Thursday, December 30, 2004


I'm nearing the end. Productivity and fun have been going well. Tuesday we had an all night movie and game fest in the College. I'm really getting too old to stay up for 24 yours without sleep, but it was a blast nonetheless. As I recall--and this skill is also leaving--we saw League of Their Own (love it!), Airheads (ick!), a bit of Schindler's List (students were freaking a bit, so we stopped), a bit of Emperor's New Groove (it apparently bored them; I went to the bathroom and they had changed the movie), Monster's Inc. (love it!), and possibly a few others I can't remember... see, told ya. That same night we had about five power outages and a tornado (yes, in LA county... very odd).

On the productive end, I have nearly finished the theology reader for Bedrock Beliefs and will put together the devotional and a final version of the curriculum by the weekend. Next step: teach it.

That's it for now. Biola starts up again on Monday. This time, I'm actually ready.

For any friends and family: I really will write my Christmas letter soon. Honest.

Sunday, December 26, 2004


Still on the no-school, no-work break. Must be nice, eh? Anyhow, Christmas went well. Relaxation is going well. I'm also working on the bedrock beliefs curriculum, so it's not all fun and games (though mostly :-).

I may wax eloquent in the near future, but alas not today.

Sunday, December 19, 2004

THE GREAT CHILI HUNT...some success

OK, so last Sunday I went to Chili's... looking for of all things chili. Guess what? Despite the fact that they apparently sponsor chili cookoffs, they do not have ANY chili on the menu.


Today, I went to Marie Callendar's (famous for pie... check the web address: and have chili.

Not bad.

So, anyone have a clue why a place called Chili's doesn't serve any chili? Irritatingly odd if you ask me.

Friday, December 17, 2004


It's the end of the semester here at Biola University (though I do have a final and a project to turn in by next Tuesday) and that means WINTER BREAK. Yes, it's true, adding my three vacation days to the university's incredibly generous week and a half with pay makes for two full weeks of vacation. That being the case, and having really slow dial-up at home, I won't be blogging very much.



I ran a Googlism for "biola" just for amusement. Two favorites:

biola is a product line from tine ba consisting of several varieties of yoghurt


biola is a kind of bubble



Police search for baby ripped from murdered mom's womb--KYTV Springfield, MO

A desperate search is underway in northwest Missouri for a fetus that police believe could still be alive after being cut from the womb of its mother. The 23-year-old woman was found murdered in her home here on Thursday afternoon.

What desperate evil is behind this?

Thursday, December 16, 2004


If you're one of those parents who has lied to your child about Santa, but don't now how to back up the truck, check out Who is St. Nicholas?

There, now don't you feel better?

A bit of fall color in Southern California. More color on the fotolog

Wednesday, December 15, 2004


I uploaded a picture of the TFB 90th anniversary clean-up over on The Fotolog. I realize this doesn't sound particularly exciting, but it turned out to be an action shot of sorts. I like it.


I was over at Blogs-4-God and followed their link to the 2004 Planned Parenthood Choice on Earth Holiday Card... Their beginning blurb:

'Tis the season to share with family, friends, colleagues, and loved ones the message of "choice on earth."

You don't like God.
You don't like his rules (yes, abortion is homicide and most often murder... God's against murder).
Yet you 'celebrate' one of his holidays?
Get your own holiday!!

We REALLY need to take back the celebration of the birth of Messiah...

Dump cultural Santa (parents, why do INSIST on lying to your children!!?)
Celebrate Jesus
Teach a bit of theology... It is about the incarnation, you know

Not a Jesus follower? I don't mean to be offensive, but there's always Solstice.
Christmas is ours.

[this rant has been brought to you courtesy of the infernal tinky bell rung at a fast and steady pace by the guy in front of the place where I've been doing homework and the totally offensive holiday-stealing people at Planned Parenthood]

Tuesday, December 14, 2004


OK, internet research is getting very cool.

Google Is Adding Major Libraries to Its Database


This guy BIT his Jack Russell because she pooped in the house. At the very least this is WEIRD! So if he bites his dog, would he bite a person… - News - Central Florida Man Accused Of Biting His Dog

Friday, December 10, 2004



Sorry for yelling, but it's been a good, yet very tiring, term. Two finals and a prayer project, then its a coloring book for me. In the meantime I've posted four new book reports on What I'm Reading.

Why Nobody Learns Much of Anything in Church
The Search to Belong
Questioning and Teaching
Understanding by Design

I read these for my internship and learned TONS! Especially recommended are Questioning and Teaching and Understanding by Design. If you are any type of teacher, read these!

Wednesday, December 08, 2004


I have an addition to the list of Murphy Bus Laws:

No matter what side of the street you're waiting on, the other side will ALWAYS have more buses.


Thursday, December 02, 2004

USTA picks Carson, Calif., for first round of '05 Davis Cup

I'm not a tennis watcher, but hey, the Davis cup is holding its first round in my home town. Boy, has Carson come a long way... Read the article here.

Tuesday, November 30, 2004

and yes, it actually is a bit cold here... it's not much, but that is actual frost on the grass... I will admit, though that we are quite the weather wimps...

a touch of fall color... in LA county no less

cleaning up after the 90th... really fast!

preparing for TFB's 90 anniversary

Monday, November 29, 2004


Now this one may be worth seeing--the last Godzilla movie by the REAL producers. The memories...

Read the BBC article

Wednesday, November 24, 2004


This ‘relaxing’ four-day holiday weekend I will be working on my BIG project for internship: developing a curriculum! The agreed upon topic—between myself and Pastor Charlie—is Bedrock Beliefs. Here are the guiding notions with which I begin:

What overarching understandings are desired?
Elements of bedrock theology and worldview
Definition of bedrock beliefs
Definition of worldview
Significance of bedrock beliefs for the construction of worldview
Content of basic beliefs

What are the overarching “essential” questions?
What are the bedrock beliefs?
What makes the bedrock beliefs bedrock?
How do bedrock beliefs function in the construction/transformation of worldview?

While writing the curriculum, I am also developing a curriculum design matrix based on three of the
books I’m reading this term:

Questioning and Teaching, by J. T. Dillon
Called to Teach, by William Yount
Understanding by Design, by Grant Wiggins and Jay McTighe

I’m in for a bunch of hard work and creativity. Tough, but a blast!

Add to this, buckets to read, turkey to eat, and papers to write. It’s a busy weekend. Thankfully, we’re going to someone else’s house for Thanksgiving Dinner—that’ll keep me from pesky studying when I’m supposed to be having fun.

Friday, November 19, 2004

California color

Metzger lawn

I work in a beautiful place. This morning was one of those times that really sunk in.

Thursday, November 18, 2004


This line stuck out:

"Being a theologian doesn't make me a better Christian than the next person. It just makes me a theologian."

Too right. We do get into trouble, though, when we or others think knowledge does make us better Christians. The line between confidence and pride is a bit blurry at times.

Read the whole post from maggi dawn

Wednesday, November 17, 2004


I'm reading this for my internship class. Even though I'm only in chapter one I can already see this is a good (possibly great) book for curriculum design.

Understanding by Design, by Grant Wiggins and Jay McTighe

See the book bag at What I'm Reading


...from Christianity Today

From an interview with C. Christopher Hook, director of ethics education for the Mayo Graduate School of experienced hematologist and a senior fellow at the Center for Bioethics and Human Dignity:

The advances in adult stem-cell therapy development have been nothing short of astounding. I don't see any reason to believe that we will not achieve the therapeutic goals we all desire using adult stem cells...

