12.27.2007

A series on "God's Rivals"

"If the true God is the Father of Jesus Christ, why did this God permit the rise and flourishing of other religions? The two options that have shaped much of the conversation are not nuanced enough: the fundamentalist view that equates the religions with the demonic and the religious relativist view that sees religions are equally true and false, each only approximating the divine."


Be sure to check this important discussion that will develop on this issue. As usual McKnight covers a chapter of a book with a post.

"God's Rivals 1"

12.25.2007

He came...


...into this world.

Our world.

A world with Aids, Cancer, Mental Illness, Addictions, Poverty, Fraud, Rape, Theft, Murder, Genocide, Familial Breakdown, Lies, Hidden Agendas of Greed and Will to Power, Abortion, Infidelity, Slavery, Ethnic Hostilities, Sexual Perversion...A World with Unbridled Consumption, Impatience, Self-Mutilation, Textual Violence, Inequitable Distribution of Resources, Intellectual Imperialism, Awful Secrets, Wicked Intentions, Slow to Listen, Quick to Wrath, Resistant to Wisdom...

He came to His own people, and we did not want Him...
He came to that which He made, which belonged to Him, and it rejected Him...

This He came to.

We the church, are thankful that He came into this.
We are thankful and we do rejoice that He came into this world of our own making...
We give thanks that He came into our world of Idol-making to make for us something New.


"But whoever did want him, who believed he was who he claimed and would do what he said, He made to be their true selves, their child-of-God selves." The Message

He came to His world...to "become what we are, that He might bring us to be even what He is Himself."
:: Irenaeus

This is Christmas...and because of the Incarnation merriment in a world such as this can be ours.

As I read today's news headlines I notice that nothing changes. Today when many open gifts and enjoy good food and the laughter and tickling that comes with being with our families and friends the world local and abroad is still overtaken by great tragedy and loss. And because what is written above, I have deep in my heart a quiet thanks to God for coming into this world...where He does dwell in and with our tragedy and loss making it His own as well.

"It's a good thing to quietly hope, quietly hope for help from God." Lamentations 3:26

Merry Christmas friends::

12.23.2007

Because of the Incarnation merriment is ours

May the gift of grace given to all creation by Yahweh be treasured...

May the act of God drawing near to us be pondered...

May the unprecedented nexus of cosmological revolution capture our imaginations in the born child who became the man; Yeshu'a :: Jesus: "Yahweh saves"...

"Look, the virgin shall concieve and bear a son, and they shall name him Emmanuel,' which means, 'God is with us' "
The Gospel of St. Matthew 1:23

Christ is our hope...Christ is our promise of

life

beauty

justice

wholeness

& unlimited possibility...
...you Lord have and are restoring us back unto you.

"But following the only true and steadfast Teacher, the Word of God...
our Lord Jesus Christ, who did, through His transcendent love, become what we are, that He might bring us to be even what He is Himself."
-Irenaeus

12.22.2007

Peter is Blogging

"I have heard it said more than once that the contemporary West has more in common with the paganism of 1st century Palestine–where there was no “Christian subculture” to complicate things–than with the America of our parents. I think this is true, and this is the world into which we as Christians are called to speak. This will involve some risk, some discomfort, some moments of “tearing down” and “building up,” both our own views as well as those of others."

Read the entire post

12.11.2007

Keep it goin'

peace in...

In his theological treatment (notice that one cannot treat theology without doing theology) entitled, "The Character of Theology: An Introduction to its Nature, Task and Purpose", author and associate professor of theology and chair of the faculty at Biblical Theological Seminary; John R. Franke writes, "the nature of theology is an ongoing, second-order, contextual discipline...and the unending task of theology is to find ways of expressing and communicating the biblical story in terms that make use of the intellectual and conceptual tools of a particular culture without being controlled by them." (italics mine)

While not going into unpacking details of the above quote and assuming most students of theology can get a rudimentary idea of what it says I proceed onward with the old Latin dictum...

"theologia reformata semper reformanda"

English? Reformed theology is always reforming.

This principle is unique. Though the dictum speaks of "Reformed Theology" the idea is not exclusively employed by the Reformed camp alone. Most of the church has espoused to this general truth (either in theory and/or practice) as a necessary reality of God's word becoming "incarnate" in new and fresh ways throughout the course of time. To say that God's word becomes "incarnate" is to speak of the work of addressing God's word to ears everywhere near and far, in the way that culture can hear it without being controlled by the culture.

Necessary to the task of always reforming is the non-negotiable attentiveness to the churches chief and most vocal guiding norm; the scriptures. Not all agree as to the how and what the "reforming" looks like. Hence the constant debates. Conversation is good, providing we all agree on the rules of engagement. However, the conversation can and does get ugly when the disagreement arises concerning theology and its reforming nature. One of the causes for the ugly is because often times our cherished beliefs are challenged and we take offense because of this.

So with that said, I simply submit two articles for your engagement. But engage circumspectly!

The Urgency of Reading the Bible as One Story in the 21st Century (Fourth down is the said article)

Five Streams of the Emerging Church:
Key elements of the most controversial and misunderstood movement in the church today.


...peace out.

12.10.2007

experiential spirituality

"A...danger developing in modern evangelicalism’s understanding of spirituality, according to Robert Webber in "A third danger developing in modern evangelicalism’s understanding of spirituality, according to Robert Webber in The Divine Embrace is experiential spirituality. Here are some of his thoughts:

How significant is an experience of God’s grace, or a defining experience, for your community of faith’s perception of spirituality? What can be done about the overemphasis on experience? What role does experience play in spirituality?

The issue here is 'the search for a defining spiritual experience' (87).

The origins are in Romanticism and the major theologian Friedrich Schleiermacher. What gave to evangelicalism its experiential focus was the Wesleyan born-again experience, which neither denies the significance of Wesley nor overestimates its importance. Much in evangelicalism does. Experience is elevated to the apologetic for the faith.

Spirituality is hereby situated in the experience. Conversion is to be valued; equating conversion with the experience is the danger. What are the evidences of this approach?

A personal relationship with Jesus becomes the central issue. Webber, when asked if he has a personal relationship, says this: 'You’re asking the wrong question. What is important here is not that I in and of myself achieve or create a personal relationship with God, but that God has a personal relationship with me through Jesus Christ, which I affirm and nourish' (89)."

(From Jesus Creed : Divine Embrace VII)

While the idea of a "personal relationship" with God in Christ is somewhat a truism it can also be misleading because we do import into the idea expectations unwarranted. Webber made a great statement when he said that we do not create this relationship with God but rather God has created a relationship with us through Jesus Christ...which we must affirm and nourish. This idea speaks much more heavily to the writings of the apostles and prophets and highlight the fact that we too have a responsibility to draw near relationally as we would to loved ones near us and to those afar. Romantic notions are not the norm. It does not constitute the relationship. Sometimes (perhaps all the time) if just "feels" placid or dare I say "dull"!

God is good.

12.09.2007

What'chu talkin' bout?

One of the most frustrating things that happens during communication is the tone that we communicants exhibit when we lack circumspection. Often times in discourse we have a tendency to have acute selective hearing and make responses toward issues that are absent from the "conversation partner" as if there is some kind of hidden agenda going on. This weakness of our listening and conversational skills is most clearly exhibited in the written/typed mediums of the blogosphere.

Our tone clearly conveys how it is that we are perceiving the other. Instead of asking questions or engaging on the commendable, reasonable and virtuous aspects of ones statements or writing we automatically come to a conclusion by assuming we know ones stance on issues in totality. "Oh yeah, I got you figured out, buddy!!"

We quickly throw up false caricatures and pit others in an either/or dichotomy writing them off as "one of them."

This is a sad dilemma. What are some reasons that you can think of that contribute to this poor state of communication?

