Thursday, December 31, 2009


This post is in anticipation of dancing tomorrow night away.

Previously I have only made fairly arbitrary New Year's Resolutions, like not drink soda pop for a year. Seeing as I should be putting off childish ways by now I'm going to make some real resolutions.

5. Get physically fit again. I used to be in pretty good shape, then I got hit by a car and have been using that as an excuse to be fat and lazy ever sense. Starting January 2010, not anymore.
4. Translate a book of the New Testament. I've spent a lot of time learning Greek and want to put it to good use. I'm think Ephesians right now, but that's still open to suggestion. Suggestions?
3. Become more financially disciplined. I don't really care for money that much. I really don't have any ambitions of being wealthy or acquiring material goods. However, I've often used this disinterest as an excuse to being irresponsible. Frugality and contentment: two words I hope describe my financial planning in 2010.
2. Learn Turkish. It's pretty pathetic I can only converse in one language. I mean really, how narcissistic is it that I expect everyone to speak my language?
1. Memorize more Scripture. The last year I've really focused on learning biblical theology, that is focusing on the big picture: typology, plot movements, developing themes, and so forth. This year I want to hide God's word in my heart, and not just proof texts but chunks of it!

Hopefully these resolutions will not be goals of self glorification but acts of worship in service of a holy God.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Newbigin on Contextualization

"The Gospel is addressed to human beings, to their minds and hearts and consciences, and calls for response. Human beings only exist as members of communities which share a common language, customs, ways of ordering economic and social life, ways of understanding and coping with their world. If the gospel is to be understood, if it is to be received as something which communicates truth about the real human situation, if it is as we say, to "make sense" it has to be communicated in the language of those to whom it is addressed and has to be clothed in symbols which are meaningful to them."
-Lesslie Newbigin, The Gospel in a Pluralist Society, 141.

Hometown Homiletic

When Jesus returned to his hometown to teach in the synagogue, they tried to throw him over a cliff after his message. Well I got to preach at my parents church this morning, and thankfully no one tried to toss me over the Mogollon Rim.

Preaching is something that I am still quite inexperienced in, and I was thankful to get a lot of constructive feedback from my brothers. Illustrations and application are challenging for me, and I still feel overly dependent on my manuscript, but I absolutely love digging into the Bible. Few things are as exciting to me as tracing theological themes and investigating how the New Testament writers use and develop the Old Testament. Preparing a sermon allows me to investigate the text much more extensively than I typically do in my personal devotions.

The more I learn about the Bible, the more I realize I don't know, which is both humbling and encouraging. It's humbling, because there are so many areas where I still need to grow. It's encouraging because I know there will always be something more to investigate.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

I remember when I used to be into nostalgia

Amazingly, I'm back in Arizona for the first time in 2009.

I am hoping this homecoming will be an opportunity to find quiet and solitude for spiritual contemplation and reflection. I am preparing to enter to a very new stage of life in 2010 and it has never seemed as imperative to seek the Lord while he can be found.

Now that I am five years out from high school graduation there is less and less to be nostalgic about anyway.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Integrity as a Barista

There's a customer at my coffee shop who has got the system beat. She always gets a small coffee in a medium cup, which puzzled me until I noticed her at the condiment stand, topping off her cup with cream and sugar. It's a clever tactic to be sure: save a devastating 26 cents while lavishing yourself with four ounces of free product.

At first I was pretty angry, but now I am mostly just saddened this individual places such a low price on her integrity. 26 cents? Heck, I would be happy to buy you a coffee if your finances are that tight.

But it would be hypocritical if I judged this customer's deception without examining my own life. As a barista, am I consistently giving each customer the highest quality beverage possible? What about shots of espresso? Even just plus or minus a few seconds makes a huge difference in taste. How about milk? Motivation to steam microfoam is definitely dampened when it is just going to be smothered by whipped cream, but that doesn't mean I should compromise a single component of the drink.