Protecting the embryo from becoming a research subject is an even greater threat to abortion-rights claims than banning partial-birth abortion, and we have seen just how vigorously the abortionists have fought any restrictions there. The forces that need to continue to denigrate preborn human beings have been lobbying strong and hard against any restrictions....

Read the article: The Politics of Stem Cells - Christianity Today Magazine

Friday, November 12, 2004


I can see sending home a note (a bit paranoid, but other children could be harmed), BUT SUSPENSION! Our society needs to get a grip! - Student suspended for handstands, cartwheels - Nov 11, 2004

LOS ANGELES, California (Reuters) -- Cartwheels and handstands have gotten an 11-year-old girl temporarily bounced out of her Los Angeles-area school.

Thanks to Relevant for the link.

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

TINY UPDATE TO What I'm Reading

Added links to three current required reads here.

Questioning and Teaching, by J. T. Dillon
Called to Teach, by William Yount
Nature and Destiny of Man, Vol. 1 and 2, by Reinhold Niebuhr

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Regarding how Laura's mind works...

Excerpt from an email exchange regarding the Oscar Mayer truck in front of Starbucks:

"Ok - so what is the significance of the Oscar Mayer truck in the parking lot of Starbucks?"

Primarily, I thought it was funny. Sociologically, it refers to two vastly different segments of American Society. The Oscar Mayer generation found significance and community at home. The Starbucks generation finds significance and community in the social arena.

That's my two cents... any thoughts?

Monday, November 08, 2004

OK, so here's the picture of the weiner-mobile at Starbucks... cleaned up a bit. Weird, eh?

Friday, November 05, 2004


Here's one with the famous car in outline.


A piece of Americana.. the Oscar Mayer truck in the Starbucks parking lot. Sorry for the dark and blurry pic, but it was dark and I had to take the picture quick.


Back on March 31, I blogged about the ridiculous claim by some that the Passion of the Christ as an outreach opportunity.

I too was mostly unmoved by the movie. I walked out thinking, “Hmmm.” I too do not see it as “possibly the greatest outreach opportunity in 2000 years.” (Excuse me for saying so, Mr. Promotion-Video-Producer, but the church was, is, and remains the greatest outreach opportunity in 2000 years--and before that it was the nation of Israel!)

Yesterday on the NT Gateway blog they mention an article in the Christian examiner about a Barna survey that says there was little or no evangelistic effect.

Gosh, I'm shocked. When will we learn that there's no magic pill?!?!


I had an interesting encounter a few days ago on the bus. I had had a conversation with this thirty-something woman a few weeks before. Her husband had just gotten out of jail and was getting his life back together, then one evening, due to mistaken identity, he was detained by the police. During the ‘capture’ the police had severely injured his ankle. They let him go with an apology, but he still had the injured ankle. Needless to say, it was a bummer. Anyhow, during the course of the conversation (during which time she mostly talked and I mostly listened), someone on the bus asked for a bus schedule. She remembered that she needed one, so she got up and retrieved one from the little plastic holder near the rear door. As she sat back down, she commented that she was always in need of a new schedule because her dear husband had the knack for leaving it in his pants pocket, resulting, of course, in its being washed and rendered unusable.

Fast forward to a few days ago. I’m sitting in my usual spot near the rear door, when she gets on with her now healing husband and sits opposite. The bus takes off and within in a few minutes, he gets up to retrieve a bus schedule from the little plastic holder near the door. As he sits down, she gently takes it from his hand, places it in her purse, and looks at me with a grin.

It’s amazing the connections that can be made. Imagine non-verbal conversation with a near stranger.

Mapping the Election

A friend of mine brought me a copy of this handy 'votes by county map' from the LA Times this morning, but JOLLYBLOGGER has a copy of it online (along with one from 2000). Interesting. I have a theory that the presence of large bodies of water has something to do with one's political leanings. (Of course it could be the 'urban factor', but I still say it's water.)

Wednesday, November 03, 2004


Daily Breeze - Associated Press: "Well south of the tundra, Schwarzenegger's enthusiastic backing of Proposition 71 helped land sunny California on the cutting edge of a technology questioned by the Bush administration and others. Polls indicated Schwarzenegger's endorsement, coupled with commercials featuring the late 'Superman' star Christopher Reeve, put the proposal over the top."

I am happy with most of the election, but the passage of the stem cell research proposition trumps the happiness with, frankly, despair. While I do indeed know that such research can be accomplished using adult stem cells (see Saving Lives Without Taking Lives: Adult Stem Cells), embryonic stem-cells are easier to get.

Here's some moral context from Scott Rae, Talbot professor of ethics:

And ethics expert Dr. Scott Rae of Talbot Theological Seminary said, "There's no reason why we can't and shouldn't be using adult stem cells. And so far most of the most promising research that's actually producing results is coming from stem cells derived from bone marrow, cord blood and from, of all things, fat cells. I never thought liposuction would have redeeming value."

Rae says, by contrast, we must consider an embryo as a person with dignity. "We have a problem with harvesting stem cells from human embryos because that's the moral equivalent of killing a person in order to benefit another."

Rae compares that to the behavior of Nazi medical doctors who experimented on Jews without their consent, for the sake of society. Of course, it is impossible to get the required consent from an embryonic cloned person.

Rae said, "That's been a fairly standard part of medical ethics - we don't require, we would never ask nor would we obligate someone to sacrifice their existence in order to benefit someone else."

Even though there is much to report on the progress of adult stem cell research, very little actually is being highlighted by the media.

Also, from what is reported, there is a real question of whether the public is getting the full story on embryonic vs. adult stem cells. For example, most people have never heard from the mainstream media that implanted embryonic cells can produce malignant tumors.

I am also sad that I did not say more, do something, anything.

Friday, October 29, 2004


From class readings for Theology of Human Nature (Coe and Saucy):

And yet it is noticeable that while they tore his heart and perhaps in the end, broke the bonds which bound his fluttering spirit to its tenement of clay, they never took the helm of life or overthrew either the judgment of his calm understanding or the completeness of his perfect trust in his Father.

. . .

As we survey the emotional life of our Lord as depicted by the Evangelists, therefore, let us not permit it to slip out of sight, that we are only observing the proofs of the truth of his humanity, and not merely regarding the most perfect example of a human life which is afforded by history, but are contemplating the atoning work of the Saviour in its fundamental elements. The cup which he drank to its bitter dregs was not his cup but our cup; and he needed to drink it only because he was set upon our salvation.

‘Nuff said.

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

This is what I need right now, to rest in my Father's hand. School pressures, internship pressures, sinus infection, and news of an impending termite tenting are conspiring against any possibility for restfulness in the near future.

Sunday, October 24, 2004



Not a good combination...

Thursday, October 14, 2004


So, I'm reading these articles on the functions of the heart (thinking, feeling, and willing) by Bob Saucy, Jonathan Edwards, and Robert Roberts. The has stepped on my little toes regarding the connection between what we think about, the emotions resulting from that thinking, and the willing that takes place in response. Then today, I find a couple pointy quotes on Connexion

"You are today where your thoughts have brought you; you will be tomorrow where your thoughts take you."
~James Lane Allen

"We become what we think about all day long." ~Unknown

Hmmm... is Someone saying something???

