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.


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! :)


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...