Friday, July 31, 2009

Thursday @ Camp

On the last full day of camp we were pretty sore (as Katie mentioned below). We still made it up for breakfast, though, and I taught a seminar on "How to Stay Christian in Culture" based on a little chart I made up a month or so ago. I thought it went really well. Rick Cavenough's morning Bible study was quite good too (based on the fig tree story). After lunch Katie, myself, Aaron & Cassie played Settlers of Catan. It was only my second time playing that game. After supper & service we played some more volleyball and had some really good games going until about 11:30pm. Then we began our tradition of staying up late on the last night of camp. I played Trix with the teens and then rummy with the real traditionalists (Donna, Cassie, Katie). Now it is 4:16. Our room was toilet papered when we got in here (clearly the work of Phil and his posse). Now it's 4:17 and I'm done typing.

67 for Hess Rd. attendance (1st place in district!)
30+ chocolate milks

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Wednesday at Camp

We skipped the morning services to play tennis... about 15 minutes in, it started to rain. We kept playing another hour and 45 minutes even though it was almost a downpour. Did you know that when a tennis ball bounces in a puddle, it changes direction? Or that when a tennis ball gets wet enough it just doesn't bounce anymore? No? Neither did we! It was a pretty memorable game, though, and we had a lot of fun.

After lunch, we stayed inside and played pool, ping pong and sequence. I won't tell you who won, because Matthew only records the scores of the games he wins. Since this is his blog, I would hate to break his rules. :-)

After dinner (and, by the way, I think I am beating Matthew in the How-many-glasses-of-milk contest, even though we forgot to count) we went to the evening service, followed by a couple hours of volleyball.

Four hours of exercise later, Thursday morning was very difficult for all of us "old" people (over the age of 20). I hurt from my hands all the way down to my toes.

Now, I'm off to Matthew's morning Seminar on how to stay Christian in Culture. Toodles!

~ Katie

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Tuesday @ Camp

I didn't update yesterday as it was a fairly busy day. I taught a seminar on 'heaven' in the morning and went home in the afternoon for some pastoral calls. After the evening service we played some basketball and volleyball before a rousing game of Scattergories. Today, Tuesday, I led a seminar on 'hell' and took some facebook quizes. Now it is afternoon and I'm about to do something, I'm sure. I think we are up to about 50 people from our church who have been to camp for at least a little while so far this year (which is saying something since we're almost 2 hours away). I am looking forward to the remaining days.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Sunday @ Camp

This morning I preached both services at Hess Rd. My sermon was on the importance of silence, sabbath & simplicity in our noisy, busy, stuff-filled culture. Afterward, Katie & I headed out toward Houghton for Family Camp! On the way, however, we drove through some major destruction (There was a tornado the night before). We made it to camp before 3pm and set up our room.

My best friend Aaron Henderson has joined us again for camp (He comes all the way from Maine!). I think this is his 6th year of coming to camp with me. Here are some notes from the day...

~ I had 3 glasses of chocolate milk so far
~ Pastor Joe did a great job leading worship
~ Rick Cavenough had a good first message
~ It rained a lot after the service
~ We played 2 rounds of Trix (Oh Poop)
~ Aaron & Katie made me watch "Chuck" (tv show)
~ Just finished notes for my seminar on 'heaven'

Thursday, July 23, 2009

1000 b/w Friends?

1 Corinthians 10:8 carries with it a numbers problem. Paul says 23,000 ancient Israelites died b/c of sexual immorality, but the OT text(s) he seems to be referring to record the number differently (Numbers 25 has 24,000 dying). So we have what we call an apparent contradiction. Certainly this is not a very significant in and of itself (though, as was pointed out to me last night, it would have been significant to the 1000 extra Israelites!), but it does raise the issue of inerrancy. What are the possible explanations for why Paul records a number that isn't recorded in the OT? Here are 6 theories I've come across. Which one do you think is the most likely?

