Monday, September 28, 2009

Back to the Tried and True

Cyd wasn't a big fan of the new look. I have to admit it was rather bright and intrusive, so I switched back to the original template. I might try changing some subtle things here and there to make it better.

I think the sickness has finally left the house. Thank goodness! Here's to a good week!

Here are a few quotes about fasting that I came across today while preparing for The Gathering on Wednesday night.

Fasting weans us from the world by removing the frivolous and the fluffy from our lives. Christian George

Anything that distracts us and threatens to take God's place can be put in its place by fasting. Christian George

Fasting unto our Lord is therefore feasting-feasting on him and on doing his will. Dallas Willard

Some have exalted religious fasting beyond all Scripture and reason; and others have utterly disregarded it. John Wesley

Friday, September 25, 2009

A New Look?

I really like the template that I have been using for my blog for the past two years, but I thought it might be fun to change things around a bit, mix it up, get a little funky with the design. Of course, I didn't want to do anything to different since that would be a betrayal of my evangelical background! It has been a CRAZY day around here. Cyd woke up feeling horrible (fever and all) so playing doctor and Mr. Mom today has been a challenge to say the least. The girls are always great for me, but they do miss their mama! I really hope Cyd is better tomorrow.

Last night was a great night at The Gathering! We have such an incredible group of students at FBC Statesboro! I've been listening to music and doing some reading that has challenged me (yet again) with the challenge of living an authentic faith. A faith that is full of hope and fear, certainty and doubt, peace and war, love and hate. A faith that is not content with canned answers to the deepest questions of human suffering, the despair of many cultures, and the atrocities that go on around us. In the midst of the darkness...still their is a glimmer of light desperately trying to break through. My prayer is that light shines in your darkness this week.

Monday, September 21, 2009

A Question?

Is blogging the 21st century version of journaling, especially for Christian? I welcome any thoughts and comments.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Whirlwind Weekend

This weekend has been so busy. We went to see my mom on Friday night. We wanted to take her out to dinner, but she offered to keep the girls for Cyd and I to go on a date. We readily accepted her offer of a few hours without children. Cyd and I enjoyed each other and some good food at Olive Garden before heading back to mom's house to check on everyone. We visited for a little while and watched as Charlotte spilled not one, but two glasses of chocolate milk. We finally got everyone packed and loaded up to come home.

Claire had a birthday party to go to on Saturday, so in between setting up for the GSU tailgate we got the present wrapped and sent the girls off to the party. They then met me at Georgia Southern's RAC for our Student Ministry tailgate. We try to tailgate at two games a season. GSU football is a great part of living in Statesboro! Many of my students and their families attend the games and tailgate before the games, so it was fun to get to finally make it to a football game this year. Claire and Charlotte were dressed in GSU cheerleading uniforms, too cute! Unfortunately the rain showed up before I could get a great picture. I also got to catch up with two friends from high school at the game, two other dear friends that I haven't really talked to in a long time, and enjoyed the view from a skybox for a few minutes at the game.

Sunday of course is always a full day at our house. I heard two great sermons (Dr. John and Dr. Stewart) and was really encouraged by all of our youth Sunday school teachers!

While some in the house have been resting this afternoon, Claire has been talking non-stop while I have been trying to do some work in preparation for some different things coming up this week.

I'm so thankful for good times with my wonderful family and my great students!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Hip-Bop (or Suburbia and Hip-Hop Collide)

I've never been a big fan of Hip-Hop music, but I have always been intrigued by the people who produce it. Artists like Dr. Dre, Run D.M.C, and Snoop Dogg redefined how urban and suburban culture in America relates to one another. It's always funny to look at a white, middle class teen's iPod and see numerous songs by people very different than them and with content totally foreign to the suburbs of America. In recent years I have been impressed by the creativity of Eminem. Fast forward to a few weeks ago when I caught part of Bill Maher's show on HBO. His guest that night was star, Jay-Z. Perhaps the most successful hip-hop star of all time. What struck me the most was the way that he acknowledged the intersection of suburbia and hip-hop music, most notably in white kids who have no concept of what it means to be a black teen dealing with the pressures on the street. However, the most startling thing that happened during the interview was the presentation from Maher to Jay-Z of a "bible" of all of Jay-Z's songs bound in a black leather book, complete with a red ribbon bookmark, and an embossed "B" on the cover. I think it's interesting that a cultural icon like that has achieved the same status, at least in some of the American public's eyes, as the Son of God. I wonder how many "church" kids could quote a lyric from one of his songs but not a verse from the Bible?

By now, I am sure that most people have seen press coverage and Youtube coverage of Kanye West's outburst at the Video Music Awards. I have mixed emotions, which seems to be the reaction of the American public. I saw on Twitter that someone pointed out what if all of our sinful moments were captured on national TV and rebroadcast multiple times? That person was simply asking where is the grace in such a scenario.