I wonder if what we surround ourselves in; whether in what we read and listen to often is the chief contributing factor. No doubt it is...but what is it? Are we so steeped into the polemics of discussions, the debates, the controversies...are we constantly slicing and dicing and splitting because we are so trained to analyze everything looking for the flaws that we have simply forgotten how to engage people and assume the best? Do others have to be speaking the same language as you or I? Do we pride ourselves in an ecumenical spirit and then forget to treat issues with the reality that there are multiple perspectives?

This is an issue that needs to be addressed in our churches. Our conduct, our conversation with one another and our fellow neighbors outside of the church need to exhibit wisdom and charity in our tone and circumspection in our thinking. This is just another way we can honor our Lord and draw closer to being better image bearers.

Shalom be ours in this.

11.28.2007

the Divine Embrace

Scot McKnight is doing a series on Robert Webbers book the Divine Embrace. This ought to be very good.

Check it out HERE.

Back in June I said a little something something on this book. Check it out Here.

An Excerpt:

"The best definitions for spirituality for my money come from Eugene Peterson. This is from an interview and sums up some of what he writes about in his multi-volume work:

Many people assume that spirituality is about becoming emotionally intimate with God.

That’s a na├»ve view of spirituality. What we’re talking about is the Christian life. It’s following Jesus. Spirituality is no different from what we’ve been doing for two thousand years just by going to church and receiving the sacraments, being baptized, learning to pray, and reading Scriptures rightly. It’s just ordinary stuff.

This promise of intimacy is both right and wrong. There is an intimacy with God, but it’s like any other intimacy; it’s part of the fabric of your life. In marriage you don’t feel intimate most of the time. Nor with a friend. Intimacy isn’t primarily a mystical emotion. It’s a way of life, a life of openness, honesty, a certain transparency.

Doesn’t the mystical tradition suggest otherwise?

One of my favorite stories is of Teresa of Avila. She’s sitting in the kitchen with a roasted chicken. And she’s got it with both hands, and she’s gnawing on it, just devouring this chicken. One of the nuns comes in shocked that she’s doing this, behaving this way. She said, “When I eat chicken, I eat chicken; when I pray, I pray.”

If you read the saints, they’re pretty ordinary people. There are moments of rapture and ecstasy, but once every 10 years. And even then it’s a surprise to them. They didn’t do anything. We’ve got to disabuse people of these illusions of what the Christian life is. It’s a wonderful life, but it’s not wonderful in the way a lot of people want it to be.

Yet evangelicals rightly tell people they can have a “personal relationship with God.” That suggests a certain type of spiritual intimacy.

All these words get so screwed up in our society. If intimacy means being open and honest and authentic, so I don’t have veils, or I don’t have to be defensive or in denial of who I am, that’s wonderful. . . .

This corruption of the word spirituality even in Christian circles—does it have something to do with the New Age movement?

The New Age stuff is old age. It’s been around for a long time. It’s a cheap shortcut to—I guess we have to use the word—spirituality. It avoids the ordinary, the everyday, the physical, the material. It’s a form of Gnosticism, and it has a terrific appeal because it’s a spirituality that doesn’t have anything to do with doing the dishes or changing diapers or going to work. There’s not much integration with work, people, sin, trouble, inconvenience.

I’ve been a pastor most of my life, for some 45 years. I love doing this. But to tell you the truth, the people who give me the most distress are those who come asking, “Pastor, how can I be spiritual?” Forget about being spiritual. How about loving your husband? Now that’s a good place to start. But that’s not what they’re interested in. How about learning to love your kids, accept them the way they are?

My name shouldn’t even be connected with spirituality.

But it very much is.

I know. Then a few years ago I got this embarrassing position of being a professor of “spiritual theology” at Regent. . . . "

11.26.2007

Thoughts on trust, belief and faith.

To Trust. To Believe. To have Faith is a human inevitability. It is necessitated by our finiteness and our situational createdness.

Whether one is to acknowledge that we are a part of a creation...ultimately it is recognizable that the scope of our physical and intellectual abilities are limited by many variables. This certainly provokes the awareness that we as humans cannot help but not know everything completely in an "absolute" sense. Because of our createdness we are dependent upon one another to live, move and be. We cannot grow without the nourishing care and attention of another. We cannot physically thrive without appropriate conditions and we cannot grow in our learning without the assistance of teachers. In other words we cannot do much of anything, if not everything without others.

I think a most fascinating aspect of our human nature is that cognitive development (look at this as academic learning and virtuous enrichment) is dependent upon at least two major contributing determiners; 1) The word (or testimony) of others and 2) Trust.

These two contributing factors are necessary for human flourishing. Without communication (communion;community) we cannot get anywhere in terms of growing in our understanding or knowledge of anything.

The role that the word of others (or testimony) plays in our lives is foundational to our growth. The role that trust plays in all of this is critical. We cannot know anything without trust. We must rely upon or trust our sense of sight, smell, touch, taste and hearing in order to live. The contrary would be ludicrously absurd and would lead toward madness.

An author whose work I admire is Kevin J. Vanhoozer. In his book First Theology, (of which you can read a review of it here at the Faith and Theology blog) Kevin discusses the importance of testimony saying, "the knowledge we gain from others is not inferential but properly basic; in many cases there are no other grounds for a belief." Regarding the justification of ones knowledge he says, "justification in a fiduciary scheme has to do not with "founding" the evidence given by a witness but with trusting it." And, "...our reliance on testimony goes beyond anything that could be justified by personal observation.....testimony is an irreducible form of knowledge."

Moving onward with this is the corollary of trust; the presence of virtue. Virtue widely understood according to the Oxford American Dictionary is a "behavior showing high moral standards; a quality considered morally good or desirable in a person; a good or useful quality of a thing." Vanhoozer writes, "Trust is the virtue of 'knowing when to rely on others and is the revers side of autonomy.' "..."Believe what you are told by others unless or until you have reason for doubting it"..."we are only rational in trusting others who are reliable in showing us the way or in giving us the truth. Most to be trusted therefore are those who are demonstrably knowledgeable or wise"..."Testimony must be tested because there is false testimony" ("You shall not bear false witness" see Exodus 20:16)

All of this serves to highlight the reality in which all humanity finds itself in. The reality that we are communal beings. We do not think independently but rather think within and according to a tradition of thought. Example; in order for one to fully understand the medical field one would have to enter the scientific/medical community and learn its terminology and adopt its framework of thought in order to know. One would have to rely upon, trust in the said communities structures and categories of thought in order to begin learning. From there one within the community can make changes to the thinking via intuition and imagination.

All thought begins within a tradition and community. What develops in the community is a dialogue and a dialectical process of learning and growing.

Great theologians of the past have made the famous epistemological declaration "credo ut intelligam" (I believe in order to know or understand). It can also be read, "I have faith in, in order to understand" or "I trust in order to know."

The writer of the book of Hebrews in the New Testament of the Christian scriptures says the same thing in the passage found in chapter 11 verse 3, "By faith we understand..."

This is a huge thing. This reality of our humanity presupposes that all, everyone, everywhere all the time begins their thinking with faith. That is we begin by trusting, we begin by believing. It is only there that we begin to interpret reality, our surroundings, our experiences and events. What this also tells and says to us as humans is that what is crucial and necessary for us as a global community is that we need to sit and listen more then we do. And listening with humility. We will have to enter the language game and learn from one another in order to effectively communicate to each other.

This does not mean that we throw caution to the wind. Nor does it mean we do not or cannot hold to beliefs with the conviction that it has universal implication. Rather it means that our beliefs if anything cannot be proven by the "scientific method" or the Baconian method which says only that which can be observed and measured is fact and therefore true. This may be the case; but first you have to believe (presuppose) that only that which can be observed and measured is true.

All facts are theory-laden. All theories are essentially exercises of faith.

As Lesslie Newbigin has said, our beliefs will not be "proven" in the modern sense of proof. Only time will tell and give the proof. This is where it makes plenty sense to speak of "knowing" in the category of ethics or value theory as Professor John Frame and other thinkers in the Virtue Epistemology circle suggest.

