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Friday, March 28, 2003
Ever since I read Bruce Mawhinney's Preaching with Freshness at the start of my ministry, I've been following his recommendation and taking (or trying to take) Fridays off. So today I read a bit, did some errands around town, drove out to Sexsmith, fifteen minutes north of here, to peruse the magazines in the Peace River Bible Institute library, drove home and checked out one of the Christian book stores in town (I almost needed a magnifying glass to find the book section!), and then had supper.
Here are a few scattered (but chronological) observations:
* Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong's voices blend beautifully and their duets are great music to get the day started.And now I'm off to read some more of N. T. Wright's The Challenge of Jesus and Anthony Trollope's delightful Barchester Towers. Good night, all! John John 9:28 PM 91588367 Tuesday, March 25, 2003 While reading through Thomas Oden's Becoming a Minister, I came across this quotation from Martin Luther:
Unless those who are in the office of preacher find joy in him who sent them, they will have much trouble. Our Lord God had to ask Moses as many as six times. He also led me into the office in the same way. Had I known about it beforehand, he would have had to take more pains to get me in. Be that as it may, now that I have begun, I intend to perform the duties of the office with his help. On account of the exceedingly great and heavy cares and worries connected with it, I would not take the whole world to enter upon this work now. On the other hand, when I regard him who called me, I would not take the whole world not to have begun it (Table Talk, LW 54, #113, pp. 12-13).John John 9:56 PM 91395096 Monday, March 24, 2003 This summer, I'm booked to speak at Reformation Covenant Church's annual Family Camp, along with Jim Jordan. The camp runs from June 9-14. It's located on the Oregon coast, which is very convenient, since I have to leave early in order to attend Classis Western Canada 2003 in Salem at the end of the week.
So far, none of the topics have been finalized, though one suggestion was that I would speak about covenant and evangelism. I'm expecting to hear some more in the near future. John John 1:26 PM 91301909 Aha! With the help of Russ, I've managed to fix my blogger problem. The cure? I cut my template and pasted it into a word processor file. Then I selected another template, went in to edit it, and pasted in my old template. It worked! Thanks, Russ! John John 9:51 AM 91290361 Sunday, March 23, 2003 Why, oh why, won't Blogger publish my template? I keep revising it, saving changes, and hitting publish, only to get a blank where an error message would normally appear and a link which, though advertising itself as leading to "more info," leads only to a general troubleshooting page. Nothing I do seems to help. Anyone else having trouble publishing changes to your template? John John 10:05 PM 91264137 Thursday, March 20, 2003 Another quotation from James Jordan's The Sociology of the Church:
The Bible taught the early church how to worship, but in the later Middle Ages, great corruptions set in. The Protestant Reformers were primarily interested in the restoration of worship, rightly perceiving it as the center of the Kingdom. After all, when God called Israel out of Egypt it was not first and foremost to establish a theocratic nation, but to engage in a third-day worship festival. Unfortunately, within a hundred years, the liturgical dreams of the Reformers were mostly in shambles.John John 10:15 AM 91071663 Wednesday, March 19, 2003 Last night, I finished reading James Jordan's The Sociology of the Church, a book I deeply enjoyed. I found Jim's treatments of the nature of conversion and of Pentecostalism and the gift of tongues very helpful and very balanced. The book is quite challenging, and there's a lot in it that I'll need to think through some more, but I highly recommend it.
