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:: M squared T ::

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:: Wednesday, April 30, 2003 ::

Entertainment out of necessity

Two MIT students have created a way to play video games while taking care of a basic human need. Check it out!

This has to be one of the funniest engineering projects I've ever seen. Usually one can find quite a few at EOH each spring as well.

Thanks to Andrew Careaga at Bloggedyblog for the link.

:: Matt 4/30/2003 10:54:00 PM :: permalink :: comments (0) ::
A Rainy Adventure

It was one of those torrential downpours that makes you stare through the window out into the parking lot where your car is, trying to light the spark of courage to risk a drenching.

I got into my car and began to race down Butterfield Road from St. B's along with everyone else - the organized melée mocking the "Speed Limit 45" signs watching us in helpless resignation from the sidelines.

My windshield wipers were boxing their fastest one-two punch they could muster against their fluid opponent, when, all of a sudden, the driver's side blade took flight. It flung itself onto the median and tumbled across the asphalt. By the time I awoke to this new development, I was too far down the road to retreive it safely.

I was nearly blinded, but I used the remaining blade to clear the far side of the windshield. I might as well have popped the hood up for all I could see. I recoiled against the screeching that attacked my ears coming from the remainder of the broken blade. I bumped across the median to a service station that just so happened to have a three-garage shop.

When I arrived, the attendant was disputing with another patron over a mistaken receipt. I asked if they had any wiper blades - mine had fallen off in the middle of Butterfield. He sent me into the garage to ask the mechanic. He had me pull under the protection of the pump area, and $7.95 later, I had a new blade.

I pulled back out of the pits into the inside lane to rejoin the race. As I crested the hill, my newly invigorated blade wiped itself off the windshield and hooked itself on the side mirror. Once again, I was blinded, but I could not turn the blade on this time for fear of snapping the whole thing off.

God, what am I going to do?

The rain slowed down - stopped, really. I punched the button to lower my window, and tried to push the dislocated blade back onto the windshield when I stopped at a red light. Darn. That didn't work. A gap formed in the stream flowing down my windshield enough that I could see to pull into the hardware store parking lot. Thank you, God!

I discovered that the driver's side blade was returning to the wrong resting position. I pushed it back down to where it was supposed to sit, and ran it for a couple minutes. I couldn't taste the adreneline so much any more. I pulled back out onto Butterfield, and made it back home, albeit at a more daunted pace.

I hope that it doesn't happen again.

God protected me - I know it. Praise him! Thanks be to God!

:: Matt 4/30/2003 01:01:00 PM :: permalink :: comments (0) ::
:: Tuesday, April 29, 2003 ::
Exodus 3:1 - 15


The end of yet another long Tuesday of classes from 1:00 PM to 9:40 PM.

The sermon went off without a hitch. (Thanks be to God!) The class responded well. Dr. Q. told us that we could preach to whatever context we wanted to - whatever context we were in. So I decided to preach to the preaching class. It made the most sense. And I have to say it went off better than I expected.

I had to preach on Exodus 3:1 - 22, which I narrowed down to 3:1 - 15. The sermon's focus was on Moses' question in v. 11 and God's response in v. 12 and v. 14.

When Moses asks, "Who am I, that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?" God responds, "I will be with you." God answers Moses' twofold question of authority and identity with an appeal to his continuing presence - not to Moses' résumé. I elaborated on this for about 20 minutes, bringing the implications to bear on myself and the rest of the class. And many said the sermon moved them. Praise God!!!

:: Matt 4/29/2003 11:46:00 PM :: permalink :: comments (0) ::
I've been a bit busy the last couple of days...

I had food poisoning (I think) Sunday night and Monday night. So I didn't blog 'cause I was crashed on the couch.

Today I'm preaching my sermon for preaching class on Moses and the Burning Bush. It's at 1:00. Pray for me! I have to go for about 20 mins and that without notes.

:: Matt 4/29/2003 11:47:00 AM :: permalink :: comments (0) ::
:: Saturday, April 26, 2003 ::
Just got back from a great retreat with some of the other "twentysomethings" at the seminary. We were hosted by a couple of the nicest people. They own a corporation and they are significant donors to the seminary. We stayed at their "guest house" in southeastern Wisconsin - which housed all 15 of us with plenty of room to spare. It was a great time of refreshing and hanging out with people. It was nice to get away in the middle of the quarter and forget about schoolwork for awhile.

