Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Daily Office/Conquering the world

So, after reading the chapter about The Daily Office in Tony Jones's book The Sacred Way, I got inspired and have been doing my best to observe elements of the daily office each day. I've been pretty good about doing Morning Prayer and Prayer at the Close of Day...not so good with Midday Prayer and Evening Prayer, but hoping to get those under my belt when I'm back in my "regular" routine next week. Anyway, as a part of The Daily Office each day, I read the texts assigned for the Daily Lectionary. One of today's new testament readings was 1 John 5:1-12. Here's vv 1-6:

1 John 5:1-6

Faith Conquers the World

5Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God, and everyone who loves the parent loves the child. 2By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and obey his commandments. 3For the love of God is this, that we obey his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome, 4for whatever is born of God conquers the world. And this is the victory that conquers the world, our faith. 5Who is it that conquers the world but the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?

I spent a good amount of time contemplating these six verses, especially the part that reads And this is the victory that conquers the world, our faith. Who is it that conquers the world but the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God? So, what does it mean to conquer the world? Is it texts like this that give some folks the inspiration to advocate for legislation that reflects their faith? Do we conquer the world by showing the world what true obedience to God's commandments looks like? What does it mean to conquer? These are interesting words in a book that is usually thought of as a treatise about love. Does love entail conquering? I don't think so, but maybe I'm misunderstanding what it means to conquer. I should probably look up the greek and do some word studies, but I'm in Missouri and don't have those materials handy.

So, what about all this conquering stuff?

Friday, December 22, 2006

Christmas remembrances

OK, first of all, I had to look up remembrances to make sure I spelled it correctly. It seems like it should have an e after that b. Anyways...I thought I'd share a few Christmas remembrances I've had lately. So, here goes:
  • TubaChristmas-For those of you who don't know, there's this event called TubaChristmas that takes place all over the United States, and even in some other countries around the world. Tuba and Euphonium players come together and rehearse Christmas songs for an hour or so, and then, an hour later, they put on a concert for anyone in the community who wants to come. When I was in high school, we used to pile into cars and race down to the University of Missouri campus and participate in the Columbia, MO version. I remember one year, we crammed five people, two euphoniums, and one (maybe two) tubas in my Dad's sky blue geo prizm and made it safely to the concert. Crazy. It was one of those events I remember fondly. Anyway, I went to the Nashville version this week. It was huge!! They filled the whole front area of a large downtown church with the musicians and it was standing room only when I got there five minutes early. i think I'll get on the ball and play in it next year. In any case, thanks to all of you RB guys who made TubaChristmas so much fun each year...special shout outs to Jeff and Marc who made low brass a family thing.
  • And heaven and nature sing: I've had a few occasions lately to sing Joy to the World. That hymn always makes me think of my Grandpa, Harold Douglas. I have very clear memories of standing next to Grandpa at First Presbyterian Church in Columbia, MO each Christmas Eve and singing that wonderful hymn. I always thought it was so cool when he would sing the echoing tenor part...and heaven and nature sing...and he would sing it out with so much vigor and strength, and looking back, with so much faith in the truth of the words he was singing. He was quite a man, Harold Douglas...I still miss him.
  • Well, now my mind is racing with memories of Grandpa, so the other whispers of Christmas past have receded back in the recesses of my mind. I hope that everyone's advent has been one of hope, anticipation, and even a little bit of revelation. Grace and peace to you all.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Funny things

So, I was out doing some Christmas shopping today (yes, more than a week before Christmas), and I had two experiences that made me chuckle out loud.
  • The first occured in the CD section at Target. I was looking at the Wow Worship Aqua CD as a potential gift for my brother-in-law, Jimmy. As I was looking at the song list on the back of the CD, this is what I saw:

If you'll notice, for number 2. on disc 2, the song is listed as Angus Dei (translated as Cow of God). It's supposed to be Agnus Dei. I thought that was pretty funny.

  • Then, when I was at the "Nature rocks...Hippy Store," (that's not the real name, but you get the gist) there was a Mother and her son looking at incense and pipe looking objects and this is what the mom said: "I don't want to give Bobby anything that encourages him to use matches." Ummm, I think you might want to worry about giving something to Bobby that encourages him TO USE DRUGS!!

Anyway, these two things made my first run at Christmas shopping more entertaining than usual.

OK, off to tutor at Martha O'Bryan.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Really feelin' like home

  • So, yesterday, while I was out running 3.5 miles (I'm in training for a half marathon), three different people honked at me and waved, and they were actually people I knew. I feel like that's one of those signs that a place has become home...when you go for a relatively short run and see three people you know. It was a pretty cool feeling. Way better than the coke bottle chucking incident from the first few months I lived here (Riding My Bike).
  • Walking into The Good Cup (my favorite coffee shop) and being greeted by name, or at least in that, "What's up, man?" that makes you feel like a regular also seems to indicate that this place called Williamson County is more like home now.
  • OK, now for some pictures that are totally unrelated to the whole "home" theme. They're from a recent visit by my good friend Shelli Latham. These were taken at the Gaylord Opryland Hotel:

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

The Limits of God's Grace

The title of this post comes from an article I recently read in The Journal of Student Ministries. Here's a link to the article: The Limits of God's Grace.

So, the basic gist of the article is that Bart Campolo (author and son of Tony Campolo) refuses to believe in the God of double predestination, and refuses to believe in a God who actively wills things like rape, hurricane destruction, murder, and other evils, to take place. He gives four possible responses to evil in the world:
  1. There are no spiritual forces and our lives have no greater meaning. In this case, he despairs
  2. There is only one spiritual force at work in the universe and everything, including the bad stuff, happens according to its will. In this case, he despairs.
  3. There are two diametrically opposed spiritual forces, and the evil force is stronger and will eventually win. In this case, he despairs.
  4. There are two opposing spiritual forces, and the good (God) will utterly triumph and redeem even the evil things in the world. He says that, "In this case--and in this case alone--I rejoice and gladly pledge my allegiance to the good and loving God."
He goes on to say that he's only willing to worship God if the fourth possibility is true. Otherwise, he'd rather be sent to hell than spend eternity with a God who wills rape and murder. As you can imagine, he's taking some major heat from evangelicals...being proclaimed a heretic and said to make God in his own image.

All in all, I think it's a great article. I think it speaks to the experience of many people who are unwilling to buy into and worship a God who would be so seemingly fickle and unloving as to cause evil things to happen.

As I've asked many times before, what is it about a God of limitless Grace and Love that makes some people so nervous? What if God really does plan to redeem/save everything in the end? What if a profession of faith is more about the benefit of experiencing God's presence in our lives now and less about our eternal status before God? What do we gain by professing a God who will evil to happen? What do we gain by professing a God who will banish some to an eternity of weeping and gnashing of teeth, or at the very least fails to save some from that fate?

Read the article and let me know what you think.