Cruciformity

Wednesday, August 04, 2004

What do Money Ball and the New Perspective have in common?
Money Ball is a book that was written in 2003 about the 2002 Oakland A's. The basic premise of the book was to investigate how a team with a very small budget in baseball was able to compete year in and year out. The writer Michael Lewis followed the team's front office around, namely the G.M. Billy Beane. Well, anyway when the book came out it caused quite a stir. The stir was caused because Beane did not play by the "book," that is to say he based many of his decisions by using the unconventional methods of a man by the name of Bill James. He implemented some of those ideas of James and much of what he did as General Manager worked. Needless to say, Bill James has been viewed as an outcast by many in major league baseball. They believe that his statistical formulas do not conform to the tradition of the game etc... Needless to say the term Money Ball has become a pejorative in baseball. It has been treated as a monolithic movement. People, including the likes of Joe Morgan, have publicly ridiculed Billy Beane (usually a no no in that world) and accused him of not being a legitimate general manager. Suffice it to say, Money Ball has been maligned and disgarded by the baseball cliq. Money Ball can't win. The funny thing is this: people like Beane have never said the things that people accuse them of saying nor have people like Beane ever written a draft of what Money Ball is. Those who oppose the ideas have defined it for them and said essentially, "see this is what you believe!" Of course, you could see where my analogy is going. The big difference though is that one is taking place in major league baseball the other in the Church of the Living God.
posted by Tom 10:26 PM | Discuss |

Saturday, July 17, 2004

The doctrine of the Ascension is one of those doctrines that has been neatly tucked away under the"what does this have to do with anything" categories, filed away in the cabinet with all those old pieces of junk mail, located in the "what do I do with this" compartment. The Ascension is often viewed as Jesus' exaltion pertaining to his identity as God, as Augustine primarily understood it. What gets lost or at the very least gets thinned out in the equation, as Douglas Farrow has pointed out in his book,is Jesus' exaltation pertaining to his humanity. In the one person Jesus of Nazareth, there is manifested both the reign of God and the reign of humanity. In Jesus God excercises his reign as God and in Jesus humanity excercises their reign as the image of God. In Jesus God rules his world and orders all things and brings them to perfection as he always intended from the beginning through his image, which is humanity. In Jesus' Ascension to the Father's right hand we can say, without any reservation, there is a man in heaven, ruling and reigning and fulfilling the mandate of creation, and in the sending of the Holy Spirit, we his people participate in his Ascension (Col 3) bringing about in our bodies the realities of Jesus' reign over the world. Thanks be to God for the Ascension of our Lord Jesus Christ.
posted by Tom 12:10 PM | Discuss |

Thursday, July 15, 2004

I am back home in New York, I have been back home for about 7 weeks and a lot has happened in the last couple of months. I have been called as a Pastor of a Church in New York. I am currently working on my ordination requirements. Lord willing I will be ordained and officially installed as Pastor sometime in September. I have moved into the parsonage. It is such an honor and privilege to serve the people of God in the ministry. I have not blogged for various reasons, among them, I have had very little internet access, I have been studying for my licensure and ordination exams, and I have been getting my feet settled here at the Church. I visited Princeton today with my Pastor from my home Church. The campus is beautiful and the bookstore, if I had any money, would have left me poor. It was interesting to see that they had David Calhoun's Princeton Seminary on the shelves, as well as works by Murray, Vos, Keith Matthison's "Given For You" Mike Horton's "Covenant and Eschatology." We also visited the Center for Theological Inquiry on the campus. They had loads of free material and the people there were nice. They set us up with the opportunity to join a Pastor/Theological society, where the group gets together and reads a theological book and interacts with it. Anyway, I am going to study some more of the Book of Church Order and get ready to take my last licensure exam.
posted by Tom 9:01 PM | Discuss |

