Biblical Preaching: For the Love

Preaching, I have learned over the last few months, is a labor of love. It is so in many senses. Preachers preach because God loves them and because they love God. Preachers preach because they love the Scriptures and their congregation. But the labor of love I am thinking about is a bit more, how might you say it, high schoolish? Continue reading

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Weekender: July 1, 2017

Weekender: 07/01/2017

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: “To insure the greatest efficiency in the dart / the harpooners of this world / must start to their feet from out of idleness / and not from out of toil.” Herman Melville quoted on the inside cover of Pastor: A Memoir by Eugene Peterson.

Blog Post to Read: Again from the Christian Century. This time a post reviewing the exciting publishing career of Kathryn Tanner. It will make you want to dive right in. Describing the widespread influence Tanner has had, Pauw writes, “At a session on Tanner’s theology at a recent meeting of the American Academy of Religion (where scholars typically disperse into narrow interest groups) the panel of theologians engaging her work reflected her ability to bridge this common divide. It is hard to imagine another theologian whose work would attract commentators with interests ranging from ‘Christ’s Saving Death in Selected Greek Fathers’ to ‘Antiracist Activism.’”

What to Watch: I discovered, for the first time, Fred Craddock today. I understand that he caused some controversy over what kind of preaching is good preaching. But this is an excellent sermon, for thought and for laughter.

Questions to Ponder: As I draw near to taking my first pastoral position, I continue to think about efficiency. So this week’s questions are deeply practical.

  • What habits and practices have been essential for you throughout your ministry?
  • Do you have a weekly schedule that you follow or are you a take it as it comes kind of person?
  • How do you know when it’s time to call it a day?
  • Are there books you’ve read that you would recommend for faithful time management?


In Case You Missed It:
Theology Curator is giving away 30 books by N.T. Wright and Greg Boyd. You can sign up here.

Thanks for reading. If you haven’t subscribed already, do it! Have a great weekend!

Another Giveaway: Over 30 Books by NT Wright and Greg Boyd

Howdy fellow theologians,

I just got back from a late afternoon run in the summer heat and was happily surprised to find a link to another giveaway. (If you missed the last one, there is still time to enter the Homebrewed Christianity giveaway!)

This time around, it’s Theology Curator who is offering quite the lot. They are giving away over 30 books (worth $550) written by N.T. Wright and Greg Boyd. You can sign up for the giveaway by clicking here.

N.T. Wright (left) and Greg Boyd (right) are two of today’s most influential theologians.

While you’re at it, give some of Theology Curator’s podcasts a listen and follow them if you like it!

Until next time,
Zen

Weekender: June 24, 2017

Weekender: 06/24/2017

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: “You must feel with sorrow all the dishonor done to Christ in his holy Word, all the misery of Christendom, all the unjust suffering of the innocent, with which the world is everywhere filled to overflowing. You must fight, work, pray, and — if you cannot do more — have heartfelt sympathy. See, this is what it means to bear in your turn the misfortune and adversity of Christ and his saints.” From “The Blessed Sacrament of the Holy and True Body of Christ” by Martin Luther (1519).

Blog Post to Read: Christian Century published an essay by Lutheran theologian Paul Hinlicky, reflecting on Luther’s understanding of the Cross. “Getting us out of the religious marketplace,” writes Hinlicky, “was exactly Luther’s point.”

Theology Forum Flashback: A year ago, I wrote a short essay on the theological significance of crying. Revisiting this post after a year was helpful for me — maybe for you too! “Jesus, you might notice, did not ask who this woman was or what she believed. He encountered a weeping woman and offered her compassion. It is my hope that Jesus, who dwells together with God the Father and the Holy Spirit, still sees all of us who grieve — without discrimination — and still meets us with compassion.”

Questions to Ponder: I was fortunate enough to attend part of Huntington University’s “Veritas Theological Institute.” First of all, well done to the people who planned the week, to the people who worked it, and to all of the top-notch scholars who participated. Veritas is an effort to help high school students who may be perceiving a call to ministry clarify and nurture that calling. This two-part question stems out of my experience with these students.

  • How did/do you discern your calling and how has it changed along the way?

Thanks for reading. Have a great weekend!

Weekender: June 17, 2017

Weekender: 06/17/2017

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: “The word ‘Eucharist’ means literally ‘act of thanksgiving.’ To celebrate the Eucharist and to live a Eucharistic life has everything to do with gratitude.” In With Burning Hearts: A Meditation on the Eucharistic Life by Henri J. M. Nouwen.

Image to Interpret: “Road to Emmaus” by Duccio (which is also the cover art for With Burning Hearts).

Duccio’s “Road to Emmaus”

Interesting Insight: In The Bible in American Life (Oxford University Press, 2017: review forthcoming), Goff, Farnsley, and Thuesen note that 48% of Americans read Scripture (outside of a worship service) at least once per year. 9% of Americans (approximately 28,926,000 people) read the Bible daily. I’ve only read the introduction, but I am almost certain that this book is one every pastor should own, even if only to know what questions to ask about your specific congregation.

Here’s another freebie. The King James Version is still the most popular translation read in America.

Questions to Ponder:  How do you set learning objectives when teaching theology? For example, when considering an introductory Bible study for new Christians, what guides the kinds of things you hope they’ll know by the end? Do you do mostly intellectual learning objectives, or is there room for practical objectives? Do you find a specific catechism or method of catechesis especially helpful?

Thanks for reading. Enjoy your weekend!

Another “Not-To-Do” List: For Pastors and Theologians

Tim Ferriss is obsessed with efficiency. On his podcast, Ferriss often invites the most successful people in the world, from athletes to scientists, to share their workflow. Today he posted a blog with a “Not-To-Do” list that is, for the most part, helpful. Pastoral ministry is not and should not be equated with running a business. Since Tim is writing primarily for businesspeople, some of the list doesn’t translate into a life of pastoral care. So, I thought I’d offer a slightly revised version for those of us who are pulled every which way as servants in the Church. Continue reading

Weekender: June 10, 2017

Weekender: 06/10/2017

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 hardly needs to be argued that “kingdom” is a political term; the common Bible reader is less aware that “gospel” as well means not just any old welcome report but the kind of publicly important proclamation that is worth sending with a runner and holding a celebration for when it is received.” By John Howard Yoder in The Politics of Jesus (Eerdmans, 1994), p. 28.

Blog Post to Read: In “How Karl Barth Preached the Gospel in a Time of Crisis,” Walter Brueggemann reviews A Unique Time of God: Karl Barth’s WWI Sermons (translated and edited by William Klempa). “Barth’s time was indeed a ‘unique time of God.’ But Barth would surely have said that every sermon is a unique time of God. Beyond historical interest, these sermons invite reflection on preaching in our own context of crisis.”

Speaking of Walter Brueggemann, have you signed up for Homebrewed Christianity’s giveaway yet? Click here to enter to win TEN books by the highly acclaimed Old Testament scholar. (You will be redirected to Homebrewed Christianity’s website.)

Video to Watch: Some weeks, I need a reminder that God is good. This song takes me back to my time in Durham, worshipping with the folks at City Well UMC. Enjoy!

Questions to Ponder: In a review of two books about the pastors and ethics, I asked “How should we preach against racism in our congregations?” While we need to answer that question according to our own contexts, I think the insights could be valuable. How have you addressed racism in your own congregation? Whether in preaching, teaching, counseling, or activism?

Recent Posts on Theology Forum:

  1. Don’t Say Nothing: Preaching and Racism by Zen Hess
  2. A Pentecost Prayer by Zen Hess
  3. We Are Always Beginners: Barth on Discipleship by Kent Eilers