Posts Tagged ‘Scripture’

   I’m bored far too easily. I really am. It’s something I’ve tried diligently to repair within myself, but have thus far found no success. It causes my concentration to easily wane and unfortunately it either leaves many projects I start unfinished or it finds me begging for death’s icy embrace the longer it takes to see said projects through to completion.

   For as much as I hate it, boredom does at the very least have one redemptive quality. It ranks one easily bored with some of the world’s greatest minds. Bearing in mind of course, that they too hated being bored.

“Perhaps the world’s second worst crime is boredom. The first is being a bore.” -Jean Beaudrillard

“I fell asleep reading a dull book and dreamed I kept on reading, so I awoke from sheer boredom.” -Heinrich Heine

“Sooner barbarity than boredom.” -Theophile Gautier

“I am terrified of being bored.” -Marie Antoinette

   One could even make a case that boredom itself killed the great Winston Churchill:

“I’m bored with it all. (Last words)” -Winston Churchill

 

   … just kidding. Churchill actually died shortly following a severe stroke. Also, he was old.

   All that to say this: Seminary is a hard place to be when one gets bored easily. People tend to think that the boredom comes from the subject matter of Scripture and that by being bored with it one is most likely on a slimy snot-soaked slippery slope straight to Hell. Well, let me be clear… Scripture doesn’t bore me. Evangelism doesn’t bore me. Practical application doesn’t bore me. It’s actually all quite enjoyable.

   So, what bores me? Subject matter I will rarely, if ever put into practical application. The mathematics and sciences of the world. Also, research papers. Especially research papers with extensive citations and bibliographies and blah, blah, blah…

   Okay, so sure, if I were to pursue a doctorate (which I shan’t) then I would indeed need all of the knowledge of rigorous research for my impending dissertation. But what about the rest of us..? I feel much the same way about this as I feel about calculus and the Periodic Table of Elements. In my nearly 36 years there has yet to come a day when I was in a real pickle, needing to know the elemental symbol for Potassium (it’s “K” by the way, which makes no sense). 

   As a result of the fact that I guess the school needs to remain accredited or something and therefore require that I take (and pay for) courses that really have no lifelong impact, I’m forced to make the best of it. Unfortunately, some things are just beyond help. Calculus? Yeah. I could be doing it in a sequined leotard while yodeling and waving pinwheels all around as Parliament Funkadelic blasts from the speakers of a mint green 1976 Ford LTD and you know what? It’s still boring.

   Research papers though… If you’re fortunate enough to have an instructor willing to step outside the box with you, then there’s hope! I lucked (I don’t actually believe in luck, just go with me here.) into such an instructor this semester. So, I will not be doing “Jerome’s View of Baptism” or “The Typology of Jonah”. No, no no… I will be contrasting Doctor Who and Jesus! The working title is, “Physician, heal thy self. – How the Savior From Galilee Is Superior To the Savior From Gallifrey”.

   I know, I know… it sounds irreverent, but I assure you, it’s not. There are characters all throughout the history of fictional literature that are in some small way a Christian allegory, even if unintentionally. Some are obvious like Aslan and Superman, while others you really have to think about. I happen to think that’s the case with The Doctor. Clearly he’s a type of messiah. He defeats his own death. He preaches a radical message of peace. His hand is present in all of history. He has willingly sacrificed himself on a number of occasions. The possibilities are vast and plentiful! The best part? I can forgo the drudgery of boring library research for additional study of the Gospels (which I genuinely enjoy) and the watching of copious amounts of Doctor Who episodes (which I’d watch anyway!)

At least just this once, boredom is thwarted! Also… I bet I get an “A”.

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   As an aside, yes I will be acknowledging that Christ is indeed real and that The Doctor is indeed a fictitious character, although if that were my only argument for why Jesus is better, this paper too would be boring!

   Anyway, apart from those mentioned in this blog, where have you found a case for Christian allegory of types of Christ in fiction? Let me know in the comments!

   Let’s be careful out there!