The two games of football were great. I think everyone is sore. We feel so old and decrepit now. Maybe it's because all we do normally is sit inside and read. Hmmm....

:: Matt 4/26/2003 09:29:00 PM :: permalink :: comments (0) ::
Brian McLaren and Platonic Dialogues

Today's issue of Relevant Magazine has an article on Brian McLaren's new book, The Story We Find Ourselves In.

I have not read the book and I will not read it until the summer at the earliest. I will be reading A New Kind of Christian for a class later this quarter.

I'm fascinated by the dialogical format he has chosen. Many great writers and thinkers have used the dialogue format to get a point across that the audience won't "get" if the author writes it in a more typical format. Plato, Erasmus, Galileo and others used the dialogue to get their point across in an unfriendly environment. It's unfamiliar enough today that people often miss how old and revered this format is. I welcome his approach. After I read his stuff I'll let you know whether I think he is Plato's peer.

:: Matt 4/26/2003 09:10:00 PM :: permalink :: comments (0) ::
Absolutely great article about "How to write a really mediocre song" on Relevant today. It lists 11 things you can do. For instance:

Number Eight. Mix and match your metaphors. Let rivers run over mountains in your song. Let the hand of God rain down on you. Stand before the throne on your knees. If you find this mixing and matching difficult to do, reading through modern chorus books or many recent Christian novels will help.

Read the article here.

I would add a 12th point: change the tempo of the song partway through so you have an abrupt change from upbeat and clapping to something slow where nobody can find the beat.

:: Matt 4/26/2003 08:34:00 PM :: permalink :: comments (0) ::
:: Friday, April 25, 2003 ::
A few itinerary items:

I will be out Friday - Saturday at a retreat. Reach me by cell if you need/want.
I will be preaching for the "Practice of Preaching" class on Tuesday, 29 April 2003 at 1:00 PM CDT.
I will be preaching both services at St. Barnabas Episcopal Church in Glen Ellyn on 18 May 2003 at 8:00 and 10:30 AM CDT.
Moving date is 31 May 2003.

:: Matt 4/25/2003 12:27:00 AM :: permalink :: comments (0) ::
Someone (whose name happens to be Andrew Careaga) called this blog title "Einsteinesque".

That's kinda cool... I suppose that I'd be Mass * Mass * Time = ?. I doubt that has any physical relevance. If it does, tell me!

:: Matt 4/25/2003 12:11:00 AM :: permalink :: comments (0) ::
:: Thursday, April 24, 2003 ::
Cre8d Journal has a great article today on economics. A lot of stuff to ponder.

So it's not necessarily supposed to be a free market economy? You mean that's not necessarily God's way? Supply and demand? Hmmmm...

:: Matt 4/24/2003 12:20:00 AM :: permalink :: comments (0) ::
Two good sites for buying icons:

St. Anthony's Monastery
St. Isaac of Syria Skete

:: Matt 4/24/2003 12:06:00 AM :: permalink :: comments (0) ::
No major mishaps because of the power outage. (Thanks be to God!)

My milk had a bit more flavor this morning than I'd prefer, since the fridge was out. :)

:: Matt 4/24/2003 12:04:00 AM :: permalink :: comments (0) ::
:: Tuesday, April 22, 2003 ::
We had another semi-dramatic night last night. (No police this time...)

About 1:00 AM one of our weekly house guests woke me up saying that my computer was freaking out. It was as if the reset button was being held down constantly. It had been doing this for 10 minutes.

Then we realized that we were having a brownout. We started pulling plugs on all of the appliances, and went back to bed.

Today most of the school was without power until about 10:00 tonight. We held class in the dark.

Of course, this meant that we lost all the food in the fridge.

I guess somehow a conduit collapsed last night shorting a high-voltage underground cable out. It browned the power out until it melted through.

You never know what kind of adventures you're gonna have around here...

:: Matt 4/22/2003 11:46:00 PM :: permalink :: comments (0) ::
:: Monday, April 21, 2003 ::
Ok, so I broke down and bought a cell phone today. "Can you hear me now? ... Good!"

I'm feeling pretty wired up, though... a charger, a car charger, a hands-free device, etc. It's nuts.

Soon I hope to take the next technological leap - from desktop computer to laptop.

:: Matt 4/21/2003 09:58:00 PM :: permalink :: comments (0) ::
:: Sunday, April 20, 2003 ::
Christ is risen!
The Lord is risen indeed!