Of course President Obama had more colorful language to describe West's comments Sunday night. In an interview about something else he casually, almost jokingly called Kanye West the King James Version of a donkey. Of course the problem was that in the instant connection culture we live in, the internet was a buzz with Obama's comments. Again one ask to ask the question, "What were you thinking?" to West and Obama.

Like I said, I'm not necessarily an astute sage of hip-hop but at the very least it's entertaining!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Lake Guntersville

What a day! We made the trek back from Lake Guntersville today and back to the real world of work tomorrow. The girls did really well in the car until about the last hour of the trip (It took us about 7 hours including a couple of stops). We listened to music, watched some movies, took naps (well the girls all did, of course I didn't since I was driving). Road trips are always fun to me, but nothing beats the anticipation of getting so close to home you can smell it.

We enjoyed spending nearly a week visiting Larry Papa and Nana. We didn't leave the house but once to go thrift store hopping the whole time we were there. Lake Guntersville is nestled in the northeastern part of Alabama. The scenery is amazing! The lake is surrounded by the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains. It was fun just to ride on the boat and take in all the sights. The beauty of nature interspersed with incredible homes, and boathouses as big as our house. Of course Claire loved swimming in the pool and the lake. She also loves to fish. We tried to do a lot of fishing but they just wouldn't bite. I will say that I landed three and Cyd let the only one she had get away! Claire's first experience riding the tube was priceless. All in all a great week of relaxation and family time. I'm sure we will be wanting to go back sooner than is possible.

I do have some pictures but they aren't uploaded yet, so since the day began around 5 AM so we could make it back in time for dance, they will just have to wait.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Bible Translations

I read this on Internet Monk's blog and thought it was an interesting but true assessment of Bibles and believers.

Scott Mcknight recently came right out and said it: We do translations by tribes:

“NRSV for liberals and Shane Claiborne lovers;
ESV for Reformed complementarian Baptists;
HCSB for LifeWay store buying Southern Baptists;
NIV for complementarian evangelicals;
TNIV for egalitarians;
NASB for those who want straight Bible, forget the English;
NLT for generic brand evangelicals;
Amplified for folks who have no idea what translation is but know that if you try enough words one of them will hit pay dirt;
NKJV and KJV for Byzantine manuscript-tree huggers;
The Message for evangelicals looking for a breath of fresh air and seeker sensitive, never-read-a-commentary evangelists who find Peterson’s prose so catchy.”

Tuesday, September 1, 2009


N.T. Wright offers a sweeping review of the controversy surrounding him concerning the doctrine of justification in his latest book published by IVP Academic. Wright's book is in response to many of his critics including John Piper and D.A. Carson, but it is much more than an experiment in self-defense. Wright succinctly presents his own understanding of justification, arguing that his definition is more true to the Pauline writings of the New Testament. I will admit that my knowledge on this debate is limited, but one would be hard pressed to argue that Wright has varied from Christian orthodoxy. What he has done is to "out-Reform the neo-Reformed" as Scot McKnight phrased it. He has pushed those who consider themselves Reformed and anyone else who is a Christ follower to dive deep into Scripture and allow it to be our framework for theology rather than our specific theological systems and beliefs being imposed on Scripture.

I was blown away by the power of such an immanent scholar to approach this subject with the skilled hand of a surgeon as over half of the book is simply exegesis of major portions of the Pauline corpus. At the core of Wright's motivation is a pastoral desire for his own congregation and all who call Jesus Lord to allow scripture to dictate our beliefs and lives.

I will share a couple of favorite quotes: one serious and one light-hearted. I hope to share more in the days ahead, so many of them are lengthy excerpts as opposed to one-liners.

We must read scripture in its own way and through its own lenses, instead of imposing on it a framework of doctrine, however pastorally helpful it may appear, which is derived from somewhere else. There are many things which are pastorally helpful in the short or medium term which are not in fact grounded on the deepest possible reading of Scripture. That is simply a testimony to the grace of God: we don't have to get everything right before anything can work! But if the church is to be built up and nurtured in Scripture it must be semper reformanda, submitting all its traditions to the Word of God. And when we bring the doctrine of "imputed righteousness" to Paul, we find that he achieves what that doctrine wants to achieve, but by a radically different route. In fact, he achieves more. To know that one has died and been raised is far, far more pastorally significant than to know that one has, vicariously, fulfilled the Torah.

From Romans 6 we leap straight into Romans 8. For a lifelong exegete to skip over Romans 7 is like a thirsty Irishman ignoring a pint of Guinness.

Both of the quotes above are from page 233. I think they capture the warmth of Wright's writing while at the same time communicating the implications that one's understanding of justification has for living the Christian life.