Sunday, August 31, 2008

the massive knot in my back

Saturday night I was laying on the couch-watching the Wolverines look awful (right now I think is not far from being launched)-when I noticed that my back started to feel uncomftorable. By the time the game was over I had a painful muscle knot.

I had Steph try and massage it out. She did a good job and it began to feel a little better, but today when I woke up it came back - only this time worse! So today, I'm as stiff as a 2-by-4! I look like a dufis!

I can't bend. Sneezing hurts. Getting in and out of the car hurts! Getting into a prone position is painful, I tried to laydown on the couch and I about jumped out of my skin! I had to circle around the coffee table and try to land a second time. Needless to say, life is kinda annoying and painful right now!

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Story pt. 1

In Christian circles there has been an increased emphasis on story in the past few years. Biblical theologians like NT Wright and Joel Green have discussed the nature of the Biblical story within the text. Popular Christian authors like John Eldridge and Donald Miller have written books about joining the story. But what really does this mean?

Let's diverge for a second. There are many traditions when it comes to Communion, Eucharist, Common Table, the Great Thanksgiving. Some traditions believe that during this time, the elements (aka bread and juice or wine) literally become the body and blood of Jesus. Other traditions believe that the elements are just reminders of Jesus' great work. Still others believe that something mysterious happens during this time, but the elements do not change. For centuries there have been wars and conflicts over this topic (the original worship wars if you will). Some would say words like: This is the Body of Christ...the Blood of Christ, others would be sure to emphasize this was just a representation.

England was especially afflicted with these wars (literally). One king or queen would hold a particular view, and would kill everybody who held the opposite view. As you can imagine this was a very unstable time; churches and communities were divided. Finally, the church realized that the point of the time at the table was not about the nature elements as much as it was about the time at the table. Now when they passed the elements they simply would say, "The Body of Christ was broken for you." as opposed to saying, "This is the Body of Christ!"

This shift allowed people from different view points on the topic to come together in peace. It moved the people from a dogmatic understanding of the elements and freed the people to focus on what they were doing. Christians (especially those of the Wesleyan, Angelical, Methodist tradition) believe that it is through the act of the Communion that God is present. That this Sacrament (translation: mystery) is speaking to us the Gospel message. We believe that the bread and the cup are the physical embodiment of the lyrics sung and the words spoken. When a believer takes part in this act, he is actually ingesting the Gospel message! You see the Table is not about the table.

In the same way there has been many centuries of conflict on the nature of the Biblical text. Some have emphasized that Text is just an inspired story, told to teach us about God. Some of emphasized the fact that it is (capital T) True; and if its not true its not inspired. Just like before, many people argue back and forth about the nature of the text instead of asking what is the point of the inspiration was.

This is where the Biblical theologians, popular authors, and many other Christian leaders are coming into the conversation. Just like the people of England were broken apart, the Church Universal has been broken apart by this divisive topic, and these Fathers in the Church have come along and said you're missing the point! Stop, the point of Christianity is not about the Biblical text, its where the Biblical text is trying to take us! Let's not focus on the minutia, let's agree its from God and move on.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

August in Review!

This is the week inbetween semesters, so it has a very disjointed feel. The fall is about to start and it feels like everything is starting to fall downward towards the end of the year. Isn't that the way it seems, once September hits Christmas seems like it is next week. Even with that being true, it is still August! It has been one crazy month, it just absolutely flew by! I honestly don't know where the time went. Well actually I do:

One weekend Steph's mom, grandma, and cousin Amy came down and hung out with us for a few days. We showed them a good time in central KY. They got a tour of Lexington, Nicholasville, High Bridge, and of course Wilmore.

We discoverd the YMCA pool,. I thought was going to be a slab of cement with a diving board. Instead it's actually a nice little park with multiple slides and sections for kids and adults alike.

We pulled a prank on our new neighbors (here).

We've been getting up at 5:30 or 6:00am to go running and we've been getting to know the neighborhoods. It's really cool to see the morning routine of a place.