Father, you loved the world so much that in the fullness of
time you sent your only Son to be our Savior. Incarnate by
the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, he lived as one of
us, yet without sin. To the poor he proclaimed the good news
of salvation; to prisoners, freedom; to the sorrowful, joy. To
fulfill your purpose he gave himself up to death; and, rising
from the grave, destroyed death, and made the whole
creation new.

And, that we might live no longer for ourselves, but for him
who died and rose for us, he sent the Holy Spirit, his own
first gift for those who believe, to complete his work in
the world, and to bring to fulfillment the sanctification of all.
(BCP 374)

We give you thanks for all these things in the name of him who died and lives today, Jesus Christ, our risen savior and Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit: one God, now and forever, AMEN.

:: Matt 4/20/2003 01:02:00 AM :: permalink :: comments (0) ::
:: Friday, April 18, 2003 ::
On a hill far away stood an old rugged cross,
The emblem of suffering and shame;
And I love that old cross where the dearest and best
For a world of lost sinners was slain.


So I’ll cherish the old rugged cross,
Till my trophies at last I lay down;
I will cling to the old rugged cross,
And exchange it some day for a crown.

O that old rugged cross, so despised by the world,
Has a wondrous attraction for me;
For the dear Lamb of God left His glory above
To bear it to dark Calvary.


In that old rugged cross, stained with blood so divine,
A wondrous beauty I see,
For ’twas on that old cross Jesus suffered and died,
To pardon and sanctify me.


To the old rugged cross I will ever be true;
Its shame and reproach gladly bear;
Then He’ll call me some day to my home far away,
Where His glory forever I’ll share.


-George Bennard, 1913

:: Matt 4/18/2003 05:23:00 PM :: permalink :: comments (0) ::
Lift high the cross, the love of Christ proclaim,
Till all the world adore His sacred Name.

Led on their way by this triumphant sign,
The hosts of God in conquering ranks combine.

Lift high the cross, the love of Christ proclaim,
Till all the world adore His sacred Name.

Each newborn servant of the Crucified
Bears on the brow the seal of Him Who died.

Lift high the cross, the love of Christ proclaim,
Till all the world adore His sacred Name.

O Lord, once lifted on the glorious tree,
As Thou hast promised, draw the world to Thee.

Lift high the cross, the love of Christ proclaim,
Till all the world adore His sacred Name.

So shall our song of triumph ever be:
Praise to the Crucified for victory.

Lift high the cross, the love of Christ proclaim,
Till all the world adore His sacred Name.

--George W. Kitchin, 1887; revised by Michael R. Newbolt, 1916

:: Matt 4/18/2003 05:17:00 PM :: permalink :: comments (0) ::
O sacred Head, now wounded, with grief and shame weighed down,
Now scornfully surrounded with thorns, Thine only crown;
O sacred head, what glory, what bliss 'till now was thine;
Yet, though despised and gory, I joy to call thee mine.

What Thou, my Lord, hast suffered, was all for sinners’ gain;
Mine, mine was the transgression, but Thine the deadly pain.
Lo, here I fall, my Savior! ’Tis I deserve Thy place;
Look on me with Thy favor, vouchsafe to me Thy grace.

Men mock and taunt and jeer Thee, Thou noble countenance,
Though mighty worlds shall fear Thee and flee before Thy glance.
How art thou pale with anguish, with sore abuse and scorn!
How doth Thy visage languish that once was bright as morn!

My burden in Thy Passion, Lord, Thou hast borne for me,
For it was my transgression which brought this woe on Thee.
I cast me down before Thee, wrath were my rightful lot;
Have mercy, I implore Thee; Redeemer, spurn me not!

What language shall I borrow to thank Thee, dearest friend,
For this Thy dying sorrow, Thy pity without end?
O make me Thine forever, and should I fainting be,
Lord, let me never, never outlive my love to Thee.

-Attr. St. Bernard of Clairvaux, 12th c.

:: Matt 4/18/2003 05:09:00 PM :: permalink :: comments (0) ::
In the cross of Christ I glory,
Towering o’er the wrecks of time;
All the light of sacred story
Gathers round its head sublime.

In the cross of Christ I glory,
There for all was grace made free,
None deserving, yet receiving
Life through death at Calvary.

