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Archive for January, 2007

Wright on Pomo

January 30th, 2007 2 comments

My good friend Jae at his fairly defunct and sad looking blog (heh) has pointed to a brief interview of N.T. Wright on presenting the gospel in a postmodern world that I found to be pretty interesting. Tom is one of my favorite theologians (which seems kinda silly to say), while I don’t agree with everything he says, I think he has a great perspective on things and really knows his stuff.

The interview largely focused on Wright’s Simply Christian and the issue of sharing the Gospel in a postmodern society. One thing that I wrestle with are “secondary” issues in the Bible that, at least to me, have always taken a second place to the “primary” issues of salvation and faith in Christ. While I still feel that is essentially true, Write suggests that they aren’t as secondary as we (himself included) have thought. And not that the “primary” issues trade place with the secondary ones, but that they are inextricably linked. He comments:

There’s an old evangelical saying, “If he’s not Lord of all, he’s not Lord at all.” That was always applied personally and pietistically. I want to say exactly the same thing but apply it to the world. We’re talking about Jesus as the Lord of the worldnot the Lord of people’s private spiritual interiority only, but of what they do with their money, with their homes, with the wealth of nations, and with the planet.

That is definitely something to think about!

One of the other issue he covers is the resurgence and popularity of Gnosticism. Wright does a good job of calling it what it is:

The Gnostic conspiracy theory says that orthodoxy hushed up the really exciting thing and promoted this boring sterile thing with Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. And of course there’s a great lie underneath that. In the second and third centuries, the people being thrown to the lions and burned at the stake and sawed in two were not the ones reading Thomas and Judas and the Gospel of Philip and the Gospel of Mary. They were the ones reading Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. Because the empire is perfectly happy with Gnosticism. Gnosticism poses no threat to the empire. Whereas Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John do. It’s the church’s shame that in the last 200 years, the church has muzzled Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John and turned them into instruments of a controlling, sterile orthodoxy. But the texts themselves are explosive.

No wonder it is popular today. The Gnostics will let you believe whatever you want!

The heart of both issues needs to have some sort of effect on mission and how the Gospel is shared. The postmodern situation is a new one. Does the church have to change? Well yes and no. I don’t think expository preaching should change just because not everyone is in a modernist mindset. But the Church needs to be acutely aware of the context in which we all are in. Wright goes on to say:

the great emphasis in the New Testament is that the gospel is not how to escape the world; the gospel is that the crucified and risen Jesus is the Lord of the world. And that his death and Resurrection transform the world, and that transformation can happen to you. You, in turn, can be part of the transforming work. That draws together what we traditionally called evangelism, bringing people to the point where they come to know God in Christ for themselves, with working for God’s kingdom on earth as it is in heaven. That has always been at the heart of the Lord’s Prayer, and how we’ve managed for years to say the Lord’s Prayer without realizing that Jesus really meant it is very curious. Our Western culture since the 18th century has made a virtue of separating out religion from real life, or faith from politics.When I lecture about this, people will pop up and say, “Surely Jesus said my kingdom is not of this world.” And the answer is no, what Jesus said in John 18 is, “My kingdom is not from this world.” That’s ek tou kosmoutoutou [?? ??? ?????? ??????]. It’s quite clear in the text that Jesus’ kingdom doesn’t start with this world. It isn’t a worldly kingdom, but it is for this world. It’s from somewhere else, but it’s for this world.

This is one of the things that I have been learning and struggling with over the last few years. We love to quote “we are in the world but not of it.” Yes, that is true and all, but so what? We are still in it! We cannot distance ourselves from that which we cannot (and should not) escape. The church, therefore, should act as if this matters. Yes, salvation and personal piety are important, but the outcropping of that should be the care for all these other issues that pomos take interest in (their critique of the church points out, often justly so, that issues like social justice and the like are not something the church cares about). I don’t think the modern church will die or needs to completely revamp. But it needs to be aware of other important things that, it would seem, Jesus actually does care about!

Write has a lot of other good things to say in the interview too, I also liked his comments on narrative and story that I think a lot of Christians either forget or neglect to think about. So go read it (it is a pretty quick read… unlike his New Testament and the People of God! heh).

Categories: Theology Tags:

Direction in Life

January 29th, 2007 2 comments

This is another one of those posts… you know, the ones that are really just for me (so I can look back and remember… ponder… learn… etc.)… the ones where I wear my heart on my sleeve and make a fool of myself… yeah. So really, just carry on to the next post, it would be for the best. Really, I mean that.