Wednesday, March 31, 2004

"It's not what you say but what people hear" is one of the great truisms of life. How you communicate, such as clarity with words, and practice for instance that drives ideas home from the abstract to the practical. For instance, the Roman Catholic Church can say all that she wants about how she places a high premium on the Word and its exposition but the fact is her preaching (as Richard Neuhaus points out this month in First Things is abysmal). The communication the people hear; preaching isn't important. Many talk about the importance of the Lord's Supper, how it is of high value in the life of the Church but the practice overwhelmingly in Protestant and Evangelical Churches is once a month at best. The communication the people hear; the Lord's Supper is not really all that important. In the tradition I belong, the PCA, we talk about the importance of Baptism. We baptize infants and call them covenant children. Yet, in our worship services, baptismal language plays no role. When have you heard (I concede the possibility that some have) in the worship service the minister ever appeal to the fact of your baptism as a source of comfort and challenge as you seek to live out the life of Christ in the world? When has the liturgical language of the service ever pointed you and assisted you to look to and improve upon your baptism? When have you heard, however, during a Baptism of a child, the language that the Baptism is only a sign and that the "real" thing is that the child will have a conversion experience? If truth be told most of our Baptismal services are treated as Baby dedications. The communication the people hear; baptism is not that important. I am not surprised, for instance on the internet, to see that most of the "popular" reformed people out in cyber world see themselves as Reformed Baptists. They are Reformed because they believe in the 5 points and of course that makes them Reformed. And why is that? I propose that one reason has to do with the fact that we who are PCA (I have in view the leaders) etc... treat Baptism as an aside, something we do but not really sure why, but what matters most is the 5 points. The communication the people hear; the 5 points of Calvinism is Reformed theology.
posted by Tom 10:44 PM | Discuss |

Wednesday, March 24, 2004

I am working on my Greek exegesis paper. I am doing Rom 1:1b-4, where Paul gives a three-fold summary of the gospel. It is of God, that is to say its source and possession belongs to God. It is rooted in the story of Israel, as contained in the Old Testament. It concerns God's Son.
posted by Tom 11:23 PM | Discuss |

Thursday, March 11, 2004

The following is part of an email I sent to my brother, who, by the way, is also in Seminary, a Roman Catholic Seminary. My brother belongs to Fraternity of St. Peter, a Papal order, which means it was established by the Pope.
I went to the Passion last night with the kids from our youth group. I thought the movie was very good. I found myself, during the Via Dolorosa, thinking to myself, "the story that Mel Gibson is telling about Jesus is the same story we tell and must tell every Sunday, indeed the whole of our lives. We tell the story of the One who gives his flesh and blood for the life of the world. We tell the story of the One in whom we participate in the ongoing story of the Incarnation and the cross by our being united to Him, in the power of the Holy Spirit to the glory of God the Father, with all His benefits and shall I dare say even the blessing of his sufferings (St. Paul Philippians 3 and Colossians 1). I read the article you sent by Woodward and he is right, so often in today's Evangelicalism and ironically in some sections of the Roman Catholic Church, the Suffering Servant who gives his flesh and blood for the life of the world, is strangely absent, the color of crimson blood replaced with a pleasant mauve or some other pastel color. The story that the Church tells is a most devastating, dramatic, and demanding story. It is to our peril if we ever try to domesticate the story of Jesus, God enfleshed and hung on a cross, dying the death of dereliction, in order that by His death He would destory death from the inside out.


posted by Tom 6:32 PM | Discuss |

Tuesday, March 02, 2004

Anyway, this post will be a rant post. I was reminded today, for all the talk to the contrary, that if you are a conservative, evangelical believer, you need not apply to Princeton Seminary for Doctoral work. Why do I say this? Because a close friend of mine, who scored a 1560 on his GRE, scored a 3.98 at UNC Chapel Hill, has a 4.0 at RTS, as well as having been a Moorehead Scholar, who is tri-lingual, was turned down for admission into the program. I need this dose of reality, so as not to become deluded in my thinking, that despite the fact that I read some of the theologians that come from these types of instituitions, when push comes to shove, they think people like my friend are nothing more than "hayseed, backwater, fundamentalists" who bring nothing to the theological discourse. For all their talk at their conferences about ecumenical dialogue, for all their talk in their books about how the Church needs to be one, for all their talk about understanding, at the end of the day, they still think that you are nothing more of some imbecile, incapable of true theological and scholarly work. What saddens me is this; the endowment of Princeton, which hovers around 10 billion or so, was built from the great saints of the past who donated and gave. Princeton has what they have because it was built on the backs of the saints of old, who when push came to shove believed that God the Father raised Jesus from the dead in the power of the Holy Spirit. Saints who believed that God's word was true and it was important. Instead of my friend getting accepted into Princeton, they let in an individual who is intent on doing such deep and penetrating theological work on the idea that Jesus was a midget because Zaccheus had to climb a tree to see him (if you think I am making that up, I am not, I wish I was kidding or using hyperbole). Yes, realize, that despite some their great writing on ecumenical dialogue, the oneness of the Church, etc... at the end of the day they think you are nothing more than a "hayseed."
posted by Tom 10:12 PM | Discuss |

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