Because knowing requires the exercising of trust then it surely is inevitable to learn that some people are trustworthy and others not. We can and may doubt the story or information of another because of the questionable character that they exhibit. And one thing is very certain of this; and that is if you doubt the word of one, you will and can only do so because you are trusting and believing in the word of another. Otherwise doubt is not possible. There is no neutrality. There is only antithesis.

The community and therefore tradition that I stand in is an ancient community that takes as their reference point the testimony of certain men and woman in history handed down in a community and written in a text that this confessing community calls the holy scriptures, the christian text or the bible. It is within this body of believers which is called the ecclesia (Greek for "the church") that we confess together our belief in which we understand our world, our lives and the destiny of reality. We confess a reality in which there is one almighty and personal God which the hebrew/christian text calls Yahweh, that has created all things and has entered into our world to restore and renew, to make straight what has been made crooked, to mend what has been torn and to fix what has been broken according to his goodness. We believe that He (Yahweh) has drawn near to us in the man Jesus which the hebrew/christian text calls the Messiah, the Christ; the one anointed, called and brought forth to manifest the image of God and the true image of man.

I "credo ut intelligam" in the ecclesia. I think, live, move and have my being in progessive motion within this story, within this belief. In this I under-stand. My confidence relys upon the virtue of one man attested by this community; Jesus. My confidence is in the wisdom of this God and His Christ. The proof of my belief resides in His character and in His word that what he says, what he promised will come to pass.

In this I live, hope and wait.

We all think within a community of thought, a tradition of thinking. What is your community and tradition? Who is your reliable and authoritative witness in whom you trust?

"The reliable or authoritative witness becomes a conduit of rationality."
- Kevin Vanhoozer (a fellow communitarian)

The Patient

(If above song title does not play click the title on the music player on this blog)

If you have your audio turned on while visiting my blog you should be hearing the song by the artists known as "Tool" entitled, "The Patient."
This is one of their songs that I truly feel and identify with. And if you listen to the song and read the lyrics I am sure you can too.

The fascinating thing about Tool is that their lyrics can be and usually are very cryptic and ambiguous. I like this. It leaves much for the imagination to dwell upon.
This song has a very poetic way of communicating the reality of our human condition and the necessity for humanity to be in community in order to thrive and flourish.

The lyricist likens a longing, a search, a yearning for and/or a bout with a unique struggle to a vampire that drains the life blood from him. He also testifies to the reality that he often feels like giving up in this life. He confesses his hope, against hope...and realizes that "If there were no rewards to reap,
no loving embrace to see me through this tedious path I've chosen here,
I certainly would've walked away by now."

The lyricist also is very honest with the real fear and bi-polaric experiences of feeling like he needs to or just wants to give up waiting and holding on while in the midst of it still saying I will hold on.

The paradox of life for sure. A unique reality of living by faith.

My favorite part is when he repeats...and it cries soul through and through, when he says, "I must keep reminding myself of this..."

Something which "the patient" may and do identify with. At least for me and my wife we do.

The Patient

A groan of tedium escapes me, startling the fearful.
Is this a test?
It has to be. Otherwise I can't go on.
Draining patience. drain vitality.
this paranoid, paralyzed vampire act's a little old.

But I'm still right here, giving blood and keeping faith. And I'm still right here.

But I'm still right here, giving blood and keeping faith. And I'm still right here.

I'm gonna wait it out

If there were no rewards to reap,
no loving embrace to see me through this tedious path I've chosen here,
I certainly would've walked away by now.

I'm gonna wait it out

If there were no desire to heal
The damaged and broken met along this tedious path I've chosen here,
I certainly would've walked away by now.

I still may. And I still may.
Be patient.

I must keep reminding myself of this...

If there were no rewards to reap,
no loving embrace to see me through this tedious path I've chosen here,
I certainly would've walked away by now.
And I still may. And I still may. And I still may.

I'm gonna wait it out.
I'm gonna wait it out.
Gonna wait it out.
Gonna wait it out.

"Letter about those pesky Calvinists" at Jesuscreed

Yours truly offered their two-cents on #(26).

This is really good conversation. Comments (#42 #45 & #46) are especially good.

Below are two very good comments that have some heavy substance to them...

#54: "hey Julie #53, I agree with you. There are a lot of cultural issues with Christians, the church and with the Reformed crowd. I would have extend that to other groups in addition to the reformed folks … I think there is a whole cultural mindset with the religious right that comes off as angry and judgmental and causes secular people to back away.

There seems to be a lot of social or cultural pressure right now on people of faith to go one of two directions: to either harden their positions and become defensive and argumentative with anyone who disagrees, or 2) to become very disillusioned with the church, Christianity and religion in general and to drop out and follow a private faith. I find myself leaning heavily in the second group. These are troubled time we find ourselves in."


#58 In the final analysis, I guess what I’ve found amongst my acquantences who are “neo-Calvinists” (or fundamental, hyper, or whatever other word you want to use to describe this current phenomenon of Calvinism), is the lack of safety I feel around them in being able to openly dialogue about or explore questions about God. Why don’t I feel safe around them? Because of the very real threat of being perceived by them as if I’m not “really” a Christian. Too many times in the past when I’ve wanted to openly talk about questions, or if I’ve stated positions that aren’t perfectly in line with their theological understanding, I’ve suddenly found myself on the receiving end of being witnessed to. The first time it happened was a shock.

I can stand theological disagreement. That’s fine. I don’t believe two thinking people are ever going to be 100% in perfect agreement with each other over every fine point of theology. But when you disagree with some one (i.e., a neo-Calvinist) who then questions your fundamental saving relationship with Christ, that’s when it gets scary and where honest conversation stops. In some ways, this is the style of a cultish environment, is is not? A cult wants to force-feed you its established doctrine, wants to hear you resite it vermatim, and doesn’t want you to think it through like a mature adult.


#63
Perhaps the movement described in the above comments (mostly negatively) does tend to be somewhat strident in its attitudes; most new movements tend in this direction. However, I think the reason why the new Reformed group likes to talk about specifics in theology and debate it is because for too long Evangelicalism has been too shallow in its theology. A ubiquitous “mere christianity” ruled (and in many places, continues to rule) the church. Now, there is a place for “mere christianity” but in excess it is harmful and fails to nourish Christians. The new Reformed movement is concerned with deep theology, mostly in the propositional and expositional sense. This is diametrically opposed to the Emerging Church tendency, so perhaps it also explains why there is hostility between the two trends. Interesting that this should be so, when both groups came out of the same source and were reacting to the same thing in Evangelicalism.


#65 responding to #63 #63 - “ubiquitous ‘mere christianity’ ruled the church…”? hmmm…. I don’t remember that ever being the case … I think that might actually be a good thing. I tend to remember a much less charitable form of evangelicalism ruling the church…perhaps because it was more vocal.

The basic thing here is that boils down to do we love? or not? 1 Cor. 13 is pretty clear about the prioty between correct doctrine and agape, as is 1 John. In the midst of current uncertainty and globalization, people are making choices….some feel more secure in choosing theological correctness over love … others may choose a different path. The question is which way is Jesus going?


#66 Ben Wheaton, of course, Calvinists think they are right, Julie thinks she is right and I think I am right.

The different I see with the strident Calvinists (and I think the problem the original author of this post is having) is that they cannot entertain the thought that they might be wrong. Personally, I think Calvinists might be right in how they interpret scripture. I might be very wrong. The little I know of Julie, I think she accepts that she might be wrong.

But dialog is very difficult when one side demands that their way is the only way. This conversation stopper is certainly not limited to Calvinists, but in this post, I think that is the problem. I have no issue with someone holding an opinion and arguing in favor of it, but I have a problem when someone says I cannot be a Christian unless I agree with their rather limited view of God and Scripture. I will not, however, demand they agree with me.

When give and take becomes take and take, dialog breaks down and you may have to part ways. I would not ask them to leave because they are Calvinists, but I would consider asking them to leave if they think only Calvinists can be Christians.