Wednesday, October 13, 2004


I couldn't help noticing that none of these Pets' Costumes are for cats.

I'm thinking, "Wise choice."


i have time
searching empty
waiting stacks
wandering bits
nothing left
but plodding...

In response to oregon dreams


It is done. A new team won. It was probably a great game. I missed it. Bummer.

Storm Stop Sun, Win WNBA Crown

SEATTLE, Oct. 12 (Ticker) -- The Seattle Storm got to the WNBA Finals behind stars Lauren Jackson and Sue Bird. They won their first title behind a player picked off the scrap heap.

Betty Lennox scored 16 of her 23 points in the second half as the Storm won the WNBA championship with a 74-60 triumph over the Connecticut Sun in the decisive third game.

Tuesday, October 12, 2004


Jacques Derrida
Jacques Derrida, one of France's most famous philosophers, has died at the age of 74.

Superman actor Reeve
Christopher Reeve, the actor who played Superman, has died at the age of 52.

Comedian Rodney Dangerfield
Actor Rodney Dangerfield, famous for his self-deprecating humor, died Tuesday at 82.

I'm not necessarily sad about any of these, I mean, two were old and one was sick. Stuff happens. But I find it interesting that Reeve is getting the most press, Dangerfield is probably second, and most people don't even know who Derrida is, even though he may have had the most cultural impact of the three.

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

Seen in the bus-train park and ride... thistles. Cool.

Not sure why they did this to the palm, or if it was their intention to make it look like a bunch of bum cheeks, but nonetheless


What would the response be if this said:

or a republican


Just wondering...

Tuesday, October 05, 2004


I love the Ig Nobel Prize... one of the winners discovered the purpose of Herring farts... yup Herring farts. Ya gotta love science!

Read the summary of the research: Herring and their mysterious farting sounds

Friday, October 01, 2004


This is the first of what should be many installments summarizing my small talk project. You see, I’m a responder rather than an initiator. Most of the time this works out fairly well, but when it comes to greeting new people it has been a problem. So, part of my learning contract for my internship is to practice small talk. For you talkers out there, you’re probably thinking, “What’s the big deal?” I know, it’s odd, but frankly it’s very near to sheer terror.

So this morning on the train there was a young man in a FedEx uniform, carrying a large box, and reading a book on Mesoamerican art. He dropped something on the floor, and that opened up a small talk possibility. He mentioned that he would like to go back to school one day to finish his degree, possibly in aircraft maintenance. We chatted about the possibilities of adult degree programs. I must admit, he asked more questions than I did—that was not my aim, but I am in the beginning stages of learning. Even though the conversation was 40% him and 60% me, that in itself is a vast improvement. In addition, I was able to “debrief” with myself after and realize some of the opportunities I had missed to probe further: his job maintaining aircraft at FedEx, the book he was reading, his desire to go to school, the big box, etc. So, progress made, more progress ahead…

Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Blogging rate is waaaaay down...

and it's all because of Talbot. Yup, it's called homework. Good stuff, but work nonetheless. Slated for this week:

- finish the exegesis of Philippians
- complete a theology of community in Philippians
- create Sunday School curriculum based on 40 Days of Community and the theology of community in Philippians
- create the bible study curriculum for Philippians
- finish reading One Size Doesn't Fit All
- try to finish reading a book by Yount
- interview Klaus Issler about asking good questions
- prepare for the interview by read the appropriate sections from his book, Teaching for Reconciliation
- continue reading Myers, Search to Belong
- work on the basic beliefs curriculum

... and somewhere in there, sleep, eat, and go to my full-time job.

Yup. I'm busy. Maybe there will be time next week.

Sunday, September 26, 2004


There is a gentleman in our church. He is passionate about ministry. In fact he is a member of our small group dream team. He also experienced a stroke this past year that partially paralyzed his right side and greatly decreased his ability to speak. Today at our small 40 Days of Community host home training, he gave a short testimony. One of the things he said was simply profound:

"God can do with us much, even when we don't have."

We hear similar statements all the time; in fact, it's probably made it to the Jesus-junk, tee-shirt and bumber sticker sale pile. Often, it's all too easy to say this. We pacify ourselves with words that are all too easy to say. But coming from this guy--for whom it was not so easy to say--the truth once again became the profound. Yup.

Friday, September 24, 2004


Dr. Bob Saucy talked about this book in Theology of Human Nature yesterday. The 'joke' below is apparently a good summary statement for the book. By the way, I've added it to my wish list, if anyone is in a generous mood... Christmas isn't that far away:-) Books: Cat & Dog Theology: Rethinking Our Relationship With Our Master: "A dog says, 'You pet me, you feed me, you shelter me, you love me, you must be God.' A cat says, 'You pet me, you feed me, you shelter me, you love me, I must be God.'"

Tuesday, September 21, 2004


For my pastoral ministry class we read an article by Russell Green entitled, "Healthy Church Growth Happens When Pastors Stay a Long Time." (sorry, but I think it's unpublished, so no quotes, no link, etc) . Well, it got me thinking about the essential nature of the pastorate and the church. Are pastors inherent of adherent? Preliminary thoughts are posted on the new Writings blog.

Friday, September 17, 2004


I put this on the TFB College eNews, but I thought I'd put it here too. What would you do and why?

Okay, so you’re standing in the middle of a 50-yard long, door-less, tiled hallway with a boogie board leashed to your right ankle. Fifteen people, holding fire hoses attached to 1-¾ inch connections stand in the north doorway and turn on the water. You have a split second to decide what to do before just over one-hundred gallons of water per second knock you off your feet. What do you do? Why?

Wednesday, September 15, 2004


At Music at Noon today, I heard Nick Ariondo on accordion and Gary Gould on pennywhistle (he’s a woodwind player who took up Irish music as a favor for a wedding (also, I could find no website for him… bummer). They played various airs, jigs, and hornpipes, and may I say it was haunting, beautiful, and rich. I almost didn’t go. Glad I did. I haven’t heard music this beautiful and simple in a very long time. My eyes actually watered, the music was so beautiful. It was a good day.

Thursday, September 09, 2004

Francis has been posted

I put a couple pictures on Laura`s Mind: The Fotolog. I'll put up some from College Briefing probably next week, but for now, the picture of Francis from my room at San Luis Rey and a walkway at the mission.

Wednesday, September 08, 2004

WITH ALL DUE APOLOGY those who don't understand poetry, the task of translating any poetry on this blog into prose is hereby nixed. All I can say is read the stuff out loud and hope for the best.

Poetry: The art or work of a poet. The American Heritage Dictionary

I am a poet.


i said it...


Tuesday, September 07, 2004


Well, I am back from :::COLLEGE BRIEFING:::. It was great. Bryan Loritts is a powerful, truthful preacher who obviously listened in homiletics class. More on his preaching later.

For now, this:

Preaching on Philippians 3:17-4:1, Bryan posed a question on Friday night:
"If you wer to die today and those who know you best were given the task to bury you in a way that clearly and accurately depicted how you'd lived, how then would they bury you?"

Frankly, the question bit some. Here's the splat:

too far down
below the earthstuff,
filling my moments,


If I truly believed
that this world was not my home,
how would I live?
Would ANYTHING be the same?

Thursday, September 02, 2004


I'm off to :::COLLEGE BRIEFING::: this weekend, so blogging will be nil--not that I blog that often on weekends anyway, but you know.

