Sunday, November 18, 2007

Brueggemann




If you get a chance (And you're in deep with some of this theology stuff) Watch some of the teachings of world-renowned Old Testament Scholar Dr. Walter Brueggemann here at:

http://www.emergentvillage.com/weblog/walter-brueggemanns-19-theses

He offers up some REALLY challenging stuff regarding the violence of God, ways to interpret the biblical text, how certitude causes death etc.

Here's a taster quote I managed to jot down whilst watching. He was asked about the violence in the Old Testament and God's apparent implication of many violent acts in the Old Testament

'God is deeply implicated in violence and is a recovering practioner of violence. All of us who are recovering, never quite get there and we regress, or fight against it or we have to work at it. That includes God'

Quite disturbing really as its a view we normally either try to EASILY dismiss or we try to explain God's violent acts away just as quick.

We need to drop the easy answers and truly wrestle with this image of God in the bible and who he might be in 'reality'... Its a hard exercise which most of us won't quite understand or get.

Awesome

For my Old Testament module I purchased his 'Theology of the O/T' book, which is fantastic... Again if you ever have the time to sit reading theology all day and have the luxury to waste money on books than I'd seriously recommend this book.

I promise I don't get commission

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Narrative

God and his epic story.

Its something I still struggle with as I'm in a culture that focuses on 'me', 'I', 'individual', 'mine'... You get the picture.

This extends to my tradition thinkings of Salvation. Its about God saving 'me'.
It creeps into my way of life. I want God to bless 'me'. I'm concerned about 'my' relationship with Jesus. Me Me Me Me ME.

Again....you get the picture.

Whilst this isn't a bad thing in itself, and hear me I think these things are important, I'm learning that its not all about... me.


1) We need to hook ourselves in deeper to God's big story. The story that he's extending out to all of us to be a part of.
2) We need to realise that God is for ALL. Not just for 'me'.
3) We need to live in a way that will help others to see the 'bigger picture', that God extends his welcome to them too.
4) We need to realise that God doesn't exactly need 'me' to get his point across, but still.... he does choose to let us in on the action...

Monday, November 12, 2007

Home

And so its on to Genesis 2 and 3 as of today! Again, I want this to be not just a study into something detached from my life, but something that I am letting affect my life and my role and my ministry.

I've also got to prepare a for a 15min seminar on forgiveness tomorrow at College. Better get that done!

God is good. I mean like ALL THE TIME.. I know there are going to be times when I forget this yet again, but right now it does indeed feel like you're coming back home.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

After Hours

The funny thing about sermons is that you can slap a bunch of ideas together and God annoints it and you've spoken something really poigniant. You can work and study and prepare and pray and sometimes it can go horribly wrong...

I feel a little bit in between tonight. It didn't go horribly wrong, but it didn't go fantastically well. I've got lots to learn but it wasn't an altogether awful experience. Has been over a year since I've done one so I'm not too worried.

God is good, I'm hopefully getting better

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Everything is Spiritual

I think I agree with Rob Bell when he says that 'Everything is Spiritual'..

Or least everything has a spiritual dimension to it... I'm not talking about inanimate objects, rather the people and the things they are involved in..

For example I don't believe that there is a separation between so called 'spirituality' and so called 'secularism'... So just because a Christian may work in a 'secular' job it doesn't mean that what they're doing doesn't have a spiritual dimension to it...

If like N.T. Wright suggests, the followers of Jesus are 'places' where "Heaven and Earth overlap" then how can there be a part of our lives that is simply 'secular'?

Whether we realise or not, every decision we make, the emotions we feel, the passions we have, the relationships we are in all have a spiritual dimension to them. People made in the image of God (so that's everyone, not just Christians!) all contain this spiritual dimension to them. We are all spiritual people.

Of course thats simply my opinion. I could be wrong.