We also were able to see friends. Steph went to Indy to hang out with her friends from High School. They stayed at her friend Rachel's apartment (in downtown) and hung out in the city. They went to a baseball game, layed out by the pool, and had a few nice dinners together. We also were able to drive up to Cincinnati and spend a Sunday afternoon with my friend Dilly (aka Luke Delong) and his fiancie Leticia. We went to the Findley Farmer's Market (located in the stunning downtown of Cinci), then hung out at IKEA and Wendy's. Nothing beats hanging out with friends!

The Political conventions always leave us with some amazing (sarcastic) clips (here). Skip ahead to 1 minute 25 seconds to see political speeches are their best. Who thinks stuff like this is clever or funny? That's what I want to know...

It has been a good month, hopefully a sign of the season that is to come. I think it'll be fun. Shane and Shane are coming in 10 days or so. Shane Claiborne will be here on Election Day. Steph is running a marathon right after she turns 25! And who could forget our 1 year anniversary! HOLY COW it's already been one year!!!!! Time sure if flying!

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Great Quote from Origen

I read this quote today in a book called Jesus for President, from a conversation between Origen, an early church father, and Celsus who is writing against the Christians. (The bracketed material is from the authors: Shane Claiborne and Chris Haw).

[Origen, quoting Celsus:] “If everyone were to act the same as you Christians, the national government would soon be left utterly deserted and without any help, and affairs on earth would soon pass into the hands of the most savage and wretched barbarians.”

[Origen:] Celsus exhorts us to help the Emperor and be his fellow soldiers. To this we reply, “You cannot demand military service of Christians any more than you can of priests.” We cannot go forth as soldiers with the Emperor even if he demands this. [Origen goes on to say that if the Romans followed the teachings of Jesus, there would be no barbarians]

We should note that Christians were rejecting the emperor because to fight for the Emperor was to place first allegiance to him. Christians do not pledge their allegiance to anyone other than Jesus.

Now read the quote again and instead of barbarians insert terrorist or extremist or Muslim. And instead of the emperor put something like President or King and instead of Romans put Americans.          

Once you do that maybe we’ll begin to see why these early Christians were killed.

 (and maybe why governments today seem pretty cozy with Christians around) 

Friday, August 22, 2008

Thoughts as I Exit from Greek Class

So I finished my Greek class today. On my final I received a 93%, which made my final grade an 86%. Actually this is about 4 points better than I made in the previous Greek course that I took. It has been a crazy month, and it’s finally over!

As I look at the grade that I received, it is really easy to say, “Man I could have done better.” or, “Man I should have worked just a little bit harder!” (Both of which I could have or maybe should have done.) The problem is that I can’t go back and redo that experience in my life. It is in the past and that’s all there is to it. I need to accept the fact that I received a B. It does not make me less of a person.

I’ve been thinking about this over the past few days, as I prepare for my final. I messed up. I was not prepared and missed the first day of class. I got distracted and only did a portion of one piece of homework and received a really bad grade on it. There were nights, when I didn’t study like I should have. I made some mistakes. I could have done better. That’s the honest truth.

BUT!!! I can’t continually beat myself down.

If I am continually looking over my shoulder second-guessing myself, I can never move forward towards becoming a better person. This is not to say that looking back at all isn’t a good thing, but there needs to come a time when I move forward. On the other side I need to look back and realize what mistakes I made so I can improve myself. I can look at mistakes and see them as failures or I can see them as formational opportunities. This means that I use the past to help shape the future!

The problem is that too many people either spend all their time beating themselves up over mistakes. This results in a person becoming completely insecure and always wondering what if. The other side of the problem is some people never learn from their mistakes. This results in a person who is completely insecure, wondering why they’re always screwing up. Neither person is getting better at what they’re doing.

Personally, I want to become a better student. So here is my formation plan.



