Do You Take The Bible Literally?

No, I do not.  Nor do I think any of us should, the Bible is not an IRS form.  It a smattering of all different types of literary genres.

This question has really become a litmus test in much of culture to determine who is an irrational fundamentalist and who is progressive and intelligent.

When asked this question (which I have been twice in the last week) I say “no, I take the Bible at face value.”  That is that just like when I pick up the sports page I take the scores literally, but when I read a summary of the game and it says the Broncos destroyed the Raiders I do not take that literally, I take it at face value.  I take it in the manner in which it is intended to be read.

Christians need to do a better job in disarming the “literal” mine that is so pervasive in our society.  Of course do this with love and kindness, but do point out to people that this quip they picked up from Christopher Hitchens or Adam Carolla is not sufficient to disregard the Bible.

ryan

“Pizzled”

A concoction of being puzzled and pissed off when someone you are talking with is more engaged with their Blackberry or other technological device.

See Daniel Goleman for more extensive definition.

ryan

Finishing Seminary Writing Orals Paper

Well yesterday was a bit nostalgic and weird for me as classes kicked off at Denver Seminary and I found myself not going to school.  For three years Denver Seminary has been my life.  I have spent countless hours studying and working there.  It has truly been a wonderful time.

But even though I am done with all my classes, this fall I will be going through my oral defense process.  Basically it is the capstone to recieving your Masters of Divinity in which I will have to write a paper defending my theological position on a number of doctrines and then orally defended it before a panel of professors.

I have been researching most of the summer for this paper and just finished the first section. Please pray for me over the coming weeks as I really have to get cranking on it.

ryan

Nerd Narnia

Just like the world job market culture is becoming increasingly specialized, so has our social networks.  The internet has made it possible for the most niche interests to link up with hoards of others for fellowship.  I usually consider myself to be pretty culturally adept, but even sometimes I find myself completely befuddled by the vast array of sub-cultures in our country.

Recently I got schooled by my sister Kammi on the culture of World of War Craft or as I guess it is known to insiders, WOW.  I guess there are close to 20 million people in the United States who play this game.  Often these people devote their entire lives to it.

Well this morning as I entered my house of worship (Starbucks) I came across a table of WOW players who had decided to meet up and talk strategy.  I could not help but sit down at the table next to them and listen to their convo.  It was amazing.  A group of people gathering to discuss strategy in a virtual world.  It was truly a Nerd Narnia.  They had entered into their own magic wardrobe and left this world behind for another.

Relationally, I have no idea where to even begin with people like this.  I would probably just marvel at their geekdom and have this look of shock on my face.  Fortunately God has equipped people to reach WOW enthusiasts.  My sister Kammi is one of them, as she has hosted dinners, and social events to connect with these people in the last few months.  I know the apostle Paul told us to become all things to all people but I think Nerd Narnia is beyond my capacities.

ryan

The Problem of Evil

One of the most intriguing parts of the Saddleback forum last week was when pastor Rick asked the Candidates about evil, both were emphatic that it does exist and needs to be accounted for.

The idea of evil seems to have almost universal acceptance.  I can think of almost no one I have ever met that does not believe in the idea of evil.  Though there may be more who are gravitating this way, they usually change their minds after they leave their freshman philosophy class and gain some life experience.

Tim Keller’s book “The Reason For God” treats the topic at a more conversational and understandable level than just about anything I have ever read.  I know I have pushed the book numerous times on here but if you have not read it make it the next book you read.

I bring this up because its a subject that I have deeply wrestled with at times and believe can be one of the strongest emotive causes that people push away the idea of God.  Yet the problem is, without a belief in God we lack the repitore to even use such words as “good” and “evil.”  I was reading Justin Taylor’s blog this morning and there was an interview with renowned theologian John Frame about the problem of evil.  Here is one of the questions and answers Frame gave about theism being needed to use moral language.

3. People often think that the logical problem of evil is a problem primarily for theists. Would you say that it is at least equally problematic for atheists? Why?
In order to formulate the problem, atheists have to use the concepts “good” and “evil,” which make no sense in their system. If good and evil are just names for our feelings of approval or descriptions of the pleasure that comes from various events, then there is no reason to assume that God would produce only good and avoid all evil. So, as some have said, if believers have a problem with evil, unbelievers have a problem with both good and evil. For on the unbelieving view, there is neither good nor evil in an objective sense. Still, it is legitimate, I think, for atheists to question whether the Christian faith is consistent within itself. Whatever the unbeliever may think about good and evil, he has a right to ask how the Christian concept of good and evil is consistent with the Christian view of God.