When the woes of life o’ertake me,
Hopes deceive, and fears annoy,
Never shall the cross forsake me,
Lo! it glows with peace and joy.

When the sun of bliss is beaming
Light and love upon my way,
From the cross the radiance streaming
Adds more luster to the day.

Bane and blessing, pain and pleasure,
By the cross are sanctified;
Peace is there that knows no measure,
Joys that through all time abide.

-John Bowring, 1825

:: Matt 4/18/2003 05:04:00 PM :: permalink :: comments (0) ::
Beneath the cross of Jesus I fain would take my stand,
The shadow of a mighty rock within a weary land;
A home within the wilderness, a rest upon the way,
From the burning of the noontide heat, and the burden of the day.

Upon that cross of Jesus mine eye at times can see
The very dying form of One Who suffered there for me;
And from my stricken heart with tears two wonders I confess;
The wonders of redeeming love and my unworthiness.

I take, O cross, thy shadow for my abiding place;
I ask no other sunshine than the sunshine of His face;
Content to let the world go by to know no gain or loss,
My sinful self my only shame, my glory all the cross.

- Elizabeth C. Clephane, 1872

:: Matt 4/18/2003 05:01:00 PM :: permalink :: comments (0) ::
When I survey the wondrous cross
On which the Prince of Glory died,
My richest gain I count but loss
And pour contempt on all my pride.

Forbid it, Lord, that I should boast
Save in the death of Christ my God
All the vain things that charm me most
I sacrifice them to his blood.

See, from his head, his hands, his feet
Sorrow and love flow mingled down:
Did e'er such love and sorrow meet
Or thorns compose so rich a crown?

Were the whole realm of nature mine,
That were a present far too small:
Love so amazing, so divine
Demands my soul, my life, my all!

-Isaac Watts, 1707

:: Matt 4/18/2003 04:57:00 PM :: permalink :: comments (0) ::
Check out "Merry Easter?" by Frederica Mathewes-Green. Very provocative. Preach it, sista!

Link via Andrew Careaga at Bloggedyblog.

:: Matt 4/18/2003 04:55:00 PM :: permalink :: comments (0) ::
:: Thursday, April 17, 2003 ::
Folks, please read this and pray for these people!

Thanks to Bene Diction for this link.

:: Matt 4/17/2003 11:55:00 PM :: permalink :: comments (0) ::
In the Gospel reading for Maundy Thursday (John 13:1 - 15), John is very clear about something:

Jesus washed Judas' feet knowing full well that Judas would betray him that very night.

"What wondrous love is this, O my soul, O my soul, what wondrous love is this, O my soul!"

Lord of Love, give me this kind of love! I long to be like you. I confess that I do not love my neighbor as myself. Give me the ability to love all who wish to take advantage of me, all who plan to do me harm, all who grieve, injure or ignore me. In the name of the one who came to serve, not to be served: Amen.

:: Matt 4/17/2003 11:34:00 PM :: permalink :: comments (0) ::
:: Wednesday, April 16, 2003 ::
I think I'm getting used to this blog format a little more now.

A couple of observations:

I don't tend to read long posts too carefully. I read short paragraphs and short sentences. Do y'all return the favor?

I read a lot of blogs and have stuff I'd like to say in response but I rarely comment to them. Maybe because I don't have my thoughts together to make it brief enough for "comment" format.

Ok, so I think by writing. Other people do that, too. But blogs need to be short and to the point.

I'll try to be more readable myself.

:: Matt 4/16/2003 11:46:00 PM :: permalink :: comments (0) ::
Augustine, On Difficult People

From his treatise on the Psalms, Psalm 55 (Vulgate 54):

Would that those who now test us were converted and tried with us; yet though they continue to try us, let us not hate them, for we do not know whether any of them will persist to the end in their evil ways. And most of the time, when you think you are hating your enemy, you are hating your brother without knowing it.

:: Matt 4/16/2003 10:47:00 PM :: permalink :: comments (0) ::
Tenebrae Factae Sunt

Dum crucifixissent Jesum et circa horam nonam exclamavit Jesus voce magna: Deus Meus, Deus Meus, ut quid me dereliquisti? Et inclinato capite emissit spiritum.

Tonight we held the service of Tenebrae. After each Psalm, the room gets darker... darker... darker...

Until only one light is left.

Then that light is hidden. We see its reflection dimly dancing on the brick wall.

