Monday, May 29, 2006

Mother, Mother Ocean!

Though I surely do not embrace the Buffet lifestyle I must admit that today I felt a bit 'buffetesque', if you will. Perhaps you are unfamiliar with what I am referring too, if so do not feel embarassed, knowledge of buffet is not neccessarily a point of boasting for myself either (not to place blame upon anyone for my Buffet knowledge or anything, but it is completely and utterly my dear friend Doug Anderson's fault). But anyway, I must say looking into the beautiful Atlantic for the last three days, as My wife and I enjoy this long American celebratory weekend I couldn't help but to hum the Buffet song Mother Mother Ocean: (hmm...hmmm...hmm... that's me humming):

Mother, mother ocean, I have heard you call,
Wanted to sail upon your waters
since I was three feet tall.
You've seen it all, you've seen it all.
Watch the men who rode you,
Switch from sails to steam.
And in your belly you hold the treasure
that few have ever seen, most of them dreams,
Most of them dreams.

Ok, Ok, I know that I am cheesy standing out there, in my less than picturesque-self (none-speedo wearing atleast) looking into God's glorious creation and humming a Buffet cartoon style song. But hey, I really enjoyed moment of humor and child-like reflection on the great sea. I guess this points, once again, to the fact that I certainly can't take myself too seriously.

And oh yea, you shouldn't take yourself so seriously either.

Enjoy the comedic gesture even if its not quite that:)

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Reading Genesis

I have recently been abscent from blogging since the reading for my summer course has been assigned. I have been reading "How to Read Genesis" by Tremper Longman III for the last week. I thought that I would offer a brief review for your pleasure, or perhaps for your annoyance, but a brief review none-the-less.

For the Layman:
The book was enjoyable. It is quite brief (only 173 pgs) and yet nicely informative. I would encourage anyone who is going to read Genesis through for their study time to pick up a copy. It was $9.17 on and for that price it is WELL worth it. Longman is helpful in breaking down the basic concepts which form the entire book of Genesis. He is very readable and easily followed (I imagine) for the non-technical student (i.e. non-seminarian). In sum, I think that you would find the book to be worth its weight in teaching you the basic elements of Genesis so that your reading of the holy text will be rich and full.

For the Seminarian:
All the above stated info immediately applies. However, I also think that you would enjoy the appendix section. He offers his perspective on the best Genesis commentaries and he writes a brief comment on each to tell you the theological perspective of the author who wrote the commentary. Perhaps for that alone you would want the book, because DO NOT think that you can just barrow my copy and look at the commentary recomendation, no, no, no! Just-kidding of course, but really I think that it would be worth the $9.17 to buy the book.

In sum, for you the book will probably serve you best in teaching a course on Genesis in your church; this text would nicely suppliment your thoughts.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Sadly, No more 'Rockin' On

I know that some of you might think of me as a bit of a hypocrite with this post. I will concede to the fact that, yes, it is true I have a smidgin' of a willful blindspot theologically when it comes to my pragmatic love for Petra Praise. Arminian, yes most surely. Authentic CCM'rs, quite likely. Encouraging while listening...Absolutely! I mean, if you have not heard "Lovely Lord" (track 10) by Petra you are in need of repentance! Not to say anything of track 9 entitled, "I waited for the Lord"! Petra can rock like no one else when it comes to 80's style Christian Rock. Yes, you read it right, I said it, Christian Rock!

In a bit of a confession here I must say that I have need every once in a while to just 'let my hair down', if you will, and rock it out by means of blaring my boys album Petra Praise 2. Love it!

Anyway, I must unfortunately announce to any who have not heard that Petra will no longer be rockin' after 33 hard fought years in the "CCM" movement. God has been good to Petra and touched many lives through their music. So, if you ever feel the need to rock it out, find Petra Praises 2 the album and, as Lynnard Skynard would say, "turn it up!"

Thanks for 33 years of rockin' it out for the sake of the Kingdom Petra. We'll be seein' ya.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Pursuing Unity or Keeping "peace"?

Thanks to my many friends who have offered much thought to my initial questions regarding Christian liberality. I do not wish to leave the initial discussion too early however, I do wish to build upon it.

