Thursday, January 28, 2010

Very Funny Video

Here is a great clip from Sesame Street with Elmo and Ricky Gervais

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

How American Idol Brings Out My Worst

Sadly I am watching American Idol... Nothing else on, and I'm not really feeling the Church History this evening.  Anyway I am watching the people who have been rejected walk out crying and all I can think is that if I could have any job on American Idol I would want to be the camera guy who follows them out and sticks the camera in their face and follows them out as they cry.  I know, it's cruel.  But seriously I think that would be one of the funniest jobs on the show.  Honestly though, I can't believe that I am watching this show.  I really hate it.  Too commercial, too specific, and there is no room for original singers.  People like Neil Young, Bob Dylan, Dave Matthews, and George Young (AC/DC) would definitely never have made it past the auditions.  And I think there would be some question if Gordon Downie (The Tragically Hip) would have made it.  However, all of these men are incredible singer songwriters who deserve all the fame they have earned.  Finally, if we need any more proof that American Idol is totally fake and stupid.  Katy Perry was a guest judge?????  Didn't she sing on AI last year?  If I remember correctly I she was brutal (*sigh*) 

Monday, January 25, 2010

First Day of Class

So today is the first day of class for the semester!  I have just 1.75 hours left of freedom!  In just under two hours I will receive my first (of many) Syllabus.  Of course since I've had almost two months off, I have done some reading and I am sitting in a pretty good place for the start of the semester.  And I am actually pretty ready to get back in the class room.  Sitting around is nice, but it will be good to be busy again.  However, I can tell already that Monday's are not going to be my favorite day of the week.  Class all afternoon, just enough time to work out and grab a quick something to eat, and then class until 9, and then work for an hour or so cleaning the school.

Fortunately I was able to finish reading all the books I bought from Amazon with my Christmas money.  I had to read pretty fast the last two days to finish Miroslav Volf's Free of Charge, but I finished it this morning and now I am ready to just read school books for a while.  Free of Charge was excellent.  Because pretty much everything I read I relate to the subject of God's wrath, there were a few things that I wonder about.  However, if you are looking for an excellent book on the topic of giving and forgiveness this is a must read.  In church on Sunday they were talking about giving money and that sort of thing, and I kept wishing that the person preaching would have read this book.  It would have offered so much to his sermon.  Anyway that's all for now.  Peace

Friday, January 22, 2010

The Wrath of God

So I spent a good portion of today in the in the Library doing research for my Thesis.  I read a number of different books and authors on the subject of the wrath of God.  I found some stuff that I found really helpful.  Also some stuff that I thought was totally bizarre.  Did you know that Martin Luther was obsessed with his personal guilt?  There is one account of him spending six hours confessing all his sins from the previous day.  He was so consumed with personal guilt and fear of God that it affected everything he did.  As I have studied the wrath of God I feel that it is very important that this issue be addressed.  There is still too much of Luther's fear and Marcion's belief that God of the Old Testament was different than the God of the New.  All in all it seems that is we are going to speak of God's wrath it cannot be divorced from the person of Jesus.  Right now I am thinking that my Thesis will combine the issue of wrath of God expressed in the person of Jesus, and how to reconcile our call to be nonviolent with the violent images of Jesus the lamb in Revelation... or something like that.  I'll need to figure out exactly how this will work.  I have a few ideas, but it needs to be fleshed out a little better.  So to sum up,  Thesis will combine non-violence, Jesus, wrath, violence....... my head hurts.

Anyway I did do some reading by Heschel from the book Prophets it is incredible!  Here are a few great quotes about God's wrath from him.

“To the prophets, we have noted, God does not reveal himself in an abstract absoluteness, but in a personal and intimate relation to the world.  He does not simply command and expect obedience; He is also moved and affected by what happens in the world, and reacts accordingly.  Events and human actions arouse in Him joy or sorrow, pleasure or wrath.  He is not conceived as judging the world  in detachment” (223/224)

“God’s pathos was not thought of as a sort of fever of the mind, which disregarding the standers of justice, culminates in irrational and irresponsible action.  There is justice in all His ways, the Bible insists again and again.” (225)

“Whatever man does affects not only his own life, but also the life of God insofar as it is directed to man.  The import of man raises him beyond the level of mere creature.  He is a consort, a partner, a factor in the life of God. (226)

“As long as the anger of God is viewed in the light of psychology of passions rather than in the light of the theology of pathos, no adequate understanding will be possible. (282)