To do this, I need to look at where I made my mistakes, understand the nature of these mistakes, make a plan to move forward, and finally give myself some measurable action steps to start implementing that plan. Here’s an example:


Mistake:                         I didn’t double check the date of the beginning of the class.

Nature:                         I am not organized.

Plan:                                    Get organized.

Action Step:                        Put my class schedule on Google Calendar & link it to my email.



Monday, August 18, 2008

Do you miss Mayberry?

So in the past few months, I've heard many references to Mayberry; once at Southland Christian Church many others from my Greek professor (Brad Johnson). As a result I've had the song "I miss Mayberry" stuck in my head for the better part of this summer. While many people miss Mayberry, I think they're misguided - Mayberry never existed. It's a myth and a bold faced lie!

Mayberry never existed. It only revealed the place we wanted the world to be. We want to think life is simple. We wanted conflict to not really exist. We all wanted to be innocent. 

Truthfully, there was never such a place.

The 1950's and early 60's should not be seen as a high time for American culture, but as a low time for honest appraisal of who we really are. Maybe the arts moving in the way that they have, is the result of people being honest about the way the world is.

What do you think?

Friday, August 15, 2008

Oh the irony!

Have you seen the Botox commercial? Its tag line is “freedom of expression.”

No seriously! It’s actually the message that Botox is using to advertise its product (A product that actually kills nerve endings in the skin not allowing it to move).

Like I said ironic.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

what is the last and best hope of the world?

Barack Obama in a speech in April of 2007 made this quote, "I still believe that America is the last, best hope of Earth" in a speech at the Chicago Council of Global Affairs.

A Christian believes that the Church is the last, best hope of Earth.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Matthew Project pt. 2, a video link, and more!

You can find the second part of my series on Matthew here. I am attempting to write a series of essays trying to give a glimpse into a different look at the book of Matthew. I have 4 posts so far but it is a work in progress. Check it out add it to your reader or get the RSS feed for it! 

I also recommend you check out the video posted in the "Fun, Sarcastic, and Trivial" box on the right, or here, for a funny sarcastic look at the election!

I went to a Reds game yesterday, or that's at least how it was billed. The Astros won 13-4! The Reds didn't even get a hit until the 5th inning! Yup, they're terrible! I've posted a link of the game recap if you're so interested! I'm actually in the video if you look close enough here! ... just kidding! 

If you're interested in giving plasma with me I'm going to be going for the next couple weeks in the morning hours! It's pretty decent money! give me a call or post a comment and I'll get in touch with you!

And for your information, I received a 93% on my Greek midterm! Not too shabby for somebody who took 13 months off!

Friday, August 08, 2008

I'm a Jerk...

So, I feel like a total jerk.

I work at the seminary answering the phone in the evenings and perform sercurity rounds where I lock and secure the academic buildings on campus. The part of my job that I hate the most is I'm responsible to ask the skateboarders to leave the campus.

Now last fall we had some kids break into some buildings and stole some stuff. That and the fact that skateboarding can damage the sidewalks and if they get hurt the school could be sued help me to understand that yes there is a reason for their removal.

But I still feel like a jerk...


p.s. to show i'm cool check out this link!

The Book of Matthew pt. 1

I'd like to do a series on the book of Matthew. In the past few years this book has been on of my favorite places to go to when I need a good word. I have taken a class on it here at Asbury and lucky me I get to read through the Sermon on the Mount (chapters 5-7) this summer as part of the summer reading program for being a chapel intern. So this book has had a big part in shaping my life and my spiritual journey. I'd like to start with a very, very brief exercise in working through the structure of the book.

Before I get into Matthew, I'd like to quickly make one point: meaning is found in context. A sentence gives meaning to it's parts by their relationships. A paragraph gives a sentence meaning by relating it to other sentences. And so on and so forth. This is important in Biblical Studies as we look at verses. They must not be isolated from their context. So as we read a verse or a chapter we must be sure to attach it on the overarching context that it is located in. It is for this reason that we begin with a quick look at Matthew's structure. With that said let's look at the over arching context of Matthew.