Paul speaks to the Christian community in Ephesus in terms of "walking worthily", which is demonstrated in "humility", "gentleness", "patience", "bearing with one another", and being "EAGER TO MAINTAIN the UNITY in the bond of peace" (4:1-3). The faith community is to "speak the truth in love" as we are growing up in every way into him who is the head, that is, Christ (4:15). This type of Christ-ian living "makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love" (4:16).

When I examine the body consciousness of Paul I am doubtful that we are truly honoring the explicit teaching of Christian unity. That is to say, I reject the notion that pursuing (actively maintaining) unity is accomplished by simply co-existing with other brothers and sisters through a 'don't ask don't tell' policy. How is that receiving me and I receiving you? If we cannot know much about one another with regards to our lives lived out in faith, then we fail to authentically know one another at all, and thus are failing to receive one another in love. A 'don't ask don't tell' Christianity fails to demonstrate "humility", "patience", "bearing with one another" and most all fails to demonstrate authentic love. We are all very familiar with vague references to "loving" brothers and sisters that we do not agree with, but what does that mean? Or moreover, what does that look like?

In sum, I stating that we are not truly unified at all if we do not even know one another. I am not saying that we must bear all things, but lets face it, who we are in our homes is who we are and how we can be prayed for. Therefore, it is unchristian to keep the peace over and against pursuing peace, of which we are unfortunately unaccustomed too.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Why Do You Despise Your Brother? Rom 14:10

Recently I have been wrestling with concepts of "Christian liberty". That is, how do we as brothers and sisters in Christ live in peace with one another, loving one another without passing judgment upon one another when it comes to living out our personal lives in faith before God(Read Romans 14-15)? I care to cite only four of thousands of "issues" within the Christian community; Movies, Drinking (responsibily), Smoking, and Music. I know, I know, the list thing is scaring you about right now, since it eerily reminds you of Camp, but fear not, I am no evangelist and I am certainly not going to ask you to bow your heads and raise your guilty little hands! No, I really mean it. How do we co-exist with one another in love, not pretend "I love you" gestures either! I mean, really love one another, which includes accepting one another without ANY despising (Rom. 14:10-12).

I could go all night, and I mean alllllllll night, on debating what is a sin and what is not, but that is not my point. Rather, I want us to dialogue on how we can express love, true genuine biblical love, toward one another when we do not share the same conscience within the realm of "liberty". That is to say, if you enjoy an ice cold Bud after work, and is sanctified through faith and prayer than I want to rejoice with you, as someone I love and for whom Christ has died. I mean it! And I also want to rejoice (and despise NOT) in my brothers who cannot in faith drink an ice cold Bud after work, but think that God would rather have them drink an ice cold Pepsi (not Coke though, that's just...hmmm...not fitting):).

In sum, I hope to encourage you to think through these "issues". Those who are "strong" in faith cannot despise the "weak" (or those who simply are different in conscience than you) and those who are "weak" must not despise the "strong" (or those who simply are different in conscience than you) otherwise, we do not love the elect for whom Christ died and that is an offense none of us can rightfully continue in.

There will be more on this in future posts, but I really just want to share my initial thoughts with you and I hope to challenge you and be challenged by you. This is no exposition of Rom 14-15 nor was it meant to be. If this is too elementary for you than sorry, but I am thinking about this a lot, especially in concert to future ministry.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

"Friends I've Never Met" - Part II

Charles Hodge was a masterful systematic theologian. His life's work was much consumed by a strong presentation and defense of the mighty doctrines of grace. When american students talk of Calvinism they are speaking the language of exemplary men like Charles Hodge. History speaks of him as possessing a vigorous intellectual mind for truth coupled with a heart for God. His influence was immense. He enjoyed a distinguished fifty year tenure at College of New Jersey (now Princeton). During that time he is said to have taught nearly 3,000 ministerial students! Dr. Hodge was a scholar of scholars and we are truly indebted to his mind and minstry.

His Sytematic Theology is now sold in a 3vol set with a three part division (Vol 1) Theology, (Vol 2) Anthropology and (Vol 3 ) Soteriology. This set is worth possessing for all theological students.

Charles Hodge certainly is a friend that I have never met, but a friend none-the-less.

Phil. 2:29-30 "...hold men like him in high regard...for the work of Christ" (men of godly service)