Saturday, December 30, 2006

[THO] Worship IX

Well I promised this a long time ago; it has taken me a while to get to it. The start of the series is here.

A Theology of Worship

I should begin with a disclaimer that a blog post is hopelessly inadequate to express a complete theology of worship. There are many excellent books and resources available already for anyone who has been following this series and would like to go further. I’ll list a few good ones at the end of this post. My intent is not to give an exhaustive theology of worship, but to situate worship theologically and give a few jumping points for further exploration. For me theology has to be practical, it has to translate into something real for the person in the pews. Theology should challenge our preconceptions and propel us both towards God and into the world to which we are sent. If theology is just a reassembly of words than God help us.

Who do we Worship?

Any good theology needs to be unabashed about its assumptions, even if those assumptions are flawed. Not that I think this is flawed, but honestly who doesn’t think they have a good grasp on truth. To talk about a theology of worship we must begin with the object of worship. There is only one real worthy object of worship; everything else is but a reflection. The Westminster Shorter Catechism tells us that the chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever. There is something of the truth of worship in this statement. Worship should be all about God. On our parts it is our acts of glorifying God with our hearts, minds and strength. Worship is the rightful response to God’s manifest goodness. And it is completely enjoyable.

What is Worship?

So if God is the object of worship then what exactly is worship? What is interesting in the Evangelical church is that worship usually gets explicitly tied to the liturgy. In my church family it is not uncommon to have someone talk about worship and you know they really mean only the singing. Even if they are talking about private times of worship, it is usually singing (otherwise we’d call it prayer). But this type of compartmentalisation of activities only confuses the issue. It allows us to have worship time and other times, which creates the illusion that God is relegated to certain aspects of our lives and not others. There are a host of historical issues arising out of American denominationalism that just exacerbate this mindset, but a wholistic vision of worship is really the corrective that is needed. Worship is as much a participation in the liturgy as it is how we live our lives. Perhaps we could refer to the joys of liturgical celebration as high worship and regular living as low worship, but both are legitimately the place of worship.

How do we Worship?

If worship is not isolated to the liturgical life, then the categories of what constitutes worship suddenly become harder to pin down, and that is actually helpful. Surely singing and celebrating the Eucharist are easily identified as worship. The focus is on God. Such activities are rich with the potential to mediate an encounter with God. In such activities it is easy to see how people are changed by the transforming presence of God. But do not these activities also seek to orient our Christian living with the same nuances? Our songs let worship sink into our hearts so that in the midst of life the same songs come bubbling back to the surface, reminding us that in all we do it is for the glory of God. Our participation in the Eucharist opens us to God’s intimate work that touches every aspect of our lives, redeeming, transforming and calling us into better ways. I recently investigated the standard Eastern liturgy of St. John Chrysostem and discovered, along with Alexander Schmemann, a picture of life in the world. The liturgy was meant to model the Christian life in the world, as what Schmemann calls life for the world. Not that in the midst of life we expect a soundtrack rolling (let’s just leave my inner thought life out of this right now) but there are moments when we need to confess our faith in God, there are moments when we need to offer aspects of our daily life up to God and definitely we are called to respond in life, much as in the Church, to the unfolding liturgy of life. How we respond is how we worship.

When do we Worship?

With that in mind, the when of worship becomes universal as well. When we attend the service we give ourselves to worship as a way of saying with the Church, I will live for Christ today. I will offer my voice, my time, my money, my fidelity, my heart, really everything, I will offer it all to the one who offered Himself for me. Paul tells us in Romans that this is the only reasonable response to what God has done. God’s work doesn’t suffer ecclesial bounds, and so neither can our offering. So just as we did in the Church, so do we also in the world. Worship is how we live all the time, or at least worship is how we should live all the time.

Why do we Worship?

To finish up the who, what and whys I just want to say a word about why we worship. We think about worship in the Church and it is obvious, we worship to corporately glorify God. We already mentioned the Pauline exhortation of worship as a reasonable response to God’s goodness. But there are other reasons why worship, especially worship as a way of life, is important.

