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.


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.


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.


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

PBS interview on the Emerging Church.




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!!!




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.


"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?)


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.


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.


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


~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.

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


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…….