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!

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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!

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!