HUA MEI HAS TWINS!! - American-born panda?delivers twins in China - Sep 2, 2004

I remember when Hua Mei was born--so cute! Now she' a mom. Amazing!

Update: I committed a blogging faux pax and forgot to mention that this link is courtesy of Relevant Magazine.

Wednesday, September 01, 2004


Well, the games are over. My obsession is over. Therefore, the medal table from Athens Olympic Games Blog is going away today. It was a good games. Greece did great work (though I find it humorous that while Greek paganism was very present, Greek orthodoxy was absent from the opening and closing ceremonies--odd). Now it's back to WNBA.

Monday, August 30, 2004


Funny. I’ve discovered that I have a lot of trouble converting my Retreat Reflections (currently in splat poetry) into propositional statements. I guess that’s the other side of the “don’t-get-poetry” coin. Hmmm. Maybe I’ll have time this weekend at College Briefing (between time with students, other leaders, doing homework, sleeping, walking, worshiping, etc). We’ll see. For now, I’ll stick with the splat poetry:

Reflection 1

Reflection 2

Reflection 3


I updated my summary/response of Journey Towards Relevance over on What I'm Reading.


Well, another Summer Games is complete. I've yet to watch the closing ceremonies--I decided sleep was more important. Once again, USA has the most. Yeah us.

Saturday the news people were blathering on about how the Olympics shows that humans can live in peace with one another. What a crock. Are they blind? The Olympics is not peace, simply channeled and controlled competition; it is not peace. Unchanneled and uncontrolled competition is called war. You can't have real peace without God. Sounds sappy, but it is true nonetheless. Left to ourselves, we all desire to be god. A bunch of people who each believes himself/herself to be god cannot live in peace, because someone must win. It reminds me of Highlander: there can be only one. Left to its own devices, humanity would destroy itself in the struggle for divinity.

Wednesday, August 25, 2004


I'm messing with the colors and font size... and I barely know what I'm doing, so if something bugs you about the look of the blog, let me know. I make no promises, though.

MEDAL COUNT--what's real?

Looking at the Athens Olympic Games Blog - Full Medal Table and realizing how many medal winners go to school and receive their training in the US, I wonder what our medal count really is. Just a thought.


A quote from the August 20 Fast Company First Impression email may explain why removing the denominational title from one'’s church is not necessarily a good idea.

"Branding is a way of articulating the core values of the corporation."
—Chris Riley, Founder, Studioriley [Excerpted from Fast Company | The Good Brand]

Maybe instead of removing denominational “branding”, we need to put more effort into explaining the core values behind the branding. There’s a thought.

Time to break out that paper on American Baptists that I composed for Historical Theology...

Tuesday, August 24, 2004


Yesterday and today I am (was) working registration at Biola University, so blogging is zip. Classes start this week, the students--bunches and bunches of them--are coming/coming back. Kinda reminds me of the church year when it switches to "regular time." Well, for those of us who work in education, fall is the return to regular time. Let the transition begin...

Friday, August 20, 2004


According to the Olympic Medal Table USA has 40 total medals so far. We're top of the list again... now we can all feel better about ourselves, 'cause, you know, if Americans aren't winning medals, they're losing... yea... get a grip.

[NOTE: I absolutely love the Olympics, but can't stand the hype!]

Last picture from the retreat... getting ready to go

An extra for the blog... my room had its own potty... how cool is that?!


Wired News: You're Athletes, Not Journalists: "The International Olympic Committee is barring competitors, as well as coaches, support personnel and other officials, from writing firsthand accounts for news and other websites."


(on the other hand, apparently they can blog if they had a personal blog already)


Third in a series of three. Some splat poetry and lots of questions. [Note: for those who are poetically challenged (Ann :-) I will be posting summarizing, prose-based, propositional truth statements sometime next week.]

All scriptures are from the Complete Jewish Bible

1 Kefa, first reading

This is too big to swallow just now, so for now this:
I am part of the POG
I am an undershepherd
I am a Messiah-follower
Therefore, I must be who I am.

1 Kefa, select lectio

1:13,15 “Therefore, get your minds ready for work. Keep yourselves under control… become holy yourselves in your entire way of life.”

Given that I am a member of the POG through Messiah, what does it mean to be…
physically holy,
mentally holy,
emotionally holy,
volitionally holy,
…set apart for God’s use in my-our entire way of life?

What is the work?

What needs control?

2:4-5 “As you come to him, the living stone, rejected by people but chosen by God and precious to him, you yourselves, as living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be cohanim set apart for God to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to him through Yeshua the Messiah.”

What does it mean to be built into a spiritual house that gets all its measurements and angles from Jesus, the Living Stone?

How do we-I make space for the builder to work unimpeded?

What must happen to be more aware of “we”?

3:13-14 “For who will hurt you if you become zealots for what is good? But even if you do suffer for being righteous, you are blessed.”

If I know someone will hurt me, what gives (develops) the courage (trust) to do good anyhow?

Am I willing to live with the consequences of speaking hard truths and asking hard questions?

Am I willing to ask myself the hard questions?

4:7-8 “The accomplishing of the goal of all things is close at hand. Therefore, keep alert and self-controlled, so that you can pray. More than anything, keep loving each other actively; because love covers many sins.”

Why are prayer and love the most necessary activities?

How do alertness and self-control relate to/enable prayer?

Why is this important in these times?

5:2, 8-9a “…shepherd the flock of God that is in your care… Stay sober, stay alert! Your enemy the Adversary, stalks about like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Stand against him, firm in your trust…”

Are those I teach being eaten alive? Am I? Do I even know?

What does shepherding God’s flock look like in my case?

What makes me not-sober?

What makes me not-alert?

What is my “trust”? How can I stand in it?

Day Four

So, I’m sitting here, about to take my first drink of coffee in four days. This is the return to regular time. Feels funny.

Thursday, August 19, 2004


One of Biola's women basketball players in on the Olympic team for Nigeria! How cool is that?! Go Limda Oguga!

Another picture of the first pepper tree in California, with a mission bell in the foreground.


Second in a series of three. The format is mostly splat poetry ( term I just made up to describe the process. Basically, I read through a selection, ponder a few moments, and splat down whatever thoughts come to mind.) It's long on the page, but not too long in words.

Reflections upon reading A SHORT HISTORY OF CHRISTIANITY

The Rise of Christianity
Hopes raised
Fear becomes courage
Pain-forced growth
Truth-fights inside
Existence-fights outside
Steadfast yet struggling
Pure yet corrupt
Faithful yet wavering
Kept by YHWH’s choice

Christianity and the Fall of Rome
From enemy to friend
Hunted to ruler
Truth and practice
Fought for
Pagans won
Barbarians invade
Latins, Germans, Celts remain

Day Three

I just thought to myself, “If there is no one in the chapel, that’s where I’ll have church.” Then I realized what an absolute impossibility that was. The learning comes slowly.