Then the cantor mourns the first line of Psalm 51:

Have mercy on me, O God, according to your loving-kindness...

And we join his lament:

...in your great compassion blot out my offenses...

A sharp noise startles the whole assembly
As the light of Christ is replaced on its stand

Only the wind can be heard as the disciples of Jesus disappear into the darkness

One by one.

:: Matt 4/16/2003 10:39:00 PM :: permalink :: comments (0) ::
Evanescence votes themselves off the Christian island?

I don't quite know what to make of this. It's sure got an interesting response on the Rolling Stone discussion boards. Unfortunately the band's official discussion board has been overwhelmed and shut down. So we don't know what the hard-core fans are thinkng.

We'll see how this develops.

:: Matt 4/16/2003 01:47:00 PM :: permalink :: comments (0) ::
:: Monday, April 14, 2003 ::
American culture in a nutshell?

"Being grown up isn’t half as fun as growing up: These are the best days of our lives.
The only thing that matters is just following your heart and eventually you’ll finally get it right." -- The Ataris, In This Diary

Hmmm... that's almost "think of the happiest thought," eh, Peter Pan?

:: Matt 4/14/2003 11:57:00 PM :: permalink :: comments (0) ::
The service this morning was absolutely incredible. The guest preacher preached out of the rich young ruler passage in Mark 10:17 - 22. Some notes:

-This young man was no dummy. "He had sense enough to try Jesus but not faith enough to trust Jesus." That'll preach.
-It's not how you start but how you finish: he starts well, running to Jesus, but then walks away sad.
-"Don't burn the candle of your life for the devil and blow the smoke in the face of Jesus."
-The young man had everything we really want: youth, money and morality. Yet something was still missing.
-Peter probably said, "He could have underwritten the whole movement! He had morals, manners AND money! And, Jesus, man, you let him get away!"
-His goal had replaced God in his life.

You know, looking back at those notes, I'd heard a lot of that before. But somehow this morning it just lit me up inside. So I began to think: how often do we sell out God's vision for our lives and for our church because we want to secure the Big Donor who could, in fact, underwrite the whole movement? A lot of big donors to a lot of Christian organizations are seriously devoted to God. But sometimes we are willing to risk God's best so that we can have that "ministerial security."

But the biggest thing, as the preacher said this morning, is that the man was thinking "how much will it cost to have eternal life?" And he decided it wasn't worth it. This wasn't really a case of "Simon the Sorcerer" (see Acts 8), hoping to pay the apostles for some of that Spirit power stuff. But he was running the calculations, and was unwilling to pay with his life.

The cross is a heavy burden indeed - when we are called to carry it to our own crucifixion. We are called to share in his sufferings and death if we want to share in his resurrection. And that means a whole lot more than putting on a white robe and getting wet.

:: Matt 4/14/2003 11:50:00 PM :: permalink :: comments (0) ::
The sun rises early over Chicago in April. Actually, from the point of view of our apartment, it doesn't rise over downtown per se but more over Calumet City. And we set record high temperatures today. That's a switch from record lows about this time last week. As if you wanted to know all that. :)

:: Matt 4/14/2003 11:32:00 PM :: permalink :: comments (0) ::
:: Sunday, April 13, 2003 ::
Ok, so I'm going to get up even earlier tomorrow morning: like 3:45. I'm going to a Holy Week service at a church about halfway between here and Downtown (Rock of Ages Baptist Church in Maywood, IL) which starts at 5:00 AM. But evidently parking really stinks. So we've got to go early to get a place. But it looks like it'll be a great time.

Sleep well, everyone...

:: Matt 4/13/2003 09:16:00 PM :: permalink :: comments (0) ::
:: Saturday, April 12, 2003 ::
Ok, I know I said I was going to pursue the loose ends from last night's post, but I don't have the energy for it now. Hopefully, I can get some sleep. Sunday is the earliest day I get up all week. And it's Palm Sunday!!!

Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna!!!

:: Matt 4/12/2003 11:03:00 PM :: permalink :: comments (0) ::
Given the context of the community that I am working with (come fall), developing a missional lifestyle within the community will become a global missional lifestyle. That's what happens when you become missional in the context of an internationally-renowned state university campus (The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign).

Every fall, the world lands on our doorstep. Students from all over the world come to study in a wide range of fields. Every spring, they depart to the rest of the world. Mission really couldn't get more convenient than that, now could it?

