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Archive for August, 2009

The Feeling in the Upper Room

When I was 27, I had surgery on my left kidney.  On the day of the operation, I was nervous for what lay ahead.  I recall being in the prep room with my father, about an hour or so before they were going to take me away, and the mood was heavy and sober.  Even though we both had faith in the Lord, it was an anxious moment:  What would happen?  Would I make it?  Would I suffer much?  Would there be complications?  Our anxiety was understandable; it was major surgery, after all.  Still, consider the environment:  Here I was, in an American hospital, where several highly trained, highly skilled doctors and nurses were committed to preserve my life, and ease my suffering.  A whole team of men and women who devoted their lives to study would do all in their power to make sure that no harm would befall me.  To boot, I was surrounded by technology unimaginable even a few decades ago; the product of countless millions of hours of research, development and testing all aimed at ensuring my safety and health. Even more, my father and pastor were with me; standing with me to pray for me and comfort me through this trial.  Even more friends and family stood with me in prayer in their homes.

Contrast this with Jesus’ situation in Jn.13-17.  Here, in His well known final discourse, He shares the passover meal with His disciples.  He is hours away from his own “procedure.”  He anticipates being put into the “care” of individuals committed to ensuring that he suffers as much as possible.  Their aim was to do all in their power to ensure that he dies a horrendous, humiliating, and excruciating death.  Their training was geared towards that end: to harm, hurt, humiliate and kill.  If my soul was sober and troubled before my operation, imagine the trouble He felt in his soul as He had that ahead of him.  Yet, in that place, among the people who would desert him, he serves them (Jn. 13), speaks comfort and peace to them (Jn.14:1; 16:33), and prays for them (Jn.17).  That, friends, is our amazing God.

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A Late Summer Update

Why have the writers at BBG been reticent as of late?  The reasons are twofold:  (1)  Danny is overseas, and  (2) I’m the world’s worst blogger.  My guilt at being unable to post anything for close to a month compels me to write something, but the truth of the matter is that I have little to say that warrants an entire post (hence, my recent silence).  However, here is my best shot at trying to hold down the fort in Danny’s absence.  Put another way, here is what I’ve been up to, and what’s been on my mind:

(1)  Family.  I’ve been spending a great deal of time with my family this summer.  This is of course to the peril of my reading and writing.  I do not at all lament the exchange.  My son is weeks away from his second birthday, and my wife and I are a few months into our fifth year of marriage.  Few things in life bless me as deeply.

(2)  Summer.  August has (finally?) brought about good summer weather, making it hard for me to sit inside.  I read somewhere that one of the reasons acedemia flourished in New England is because the weather is so dreadful during the heart of the acedemic season.  Young students have naught to do but curl up with books and study.  The technological revolution has perhaps made this obsolete, but there’s still a taste of it for me today.  There is something unconscionable about staying inside when the weather is nice.  If I lived in San Diego perhaps I’d feel differently.

(3)  Reading.  Okay, so maybe I’m not reading voraciously, but I am reading in bits and spurts.  I continue to bite off small pieces of Willam Lane Craig’s Reasonable Faith.  I bite off small pieces to keep my head from exploding, and because it’s embarassing for me to giggle so much while reading.  (You’ll find my pre-review here, and you’ll also note that I’ve had this book for close to a year now.  Sometimes I wonder why Danny lets me stay here.)  I also recently read a scathing review of The God Delusion by Terry Eagleton.  Ken Meyers (of the excellent Mars Hill Audio Journal) has written a review of a new compilation by Eagleton, that is also worth reading.  (As a side note, just about everything at the Mars Hill Audio Journal is worth reading.)

(4) The Gospels.  In early June I decided that this summer would be a “summer of the Gospels,” so my Bible reading has focussed on Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.  I’ve been re-reading Blomberg’s Jesus and the Gospels as well, to deepen my understanding and appreciation for these four great books of Scripture.  One of my foci this go-around has been to try to foster empathy for the people of Jesus’ time.  I’ve been trying to put myself in their shoes:  To imagine what it felt like, physically and mentally, to be in first century Palestine.  Utlimately this is an exercise in understanding the cultural context of the Gospels, but I’m trying to connect better with how Jesus’ contemporaries would respond to Him.

So that’s all for now.  I have a post of two in embryonic stages in my head.  Perhaps I can cowboy-up (remember that? 2003 Red Sox season?  Bruce Willis in Tears of the Sun?) and write something before the summer is through.  Until then, don’t hold your breath, and enjoy the rest of August :)

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