Most people in our churches already know how great God is. We worship corporately to bolster our own spirituality. But really if our worship is only Sunday morning and maybe a midweek group, then we are missing the chance to give God glory in the world that God so loved. Yes, God has a special love for the Church, but the Church isn’t the end of the Kingdom, it is simply a sacrament of the Kingdom. When we live as if the Church is the Kingdom we miss the fact that the Church only really exists to prepare a bride. The Church gathers the people of God and spurs us on towards Kingdom, especially in relationship to the World. So we worship at all times so that God is glorified before the nations. We worship so that the world can see, just as we see, how great the love of God is.

We worship because it is what we were made to do. I mentioned the Westminster Shorter Catechism and it is important that we realize why we were made. There is something that is so fulfilling about living the life you are meant to live. And worship is the orientation that gets us there. Paul’s exhortation continues to tells us that as we worship God with our whole selves, we will then be able to discern his perfect and pleasing will for our lives. We worship so that we will become who and what God had in His heart from the beginning.

I hope this series was encouraging; I look forward to your comments.

Some Resources I have Found Helpful:

  • Brent Helming, Hot Tips for Worship Leaders (Vineyard Music) – Very practical advice for leading congregational worship. This is a book I would love to give to every aspiring worship leader.
  • R. C. D. Jasper and G. J. Cuming, Prayers of the Eucharist: Early and Reformed (Pueblo Publishing) – A great collection of Christian liturgies.
  • Henri Nouwen, With Burning Hearts (Orbis) – A great reflection on the Eucharist.
  • Noel Dermot O’Donoghue, The Mountain Behind the Mountain (T&T Clark) – The power of sacred imagination.
  • Alexander Schmemann, For the Life of the World (St. Vladimir’s Seminary Press) – Great exploration of the Eastern sacramental life.
  • James White, Introduction to Christian Worship (Abingdon Press.) – A great introduction to Christian liturgy including a great bibliography.

[THO] Rescue Me

I'll let Rik say it for me. This song has brought me to tears on several occasions, it always brings me into worship.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

[LIF] From the New Computer

It has been a while since I've last bought a computer. The last one I bought from an old friend who was putting them together at the time. The SCSI card in there never really functioned right and I decided that if I bought another PC it would be something brand nameish. I really want a new Mac but I can't justify the cost. I went out boxing day and bought a new Acer with oodles of drive space and a decent processor. I will upgrade the ram at some point, but really the only thing I'm doing that uses this is a bit of video editing on our home movies. I am far from the power user that I used to be, in fact I actually dislike computers and wasn't happy spending most of yesterday migrating software and email from the old computer. There was a time I loved that kind of stuff, but now I have much better things to do with my time. I wouldn't have bothered but my main box is starting to die on me. It is on its second power supply and this ones fan is making horrible white noise. I run Win2K server on it, in a partition far too small to accomodate the OS and obligatory Windows crap the OS accumulates. I really need to rebuild the machine from scratch and add a new power supply. I've had that machine do some wierd things that I'm pretty sure are hardware related so the days of depending on that box are gone. It will make a nice kids computer though.

Speaking of videos, I assembled a video tour of my library that I'll post up here. I have to make sure the image I swiped off the net isn't going to get me in trouble first. Geeky eh? It is amazing what things you can come up with doing when you are avoiding your real chores - today I did a pile of cleaning which should make my wife happy. The house hasn't recovered from the new toys that our kids accumulated! But I am making some progress. Tonight I need to spend a chunk of time reading for my upcoming review of The Portable Seminary. I'm almost done the "systematics" section which is more like Orthodox dogmatic theology minus the obligatory references to early church controversies. I'm used to much richer fare, but as an overview this isn't that bad, just wish it took a few more risks. Seminary, for me, is about engaging with the big questions not learning the pat answers.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

[LIF] Tis the season to spam greatly

What the heck is up with the sudden influx of holiday spam? I seem to have won the lottery with regards to notifications that my stocks, banks and penis are failing to perform??? I mean who told them about my stocks? What perverse notion has prompted this onslaught of spam? Are they trying to capitalize on holiday spending? As if I have any extra cash to invest in dodgy internet deals (or even free time with my wife to... well let's just leave that one shall we). Maybe it is just my turn in the cycle of spambots, it does seem that from time to time they deem me worthy of their cascade of joy. But I can't help but think something more nefarious is at foot. Anyone else gotten the holiday influx?