So next time when we feel overwhelmed or distraught by all the “evil” we see around us, may we realize that the groaning in our spirit is a testament to the ongoing redemptive work of God in this world and the hope that he has implanted in us.  Our hope in the face of evil is actually a strong confirmation that God is with us.

ryan

Fridge/Shelf/iPod

It has been a loong time since Matt or I have written a “fridge/shelf/iPod” post.  Maybe because they are a lot of fun but also take a long time.  So this one I will try to curtail length so I will want to do another one before 2009.  Besides everyone who knows me knows that I love to recommend books and other stuff.

Books

Janet Hagberg, The Critical Journey

The aim of this book is to detail the seasons of the spiritual journey.  Hagberg, believes that all of our spiritual lives transition through these stages:

1. Recognition of God

2. Life of discipleship

3. The productive life

4. Journey inward

(The Wall)

5. Journey Outward

6. Life of Love

Hagberg is clear to say that no stage of the journey is superior or better than another, in fact we probably cycle through them as we grow.  Her aim instead, is to help us understand that while the spiritual journey is always has patterns that are familiar for all.  This book has been of tremendous value for me in the last month.

Klyne Snodgrass, Stories With Intent

With a name like Klyne Snodgrass this dude was predestined to become a scholar.  Well at least he is awesome at it.  I have been chewing away on this book for some time now and have been deeply blessed by Snodgrass’ detailed work on all the parables of Jesus.  If you are looking to study the parables then this book is a must.

Gary Thomas, Sacred Marriage

I am not really one for marriage books but I continually saw Dr. Blomberg by this one while I worked at the Denver Seminary bookstore.  I also love that it is not really about helpful tips to make you more happy or content in marriage, but rather seeks orient us to see marriage as a part of our process of growing in holiness.  Crystal and I are going to read this together during the next few months.

Fridge

Patron tequila silver: First tequila I have ever been able to drink straight, incredibly smooth.

Pale Moon:

Matt recently encouraged me to give Blue Moon beer another shot after we had a terrible experience with it in college.  Well instead I decied to try Pale Moon; the new beer by Blue Moon.  Its really good and if you have it in your local store pick some up.

Johnnie Walker scotch whiskey:

My brother in-law Daniel really enjoys this stuff so while on the cruise I gave it a try.  I am still not sure how I feel about it.  The taste did grow on me a little bit but it also gave me wicked heart burn and it is very pricey.  The blue label we tried was 16 dollars a shot!!

iPod

“Mercury” – Bloc Party.  Truth is I love anything these guys do.  They just released the new single and I love it.  It is a little strange and I would not recommend it as an introduction to Bloc Party, but if you are looking for a nice energy song

“The heart of the matter” – Frank Sinatra.  I picked this album up from Starbucks after realizing that I owned nothing by the legendary Sinatra.  I have listened to the CD a few times through and so far I have not really liked it.  Maybe because I just do not like his music, or have a taste for crooners.  I will keep listening though and see if my palate changes.

ryan

This Is Huge. UNLV Gets Top Guard Anthony Marshall

I know that no one cares about UNLV basketball posts, except for Matt and I, but I believe this is arguably the biggest recruit signing for UNLV this decade.  Not because Anthony Marshall is a LeBron James or something, but this signing is the exclamation point that UNLV has arrived.  Now some may point to Wink as being our biggest get this decade, and I would agree that based on his performance that could be the case.  But I am strictly talking about recruiting here, and recruiting is all about momentum and image.  UNLV has now demonstrated that it can get quality transfers, and big name recruits.  After this year’s recruiting class, it will no longer be laughable to think that UNLV can compete with UCLA or Arizona for the best players in the west.  Marshall in many ways is a tipping point, that places UNLV on a larger stage in the recruiting world than it has been on in a long time.  Lon has truly got this program back on track.

Here is the story in the Las Vegas Sun.

Marshall is a top 50 recruit and a Las Vegas local, he has a high basketball IQ, great leadership ability, and all the physical skills you could ever want in a point guard or shooting guard.  But more than that is what Marshall symbolizes for UNLV.  UNLV has quickly been climbing back onto the national stage in the last few years and carving out an identity of a well coached, high energy, defensive team.  Big name recruits all around the country have begun to take notice and want to play for the basketball guru Lon Kruger.  They have seen how he can transform raw, mediocre talent into solid NBA players.  And getting to the NBA is what really attracts top high school talent.  When a coach demonstrates that they consistently know how to make that happen kids want to play there.

Marshall, who was being recruited by all the top programs in the country decided to stay home and play for UNLV (which is a major accomplishment in keeping top LV high school players in town) because he knows what Lon can do for him, and for his future.  Factoring in that UNLV has also pulled in UCLA 4 star transfer Chace Stanback, and 4 star Kentucky transfer Derrick Jasper in the last few months, UNLV is primed to become one of the dominant west coast basketball programs in the country.

I could not be more excited for the upcoming season, as we will get to finally see Beas Hamga and Willis, but the future looks even brighter!  Go UNLV.

ryan