Yet, IMHO, many of the campus ministries at the U of I have faltered when it has come to mission. The number of students participating in campus ministry as a whole at UIUC seems to have remained relatively stable for a considerable period of time. Sure, certain groups grow large (and do so quickly) and others seem to shrink. But I wonder how much they are merely shifting groups of people between campus ministry groups. In other words, they're not gaining most of their growth from new converts (which is their stated mission). Instead, they seem to be doing a good job at maintaining Christian students' Christian lifestyle on their campuses. Which isn't bad, really.

Now before you all come and burn down my house, let me say that I've had really good interactions with the Big Three in campus ministry: InterVarsity, Campus Crusade for Christ, and The Navigators, not to mention a whole host of others. These ministries are doing positive work. I'm not anti-campus ministry.

What I am suggesting is that the time has come to move beyond the church/para-church paradigm into a new way of being the church. While this will involve some level of deconstruction of the exiting models it will more importantly involve the development of parallel ministries that will eventually become the norm.

These parallel structures will involve a local-congregation orientation that lives as a community in a community. It must be multi-generational. It must rigorously hold to historical orthodoxy while being willing to chuck a whole lot of what we perceive to be church (or para-church) in favor of new ways of being and doing. It must surrender the very jr.high-esque competition of who's bigger and better than who for a more cooperative model.

The first step will be a recovery of a sense of mission. Over the next few days, I hope to start throwing around a lot of "churchy" "theological" language to help us name the issues involved in doing and being this sort of thing. Words like:


And so on. These theological categories do overlap considerably but they are helpful for organizing discussion.

What do you think? Really, I want to know... :)

:: Matt 4/12/2003 01:09:00 AM :: permalink :: comments (0) ::
I just read through the free version of the Ignition curriculum. High quality stuff. I'll say it again: High quality stuff.

They are asking really good questions. I like the idea of assigning mission tasks within the community, as selected by the participants. I've been looking for an organized method for helping people develop missionally without making the entire experience top-down.

Check out Ignition's folks at their blog, http://stinkyconvolutedpast.blogspot.com/ and at their main site, http://www.phuture.org.

I hope to use the Ignition curriculum in the fall with a group of college students, in hopes of engaging in Christ's mission in that community.

:: Matt 4/12/2003 12:38:00 AM :: permalink :: comments (0) ::
:: Friday, April 11, 2003 ::
Ok, ok... I know all y'all probably saw this long before I did... But it's really funny...

Check out the overwhelmed site... http://www.welovetheiraqiinformationminister.com/

:: Matt 4/11/2003 10:30:00 PM :: permalink :: comments (0) ::
:: Thursday, April 10, 2003 ::
Kevin Miller is asking some good questions. Thanks to the Tall Skinny Kiwi for the link. Note especially question #4:

"4. One strength of postmodern ministry is its emphasis on listening, really listening, to postmodern nonChristians. Can PPMs listen equally well to the modernist Christian?"

I'm not sure if there's much listening going on between "modernist Christians" and "postmodern Christians"... if there's talking, there's shouting... but it's not really listening, per se.


I have just been reading Niebuhr (as noted a few days ago). It seems that many of the "postmodern Christians" like to gripe about Niebuhr's categories. But it seems like they must be accessing Niebuhr secondarily (i.e. in digest form and through others' references to him). An outright rejection of Niebuhr by "postmodern Christians" is a little self-defeating.

The "Concluding Unscientific Postscript" [yes, he's evoking Kierkegaard] leaves no doubt in my mind that Niebuhr knew that his work with the "5 categories" was incomplete. He then goes on to say that culture is relative. While some have interpreted Niebuhr's core argument as being one of "repackaging the core message" (à la Willow Creek) I don't think that interpretation can stand alone.

Niebuhr argues that we must discover Christ in community. We can't just discover a Christ that is "true for me:" "The Christ who speaks to me without authorities and witnesses is not an actual Christ: he is no Jesus Christ of history." (pp. 245 - 246). If I remember correctly, "postmodern Christians" are promoting the whole community thing.

He argues for action over speculation. Based off of Kierkegaard's arguments in the Philosophical Fragments and the Concluding Unscientific Postscript, he casts aside our delusions of objectivity in "The speculative reason" (p. 246) and argues for a historically based reasoned action in the present moment (p. 247). This counters the a-historicity of Webber's "Pragmatic Evangelicals" of Willow Creek fame. Living out the faith is more important than theory for most "postmodern Christians."

