Made a habit to start using my lunch breaks effectively. Five days a week, I’m making about half an hour of progress through Pollan’s The Omnivore’s Dilemma. It’s fascinating. To say I think it will change the way I eat is an understatement.
I’m also coming close to finally finishing Willard’s The Divine Conspiracy. His comments on what it means to be a student –a disciple– of Jesus strike a challenging balance between “wow that’s really profound” and “why aren’t I already doing that?”.
Behind on the podcasts, because my earbuds are out of comission. Totally gimpy reason– just missing the little foam cover on one bud. But it won’t stay in while riding my bike without it. And that 30 mins a day to and from work is prime podcast time. So what I’m saying is you still have plenty of time to recommend a new podcast for me to try to work into my rotation. Daily is great, but I’m open to weekly. Writer’s Almanac is daily, and I could supplement it with a weekly for Monday, a different one for Tuesday, another updated on Wednesdays, etc.
Family in town a lot recently. That’s been great. Lots of time spent out at Red Rocks. Pictures here. Dad’s coming at the end of March!
Considering a joint blog-through of a book sometime on the horizon…
What does this mean for bloggers, especially those of us who type so much about faith?
A certain brother came, once, to Abbot Theodore of Pherme, and spent three days begging him to let him hear a word. The Abbot however did not answer him, and he went off sad. So a disciple said to Abbot Theodore: Father, why did you not speak to him? Now he has gone off sad! The elder replied: Believe me, I spoke no word to him because he is a trader in words, and seeks to glory in the words of another.
From The Wisdom of the Desert, Thomas Merton ed.
I haven’t written much in a while, and the reasons for this lack of activity are actually some pretty important stories. But I haven’t felt like writing them down. I’ve been pushed a lot recently, which has been great, but tough. And not always entirely appropriate for public consumption (yet).
So, combine this with my noticing of many people returning to what blogging started out as… which correct me if I’m wrong, was more about being a conduit, predominantly about linking to other people and interesting information. I especially appreciate it when people amicably link to people they may not agree with, not to blast them but to include their voice in the conversation…. and anyway, I’ve decided make my first post in a long time one where I point to some other good stuff for you to read:
Other people you should read in lieu of my consistent blogging:
Last week, in our class discussion, we explored how the recovery of missio Dei (the mission of God) might be tied to church renewal. One of the key articles for this discussion was titled “Recasting Theology of Mission: Impulses from the Non-Western World,” by Wilbert Shenk. If you can find the article, I encourage you to read it. I’m not sure about the copyright implications of posting it here though, so you’re on your own, unfortunately.
Shenk’s first mention of missio Dei is an assertion about its central role as the foundation for the theological concerns of the New Testament church. As I read this sentence, I could not shake from my mind the Acts 6 story of the apostles delegating food-distribution duties to other believers “full of the Spirit and wisdom.” On the face of it, this story could be improperly read as an example of the apostles’ humanity, an unfortunate record of an arrogant refusal to “get their hands dirty.” But what if the apostles teach us to each fully embrace our unique gifts in the service of the message of Jesus Christ? Contrary to the easy misinterpretation, this story is about nothing less than rolling up one’s sleeves and engaging the world in Christ’s name. For the apostles, spending even an hour doing something other than preaching and teaching was a disservice to the movement. Likewise, they expected the differently gifted believers to step forward and serve the common cause by organizing food distribution. The western response to this situation might have been, “Well, go find some more believers to sell some land and we’ll hire someone to make it happen. And let’s not repeat the Ananias incident this time…” Preposterous! The apostles refused to simply “write a check” to solve a problem.
It is when we as individual Christians reclaim our own potential to contribute to the mission of God in a hands-on way that we will see renewal in the western church.
- Is missio Dei a piece of flawed terminology? In other words, does it employ an elitist linguistic device (namely Latin) to describe a term focused on egalitarian involvement in invoking the Kingdom of God?
- Does the western church excessively write checks to solve problems? Or does it have its sleeves sufficiently rolled up?
