comrades in the reading of this book for a very long time. Roger and Mike I look forward to discuss this book and it’s vein of subjects with the both of you.

Below I have posted some of the books that have been influential to me and are of a foundational contribution to the awareness of the subjects of what has already taken place in our begun conversation. Note, that the dialogue and the distillery of thinking through books, study and meditation are far from limited to these alone.

John R. Franke, Reforming Theology: Toward a Postmodern Reformed Dogmatics Clicking on this link will take you to the page that has a (PDF) link for this said title. Just scroll down and look under resources.
Robert Webber, The Younger Evangelical's
Robert Webber, Ancient Future Faith
Gustaf Aulen, Christus Victor (I have not read this one but look forward to it. It was cited many times in Webber’s, Ancient Future Faith.)
Stanley Grenz and John R. Franke, Beyond Foundationalism

I see blood.....




My second attempt to publish a lengthy commentary on Friday evening has been supplanted once again by the frequent and almost daily power shortages that our home experience. Just after spending time thinking and trying to articulate about the evening and than spell-checking the power goes out. AGAIN....I lost it all.

I see red.

I see blood.

But computers don't bleed.

I still see red.

I don't know if I am to post anything on this past Friday evening. I do not know if I am going to attempt anymore. I am really, really frustrated. This is not funny at all.

And of course you will read this. This will be published. Of course. It doesnt take a long time to think about and write!!!!!!

Red all around me...

6.25.2005

When all else fails, Danae is still my wife....

Roses are red.....Violets are blue.........Danae is my wife.....

Danae is sleeping. Danae is awake. Danae is eating. Danae is not eating. Danae is Danae. Danae is my wife......

Danae is Beautiful. Danae is sweet. Danae makes good turkey burgers and fries. Danae is a good mom. Danae works really, really, really hard. Danae is my wife.....

It is a depressingly frustrating experience when you completely lose everything you spent time on thinking and writing about. This just happened to me.

6.22.2005

Game 7 baby!!!

Joshua, get that Cinnabon readied and drizzeled, I'ma hungreh!!

6.18.2005

Currently reading many books at one time (but that isn't really new news), working lot's of hours (which is very good...time and a half baby~!), hangin out with my family and feeling sorry for Riley Kern's face.

Reading:
O Palmer Robertson, The Christ of the Covenants
Goheen & Bartholomew, The Drama of Scripture
Grenz & Franke, Beyond Foundationalism
Arterburn and Stoeker, Every Man's Battle
Michael Yaconelli, Messy Spirituality
Dallas Willard, Renovation of the Heart
Eugene Peterson's, The Message

Currently incorporating ourselves at Grace & Peace fellowship.

Currently looking forward....
to an evening with some men from Grace & Peace on June 24th over some good food, drink and stimulating conversation.

to hang out with my brother-in-law Joshua and talk about covenant theology, eschatological views and their influence upon our spiritual formation.

to toss frisbee with anyone capable of running for it! Anybody out there wanna toss one?

seeing my boys call me "papi" and Danae "mami".

a phone call from the United States Postal Service offering me a full-time permanent job.

6.12.2005

Life is an adventure filled with many events, circumstances and seasons. The current path on which I tread is filled with an awareness that I hope will never leave me but that will produce in me the fruits of Christ. I have seen this season bring out in me the worst I have seen in a long time. Struggles with sins that I long ago thought were overcome have resurfaced and have gripped me at times with violence. My attitude towards the daily "things" of our lives has become poor with impatience, bitterness and a temper that is ugly.
I have gotton disgusted with myself at times to the point that I hate seeing my face or how I look that I would shave off my beard so that I at least feel like I look like someone else on the outside. And of course this does no help to the soul.

I have become the proverbial frog in the pot.

In the past I have handled the stresses of a world and community that many times does not know how to handle the truth with feelings of great angst, confusion, frustration and lament. My inability to cope with these stresses in an appropriate Godward fashion have led me to the downgrade. Slowly, increment by increment time worked against me. And rightfully so.
Substitues offered and taken. Exposing myself to those things which are obviously destructive and to those things that would offer me no nourishment of soul. Thus leaving me verily starved and left unto eating from my own storehouses of toxicity. "lean not unto your own understanding...."
The effects of which ripple to every role of mine. Effecting all that is around me. Slowly wearing those whom I love and those that need to be loved.

And so now ensues [again] recovery. repentance. renovation. As a way of life. Fully aware. But yet not totally aware.