1. Paul was speaking from memory and made a mistake.
2. Paul was quoting correctly, but the manuscript was mistaken.
3. The exact number was provided in oral tradition and fell somewhere between 23k and 24k. Paul rounded down whereas the OT author rounded up.
4. He's referring to Exodus 32:28 where 3,000 died by the sword and combining it with Exodus 32:35 where an unspecified amount died by plague. Paul must have known through some tradition (oral?) that the unspecified amount was about 20,000.
5. He's referring to Numbers 25 where 24,000 died. But that is a total of how many died for the sin of sexual immorality in that episode. Paul tells us that he's only giving us how many died in 1 single day (notice the wording in 1 Cor. 10:8).
6. He's combining the 24,000 in Numbers with the 3,000 in Exodus into a new number (23,000) so as to keep both texts in the readers mind.

The first option I'd eliminate is #6, as it seems to be playing too fast and loose with numbers (and I'm not aware of other examples of Paul doing something quite like this). I don't like #4 either as the reference certainly seems to be Numbers and not Exodus (Exodus was the reference quoted for the previous sin of idolatry).

That leaves us with #'s 1, 2, 3 & 5, all of which raise the issue of inerrancy in one way or another. #1 is perhaps the most severe solution, as many would be very uncomfortable with the possibility that Paul could have been mistaken about anything while writing God's word. #2 is less severe in that it is only suggesting that a scribe made an error (not an error in the original manuscript). But we don't have any variations on the 24,000 number in Numbers. #3 may be surprising if true, because it reveals that, for Paul, the oral tradition was referenced here in priority over the written Torah. #5 is what I like to call the 'easy out,' but it too assumes an oral tradition was present. One wonders why Paul rounded differently than the Torah, Philo & Josephus.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Harry Potter

Katie is making me watch the Harry Potter movies
1st Movie- Completed
2nd Movie- Completed
3rd Movie- In about 5 minutes

Saturday, July 18, 2009

No Idea

In my eagerness to get my final summer paper done Friday, and my eagerness to get my Sunday morning sermon and Sunday school lesson done today, I have totally neglected any preparation for our Sunday evening Bible study.

I have no idea what I want to discuss!

Any ideas?

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

"Happy (?)" Birthday

Tomorrow is my birthday; I'll be 23 years old (or years young, as Matthew likes to remind me how much older he is)

Yesterday, I received a birthday card in the mail from Allstate, our car insurance company.
Let me quote the front cover for you:

Happy Birthday Katie Rose!

Looking Back to 1986:

- Challenger exploded 74 seconds after lift-off,
killing all 7 astronauts.

- Nancy Regan began "Just Say No" anti-drug crusade
- Wall Street was hit by insider trading scandals
- President signed sweeping revision of the US tax code
- Supreme Court upheld affirmative action
- Libya fired on United States warplane
- US bombed Khaddafi headquarters
- Chernobyl nuclear power plant mishap threatened world safety
- 100th birthday of the Statue of Liberty was celebrated with fireworks and tall ships
- WiIlliam Rehnquist took the oath as 16th Chief Justice of the Supreme Court

Now, I have always been mildly interested in history, so I'm always willing to hear some facts about what went on in the past. I just don't think "The Challenger exploded the year you were born" is the best way to open up a HAPPY birthday card. Kind of starts on a depressing note, don'tcha think? Everything else that follows it is either (to me) not very interesting or equally depressing.

Then, when you open up the card, it gives some stats comparing American Living then and now. For example:

In 1986, Stamps cost 22 cents. Now.... 42 cents (should I feel special that they were anticipating my birthday so much that they made my card several months ago??)

Then, the average expense for a new home was $80,300. Now.... $218,400 (this one belongs on the cover with other depressing facts about 1986)

Bread cost 64 cents for a one pound loaf in 1986.
But in 2009, it's $3.19!

Then, on the next page:

"It's your day to make a wish! Happy Birthday!"

I would say I wish I was back in 1986, but the only good thing was the home price :-)

And lastly, to end the card:

"Allstate. You're in good hands."


