A Hard Question

Photographer JB London of flickr under CC2.0.

Wayne Grudem as a Third Grader?

I should probably say right off the bat that this has absolutely nothing to do with Wayne Grudem and absolutely everything with my not having all the software installed for my mini Tablet yet.  When I stepped back and looked at my notes, I realized that it looked like a third-grader (albeit a rather intelligent and biblically-inclined one) scribbled all over it.

That being said, if you recall my post from last week, I decided to  memorize 1 John.  This has been very rewarding for me.  One of the things I like about Bible memorization is that you start to notice patterns in the text.  The text above comes from 1 John 1:6 (black), 8 (burgundy), and 10 (navy).  As you can see, each statement starts with "if we say," continues with "we [verb clause]," and ends with "and [consequence]."  Here are the verses in context.

There are a few things that immediately stick out to me
  • John (and God) are concerned with the ongoing exercise of our spirituality, our present spirituality, and how we view our past spiritual states.
  • There is a strong presumption against our holiness.
  • We tend to lie a lot, and when we do, we are calling God a liar, too.
  • There is almost a transitive property between God, light, truth, and God's word.  Denying one is denying all, but at the same time embracing one is embracing all
This leads to several conclusions
As an English minor, I'm a big fan of parallelism (are we allowed to have a favorite literary device?), and the structure of John's statements stood out to me.

When you study the Bible, what makes things stick out to you?  Word choice?  Grammar?  (Does this make you decide to use one translation over another?)  What sticks out to you from the verses here?

PS Bible arcing is really, really confusing.  Do you Bible arc?  Use homeletics?  Something else?

Honest Conversation

Photographer: paparutzi of flickr under CC2.0

I don't think anyone would actually say this to God (or at least admit that they did), but I'll be the first to admit that I will say this, at least "constructively."  (Yay, law school terminology!)  What I mean to say is that even if I flat-out don't say it, I might as well have.  And I've been in the church long enough to know this isn't an uncommon problem.

How are you, really?  Have you been hiding your true attitude from God?  From yourself?  In what ways do you need to repent?

"Let us make man in our image, after our own likeness."

Photographer: dailydose of under CC 2.0 and this new work is released under a similar CC3.0 license (though I'm curious as to how something like this would be re-remixed...).

Spiritual Disciplines

Reading Plans

As I mentioned earlier, I've been a bit all over the place with my spirituality this year, particularly my spiritual disciplines.  Getting back on track, I started the M'Cheyne Bible Reading plan and have been fairly consistent since I started.  This will be my second time through the Bible- last year I used Biblegateway's OT/ NT plan, but this year I wanted to do something with shorter passages and a bit more variety.

Are you using a Bible reading plan this year?  If so, which one, and how did you pick it?

Church Curriculums

On the days that I didn't do the M'Cheyne, I've been going through a church curriculum (to remain unnamed) with my small group.  I find it slightly inane.  I've been writing my snark in the margins.  I considered scanning and posting reasoningwithvampires style, but considering as how someone (sadly) might legitimately find this study helpful, I don't want to discourage anyone or cause anyone to stumble.

The main beef I have with this curriculum is that it 1) assumes that Christians are infantile and 2) contributes to the prolonged infancy of the church.  I'm pretty sure that this book repeats messages verbatim from what I was taught in the third grade.  Given that this book has been around for 20 years, the copying was probably the other way around, but what I mean to say is that there is very little substance.

On top of that, it presents the material as if it really were talking to third graders.  There will be a paragraph of text (not biblical text, mind you, but the author's mindless dribble) , then reading comprehension questions on that paragraph of text (again, like third grade), and then another paragraph identical to the first paragraph giving the answers to the questions.

Really?  This is what churches have been using to "grow" for the last twenty years?  This actually explains a lot.

Oh, and on top of it all, this book bases itself on a 7-step formula (PS It's not Best Life Now...)  I thought we agreed a long time ago that you can't get to God by applying a series of steps or following a formula.  I thought relationships were more complicated and beautiful than that.  I thought God was a person and not some sort of end-goal.

Does your church use curriculum books?  Do you find them beneficial or distracting?  How do you think publishers can improve church curriculums?

Bible Memorization

From my blogroll today, I found out that Desiring God has a "Fighter Verses" program, which I never knew/ heard of before.  Like many people who grew up in the church, I memorized a lot of Scripture as a child (including 21 full passages as part of a school program), but my memorization waned as an adult.  It's something that I've tried to pick up on occasion, but haven't actually followed-through with it.

But, this time around, I have this guide to help me.  It makes a lot more sense than what I was trying to do before, so I'll follow-through this time.

I've been wanting to memorize a book, and I'm considering either 1 John or Ephesians.  1 John, because I've already tried to memorize it on a few occasions, it's a good kick-in-you-pants book, and frankly, I could use a good kick-in-my-pants.  Ephesians, because I've done two small group studies on it and have heard two church sermon series on it.  It's a book with which I'm incredibly familiar, and I already have a few major passages (most of chapter 5, all of chapter 6) memorized from when I was a child.

I'm hoping to decide on a book and set a schedule by this weekend.  Which book do you think I should choose?  How much of a priority do you put on memorizing Scripture?  What do you have memorized, and what techniques did you use to do it?

Blog Tour Book Review

Copyright information: © 2010 by R.C. Sproul, Published by Reformation Trust Publishing. All Rights Reserved.
This title may be published online from Ligonier Ministries.

Blog Tour Book Review

Abortion: A Rational Look at An Emotional Issue by R.C. Sproul was originally published in 1990 but has now been revised in a “twentieth anniversary edition.”  The publisher asked me to review the book on this blog and sent me a free promotional copy.  My review is as follows.


Photographer: ario of flickr under CC2.0, and this new derivative work is released under a similar CC3.0 license.

Random note: I don't know where this place actually is, but I kind of want to eat there based solely on the awesomeness of the signage.

Also, for anyone interested, I got the quote from this really good Resergence article.


Photographer: trublueboy of sxc.hu.

Wow, it's been awhile, hasn't it?  I'm a little nervous to check how many people I lost while on my unannounced hiatus.  I blog what is close to my heart, so it's not about the numbers. But numbers are nice :)

To be truthful, it was my own new year's post that scared me.  I came face-to-face with the fact that I am not in a place I want to be, both literally and metaphorically, and I simply didn't know how to handle it.

The secondary reason why I went on hiatus was because quite simply since I moved, it's been really hard for me to think of content.  I blog a lot about spirituality, but my personal spirituality hasn't been doing so great.  Because of circumstances and my own failings as a follower of God, I haven't been challenged and I haven't been challenging myself in the way that I should.

I don't have answers to either of these questions, but I decided to plow ahead without them.  I'm hoping to find the answers along the way.  We walk by faith, not by sight, do we not?  Thank you for your patience and understanding.