Wednesday, July 30, 2008


How in the world am I a pancake?

read the Bible

Tom Wright and the use of the Bible in corporate worship. This is from pg 151 in Simply Christian.
Just as you're insulting a good wine if you drink it from a plastic cup instead of a glass which shows off its color, bouquet, and full flavor, so you're insulting the Bible if, given the opportunity, you don't create a context in which it can be heard and celebrated as what it really is: the rehearsal of the powerful deeds of God the creator and rescuer.
"Give yourself to the public reading of Scripture" [1 Tim 4.13].

Friday, July 25, 2008

i am a book. i am a victim.

This is something I've been chewing on for a while. On top of that, I think about it in some form almost every day. Here we go.

I am a victim.

Not of a crime necessarily. Not of a jerk boss who fired me. I'm not a victim of bad parenting, the government being weird, or being disowned by someone close to me. Those things might be included, but don't have to be.

Further, when I say "I am a victim" I am rhetorically speaking for everybody. So.... every human now gets swept under the rug of this category I'm building - VICTIM. Rape, murder, abuse, crime, war, hatred, prejudices, etc, etc, ad infinitum. Everybody is a victim. My heart hurts for these people. It sincerely does. It aches.




Yet [and every other adversative conjunction imaginable].

It doesn't really mean a thing. I say that in the same way Jesus said to hate your parents. It really doesn't mean anything in light of the fact that your are a sinner. You are a rebel. You, on your own and apart from Christ, are a hater of God. This doesn't mean that you as a sinner replaces you as a victim. It means that your victimization should be viewed with respect to your sinfulness. In fact, it is likely that you are a victim because you are a sinner. You don't deserve the pity that comes your way because you are a victim - whether it is a racial, medical, physical, financial, or psychological problem. You, me, us - we are sinners. We are in need of mercy.

Being a victim is bad and sad. Being a sinner is worse. But the combination of the two is damning to highest degree. When we play our victim card, we subconsciously deny that we have a sinner card in our back pocket. This essentially says that we deserve some sort of pitiful compassion. And that, that is a backdoor distortion of grace.

How dependent we are on outside means can never be over-articulated. He is our only prayer. Our only hope. Our only chance.

Be humble, Jim.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

who cares what the Bible says

Hopefully the title has made you keep reading. I heard John Piper say that one time. Of course, he then followed it up with, "It is what the Bible means that counts." I pretty much agree. I know that content and meaning will have a tight-knit relationship, but what we want is meaning, not mere regurgitation of content.

And for people who don't like John Piper, Hilary of Poitiers essentially said the same thing. "Scripture is not in the reading, but in the understanding."

While I give a hearty AMEN to both of these I also understand that they necessitate weighty philosophical and epistemological explanations, of which I am ready to give a rational defense. I've been helped here by Kevin J. Vanhoozer. Go read everything he has written. Don't swear by it all, but be provoked by his breadth of thinking.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

my wife is white trash

summer camp.

I got to speak for a youth group last Thursday night. It was their last night of camp. You know how interesting those are. Actually, it was pretty sweet.

One reason I loved it is that it was a really small group. There were only 20 kids. Here's the best part... Four black kids. Four metal-heads. A few good ol boys and girls. A few Christian school kids. And everybody else was in between.

I gave them a quick running commentary on Rom 3.19-26. We talked about the pervasiveness of human guilt in the courtroom of God [3.19-20], the wrath that belongs to each of us ["propitiation" in 3.25], and how God is the Just and the Justifier [3.26] for everyone who is trusting Jesus. Then I explained how all of these collide in the cross of Jesus. Luther said that 3.21-26 is the center of the whole Bible. It sure feels like it sometimes.

After this, I talked about right and wrong ways to live the Christian life. We normally think that we have to have God in the story of our lives to make it better, to make us feel more spiritual, or to be psychologically satiated. We tend to think we need more of Him in our lives as well. Some of those thoughts might be close to right, but the reality is that God has called us into His story. We are now a part of what He is doing to redeem humanity and creation.