There's more to say, but this is long enough for now, eh?

:: Matt 4/10/2003 12:19:00 AM :: permalink :: comments (0) ::
:: Wednesday, April 09, 2003 ::
This quarter is really going to be nuts. I can already tell that the accelerated schedule I have to keep to finish it a week early is going to be a bit crazy. I'll be doing everything so fast that I have very little time to reflect on it.

Which is kinda strange, really. I mean, this is supposed to be theological education, right? I'm, at least in theory, being "formed for ministry." And yet, in order that I may actually complete the curriculum, I'm blazing through it.

I guess I can look at it as "only 7 more weeks to go... only 7 more weeks to go..." but then I'm really missing stuff.

Something, in the end, will have to give.

:: Matt 4/09/2003 11:52:00 PM :: permalink :: comments (0) ::
From a paper I wrote in the 3rd week of March:

Campus ministry is in a dilemma – but it is nearly invisible to the practitioners or the participants. This is because the problem manifests itself clearly only after students have graduated and moved on. Students, upon graduation, often have great difficulty finding new churches in their new communities. This is necessarily a complex issue, but I will try to address certain factors involved in this difficulty and how we who engage in ministry to students can change our perspectives and behavior to meet this challenge.

Reasons for difficulty
1. Youth leaders and local pastors encourage incoming students to church-shop until they find something they like.
2. Campus ministries do not train students to face graduation effectively
3. Community that exists in campus ministries is not as available outside of the student environment.
4. Massive culture shift between the average local church and the faith experience of the students.
5. Resistance of local church leadership to recent graduates’ participation in leadership positions.

What do you think? If you ask for more details, I can post them or send them to you by e-mail...

:: Matt 4/09/2003 01:28:00 AM :: permalink :: comments (0) ::

That was a loooong day of classes. Pretty much 1:00 to 9:40 PM with two 20-min. breaks. I don't think I've personally used "epistemological" or "ontological" more in one day than I did today.

There's a lot to process... Just zoned out with a little TV and an MGD after all of that. And I'm still up. I really should go to bed... really.

If you get the chance, pray for Dr. Bob Webber... he's sick. That's all I know right now...

:: Matt 4/09/2003 01:24:00 AM :: permalink :: comments (0) ::
:: Monday, April 07, 2003 ::
Congrats to Syracuse!

:: Matt 4/07/2003 11:55:00 PM :: permalink :: comments (0) ::

Snow and ice in Chicago. And I was out enjoying the sunshine on Wednesday...

:: Matt 4/07/2003 11:55:00 PM :: permalink :: comments (0) ::
:: Saturday, April 05, 2003 ::
"The double commandment... by no means places God and neighbor on a level, as though complete devotion were due to each. It is only God who is to be loved with heart, soul, mind and strength; the neighbor is put on the same level of value that the self occupies." (H. Richard Niebuhr, Christ And Culture [New York: Harper & Row, 1951], 17.)

I have been reading Niebuhr's Christ And Culture for a class. I wasn't looking forward to it, given the negative press it has been receiving from the emerging church/younger evangelicals (or whatever the h--- you want to call us). And while I perceive the now-famous "five categories" to be a bit overstated, he does make some interesting points. I suppose that I read it as "historical theology." This helps me to overcome my biases against some of his method, and it keeps me from trying to cram current theological thought-forms into his categories. All the while, I can pull useful information and approaches from what he says.

To return to the quote, it seems that his statement cuts through a lot of the confusion about these commandments and how they should relate to each other. Mature believers throughout time and place have almost universally come to the conclusion that it is impossible to dichotomize these two commandments. There can be no set of tasks, on the one hand, that loves God exclusively, and another set of tasks, on the other hand, that loves our neighbors exclusively.

It is refreshing to see that the traditional split between the theological right, (with its overemphasis on the Divine-human relationship to the point of abandoning much fraternal piety) and the theological left (with the reverse problem) is not nearly so evident in the whatever-we're-calling-it new thing in current Christianity.

I, for one, weigh in with Niebuhr that there is significance to the fact that Jesus Christ gave two commandments (we cannot roll all of our actions up into one summary), and that the "God" one somehow gets more weight in the practical outworking of faith.

