Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Moving On Up...

I have moved here.....hopefully I will be able to post more.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Classes...Very Soon

This morning I recieved an e-mail with the syllabus of one of my classes, one on ancient Judaism. Six required books, non of which are below $20 on Amazon. My bank account doesn't like this class very much. I, on the other hand, am very excited. It's a lot of work, but I find the part of the class on second temple Judaism fascinating, a subject I've had a class in before. And of course now i have an excuse to buy all those books on second temple Judaism that I've always wanted. Not to mention, it just seems like a good class to take.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

I finished preaching a series on Galatians this morning. It was great fun studying, since Paul isn't my area of specialty. Now I'm considering what is next. I've already planned to do the sermon on the mount, so I've been reading a couple of really good books on the subject. I usually preach from the lectionary during school, but during the summer (ordinary time) I try to do some other things. I wonder what others do?

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Quote of the Day

"The immediate aim of the present to understand the Jesus of ancient Palestine."

The Aims of Jesus, Ben F. Meyer, p.19.

What a profoundly simple statement. But it's also what all Christians should be doing. Meyer was a great scholar and a great mind. His work has has a great influence on me. So go and read!

Preaching the Academy

One of the interesting and challenging aspects of being both a seminary student and a pastor is the way in which I live in two different worlds at the same time. One the one hand, I am in the parish, with people who are liviing lives of turmoil and joy. On the other hand, I live within the academy. I should say that i believe that the two worlds should most definately intersect, but sometimes that theory is hard to do in practical reality. In the academy, we learn a lot about looking critical theory, especially in view of history. While I enjoy that immensely, I sometimes struggle with that in preaching. I feear that some of my sermons seem like historical lectures. But I believe that is important, especially when looking at Jesus. But that move from history to how that history applies to us today is challenging. But should it be? Should there not also be sermons that inform and educate us, not necessarily with an explicite application? A sermon that makes us think?

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Really Looking for the Historical Jesus

I spent some time this weekend going through Crossan's book on the historical Jesus. I've been to do this for a while, but other things (and more enticing hiistorical Jesus books) prevailed. I have to say that I was not that impressed. Most HJ studies reference this book (usually to point out disagreements), so I thought I should get into it. I already knew Crossan's views, but wanted to examine them for myself. He spent a lot of time on background material, cultural studies, and so on. What was amazing to me was that it took quite a while for him to actually get to Jesus in any substantial way. While that is true in most studies, Crossan didn't really do much with Jesus through the rest of the book. So, on to other sources. But at least I read it.

Friday, August 11, 2006

End of Summer Musings

Seminary is back in session in a few weeks. I'll be glad to get back into the academy. Looking forward to some pretty good classes, especialy ones on Ancient Judaism and Acts of the Apostles. Lots of changes happening right now, hopefully for the best.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Rhetorical Criticism

Dr. Michael Bird , who always has interesting posts, discussed Paul and rhetorical criticism today. He makes a good argument in favor of a rhetorical methodology and its benefits. I needed no convincing; I had the chance to study socio-rhetorical interpretation with one of the top scholars in that field in my previous studies. Rhetoric is a great avenue to investigate, particularly in biblical studies. But not just for interpretating scripture. Whe I first began studying Rhetorical criticism several years ago, it also helped me look at my own preaching style and really helped me develop a methodology for sermon preperation. If the Paul and the writers of the Gospels used rhetorical devices as a means of persuasion, why shouldn't we also? After all, sermons are persuasive in nature; we are trying to persuade the listeners toward deeper levels of discipleship. Not to mention it also causes to really think about sermon form and flow. Hooray for rhetoric!

Biblical Studies and the Church

I remember one time having a converstation with an older minister after my first year serving as a pastor. After hearing about my previous degree in Biblical studies, he said in a very mocking tone, "So, do you do a lot of exegesis out in that church in the country where you're at?" (with a sneer). I kind of let the comment go. But the answer is, yes, as a matter of fact I do. Why else do seminaries require exegesis classes? The interpretation and proclamation of scripture is important. If we go back through the history of the church, we can see that some of the greatest theologians and scholars were in the service of the church while they were writing. This can be seen from Augustine to Barth to Wright. I would like to see the day that biblical scholarship comes from and in the context of the local church. Just something to think about.