I may post some more quotations from this book later on. But here, from an essay entitled "God's Hospitality and Holistic Evangelism," is a quotation about the eldership:
Rule in the church is to be by means of footwashing (hospitality) as much as by giving orders (Mark 10:42-45; John 13). Christ rules by being present with us, by being our Host and having us over to His house for dinner, even by being our Servant! The elders, who are to imitate Christ, must do the same (pp. 235-236).John John 10:03 AM 91003284 Tuesday, March 18, 2003 Tim has just published a new essay online: "Paradoxology: Thoughts on the Trinitarian Grounding of Human Faith." I highly recommend it. John John 9:48 PM 90974126 Mark Horne (who isn't blogging) just posted Travis Tamerius's interview with N. T. Wright at Theologia for your reading pleasure. Here are a couple of paragraphs to whet your appetite:
Look at what Paul actually says when he talks about how people become Christians. Look for instance at 1 Thessalonians where he says quite a lot about it without ever using the word justify or any of its cognates. He talks about the gospel coming to you in the power of the Spirit. You accepted that word not as the word of man but as what it really is, the word of God that is at work in you believers. It's quite clear what Paul is talking about, that he comes into town announcing that Jesus is Lord, as a royal herald. He is saying that the crucified Jesus is the Lord of the world. And this is not, "Here is a way of salvation. You might like to apply it to yourself." It's not, "Here is a new way of being religious and you might enjoy it." This is really an imperial summons: "On your knees!" Nobody ever went into a Roman town and said, "Caesar is lord and you might like to have this experience of acknowledging him as lord if that suits you." They said, "Caesar is Lord, get on your knees and we want the tax right now."(Note: Wright does not deny that believers to go to heaven when we die, though he stresses that our final goal isn't heaven but the resurrection body. As well, his point here is that the first major discussion of justification has to do with table fellowship here on earth and not, there in Galatians 2, with how to go to heaven.) John John 8:33 AM 90930549 Thursday, March 13, 2003 My mother tells me that my previous blog entry is getting old, and she's right. So here's an update.
I wasn't able to move into my new home on the Saturday as I'd hoped and so I stayed the weekend at my deacon's house. On that Monday, March 3, while I still had access to the computer, I finished proofreading Ralph Smith's book on the covenant and the Trinity (forthcoming from Canon Press). I highly recommend the book, by the way. It contains a very helpful critique of Meredith Kline's understanding of the covenant.
As soon as I'd fired off the list of typos to Doug Jones, I started packing all the stuff I had at Leo's place. I arrived here in the early evening, went out for supper, and then spent my first night in my own home.
For most of the next week, a large part of my time was spent taking books out of boxes and putting them on the shelves which line the walls of my basement study. It's the first time I've seen all my fiction and all my non-fiction together in one place. Most of my fiction stayed in boxes (or was still at my parents' place) during my four years in Lethbridge.
As for my own reading now, I've just finished Manly Wade Wellman's John the Balladeer, which is a collection of all of his short stories starring John, who travels the Appalachians with his silver-stringed guitar, encountering and overcoming evil of all sorts (recommended by Jim Jordan), as well as Gene Wolfe's wonderfully titled The Island of Doctor Death and Other Stories and Other Stories (no, that's not a typo: the first story in the book is entitled "The Island of Doctor Death and Other Stories"). I'm also two-thirds of the way through Jim's The Sociology of the Church and loving it.
This past Monday, I also joined a singing group. It's a small group — about eight people — and they sing what, I suppose, gets roughly categorized as "classical music," though it ranges from Renaissance madrigals (two of which I need to learn this week) to John Rutter's "A Gaelic Blessing." In case you're wondering, I'm one of the two basses.
This week I also taught a catechism class, attended the Grande Prairie Regional College's InterVarsity meeting (to which I've unofficially been appointed a "resource person"), and led a men's Bible study, and tonight we'll be having a meeting of the church council. On Monday, my phone lines were installed and shortly thereafter I had about 300 e-mails in my Inbox; now, however, there are only thirty. So I've been fairly busy. Nevertheless, I do hope to do some more blogging in the future. John John 10:22 AM 90658653 Saturday, March 01, 2003 At long last, my new house is finished. For the last several weeks, while my house was being built, I have been living in the basement of my deacon's house (and I deeply appreciate his generosity in allowing me to do so). But on Friday, I took possession of my new house. Alex, Calvin, James, Steve, Tim, Jamie, and Leo all helped move my stuff from my garage into the house. Thanks!
I should be moved in by tonight (or at least by Monday). But the phone company tells me that they won't be able to install my phone lines until ... March 10. So I will be incommunicado for the next few days, I'm afraid. John John 9:46 AM 89960228 Andrew Kuyvenhoven on the Heidelberg Catechism, Lord's Day 16:
Most people are sooner inclined to say that Jesus took the fear out of dying than to confess that he puts us to death while we are living. We don't mind "dying in the Lord," when the time comes, but we would like to continue having our own life as long as we're here (103).John John 9:38 AM 89959918