"Remind me of this with every decision; generations will reap what I sow. I could pass on a curse or a blessing to those I will never know." -Sara Groves

6.11.2005

Many good things to say about the late Yaconelli's influential writing,

"I don't believe in spiritual growth.
Maybe I should clarify.
I don't believe in what most people [mean] by spiritual growth. Spritiual growth has become an industry, a system, a set of principles, formulas, training programs, curricula, books, and tapes which, if followed promise to produce maturity and depth. Most of these programs are made up of the same ingredients: prayer, Bible study, service and community. Duh. Authentic growth doesn't happen overnight. It can't be reduced to a formula (take some verses, wash down with a couple of prayers, and call me in the morning).
Yes, a regimen of prayer, Bible study, service and community can and will contribute to spiritual growth, but that's like saying milk, vegetables, and chicken will contribute to my physical growth. Physical and spiritual growth cannot be reduced to mechanics. I'm all for getting the mechanics right, but spiritual growth is more than a procedure; it's a wild search for God in the tangled jungle of our souls, a search which involves a volatile mix of messy reality, wild freedom, frustrating stuckness, increasing slowness, and a healthy dose of gratitude......the kind of spiritual growth that begins with desire, not guilt; passion, not principles; desperation, not obligation...to grow by traveling the road of failure, frustration, and surprise."

Michael Yaconelli, Messy Spirituality: God's Annoying Love for Imperfect People. Pg. 88
Italics mine


Also, thank you Chris and Laura Churchill and Brandon and Shannon Capuano for a wonderful evening of good dialouge, laughter, pizza, ale and love. It was very good for us.

Peace

5.17.2005

To whom it may concern....

As of today I no longer will be using my cell phone. The phone with the number will now be assumed by my brother-in-law Nathan Cloud. If you want to reach me please call my home phone number from now on. Or if you want to talk to Nathan Cloud just call that same cell phone number which you formerly used to speak with me.
Nathan is a funny man. So if you call that number you may have a good time, or you may not.
Nathan may not appreciate getting calls all the time from strangers. But this does not change the fact that I think he is a funny man.

Peace

4.28.2005

Mesaphoto's has been updated!

4.23.2005

I have been working for Kirby-Risk now for two weeks driving 24 footers delivering electrical supplies on the southwest side all the way to Monrovia to Franklin and in between. The work is simple. I arrive at the hub, route my deliveries, assemble a manifest, verify contents for delivery in the truck which is pre-loaded by the third shift, perform a pre-trip inspection on the truck and off I go. Than it's just driving. And driving. I arrive at the stops either to back into a receiving dock or just park somewhere and delivery, get a signature and get back on the road for more driving. I enjoy it. A lot of scenic driving since I venture into the country which makes for a nice get away from the concrete jungle I live in. The money is decent. A the potential for benefits will arise after so many hours of employment which is around 520 hrs. Not bad. That will get me to August or so.
In the mean time I am studying for battery test 473 for the United States Postal Service...oooooh! I applied for them in February and just received notice for the exam date which is May 5th at 1 pm. The money and benefits there are excellent so if I can land this job it will be very good for the Mesa fam.
I have not been able to read much lately. Time to do this is very, very sparse and broken at best.
Our search for christian community is difficult. We have not been to a local gathering since last July or August and we dearly miss it. I don't know what to do. Having our boys is tuff work. We don't want to go somewhere and just drop'em off in the infant room. We want to sit with our children and engage in communal gathering as a family. The boys are just over six months now so they are getting more manageable by the day but it is still tuff. But I am hoping that something will be happening soon. I have thought about checking out First Baptist once again but the trek up there is too much for us. We need to find something here in our local. Mr. Bean if you are reading this could you tell me the name of that local over here on the east side that you once spoke about? I misplaced the website and forgot the name.
Gotto go.....Asher is being a happy meal!

4.17.2005

provoking..........Riley's place.

4.13.2005

It has been quite sometime since I last posted. I find it almost impossible to find time to get on the computer to read and write nowadays. Our boys are growing like canadian thistles and it takes all of my time between working outside, inside the home and with the boys. I have been able to read some of you lately and I just want to say that I miss you all and keep writing!
Joshua Cloud has some provocative things he writes about on his blog and I am sure would be worth talking about. The Mesa's are heading out to Grand Rapids this afternoon and we wont be back till Sunday so feel free to break into our house and raid the refrigerator and clean Bubby's poop-box out! I will be 28 years on this earth tomorrow at 12:13 PM and my beautiful sister Massiel will be wed to Jesus Miguel Flores this Saturday; this will be a Cuban/Mexican merge, wooooooooh!!! Viva los hispanos!! Lotsa festivities going on!!!
The Peace of God be with you all.

Apparantly according to this questionaire this is where my thinking lies within the christian community. I found it difficult and frustrating to answere some questions. I believe some questions did not give enough options to answere them so by default there will be an innacurate calculation. Anyway it is amusing to do this and provides for good discussion. Share your results with me if you will by email through gmail. I am interested in where anyone else is at.

I got the link for this questionaire from Josh Spears. Thanks Josh.