Christianity in Medieval Europe
Invasion of dichotomy
Sacred-secular struggle
Lost in struggle
Corruption grows
Hopes dashed
No peaceful reform

Christianity in the Reformation Era
Others unnamed
And suddenly
Shattered oneness
Lies exposed
Punctuated hostility
Increasing tribalism
Oneness lost
Oneness hoped

The History of Eastern Orthodoxy
Wars from West
Wars from East
Changing politics
Changing patriarchates
Ever old
Ever changing
The same

Christianity in Modern Europe
The big question:
Who’s in charge?
Answers change
With years
And rulers
No answer
Worldly entanglements
Hinder piety
The unseen remnant
Always present
Sometimes noticed
Ever touching
Ever waiting
For when…

Christianity in the Americas
Wrapped in control
Frontier methods
Top-down from the ground up

Christianity Encircles the Globe
Sometimes brilliant
Most times stupid
Gospel spread
Mixed up with culture spread
Where do we stand?

Wednesday, August 18, 2004


Divided each book response/review into a separate entry for linking.
Added a new book: Christian Perspectives on Being Human

What I'm Reading


First in a series of three. The format is mostly splat poetry ( term I just made up to describe the process. Basically, I read through a selection, ponder a few moments, and splat down whatever thoughts come to mind.) It's long on the page, but not too long in words.


(I read Torah in the Complete Jewish Bible, translated by Dr. David Stern)

B’resheet 1-11

God-made image bearer
Rusted by choice
Singled-out grace-line
God’s choice:
The line of the One
And me
Grafted in.

B’resheet 12-22

Then Avraham
Barren exalted father
Blessed father of nations
Impatient waiter
Covenant by blood
And severed foreskin
Imported by grace clean

Day Two

B’resheet 23-50

YHWH says,
I am your God,
Walk in my ways.
But they
Mixed in practice
Walk in YHWH’s ways
Yet keeping idols
Follow yet not
What is required?
YHWH’s choice!
Avraham believed God
And it was counted
As righteousness
This God,
He is God of my fathers and mothers
The God of Harvey and Cloyd
The God of Doris and Martha and Hattie

Sh’mot 1-6

Land of plenty
Land of salvation
Was Egypt
Land of labor
Land of slavery
With halting voice
Aharon with Moshe’s words
Spoke, Let my people go!
Pharaoh stole YHWH’s people
Denied YHWH
Punished the people
YHWH spoke,
I will take you as my people
And I will be your God.
YHWH’s choice
YHWH’s grace

Sh’mot 6-40

Who is this God
Who strikes out
Against his people
While giving grace and mercy?
Maker of heaven and earth
The One who by his presence
Shows his favor

Vayikra 1-5

Atonement by blood
Confession by display
Forgiveness by grace

Vayikra 6-10

Continual fire
Holy eating
YHWH’s choice

“Through those who are near me I will be consecrated, and before all the people I will be glorified."

Unholy fire-makers
Consumed by holy fire
Nothing left to say.

Vayikra 10-13

Whole life holiness
Holy eating
Holy business
Holy family
Holy farming
Holy health
No sacred-secular dichotomy
YHWH is God of all
So all of life is worship
Worship of YHWH in obedience
Worship of anything else in idolatry
The whole life is worship of something

Vayikra 14-19

I am YHWH your God
…and you are NOT god.
Egypt conqueror

Vayikra 20-27

“I am YHWH your God, who has set you apart from other peoples." (20:24)

“…you are only foreigners and temporary residents with me…” (25:23)

Resident Aliens

B’midbar 1-36

Wandering feet
Wandering hearts
Jealous God
Vengeful God
Gracious God
Still his people
YHWH’s choice

D’varim (entire)

“See now that I, yes, I, am he; and there is no god beside me. I put to death, and I make alive; I wound and I heal; no one saves anyone from my hand.” (32:39)

“Happy are you Israel! Who is like you, a people saved by YHWH your defender helping you and your sword of triumph? Your enemies will cringe before you, but you will trample down their high places.” (33:29)

Foreigners inside
We treat as brothers
Foreigners outside
We stand against
Declare their sin
Teardown their high places
We are God’s people
YHWH’s choice
We walk in his ways
Yet grace

Tuesday, August 17, 2004

Loaded some more retreat pictures on my fotolog. Though I spent lots of time in my room reading--as this picture attests--I did go outside and enjoy God's beauty. I read through the Torah and a book on church history. Got my bearings a bit.

Friday, August 13, 2004

Today is the last short Friday of the summer.


Interior of Mission San Luis Rey church
More pictures posted on the fotolog.

Thursday, August 12, 2004


I don’t want to bash any Christian organization unnecessarily (being brothers and sisters, and all), but I find it both annoying and condescending that every teaching series offered by Crave (aka Saddleback college ministry) has MP3s and transcripts of their teaching sessions--large teaching sessions. Yeah, I'm sure that would go over well with a group of say... 15-20. Sure.

There are downloads on the freebie page, if you want some documentation.

In my opinion, they do not live up to their claim:

Crave Resources provides resources for those who ministering to the college
and post-college demographic. Whether you are a veteran in College age ministry, or just beginning that exciting journey, Crave Resources salutes you! We view ministry to this generation as an essential part of fulfilling the great commission! We are honored to be coworkers with you, for HIM!

Seems all their resources say, “Here, we did all the hard work for you. There’s no need for you to really study.” Doing all the work for someone does not equal being a co-worker! Maybe I’m overstating it, but I see it as a definite trend in what flows out of the mega-churches. Where are the resources for helping pastors and directors develop local culture specific curriculum? Where are the in-depth studies—not just fill-ins! And, frankly, the "this is how we did it, but you should discover your own way" claim just doesn't cut it anymore; especially when they provide NO resources for learning how to discover your own way. There's nothing on cultural exegesis. No links to resources. I couldn't even find any guidelines for adaptation. Come on!


Took this on my retreat. I find it rather contemplative... like the retreat. More pictures at the Fotolog.


Now, I don't think they're nearly as bad as that thing--you remember, Izzy--in Atlanta, but they're a little wierd. See the official page here. Maybe they'll grow on us...


Courtesy of Living Room.

Tuesday, August 10, 2004

Back from retreat...

at Mission San Luis Rey. I highly recommend it. The place is beautiful, peaceful, has good food, and good prices. I'll blog some reflections later...

Weblog: Fuller Prof Ordered to Leave U.S. - Christianity Today Magazine

Weblog: Fuller Prof Ordered to Leave U.S. - Christianity Today Magazine

"A seminary must now be directly tied to a single denominational body for the U.S. government to consider it legitimate. "

Gosh, I hope the international Talbot and other Biola profs have all their stuff in order. Me thinks this law is a bit MESSED UP! Maybe they should have done a bit of research on seminaries???

Thanks to Brad for the heads up on the story.

Friday, August 06, 2004


I was going to write a summary and response on What I'm Reading, but, frankly, I need to read and process them again. My only response right now is, “Dang.”

I have no doubts that holes can be poked in their thesis, but at this time, I think it’s more important that I hear what they said the respond in my soul. That being the case, my primary task for my retreat this weekend is to read the storyline of the OT/NT, memorize some creeds, and learn to story. Probably no blogging until Wednesday.

For now, I leave you with a couple quotes:

“…the challenge facing today’s Christians is not the necessity to translate Christian convictions into a modern idiom, but rather to form a community, a colony of resident aliens which is so shaped by our convictions that no one even has to ask what we mean by confessing belief in god as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit” Hauerwas and Willimon, Resident Aliens, pg. 171.

[From The Door interview with Willimon and Hauerwas, quoted in Where Resident Aliens Live]

“[Being a resident alien in this culture}…means that the Gospel is weird and, if you believe the Gospel, then you will be weird. If you believe the Gospel, you feel yourself in collision with the most widely held and deeply affirmed values of this society…If you call on God, God will be there, and it will frighten the hell out of you” Hauerwas and Willimon, Where Resident Aliens Live, pg. 113, 118.

