This Sunday, December 2 marks the first Sunday of the Advent season. I am using A Guide to Prayer for Ministers and Other Servants to follow the themes of the liturgical calendar as established by the New Common Lectionary. The guide begins with Advent and proceeds through Epiphany, Lent, Easter, and Pentecost. It also includes monthly retreat models which I will begin to practice as a discipline and point of reference and reflection.
Thanks to Mike Rodden for sharing the posted video.
John McArthur referrences Jesus coming to save the lost. I am not making a soteriological statement when I assert that McArthur is the one who is lost. He is lost in evangelical conservatism and is not even listening to other followers of Jesus. His agenda is to hear anything from an “Emergent” mind and decontextualize it in order to destroy any thoughtful contributions to theological thinking. The following video is problematic at many levels. Please share your thoughts and perspective.
A friend of mine from college is living in India and included a message in response to my previous post on consumption. I thought it was worth sharing in a post of its own:
“In India, I just went to buy 102 sets of clothes for the orphanage children living next door. This was to be their Christmas gift. I was not able to buy all the same price range because of the amount that I was buying so I asked the mission worker whether the children will be mad if some of them got slightly nicer shirts. He said, “Mam, these children do not see what others have. They are just thrilled that they received something which is necessary for them.” These kids suffer horrendous atrocities and are grateful for the smallest gift. I believe that Jesus weeps over these children and weeps over how the church has ignored their plight. I am thankful that this discussion addresses the heart of God for those who have no idea what black friday is and have never seen a computer in order to participate in cyber Monday. Since coming to India, I have seen how many possesions I thought were necessary in the States are now luxuries.”
Thank you, Lindsay.
It is a sentence often quoted as the shortest verse in the Bible. On Friday, it was a reality. Not just because of Black Friday monetary spending but because of the addiction to consumption and lust for material possession and/or entertainment.
After listening to two lecture, Adam, Joe, and I were able to meet Bishop N.T. Wright. He hung around Estes Chapel following his exegesis of Acts for book signing and photos. Though we were about 8th in line we waited for quite some time as seminary students ahead of us were either attempting to receive private teachings from Wright or proposing their theological ideas and thoughts as if to prove themselves as intellectually stimulating for Wright. Anyone who has read his works must find the humor in imagining the above situation.
I shook the hand of Bishop Wright and thanked him for his writings and teachings. His disposition changed from that of toleration toward the aforementioned students to one of gratefulness and realized humanity. He signed my journal where I record my personal reflections and prayers. Two books of Wright’s, The Last Word and Paul in Fresh Perspective, I gave to Adam and Joe respectively and he signed those books for them. Wright told us that “The Last Word” is a silly title upon which the publisher insisted. He said that if he were to write a book entitled “The Last Word” that it would be on the person and work of Jesus.
I handed my camera to a guy behind us to take our picture with The Bishop of Durham. He was visibly shaking from excitement, anxiety, and nervousness, hence, the above photo. I knew that the photo would not turn out but it was worth a blurry photo to hear Tom Wright say to our picture taker, “My, it’s a wee bit wobbly isn’t it?”
Sarah, Kyla, and I were on the road for six hours traveling to visit family with the final 2.5 hour stretch remaining. Somewhat miraculously, Kyla has slept for more than 2/3 of the time and didn’t even cry the other < 33.3%. Sarah and I had some very re-energizing and renewing conversation. We continued to reveal deep parts of ourselves and the things through which we have journeyed individually (or within other community relationships) and together. We realized how distracted we had become from one another. In a short period of time we reconnected.
Reconnection: to connect again.
Where might followers of Jesus need to “reconnect?” Where have we strayed from the way of Jesus communally and individually (which ultimately results in an affect on the community)?
I would suggest that consumption has distracted us from the way of Jesus. I will be entering a series of posts on consumerism and our observance of holidays along with two more posts about my interaction with N.T. Wright. You are invited to include your thoughts in response to the upcoming posts and include your perspective on the distractions of culture that produce a disconnect between God and his people.
I was not present for the first lecture given by N.T. Wright on Tuesday, 11.13 at Asbury Theological Seminary. The second lecture, the first that I attended was delivered on Thursday, 11.14. The lecture is entitled “God in Public.” The second lecture to fill my ears and mind was a New Testemant Colloquium covering a brief exegesis of the entire, “turbulent” book of Acts discussing “a Jesus who is risen, ascended and highly disturbing.” The links connect to .mp3 files for those who do not have or use itunes and/or an ipod (though I highly recommend both for valuable podcasts and lectures via the new itunesU along with some quality tracks from Iron and Wine, Coldplay, Dashboard, The Fray, and other high quality music). The podcasts have yet to be uploaded by ATS but I will include links to in that format once made available.
Wednesday, November 14 was a day of rich experience. I traveled with Oakwood Hall’s Spritual Life Assistants to Asbury Theological Seminary in Wilmore, KY to hear lectures giving by The Church of England’s Bishop of Durham, N.T. Wright. Hereinafter referred to as Tom (since that is how he signed my journal), N.T. initially studied at Wycliffe Hall, Oxford and was then ordained as Junior Research Fellow and Junior Chaplain at Merton College, Oxford. He served as Fellow and Chaplain at Downing College, Cambridge before moving to Montreal as Assistant Professor of New Testament Studies at McGill University. He returned to Oxford as University Lectured in New Testament and Fellow and Chaplain of Worcester College. He became Dean of Lichfield in 1994 and Canon Theologian of Westminster Abbey in 2000.
After meeting Tom, I assert that he may chuckle at the above description. He is not a man of pride who values the fanciful titles and accompanying celebritism. The only reference in his addresses regarding his position was the notation of his membership in the English Parliament’s House of Lords. This fact was stated slightly for teaching to reference the differentiation between the suppossed “separation of church and state” in the United States and the established national religion of England.
Tom’s person is gentle with an aura of humility. He possesses a somewhat dry, or rather, subtle, sarcastic sense of humor which proved essential to his teaching method.
Refer to upcoming posts for further thoughts on his teachings (including links to the podcasts), account of personal interaction experienced, and photos.
Bishop N.T. Wright is not to be confused with the Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Douglas Williams. One co-worker who shall remain nameless made this terrible mistake and must find himself in a state of repentance.
After my initial photo uploads some time ago I discovered the beauty of the Flickr Uploadr. I also extended beyond the free version so that I have unlimited downloading and storage for backup archives. Now I don’t have to burn CDs that need stored and organized for backup. I’m continuing to download many, many photos. The Flickr link is permanently located to the right in MY LINKS. Simply click “My Photo Album.” My favorite album is the recently uploaded “Beauty: Sarah & Kyla.“