11.03.2007

Spider



Scroll down and mute the music player in order to watch this video and get prepared.

the gods aren't angry



Rob Bell will be at the Murat Centre on Friday November 30th, on his "The gods aren't angry tour."

Rob Bell is a very good speaker/communicator. He is preaching pastor at Mars Hill, Grand Rapids, MI.
I believe Rob has a gift of contextualizing the gospel to contemporary hearers. If you have never heard him speak or read any of his two books, Velvet Elvis and SEX GOD then coming to this would be a very good introduction.

His engagement is " Part anthropology, part history, part deconstruction - this is new material that Rob hasn't taught before, exploring how humans invented religion to make themselves feel better."

Any interested folk? Tickets are $17. I am gonna try to get D and I to go. Anyone want to come along?
I will not be coordinating ticket purchases. You must get them on your own. I just want to get the word out.

Maybe we'll see you there.

The Reason for God



If you can, get this book when it comes out. Timothy Keller is a fine presuppositional analyst and teacher. He has a great gift for contextualizing the message of the Bible to "modern/postmodern" ears.

10.23.2007

Is Image Everything?

McKnight has a conversation going on about unChristian.

8.27.2007

Andy Mckee.

Thank you Joshua. I am forever stirred.

8.26.2007

Don Ross. Who is this guy?

My friend Riley Kern had this at his blog. I cannot say anything about it except for the odd humanistic and paradoxical saying, "holy crap!"



Be sure to press the pause button down below on my music player in order to enjoy this piece.

8.03.2007

Deconstructing Defeater Beliefs

An excellent read on communicating the Gospel of Jesus Christ to our culture. Tim Keller has a unique approach to handling the intellectual contours of western thinking and appealing to the heart of man. I believe Keller is one if not the foremost leading thinker and practioner of the gospel.

In my humble opinion he weaves the best essentials of presuppositional analytic thinking akin to Newbigin, Van Till and Frame in his ministry.

This is a worthy read!

Click on the title for the PDF
Or Click HERE for the web version.

8.02.2007

"Can Faith be Certainty?"

A very good discussion happening at Jesuscreed.org

Faith, Reason, Certainty, Confidence, Doubt? All of these weigh in on the discussion.
I thought about chiming in on it but saw that many are already saying what I would say in a similar fashion.

They are at 49 comments already so if your going to jump in on the whole thing prepare for lots of reading.

Click on the title post for the link.

7.30.2007

My New Post.

"I think its wierd."
~Human

6.21.2007

A Romans Road thread.

This is really worth checking out. Below are recent discussions on Jesuscreed.org
I believe Scot McKnight is circumspect in his observations on the current discussion on evangelism in it's traditional evangelical and emerging 'methods'. I think inherent to this particular topic are the important nuances that are often overlooked in the "atonement" debates/dialogue.

The nuances that I am referring to are having to do with grasping the broad scope and elements of the scriptures story, picture, worldview or narrative. Instead of looking at things in one perspective we need to consider that there are others; a multiperspectivalism.

I don't know if I will be able to get on here and blog on the atonement topic. However, I really do want too. But my life-style and managing time for this activity is very difficult. We'll see.

I encourage you to read the threads linked below. I apologize for the primitive method of linking. For some reason I do not have the capability of incorporating active links on my blog post. Only in the title can I. So you will have to copy and paste the link to your address bar.

Peace,

Letters to Emerging Christians: Romans Road Pt. 1
http://www.jesuscreed.org/?p=2463#comments

Letters to Emerging Christians: Romans Road Pt. 2
http://www.jesuscreed.org/?p=2465#comments

6.20.2007

I will kill your dog...

Click on the title to read an amazing article on Fox News regarding a man choking a Bobcat to death after it jumped him.

I must say that I was thrilled in reading this. Recently Danae and I were taking our boys for a walk throughout our neighborhood. Our boys wear little monkey backpacks and the monkey's tail is a leash. Danae was ahead of me with Jonah and Aidan and Asher and I were laggin behind a bit just strolling and enjoying our walk. Out from the corner of my right eye a rather large Boxer started to charge us full throttle like it was going to attack....behind it were two other non-menacing dogs and two twenty something year old ladies.
I immediately picked Asher up and shouted, "Hey!" to the dog and the dog eventually stopped about 15 yards away from us after it's owner had shouted for it. The young lady sincerely and sorrowfully apologized for the dog and said that it was a very friendly dog. Okay. I'll take your word for it.

We still go for walks...albeit with vigilance. I tell Danae now...if a dog charges us and is going to attack you or the boys I will kill it.

I will choke your dog. I will kill your dog. I will do what it takes....break it's neck or split its mouth wide open like King Kong or Samson or King David. I will.

Why? Because my wife and my little boys cannot.

I appreciate you taking that stand brother and killing that Bobcat. God bless us and His creatures. These creatures do not know any better.

6.17.2007

[UPDATE]Notify Blogger about ojectionable content on this page.

I AM NO LONGER FLAGGED. INTERESTING. PERHAPS IT WAS "PORN."


That's what it says when you put the cursor over the "Blog Flagged".

Just wanted to remind you that you need to contact Blogger and let them know the objectionable content.

Thanks for the privilege of being flagged.

Have a happy flux in fixedness my friend.

Manhattan Artist Accepts $29G Settlement From City After Topless Stroll

I don't want to see your boobs. So, your gonna say to me, "Well, then don't look over here!" ???
I'll keep my shirt on if this is going to be the case. This is messed up.

We're going there people. We are going there...............

Perhaps Origen would've gouged his eyes out if he were here now. Blessed is that brother.

6.16.2007

6.07.2007

Some interesting words by Vanhoozer.

I liked what was said here by Kevin Vanhoozer in this interview conducted by Gary Shavey (who contributes to the Resurgence). The excerpt is taken from the interview which was a plug for his recent published editorial entitled, "Everyday Theology."

" Gary Shavey: Do you see a growing marginalization between Christians and our "cultural text"?

Kevin Vanhoozer: Contemporary culture is actually made up of a vast array of "texts" – that is, humanly produced works that have meaning and significance. The implicit message of cultural texts is "This is what it means or looks like to be human"; "This is what the good life looks like". In other words, culture programs our imaginations to think in certain ways just as it programs us to live in certain ways. Think of culture as the software that runs the social hardware – the various institutions (e.g., schools, government, family) that comprise our life together.

On this model, I think we can safely say that the main programming in contemporary culture is not particularly Christian. The values that drive our culture are not distinctly Christian; indeed, many are inimical to Christian values. For example, George Ritzer speaks in his book The McDonaldization of Society of the way in which fast food values – efficiency, calculability, predictability, and control through technology – have taken hold of many other institutions, including, to some extent, the church! Similarly, James Twitchell speaks of the "branding" of America: everything, even Jesus, is fair game for marketing. But should the gospel be "marketed"?

My point is that the powers and principalities against which the church now struggles are those of cultural programming. The purpose of our book is to de-program culturalized Christians. Sleepwalkers of the world, awake!

My own hunch is that we need to recover the imagination in order to set the cultural captives free. I believe that many people in today's society, and church, suffer from an impoverished imagination. By imagination I mean the cognitive power of seeing things together, as wholes; clearly a worldview is an affair of the imagination, at least in part. In any case, I believe that our imaginations are captive to secular stories/worldviews that do not nourish our souls. Eugene Peterson says something similar about the function of the 10 plagues of Egypt: they were intended to free the imagination of the Israelites from thinking that the power of Egypt was sovereign. The plagues systematically deconstruct Pharaoh's power. It takes imagination to see that what God is doing with a small tribe of slaves is greater than the might of Egypt or the grandeur that was Rome. Similarly, it takes imagination to see that North Americans are not in bondage to similar powers and principalities: consumerism and therapism, to name but two. I wonder whether in our haste to preserve doctrinal truth, we have not done our evangelical churches a disservice in surrendering our imaginations to stories (and advertisements) that serve the interest of some worldly empire (or multinational corporation) rather than the kingdom of God.