Monday, December 25, 2006

[LIF] Merry Christmas!

Hope you and yours are having a blessed celebration of our Lord's birth.

I scored some nice books, this is to make Kenny jealous!

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (I wait for the soft cover and always get it at Christmas, been a long wait!)
John Wimber - The Way In is the Way On (Oh yeah! I've been jonesing for that one)
Jurgen Moltmann - The Source of Life (Pneumatology, Molty style!)
Miroslav Volf - After Our Likeness (I've wanted to read that since I first saw it in 2001ish.)
David di Sabatino - The Jesus People Movement (Got this and the Lonnie Frisbee video, I can't wait to see the video!).

Gotta run... kids are finishing up breakfast and I have more toys to assemble...

Friday, December 22, 2006

[LIF] Such a Little Bug!

Holy crap I got hit hard. We were driving to our annual Christmas potluck. I'm thinking of all the lovely food we are going to eat, the great fellowship with people connected to Freedom in all kinds of fun ways, singing songs (thanks again Dan) and laughing up a storm. But an interloper had other plans. As we are driving I started feeling a bit dizzy. We were stuck in traffic and it kept coming in little waves. I normally ignore discomfort like that but it was bad enough I thought that Sharon should be aware, so I told her. Our friend BJ was sitting up front with me, she seemed rightfully concerned. I promised to pull over should it get worse. Well we stopped off to pick up a gift for someone who helped us out a lot this year and I got out of the car for some air. I was still dizzy. And it wasn't long before I pulled over to let Sharon drive. By this time when I got out of the drivers seat I almost fell over from dizziness (I'm stubborn as my good wife likes to point out). We were almost at Kinship so when we pulled in I staggered out and went in to find a couch to lay down. I went to the den because it is sort of out of the way from where the party was going to happen. Laying there I broke into a cold sweat and had to keep my eyes closed or else the room spun wildly. I was a bit concerned.

Michelle came and asked if she could get me anything, I told her I was feeling nausious. She instantly came back with a garbage pail that I blessed with vomit throughout the evening. Not a fun way to spend the night. Sharon covered me with blankets, helped me get to the washroom and back to the couch, and generally took care of me like the wonderful loving wife she is. At one point I asked her to kill me, yeah I get drammatic when I'm sick - but usually only when we are alone at home. Out in public I tend to put on a really brave face. But this was bad. In fact the only thing that came close to how messed up I felt was the time I had food poisoning in Mexico and passed out on the plane ride home.

Come time to leave and Vince helped me up. Actually it took Vince and Steve to help me to the door. Apparently when I got to the door Raj was coming in and I looked at him all deadpan and said, "you really don't want to get this man." And then continued on my way. That's so bizarre, but apparently Raj got a real kick out of it. Vince just chalked it up to me being a joker to the end. Sharon related that during the meal everyone was commenting on how good the lasagna was, she told them I made it and then there was a long pause. "Frank made it..." Raj broke the silence. I am laughing just thinking of how funny that is. I'm praying hard none of them gets this. They prayed a lot for me too, my kids prayed for me all the way home. In fact Chelsea (3) made up several 'Chissmiss' (her pronounciation is so cute) songs with "make daddy better for Chissmiss" in them. I was blessed but laughing was so painful (still is today).

When I got home I made a beeline to my bed, ditching clothes desperately as I went. Sharon tucked me in, brought me a water (I found in the middle of the night) and a bucket. Then she went to sleep with our oldest. Sometime in the wee hours the worst of it broke, but yesterday was a pretty tender day for me. My breathing has been shallow, it is a bit better today. And I had lots of little dizzy spells. Today I've only had one dizzy spell, and I'm feeling a bit better. My muscles ache and my chest is still a bit constricted. No mucous build up though, so I'm not sure what that means. But I'm sure I'll live.

I noticed that my marks are starting to come in. So far three A-s. I was hoping to get at least an A on one of those, but one of the A-s was a course I thought I'd get my first B+ on, that is a relief. I work my butt off to try and keep my marks in the As. One class to come, I think that one should be at least an A-, maybe an A as I did do quite well on the paper.

