Grappling with the Story Arc of Scripture

genesis-scroll.jpg Len Hjalmarson discusses biblical literacy, questioning whether the level attained even by pastors and leaders is typically adequate to interpret the theological significance of the text. He questions this not to disparage the pastors and leaders in our churches or to bemoan some belief that the biblical text is just too difficult for any but the experts to properly handle, but simply to highlight a particular issue before the biblical interpreter. Understanding the issue at hand, one may be better able to address it — or to at least avoid the worst effects of its impact. I haven’t asked Len if this is precisely his approach, but perhaps he’ll step in and clarify if necessary. ;^) He writes,

Sacred Gallery

sand-mandala.jpg While chatting with Robbymac last week, he mentioned to me that I haven’t blogged anything about our little missionalesque community in a while. Hmm. Hadn’t realized that, but perhaps it’s apropos to mention today. For the past couple of months we’ve been talking with the kids about art and teaching them about a few different forms of art. We’ve done “field trips” to the art gallery and to a recording studio, and we’ve had a painter come and visit. We’ve taught them a few different forms of art and talked about expressing ourselves through art. And they have an assignment: they each have to create two original pieces of artwork to show, and one of them has to be an art form they haven’t done before.

“Absolved by Attendance”

report-card.jpg When one of the Missional Tribe instigators spoke the title phrase in the midst of a conference call a couple of weeks ago, I wrote it down. Perhaps a bit of context is needed, but not much — I love the phrase for the shorthand way that it communicates so much by saying so little. In fact, this is one of the reasons I moved away from the institutional church… there can be a sense among many that simply showing up on Sunday mornings (or every time the doors are open, depending on your level of “commitment”) somehow absolves you of whatever it is for which you require absolution.

The Non-Traditional Christmas Catalogue

eatons1904xmascat.jpg I remember well the days of my youth when the Christmas catalogues would arrive from Sears, Eaton’s, and The Bay. Pouring over those catalogues and circling our most-desired items was a cherished tradition during the run-up to Christmas, when visions of cars and trucks and G.I. Joe and helicopters and spaceships and chocolate and “Christmas oranges” would dance through our heads before a background of tinsel and baubles and bubble-lights hung from a sparkly tree. And in case anyone’s wondering, the 1904 catalogue was a bit before my time ;^) …the ones I recall were much glossier than this.

Just Clearing my Head

refugeecamp-heartcity.jpg I was going to post this earlier this morning, but none of it had happened yet. This morning I was groggy-headed and bleary-eyed staring at my computer monitor. I had nothing to say and was too tired to say it… don’t know why, really. so I had a nap and then went out with my wife to do “errands”. You know those miscellaneous days when you both have odds and ends to get done?

  1. Returned library books and picked up one that was on hold; the waiting list was two months.
  2. Bought dog food.
  3. Washed the car.
  4. Listened to the news on the radio, with the lead story being about gas prices… which were going up 15¢/litre overnight on fears of Hurricane Ike. We found a station that hadn’t put their prices up yet, and after using our coupon, we filled up for 15-19¢ less than the going rate. The guy on the radio was giving away jerry-cans of gas.

The Heroic Imagination

comic-hero.jpg I’ve mentioned Philip Zimbardo’s “Lucifer Effect” a few times now, but the take-away I’ve been struck with has to do with heroism. Inasmuch as people prove capable of unthinkable evil, in different circumstances they also prove capable of heroic acts. The question is how we instill the kind of thinking that not only resists systemic evil but also watches for the everyday opportunity to do extraordinary acts of goodness. Regular acts of everyday heroism. It’s a way of thinking that is largely unfamiliar these days, as the “don’t get involved” attitude is more prevalent, along with the “somebody else will help” mode of delayed response. The counter-attitude to try and instill is a form of heroic imagination, one which readily enables responses that are to someone, in some small way, heroic. This is something that we would of course like to see in our children.

A Story, a Craft, and a Cookie

preschool.jpg I was poking around some old draft posts and found this one — I probably wrote it at least two years ago.

I’m on record belittling certain forms of children’s ministry, the forms which are entertainment-based. The ones which focus on keeping the kids busy and out of their parents’ hair while they have their sermon. The ones which are more concerned with the kids having a program than with the kids having spiritual formation. I summed up it up by saying these were only concerned with the kids getting a story, a craft, and a cookie.

You have to admit the formula is familiar. These three elements are of course the basic arsenal of the children’s ministry worker. And, I must grudgingly admit, they’re not inherently wrong.

Christmas Spirit Yet?

Christmas Horse I’m feeling Christmas-y a little earlier than usual this year. Some years I’m deep into December before I manage to muster up any cheer, and then it feels a little put on. This year I’m there a bit early, I expect largely due to having started diving into Advent readings and meditations in mid-November this year in order to produce the book that hits the topics that we’ll be Advent Blogging and sets the themes into Daily Office prayers for the season. So we were at the library on Saturday and I checked out a few CDs, including some Christmas music. Interesting world-type Christmas selections, but they don’t match up to my Celtic Christmas CDs from years past. The Celtic Women were singing Christmasy tunes on PBS last night as well.