 

 

It seems to be commonplace these days for my ideals, standards, and preferences concerning church and Christianity to be knocked on its ear. If you met me today you’d probably never know that two years ago I was a stiff-necked Fundy who believed that anything other than a traditional, (at least somewhat) liturgical church service with hymns, neckties, and thundering doctrine could not possibly honor God. Essentially what I was saying was this; “Hey, ya know all those church services that put me to sleep and cause me to drool all over my Authorized KJV? Yeah, that’s the only right way to do church. True story, bro.”

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Then, last year I found myself in a unique situation wherein I was able to experience church and worship in a variety of unfamiliar ways. This Southern Baptist found himself worshiping amongst Lutherans, Presbyterians, non-denominationals, multi-denominationals, Charismatics, and Catholics. Almost immediately I discovered that I was far more excited and worshipful than I’d been in a long, long time. My Fundy-head was confused… Is it possible that church can actually be fun and entertaining without being irreverent? Really?

About a year after visiting with these other churches, the Lord graciously decided to place us in a new church for the purpose of training for a future ministry in church planting (as well as building new relationships and again, worshiping Him in a different way). Gone was the organ and faux potted plants. Gone was the large wooden pulpit and (leaky) baptistry. Gone were the neckties, the always difficult hymns (this of course, does not include the Blue Grass style hymns I grew-up with), and the rigid KJV-ism. Instead God placed us in a dance studio which is converted into a church each week, by way of a handful of pews and several rows of folding chairs. With it comes a praise band with contemporary music, coffee during the service, and an unapologetic, casual style of dress. But do you know what else comes with it? Real, sincere worship and something sorely lacking from before, genuine relationships.

Fast-forward to today and the guest speaker in my Sermon Delivery class. This guy epitomized everything I believe[d] to be wrong with preaching! Videos and props, engaging real-life illustrations (see: stories), adapting to fit the audience, telling jokes, and a slight, subtle hipness. I was locked, loaded, and prepared to hate this guy! But then he started speaking… He started speaking and I was completely drawn-in. Worst of all, the things he said made an unbelievable amount of sense!

He spoke of engaging the audiences with multi-sensory experiences so as to hook them and keep them interested, rather than losing them after the first 5-10 minutes, as is typically the case. He spoke of specific body movements and the utilizing of props. He even spoke of not hiding behind the pulpit (gasp!). He spoke of methods and principles to do things that not that long ago I would have considered irreverent. However, maybe they weren’t…

Perhaps there’s a fine line between interesting and gimmicky. But as the pastor speaking to the class stated, “Even Jesus used props (primarily within nature) to drive home a point and keep people engaged.”

However, it must also be stated that anything that draws AWAY from the Word of God instead of pointing TO the Word of God must be avoided as Scripture must always take center stage.

So, I have some things to think about and some judgements to reconcile. What do you prefer; traditional preaching or something with a bit more pizazz? Let me know in the comments.

Live long and prosper.

   Sitting in my Christian Doctrine II class today, I was exposed to some interesting schools of thought on varying views of creationism. It occurred to me that (somewhat intentionally) I’ve never put a terrible amount of thought into this.

   I mean, yes, I believe in a literal six day creation, not that we came together as a smattering of somehow sentient stardust to form everything from humanity to bamboo to beets and everything in between. I believe Scripture in the most literal way. But I’ve never really considered that in the minds of others there may be more.

   Let’s take a look at some options and see what we discover. Shall we?

Young Earth Creationism– Simply, the belief that biblical accounts are totally accurate and that the earth is approximately between 6 and 10 thousand years old. Carbon dating and such being as notoriously inaccurate as it is has yet to imperialistically disprove this. Essentially, this is the creation story of Genesis.

Gap Theory Creationism– This surmises that between Genesis 1:1 and 1:2b there was an indeterminate amount of time in which all sorts of things could have potentially happened. The reason for this is that in Genesis 1:1 we see that In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.” But by Genesis 2:2, “The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.