Any thoughts?

Couple new pictures on the fotolog . There would be more, but Windows Explorer just sent the "picture" folder on my jump drive into the sock place... thankfully, the originals are on my laptop

Wednesday, August 04, 2004

Beautiful cherry tomato found on my walk to campus. See it and more at the Fotolog.

Tuesday, August 03, 2004


Finally added pictures to the fotolog

Monday, August 02, 2004


Once in a while I get stuck, trapped on a topic that has impacted me. Unfortunately, my obsession with the topic creeps into my teaching and I camp on the topic past the point of impact—you know, the dead horse thing. This just happened.

The concept of holy worldliness captured me in the spring, so I began a teaching series. Sunday, July 25, I finally realized that the horse was dead and I stop beating it. Ugh. On the way home from church—before the realization of my obsession-caused boringness—I began to wonder once again if I’m any good at this teaching thing. By the time the bus ride was over, I realized I had slipped once again into obsession—a realization brought on by the glazed-over look in the eyes of my students. Tuesday night, in a discussion after bible study, the Tuesday students—many of whom are also Sunday students—confirmed my fear: Sunday was boring. They had a solution: move Tuesday to Sunday. Didn’t think of that. Apparently, I’m not boring on Tuesday. Hmmm. As we spoke, a light went on. You know, that little bulb that suddenly appears over your head, comic strip style—well, one appeared. I realized Sunday stressed me out because I was trying to be entertaining, trying to capture their attention, but in ways that had little or nothing to do with who I really am. When I try to be entertaining, I’m boring. When I try to be entertaining, my attempt at clever learning experiences results in a lack of engagement and thus little impact. So, we’re moving Tuesday to Sunday, sort of.

Tuesday bible study basically consists of reading a passage, investigating the important cultural/historical details, and trying to get a handle on the big idea of the story. It’s discussion oriented and rambles on a bit, but good stuff almost always comes up, usually as a result of random student questions. We fill the 90 minutes. There’s the issue of moving Tuesday to Sunday: time. At the Sunday gathering we have about 40-50 minutes. So, there are some logistics to work out.

Next Sunday, August 8, we’re gonna give it a whirl—or rather the students are. Talk about being dumped into the pool. I’m on vacation next weekend and the other teacher has not experienced the Tuesday study method, so the students are going to lead. At the very least it will be a learning experience. The students will get the opportunity to dip into pool for real. I get the opportunity to release control—a bit of an issue for me. And most of all, the whole class will get closer to basics and hopefully be, not only a lot less boring, but maybe even impacting.

I’ll end with a quote from Resident Aliens (info at What I'm Reading)

“If the laity are not serious about their own ministry, not continually raising the questions which faithful living in the world demands, then they will get pastors who seem to have forgotten God’s story. Church will be a source of conventional, socially acceptable answers, even without the church. We shall die not from crucifixion, but from sheer boredom” (p. 122).

God stir us/me up and preserve me/us from boredom!

Thursday, July 29, 2004


I've moved on to a new book and added some links. Go here.

Wednesday, July 28, 2004

The last food box travels down the line. The end of three hours of labor. Wow.

Another picture of the Foodbbank, this one from the line. My job was placing one can of evaporated milk into each food box. Not rocket science, but the result of all of us working together was amazing.

TFB College group packing food boxes at the LA Food Bank in early July '04. Blurry because it was on the fly.

Tuesday, July 27, 2004

Theology per Googlism

Theology per Googlism

Googled on Tuesday, July 27, 2004, 1:13 pm pdt <>

theology is doxology

theology is new

theology is this

theology is one of the

theology is never any help

theology is seldom popular

theology is declared in error

theology is christology

theology is now a branch of physics

theology is completely judgmental

theology is led by a trustees board

theology is a subject?

theology is not an academic

theology is an effort of gurukul

theology is bankrupt

theology is biblical theology

theology is important

theology is reduced to this narrow compass

theology is more scientific than most people realize

theology is to be

theology is a cooperative program of lcms world mission

theology is this? dave hunt’s misrepresentation of god and calvinism

theology is to be credible

theology is one of the largest programs at acu

theology is an emergent voice of african american christian women in the united states

theology is never any help; it is searching in a dark cellar at midnight for a black cat

theology is another man's belly laugh

theology is christology" how does every passage of scripture reveal christ?

theology is now a branch of physics my amazon

theology is so completely judgmental

theology is led by a trustees board and a board of directors which is mandated to govern the school on behalf of the trustees

theology is a subject? trevor williams

theology is not an academic discipline

theology is an effort of gurukul to focus and share contextual theological reflections with other theological educators

theology is especially open to the common ground joining these two ancient disciplines

theology is the hermeneutic

theology is bankrupt jon zens it is true to say that an existentialist perspective has permeated the human disciplines

theology is the study of god as he reveals himself in his continuing act of creation

theology is not obvious

theology is characterized by the inseparability of doctrine and pastoral action

theology is made up of two greek words 'theos' meaning god and 'logos' meaning word or reason

theology is called by thomas aquinas the queen of the sciences

theology is set up in its own building in the university campus near to the center of thessaloniki's town

theology is a raging feminist

theology is it true

theology is the word that describes that work of handling the word of truth

theology is "a science which treats the facts and phenomena of religion and relations between god and man

theology is based on a "moral law" argument

theology is an opportunity for you to become more familiar with the foundational truths of the historic christian faith

theology is biblical theology"

theology is for proclamation paperback

theology is derived from god's revelation in nature

theology is merely fueled by rebellious

theology is the development of leaders who search for the truth in theological matters

theology is a member of the boston theological institute

theology is like

theology is readily available

theology is the study of god and the relationship between god and the universe

theology is 20

theology is important to salvation

theology is at the leading edge of contemporary academic theology

theology is not

theology is a graduate school of anderson university

theology is dependent upon its capacity to capture the imagination of this generation

theology is in such

theology is understood in the

theology is therefore unashamedly confessional and collegiate

theology is not the work of reason alone

theology is a professional school of emory university and one of thirteen official seminaries of the united methodist church

theology is the recognition that indigenous peoples have themselves been given their own revelation

theology is not the same as one's own faith or personal belief

theology is

theology is an attempt to explain a subject by men who do not understand it

theology is the science which treats of acts and experiences or states of the soul which cannot be produced by human effort or industry even with the

theology is an educational institution of the diocese of dallas

theology is what one thinks and what one does

theology is in the nt

theology is the science about god and of the relations existing between him and his creation

theology is consistent with historic biblical christianity and maintains that

theology is the true and living nourishment and the final purpose of every human being

theology is taking

theology is a lilly endowment initiative that seeks to

theology is sound

theology is the belief that the law is not destroyed or abrogated

theology is going to produce bountiful blessings upon the christian ministries of this troubled land

theology is literally a discourse about god and can be used of any serious thinking

theology is to articulate the vision of faith

theology is of any

theology is not held in esteem in our churches

theology is literally the study of god

theology is a false doctrine that denies the trinity

theology is a federally recognised school leaving qualification

theology is a very practical skill in the fading word

theology is simply the theology of the protestant reformers in general

theology is said to be part of an infallible "magisterium

theology is something engaged in only by deep thinkers with many years of education and training

theology is an international refereed quarterly journal of systematic

theology is the inquiry into the truth of religious faith

theology is at once a denunciation of the horrors of imperial theology which gave us the crusades


I've posted a mini-review of AN INTRODUCTION TO ECCLESIOLOGY, by Veli-Matti Karkkainen on What I'm Reading

Wednesday, July 21, 2004


You'd think with all the reading I'm doing I'd have more to say. ......................... Nope. I got nothin'. Oh, wait, there is one thing, I'm going on my first solitude retreat at an actual retreat center (I've done other solitude retreats on my own)--the one at Mission San Luis Rey in Oceanside. Not only is it a great location for quiet, it's also inexpensive.