Monday, December 18, 2006

[LIF] The Vue from Here

Edit: I should proudly point out that this is not your average vehicle, it is a hybrid engine which really makes me happy. There is a review of the Vue Green Line here.

We are the proud owners of one sweet ride. Well actually GMAC leasing owns it, but we get to drive it (for a monthly fee of course). We are pretty happy, our first real drive in it was to church on Sunday in Carleton Place where I was guest worship leader. The drive was nice, the service was great and we are dog tired!

I spent most of Thursday and Friday resting, exams really drained me. Sunday wore me out and we did marathon shopping today. I am crazy tired. Tonight we did up Christmas cards, yeah I know we are a bit late. Better late than never though. It has just been that kind of hectic month. We have two services this week, well one is our annual potluck, should be great. I'm making a gluten free lasagna (from scratch). Good news is I'm almost done my shopping, just a few more stocking stuffers and something for some friends and we're done.

I'm actually enjoying The Portable Seminary, a book I'm reviewing for Christian Week. The first section is all about Biblical studies and starts off with the predictable stuff on Biblical inerrancy (it is an Evangelical book that is for sure) but then launches into a much better than expected discussion of original langauges and hermenteutics. Just started the Systematic theology section, we'll see how this one stacks up. I have to finish the remaining 600+ pages and write a 400 word review by the 12th of Jan. Got's me some reading to do. I'm also trying to get ahead on my DDM scenario writing for Wizards of the Coast. Should have one ready to submit tomorrow night, just need to test it out a bit more.

If I'm not blogging so much the next two weeks, know that I'm probably running my behind off or just chilling with my wife and kids. Got me a bottle of rum and tomorrow I'll pick up some Eggnog to go with it. Mmmmmmm, eggnog. Don't worry, if you drop by I do like to share.

Friday, December 15, 2006

[THO] Mary from my mySpace

This is a repost from my mySpace blog. I only use the mySpace blog to either point people here or to chat with a few friends who seem to like the mySpace world. But I thought it might be enjoyed here, even start up a little discussion about Mary. So enjoy. (As a point of interest the icon on the right is a traditional Eastern icon for Christmas. Note the baby Jesus in a cave reflective of this burial tomb (even the swaddling cloths suggest this) and the old guy talking to Joseph (bottom left) is the Devil.)


I recently posted on the Freedom Log about tackling Mariology in an exam. I've been studying (mostly part-time) at a Catholic University for six years now and this is the first year I've really encountered a nuanced teaching on Marian thought and doctrine. I encountered it in an Eastern Studies course with John Jillions and in a Catholic Ecclesiology course with Catherine Clifford. I really enjoyed wrestling with this topic a bit simply because it is not something that really comes up in any of the traditions I have been part of, at least not in a healthy way.

On the Roman Catholic side the focus was Vatican II and beyond. So in the Dogmatic Constitution on the Church (Lumen Gentium) there is a whole chapter on Mary. This document really outlines the importance and structure of Mary's relationship to the Church. But to outline that I should try and crack a few chestnuts with regard to popular protestant thought about Mariology. First the whole idea of saint worship is troubling to all Christians. Anyone faithful to the Catholic teaching would make a clear distinction between veneration and worship. God alone is to be worshipped. The lives of saints are celebrated as both Christian encouragement and as interceders in the Great Cloud of Witness. Second the idea that Mary's role in any way overshadows or replaces Christ's role is also troubling to all Christians. Lumen Gentium (LG) makes this very clear (LG.62).

In the proper Catholic teaching on Mary the Theotokos (God bearer), like all good teaching on Mary is more concerned with what we are saying about Christ and the Incarnation of Christ than about Mary herself. So, for instance, the virgin birth is an important dogma because it expresses our conviction that Jesus was born with both human and Divine natures. He is not a mere human who attains deification, but rather God who humbles himself to take on humanity. In the East there is really only one absolutely necessary dogma on Mary, that she is the Theotokos or the one who bears God. Like Catholocism there are a number of additional interesting Marian streams of thought, but these are more a matter of local devotional practices.

