The Lord’s Prayer: A Review

When I think of the phrase “pastor theologian,” I think of Warren Smith. You could chalk it up to his habit of wearing a clerical collar while teaching in the classroom. But it is more than just his collar. He is a pastor theologian because he delivers lectures and writes books like sermons. And this is true of the book reviewed here.

In The Lord’s Prayer (Wipf & Stock, 2015: kindly provided by Wipf & Stock for review), Smith reflects upon the unique prayer Jesus taught his disciples. Smith begins with two brief chapters that situate the prayer in its narrative context. These introductory chapters are followed by ten magnificent chapters that address either the particular phrases of the prayer or elements directly related to the prayer. He concludes with an epilogue in which he calls the reader to a life of doxology. “However ecstatic our love for God may be in times of worship,” Smith writes, “the doxology at the end of the Lord’s Prayer is never so otherworldly as to be separate from our life in the here and now” (p. 130).

The sentence I’ve just quoted is indicative of the book as a whole, throughout which Smith masterfully weaves interpretation and exhortation into delightful prose. There is no clear separation between Smith’s explanation of a word or phrase apart from how it meets the church community. Interpretation and exhortation hang together, as they should. My assumption is that Smith learned this from his long and abiding friendship with the church mothers and fathers. Though quoted conservatively, the medieval theologians’ influence on Smith is pervasive. Continue reading

Weekender: July 29, 2017

This is a vacation edition of Weekender. I’ve got a lot going on this week — some of it is a whole lot of nothing! — so this one is short and sweet. Take a load off and read someone from a different era over on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library. I recommend Gregory Nazianzen, but you can take your pick.

Do you have something to share? Why not tell us about it in the comments!

Thanks for reading!

Enter to Win: Another Giveaway!

I’m not complaining about these giveaways, but when did this become a thing!?

If you weren’t lucky enough to win Theology Curator’s mega-giveaway of Greg Boyd and N.T. Wright’s books, then you get a second chance. Homebrewed Christianity is having (another) giveaway. Click here and enter to win a copy of Greg Boyd’s two-volume Crucifixion of the Warrior God and ten copies of the condensed version, which is supposed to be a nice small group book.

Best of luck!
Zen

 

Weekender: July 22, 2017

Weekender: 07/22/2017

Welcome to the weekend! Each week, we like to offer a few quick highlights from our week that we think will give you something worthwhile to think about over the weekend. Enjoy this week’s Weekender and add to it in the comments below!

Quote Worth Repeating: “God is not some great basket we can fill with any warm, fuzzy thought we choose; some amorphous something that is the mystery left over after we have explained everything else in life by other means. God has a face, a name, a way of action: the Trinity.” By Will Willimon and Stan Hauerwas in Lord, Teach Us: The Lord’s Prayer & the Christian Life.

Blog Post to Read: From our friends at Faith and Theology, here is a beautifully written (and short) reflection on the theological significance of bare feet. “In scripture,” Steve Wright suggests, “the highest theological idea is revealed in the lowest human extremity.”


New Books to Read:
There’s some fantastic books being released in the next few months. Here is my (Zen) list of upcoming reads. Tell us about your reading list in the comments!

  1. Practices of Love by Kyle David Bennet (Baker)
  2. Incarnational Ministry by Sam Wells (Eerdmans)
  3. Jesus and the Last Supper by Brant Pitre (Eerdmans)
  4. A Palestinian Theology of Liberation by Naim Stifan Ateek (Orbis)

Thanks for reading. Have a great weekend!

Weekender: July 15, 2017

Weekender: 07/15/2017

Welcome to the weekend! Each week, we like to offer a few quick highlights from our week that we think will give you something worthwhile to think about over the weekend. Enjoy this week’s Weekender and add to it in the comments below!

Quote Worth Repeating: “It is precisely the man whose first concern is not culture but the kingdom of God that has the necessary distance from cultural aims and the necessary perspective to serve them in freedom, and to grasp that order which prevents the various sections of civilization from monopolizing the totality of life. Only from beyond civilization can its order and harmony come.” By Emil Brunner in his final Gifford Lecture, “The Christian Idea of Civilization and Culture.”