I'll give an example though from my own current life. I've been profoundly moved spiritually by a group called 'Sigur Ros'. They are an icelandic slow-motion rock group. I've listened to their album 'Takk' back-to-back now many times over... They're not a Christian group, or even remotely religious I don't think (correct if I'm wrong)... But God is somehow in this music. Its stirred me spiritually...

I just downloaded some tracks (legally of course!) from their official website (http://www.sigur-ros.co.uk) I sat here and wept at the song 'Olsen Olsen'... God moved and spoke... What a spiritual experience!

Does God work in 'secular' music too?

Think about it.

Friday, November 09, 2007

HEROES!



Season 2

Episode 7.

Come on! Awesome Revelations, awesome build up... Taking a bit long, but still edge of your seat stuff.

Bad news coming though. It seems that there's a strike coming to the industry, and they might cut the season short... NO!!

Hope they get their act together.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Life (is) Story

I have a story. I struggle with former chapters. I want to rip entire pages out. But I can't. The plot seems be thickening. Maybe there is some depth here after all. I want there to be a happy ever after. I long for a a shift in pace, a hidden plot detail, a hint. Patience. Work on the current chapters and let the following pages look after themselves.

As I prepare for my talk on Sunday, I realise that this will be one of the first times my life is running parallel with my theme.

'From Chaos to Beauty'

A God who works with chaos, with chaotic lives with chaotic people, with a chaotic Creation and moulds it into something beautiful. Its right there - Genesis 1-2.4a, Read it if you can.

v2: 'the earth was a formless void and darkness covered the face of the deep while a wind (Hebrew is 'ruach' meaning either wind, breath, spirit) from God swept over the face of the waters.'

There's strong evidence to suggest that this 'formless void' isn't a 'nothingness' but actually a messed up state that God brings under his control. He masters the chaos and brings something that he calls 'good' in fact 'very good' out of all of it.

Makes you think about your own life and the possibilities of God doing that with you too.

Can he master the chaos of your own life?

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

A bigger, better canvas

As I continue to read more and more about the Jewish roots of Torah, faith, scripture, hope and Jesus I’m getting more and more excited… Something is happening, like I’m realising that there’s this bigger story out there, a bigger canvas than the one I thought had been painted.

There are so many little things that are changing the way I think about stuff. Take the word ‘Torah’ for example. Most English translations of this word would be ‘Law’..

It immediately conjures up words like : cold, enforced, boring, dry…

What a tragedy when you realise that the word Torah comes from the Hebrew verb ‘yarah’ which means ‘to shoot’ such as shooting an arrow at a target. So Torah is teaching that “hits the mark”. It is more about guidance, instruction, nurture…Its dynamic, its fluid, it takes a group of people who are half useless and points them in a better direction. The Way.

So when Jesus turns up and says that 'I dont come to abolish the Torah but to fulfill it' It strikes me that the direction that Torah has been pointing was to something much better than itself. Someone who can complete the guidance, and nurture of Torah itself. Jesus the Messiah. 'I am the Way.'

I want to be a follwer of the The Way.

My Rock

Gemma is a rock.

I mean that. She is a real godsend. We've had a great time over the past 2 weeks. Gem came to London for half term and we did some of the tourist sites and even got to see Parkinson! We had a lovely time with our friends Debbie, Will and Katie, enjoying the very best traditional japanese food... in London :)

Here's a tip. Never go into Hamley's during half term. Too many kids. You'd think a toy shop was for them or something!



I've just spent a long weekend up in St. Helens too with Gem. We attended a dinner held by Gem's work place, Christians Against Poverty. The CAP Client Awards 2007. It was such a moving time. Men and woman who had been sucked into the chaos of debt had been pulled out again and were given fresh hope and dignity.

People crippled by the chaos of debt and given a chance to live a life that is beautiful once more. I was close to tears.

(PS. Give CAP lots of money to carry on their great work! http://www.capuk.org)


Every place we have been and gone has been a real wonder because I was by Gemma's side. To spend time with her has been the greatest thing and will continue to be so.

I love her.