Back to the Catholics. What is cool is that many were pushing (in the 70's IIRC) for Mary to be officially given the title Co-Redemtrix. A confusing term that is meant to capture Mary's necessary role in redemption, meaning her obedience to God. This title was dropped because it could easily be confused with Mary being elevated to the position of Christ. Indeed some theologians have even extrapolated that Mary was the the third person of the Trinity usurping the role of the Holy Spirit (Boff). These are pretty dangerous claims and do not sit well with the mainstream of Catholic Marian teaching.

There are some aspects of Marian thought in LG that are disturbing. Hurdles that I think we should address. LG. 54 says that Mary occupies the highest place in the Church after Christ and that she is closest to us. When she is absent from our ecclesial langauge she is really not that close to us. Also this is based on a heirarchical vision of Church which is being challenged more and more. Mary does deserve a special place in our hearts and church life, but this is taking it a bit far.

LG. 56 talks of Mary as the predestined mother. This is based on flawed fall theology. And it refuses to admit that Mary had any choice in the matter. If she had no choice then her role as an example of faithful obedience is diminished. Also there is some crazy notion of Eve's virginity, Catholics seem to really value virginity in an almost supernatural way. But we'll talk about why in the next problem area.

LG. 57 tells us that, apparently, Jesus' birth consecrated Mary's virginity. This is anatomically impossible to begin with, but what is most interesting is that it is part of the lingering Catholic hangup with all things reproductive. Sex is seen as sinful and so for Mary to continue to be holy there is a myth of her perpetual virginity that is carried on in Catholic tradition. I say myth because some Catholics live or die on this one. But I think there is value in the myth if it says something about Christ (which I bet it does for many Catholics) but for me it is unneccessary. Mostly because it is based on flawed notions of human sexuality and original sin. But more because the important issue is captured already in the dogma of Christ's immaculate conception, this does not need to be carried over to Mary (sorry Pious XI).

I like that the discourse on Mary is placed in the context of the Church. This shows that Mary is also a member of the Church. As a Christian from non-Marian and anti-Marian roots this gives me a framework for understanding why she is venerated as she is. Indeed I've seen similar devotion to living and dead pastors in the movements I come from. And yes sometimes it gets out of hand. But most of it is meant to be encouraging. Is that not the real role of Mary? To encourage us to radical obedience. For myself there is room in my spirituality for encouragement. You won't find me incorporating a Rosary into my devotional practice but I do think I will find space to bring thoughts of Mary into my ownmeditation, especially in this season of Advent.

Love to hear your thoughts and experiences.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

[LIF] I'm Done!!!!!

When I landed home earlier today it was all I could do not to crash! I wrote 2.5 hours straight on my last exam. I don't recall ever having to write into the third hour before. I filled 2.5 exam books and boy was that exhausting. What a great exam though, the last question was a choice between an essay on Mary or an essay on the Pope. Both questions were nice an juicy, but how could I pass up writing about Mary? I took the ecumenical hang up road and began exploring the Vatican II perspective of Mary. Some of it I recoil at, especially when it talks in terms of predestination of Mary, but some of it is really good for those of us in traditions that usually laugh at Mariology. I ran into Mary in two courses this semester and I must say I have a new appreciation for Mary's role in the Church. I do have to agree with the East though that the two infallible papal declarations are completely unnecessary. Actually these are only two infallible declaration ever made, don't buy the creeping infallability crap spread to slander Catholics. The immaculate conception declaration is that Mary was immaculately conceived which is based on a flawed fall theology and the assumption of Mary dogma is just aptly named. But what we say about Mary is usually to support what we say about Christ, so you can forgive the sometimes zealous Mariologizings of Catholics. I think that Mary should be discussed amongst protestants, but then again I'm for a reintegration of hagiography as a means of Christian encouragement. Will it happen, likely not anytime soon. Does it matter, not really in terms of eternal things. But it is a hard point ecumenically and there could be a lot more understanding from our side on what the Catholics are actually teaching and promoting (and even not promoting, they did decide against making co-redemptrix an official title of Mary).

I am glad to be done exams, now to catch up on all the jobs I've neglected since paper crunch. Tomorrow I clean my office, prepare worship for a sister church that has invited me to lead, prepare the livingroom for our yearly tree trimming and if I have time, clean the bathrooms. Got my work cut out for me.