- How does the apostles’ delegation story strike you at first glance? At second glance? After detailed exploration?
P.S. – I’m beginning to understand why my seminarian friend Shedden blogs so much when his classes are in session.
I’ve had Methodist pastor Will Willimon’s blog in my Google Reader since last May when a colleague talked a lot about him at a retreat. Here’s a recent gem:
More than likely, Advent eschatology offends us for more mundane reasons. I am at church seeking personal advice for how to have a happy marriage or how to get along with the boss next week, only to have Advent wrench my gaze in our subjectivity in its insistence that whatever God is about in the Advent of Jesus, it is something quite large, quite cosmic, quite strange and humanly unmanageable, something more significant than me. I am not the master of history.
So let us begin with the honest admission that our real problem with these Advent/Christmas texts is largely political and economic. Tell me, “This world is ending. God has little vested interest in the present order,” I shall hear it as bad news.
However, for a mother in a barrio in Mexico City who has lost four of her six children to starvation, to hear, “This present world is not what God had in mind. God is not finished, indeed is now moving, to break down and to rebuild in Jesus,” I presume that would sound something like gospel. For her the Advent/Christmas message presages a revolutionary conflagration.
A great deal depends, in regard to our receptivity to these texts, on where we happen to be standing at the time when we get the news, “God is coming.”
It’s Advent. Let the revolution begin.
From his most recent blog post.
To paraphrase Rob Bell:
Repentance is the celebration of what God has already done, and then living differently because of it.
-from Bell’s The Gods Aren’t Angry Tour
So much to digest! More to come soon…
It was good. I didn’t catch as many profound nuggets as when reading Velvet Elvis or watching selected NOOMAs, but Rob’s presentation was definitely engaging and worth the trip!
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.
First, w00t for Windows Live Writer. I’m typing this entry from seat 37B on Delta flight 1601 from Albuquerque to Atlanta. And what I see is exactly what the post will look like when uploaded to WordPress (hopefully later this evening).
On that note, we’ll have to see what kind of chore it is to get wireless access on Purdue’s campus. I emailed them a few days ago, and they said my “department” needed to request guest logon passes for the network. No idea on what my department is… (Yay for red tape. Just like I never left the office). I really hope they do have something set up though. Lots of caring adults give up a week of work and/or vacation time to come be with all these sr. high students. It’d be nice if we got some accommodation to be able to stay in touch with the office or just be able to check our email in general. Life doesn’t just say,”Oh, you’re volunteering your time. How nice. I think I’ll just stop and wait for you to return! Doesn’t that sound like a neat plan?” You know what I mean…
Continuing to read through Bruggeman’s Prophetic Imagination. In a future post, I should describe the connections he made between Solomon’s regime and our current cultural situation, because it totally made sense to me. But I’m getting into a part of the book where I don’t see much resonance with our current situation. In this particular section, Bruggie is discussing grief. How the royal consciousness doesn’t want to acknowledge grief, doesn’t want to promote grieving, because this particular act it points to something not quite being right, points to a lack of order, points to the death of something, whether an idea or virtue or person or whatever. Grief reminds us that the dominant powers and structures don’t have it all under control.
I agree with Bruggeman in his assessment of our age as one of numbness. And a very legitimate part of the task of God’s messengers should be to bring us back in touch with a full spectrum of honest emotions in response to experiencing God’s reality. Bruggeman’s suggests Jeremiah as the “clearest model for prophetic imagination and ministry. He is a paradigm for those who address the numb and dying posture…” Ok, I get that. I guess where I lose Bruggeman is where he identifies Jeremiah as such because of the prophet’s response to Judah’s death.
Looking at my own context… Is the death of Christendom that came with the dawn of postmodernism the same as Israel’s demise? I keep coming back to the thought that as would-be prophetic voices, we should bring to public expression our “dread of endings,” the things that force us to confront our mortality as the created. Jeremiah’s actions are indeed good, but I have a hard time relating to or being inspired to prophetic ministry by drawing a connection between his and my contexts.