Well, that's it.

Maybe I need thinking time.

Tuesday, July 20, 2004

messing around


Cameron Strang, of Relevant Magazine, gave an interview to CNN
It's a good overview of the 'why' behind Relevant. Short, but good stuff.

Friday, July 16, 2004


And thus I clothe my naked villainy
With old odd ends, stol'n forth of holy writ;
And seem a saint, when most I play the devil.
William Shakespeare


November 2004
The Spongebob Squarepants Movie

The joy is so deep, I have no words...


This morning, I finished Making Sense of the Church and moved on to An Introduction to Ecclesiology (Karkkainen). Read the summary of Burke on What I'm Reading.

Tuesday, July 13, 2004


Daily Breeze article here.

The good news is that the Mills Corp. listened to the persistent complaints of the residents and city leaders and dropped the plan. The bad news is that some of their plans for the property make no sense. For example:

the company made clear in its letter that it still intends to build something on a strip of largely vacant land that runs along the mall's northeast side.


The company also is still looking into whether it can lower Carson Street to create more room for stores.

Here's a suggestion, why not build the new stores in the unused strip rather than lowering the street! I'm sure there's reasons, but still... makes no sense to me. As a bus commuter, might I also suggest a bus terminal to replace the one you took over! After all, people do take the bus to shop and eat at the mall.

Monday, July 12, 2004

I've moved on to ecclesiology...

so I've updated What I'm Reading.


...over at Signposts. I've put in my two cents a couple of times.

Thursday, July 08, 2004

PODLES: Summary and Response

KEY: my comments, summary, quotes

While Podles brings up an important topic, his handling of the data and his basic understanding of masculinity and femininity bring into question his conclusions. Though I haven't found it yet, hopefully there is another resource out there that more correctly handles biblical, biological, sociological, psychological, and cultural information regarding masculinity and femininity, and the lack of men in many churches.

THE CHURCH IMPOTENT: the feminization of Christianity
by Leon J. Podles
pub. Spence Publishing, (C) 1999, 288 pages

NOTE: I apologize in advance for the staccato nature of some of the summary paragraphs. Podles’ flow of thought was a bit hard to follow.

"Something created a barrier between Western Christianity and men, and that is the subject of this book" (p. ix).

1—Armies of Women: Cultural, historical, and sociological evidences show that men have been absent from church since the pre-industrial age. Significantly, this is not the case in Orthodox Christianity, Judaism, and Islam.

2—Can a man be a Christian?: The key question is: "What is it about the nature of men and of Western Christianity that has created such a tension in their relationship in the last millennium?" (p. 28). Several theories have been proposed: individualization and industrialization relegated religion to the home/feminine sphere; women are weaker; women are better; women are receptive and passive; and masculinity is unchristian. None of these theories sufficiently answers the question.

LKS: Some one with more time should check out Podles’ data in chapters 1 and 2. I don’t have the time, but the numbers feel a bit like statistical manipulation.

3—What is masculinity?: Biologically, the human body is roughly female and males develop by rejecting the female form and differentiating into a male form. Psychologically, boys become masculine by rejecting the feminine (mother) and identifying with the masculine (father). Masculinity is separation and femininity is communion. "…the most striking feature of masculinity is its separation from the feminine, and it is this part of the developmental pattern that is usually thought of as uniquely masculine" (p. 45). Further evidence is found in initiation rites, mystery religions, and literature (Homer’s Odyssey and Beowulf specifically).

LKS: Biologically, it seems from observation that the human body before puberty is roughly androgynous (though genetically distinct). Both sexes undergo dramatic changes in the development of secondary sex characteristics. Psychologically, both boys and girls must be attached and be separate from mother and father for healthy development and individuation, leading to interdependence. Regarding the “most striking feature of masculinity" I question Podle’s basis for this assumption—which he does not clearly state—and his statement that "separation" is "usually thought of as uniquely masculine."

4—God and man in Judaism—Fathers and the Father-God: God is understood as masculine in Judaism primarily because he is separate from creation. "The holy is a masculine category. To be holy is to be separated, set apart from common or profane use" (p. 61). True patriarchy shows God as Father and men as fathers rather than as male animals. Examples are Abraham, Moses, and David.

LKS: I question whether Judaism’s understanding of God as Father is truly based on God’s separation from creation. Rather, it would seem to be descriptive of his relationship with his creation, not separate from it.

5—God and man in early Christianity—Sons in the Son: "In their conformity to the Son, all Christians, male and female, become sons of God, and are therefore called to be masculine" (p. 75). Both the Father and the Son evidence this separateness/masculinity. The Spirit is masculine in relation to creation (holiness, power, sonship), but feminine in relation to the Trinity (communion). The church as a whole is feminine, but the individual members are masculine because they are conformed to the Son. The sacraments/mysteries of the church (baptism, Eucharist, confirmation, and laying on of hands) are part of the Christian initiation, which is similar to masculine initiation rituals. Christianity began to feminize between the patristic/monastic eras and the modern era.

LKS: Podles' claim that all Christians should "become masculine" is based on poor hermeneutics and a profound misunderstanding of the first century usage of huios (usually translated "son", but used collectively to mean "children"). Further, his claim that all believers are to become masculine flies in the face of God’s original design of humanity as male and female (Genesis 1:26-27)

6—The Foundations of Feminization: Three movements comprise the foundations of feminization. 1) The development of affective spirituality and bridal mysticism were individualized spirituality (rather than applying to the church as a whole) and considered the soul to be feminine. 2) The Frauenbewegung women’s movement integrated more women into church life and ministry. 3) Scholasticism made theology a science, separating it from the life of faith.

LKS: 1) While bridal mysticism may have led to feminization, it more likely led to a sexualized understanding of the believer’s relationship with Jesus. Such a sexualized understanding is unwarranted by Scripture. 2) Women integrated into church life? For shame!! :-) 'Nuff said. 3) In his critique of Scholasticism, Podles’ assumes that intellect is masculine and emotion is feminine. This is a baseless assumption (as much as men—and women—might like to believe otherwise).

7—Feminized Christianity: There are certain characteristics of feminized Christianity. Christians are to be receptive, therefore they are to be feminine. Bridal mysticism led to the notion that individual Christians are to have a love affair with Jesus. Masculine men reject this, fearing feminization and homosexuality. Eroticism with Jesus entered Christian practice. The move away from Latin liturgy is a symptom of feminization because Latin was a "…language restricted to men…a sign of masculine separation from the feminine world" (p. 135). The switch to gender neutral names for the members of the Trinity is another aspect of feminization. Masculine men respond to feminization by seeking spiritual sustenance elsewhere.