Perhaps we should not be so quick to dismiss Niebuhr. Christ And Culture need not be the paradigm and hermeneutical lens that it has been for it to be useful even today. We very well may disagree with his categories and his conclusions. Very well. But it is part of the water of our proverbial pond, and we are the preverbial goldfish.

:: Matt 4/05/2003 10:06:00 PM :: permalink :: comments (0) ::
:: Friday, April 04, 2003 ::
I'm trying to fix the archives and template stuff. We'll see if it works.

:: Matt 4/04/2003 12:41:00 PM :: permalink :: comments (0) ::
:: Thursday, April 03, 2003 ::
Quote from the Pastoral Ethics class I was in today:

"Organic Christians are those who do not divorce faith and knowledge, love and theology. Organic Christians don't dichotomize spiritual vs. rational. Both things are always together." - Dr. Oswaldo Mottesi

I think this relates to a lot I've been saying on church leadership way back to college. And I think it relates to my worship mini-rant from yesterday. Too often we try to have either "form and order" or "spontaneity" in worship. We don't often have both. We want "traditional" or "contemporary". No room for the tertium quid. (And while we're at it, why not the quartum quid or the quintum quid?)

Basically, we discussed how impossible it is to really "do theology" apart from the church. This might sound obvious to most who will read this, but it is not a "given" to a lot of "theologians." In order to become "more objective" many theologians have tried to separate theology from the local church experience. This makes it "more pure," they think.

This fundamentally shifts theology from its traditional definition of "faith seeking understanding" (fides quarens intellectum) because such theologians often find that coming from a "faith basis" is not objective enough. So they have to set it aside.

But if, instead, the "act" of theology is (the) people of God reflecting on faith, we can never separate it from the church. We must not separate it from the history of the church or its day-to-day experience.

This further implies that those who are being trained for leadership in the church and in local churches should be formed, trained and "theologically educated" from within the church. This means bringing what is now known as "the seminary experience" back into the local churches (in so doing raising the bar in the local church, not abolishing systematic theological education altogether). We should develop experts in certain fields (theology, ethics, pastoral care, missiology, evangelism, formation/discipleship etc.) within each local church.

What do you think?

:: Matt 4/03/2003 11:01:00 PM :: permalink :: comments (0) ::
:: Wednesday, April 02, 2003 ::
Yes, I do want it both ways.

In worship, that is.

I desire for the deep symbolism and the "smells and bells" and the hymnody played on the organ in the highest-church Anglican or Orthodox situation. At the same time, I love the guitar-band driven rockin' and rollin' tongues-speaking, propheseying charismatic stuff (whether in a small group or a large group).

I also admire the Baptist tradition I grew up in. I like to think in non-hierarchical structures as far as church governance.

What's a man to do with himself?

Start something new that incorporates it all? Now that sounds really cool. How 'bout doing it in a monastic setting? :)

:: Matt 4/02/2003 11:16:00 PM :: permalink :: comments (0) ::
:: Tuesday, April 01, 2003 ::
I haven't been able to get any template changes to stick in the last few weeks... can anyone tell me what's up?

Here's the scenario: I make a change to the template, and click "save changes." The next page that comes up is an IE "Action Canceled" page, and when I hit refresh it comes back to the "post" page and the "publish" button shows up. But the changes are gone. Long gone.


:: Matt 4/01/2003 05:52:00 PM :: permalink :: comments (0) ::
The Seminary IT department finally resolved whatever issue it had regarding IM; so I'm back online with AIM. Arright. Whew....

:: Matt 4/01/2003 05:44:00 PM :: permalink :: comments (0) ::

:: What is the Curriculum? [>]
[::..Spirituality I..::]
:: Foundational ::
:: The Bible (of course!) [>]
:: The Divine Conspiracy [>]
:: Celebration of Discipline [>]
:: The Spirit of the Disciplines [>]
:: Primary Texts ::
:: The Practice of the Presence of God (Image/Doubleday Ed.) [>]
:: or ::
:: The Practice of the Presence of God (Spire Ed.) [>]
:: The Weight of Glory [>]
:: The Way of the Heart [>]
:: Lectio Divina [>]
:: Secondary Texts ::
:: The Study of Spirituality [>]
:: Listening Prayer [>]
:: Hearing God [>]
:: The Renovation of the Heart [>]
[::..Spirituality II..::]
:: Life Together [>]
:: In progress... check back later [>]
:: The Connecting Church [>]
Truth Laid Bear Ecosystem
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