01 November 2009

Greek resources on the web

Lately I've been brushing up on my Greek. I've found a great resource on the web:

Greek & Hebrew Reader's Bible

22 October 2009

Praying for Stones

I am facing a few difficulties and I am praying for resolution. But I've been struggling with exactly what to pray for. I would like to be more specific than simply praying "God take this difficulty away".

In His sermon (Matt 7:7-10, Lk 11:9–13) Jesus encourages us to ask for that which sustains us: bread, fish, and eggs (sounds like breakfast in Scandinavia). When asked He will *not* give us stones, snakes or scorpions but instead the good things that we need.

The difficulty is specificity I don't always know what is best for me and my family. So what if, needing bread, I ask for a stone. I must believe that even though I ask for the stone that I think would be best, God will give me the bread that I really need.

I will continue praying with specificity and with the confidence that my Father loves me and will give me what I really need even if I do not know to ask for it.

16 October 2009

Worship Training

Checkout Dan's new worship training site http://worshiptraining.com/

15 October 2009

Mind mapping - XMind

I've always been a fan of mind mapping ideas, and have also used the technique in a team settings during design sessions. But I've never used mind mapping software much. But I just discovered Xmind it is free and easy to use. It has several different diagram types, integrates well with a web browser (internal or external) and even allows me to embed documents inside the map.

So I've started to use it to keep complex world a bit more in order.

I only wish it had RDF capibility so I could name the edges and run SPARQL queries against it.

06 October 2009

Tabernacle Diagram

I told my students I'd put up this image of the tabernacle that we discussed in class last night. The overall scheme for the diagram was again inspired by Sarna's Understanding Genesis, who it seems also inspired Bandstra's similar diagram.

28 September 2009

The gift of perspective

I am speaking at chapel this Thursday. This is peace and justice week at SSU and my talk should have this focus. So I've been meditating on justice for the last week or so thinking especially about themes in Deuteronomy. My conclusions though are looking to be almost too typical for me.

Deuteronomy's vision for justice is actually pointing back to creation - the shalom of Eden. This is in part what jubilee and sabbath rest are all about. The step to Jesus programmatic inauguration of jubilee (in Luke), and new creation (in John) is obvious. So I end up where I always seem to: with eschatology (no pun intended). My students will not be surprised.

I can't decide if this is a good thing or not. I do wonder if perhaps I should come to different conclusions about things sometimes. But if these things are really there in the text - and I am confident they are - then someone should talk about it.

Perhaps perspective is actually part of the gift. We each have a different perspective or orientation. We will care about different things. Mine is not the only one, and the point at the moment is not which perspective is the most correct (I have no idea how we would determine that). Though this is not to suggest that we cannot or should not be think carefully about the merits of particular points of view (of ourselves or others).

The point is that I need to see things from other's perspective perhaps my perspective may be helpful for others too. The fact that I am bound to see things and organize what I read in particular ways may actually be part of the gift.

24 September 2009

Ancient Hebrew Cosmology Diagram

I made this diagram for my creation lecture. It is adapted from Nahum Sarna's, Understanding Genesis. The round circle in the middle is the navel of the earth.

07 July 2009

The Fast

The following is a piece I wrote for Dan's blog

The fast embraces the hunger that is fundamental to our existence in this fallen cosmos. It becomes a symbol for all of our hunger – the hunger for security, for significance, for relationship, for food, for freedom.

The fast places us in solidarity with the other whose hunger is more acute than our own. The intensification of our hunger reminds us that there our those who live every day with a hunger yet more intense.

The fast is a proclamation that though we acknowledge our hunger, it will not rule us. We are not slaves to our desires.

The fast is a reminder that we will not always be hungry. Though hunger is our lot now, one day soon the effects of the resurrection will be fully realized and hunger will be no more.

The Creed

Garrett Viggers, Third Day and Brandon Hall have done a lovely tribute to Rich Mullins' Creed...

Check it out on Garrett's site: http://www.garrettviggers.com/videos.php

22 June 2009

Deuteronomy and Sabbath

Deuteronomic polity insists that there is one way to break the seemingly irreversible cycle of debt, poverty, and enslavement, and to forge a new beginning, free of old sin and failures. The sabbatical principle builds into the relentless movement of human life occasions to stop and recover. On the sabbath occasions of life, whether seventh day, the seventh month, the seventh year, or the fiftieth year the word of God announces "Stop and Recover!"
Stop and recover freedom for slaves
Stop and recover fertility for the land
Stop and recover food for the poor
Stop and recover property to its original owner....
In sum sabbath occasions envisions the regular restoration of the world and its manifold relationship to their created order and character. At its core, the holy rhythm that inseparably joins Israel' life and liturgy also summons the community of faith to reclaim and restore God's cosmic purposes through its ministry in the world.

from: Balentine "The Torah's Vision of Worship"

Kingdom evangelization

Jesus' kingdom evangelization, in its present dimension as the in-breaking action of God through human lives and societies, takes the shape of prophetic denunciation of personal and public sin; of confrontation of powers and institutions; of unmasking ideologies and traditions; of challenge to unbelief, prejudice, and hostility; and of challenge also to triumphalistic belief. Finally, it takes the form of repentance, conversion, and radical discipleship.

This was Jesus' confrontational evangelization. It calls for a verdict. It demands an options. "Repent ... and believe ... the kingdom if comming."

Arias, Mortimer. "Announcing the Reign of God." p 53.

Fertility and Justice

Reading Brueggemann's "The Land: Place as Gift, Promise, and Challenge in Biblical Faith."

Lots of interesting - but often overdone - ideas; typical Brueggemann.

In his final chapter his premise is that there is a link between economics and sexuality; between the way we treat women and the way we treat the land. I'm not yet sure what I make of it.

He does make one very interesting observation: both promiscuity and domination both reduce women to a comodity; they both dehumanize and objectify.