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Categories: Daily Life Tags:

Space Saturday XXVII

January 27th, 2007 No comments

I am back once again with the next edition of Space Saturday! Today I bring you a classic: M42 - The Orion Nebula!

M42 - The Orion Nebula
Credit: C.R. O’Dell/Rice University; NASA (Source)

There are a wide variety of images of the Orion Nebula out there, all of which have their own beauty. I picked this one from Hubble for is close detail and beautiful coloring (although this one is right up there). This nebula, located just south of the belt of Orion, is one of the few nebulae that is visible to the naked eye.

Proplyds in M42 - The Orion NebulaAside from being visually attractive, this nebula is relative close to the Earth and is a great place to study star and planetary system formation. The image at right (source) is a close up of a proplyd (or protoplanetary disc). They are regions where gasses have condensed and are starting to accrete around a young star which will eventually turn into a planetary system.

A Hubble Space Telescope view of a small portion of the Orion Nebula reveals five young stars. Four of the stars are surrounded by gas and dust trapped as the stars formed, but were left in orbit about the star. These are possibly protoplanetary disks, or “proplyds,” that might evolve on to agglomerate planets. The proplyds which are closest to the hottest stars of the parent star cluster are seen as bright objects, while the object farthest from the hottest stars is seen as a dark object. The field of view is only 0.14 light-years across.

Astronomy is so freakin’ cool! (Don’t worry, I am fully aware that I am a geek and am quite okay with it.)

For more images, see my Space Saturday Archive.

Categories: Science Tags:

The Lonely Forest at Common Ground

January 23rd, 2007 2 comments

The Lonely Forest @ Common Ground

Last Friday Theresa and I drove down to Burlington and caught The Lonely Forest at Common Ground Coffee House and Deli. Capitol Basement and The Oregon Donor opened and I was really impressed. I especially enjoyed Capitol Basement and their sound. Evan has an Eddie Vedder quality to his voice (at least in my opinion) that I thought complimented their music. The Lonely Forest played lots of new stuff off the (hopefully) upcoming Nuclear Winter project.

Both TC and I had a pretty good time and I was able to snap off a few pictures and took a few video clips. The full set of pictures can be found at my Flickr set: The Lonely Forest @ Common Ground. The video clips are below and are also available at my Lonely Forest YouTube playlist. Also check out my Lonely Forest blog page for more pictures, videos, and music.

The Lonely Forest @ Common GroundThe Lonely Forest @ Common GroundThe Lonely Forest @ Common GroundThe Lonely Forest @ Common Ground
Full set: The Lonely Forest @ Common Ground

  • Cygnus - .mpg file, 44 MB - YouTube
  • Nuclear Winter - .mpg file, 43 MB - YouTube
  • The last four clips are from songs that I cannot remember the names of because they are too new! If anyone happens to know their names, let me know!
  • Unknown 1 - .mpg file, 52 MB - YouTube
  • Unknown 2 - This is a pretty kickin’ instrumental - .mpg file, 16 MB - YouTube
  • Unknown 3 - .mpg file, 35 MB - YouTube
  • Unknown 4 - .mpg file, 31MB - YouTube
  • Categories: Meaningful Song, Photoblog Tags:

    Mud Football!

    January 20th, 2007 No comments

    After Christmas I was invited to take part in the annual Dameron family (and other Montesano families) mud football game. I hadn’t been able to come before so I was pretty excited. I was not disappointed. It was a good mix of skill and… well not so much (me being the later category). The day was perfect for the time, nice and cool and extremely wet. One of the moms took some pictures and video clips (so none of them are actually mine, but you can still enjoy them) so you can enjoy the mud too! The full set of pictures can be found at Flickr: Christmas Mud Bowl 2006.

    The gang
    Here is the gang after a long, fun game.

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    Categories: Daily Life, Photoblog Tags:

    The 2006 Withrow Family Christmas

    January 18th, 2007 4 comments

    Middle of January and I am posting pictures from Christmas? Yep, it’s true. I finally uploaded two Withrow family parties to Flickr. The first is the northern contingent at Dan and Michelle’s along with Justin’s family. The second party was down south with the rest of the gang. The pictures can be found over at my Flickr set: Withrow Family Christmas 2006.


    The northern Withrow contingent at the Layton home.


    Soooo many presents! But much fun was had!


    Katie and Andy playing some very dancable music.

    And here is the Erin song performed by Katie and Andy with the dance stylings of Rachel and Nathan:

    And for more lovely dances: Nathan bustin’ a move! The ballerina Rachel.

    Ok, Christmas is truly over now. I am okay with that. It was fun while it lasted!

    Categories: Daily Life, Photoblog Tags: