Category Archives: Bibliophilia

1-2-3 Meme

I have been tagged for the 1-2-3 Meme by good friend Matt Shedden. The game is to grab the book nearest to you and turn to page 123. Find the 5th sentence and share the next 3 sentences with everyone. Then you tag five people.

My book is Family Based Youth ministry by Rev. Mark DeVries. On page 123, the 5th sentence is:

In an extensive study of the effects of divorce on children, one fact stands out as a stark indictment to churches. Less than 10 percent of those children of divorce who were interviewed “had any adult speak to them sympathetically as the divorce unfolded.”

A convicting passage for me, no doubt. I have students from divorced homes, and I’m guilty of the indictment. Ouch.

I’m now a student at the University of Dubuque Theological Seminary. I’m easing my way in, via their M.Div. Online program. I’m very happy that PC(USA) has stepped forward with utilizing technology in preparing pastors. It’s not a degree mill, trust me. This is just me taking one class per semester until the time is right to move to Dubuque and do the bulk of my coursework in residence.

The class I’m taking is “Theology of Mission and Evangelism.” Very excited. Here’s why:

This course begins a series of 3 courses on the contextual nature of the Church’s life in mission and evangelism. It seeks to rethink Mission and Evangelism, seeing them both as part of the essence of the Church and of every local congregation. Beginning with the Triune God as a missionary God this course will focus on changing paradigms of mission and its influence on how we do evangelism in today’s post-modern, post-Christendom, pluralistic society. Thus, evangelism and mission are grounded in a missiological ecclesiology. This required course is part I of the Evangelism/Mission/Contextual Theology sequence.

4 of the 6 books assigned for this class have arrived (alpha by author).

Looks like a provocative selection.

Also, this is turning out to be a really affordable semester. Tuition was $1,485, books were $100, and there were some miscellaneous fees, to total about $1,600. Two ecclesiastical entities I’m tied to kicked in $1,350; and an awesome family from my church contributed $100. So, this class only cost me about $150. What a great way to start off, especially considering I had originally budgeted to spend up to $900 out of pocket.

So… yeah… seminary. I’m excited.

Forthcoming posts:

  • New pastor
  • Snow
  • Swamped @ work

Good night!

The Wait Is Over

Wow, I’m so relieved. Our church just called a new pastor yesterday, which means I have a new boss. The Rev. Dr. William Mangrum. This guy and I get along so well together, too. It’s crazy.

Side note: In thinking about how to describe him, I almost just spouted off a bunch of labels. Emergent Village, Rob Bell fan, etc. Bad, Russell, bad!

Bill and I both love reading. He’s got a head-start on me though. One of the biggest logistical problems for bringing him here is what to do with his 15,000 books. I’m really excited to have a superior that is so well-read, and that can introduce me to new authors and titles that will challenge me in all aspects of life… personal theology, ministry practices, etc. Continue reading

‘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.

The Prophetic Imagination

Was updating my Bibliophilia page, and thought that it should probably just spill over into a main-page post.

Not entirely coincidentally, Matt and I are both reading Bruggeman’s The Prophetic Imagination right now. (I finished Yancey… for a little while.)

I still owe a couple posts to the “scripture interpretation” joint-blogging project. But after that, I look forward to bouncing a lot of ideas around with Matt about this book. In just the preface alone, I can already see some stuff that I don’t already entirely agree with, even though I think the book overall will be a very profound and stretching read. I really don’t like only reading things that I have a hard time disagreeing with, or reading things where I only disagree with nit-picky non-central details.

Walter Bruggeman does strike me as a very well-intentioned, moderate, and honest scholar. Contrary to the polarizing nature of some of our contemporary writers and thinkers, Bruggeman refuses to point ideological fingers in only one direction. When there’s criticism to dish out, he legitimately applies it to errors that lie in both ends of the lib-con spectrum. (A popular criticism of someone matching this description might be a “fence-sitter;” Bruggeman’s constant proposal to hold things in tension and let extremes supplement each other is far from fence-sitting.)

Anyway, just a couple main ideas that stand out from the preface:

The prophetic voice no longer has significant social or moral clout, so it must therefore be very sharp. “Cunning… nuanced… perhaps ironic.”

The pairing of “prophetic” with “imagination” leads us in a creative, artistic direction that will not be eagerly adopted (nor allow itself to be domesticated) by the hegemonic majority’s dominant paradigm of interpretation.

One thing that Shedden and I were talking about today is the headiness of P.I., and I kinda said that the book seems to have profound pastoral value. But if the greater portion of pomo Christ-followers are going to begin to live out the p.i., it will be their pastors who explained and lead and urged them into it. I don’t think that Joe Christian will put in the effort to read this book. (But that’s ok!)


Rhythm. I’ve been out of it for a while, as far as blogging goes. I guess the rhythm has actually become silence. But before I wax poetic (<– aren’t non “-ly” adverbs cool?) about how I’ve lapsed into total blogging failure, I’ll just update you on a few things. Continue reading

Christ, Ring-Giver Eternal

I took a Brit Lit class in the Fall of ’05 and actually, I immensely enjoyed it. In fact, I kid you not, the literature anthology from that class is the “textbook” I read the most among the ones that I kept after graduation. It’s taken up residence in/on my nightstand.

I really loved my professor’s treatment of the Beowulf epic; it really engaged me. I’ve read it again a couple times in the past year, just because the way he taught the poem just made it ‘click.’

So in my youth ministry job here Durango, I’ve recently begun to use Eugene Peterson‘s Bible paraphrase, The Message, more and more in trying to get my students to engage the Bible that King James may have made sound boring to them.

I read the Gospel of John this evening. Peterson’s take on the first chapter reads just like Beowulf! Mainly in its kennings and this dynamic between Christ and us that mirrors kings and their thanes. A couple Beowulf elements that weren’t present were alliteration, and heavy understatement, but oh well. Anyway, being stretched to see Christ as a ring-giver of sorts,seeing us as his loyal thanes… it was stirring.

1:5- “The Life-Light blazed out of the darkness; the darkness couldn’t put it out.”

1:16- “We all live off his generous bounty, gift after gift after gift.”

Continue reading


Hey everyone sorry to disappoint as far as not been blogging much… but I’m sure we’ve all got plenty of good reading to keep us busy.

Speaking of copious amounts of reading, I so can’t wait for seminary, if nothing else for the reading lists. Methinks I’ll emerge from seminary with a pretty cool beginning of a library. Actually having to write about it for a grade, well that’s another story. I don’t want to leave my job in Durango to complete my degree (I know… I just want the best of both the educational and career worlds…), so I think I’ll be shopping for well-respected distance learning programs.
In family matters, Nina’s grandma on her mom’s side, really the only one she was close to, died Monday. She’s back in Monterey right now. Everyone seems to be handling it pretty well and taking the celebration over mourning approach, but prayers for the family would be appreciated.

Meanwhile, it’s bachelor pad time again here in Durango. A lot of hanging out with my pets and knocking out to-do lists around the apartment, etc.