Friday, August 29, 2008

Commending and Welcoming Radical Risk-Takers for Christ

In light of the tremendous body of moving, working, risk-taking people that have joined our core group this message reminded me of you all.

Listen especially to the section about Prisca and Aquilla.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Friday, August 15, 2008

I Kissed Dating Goodbye at Boston University

This is pretty amazing

The Goodness of Knowing Our Badness

From Desiring God
From Rousseau to the Tom and Jerry Cartoons, Wheaton English Professor, Alan Jacobs, traces a “cultural history” of Original Sin, the name of his recent 304 page book. The most auspicious and provocative lines in Matt Jenson’s review in Books and Culture are these:
Original sin's deniers like to claim that the doctrine does bad things, or at least discourages us from doing good things. It deals death. So they tell us. But over and over in Jacobs' account, we meet well-intentioned characters, only to find their happier, gentler anthropologies turning sour, leading to (or at least abetting) anarchy, eugenics, despair. Perhaps the greatest irony in this history is the discovery that knowledge of original sin gives life—by revealing us to ourselves, yes, but also by grounding a sense of universal human kinship.... Truly a revolutionary thought—that the roots of our common humanity might be found, not in our dignity or even our potential, but in our depravity.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Recovering Theological Hermeneutics

An interesting work in which Zimmerman appeals to the premodern hermeneutics of the Reformation (and earlier) to show its answers to the modern hermeneutical debate. He does so by "reclaiming its (hermeneutics) original grounding in an incarnational ontology that defines 'being' by the reality of Jesus Christ and the relation of Father, Son, and Spirit (Vanhoozer)." Here's an excerpt. . .
"Modern fundamentalists who react against this so-called liberal theology unfortunately proceed from the same assumption as the 'enemy,' namely, that a text can have only one meaning but many possible applications, which can never become normative. Premodern interpreters by contrast possessed superior interpretive concepts, such as progressive revelation and typology, and were more keenly aware of the multiple layers of textual meanings. Their view of God's word as a vehicle of typological exegesis, the idea of sensus plenior, and the analogy of faith renders fundamentalist notions of stable, unitary meanings highly problematic. Yet fundamentalist interpreters cheerfully continue to use modernist principles in their defense of theology, a highly unhelpful strategy of entrenchment, the zeal of whose practitioners does little to conceal the increasing irrelevance of their effort (pp. 22-23)"

"For Luther, in other words, the Bible is the word of God in a derivative sense, derived from his basic concept that God's speech is a powerful, creative force. As the church historian Jaroslav Pelikan observes: 'The scriptures were the Word of God in a derivative sense for Luther -- derivative from the historical sense of Word as deed and from the basic sense of Word as proclamation. As the record of the deeds of God, which were the Word of God, the scriptures participated in the nature of that which they recorded. As the written deposit of the preaching of the apostles, they could be termed the Word of God also (Luther the Expositor, 108).' The word of God in the historical sense was a deed of God. Put differently, God's word of redemption, intended to bring people into intimate communion with himself, manifested itself in concrete historical action. Following the model of the incarnation, Luther thus fuses history and revelation into an inseparable unit. According to Luther, biblical hermeneutics must recognize the incarnation as its guiding principle (p. 58)."

"Luther's mature understanding of law and gospel is rooted in the division of God's written word into letter and spirit found in Luther's early writings. Thus it is important to come to grips with this primary distinction before examining his use of law and gospel. Perhaps no other phrase has been so misunderstood in the history of hermeneutics. As Ebeling points out, 'Luther did not regard the literal meaning as such as the 'letter that kills' and the allegorical. . . interpretations imposed upon it as the 'life-giving spirit'.' Luther is not a Neoplatonist: he does not discard the textual kernel for a spiritual experience of God-consciousness (Schleiermacher), for a timeless message of self-authentication (Bultmann), or even for a timeless moral code (Christian Fundamentalism). Instead the entire text, the whole, can be either the letter that kills of the life-giving Spirit, depending on whether 'the understanding is oriented towards Moses or toward Christ' (p. 61)."

- Ben Eilers

Quote from Nausea

A priest advances slowly, reading his breviary. Now and then he raises his head and looks at the sea approvingly:--the sea is also a breviary, it speaks of God. Delicate colours, delicate perfumes, souls of spring. 'What a lovely day, the sea is green, I like this dry cold better than the damp.' Poets! If I grabbed one of them by the back of the coat, if I told him: 'Come, help me,' he'd think, 'What's this crab doing here?' and would run off, leaving his coat in my hands.
I turn back, lean both hands on the balustrade. The true sea is cold and black, full of animals; it crawls under this thin green film made to deceive human beings. The sylphs all round me have let themselves be taken in: they only see the thing film, which proves the existence of God. I see beneath it! The veneer melts, the shining velvety scales, the scales of God's catch explode everywhere at my look, they split and gape. Here is the Saint-Elemir tramway, I turn round and the objects turn with me, pale and green as oysters.

Sartre, pg. 124 Nausea

C.S. Lewis would pity him for being so adept at seeing through things that he sees nothing.


How much wiser to spend money on human beings than on jewels and gold"

Clement of Alexandria

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Piper on Separation

From Ben Wright:

Does Piper teach separation? He asks.

You be the judge.

Here's just one relevant quote among many from today's radio program:

When a person departs from the doctrine that the apostles had taught, Paul sees this as a greater threat to unity than the disunity caused by avoiding such people. If we say: How can that be? How can dividing from a false teacher who rises up in the church promote unity in the church? The answer is that the only unity that counts for unity in the church is rooted in a common apostolic teaching. Isolating false teachers—avoiding them—is Paul’s strategy for preserving unity that is based on true teaching.

You can see the whole manuscript here or download an MP3 here.

The bottom line? Unity is a sham unless it's unity around truth. Piper discusses loving people and loving truth, purity for the sake of unity, a defined body of doctrine, and truth-based division for the sake of truth-based unity.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

What Impresses God

Last week I caught part of the opening ceremony of the Olympics, reportedly planned and rehearsed for 5 years, and costing $300 million to stage.

It featured 15,000 Chinese performers. 33,866 fireworks were fired off – almost as many as our local Indiana County Fair on July 4th. It was probably the largest and most expensive show ever produced. Especially cool was the performance of 2000 drummers in playing in perfect synchronization. Obviously, China wanted to impress.

But China's government is not impressive.

"They hung me up across an iron gate, then they yanked open the gate and my whole body lifted until my chest nearly split in two. I hung like that for four hours."
Read on

Thursday, August 07, 2008