1: Eastern Orthodox (100%)
2: Lutheran (94%)
3: Anglican/Episcopal/Church of England (88%)
4: Presbyterian/Reformed (85%)
5: Congregational/United Church of Christ (79%)
6: Roman Catholic (73%)
7: Baptist (Reformed/Particular/Calvinistic) (69%)
8: Church of Christ/Campbellite (67%)
9: Pentecostal/Charismatic/Assemblies of God (61%)
10: Methodist/Wesleyan/Nazarene (52%)
11: Anabaptist (Mennonite/Quaker etc.) (39%)
12: Baptist (non-Calvinistic)/Plymouth Brethren/Fundamentalist (35%)
13: Seventh-Day Adventist (20%)"

3.01.2005

Breaking News......Long hours of work are conducive to accurate diagnosis'!
Read diagnosis by Riley.

2.26.2005

Due to Danae's involvement working with renowned motion picture director Martin Scorsese on his production of "Pie Pie" a psychological thriller which will be out in theaters summer of '05 she has been and will continue to be unavailable for blogging and correspondence of any sort. All correspondence will be handled by and through her husband and manager Miguel Angel Mesa.
Be sure to look for the trailer which has footage of her handling three bottles at once with the flipper in her right hand and the phone pressed to her ear! Choreography for this scene was done by Marital artist Tong-Po.
Tong-Po is best known for directing martial arts choreography in and starring as Jean Claude Van Dam's opponent in the post-busting picture "Kickboxer."
And yes! Tong-Po still has a shaved head with a thick long locking pony tail protruding from the back of his skull. Your awesome Tong-Po!! And Danae your classic for working with Scorsese and Po at the same time. Keep up the great work!

Post-production film critics are saying,

"..."Pie Pie" is an intense urinary bladder bursting experience of epic proportions......Cecil B. Demill would be impressed!!"
John Stockton, former Utah Jazz player

"...I had to hold my bladder the entire time, I mean literally hold it with my hands to prevent bursting,I didn't want to miss a thing!!"
Wayne Grudem, author of Systematic Theology

"Danae B. Mesa is sure to make her mark in motion picture history. This is her debut work and is already being hailed master multi-tasked maiden!"
Robert J. Landendorf, CEO of Mawell House

"I got a urinary tract infection just reading the script!"
Iam A. Pressupositional, professor of Epistemological Studies at Sir
Kern University, Melbourn, Australia

"...well yeah, of course I like hamburgers...."
Stuart I. Piplaxswitch, author of Psychological Thrillers and the Urinary Phenomenon.

Thoughts on the Sufficiency of Scripture: What it does and doesn't mean.
by John Piper

2.14.2005

Miguel; the redirector
some reading that I am looking forward to see develop by it's proponents and adherents.

For those interested I direct you to my friend Riley Kern's February 13th post in which he links two publishings by Josh Spears and their accompanied comments. I found the reading therein to be very helpful to sift through some views and/or presuppositions and also to see what others are thinking about the "emergent". Also you should identify in reading more developments in regards to Gregory of Nyssa's qoute previously posted. While the dialouge is not conclusive it certainly is developing and progressive.
For myself I tend to be on the fringe of the conversation. I am learning what I can from being exposed to writings and rants. So to me these links are very appreciative. I hope to better identify why I am reading what I am reading and inclined to.

and in semi-conjunction with the above.......

Joshua Cloud my dearly beloved brother-in-law is a man whose thoughts I love to read. He has some rants and interesting takes and comments on some issues so far for February. I redirect you to the blog of Joshua Cloud.

semper reformanda

2.05.2005

"Concepts create idols. Only wonder understands."

Gregory of Nyssa, 4th century

***********************************************************************************

After I had published this post a good Oklahoma friend reflected upon this qoute by Gregory. His reflections are worthy of reading. I believe his reflection develops what "good ol' Greg of Nyssa" was saying in principle. { Riley's reflection }

We miss you OklaKern.

1.19.2005

On sabbatical.

1.06.2005

a brief word

Lately I have been thinking that I have given myself to too much of reading things that are of interest to me but that are not necessarily in the direction to which I need to concentrate on. It is because of this that I may be ceasing from reading and or just conversing through blogs or what have you. I greatly enjoy looking into the lives of friends and beyond through your writings and although I still may occasionally stop in and read I may or may not be commenting or involving myself in dialouge.
I have a host of books that are on my shelf that presently involve my present research and I must give myself to this undividedly. It is because of this that I may not involve myself in conversations.
Sometime in the future I will be writing about some of the things that are at the center of my attention and is requiring my concentrative efforts.
So take this post to be notice for a sabbatical of some sort.
Love you all. Keep pressing through unto the Kingdom with violence!

May God honor and bless our efforts in seeking Him.
Miguel




1.04.2005

I like what this article, "Was this wrath?" offered in perspective torwards the tsunami tragedy, the earth and the gospel hope and witness.
Also another article that I found over in Bill Bean's place written by Sir N. T. Wright on the same subject. Check it out........"In the new world there will be no more seas."