"God showed me something small, no bigger than a hazelnut, lying in the palm of my hand… and it was round as a ball. I looked at it with the eye of my understanding and thought: 'What can this be?' And it was generally answered thus: 'It is all that was made.' It was so small I thought it might disappear, but I was answered... everything has being through the love of God." --Julian of Norwich

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

A quiet evening

The apartment is quiet right now. Clint went out for a walk and I'm about to start my Hebrew assignment on pual, hiphil and hithpael verb stems. We had a lovely dinner tonight, slow cooker beef stew (mmm...) with biscuits and salad. The table is cleared now and my red and pink and orange and yellow birthday roses back in their place on it. I'm sipping some cold jasmine tea with milk as I work.

I've had a bit of a slow start to the semester and somehow managed to get pretty far behind in my reading. Maybe it's the subject matter. One of our New Testament texts is NT Wright's The New Testament and the People of God and the first 100 pages or so where Wright explains his methodology have reminded me a lot of Cedarville and the biblical education I absorbed there. Unfortunately, although I really did appreciate my Cedarville education overall, I was frustrated in some of the Bible classes. Something seemed to be missing. I'm really glad that Regent is filling in some of those gaps but it has been a bit hard for me to process. I had no idea how dissatisfied I was with the premillenial dispensationalist framework, or how my frustration had stalled my spiritual life.

We've also been studying the Reformation in my Christian Thought and Culture class and its hard for me not to project onto it all my baggage and see it as the beginning of all divisive, individualist denominationalism. But I'm humbled too, because it's not so easy to see the way forward for the church today sometimes either. We too are limited by our historical moment, our cultural and political ideological environment.

I come to these questions as a lay person, but one who cares deeply about how we do church. And I've felt hurt by the church before, which makes me a little skittish about a lot of things. And yet God works with us still right where we're at--me in the labyrinth of my emotions and memories, the church in her wanderings.

Time to get to that Hebrew. ;)


  1. Oh the pual and the hiphil and the hithpael! I'm glad that I'm not the only one trudging through all the binyammin!

    What did you think of NT Wright? I couldn't tell if his methodology reminded you of Cedarville in that it resembled our experience there or if it reminded you more of what the 'Ville was (and is) lacking?

    I've recently discovered some of NT Wright's stuff, mostly a little book, "the Lord and his Prayer," (great stuff) and then derivatively his "Challenge of Jesus." I've been pretty favorably impressed, but I've never read the text you're working through. I'd love to hear your thoughts!

  2. Hi Josh! I am enjoying the NT Wright for sure. What he does in the first few parts of this book is to develop a theoretical framework for looking at the Bible. He looks briefly at the history of Biblical Studies through literary, historical, and theological frameworks and explains the shift from modernist "positivism" to a more postmodernist "phenominalism" then suggests that we should instead employ a "critical realism" (look at a text with suspicion from a variety of perspectives, but press on to some informed conclusions). From a literary/philosophical perspective the argument is a bit over-simplified, but it is a pretty good attempt to introduce the idea of a more self-aware acknowledgement of presuppositions before charging into the Biblical text claiming you know what it says. What I mean about seeing Cedarville in it is that I see the certainty vs. confidence debate put in different terms, and in more of a "let's start from the beginning" type format. It is probably pretty elementary to someone more widely read than I, but I was happy to find someone who had expressed this eloquently from a relatively conservative perspective. Good stuff.