Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Waiting to read

Seven books on my shelf which I've not yet managed to read:

1. Addiction and Grace by Gerald May
2. The Whole Person in a Broken World by Paul Tournier
3. The Challenge of the Disciplined Life by Richard Foster
4. Mudhouse Sabbath by Lauren Winner
5. The Politics of Jesus by John Howard Yoder
6. Where Resident Aliens Live by Stanley Hauerwas and William Willimon
7. Finally Comes the Poet by Walter Brueggemann

Sunday, March 05, 2006

John tagged me

1. Who is your favorite Biblical personage, other than Jesus?
It's a toss-up between Simeon (the NT prophet) and Philip the Evangelist. Simeon wins by a small margin -- I am absolutely amazed by his dedication to God and the way in which he holds on to life just because God promised him he would see the Messiah. Some historians think Simeon was actually a Pharisee, which means that he overcame the legalism and judgmentalism of his "denomination" and was one of only two people in the Temple that day who recognized that Jesus was more than another 8-day-old baby.

2. What is your favorite book of the Old Testament?
Genesis. It truly was the best of times and the worst of times. Where else in Scripture do we get a clearer perspective on the highs and lows of human nature?

3. What is your least favorite book of the Old Testament?
Of course, Job comes to mind first. Then Jonah also is hard -- half the book is about him rebelling against the call of God, a fourth is about him finally obeying it (but seemingly only to save his hide), and the other fourth is him regretting that he obeyed. However, I realize that the reason these two books bother me is because I look at them based on the man they are named after, not based on the God who's actually writing the stories.

4. What is your favorite non- gospel book of the New Testament?
Is there one? I guess technically we're omitting MML&J, which leaves a lot of Paul, with a little James, Peter and John. Paul wins with his masterpiece to the Ephesians.

5. What is your life verse?
Did someone say Ephesians? Chapter 1, verse 3: Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.

I'm not much on tagging, but I will tag my father, mainly because I don't think I know what his answers are to these questions, but also because he just doesn't post often enough to his blog.

Friday, March 03, 2006

The second time around

Donald Miller wonders what would happen if the second coming of Christ was different than most people imagine:
But what if the guys playing the horns turned out to be a few men playing on a street corner in a small town in Arkansas, and what if the horse Jesus rode in on wasn’t a Kentucky thoroughbred, but a belligerent donkey? And what if Jesus, after He got here, frequented homeless shelters and bars and ate and drank with the kinds of cultures evangelicals have declared war against? And what if, when He came like a thief in the night, He came very quietly so that nobody noticed, and what if, crime of all crimes, He was ugly and when He went on CNN producers were uncomfortable with His appearance and only shot Him from the waist up, in a certain light? And what if, when He answered questions, He talked with a hick accent, and only spoke in parables that nobody could understand, and what if He didn’t align Himself with a political party, and what if He didn’t kiss anybody’s butt?

If you ask me, He’d have to do a lot of miracles to overcome all that stuff. And even then, most of the people who would follow Him would be people who were oppressed, marginalized, and desperate. (Searching for God Knows What)
I heard a preacher comment one time on the question Jesus asked Philip in John 14: "Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip?" He said the phrasing could also suggest that Jesus was saying, "Have I been so long time with you, that thou hast not known me, Philip?" Thus perhaps Jesus was implying that sometimes familiarity truly breeds contempt.

Could it be that the 21st century world in which the Church seems so firmly entrenched has caused many believers to fail to recognize the true Christ -- the true heart and motivation of Jesus Himself? Miller's right: He'd have to do a lot of miracles to overcome all that stuff.