Wednesday, August 20, 2014

About those thorns...

[Talking about the parable of the sower, Chan says:] My caution to you is this: Do not assume you are good soil.

I think most American churchgoers are the soil that chokes the seed because of all the thorns. Thorns are anything that distracts us from God. When we want God and a bunch of other stuff, then that means we have thorns in our soil. A relationship with God simply cannot grow when money, sins, activities, favorite sports teams, addictions, or commitments are piled on top of it.—Crazy Love, electronic edition


The transition from industrial society to post-industrial societies . . . brings a polarization between Survival and Self-expression values. The unprecedented wealth that has accumulated in advanced societies during the past generation means that an increasing share of the population has grown up taking survival for granted. Thus, priorities have shifted from an overwhelming emphasis on economic and physical security toward an increasing emphasis on subjective well-being, self-expression and quality of life.—Toward an Interpretation of the Book of Proverbs, page 114

<idle musing>
And what does that mean to us, as we read the book of Proverbs? It will be interesting to see him develop this...
</idle musing>

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

It's that parent thing

My own love and desire for my kids’ love is so strong that it opened my eyes to how much God desires and loves us. My daughter’s expression of love for me and her desire to be with me is the most amazing thing. Nothing compares to being truly, exuberantly wanted by your children.

Through this experience, I came to understand that my desire for my children is only a faint echo of God’s great love for me and for every person He made.—Crazy Love, electronic edition

<idle musing>
Amen to that. I have frequently asked people why they think God loves and cares for them less than they do their children. I know a man who drove from here to Arizona to get one of his kids who was in trouble. But he was questioning the degree of God's care for him! Once he saw the disconnect, he laughed. God loves us so much more than that! And we question his love and care for us?!

It can only be because we've believed the enemy's lies about who God is and what he is like. We need the Holy Spirit to correct our screwed up concepts of God! Even so, come Lord Jesus! Come into our lives and minds and transform us by the power of your love!
</idle musing>

Missing the point

Therefore, the special emphasis of wisdom is on long life and the ability to avoid dangerous situations. This emphasis is too little recognised in scholarly discussions, maybe because of wisdom’s special connection with the wise and fabulously rich Solomon, and maybe also because of the sociological context of many modern western interpreters, who are probably more interested in prosperity than in survival.—Toward an Interpretation of the Book of Proverbs, page 114

<idle musing>
Bingo! He hit the nail on the head with that last statement. We are so assured of our survival—probably incorrectly so!—that we want prosperity. That pretty much marginalizes Proverbs...
</idle musing>

Monday, August 18, 2014


When we face the holy God, “nice” isn’t what we will be concerned with, and it definitely isn’t what He will be thinking about. Any compliments you received on earth will be gone; all that will be left for you is truth.—Crazy Love, electronic edition

<idle musing>
That could be a scary thought! Good thing God is crazy over us...
</idle musing>

Look out!

[T]he most significant feature of wisdom in the book of Proverbs, [is] namely, that it is a tool to survive. Proverbs sees the world as a fundamentally dangerous place. Whybray notes in connection with chapters 10:1–22:16 and 25–29 that it is dominated by the language of disaster. No less than 103 verses (out of 513) are about different possibilities of personal disasters.—Toward an Interpretation of the Book of Proverbs, pages 110-111

<idle musing>
20%! I wonder how many different disasters there are...
</idle musing>

Friday, August 15, 2014

Not too much, just everything

We forget that God never had an identity crisis. He knows that He’s great and deserves to be the center of our lives. Jesus came humbly as a servant, but He never begs us to give Him some small part of ourselves. He commands everything from His followers.—Crazy Love, electronic edition

<idle musing>
I finally read this book. I know, it's been out for how long? But it was good. Be prepared for some choice excerpts for a while...
</idle musing>

Context? What context?

In fact, I would rather say that in a sense proverbs are too alive without a context. They can have many meanings, connotations, nuances. Many of them can be approached from a theological perspective, or from a psychological one, or from a historical one, etc., as the reader wishes, basically without restrictions.—Toward an Interpretation of the Book of Proverbs, page 84

Thursday, August 14, 2014

We forget

However valid and helpful the historical and sociological analyses are, we should not forget that historical understanding, which focuses more on the motivations, aims, and circumstances of the authors, cannot be equated completely with the understanding of a biblical text.—Toward an Interpretation of the Book of Proverbs, page 82

<idle musing>
The historical-critical method is wonderful, but it has its limits—something which we so easily forget. Us academic types don't have a problem parsing out a verse and describing all the ins and outs of grammar and history and social setting and... But is that what it really is all about? In the end, isn't it about changing lives and allowing the kingdom to become a reality in my life?

I have to confess that I'm not as good at that...I too easily allow the academic to get in the way of the Spirit's working. I get sidetracked by an interesting variant in the apparatus, or a minor grammatical point, or...the list goes on and on. And the Spirit is quenched. Not always, mind you. Sometimes the Spirit is in the rabbit trails; I need to listen and hear which are of the Spirit and which aren't. Total dependence, every moment dependence. In absolute humility and trust.
</idle musing>

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

It's the Spirit, stupid...

The story of the Son’s incarnation, death, and resurrection narrates the restoration to human nature of its capacity for imaging the divine likeness by living in relationship with God; the activity of the Spirit applies this healing to humanity. “What Christ has accomplished universally, the Spirit perfects particularly.” Thus, the Son does not redeem human beings without the Spirit’s work of ingrafting them into the triune life. Without the abiding presence of the Spirit, we cannot begin to follow Christ. Through the indwelling of the Spirit, human persons become partakers of the divine nature.— Theosis, Volume 2, page 230

<idle musing>
That's the final selection from this book. As I said when I started it, the first two chapters are a bit to get through, but after that, it's great. I would still say that I preferred the first volume, but this is a good addition.
</idle musing>

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

About the traumatic encounter

More specifically, it [the emphasis on conversion experience] reflects a narrow understanding of soteriology to a specific “traumatic event which chronicled the day and the moment from here to eternity.” This practice of salvation expresses the conviction that if one turns from sin, prays “the sinner’s prayer,” and let’s Jesus into one’s heart, and believes, one is saved. In other words, this specific experience of regeneration diminishes the journey or story of salvation to a transactional, decisive, voluntary, punctiliar, individual moment which provides immediate salvation, once and for all. The negative effect of such a foreshortening of the drama of salvation for Baptists in the American South has resulted in, first, an overemphasis on justification, understood in almost exclusively forensic terms, and secondly an increasing divide between justification and sanctification. Moreover, salvation has been located in the solitary self, whose traumatic conversion experience alone could attest to the efficacy of Christ’s work of reconciliation. Thus the soteriological focus is an almost exclusive concern for the gateway to conversion rather than on the way of the Christian life.— Theosis, Volume 2, page 206

<idle musing>
And then we wonder why there are so few willing to go beyond a simple confession into a life of discipleship...
</idle musing>