A few weeks ago I was talking with a close friend about a commitment he had made. He had agreed to something for a series of weeks, but was starting to grow tired of it. Some weeks he was sick, but others he wouldn’t do it because he didn’t feel like follow through. “I’m feeling disillusioned” he told me. He didn’t know why he had made the commitment and didn’t see value in continuing through it.
I have heard these sentiments more and more often from other friends about other commitments. Commitments, mind you, that not only affect themselves, but others as well. Continue reading
Then I heard what seemed to be the voice of a great multitude, like the roar of many waters and like the sound of mighty peals of thunder, crying out,
For the Lord our God
the Almighty reigns.
Let us rejoice and exult
and give him the glory,
for the marriage of the Lamb has come,
and his Bride has made herself ready;
it was granted her to clothe herself
with fine linen, bright and pure”—
for the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints.
Revelations 19:6-8 ESV
Revelation, the last bookend of the book, depicts the coming of the Lord and the end times. After depictions of coming wrath, we witness the vision of the coming Lord. The Bride has made herself ready. The Bride, the Church from all places, times, and peoples will be united as one. She has been preparing herself for this final union, clothing herself in beautiful linens. What kind of linens?
These are the righteous acts of the saints.
From the past to the present, till the day the Lord returns, the Church has, is, and will be preparing herself. This clothing is not just reserved for the future, but we are clothing her now, in the immediate. Our deeds are not just grandiose acts that affect peoples and nations, but also the day to day choices we make, the moments in the mundane.
Last week I wrote about how we tend to proof text Scripture. I talked about how it is often taken out of context. The question is, how do we read it in context?
Reading the Context
If we know that proof texting is wrong, how do we avoid it? We look at the context. Christianity Today recently put out an article about how Matthew Vines misuses context to support his claims. He uses some context, but he doesn’t use it well. So how do we use context?
Ken Berding, professor at Biola University, gives five helpful tips for avoiding proof texting and reading the Bible better. These tips can be summarized as ‘pay attention to context’. But what contexts do we need to be aware of?
Berding points out that we need to be aware of the historical, literary, cultural, scriptural, and big-picture contexts. Continue reading
“What does it mean to be biblical?”
My professor asked this question regularly in my Biblical Theology class. The answer seems simple. “If the Bible says it, then it’s biblical”. But does that mean every application of the Bible is ‘biblical’? If you’re quoting the text, it is technically ‘from the Bible’, but that doesn’t make it biblical. Rather, when we use Scripture, we must take it within the context of Scripture itself. We must use a Biblical Theology, something that determines how all the books fit together. I’m not talking directly about dogmatics or systematic theology (though those come into play). I’m talking about how one views the Bible as a whole and in its parts. There’s varying opinions about how the Bible relates to us and itself (the relationship between the New and Old Testament for example). I won’t tackle all of that here (for a helpful book on Biblical Theology, read Klink and Locket’s Understanding Biblical Theology). But part of having a Biblical Theology is having an understanding of how to interpret a single text. Continue reading
Life consists of a long series of moments, some feeling more real than others. Virginia Woolf divides these into moments of being and non-being. Moments of non-being occupy most of our lives. They happen when we live life automatically, without awareness, while moments of being consist of being highly aware. Virginia never defines what these moments are, but Nicole L. Urquhart provides a helpful distinction:
It is not the nature of the actions that separates moments of being from moments of non-being. One activity is not intrinsically more mundane or more extraordinary than the other. Instead, it is the intensity of feeling, one’s consciousness of the experience, that separates the two moments. A walk in the country can easily be hidden behind the cotton wool for one person, but for Woolf the experience is very vivid.
Last week a gunman killed 6 victims because he was a misogynist who didn’t get the attention from girls he wanted. I, like many others, will not mention his name in order to curb culture’s bent on celebritizing murderers, sometimes excusing their crimes. We say that they couldn’t help it, that it’s not their fault.
But it is.
A trending topic on twitter, #YesAllWomen, dares to defy the claims of the murderer and much of stigma around sexual harassment being the victims fault and the perpetrator the true victim. The #YesAllWomen trend aims to bring awareness to the fact that culture often denies the full person-hood of women, making them objects, much like this murderer. I want to spend a few moments cutting down some defenses those who have for the murderer or their own actions in harassing women. We need to take responsibility for our own actions. Continue reading
This weekend I have the privilege of attending the Biola Center for Christian Thought’s 3rd annual conference. This year’s theme is Psychology and Spiritual Formation. I’ll be posting blogs over the next few days and weeks about the ideas and lectures discussed at the conference.
A Place of “Place” in Spiritual Formation Presented by Douglas Hardy
A few years ago, Biola’s chapel theme was “Sacred Spaces” in which we learned about sacred spaces both in scripture and in our personal lives. I enjoyed the theme and thought there was something worth investigating beyond the normal chapel discussion. So when I saw this paper topic being discussed, I naturally gravitated towards it. Continue reading