Pastors need to make it a priority to teach their congregations how read Scripture theologically, and this requires the imagination, the ability to make sense of thing by fitting the little bits into larger patterns – the big canonical picture. It takes imagination to see the Bible as a unified whole, and then it takes even more imagination to fit one's own time and place into this biblical drama of redemption.' "

What I like in what I read here is Vanhoozer's idea of a "text" no only being literature or letters on a page but appropriately symbolys of communication which go beyond the printed page and to everywhere our eyes can see. The text of creation for example; which communicates the wonders of our world both good and bad. The texts of our grand medias displays on the billboards and the television screens etc. These "texts" serve as tools or conduits of formation of a person, a people and a community. And what Vanhoozer is saying is nothing new but said well. The biblical story is our text and so is the Christian community. And what we as the church need to do is take back our creative processes to re-imagine our world, our environment after the text of scripture....the Story of God handed down in and by the Church. Some of you may simply say that this is nothing more than good presuppositional apologetics/ analysis. Yep! That's right.

Those who are informed of these things are responsibile to translate it to our communities and really think after our "text".

For those interested in Vanhoozer's works I would suggest reading, "Is Their A Meaning in this Text?" and "First Theology." It's not necessary reading for all of course. The stuff is dense and seminary level. But if your into hermeneutics and contempory philosophical discussion then they are worth your time and brain rigor.

Peace

6.05.2007

"A Community Called Atonement"


This November will be released the first installment of the "Emergent Theology Series." The first of the series with the above title is head up by Scot McKnight. I am really looking forward to this read. His book, "Embracing Grace: A Gospel For All of Us" is one of my top-ten books to read. His "Jesus Creed" is on my shelf and will be devoured hopefully soon.

While I know very little of the "Emergent Theology Series" the title does speak for itself. If you are familiar with "emergent" thinking than you will know that what is being produced is a very incarnational blend of theology (as if there should even be a distinction between the two.) Theology is and was always meant to be contemporary thought spoken and put into being. Theology is nothing less then the churches contemplation and reflection of the scriptures. As my brother Joshua has for his blog title "Toward Praxis: Theology without action (praxis) is the theology of demons” —St. Maximus the Confessor". That is the point of theology. Never meant to be an abstracted knowledge void of personal embodiement and communion theology is nothing but the churches dialogue of what it means to be a human being created after the image of God in and through the work of the incarnation, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

As a special FYI to my eastside homies the second installment of the Emergent Theology Series will be by John R. Franke. And that one will be on "Truth". Hmmmmmm. I wonder why "A Community Called Atonement" comes before "Truth"? Hmmm, perhaps it is because "truth" is and can only be mediated by a community!!!!!! Man I love this !&%@!

Here is a brief descriptor of McKnight's book. Click on the above title if you want to check out the publishers site for the book as well; Abingdon Press.

Shalom

"Over the centuries the church developed a number of metaphors, such as penal substitution or the ransom theory, to speak about Christ's death on the cross and the theological concept of the atonement. Yet too often, says Scot McKnight, Christians have held to the supremacy of one metaphor over against the others, to their detriment. He argues instead that to plumb the rich theological depths of the atonement, we must consider all the metaphors of atonement and ask whether they each serve a larger purpose.

A Community Called Atonement is a constructive theology that not only values the church's atonement metaphors but also asserts that the atonement fundamentally shapes the life of the Christian and of the church. That is, Christ identifies with humans to call us into a community that reflects God's love (the church)--but that community then has the responsibility to offer God's love to others through missional practices of justice and fellowship, living out its life together as the story of God's reconciliation. Scot McKnight thus offers an accessible, thought-provoking theology of atonement that engages the concerns of those in the emerging church conversation and will be of interest to all those in the church and academy who are listening in."

My Back-Ward Journey.


Late Sunday night shortly after retiring I began an extended journey into pain via the sciatic nerve. Almost ten years ago I developed sciatic nerve pains but the pains back then were significantly adolescent compared to what I now have underwent beginning last night. If you have had this pain or know someone who has had it you will know that the spasmodic episodes of nerves and muscles can bring about a death wish for very quickly. Once the pain started last night it never stopped. Moments of relief were moments when my pain threshold had reached such peaks that lower but still acute forms of discomfort seemed to be the quelling lull of the painful tempest.

Dude….I was crying. I never cry from pain.....because I hardly ever have physical pain probably. This really sucked.

I can describe the feeling very vividly. Have you ever paid attention to a hotdog cooking under the radioactive “heat” of our microwaves!?! Yeah…..those wieners just rip right open. They just split down the center, at the tips or straight down the little funny looking processed food object. Okay, now picture that……what my entire leg felt like from the back of my waist extending down my buttocks down my quad, down through my knee, down my calve and shins right to my foot and it’s little big Mesa toes….was an incessant storm of high voltage electrical currents trying to rip open my leg like beef-frank! My leg felt like it was going to explode!

Now of course I have no idea what it’s like to be a hotdog being ripped open, but these hair-line sensory string nerve things were real physiological lightning bolts, very real high voltage electrical currents parading their creative wonder through my 80 pound leg.

So I ended up at Wishard ER and hung out like an open nerve ending for approx five hours so I could get some Federally Regulated Narcotics. No not medicinal marijuana….which Sir Eric Howard ( Outreach, Inc.'s Exec. Director who is now on a three month sabattical) so casually asserted to me could be an “alternative” treatment !! wink, wink. At the ER I was given a seven day treatment of Prednisone which tapers throughout the course of it’s use and I also have a drug Diazapam for muscle spasms and Vicodin for pain.

Last nite I had controlled spasms; like little painless bubbling virulent tremors. I took a muscle relaxer and one Vicodin and off I went to sleep. It was the best night of sleep I have had in a very long time. No discomfort...no pain. The downside today is that the drugs make me feel a little foggy. But I am drinking coffee right now to combat the spirit of haze. The coffee will also serve to grant me lucid and clear thinking. Perhaps the combination of narcotics and caffiene will give some kind of psychedelic astral-projective experience. I more than likely wont be caught up to the third heaven but will be able to traverse through the walls of my house and through the television set into one of my favorite movies like "House of Flying Daggers."

My leg feels weak and asleep. There are patches of numbness from the foot all the way up my calf. This morning I after walking around a bit I began to feel the pressure developing from my foot ascending to my calf. It felt like my leg was having the beginning pressures to want to explode again. The numbness is still throughout and it becomes much more pronounced as I am standing for a while. The numbness throws off my equilibrium a bit. If I attempt to shuffle step to the left I can easily just tip right over. I either have nerve tissue damage or the inflammation up in my back pinching the sciatic nerve is so pronounced that once the inflammation dissipates then so will the numbness.

This is a part of My Back-Ward Journey

6.01.2007

"Intellectual Spirituality Exchanged for an Anti-Intellectual Spirituality"



"The shift into postmodern culture is a shift from objective knowledge to subjectivity, to relativism, and to mystery. The new fashionable thing is to say phrases like, "I don't know. That is complex. It is buried in mysticism." The mystery at work in the universe is the mystery of God creating, becoming incarnate, and re-creating. This Chrisitian mystery and fashionable cultural mystery, however, are two different realities. The Christian who unthinkingly refers everything to mystery may be embracing cultural mystery, which is not at all the mystery of true Christian spirituality. Paul writes of the "mystery of Christ" that "has now been revealed" (Eph. 3:4-5). God's mystery in Christ can be freely explored, talked about, contemplated, and participated in.

Recently I was speaking at a conference designed to help younger people with the journey from modernity to postmodernity. During the question and answer time a person raised this question: 'I have been told that we no longer know anything, that everything is mystery and ambiguity, but you seem to suggest there are some things that we do know. How do we know these things?' "

I love this part.............