“There is an evil which most of us condone and are even guilty of: Indifference to evil... All prophecy is one great exclamation; God is not indifferent to evil! ... This is one meaning of the anger of God: the end of indifference!” (284)

It is impossible to understand the meaning of divine anger without pondering the meaning of divine patience or forbearance. Explicitly and implicitly, the prophets stress that God is patient, long-suffering, or slow to anger (ex 34:6, Num 14:18, Jer 15:15, Joel 2:13, Jonah 4:2, Nah 1:3, Pss 86:15, 103:8 145:8 Neh 9:17).  Patience is one of the ‘thirteen attributes of God,’ yet never in the sense of apathy, of being indifferent.  Contrary to their thinking was the idea of a God who submits to the caprice of man, smiling at the hideousness of evil.  The patience of God means His restraint of justifiable anger. One must not mistake divine forgiveness for indulgence or complacency.  There is a limit at which forbearance ceases to be a blessing.... The Lord is long-suffering, compassionate, loving and faithful, but He is also demanding, insistent, terrible, and dangerous.” (p 285)

“The call of anger is a call to cancel anger.  it is not an expression of irrational, sudden, and instinctive excitement, but a free and deliberate reaction of God’s justice to what is wrong and evil.  For all its intensity, it may be averted by prayer (Deut 9:19, Ex 32:7-11).  There is no anger for anger’s sake.” (286)

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

The Voice

I was very excited when I heard about The Voice.  A Bible that is aiming to catch the narrative and meaning of the Bible in a fresh expression is something to get excited about.  The thing that needs to be mentioned right away is that this is more of a paraphrase than a literal translation.  I think that people who enjoyed Peterson’s The Message will also really enjoy The Voice.  If you didn’t like the liberties that Peterson took you will hate this version.  One of the things that I really liked was the way that they formatted this Bible to feel like a screenplay.  It helps break up the different voices of the Bible and to find the feel for what is going on.  This is especially true when you look at 1 Corinthians 6 where the conversation between Paul and those in Corinth comes across to really capture what is happening.
The Text boxes in the Bible I had no use for.  I found they added very little insight or help.  On the other hand in this Bible there are many italicized portions where the translators have added text to try and more fully capture the original meaning of the text, or give us some insight that would have been obvious to the original audience.

When I read Colossians I was a little disappointed with The Voice.  I felt that some of that some of the italicized portions were adding more of the translators own views than Paul’s.  I also thought that language of an NLT or The Message would be easier to read and understand.

However, I then read Galatians and 1 Corinthians and there I really fell in love with The Voice.
Recently there has been debate within Scholarship about how to translate “dia pisteos Isou Cristou” in Galatians 2:16.  The question here being, are we made righteous by faith in Jesus or by the faith of Jesus.  For various reasons I find the later position more compelling and I was excited to see that the translators of The Voice agreed with me. I think that they also did a great job of getting the feel of Galatians.

I have also just finished reading Richard Hays’ commentary on 1 Corinthians and I found that for the most part The Voice really echoed Hays’ commentary.  I think that they did a good job of capturing Paul’s meaning in this book.  They really captured the sense of community and moved away from an individualistic reading of Corinthians.

For the most part I really enjoyed The Voice.  I was occasionally disappointed because I felt that the translators stuck with a more traditional interpretation on some passages (Like 1 Cor 11) but was pleased with the way they pushed on other passages.  If you read The Voice beside a literal translation of the Bible you may wonder if you are even reading the same book.  Some of the additions do add a lot to what we traditionally have read.  The best advice I can give is to read The Voice alongside a good commentary.  This will help you decide for yourself how the translators have done.  All in all The Voice is a good devotional book, something to give you some fresh insights into the scriptures, but not a book I would ever take into one of my seminary classes.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Monday, January 18, 2010

Truth From A Child

“There’s never enough time to do all the nothing you want.” 
- Calvin

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Yosemite Pictures

We had the chance to go and see Yosemite this weekend. It was so beautiful. Here are a few pictures from our trip.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

She Says She Loves Her Life

Niki always tells me that she loves her life with me.  So I thought that I would show you what that life looks like.  Here is a normal day in our house!  Reading, internet, homework!

