Saturday, March 10, 2007

Like water and oil? Or more like delicious cookies?

I am pretty open about being a free-will theist and my utter confusion with the basic tenets of Calvinisim, but I was thinking the other day after a conversation with my wife. She works at a pretty conservative Christian school and had a conversation with the co-workers about politics. The best quote of the time was, "Barak Obama stands for everything evil in the world" (anyway, that's a discussion for a different blog). One of them mentioned how America is the best place anyone could live in the world because of all the amazing freedoms we have been given and often take for granted. Erica and I were talking about this and I was thinking through how my own theological beliefs often fit so nicely within the framework of my national identity. Not that I equate Christianity with my nationality, but that my focus on human freedom within my theology can be seen as an appropriation of an American ideal in conjunction with a Christian ideal. So, I still believe that the Bible emphasizes human freedom to a large extent, but I think it can be dangerous when we do not question the way our political landscape has corrupted or hijacked the faith. Any places you all have been hijacked?

Thursday, March 8, 2007

Ankle-Deep in Water??

Ok, awesome cartoon. Whether you are really into President Bush or not, this is wonderful.

I just watched "An Inconvenient Truth" and am wondering what it looks like to be a faithful Christian and someone who desires to take care of the environment. I don't think it entails a reaction like James Dobson:

"More importantly, we have observed that Cizik and others are using the global warming controversy to shift the emphasis away from the great moral issues of our time, notably the sanctity of human life, the integrity of marriage and the teaching of sexual abstinence and morality to our children."

But honestly, I know that there is a part of me that is frightened at what it means personally for me to do something about global warming. So, here is the question: "What can we do, as individuals or larger community groups, to help change the trend of using the earth to keep us comfortable?"

God's Rivals

I was just reading the introduction and conclusion to this book that is all about the existence of other religions and I was fascinated at his ability to articulate what I think of as foundation to my worldview, but have never fully applied. I have been intrigued as I think through the place of religions other than Christianity within my worldview and how to understand their place in a world in which God has complete control. Here is a quote that I found compelling. Let me know what you think.

"Here I will sum up what we have seen. There is a line of teaching in both biblical Testaments that non-Jewish and non-Christian religions were inspired by divine powers that were created good but then went bad. As Paul suggested, angelic powers rebelled in pride against their Maker and enticed whole populations to worship them instead of the Father of Jesus Christ. They distorted what they knew of God's truth and held their devotees in a kind of bondage to a version of divine law. Hence the religions were born in deception and malice. But at the same time the religions are tutors of sort. God uses their very distortions to teach truth by the very mixture they produce. Their truth, mixed with error, was sown by seeds from the Logos. That truth keeps people from ruining their lives by wholesale avoidance of God's law, and it leads some to a reverent fear of God."

I think that one of the most biblically coherent elements of this idea by McDermott is that it provides a way to interact with those of other religions in what amounts to patient persuasion rather than hostile argumentation. I also think that it gives an inroad into the realization that those who believe they have the truth in their particular faith might not be completely in that they have truth, possibly just a distorted version of what God once created as good. Finally, I think that in this I, as a Christian, need to have a more humble grasp on truth as I remember what has been done in the name of Christ that truth does not resemble the truths on which I claim to have life. I would love to hear your thoughts. I guess this could also be called "Cow Tippin'" (See post below)

Monday, March 5, 2007

Rocks (or trees) Cry Out!

So, this is a picture of one of my friends from Minneapolis, and sometimes Denver. Scott leads a group people to Nepal a couple times a year (he has been 19 times thus far) for leadership training, ministry, and hiking. They spend a lot of time with village people, sharing cokes, and loving on those in a leper colony. His ministry is one of those that when I hear about it this time at seminary seems like a miniscule learning opportunity. I am grateful for people whose lives spur me on to dream about the Kingdom of God in places I wouldn't even be able to imagine it exists. Scott, if you ever read this, thank you. The following is a blog excerpt I found of Scott's that is gorgeous.

"Jan. 16th Coming down from Annapurna Base Camp

i saw a tree today. That might sound odd to hear, but it is a rare sight at 13,500 ft. It caught my attention because after scowering the rugged cliffs and the mountain slopes all around me, i could not find its match. There were none but this one! It was growing BIG and strong right out of a cleft in the rock. My initial reaction to seeing this tree is that it looked lonely there all by itself. To be the only one and to be so different from anything else around...lonely. Then i thought, thats how i feel sometimes. Then i wondered if the tree ever got so caught up in the fact that it seemed so unique or if it ever got frustrated that everything around it was so different that it missed the fact that there was so much amazing beauty all around it? That if this tree took the time to just look around it would realize that God placed it right in the middle of one of the most beautiful places on earth. Then as i continued to take in this beauty and the thought of this tree, i wondered what the tree would think, knowing that today it's very exsistence led me in worship of our Creator and our King?! That this tree was God's centerpeice in the beauty i witnessed as i sat on that rock...that this tree is a beautiful creation that crys out in praise of it's Creator. We are that tree! i am that tree. God, may i never get so caught up in myself or my circumstances that i forget that i too am your beautiful creation, that i was created to praise you and that my mere existence is, in and of itself, a reflection of Your beauty and Grace!"

Saturday, March 3, 2007

Cow-Tippin' Time

I have been thinking recently about the need for the evangelical church to re-think some of those good old "sacred cows" that are held neatly within statements of belief and , my favorite, the good old church constitution. Maybe this will have to be a weekly or monthly endeavor where I propose a "sacred cow" that needs tippin' and we can all work together to de-clutter wonderful evangelical churches. This week's tippin' point is the following statement which exists in most evangelical doctrinal statements: "inherent in its original manuscripts." i am going to make this short and sweet because my brain is feeling like mush (don't hold that against me) from working on my thesis today and feeling like I didn't get anywhere. So, I have been in many churches that affirm that the Bible is inherent in its original manuscripts and I have often wondered. "Mr. Pastor, do you have those original manuscripts? Because if you do you can just quit being a pastor because you could be wealthy!!" As I am spending a considerable amount of time study Hebrew I am coming to the conclusion that humans often suck at minute tasks. We were looking at a passage in Samuel where the Hebrew literally says, "Saul was one year old when he became king and he reigned for two years." Excellent! I guess my main point is that I don't understand this incessant need that there have been some magical set of perfect manuscripts for them to have been from God. I think that the dictation theory of inspiration just negates the way God works to such an extant that it doesn't sound like the God of the Bible. Personally, I am so grateful to a God that would risk putting this Bible, His word, into the hands of lame humanity and working with us to preserve it up to this point and that the message of salvation is still as beautiful as it was 2, 3, or 4 thousand years ago. PRAISE THE LORD and Hooray for cow tippin'.

Thursday, March 1, 2007

My blog of confusion

Cheers, all 2 of you that actually check my blog and have thought that David is really slacking in this blog thing. Well, I guess I would prefer it if you just thought I was lazy rather than a big idiot who forgot how to access his own blog. Anyway, I'm back it.

I took comps this last Saturday and I still haven't heard back about that which bothers me for numerous reasons, one major one being that I am a bit worried (hence picture of awesome nervous boy) that I will fail more than one section and need to retake the exam next semester which would most likely severely bother my wife. Not to mention the fact that I would cry (i know Ryan is thinking something to the effect, figures! Little baby David doing his thing).

Do you ever wonder if those things you have planned to happen, which would be devastating if they didn't occur, make sense in some other way. I assume that graduating and finding a job that might make more sense with my current passions would be a good thing. And here is the vaguest (is that a word?) question ever be posted on this blog henceforth, now and forever. Hmm... I wonder how much control God has of that situation?