   These guys would ask, “If God created the heavens and the earth in one verse, why the blazin’ blue weasels is the earth formless and void in the next verse?!!” An interesting question for sure. Although admittedly, I’ve always just pictured God creating these things in their most blah, boring, and basic form and then afterward, beginning in Genesis 2:2 He began to cut loose with the creativity. Big crayon time!

   In short, this “gap” allows for a time of dinosaurs, Neanderthals, the fall of Lucifer, and whatever catastrophe wiped-put prehistoric life.

Time-Relative Creationism– This one is kind of wacky. According to and based upon Einstein’s Theory of Relativity, the time at the beginning of existence flowed much more slowly than our modern time. Therefore it could allow for a literal, biblical account of creation, but here a day could have been hundreds, thousands, or even millions of years.

Old Earth Creationism (as well as Progressive Creationism and Day-Age Creationism)– Simply this says that a day, according to Scripture was a non-literal term of indeterminate time. What we know as 24 hours could have been millennia. Apart from that, the Genesis account stands as truth.

Theistic Evolution (with Adam and Eve)– This one gets more complicated. Here God created all He would create and then let the natural flow of evolutionary process bring His creation to what He would deem a good starting point for history over millions of years. Some parties allow for a special creation of Adam and Eve to make them the starting point for modern mankind, while others take Scripture less literally and suppose that God just chose two existing humanoids to represent humanity as a federal head going forward. Huh?

Theistic Evolution (without Adam and Eve)– The same process, but here Adam and Eve are fictional literary figures used in an almost fable-like manner to explain man’s sinful nature.

   These are just a few of the slightly less wacky perspectives. If one were to read more deeply, theories really start getting preposterous!

   Where do I stand? I’m not much of a man of science, but I am pretty darn intelligent. Therefore I can say without the slightest concern for being judged as ignorant that I am indeed a Young Earth Creationist. What about you?

   That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

 

  

 

 

   I grew-up in church. A good church even. A little white Southern Baptist Church in a town of 600 people, located right next to the train tracks. I learned so much in that church. It essentially set the framework for my theology from a young age.

   Through various circumstances, the details of which I’m not entirely clear on, my family and I left that church and joined a church just up the road. It was billed simply as a Christian church, presumably of the independent variety; which as a rule, are loosely associated with either the Church of Christ or the Disciples of Christ. Either way, they maintain a more liberal theology than the SBC.

   Near the end of my almost sixteen year run with the aforementioned church, the theology of my wife and I began to charge (or perhaps evolve) and so did that of the church. As they began adopting some of the teachings of the Emergent movement of that time (specifically from Rob Bell and his Nooma video series), we began to take hold of a very Calvinistic view of Scripture. The two views clashed quite violently and we ended-up back at the SBC church I’d left years before (which coincidentally, was non-Calvinistic).

   So, what am I apologizing for, as per this post’s title? During the early days of our foray into Reformed theology, we (specifically me) fell headlong into the ditch of Calvinistic elitism. We believed that  because we had what we felt was a deeper understanding of the person of God that we were in some way superior to our Arminian brethren. I picked many, many fights and honestly, was a real jerk. Unfortunately, being a jerk seems to be the rule more than the exception amongst Reformed believers.

   So, for all the people I was a complete schmuck to, I’m sorry. To anyone I was a theological bully to, I’m sorry. To anyone who’s spiritual walk I questioned or assaulted, I’m sorry. I’ve done a lot of growing since that time. Please forgive me.

   So, where does that leave my theology?

   Oh, make no mistake, I’m still very much Reformed. Although maybe not enough to really consider myself a Calvinist anymore, at least not in the 5-point sense. I’ve just chosen to no longer make that fact the hill I die on or the standard by which I gauge someone else’s salvation. I am completely over viewing Christianity as a divided camp. We’re either in it or we’re out. Division amongst Christians does nothing but cause a weakened defense against the enemy, and we need all the fortification we can get!

   If we can agree on the essentials of the faith (which we’ll address another time), the rest will work itself out and you are my brother or sister in Christ.

   Say goodnight, Gracie.

 

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