Perhaps there are implications not pertaining to coffee.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Plausibility Structures and the Gospel

"As a Christian I seek so to live within the biblical tradition, using its language as my language, its models as the models through which I make sense of my experience, its story as the clue to my story, that I help to strengthen and carry forward this tradition of rationality. But as a member of contemporary British society I am all the time living in, or at least sharing my life with, those who live in the other tradition. What they call self-evident truths are not self-evident to me, and vice versa. When they speak of reason they mean what is reasonable within their plausibility structure. I do not live in that plausibility, but I know what it feels like to live in it. Within my own mind there is a continuing dialogue between the two. Insofar as my own participation in the Christian tradition is healthy and vigorous, both in thought and in practice, I shall be equipped for the external dialogue with the other tradition. There is no external criterion above us both to which I and my opposite number can appeal for a decision."
-Lesslie Newbigin, The Gospel in a Pluralist Society, 65.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Pigeon Holes

I just took a mandatory personality test. For the record, I think they're shallow and generally unhelpful. Take for instance this actual question:

At parties do you:
#1. Sometimes get bored.
#2. Always have a good time.

If anyone chooses answer #2. it means they either (a) are in frat-boy denial, or (b) only go to select parties and not the obligatory ones that most of us have to attend. I personally don't see how the quality of one's friends parties has anything to do with said person fitting into one of several preconceived categories. The spirit of the question seems to be getting at whether the test-taker is an introvert or an extravert, which evidently can be scientifically determined. The irony here is that I almost always have a good time at parties, but on occasion have found myself disinterested. Seeing as I neither fit into scenario (a) or (b), as well as have a predisposition to despise modernistic attempts to label me, I choose the only intellectually possible answer, which may or may not reflect well on my personality.

Friday, December 11, 2009

WRL: Resurrection of the Son of God by Wright

Having polished off my first semester at SBTS, I now am free to pursue my now annual tradition of the Winter Reading List (WRL).

First up is finishing The Resurrection of the Son of God by N. T. Wright. I started this book some time ago, but sadly required reading invariably eclipses elective reading, at least when there's a grade involved, and Southern's work load doesn't permit a lot of spare time for further theological study.

Anyway, I am excited to dig back into this book, as the first 300 pages were very compelling, and I'm very interested to see what the remaining 450 pages have in store. The following quote on resurrection in 1 & 2 Corinthians is an excellent sound bite:

"Paul seldom addresses ... the question of what precisely happened at Easter, of what Jesus' own resurrection actually consisted in. However, since he uses Jesus' resurrection again and again as the model both for the ultimate future, and for the present anticipation of the future, we can conclude that, as far as he was concerned, Jesus' resurrection consisted in a new bodily life which was more than mere resuscitation. It was a life in which the corruptibility of the flesh had been left behind; a life in which Jesus would now be equally at home in both dimensions of the good creation, in 'heaven' and 'earth'." 310.

Gluten Free Food Review: Opera Cake by Cake Flour

I have some pretty exciting news for celiacs in the Louisville area. My place of employment, Java Brewing Company, is now carrying a monthly gluten-free pastry, which for December is an opera cake by local bakery Cake Flour.

"Decadent" is a word that gets thrown around a lot with chocolate, but I don't think it's cliche in this case. It's just a really convenient one word description of everything delicious going on with this treat. Even though I haven't had a glutenous dessert for over a decade, I feel pretty confident that this one will be enjoyed by even those without intolerances.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Newbigin on Community and Hermenuetics

"The Bible is not a collection of documents recently dug up in the sands of Egypt. It is quite "unscientific" to treat it is it were. The Bible comes into our hands as the book of a community, and neither the book nor the community are properly understood except in their reciprocal relationship with each other. Quite clearly, the community as it now exists is being continuously shaped by the attention it gives to the Bible. Equally clearly, the community's reading of the Bible is shaped by a tradition that has been developed through the experience of previous generations of believers seeking to understand and put into practice the meaning of the book... This is the hermeneutical circle operating within the believing community."

-Lesslie Newbigin, Foolishness to the Greeks, p. 55.

Sunday, December 06, 2009


The clean aesthetic of this cappuccino cup is almost as delightful as the delicious contents. And the feel? "Balanced" is putting it lightly.

Good job Intelli.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

The Blood, Sweat, and Tears of Academia

I turned in the final paper of my first masters class yesterday. The joyous occasion was slightly denigrated when I pricked my thumb on the staple and bled all over my title page. The irony is that I had already invested much sweat and a few tears into it.

One more paper and one exam and I will have 9 credits. Only 79 more to go after that.
I don't think I'll mind putting this whole masters thing on hold at all.