Friday, July 10, 2009

Prayer Practices

Here are some common prayer exercises that are worth adding to any routine (no need to add them all, but you may want to add a few). We talked about these last night in men's group as part of our Spiritual Exercise series:

Morning Prayer- A commitment to pray every day, first thing
Fixed Hour Prayer- A commitment to pray daily at a specific time
Silent Prayer- A commitment to be quiet before God for a set time
Conversational Prayer- An ongoing dialogue w/God each day
Praying Scripture- Meditatively reading through Psalms
Nature Walk- Being out in creation and letting God speak to you
Prayer of Examen- Examining your past 24 (or week) with God's help
Saying Grace- Thanking God before each meal you eat
Fasting- Giving up a meal to make time for prayer
Intercessory Prayer- Praying for a list of people you care for
Prayer Meeting- Joining a group that meets regularly for prayer
Watching- Giving up sleep to make time for prayer

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Cyrus Brown

The Prayer of Cyrus Brown
By Sam Walter Foss
* for another great Foss poem, click here

"The proper way for a man to pray,"
Said Deacon Lemuel Keyes,
"And the only proper attitude
Is down upon his knees."

"No, I should say the way to pray,"
Said Rev. Doctor Wise,
"Is standing straight with outstretched arms
And rapt and upturned eyes."

"Oh, no; no, no," said Elder Slow,
"Such posture is too proud:
A man should pray with eyes fast closed
And head contritely bowed."

"It seems to me his hands should be
Austerely clasped in front.
With both thumbs pointing toward the ground,"
Said Rev. Doctor Blunt.

"Las' year I fell in Hodgkin's well
Head first," said Cyrus Brown,
"With both my heels a-stickin' up,
My head a-pinting down;

"An' I made a prayer right then an' there--
Best prayer I ever said,
The prayingest prayer I ever prayed,
A-standing on my head."

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Words of Wisdom

Someone told Matthew when we first got married that the first year is the best time to write a book about marriage, if he was planning on it. Every now and then we joke about things that should go into our "book."

Since we've officially been married for 6 months now (unofficially also, since we didn't get an actual 6-month anniversary- darn June for not having a 31st!) I will share my best bit of advise to date. It's pretty simple... and yet extremely complex.

Everywhere you go, whether its at school or work, home or with friends, everyone is talking about communication, and how important it is to communicate effectively.Sadly, even though everyone knows it... very few people try harder to be good communicators. If you look for it, the majority of the problems and conflicts between people come from not communicating correctly.

I have been blessed with a husband that is (or tries to be) a good communicator. If we have a misunderstanding about something, we try to work that out immediately. I'll give him all the credit for that, because I know I some time have the female-tendency to want to sulk and stew about it and make myself miserable (ladies- why is that???)

So there you have it. Communication. ^forehead smack^
Who would have thunk it??


Tuesday, July 07, 2009

The Case Against Greek

The Bible was written in Greek. I can't read Greek. Does this make me unable to adequately teach the Bible? Some biblical scholars would say yes. Some would say no. I know this because I've asked multiple biblical scholars this questions and have received these opposing answers.

In this post, I'm going to make a quick case for the 'no' answer. I don't believe it is mandatory for a good bible teacher to be able to read the bible in its original language. But before I argue that, I want to make a few concessions to the 'yes' answer. First, I believe it is better to know Greek than to not know Greek. Second, I think it is potentially dangerous to teach the Bible without concern for the fact that it was written in Greek. Third, I have to admit that part of my argument may be biased by my reluctance to study Greek. But all that being said...

I don't think my lack of knowledge in the area of biblical Greek prevents me from being a good bible teacher (in fact, I don't think it prevents me from being a better bible teacher than many teachers who do know Greek). And here are my reasons why. First, there are a lot of excellent scholarly translations. The argument by scholars that you MUST know Greek goes against the idea that many of these same scholars are involved in the translation process. Didn't they do a good job? Second, there are a lot of excellent resources for studying Greek words without knowing the Greek language. Certainly in the ancient world, before these study tools emerged, it was more important to know the Greek language. But is that still the case? With all the resources available, any pastor who cares has access to the pertinent information. Third, I think those who would answer 'yes' (you MUST know Greek) have to admit that they may be biased by the fact that they already know Greek and that puts them in a position of elitism if Greek is a must. Willful ignorance is not charming, but neither is strong sense of superiority. Fourth, and this is perhaps the point I consider most important, I have heard various scholars who are experts in biblical Greek say very different things about the same Greek words! It seems to be the case that you can even maneuver the Greek to fit what you want to say too!

