Monday, July 22, 2019

Against Heterosexuality by Michael Hannon [abridged]

Over the course of several centuries, the West had progressively abandoned Christianity’s marital architecture for human sexuality. Then, about one hundred and fifty years ago, it began to replace that longstanding teleological tradition with a brand new creation: the absolutist but absurd taxonomy of sexual orientations... 
Michel Foucault, an unexpected ally, details the pedigree of sexual orientation in his History of Sexuality. Whereas “sodomy” had long identified a class of actions, suddenly for the first time, in the second half of the nineteenth century, the term “homosexual” appeared alongside it...designating not actions, but people—and so also with its counterpart and foil “heterosexual.”...cementing these categories of hetero- and homosexuality in the popular imagination...Sexual orientation, then, is nothing more than a fragile social construct, and one constructed terribly recently. designating not actions, but people—and so also with its counterpart and foil “heterosexual.”
My own prediction is that we will see this binary thoroughly deconstructed within our lifetimes. But in my view, we proponents of Christian chastity should see the impending doom of the gay–straight divide not as a tragedy, but as an opportunity. More than that, I want to suggest that we should do our best to encourage the dissolution of orientation within our own subcultural spheres wherever possible...

Thursday, May 23, 2019

The Main Problem with the Media ... [might not be what you think]

"I think that the main problem with the press is not bias.  The complaint of those on the left and conservatives is that it is.  I think the main problem with the press, rather, is superficiality.  Their inability to go beyond the narrative structure of antagonist and protagonist; who's up and who's down; their inability to understand, frame, and report on issues that are not simply political.  The tendency is to force these kinds of cultural issues onto a political frame of reference; to see them only as struggles of power."

James Davison Hunter
in a Mars Hill Audio Journal interview with Ken Myers [ from 1994!]

... don't you want to keep reading???? [below]

Saturday, December 22, 2018

Phos Hilaron

For our midweek Advent devotionals, we've been looking at several ancient Christian hymns.  The following are the notes I used for my favorite along with two videos.  Enjoy!

John 14…

6Jesus answered, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me. 7If you had known Me, you would know My Father as well. From now on you do know Him and have seen Him.”
8Philip said to Him, “Lord, show us the Father, and that will be enough for us.”
9Jesus replied, “Philip, I have been with you all this time, and still you do not know Me? Anyone who has seen Me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? 10Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in Me? The words I say to you, I do not speak on My own. Instead, it is the Father dwelling in Me, performing His works.

The word of the Lord!

This evening, with God’s help, I’d like to spend a few minutes introducing [reviewing] what is the oldest Christian hymn known in history outside the Bible.

There are apparently ancient Christian hymns actually INSIDE the Bible – for instance scholars believe that the passage we heard a few moments ago, John 1 – John's “prologue” … was an example of one.

There are others also. 

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

The Bipolar Life of Ministry

"To identify with Paul's experience we do not need to be shipwrecked or imprisoned or lowered in a basket from a city wall. Even without the physical dangers of Paul's career, anyone who throws himself into the work of Christian ministry of any kind with half the dedication of Paul will experience the weakness of which Paul speaks: the times when problems seem insoluble, the times of weariness from sheer overwork, the times of depression when there seem to be no results, the emotional exhaustion which pastoral concern can bring on - in short, all the times when the Christian minister or worker knows he has stretched to the limits of his capacities for a task which is very nearly, but by God's grace not quite, too much for him. Anyone who knows only his strength, not his weakness, has never given himself to a task which demands all he can give. There is no avoiding this weakness, and we should learn to suspect those models of human life which try to avoid it. We should not be taken in by the ideal of the charismatic superman for whom the Holy Spirit is a constant source of superhuman strength. Nor should we fall for the ideal of the modern secular superman: the man who organizes his whole life with the object of maintaining his own physical and mental well-being, who keeps up the impression of strength because he keeps his life well within the limits of what he can easily cope with. Such a man is never weak because he is never affected, concerned, involved or committed beyond a cautiously safe limit. That was neither Jesus' ideal of life nor Paul's. To be controlled by the love of Christ means inevitably to reach the limits of one's abilities and experience weakness."

- Richard Bauckham, Weakness - Paul's and Ours  

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Scripture Ought to Make You a More Interesting Person

"Why do the gospel writers read Israel's history in ways that look funny to modern sensibilities?  Is the notion of the fulfillment of Old Testament texts intellectually implausible?  The gospel writers summon us to a conversion of the imagination.  They summon us to become more interesting readers... the gospel writers are trying to make us more interesting people.  They are trying to make us more interesting readers who are not locked into this modernist literalism about everything.  I want to suggest to you that we will learn to read Scripture well only if our minds and imaginations are opened up by learning to read the Scriptural texts by learning to read in the 'figural' ways that the four gospel writers actually read Israel's Scripture.  The gospels teach us how to read the Old Testament.  And at the same time the Old Testament teach us how to read the gospels.  There is a circle of interpretation."

Richard Hays, "Do the Gospel Writers Misread the Old Testament?"

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

An Unsatisfying Hermeneutic

Dr Abraham Juruvilla of DTS is a gifted and passionate Biblical scholar and teacher.  In preparing for an upcoming sermon, I reviewed his study of the story of Abraham's call to sacrifice Isaac in Genesis 22.  I can honestly say that I benefited greatly from many of Dr Juruvilla's insights, but found a deep dissatisfaction with his zealous refusal to read any Christological perspective from the New Testament back into Genesis.  Dr J eschewed such attempts as confusing and actually quoted a passage from Calvin to warn against hasty redemptive-historic allegorizing.

At the end of his study, Dr J repeated his insistence that we must read the Old Testament narratives as they were written by both their author and capital-A Author to find their purpose for writing, rather than imposing symbolic meanings from the New Testament.  He then went on to say that such strict interpretation actually leads to good preaching because the capital-A Author's purpose in O.T. narratives is "always to make us more Christlike."
As much as I appreciate his point that redemptive-historical preaching can fall short in application or imperative instruction [which it can!], I was left quite befuddled how the Author always intended for us to become more Christlike as a result of our reading, but never intended for us to find Christ in what we read.

DTS has a long history of hermeneutical struggle.  Founded as a conservative and dispensational seminary, they are working to oppose liberal interpretations on the one hand, while also resisting covenantal interpretations on the other.  This is a hard task, no doubt.  My own alma mater came out of a similar origin, but I sense a movement and growth toward in better directions.  I hope this is what Dr Juruvilla's work represents also and that time will make it all the more apparent.

Dr Juruvilla is author of Genesis: A Theological Commentary for Preachers.  He has also written systematically about interpretaion in his 2013 textbook: Privilege the Text! A Theological Hermeneutic for Preaching.  He teaches at Dallas Theological Seminary.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Deep Gospel-infused Beauty

"Bach is inseparable from the words that he uses.  He's a religious composer and his outlook on life is told to us in the cantatas.  And even in the secular music, one has to embrace his worldview.  No matter how the voice leading it is so wonderful or the counterpoint is so wonderful, it goes beyond itself.  It tries to tell us a message and that message is usually complicated.  It's not quite simple.  So I think there's a lot more to Bach than the surface."

- Murray Perahia