Lastly, I told them that the key that unlocks both becoming His and living as His is the same. The cross.

At the cross, Jesus became our substitute, our example, our wrath-bearer, our victory, our healing, and much more.

I genuinely felt the Holy Spirit there. He was working, moving, and making Jesus look good. God is faithful, ya know.

A Franciscan Benediction

May God bless you with discomfort at easy answers, half truths, and superficial relationships so that you may live deep within your heart. May God bless you with anger at injustice, oppression and exploitation of people so that you may work for justice, freedom and peace. May God bless you with tears to shed for those who suffer pain, rejection, starvation, and war so that you may reach out your hand to comfort them and turn their pain into joy. And may God bless you with enough foolishness to believe that you can make a difference in the world, so that you can do what others claim cannot be done.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Can you imagine a world without hypothetical situations?

Prepositions are terrible things to end a sentence with. Avoid cliches like the plague. Actually, comparisons are as bad as cliches. Go around the barn at high noon to avoid colloquialisms. And most importantly....

Always avoid alliteration.

Monday, July 14, 2008


There are many attempts to define what sin is. Rom 3.23, Rom 14.23, I Jn 3.4, and other texts help to biblically define what sin is. There are philosophical arguments within theology that say that sin is more the absence of something than the presence of something. This is a good line of reasoning to think about. However, the following is the most convicting and soul-penerating thing I've ever read in regards to defining sin. It is from John Bunyan.
Sin is the dare of God's justice, the rape of His mercy, the jeer of His patience, the slight of His power, and the contempt of His love.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Friday, July 4, 2008


[a small running commentary if you will]
The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show to His bond-servants, the things which must soon take place; and He sent and communicated it by His angel to His bond-servant John....
This revelation [apokalupsis] is "about" Jesus rather than "from" Jesus. The genitive in the Greek hints at this. Also, I think it should be noted that John uses both His earthly name and His title name. This likely encapsulates His humanity and divinity and who He is and what He's done.

John uses "bond-servants" [doulos] or "slaves" to remind those in the seven churches that the way they live in the last days should be as contrite servants and not prideful heirs, especially in the midst of persecution [1.9].

"Must" [dei] is small, but significant. It is a reminder of God's absolute control over future events before the return of His Son.

The words "to show" [deiknumi] and "communicated" [semaino] are both words that imply more than mere description. They suggest demonstration, indication, and the use of pictures and/or symbols [even in 1.20 John begins to explain some of his imagery]. No one should take this and interpret Revelation to mean whatever was on CNN last night, but should seek to understand why OT prophets/writers used the symbols they did and further, why John picks up on them here in the Apocalypse.

this is theologically chuckle-worthy

My wife's uncle [who went to Bob Jones and is now a Catholic priest] rips Dispensationalism. Not really, but still fun to read from a Roman Catholic.


the ontological reasons i want JESUS to come back

Being and doing are a package deal. You can't have one without the other. However, one necessarily precedes the other. The pure existence of a thing is the most logical starting point to that thing fulfilling its role.


Jesus is not the Savior of the world because He died on the cross. He is the Savior of the world; SO He died on the cross.

You don't breathe, eat, poop, sleep in order to be a human. Because you are human, you breathe, eat, poop, sleep. This is also what would qualify us as human beings.

In Exodus 3, this is why God reveals Himself to Moses as the "I AM" and not the "I DO" or the "I WILL" [more here].

I just feel that our 742 TV channels, 26 drive-thru restaurants down the road, 9 remote controls per living room, damning materialism, and iThis and iThat are all uniting to subtly betray the purity of this paradigm: being always births doing. I feel like the culture I live in daily whispers to me, "Do A, B, and C and then you can be X, Y, and Z." I guess these feelings come from the fact that I'm not home yet.


Wednesday, July 2, 2008

this is awful, hilarious, and clever

[i love my wife and i love stealing from my wife's blog]