Monthly Archives: August 2007

Unity

Reading my email this morning, I was reminded this morning of a couple passages in chapters 13 & 17 in The Gospel of John. Jesus prays for unity among those who claim His name.

Francis Schaeffer points this characteristic as the “mark of the Christian.”
Schaeffer goes further and reminds us of its inherent challenge:

“Jesus is giving a right to the world. Upon his authority he gives the world the right to judge whether you and I are born-again Christians on the basis of our observable love toward all Christians.
That’s pretty frightening. Jesus turns to the world and says, ‘I’ve something to say to you. On the basis of my authority, I give you a right: you may judge whether or not an individual is a Christian on the basis of the love he shows to all Christians.'”

A tall order from the Prince of Peace, no doubt.

Taptaptaptaptaptaptaptaptaptaptap

Windows Media Player allows me to bump up the playback speed of my music. LP players had this, so I don’t know why I never thought to look for it in my media software.

So… that being said…

A Fire Inside + Ctrl-Shift-G (Fast Playback Speed) = Great sermon-writing music.

(The taptaptaptaptap is my feet, btw…)

Thy Kingdom Come

To the Jewish mind, heaven is not a fixed, unchanging geographical location somewhere other than this world. Heaven is the realm where things are as God intends them to be. The place where things are under the rule and reign of God. And that place can be anywhere, anytime, with anybody.

When Jesus talks about heaven and hell, they are first and foremost present realities that have serious implications for the future. Either can be invited to earth, right now, through our actions.

It’s possible for heaven to invade earth.

And it’s possible for hell to invade earth.

-Sex God, Rob Bell

Which invasion will I participate in today?

Our Father in heaven,
Reveal who you are.
Set the world right;
Do what’s best-
as above, so below.
Keep us alive with three square meals.
Keep us forgiven with you and forgiving others.
Keep us safe from ourselves and the Devil.
You’re in charge!
You can do anything you want!
You’re ablaze in beauty!
Yes. Yes. Yes.

As above. So below.

‘Bibliophilia’ Tab

Poor thing has been neglected for the past few months, back to when I started Prophetic Imagination. But updating the Bibliophilia tab is going to become part of my discipline in keeping this blog fresh. So it’ll be updated more regularly now. It will list the books I’m reading. And will contain snippets and quotes from those books. Just another thing to keep tabs on.

Exclusion of Hope & Emergence of Amazement

While on vacation, I actually finished the Walter Bruggeman book that I’ve been into for the past couple months (The Prophetic Imagination). Like I mentioned before, it’s can be pretty dense at times due to Bruggeman’s deep deep scholarship. Now that I’m all the way through it, I’ve noticed that the first half is the really heady part, and the second half is a lot more informal, even to the extent of being peppered with colloquialisms.

In Chapter 4, “Prophetic Energizing and the Emergence of Amazement” Bruggeman’s overarching idea for the chapter is that it’s

the task of prophetic imagination and ministry to bring people to engage the promise of newness that is at work in our history with God.

I found myself making a ton of margin notes as I read through, and so I thought those notes would make for a strong post here at the blog. I really hate seeing people quoted out of context, so I’ll throw in as big a chunk of Bruggie’s text as necessary, and then include the stuff I wrote in the margins.

In a section about how the royal consciousness excludes hope, Bruggeman asserts:

In concrete terms, technological, agricultural, and other social advances are impeded in aristocratic monarchies because the taxes, tithes, tribute, tolls, rents, and confiscations drain all the peasants’ resources and rationale for creativity; only the technology of warfare advances at a more rapid pace because that contributes to the expansion and control of the king and his entourage.

This may indeed be true for aristocratic monarchies. But how does this statement apply to my duty to bring prophetic energizing to my surrounding culture? How does this apply to the royal consciousness of my day, the MTV-driven, O.C.-addicted, celebreality-informed, consumerism-ensnared culture that surrounds me and the students I work with? Almost inarguably, that’s where the hope and newness from God most desperately needs to indwell.

I’m gonna break these Prophetic Imagination notes into multiple posts. So look for the next one soon.

Checked out

Tuesday, August 7:

My brain has officially checked out for the next 6 days. :)

I’m done! I survived today, a day that spanned the gap between being out of town with work for 2 weeks and heading out to Los Angeles and Santa Barbara for a much-needed vacation.

As far as traveling for work the past couple weeks…

I’ve been to Indiana, for an event called the Presbyterian Youth Triennium, which entailed rushing 15 sr. high students through 2 different half-hour layovers in major airports, only to show up at Purdue University to be melded into and herded around in a crowd of 5000 people. (Maybe I’m using a bit of overstatement… overall, it was a great experience.) Stressful from a leader standpoint, but positive nonetheless.

Upon returning from Purdue, I had a couple days in the office to basically sit in meetings and hear about what I had missed. Not that I could do anything about it; there’s just a set of stuff that has to be covered. The couple days in the office were about catching up. Then I took a couple days off, for a combination of resting from what I just finished as well as preparing for what was coming up. So for Thursday and Friday, I was focusing on what lay ahead. For the upcoming week, I was headed off to speak at a great camp that the kids from our church go to (Sonlight Christian Camp). Thursday consisted of getting the thematic skeleton laid out for how to address the week’s big idea. Honestly, I had had this on the back burner since January, but it really never got much thought because all the day-to-day pragmatics took priority. On Friday, I got the chance to attach some specific ideas and references and whatnot to the skeleton.

An aside techie note: For this speaking engagement, I tried out a new idea-mapping program, Compendium Open Learn. I’d recommend it; Open Learn is a great hybrid between left-brain outlining and right-brain visualization.

Wednesday, August 8:

So when I showed up at camp, I had a basic idea of what each day should consist of. Each day entailed a couple hours of making speaking notes, putting together a powerpoint, double-checking scripture references, etc. The week turned out to be great. I left with the impression that the biggest ideas I wanted to drive home really stuck with them. Thanks be to God! The content of the talks merits its own post later.

Mentioning powerpoint made me think of a post I read recently over at Out of Ur. It’s well-written, and makes me double-check myself to make sure I’m not using technology in a manipulative fashion (which is especially easy to do with media-inundated sr. high students).

This morning we left the house at 5:00am, to fly out to Los Angeles. Got out of Durango pretty smoothly. Saw some friends from church on our flight out. I love small towns. 14k people and you’re almost guaranteed to see someone you know at 6:30 in the morning at the airport. Anyway, the flights were pretty uneventful, which I guess is the ideal. Sitting on the runway at Salt Lake City, there was some super weird new-agey music that it seemed only Anina and I could hear. I was listening everywhere to try to track down its source. But I just looked goofy standing up, or putting my ear against the window, or feeling the vents for vibrations, because no one else could hear it. Turns out that somehow my armrest headphone jack was specially equipped to become a speaker instead of a jack. My armrest was emitting the offending tunes! It was definitely funny to witness, but basically, you just had to be there.

On the bus leaving LAX, I couldn’t help but overhear a fellow passenger calling home to let someone know he landed safely: “Oh honey you wouldn’t believe how beautiful it is here… 70 degrees, clear blue skies…” If by blue you mean gray, yeah sure, I’ll buy that. I’m not bashing LA’s smog or that guy’s definition of blue, but it’s just funny… it’s muddy gray here overhead compared to places like Durango.

I love being on vacation!