I'm more interested in learning 50 or so key Greek words and understanding what they mean and how they were used in the ancient world. And this concludes a post that the vast majority of you will have found very boring!

Saturday, July 04, 2009

Penitents Compete!

This is the title of a new reality gameshow in Turkey.
Read excerpts of the article below and then discuss

What happens when you put a Muslim imam, a Christian priest, a rabbi and a Buddhist monk in a room with 10 atheists?

Turkish television station Kanal T hopes the answer is a ratings success as it prepares to launch a gameshow where spiritual guides from the four faiths will seek to convert a group of non-believers. The prize for converts will be a pilgrimage to a holy site of their chosen religion -- Mecca for Muslims, the Vatican for Christians, Jerusalem for Jews and Tibet for Buddhists....

"We are giving the biggest prize in the world, the gift of belief in God," Kanal T chief executive Seyhan Soylu told Reuters. "We don't approve of anyone being an atheist. God is great and it doesn't matter which religion you believe in. The important thing is to believe."

A team of theologians will ensure that the atheists are truly non-believers and are not just seeking fame or a free holiday.

Friday, July 03, 2009

Ranking Jesus Movies

In the past couple of weeks I've watched most of 5 different movies about the life of Jesus. Here is a brief evaluation of them in order of preference:

Jesus of Nazareth- I think this is the best overall Jesus film that I have seen. Yes, it is super long. And I think Jesus seems a little too stoic. But I think the producers really cared about getting things right and were skilled at telling the story.

Gospel of John- This is just the 4th Gospel word for word, so it's hard to argue with the dialogue. I think this movie did a pretty good job at portraying Jesus. Some of the scenes helped me to see certain characters in new ways.

The Nativity Story- Even though some of the historical details are probably not quite right in this film, I think it was very beautifully filmed and acted. Both Mary & Joseph were excellent. The beginning and the end seemed a little odd for some reason, but the middle was nice.

The Passion of the Christ- This movie seems to be based on the idea that Jesus' death had to be the bloodiest death ever or the atonement wouldn't work. Some of the satanic episodes seemed very odd. Pilate seems like a pretty nice guy in this movie.

Jesus CBS- I like that they tried to emphasize Jesus' humanity, but I just didn't like the acting in this movie. I guess I prefer a bit more balance between a fun-loving portrayal of Jesus and a Jesus with a sense of the seriousness of His mission.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Emergency Pastors

This might sound strange coming from a pastor. And I might even be wrong (it happens once or twice a day). But I think my job is to work myself out of a job. That's right. My 'mission accomplished' won't occur until the mission is being done without me (not meaning 'me' as a person, but 'me' as a paid pastor). You see, I think 'pastors' (as we use the term) were only needed in emergency situations in the earliest church. Tim & Titus were, perhaps, the closest thing to modern day 'pastors' that we see in the NT. And they were sent into chaotic situations in need of emergency leadership. I believe there job, like mine, was to work themselves out of the job (the role).

Some will object that the clergy is a very necessary role. Someone needs to be the 'representative' between people and God. Someone needs to serve communion. Someone needs to baptize. Someone needs to visit my next-door neighbor when they are dying in the hospital. Someone needs to preach. I guess I see Jesus as the mediator. I think all true disciples should be able to serve communion to all other believers. I think any Christian should feel free to baptize other Christians. And I think the neighbor should visit their sick neighbor.

If a local church is filled with people who truly respond to God's leadership in their lives and truly love each other, I don't think one (or a staff-full) of pastors will even be necessary. Any decent sized group of genuine believers will have people gifted for all the various roles pastors are called to do in America. If we're honest, pastors just aren't good at ALL of these roles at once (who would be). Nobody is good at everything, but everyone is good at something.