Monday, December 11, 2006

[LIF] Package Day

A couple of packages arrived today. Both collatoral material for writing projects. I was napping when FedEx arrived at the door with my package from Wizards of the Coast, woke me pretty quick. But what was most surprising was the book Doug Koop sent me to review for Christian Week. It is huge!!!!! The Portable Seminary edited by David Horton. What an interesting mix of contributers, I'm really set up for the holidays now.

I finished my Eastern Studies exam as well as handed in my Ecology take-home. Two down, two to go. I have a study group tomorrow morning so things are going well. And I picked up my Grace paper, which the prof. said was Excellent. I'm going to clean it up a bit and see if I can find a home for it. The essay was called "The Weaker Grace: How the Evangelical Vision of Grace Leads to an Inadequate Social Response" and is a critique of the Evangelical overemphasis on personal salvation. I identify that even when Evangelicals do respond socially it is skewed because of an emphasis on decline narratives and escapist eschatology. But what is fun is that I use the work of Moltmann as the basis for the critique and as a way forward to a stronger vision of grace. One that keeps the important insight of personal salvation but adds a dimension of real social grace. At the very least I'll post it at the Moltmann Yahoo! Group listed in the sidebar. I might see if I can get a magazine to pick it up though as I think this is an important area for dialogue. I would love to see the Evangelical church mature the Protestant vision of grace so that we can take serious the many political issues we face in our day. If you have suggestions of publications I might submit my work to, please let me know.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

[THO] The Insufficient Response

It took a bit of wrestling but I have been convinced that a deep cosmological shift is required of Christians. The problem with the operative cosmologies such as the young earth or stewardship paradigms is that they are blinded by their anthropocentrism. I used to think that you could overcome this with an ecojustice or ecofeminist critique. But you can battle the injustice of androcentrism and still have a horribly arrogant vision of humanity.

It is this anthropocentric arrogance that is the real achilles heel. By placing ourselves at the centre of the universe we assume that all that was and is exists only for us. The world is really only a temporary sandbox in which we play until the real deal arrives. But the problem is the real deal has arrived and Jesus didn't come to take us away, but to send us as well into the Earth. And it isn't a pie in the sky dreamworld he is concerned with here, but a restoration that happens as the age to come breaks into the present, which is also the locus of its final inbreaking. We are saved for the world, not from it.

Now this salvation orientation is not a plunge into the world, but rather a transformation that happens within the world. As we follow Christ into the world that God loves, you know the one He created and called good, then we are transformed into Christ for the world, so that salvation can come to all the world. This is incredibly cheapened if we think it stops with people. That is why our narrow cosmologies are quite insufficient.

We can do great things out of stewardship and ecojustice paradigms. But if we are just mitigating the risk of our own discomfort while waiting out the eschaton then we miss all that God has in mind. We also miss what the whole Earth groans and waits for. Not to mention the complete arrogance of such a position, why would we expect to move to an otherworld when we've so violently raped the world we have been given?

The vision of the universe that science presents is amazing. It is like the thickly starry night of a country sky, you realize how small and insignificant you really are. When we humble ourselves before God and God's creation our response takes on a needed dimension. How can we know that we emerged from billions of years of evolution in an ever expanding universe the smallest segment of which is beyond our ability to comprehend, how can we realize this and go on treating our home like our personal garbage dump? How can we any longer allow the widescale massacre of entire species, biocide in which we are also complicit? How can we continue to buy into the sickness of commercialism which produces engineered for the garbage heap products which simply waste the last of our precious fossil fuels to make? How can we continue to dump poisons into our own drinking water, so much so that we have an entire industry of stealing and reselling water to the poorest of the poor? The answer is we can't. When the gravity of our own culpibility hits us we are forced to take a restock of our lives. It is arrogant to think otherwise.