And yes that is Karl Barth Church Dogmatics IV.1 on the shelf.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Holy Darkness

As I was driving the other day I heard Rufus Wainwright cover Leonard Coehn’s Hallelujah.  Rufus changed a few of the verses from the original and one of his new lines goes “Remember when I moved in you; the holy dark was moving too, and every breath we drew was Hallelujah” As I heard the line “The Holy Dark was moving too.” I stopped. What does it mean? Holy Dark?   I don’t think that these are two words that we put together very often.  But why not? Maybe I am just reading too much of the Book of Job, but doesn’t the idea of a Holy Dark make perfect sense when trying to understand God?
So often when I think about God and the way he works I think BRIGHT and PASTEL colors.  But I am beginning to think that isn’t the way God always works.  Often He works in the Dark.  The dark is scary, we don’t understand the dark.  We bump into things in the dark and we can’t see past our noses (the reason I stubbed my toe last night).  And there are times that life seems very dark.  Where is God for the barren woman?  or the Woman who loses her child in birth?  Where is God when men go to war?  Where is God when all our plans are smashed on the rocks?  Life seems to be filled with a lot of dark.
This is where. for me, the idea of a Holy Dark comes in.  I have faith that behind the darkness there is a God who cares for us and is moving behind the scene.  Maybe instead of imagining it as a black darkness, we should think of Holy Dark as a deep blue, like the night sky as it gives away to dawn.  Personally I believe that the scriptures tell us we have a God who cares for us, who can guide us through the pitch, and a God who defends and pulls for us.
I don’t know what this all means.  What does it mean when we can’t see God moving? How does someone having cancer fit with this idea? I don’t know, I don’t have all the answers, but in my own moments of night, I will keep having faith that behind the darkness God is moving, so it’s not just a dark that envelopes me, it is a HOLY dark.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

I forgot how much I missed this (and other randoms)

I really had forgotten how much I like to blog. I actually have to hold myself back so I don't post all the time. So I started reading Shane Hipps book The Hidden Power of Electronic Culture: How Media shapes Faith, the Gospel and Church yesterday, and I finished it less than 24 hours later. All I can say is WOW! This books is incredible. In fact Shane Hipps may just be one of my new favorite authors. He takes the best things of Neil Postman's and Marshal McLuhan's writings, simplifies them, and then applies them directly to the church today. I really think that this book needs to be on everyone's must read list. He really shows the way that "Media forms, regardless of their content, have a profound and subliminal power to shape the way we think" (p. 82). I cannot recommend this book highly enough!

In other news, school is still a ways off. However, I want to get my Thesis proposal written before school starts, so I have also been doing some reading on that. If anyone comes across anything about the wrath of God please pass it on to me. I'm not sure yet exactly what direction I am going, but I am pretty sure that the wrath of God in the scriptures is not quite what I have always pictured it as. More to come as I develop my thoughts on the subject.

I am also back to working out. After almost two months off I went a little too hard yesterday and was almost puking in the gym. So I'll be a little kinder to my body today. I also have a new workout partner which will be cool, we'll be doing some weights and then playing Racquetball after for some cardio. Should be good. I weighed myself and I discovered that I put on a few pounds over Christmas so unfortunately that means eating right again and being faithful to working out. Can anyone tell me, is it better to just work one or two muscle groups a day, or a full body workout every other? I would be really interested in your takes on this.

p.s. I should mention that it is beautiful outside in California today. Our front door has been open letting a nice warm breeze come through. What a great place to live in the winter!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

THe Hidden Power of Electronic Culture

So I just finished reading NT Wrights book Justification. I found it to be a terribly tough read. He probably needed an editor more like my wife... Someone who would make him rewrite his sentences so that they don't go on for two and a half pages (I exaggerate the length somewhat. And now at least I have someone to point to if my profs ever mark me badly on my run on sentences). I really liked the way he talked about how God has only had one plan to save the world through, and that is through the Covenant with Abraham. This is very much in line with what Gerard Lohfink wrote in Jesus and Community (an incredible must read). God has not abandoned the covenant that was made with Israel, and it is not put aside for the "era of the Church." Wright's book pushes on the topic of ecclesiology in a way that is sure to make some people uncomfortable. However it is very much in line with Lohfink. All in all I really enjoyed Justification. However, now I am really looking forward to something a little lighter. I am now starting The Hidden Power of Electronic Culture by Shane Hipps. I am just a few pages in and I think it is going to be fantastic!

I'm Back

I don't keep office hours any more, and I know it's been years since I have blogged here. But I'm going to give it a try again. Stay tuned and we'll see what I can think of to say.