Continue qoute...."I answered, "It is not that we do not know anything anymore. It is not like all that we have held to be true is simply up for grabs. Truth has not changed. It is our way of knowing that has changed and what we are willing to bleed and die for."
"The Christian way of knowing," I continued, "is reflection on Scripture within community." We in Christ belong to a community of faith connected with Israel that goes all the way back to the beginning of things. This community has been reflecting on what it perceives to be God's actions in history and on God's self-revelation in Scripture for centuries. Out of this reflection comes the first order truths that all Christians embrace-mainly the story of the Triune God, creation, fall, incarnation, death, resurrection, and re-creation of all things at the end of history. It is the second order systems that people now question as truth. These systems of theology (both conservative and liberal), rooted in the Enlightenment, attempted to answer all questions with certainty, leaving no room for ambiguity or mystery. Because thse modern systems are now in question, we are able to get behind them to the narrative of faith from which they sprang. We do have truth. It is the story of God handed down in Scripture, in the church, and in its ministry of worship."

"The antidote to an intellectual spirituality is not an anti-intellectual spirituality but a spirituality rooted in God's story that stands on its own. What I mean by this is that God's story is a vision of reality that does not need to be supported by reason, science, or any other discipline. Instead of interpreting God's story through the academic disciplines, God's story is the vision of reality through which the world, its history, and all the structures of existence are to be interpreted. So an anti-intellectual spirituality is as much rooted in the self as an intellectual spirituality. When we stand within God's story and interpret all of Life, we see life through God's vision. And it is an intelligent vision that speaks the truth about life."

Taken from Robert E. Webbers "The Divine Embrace", pages 92-93. Published by Baker Books, Grand Rapids, MI.

A few things I would like to say after reading this qoute.
Firstly Dude.....I love Robert Webber. He is bad-ass. ( an odd cultural way of saying someone is really a "cool-person". Yeah I know...the word "bad" & "ass"....go figure! Welcome to twenty-first century western culture!!)

Secondly; to really get the thrust of what he is saying here you really have to read what preceded it especially "Intellectual Spirituality" and it's sub-text "Origins of Intellectual Spirituality."
The excerpt above is taken from the same chapter entitled, "A Modern Dislocation (1900-2000): Rescuing Spirituality from Legalism and Romanticism". This is chapter 4 of part 1. Part 1 is called, "The Crisis".................Wooooooooooooooh!!!

I love words.............it breaths suspense, adventure and the arousing of the senses!!!!

If you have read Robert Webber before and you haven't read his last published work, "The Divine Embrace: Recovering the Passionate Spiritual Life"....than you must. At first glance of the title you might think this may be another christian pop-spiritual book on, "living the life you've always wanted to live....", No! Far from it! If you know Sir Webber you know the guy had done his share of research into history especially the history of christian thought and practice.
Included in the first part of the book he gives an abbreviated although detailed picture of the captivity of "spirituality" in the ancient christian church through by it's culture through philosophy and other forms of thought to our contemporary time that has created false dichotomies, dualisms, REDUCTIONISMS (amplified fo my people out there) and over emphasis on certain themes of christian thought which have served a great deal of conflict spiritually.

Webber's book is on the top of my list. I believe it is essential reading for my friends who study spirituality and theology....Ha! there is one of the dualisms right there eh? Can you see it? No?

Well than, "Tolle Legge"....."Take Up and Read!!"

5.23.2007

O' My!

Dude...my wife just said, "Propaghandi"......!!!!!!

She was actually trying to say, Paparazzi!!!

Yeah, this awesome lady is my wife!

5.22.2007

I love my job. I really do.
My co-workers/ colleagues are the best. The environment is ignited with focus and drollness.
The pace is all together different from what I have ever been a part of before. My labors are demanding me to conceptualize and mind map which is intellectually fulfilling for "a work". Everything is new.

I have a desk. Hmmmmm....it comes with a phone and desktop. What's a desktop?
I have five drawers in my desk. No really....I'm not kidding you, I have five drawers in my desk....as in large ladies undergarments!! They were placed there as a welcoming gift by my hospitable and non-pharasaic spiritual spoon-bending colleagues. Each one of the drawers of my desk had one pair of underwear. I have five desk drawers. That's five Underwear!

Engagement with our clients....there kids and some young adults....have been minimal. The Case Manager aspect of my job will not be realized for sometime....at least untill I get the Resource Coordinator part kinda down.

I am meeting individually with my co-workers in order to get to know them more and also to find out more how they are "a resource" to me internally to the Outreach operation. These people are really cool. Such a diversity of personalities, skill, strengths and vocal aesthetics. The last part just means they sound cool when they talk.

I can work from home or a coffee shop....Wifi!!!....via The Portal!!!

I have lotsa of reading to do. People to see. Places to go. Dead people to raise..........the last one is a metaphor. And no I don't have a Savior Complex. Although I can see how subtle a temptation it can become.

I get paid to take a spiritual formation hour once a week. And I also get paid to take a spiritual formation day a month.
My goodness.

I can get fired from my job if I don't mean with someone once a week outside of co-working circle with someone who can speak into my life and keep me accountable to the pursuit of holiness; living as a human being after the image of God in Christ.

I miss my friends.

My cousins are coming down this weekend!!! Chicago and Grand Rapids comin to Indy!!!!!

Ben, Michaela, Michael I miss you guys. You are three people that I used to see much more regular than I do now.

Danae is tough. She goes through a lot! I love her beauty. Especially the beauty that only I can see (that wasn't sexual by the way.)

Last nite Danae and I were talking in bed and she made up a new word! For you who know Danae....she makes up her own words. She is an organic word-smith. That is she is good at talking and making up her own words....seasoned with the occasional, "...Screw the World!!!"...which I haven't heard in a long time and is one of my personal favorite phrases that come out of her mouth. Anyway.........so last nite we are talking about how hard it is feeling close to one another, how difficult our marriage is and she says, "I wish we could go on a honymatical."

A Honymatical is the word Honeymoon joined with Sabbatical. Don't ask why the "b" was exchanged for an "m". It's not supposed to make sense to our normal cognitive frame of vocabulary reference.

So if anyone wants to donate to the Mesa Honymatical feel free to send us money via our home address. We will gladly use it to honymaticise our relationship.

Love from Drexel.

5.13.2007

to her



The way you talk to our sons....
The way you bring tender affection...
The way you sing your little humorous songs...

The way you look when you sit with them on the floor reading to them...
I see how you talk about them long after they have been asleep in their cribs...your heart cries for them

You bathe them and shout their little nicknames...Fahret...Bohmbie...Bird!!!
You worry about their development....their growth....their health....their protection...

I see these little things and so much more...


The way you do these things...the way you are....when I see you...
It arouses deep heart aching pains of desire in me...

The beauty that you possess overwhelms me...
The Lord renders me weak because of your radiance
He renders me with sickness of love because of your brilliance

You are The Mother of my sons...
You are your sons Mother.

Blessed are you among woman.

5.12.2007

Robert E. Webber, Theologian of 'Ancient-Future' Faith, Dies at 73


Robert Webber has served to be a great influence to me. I recommend his writings. While he may have gone to be with God in a restful place we have his works here as a lasting contribution of God the Holy Spirit through his life. Thank you Lord for your servant Bob Webber.

Click the above post title for an article on Webber.

5.07.2007

Update

I was offered the job for Outreach Inc. on Friday.
I took the job.
I start May 14th.
I will be a part of a joint effort to serve homeless and at-risk youths of my city. This is a very exciting and challenging labor.
I am thrilled to give myself to this.
The most challenging aspect of this work will be the managerial part. This is new territory for me. I am very eager to take on the necessary skills, abilities and flexible virtues entailed in developing into this role with these people. The responsibility is a serious one and because of that it provokes a sense of great sobriety.

It has been a cheif desire of mine to be able to play a role in God's Kingdom to bring about His work of Justice, Harmony, Integrated Balance, Equity, Wholeness, Health and Beauty; Shalom in this kind of way.
While it is all of mankinds responsibility, priviledge, honor and calling to do this work in whatever we do where ever we are at I am very glad and overjoyed to be able to do it via Outreach Inc.