The book of Matthew can be split into two major sections. The first major section going from Chapter 4 to the middle of 16. The second major section going from chapter 16 to the end of the book. A good way to summarize the first major section is found in 4:23. Here Jesus is said to begin to teach the good news of the kingdom to the whole region of Galilee. Likewise the second major section can be seen to follow verse 16:21. In this verse, Jesus begins to explain to his disciples that he is going to Jerusalem to be killed.

The First Half of Matthew:
So the first half of the book can be broken apart like this: He preaches the Sermon on the Mount (5-7). After that there is a two chapter section (8-9) where he goes around performing 10 great signs. He then sends out his disciples to spread this message farther (10). When the disciple return, Israel rejects Jesus teachings (11-12) which causes Jesus rejects Israel (13-15). The beginning of chapter 16 we find Jesus with only his disciples still following him and in a foreign country.

The Second Half of Matthew:
It is at this point that Matthew begins his second section. It begins with Jesus moving towards Jerusalem (17-21). This section climaxes with Jesus actually entering the temple. As he enters into the city he begins a series of teachings against the city and against the religious leaders there (21-25). These teachings lead to the conspiracy by the priests to kill Jesus which is carried out and Jesus is crucified after a scandalous "trial" (26-27). On the first day of the week, Jesus is raised from the dead! He then instructs his disciples that all authority has been given to him and they should go and teach what he has taught them!

This is the book of Matthew in a very brief nutshell: A proclamation (and subsequent rejection) of the Kingdom of Heaven. Then a climatic journey to Jerusalem (and the cross).

One big question I have as I look at this raw data: 'Are the two parts related?" For this sake of this series I am going to assume so. Which means we should ask another question, 'What does this mean about the Cross and the Kingdom of Heaven?'

This is where I will pick up next time. 

What are your thoughts?

Saturday, August 02, 2008

week of drama pt. 2

Tuesday night, I had to take Steph to the ER. She had some sort of stomach issue that caused her to expell fluids from both ends. It was a sad sight. From about 5-8:30 she could do nothing but sit on the toilet and puke on the floor! I had no idea what to do! If it was just a little stomach issue, we didn't need to take her to the hospital, but when she didn't stop after 3 hours, and now was complaining of severe pain in the stomach, I knew we had to do something.

I called every friend I knew who is either a nurse or married to a nurse, and finally got in contact with our friend (who I now consider a saint) St. Emily Hiatt. When she heard Steph's symptoms she told us we did need to take her to the hospital. So we immediately got in the car and went to the ER.

The closest hospital to our apartment is St. Joe's in Lexington. When we pulled up Steph made a bee-line to the bathroom, while I checked her in and parked the car. As I was sitting in the waiting room, I heard her start to scream in pain. She was so dehydrated that she was completely cramping up! I got them to get a nurse from the ER, and they put her in a wheelchair because she could barely stand up.

When they got her into a bed, they told her they were going to have to hook her up  to an IV. Which she told the nurse she didn't want. The response she got was, "If we don't give you an IV, you could go into a coma." It was at this point that Steph realized how serious her situation was. She later told me that it was when she heard the word 'coma' that she stopped thinking, "I can take care of this!" The entire time she thought it was silly to go to the hospital. She thought her situation wasn't serious enough to warrant a bed in a busy ER. 

Of course Steph being Steph couldn't control herself. I went to go outside and make a phone call or get a Cherry Coke and when I got back she looked at me (hooked up to two IV's, in a hospital gown, and completely pale) and asked, "Did you see anything gross out there?" I about fell over laughing! Here she is in the ER and she's wanting to know if there's anything gross going on elsewhere in the ER!! Hilarious!

After they pumped 3 liters of fluid in her, and waited until her vital signs were normal, they discharged her at 3:30 am. She spent Wednesday in bed and on the couch. She's doing well and recovering nicely! But for a while there I was pretty scared.