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Showing posts from November, 2011

it's a mad mad mad world (of theology)

The mad dash for the end of term has begun.  I have finished all my required readings and have jumped into research reading.  One of my papers is on the madness of theology (the correlation seems more obvious to some of us than to others).  Truly inspiring stuff, I am finding.  Let me share a few quotes here:

There is a certain madness in Christianity – in a desert God who is jealous and passionate, in a saviour who speaks in apocalyptic terms, in a life of sacrificial love, in the scandal of particularity.In principle, a confessional theology should bear the mark of this madness, but the mark or wound must constantly be renewed. - Walter Lowe, "Postmodern Theology" in The Oxford Handbook of Systematic Theology, 2007.

“In the Scriptures the odd phenomena constituting the ‘Kingdom of God’ are the offspring of the shock that is delivered by the name of God to what is there called the ‘world,’ resulting in what I call a ‘sacred anarchy.’Consider but a sampling of its more salient…

shameless celebration

Yesterday, I received my Master of Arts degree at the fall convocation of Concordia University.  It was a fun day and a nice break from my ongoing doctoral studies and work.  I love a good ceremony, especially one with a lot of colour, action, and some bagpipes!  Plus, I got to wear a costume!  Today it was back to work.  I spent most of the day grading, took an hour or two to cram in some reading for tonight's class, spent a few hours discussing postliberalism and postmodernity with a prof and some grad students in my evening class, then came home to finish this week's grading.  The tasks for the day are now done and it is 10:21 pm.  

I know how to work.  I can get things done.  As a graduate student, the list of things that one must and should and could do are never-ending.  It can easily overwhelm me if I am not careful.  Working seems very responsible (that would be my Anabaptist roots talking).  Celebration sometimes not so much.  However, the God of the Hebrews insisted…

with

I am nearing the end of the my first term as a PhD student.  So far, so good.  The reading load is a bit hectic (as it is supposed to be because doctoral students are expected to have cast iron brains that can digest large quantities of any sort of printed matter).  My job as a teaching assistant in the theatre department is demanding (3 hours in-class assistance and 8 hours of grading per week), but a nice break from the heavy thinking of theology.  Plus, the theatre classroom is a friendly and invigorating environment (except on Halloween when Death sat in the 4th row and kinda freaked me out a bit). 

Thus far, I have written 2 official reading reports, composed about 30 pages of notes on various readings, presented 6 summaries of readings, and taught a masters' class.  I still have another reading report and 2 major papers to write (slightly panicking) on 1) the task of theology after modernism and 2) something about narrative theology.  These last assignments need to happen …

lesson from the microwave

I was over at a friend's house yesterday and he was heating some apple cider in the microwave.  I noticed that he did not use a cup, but a large plastic container with a thin layer of cider at the bottom.  He commented that he had heard this method provided better heat distribution and therefore, heated the food faster.  I cannot verify or deny this theory for microwaves, but I know it is true of cooking in general. Thin slabs of cookie dough will cook faster than thick mounds.  Thick steaks take longer on the barbeque than thin ones. The more surface area one presents to the heat and the less dense the food is, the more efficient the change from raw to cooked, from cold to hot.

This concept started me thinking and strangely enough, the picture that came into my mind was that of someone lying prostrate on the floor in prayer, making themselves thin and spread out, not all bunched up and rigid.  The more areas of my life I present to God and make available to him, the more I will …

choice

I have some friends who are facing difficult seasons in their lives.  One of them has a husband with cancer.  Another has a wife with cancer.  Two of my friends recently lost their jobs.  These are all scenarios we would rather not find ourselves in.  We would never choose them.  And yet, there are people who do choose the hard way.  A book I am currently reading about a nun who has mystical experiences tells about women in a convent who desire to share in Christ's sufferings.  If you read the writings of faithful and godly people like St. John of the Cross, Teresa of Avila, and Julian of Norwich you will find this theme as well.  They request pain and affliction in order to be closer to Jesus.  We really have no concept of that in our comfort-driven, pain-avoiding culture.  We do not consider it an honour to suffer.  
I had a dream a few days ago in which I conversed with some of my friends who are in seasons of discomfort.  We talked about the things that God chooses for us vers…

free (for me)

Who doesn't love free stuff?  I love getting free samples of hair products, free tastings at a frozen yogurt bar, free admission to an art gallery, free rides, a free meal, free parks, a free t-shirt, free movies, free wifi, free rent for a month, and free healthcare.  But is it really free?  Free (for me) just means that someone else is picking up the tab.  It always costs someone something.

Those free tastings at the yogurt place are paid for by the store (and must be made up in the price of their product).  Free admission to the art gallery and well-kept parks are paid for by taxes from the hard-working folks in the city and province (who incidentally get no say in how high their taxes are or exactly where the monies go).  Free wifi is paid for by the subscriber who is generous enough to share their access.  Free rent just means that someone else is paying the mortgage.  A free ride means that the driver (or his company) is the one paying for the gas and vehicle maintenance. F…