Saturday, October 24, 2009

What I needed to hear...

Tuesday as I approached the closest thing I can to utter despair (despite having all the blessings I have), someone said something I needed to hear, or read, as the case may've been:
This is a Greek quiz. It's not a referendum on your personhood, and certainly not on your ministry.

You'll take the quiz, you'll do as well as you can. And at the end of it, there's a good chance you'll still be a beloved child of God. Not 100% certain there, but the forecast looks favorable.

I had merely asked this person to pray for me and he did that but affirmed me and told me what I needed to hear. And I think it's probably good that I heard it so early in seminary.

Was it anything I didn't already know? No, not at all. I know that. One of my biggest bones with Bonhoeffer was his terminology of seeing others as sinners just like we are. While I don't deny that that may be the case, I prefer to see them as those created in the image of God...and my Greek quiz (on which I got an A, as it turns out),was just that. My finding or seeking value or judgement in outside standards is nothing new, but this was what I needed to hear when I heard it.

And it may wind up being something to which I return over time.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Things to Which I Return

For TSP today we had to talk about a thing or few to which we return when we need reminders of our faith or helps to keep going. These are what I brought, although I didn't share all of them in class. I'm sorry I haven't blogged in over two weeks, but I'm going to try to be more intentional about it. If I set time aside each day as part of my schedule I will. I've been writing at least one letter every day for the past two weeks. If anyone wants to send me something, stationery or boxed card sets would be much appreciated.

Here you go:

“Guide us waking, O Lord, and guard us sleeping, that awake we may watch with Christ and asleep we may rest in peace.”

“Let no one despise your youth, but set the believers an example in speech and conduct, in love, in faith, in purity.” -1 Timothy 4.12 NRSV (but I prefer)

“Don't let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity.” -1 TImothy 4.12 NIV

“No storm can shake my inmost calm/ While to that rock I’m clinging/ Since love is Lord of heaven and eart/how can I keep from singing?”

“Praise is everywhere and always right/ Praising God shall be our duty and delight/ So sing till sin and death are put to flight/ We are loved, we are children of God.”

“Lord, your summons echoes true when you but call my name. Let me turn and follow you and never be the same. In your company I'll go where your love and footsteps show Thus I'll move and live and grow in you and you in me.”

“May the bread on your tongue/ leave a trail of crumbs/ that leads the hungry back to the place that you are from/ Take to the world this love, this hope this faith/ take to the world this rare, relentless grace/ like the three in one/ know you must become what you want to save/’cause that’s still the way that he takes to the world.”

Friday, October 2, 2009

Notes, Quotations, and Thoughts

from Understanding Genesis by Nahum S. Sarna.

  • "The literalistic approach serves to direct attention to those aspects of the narrative that reflect the time and place of its composition while it tends to obscure the elements that are meaningful and enduring, thus distorting the biblical message and destroying its relevancy." p. 3

  • "In the popular mind the word myth has come to be identified with fairy tale and associated with the imaginary and the fantastic...Myths, then, in the final analysis, have as their subjects the eternal problems of mankind communicated through the medium of highly imaginative language." p.6

  • "The theme of creation, important as it is in the Bible, is nevertheless only introductory to what is its central motif, namely, the Exodus from Egypt." p. 8

  • "[T]here is no room for magic in the religion of the Bible. The God of Creation is eternally existent, removed from all corporeality, and independent of time and space. Creation comes about through the simple divine fiat: Let there be!" pp.11-12

  • The creation narrative may be myth, but it's not mythological; there is no account of how God came into being.

  • "Evil then was a permanent necessity and there was nothing essentially good in the pagan universe...Far different is the outlook in Genesis. One of its seemingly na├»ve features is God's pleasure at His own artistry, the repeated declaration, after each completed act of creation, that God saw how good His work was." pp 17-18

  • "This basic belief in the essential goodness of the universe was, of course, destined to exert a powerful influence upon the direction of the religion of Israel and to affect the outlook on life of the people." p. 18

  • "[T]here are no biblical sources recounting the founding of the weekly sabbath-day. The antiquity of its existence is presupposed in all the legislation and even in the narratives."p. 19

  • Lots of things in Genesis, while having some overlap with other regional myths are distinctly a)unique and b)probably reaction to other things going on at the time in other narratives.

  • It [the serpent] is not an independent creature; it possesses no occult powers; it is not a demoniacal being; it is not even described as evil, merely as being extraordinarily shrewd...The role of the creature is that of seducer, laying before the woman the enticing nature of evil and fanning her desire for it." p.26

  • [W]e are being told by he Garden of Eden story that evil is a product of human behavior, not a principle inherent in the cosmos." p.27

  • [A] brief word must be said about the notion expressed in God's rebuke
    Hark, you brother's blood cries out to Me from the ground. (Gen 4.10)
    The Hebrew verb employed here is the same as that used on many another occasion when the cry of the oppressed comes before God. The idea is that injustice sets in motion countervailing forces that must ultimately prevail because they are sustained by God." p.31-32