LKS: Feminine as "receptive" seems to be based on a certain anatomical feature of the female body. This leap from anatomy to psychology is wacky. I agree with Podles on the misapplication of bridal mysticism to the individual believer. As far as the eroticization goes… eew! Finally, Latin is masculine?? Who knew.

8—Counter Currents: The scholastic medieval theology, the crusades, and chivalric devotion to Mary were aspects of Medieval catholic masculinity. Catholic reactions to feminization were a feature of the counter-reformation. The counter-reformation became suspicious of and reacted against "…the extreme feminization and eroticization of Catholic piety during the Middle Ages" (p. 143). Jesuits as soldiers of Christ, the Penitentes of New Mexico (who reenact the passion), the Knights of Columbus, and the ressourcement attempt to overcome the bifurcation between theology and piety were some additional Catholic reactions. Protestant reactions to feminization were a feature of the reformation. Reformers, especially Luther, "…returned to a stark view of humanity caught between God and the Devil" (p. 152). Later, Revivalism, in asking for a conversion, appealed to men. The Victorian muscular Christianity of Charles Kingsley preached godliness and manliness. The Men and Religion Forward Movement of the early 1900s presented Jesus as Successful Businessman and Super Salesman. Also, the tendency of evangelicalism and fundamentalism to think in dichotomies has been more attractive to men.

LKS: Again, someone with more time—and a bent toward historical research—should check this stuff out. His categorizations seem slanted.

9—Masculinity as Religion—Transcendence and Nihilism: "Masculinity is a natural religion, and in many ways resembles the Christianity of which it is a foretaste. Can men worship a savior unless they know what it is to be a savior? A man wants to become a god. He wants to be a savior, protecting all those in his care, giving his own life to save theirs. In other words, he wants to transcend the limits of mere humanity, but that transcendence is dangerous" (p. 164). Sexuality of primitive uncivilized males has become a religion in the West. War, sports, and extreme sports provide men with a taste of transcendence. Brotherhoods—Masons, Odd Fellows—are basically revivals of the mystery religions that were attractive to men. Boy scouts, military reenactments, and war games provide spiritual release. War provides an experience heaven, hell, non-sexual erotic relationships for which men hunger. "In the eros of comradeship, the personalities are fused because of the willingness of each to die for the other. It is a blood-brotherhood, a brotherhood attained only in blood, in sacrifice, in death, or at least under the shadow and threat of these" (p. 189). Fascism is another example.

LKS: The term "natural religion" reminds me of Genesis 3—not a good thing. Since when is wanting to be a savior and a god a good thing for humans? Didn’t we get into trouble for that? Further, his descriptions of masculinity remind me of the chest-beating, forest-dwelling man-sessions of the 1960s and 1970s.

10—The Future of Men in the Church: "For all its faults, it is basic natural religion, a yearning for transcendence, a proto-evangelium built into the structure of human society. Since men continue to want to be masculine, they will continue (unless there are major changes in the Church) to put a greater or lesser distance between themselves and the church. Is there any way that Christianity can reach men in a long-lasting and effective manner?" (p. 196). "The holy is a masculine category: men develop their masculine identity by a pattern of separation, both biological and cultural, and to be holy means to be separate" (p. 197). Gordon Dalbey constructed a Christian initiation ritual (see Healing the Masculine Soul) that involves worshipful and challenging transition events with the men of the church. Such initiation rituals help men and boys understand and develop masculinity. Masculine spirituality must include struggle because life is struggle and men instinctively know that they must enter that struggle. Philia is a more intensive word for love that agape because it is brotherly love that frees men from tyranny to self based on shared suffering.

LKS: Where is the scriptural support for "holy is a masculine category"? True Christianity WILL include struggle—that’s a promise. It has to do with being Christian, though, not with being male. Also, his understanding of philia and agape is—how shall I say—out in the bleachers on the other side of left field.

"The church must develop a right understanding of the meanings of masculinity and femininity, an understanding that is consistent with human realities and with the data of Scripture" (p. 208).

LKS: I agree with Podles’ sentiment here, but it is on this very point that Podles has most surely failed. His understanding of masculinity and femininity is compatible with neither Scripture nor human reality. An understanding of masculinity and femininity must refer back to God’s original intention in creation and the distortion of that original intention by the entrance of sin. Then and only then should we refer to cultural, sociological, biological, and psychological evidence. It is to the discussion of the Scriptural evidence that I now turn.

Next Installment: Masculinity and Femininity in Genesis 1-3: Original Intent and its Distortion by Sin

Wednesday, July 07, 2004


They have a new baby bighorn sheep at the San Diego Zoo--and it's a girl! Too cute!

Tuesday, July 06, 2004


It's a nothing much kinda day. Spent my work day updating Excel based reports for the Fall semester (too fun...bleh). On other fronts, I really am working on Podles--it's just that life and tiredness seem to be conspiring. I'm hoping for sometime tomorrow. Drank good coffee. Ate good food. Gonna have bible study tonight (Mark 10 with the college students). Regular so-so day. Not very exciting, but hey, sometimes excitement isn't everything it's cracked up to be. Maybe I'll be more pithy tomorrow...

Friday, July 02, 2004

Witnessing (extremely local) history

This morning as I walked to my office on the Biola campus, I noticed Dr. Pike, the dean of the Rosemead School of Psychology, carrying boxed to their new facility in the old Library building. Now this may not seem historic to some--maybe most--but it is. Rosemead--the school producing the bulk of Biola's Ph.D.s--has been dwelling in trailers since they arrived at Biola in 1981. That's 23 years in temporary housing! On the off chance that any Rosemead students, faculty or alums read this, Congratulations...finally! By the way, the place looks good!

Wednesday, June 30, 2004

pop-psych diversion...

I'm working on the Podles summary and response and am in need of a diversion, so...

You are a Ragdoll! You are known for your laid
back attitude. You are the ultimate in
low-maintenance. You'd rather hang out around
the house all day than seek adventure.

What breed of cat are you?
brought to you by Quizilla

Monday, June 28, 2004

ADDICTED TO MEDIOCRITY summary on What I'm Reading

ADDICTED TO MEDIOCRITY: contemporary Christians and the arts (revised edition)
by Franky Schaeffer
pub. Crossway Books, (C) 1985 (original 1981), 127 pages

Comments: Here's some of his points:
Creativity and communication need no justification. p. 20
Christian art and culture is addicted to mediocrity. p. 23
mediocrity posterboy: Thomas Kinkade (sorry to those who think his work is good art)

Spiritual vs. secular is a false dichotomy. The true dichotomy is NOT sin vs. sin. p. 27
Darwinism brought utilitarianism to the forefront, and so, worth has come to be measured by usefulness. p. 29
The most repeated phrase in the Genesis 1 creation account is “it was good.” People and things have inherent worth and utilitarianism degrades that inherent worth. p. 36
Responses (p. 40-51)
1)Be free from slavery to usefulness
2)Be free from boxed in spirituality that focuses on false dichotomies
3)Resist junk creativity and search out creativity that has integrity.
4)Demand higher standards.
5)Encourage the arts in your midst.
6)Support the arts.

Real spirituality is involved in real life. p. 57
The creative expressions of your “self” praise God. p. 59
If you are a real Christian then it will show in your work. p. 63
Fight evil, yes, but we must also affirm life and goodness. p. 65

Addicted to Mediocrity may be a bit severe, but the message is still all too applicable. Very sad.