Pray that I will fulfill my appointed role with this ministry with humility, patience, attentiveness, teachableness and creative innovation for the bettering of this cities community...God's Kingdom.

4.28.2007

It doesn't end.



I hurt my back back in March. Had to quit my job because I could no longer perform my regular duties and since than have been applying for jobs and undergoing a slow but wisely methodical interview process for a local urban ministry.

We have recieved support from family and friends both monetarily and in practical "triplet sitting" help. This is an extraordiary grace to both Danae and I. Our sons one day will give thanks for this also. God is good.

I have been depressed lately. As a husband and father I feel miserable for not being able to provide for my family. Sometimes I feel an accusation saying thing like, "You are worse than an infidel!"

It really sucks not being able to "do" what I need to do as a husband and father.

The worst part is that my back is doing the major contribution to this problem. It is not getting any better. I have on multiple occassions become rendered inoperative because my back fails me. I cannot pick up my sons, put them in their cribs, take them out of their cribs, throw them around and play with them.....just one subtle move wrecks me!

Yesterday before Danae and I head off to get some coffee and just be out alone together I sneezed and it just sent my back into an outa whack spaz fit.....like a surge of electrical nerve screams ripping through my lower lumbar yelling...."I'm gonna kill you bitch!!!"

It happened again today. I was in the kitchen and I sneezed....."I'm gonna kill you, you infidel bitch!"

I use the word "bitch" for humor sake. So laugh....it's okay, your not going to be a sinner for it.

Truth is it hurts like a bitch. Than again I have no idea how a bitch hurts. What does that mean anyway? Humans have a funny way of talking don't we? Today I read this,

"What I mean to insist upon is that spiritual writing - Spirit sourced writing - requires spiritual reading, a reading that honors words as holy, words as a basic means of forming an intricate web of relationships between God and the human, between all things visible and invisible. There is only on way of reading that is congruent with our Holy Scriptures, writing that trusts in the power of words to penetrate our lives and create truth and beauty and goodness...."

~ From "Eat This Book", by Eugene H. Peterson

Words are holy. A gift. Given to us. Like everything else.
I realize that words shouldn't be used flippently. We curse and bless with our tongues.
We can create life and destroy life with our tongues by our words.

With that said, I like talking and writing. With communicative seriousness, drama and employing levity as well. I hope to use words in it's proper way to challenge, provoke, stir, enlighten, confess, command, affirm, humorize, praise, sing and express my frustrations, pains and fears. Amen.

My back is not getting any better. I cannot do what I once did labor wise. In some sense I am "screwed!"

I am trying to get better. Exercise my back. But it's going to be a very slow process. Maybe one day I will be able to play frisbee again.

Untill then, pray for my back, my family and that I would get this much desired labor opportunity for an urban ministry to homeless and at-risk youths of my city Indianapolis.


Encouragement of the day; Eat a book!

4.27.2007

4.26.2007

~Michael J. Williams~




Yes, that is me.

An old friend of mine used me as a model for his work back in the day.
He has a new website up now in which he exhibits his portfolio and offers his creative skill for service.



This is a self-portrait of Michael. Between Danae and I he reminds us of Robert Downey Jr. and David Blaine. :)

Click on the title "Michael J. Williams" above for his website. Peruse through it.


Michael your a damn good artist my man!

4.25.2007

Our friend "Leechy."




Love from the Mesa's.

4.24.2007

A Mighty Forehead




I love my wife Danae.
She cuts my hair.
She has always cut my hair since we've been married.
She has always givin me good cuts.
She puts up with my "anal" demands of what I want "and so forth."
Yesterday she cut my hair.
I like everything about the cut except........the mighty forehead.

Like she said, "It'll grow back quick."
indeed it will. It does grow back quickly. I can't wait.

Now I look like my son Asher. For he too has a Mighty Forehead.

At least it's not the Rooster.

4.16.2007

Lesslie Newbigin on reason and knowing.

"....the exercise of human reason is something which takes place not in a vacuum, but within a socially embodied tradition of rational discourse. No reasoning is possible except by the use of language, and language expresses the way in which a particular body of human beings has learned to grasp and cope with the world. In that sense human reason can never be totally autonomous. But the rationalism of modern culture has never accepted the idea that it was finally and irrevocably dependent on a particular tradition of human reasoning. The aim (of modern thought) has been to subject every tradition to the scrutiny of reason, including every tradition which claimed to embody a particular divine revelation to one group of people. Yet, as Alasdair MacIntyre has shown (In his book "Whose Justice? Which Rationality?"), it is an illusion to suppose that there is available to us some kind of pure rationality existing in a disembodied state and therefore capable of passing judgement on all the various ways of grasping truth developed in particular socially embodied traditions of rational discourse."

"The Gospel In A Pluralist Society" Pages 81-82.

"No one can grasp and make sense of what is given in Scripture except by the use of reason, and-similarly-reason does not operate except within a continuing tradition of speech which is the speech of a community whose language embodies a shared way of understanding. Reasoning is a faculty with which we seek to grasp the different elements in our experience in an ordered way so that, as we say, they make sense. It is not a separate source of information about what is the case. It can onlly function within a continuing linguistic and cultural tradition."

"The Gospel In A Pluralist Society" Page 53.

4.14.2007

loving to be.

I am a time-traveler.
I have left the "Tw.." and have entered the "Th.."

A milestone in the space & time continuum.

The past ten years of life have been an incredible journey of discovery. But it is not a discovering of "I have discovered". Rather it is a discovery of "it has been revealed to me."

While I am a "self", this self is nothing...no one without the "us", the "all of us".
Identity is beyond the one and is a part of the many.

A "reinvention" if you will, of the name of Jesus the Christ has occurred to me. Beyond the narrow confines of Twentieth Century western thinking through the passages of time spanning every spoken tongue and race of mankind He stands to me as the epitome of what it means to be human and still remains enigmatic and ineffable to me. He is like a Lion that cannot be caged or contained by any man. He cannot be deterred by the tranquilizers of man's distorting imaginations. He stands above our feeble attempts to figure Him out.....and yet He is immanent to us, personal, intimate and aggressively communing with us today. A man of sorrow...a man acquainted with grief......a man who knows our sorrows.....a man who knows our grief.

My little Kingdom on Drexel Ave. is one of the most beautiful conundramatic realities.
Danae my wife; her beauty....in her brokeness.....mingling with God's strength and flowering aromatic splendor of feminine wonder truly humiliates and breaks my heart. She is a mystery to me....and I am captivated by my sister. There can be no other mother to my sons.....no other lover in this world who has touched me and moved me to be a man; to pursue the path of becoming what I was and am to be.
In my little Kingdom on Drexel Ave. is one of the most profoundest of miraculous "super-natural" beings.
Aidan a flame, Jonah a spiritual dove and Asher my blessed little happy meal serve to bring me the humor and joviality of God the Father. They also serve to bring me a great humiliating surrender to the beauty of life and it's awful fragility.

I love my life..

In this intensely broken reality where all things are paradoxically made right via the ills of life I give praise to the mysterious Other; the beauty and wonder which is the center of all of life and without whom we would not at all "be"; God the Father, God the Son and God the Spirit.........blessed is your name.

4.05.2007

Before....After: flux in fixedness.




I did.



I feel born-again.


I am not kidding you.


Hello Massiel.

3.27.2007

Black Sunshine

From the FOXNews wire....



"CHIANG MAI, Thailand — Chuang Chuang the panda has been spending his days in front of a big screen television watching panda porn.

Authorities at the Chiang Mai Zoo in northern Thailand hope the images will encourage him to mate with his partner, Lin Hui, and serve as an instructional lesson in how to do it right."


We humans are an interesting bunch aren't we! I mean...it ONLY makes sense right!?!?!?

