Sunday, February 25, 2007

Good Reality Check

Comps were yesterday and I am having a hard time getting them out of my mind as I incessantly worry about whether I was either correct in my response or totally misrepresented the opinion of the person in the article who also happens to be the one grading the response. Well, I could go on for a while on that topic as might be noted by the fact that I am writing this early Sunday morning because sleeping has been a bit questionable.

You want to know a good way to be humbled? I know you do so don't even pretend to stop reading. The picture of the baby above is that of a child born after only 22 weeks (for those guys that aren't really sure if that is full term or what, this is about half way to full term) and she seems to be pretty dang healthy from what I have been reading. It is amazing seeing all the intricacies in that child knowing mine is about 6 weeks further along. God is so good. It's pretty healthy to get my mind off me, wouldn't you agree?

Friday, February 23, 2007

Let us take a moment to be thankful

Can we all just take a moment and be thankful for the magnificent show that is "The Office" and how in the midst of bizarre weeks they can never be as bizarre as Dwight.

I still can't get the moment out of my head from last night's episode when Jim and the CFO are out playing basketball and they see Dwight throwing things off the roof from the chimney. Ah, wonderful.

When do I get to be wrong?

So, I am intrigued to see if anyone actually ever begins reading this blog, but I thought I might as well keep writing because oddly enough my brain just keeps right on trucking with odd little thoughts. So, this picture is one that was taken as President Bush learned about the airplanes flying into the World Trade towers on 9/11 and I was just thinking about how scared he looks. I know there are some that think he just looks mad and is ready to get back at the world, but I think he is scared. As a result of this event there are few political folks who would deny that the President has made any mistakes along the way. This whole Iraq thing probably could have been handled differently, anywho. This leads to my actual deal I am thinking about.

If the President of the United States gets a few "oops" moments why not me? I recently met with a leader of a prominent denomination within the United States and internationally to discuss if I would be right to work in that denomination and I was surprised to learn how rigidly all of their doctrinal beliefs are held. Now, don't get me wrong, I am a firm believer of doctrinal beliefs, but I wasn't sensing any area of wiggle room. I am 25 years old and am to affirm that for the rest of my life I will be cautious of Charismatic expression, premillennial, and always prefer a congregational model of church leadership. What would have happened to the church if the Apostle Paul was made to sign a statement of beliefs when he was young? All I'm saying is that there needs to be a richer awareness of the discrepancies within Scripture which might necessitate a difference of opinion and it bothers me when these differences mark a denomination and end of dividing the church.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Comps Ranting

I am in the midst of spending the majority of my time studying for my comprehensive exam which is quickly approaching this Saturday and I am finding myself thinking through issues that seem a bit too big for my britches. You know that feeling when you are trying to think through something that must be important to think through, but you just sense that you are becoming a heretic in the process. Oh well, hopefully it will all still fall within the realm of grace.

So, my thesis right now is on the book of Ecclesiastes and I am attempting to find a connection between classic canonical criticism (i.e. Brevard Childs, and others) and ancient Jewish interpretation from various Midrash and other sources. The main idea is just that to understand the book of Ecclesiastes you must read it in its canonical place rather than simply atomizing the book to the point that you decide it has no place in the canon. It is an attempt to place Ecclesiastes in the corpus of scripture in a similar way that James acts as a theological balance to Romans in the New Testament. Really, I am getting to my question.

In the midst of doing this I have begun to realize how closely narrative criticism and narrative theology relate to this topic. I love the idea of narrative criticism as it invites the reader to truly attempt to understand what the author was attempting to convey rather than simply idealizing scripture to fit with our own theological presuppositions. The only problem with this is that the more you read scripture as a story the faster academics are to see it ONLY as a story and revolt against any sense of historical factuality. I was reading an Old Testament theologian, Gerhard Von Rad, who believes that it is impossible to believe that all of Israel crossed the Red Sea or that the whole of Israel was at Mount Sinai. He prefers to think of the Israelite experience in the Old Testament as a beautiful sermon illustration that posits excellents points, but without any particular merit historically. Usually I am alright with this presupposition, particularly in relationship to the creation story which seems to be written in a poetic style and with an eye for metaphorical ideals, but what happens when we continue this trend and our buddy Bultmann and others see the Resurrection as something needing to be demythologized. I am just a bit confused at where the line is, or maybe my need for a line is pretty western of my anyways. I'd love any thoughts.