Blog Post to Read: Jason Byassee, guest contributor at Christian Century, writes, in his usual winsome style, about one Catholic parish’s attempt to rediscover Catholic discipleship in a surprising place: Protestantism. You can read the essay by clicking here. “Mallon started dreaming about a parish where encountering the gospel would be unavoidable. He took this idea to his first parish—and quickly smashed into a brick wall. ‘My congregation was like a zombie convention,’ he said.”

Video to Watch: I’ve heard from Kent and others that the first volume of Kate Sonderegger’s systematic theology is a must read. You can get a taste for her method and style in the video below in which Sonderegger ruminates on the Trinity for a lecture at Biola University.


In Case You Missed It:
Homebrewed Christianity is giving away TEN books by the renowned Old Testament scholar Walter Brueggemann. You can enter that giveaway here.

Recently Posted on Theology Forum:

  1. Nothing and Everything: Sacrifice, God, and Worship
  2. Biblical Preaching: For the Love
  3. Another “Not-To-Do” List: For Pastors and Theologians

Thanks for reading. Have a great weekend!

Nothing and Everything: Sacrifice, God, and Worship

In a long list detailing who gets what following the Israelites’ conquest throughout Canaan, there is an unexpected piece of information. “Only to the tribe of Levi he did not give an inheritance; the offerings by fire to the LORD, the God of Israel, are their inheritance, as He spoke to him” (Joshua 13:14). It would be hard, for me, to not feel like I got the short end of the stick. Did you hear all of the lands Judah received? The Simeonites received a part of Judah’s territory “for the share of the sons of Judah was too large for them” (19:19). But the Levites get nothing except the task of preparing burnt offerings on behalf of all the other Israelites.

Or maybe they’ve received everything. The sacrificial system is so unknown to most of us that we might not quite grasp the gravity of what it means for the Levites to receive “the offerings by fire to the LORD.” Thankfully, the author of Joshua clarifies the point a few paragraphs later: “But to the tribe of Levi, Moses did not give an inheritance; the LORD, the God of Israel, is their inheritance, as He had promised to them” (Joshua 13:33). The call to make burnt offerings is not simply an inherited career; somehow, the call to make burnt offerings is God’s way of offering Godself to the Levites. In a way, the sentence is antithetical. Did God give them nothing for an inheritance? Or did God give them the ground of all being? Continue reading

Weekender: July 8, 2017

Weekender: 07/08/2017

Welcome to the weekend! Each week, we like to offer a few quick highlights from our week that we think will give you something worthwhile to think about over the weekend. Enjoy this week’s Weekender and add to it in the comments below!

Quote Worth Repeating: “Whoever believe, knows, and confesses that he cannot ‘by his own understanding and power’ in any way believe. He will simply perform this believing, without losing sight of the unbelief that continually accompanies him and makes itself felt. Called an illumined by the Holy Spirit as he is, he does not understand himself; he cannot help but completely wonder at himself. He will say ‘I believe’ only in and with the entreaty, ‘Lord, help my unbelief.’” Karl Barth in a lecture titled “Faith,” in Evangelical Theology (1979 ed., p. 104-105).

Blog Post to Read: Christianity Today editor-in-chief Mark Galli writes about sabbath play in “A Theology of Play.” “Thomas Aquinas concluded,” Galli writes, “as one scholar summed it up: “God plays. God creates playing. And man should play if he is to live as humanly as possible and to know reality, since it is created by God’s playfulness.”

Image to Contemplate: “The Prophet Jeremiah” by Michaelangelo. In the Sistine Chapel.


In Case You Missed It:
Two giveaways (and they are good giveaways!) are still open for entry. Theology Curator is giving away 30 books by N.T. Wright and Greg Boyd. You can sign up here. Homebrewed Christianity is also giving away books by the renowned Old Testament scholar Walter Brueggemann. You can enter that giveaway here.

Recently Posted on Theology Forum:

  1. Biblical Preaching: For the Love
  2. Another Not-To-Do List
  3. Don’t Say Nothing: Preaching and Racism

Thanks for reading. Have a great weekend!