3.21.2007

chilin like an un-employed

I started work back up again on Monday of last week. It didn't last long. If you remember from a previous post I wrote about my injured back and the story with that. Well, I missed two weeks of work...unpaid. Got back to work and than on my fourth day of work was sent home by my manager's because of aggravated pain in my back. It became obvious that my suitability for working as a drywall deliveryman was no longer going to be "suited" for me. I can't afford loosing anymore time for a back that needs time to heal.....time away from doing certain activities that can only aggravate these almost 30 year old muscles that may want to form a coup against me.
So.....I am in the job market once again. Got some leads. Pretty excited. We'll see. I'll keep you posted.

In the meantime I love free-time. I am cleaning my basement out........wooooooooooohhh!!!
Chilin with my family. Trying to romance my wife more.....I should've never stopped. This is a hard lessoned learned. But I love her more now than ever before. And I want her more too.......I am digressing.

Today we hung out in our awesome eastside backyard. So we took a familly photo.

Lotsa Love from East Indy!

3.19.2007

3.01.2007

slow maturation.

About life is relationships. People. Together. Communion. One large social fabric of integrated lives. We were never made to be unto ourselves. We were made to be inter-connected to one another.
Unfortunately a natural bent of ours is all about "me". This bentness is a serious distortion of what life is to be like or should be like. The relational aspect of what it means to be a human is undermined by our inordinate self-Interests. Because of this marriage can be or is for many hard. It is difficult. It is humiliating. But marriage is also very, very beautiful and one of the most profoundest of all relationships. The paradoxical thing is, is that marriage is very, very beautiful and perhaps the most profoundest of all relationships because of the very difficulty, hardness and humilating aspects brought forth. It is actually a very, very beautiful relationship because of the self-idolatrous bent.

Danae and I have been married for over 5 years now. In these five years we have shared much of each other and have gone through alot of things that have tested our relationship. We are still going through these tests. The test of our resolve to love one another through all things is the most challenging, difficult and agonizing of trials. For me right now this is a time where my perception or understanding of love is being challenged to take on a whole new scheme of apprehension. This scheme of apprehension is a deep below the surface apprehension. Beyond the mere conceptual, beyond the theory, beyond the abstract cognitive "knowing" of love. There is a violent demand and challenge toward a holistic embrace of a love that is alien to our intuition. A love that suffers all things and bears all things. A love that does not return evil for evil. A love that despite all the hurt, pain and horror that would be inflicted upon one, chooses instead to forgive and to absorb the pain of being wronged however great.

I have been seeing glimpses of this kind of love. This love is a most extra-ordinarily awesome power. A love that gives and gives with the risk that love would never be reciprocated. This is the power that is said to "kill with kindness." I see that there really is no other way to make it out of all that is evil and wicked and painful in this world. Not vengeance but other-serving love in forgiveness and in dying for the other. It is the most profoundest of deaths to endure. The most painful.

The maturation of love comes through the knowledge of one's brokeness and the knowledge of the love of God in the face of the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. A love that has served to the point of death. Death at the hands of those whom He loves.

Again...this knowledge is beyond mere cognitive apprehension of the concept of love but rather a knowledge that is that and more. Going through the entire being. The being...challenged to be entirely suffused with this love. Breaking the cycle of violence and Dis-Integration.....to heal, integrate and restore all things in a reciprocative community of wholeness and harmony.

A slow work indeed....very slow. But it is the work of which those who labor in it will have fruit that lasts forever.

My self-idolatrous bent is being challenged now more than ever. My sins have led me here to this place. The distorting bent of all things; which destroys all things....is being used in the hand of love Himself to serve me the gift of what a human being is to be...is going to be....in the face of Jesus the Christ.
All relationships....marriage included...is not about "us" or "family" in any general fashion. It is about the life of the world. It is about the perpetuation of the only power that will influence the world to become what it is not.

God "gives life to the dead and calls things that are not as though they were." Romans 4:17b

It is the kindness of God that leads us here to this place of becoming. Romans 2:4

2.28.2007

I totally jacked my back up this past weekend. I don't know how or when exactly it happened besides that it had to of occured on Saturday while moving furniture. Sunday I began to feel it. Not too bad. But than on Monday I was jacked. It is now Wednesday and I am now on my second day off of work. Dr. McDougal who is an awesome dude said that it is a good thing that my injury did not occur at a particular moment while moving furniture because that would be a great indicator that I could have popped a disc or something...not good. So because my back is jacked up after the fact it more than likely is a series of pulled muscles in the lumbar region extending down my left buttocks and down my left leg.....THE SCIATIC NERVE!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I am now on anti-inflammatories and muscle relaxers. I am uncertain as to what I will be able to do at work if I go back this week. I deliver dry-wall, steel and packages of mixed compounds of what we call "mud" which varies in weight of 35 to 50 lbs. a piece. My job is physically demanding and my back is jacked. It's not a good position to be in. We'll see what happens here. The Doc told me it normally takes about 7 to 10 days for the back to heal. If it doesn't than I may have a bigger problem on my hands. Why am I writing about this? Because I am bored.
Recently I have been thinking about my blog. Why do I have it? I do not utilize it. I like the medium. But it is not one that I use on a frequent basis. Having time to blog is rare. And honestly I would rather have a community blog. One with other fellow communitarians in my local area where we can share and discuss subjects that are oriented towards our own community. Perhaps I will initiate this very soon. I will still keep this blog I think. But it will be something which I will utilize sparingly.

Love to all my Sciatic-communicants!!

1.31.2007

"Why is cultural relevance a big deal?" by Ed Stetzer

Click on the above title for an insightful and practical word. You may also want to check out Mark Driscoll's message from the Supremacy of God in a Postmodern Culture Conference in 2006, titled "Supremacy of...and the Church in a Pomo. Cult." You can listen to the message on the routed site.
Ed's article here is similar to Marks message from the conference. Both are worthy to check out if you haven't and are interested.

Also, Tim Keller spoke at the same conference and spoke on the Gospel in a pomo culture. Very good stuff. He humorously and ironically (Pomo Culture!) qualifies by giving some "principals" for how to engage our culture and gives a breif but very helpful unpacking of the idea of a presuppositional analytical approach to apologetics.

Shalom

1.27.2007

Uniformity of Nature

My brother-in-law Joshua recently posted a very good read. Clicking on the above title will take you to the above title. Check out "Faith vs. Science" as well it was prelude to the above title. Good stuff bro.

Lesslie on Gospel embodiement

"No state can be completely secular in the sense that those who exercise power have no beliefs about what is true and no commitments to what they believe to be right. It is the duty of the church to ask what those beliefs and commitments are and to expose them to the light of the gospel. There is no genuinely missionary encounter of the gospel with our culture unless this happens. Here we must face frankly the distortion of the gospel that is perpetuated in a great deal that passes for missionary encounter. A preaching of the gospel that calls men and women to accept Jesus as Savior but does not make it clear that discipleship means commitment to a vision of society radically different from that which controls our public life today must be condemned as false..."
The "dichotomy between the private and the public worlds is the central clue to the ideology that governs our culture....A private religion of personal salvation that did not challenge the public ideology was perfectly safe under Roman law, as it is safe under ours. On these terms the church of the first three centuries could have flourished under the rule of Ceaser precisely as this kind of evangelicalism flourishes under the protection of our kind of society. But the authentic gospel cannot accept this kind of relegation. The sovereign rule of God requires that the state acknowledge its responsibility to reflect in all its ordering of society the justice of God - a justice that is primarily embodied in covenant relationships of mutual responsibility."

(Shalom; another word synonomous with the justice of God. The Hebrew Shalom translated "peace" in our language is a much more rich and nuanced word that carries with it not only "peace" in a tranquil sense but one in which the work of God in Christ is the restorative work of the entire cosmic-social fabric. A universal flourishing in that all things become redeemed.)

"To make disciples is to call and equip men and women to be signs and agents of God's justice in all human affairs. An evangelism that invites men and women to accept the name of Christ but fails to call them to this real encounter must be rejected as false."

Taken from "Foolishness to the Greeks: The Gospel and Western Culture" by Lesslie Newbigin.

Parenthesis mine