But many will continue to live in the comfortable little narratives that make them so heavingly minded they are of no earthly good. Such forget that the promise of Jesus in the Revelation is He will return to destroy those who destroy the Earth. I think it is time we took Jesus seriously.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

[THO] Study Group

Spent the afternoon in a study group for my Grace course. We were talking through how Gutierrez understands the work of grace in Liberation Spirituality. We had to bring in Ken Himes, Dorr and Voegelin to understand how We Drink from our own Wells tackles the the critique of the CDF on Liberation Theology. Namely the accusation that Liberation Theology legitimizes revolutionary violence and associates Christianity with political movements. Himes was a discussion of Just War theory and helped us understand why revolutionary action is so bad in theory. But unfortunately we are living in the shadow of two world wars and the suffering faced by Latin Americans is precisely the product of the colonial governments that should be the praxis of God's activity in the political arena. Dorr begins the political conversation around the preferential option for the poor which is used to say that God is actually on the side of the oppressed poor in this. So should it surprise us that when the poor rise up and engage the political powers they also have an encounter with God? Well, if we really think about how this happens in Gutierrez's book we should be a bit surprised. But stepping back I keep thinking this is exactly what love does and if hope is not hope for this world then how can we say that our hope is in the Living God who was willing to step into this world and who promises that we will never be without His presence. Run on sentence maybe, but this is a big concept and the cornerstone for Liberation Spirituality.

Now to sit down for three hours and spill out everything we reviewed today. I'm going to read through my notes one last time, but I think I have my head around it well enough to do the exam.

But first I need to complete my Ecology take-home. I have one b-day party and a trip to lease a new car, but other than that this weekend is all about the exams.

BTW, we are pretty much sold on leasing a Saturn VUE hybrid. We are pretty stoked.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

[LIF] Life is Quick...

Had a great study group last night, well there were really only two of us. But the thing was I could pretty much outline the whole course and understood it. So you would think today would be a snap to write the take home. Yeah, right. Well one thing after another and a nice day to myself is a write off. I'm going to try to write is tonight after kinship. I slept a spell this afternoon so I might be up anyway tonight.

I landed a book review for the holidays, The Portable Seminary. It should arrive in the mail soon. Exams will be done soon. I have church tonight which is going to be fun. This day really just flew by too fast.

Monday, December 04, 2006

[LIF] Richard's Fault

Your 'Do You Want the Terrorists to Win' Score: 91%

You are a terrorist-loving, Bush-bashing, "blame America first"-crowd traitor. You are in league with evil-doers who hate our freedoms. By all counts you are a liberal, and as such cleary desire the terrorists to succeed and impose their harsh theocratic restrictions on us all. You are fit to be hung for treason! Luckily George Bush is tapping your internet connection and is now aware of your thought-crime. Have a nice day.... in Guantanamo!

Do You Want the Terrorists to Win?
Quiz Created on GoToQuiz

This was the quiz Richard had on his blog. I couldn't resist, but it isn't like the results surprised me. The creator has some great "Worst President Ever" t-shirts over at his blog. Reminds me of the sarcasm of Landover Baptist Church.*

* Landover Baptist was set up as a parody site by Whitewolf games to trash one of their new apocalyptic role playing games. They were trying to generate some negative publicity which has worked for RPGs in the past. Unfortuntaly for those who have stumbled on the site you can see that this has taken on a life of its own. I'm not even sure if you can find a reference to the Whitewolf game on there anymore. Chris Tilling - this site is especially for you, you will laugh your merry Engish arse off reading such classis as 'Lucifer's Toychest' and ordering your own What Would Jesus Do thong!

Friday, December 01, 2006

[LIF] Grace Paper is done!

My critique of the modern Evangelical vision of grace is complete and handed in. I loved working with Moltmann on this one, of all my papers this is the one I think is most important this semester. I think Moltmann does a great job of keeping the tension between a personal grace and a social grace, I personally think this will be the challenge of our generation. In fact I think that is one of things that the Emergent/Emerging contexts touches that is very valuable.

I have one more little paper due Monday on Berry's The Great Work. And I've been invited into a small group of students who want to study Thomas Berry from a Berryite. I'm hoping that works out, it isn't for credit but I think it will be worthwhile.

I'm going to work on the last Worship series article right after my exams, sorry for the huge wait! Then I'll jump right into the promised Kingdom series. My paper on the Kingdom of God as it influences Vineyard Ecclesiology came back - 88% which is awesome as Prof. Clifford is a really tough marker. It was a fun class, I now officially know more than I wanted to about Roman Ecclesiology. I appreciate a lot about the Catholic Church, but I sure am glad I'm not a Roman Catholic.

Well we have snow today, the kids want to go out and I am thinking it is about time.