procrastination, heresy, and navel-gazing.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007


i may have already mentioned my sermon series on Lamentations, thankfully the moose is up. it's done, done, done.

i had a squiz at the Perspective website (a resource set up by a bunch of pastors with helpful tips for preachers)

for interest's sake i had a look, and they gave three ways of looking at the OT, and specifically the book of Lamentations;

  • 1/ A Christotelic Approach - Jesus the fulfillment of the OT. OT sets up the problem, Jesus is sent by God as the solution to them.
  • 2/ A Christotypic Approach - the OT provides the shadow, Jesus is the epitome.
  • 3/ An Exemplary Approach - look at the examples of good and bad. learn from it.

    (this was from Bryson Smith's outline - not to be confused with Byron Smith)

    i think there are places for all three of these approaches.

    my previous post refers to a group who may use 3/ a whole heap, i'm not sure of the extent of the other two.

    in our church's series on the story of life used 1/ a heap more.

    going through Lamentations, a few years ago i would definitely have used 1/ and 3/. but this time around it was 2/ all the way.

    it was hard, it felt almost wrong to say that Jerusalem was a "type" of Christ. the language is of Jerusalem being the annointed one, God's holy one, almost messianic. [like the (relatively) new Jewish reading of Isaiah 52-53.]

    Jesus came as Jerusalem, was punished as Jerusalem.

    and thinking through the atonement after having read Lamentations in a Christotypic way made it a whole lot clearer.

    and i pray this was also true for the fellow-travellers.

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  • Sunday, October 28, 2007

    active listening

    i was challenged yesterday by my (non-Christian) flatmate about Christians' inability to discuss.
    he said that whenever Christians talk to him, there's never the sense of equal footing, that there is give and take, that they may be willing to concede their shortcomings in understanding and reasoning.

    this really stumped me.

    how do you discuss with someone you are convinced is wrong in a way that is open, without compromising yourself?

    we want to say, "yeah, we listen, we're good listeners," but my flatmate just says, "no you're not, you're crap. you don't listen, you just want to convince me the whole time. and that's no discussion."

    and at a certain point i have agree. there are things i won't compromise on. there are things that are so central to who i am as a person, that to compromise would negate who i am as a person; if i'm going to give ground on those things, there must be a pretty sound argument to do so.

    but this still doesn't make for the 'open dialogue' my flatmate believes he will never get from a Christian.

    Friday, October 26, 2007

    Hillsong loves a cheerful tither

    on my day off yesterday, before auditioning for ready steady cook, i was watching whatever the channel 7 morning show is (the one with larry), and they were interviewing some Hillsongers

    having several people in my faculty at uni from hillsong, and other denominations i'm not 100% on the same page as, i've often tried to pin down why i'm uncomfortable with a lot of what they say.

    there are many areas of agreement, but it's not good enough to say "i like some of your stuff, but not this," as there must be an underlying thing behind it.

    and i think larry's question on tithing might have triggered the answer.

    the atheist society at UNSW had a sign up saying, "Hillsong: God's ATM Machine (sic.)"

    larry's question was along these lines, and the answer was, "tithing is a biblical principal. I give 10%."

    and i think i've got it
    it's all about biblical theology.
    the way they read the bible, beginning to end, is fundamentally different. questions i have from Hillsong members, and other AOG* churches, betray a lack of understanding in the cohesiveness of the whole bible. a superficiality of understanding, of Jesus' fulfillment of the Law.

    so Paul's exhortation to give generously, with a joyful heart, supplying others' need out of your riches; has been summed up in the Law - give 10%, as opposed to the other way around, where 10% was a number, due to the hardness of people's hearts.

    i hope this is the sympathetic reading i've been searching for.

    * Assemblies of God, the bigger denomination Hillsong comes under

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    Monday, October 22, 2007

    bullies and facebook

    pop quiz:
    should i be facebook "friends" with a guy who unrepentantly used to beat the crap out of me at school for most of highschool?

    and to top it all off, he asked me!

    maybe i should link up with him at hatebook?

    sabre-tooths and memes

    me and my self-psycho-analysing ways have come up with a new hypothesis regarding men, women and singleness

    anecdotally, it seems women can get along well with, and are supported well by, their female friends
    perhaps an evolutionary sociologist would work this out along "meme" theory, where the men were more likely to die in battle, or by being ravaged by a sabre-toothed tiger; the women would support one another in a widows' fellowship
    it seems this as a default position, whilst not preferable, may at least be tolerated

    men, however are by their nature more solitary, or with 1-2 close friends. when one, and then both of these friends get hooked up, or move, or meet with the menacing Smilodon, the default mode is not to join a men's support network, but to become solitary. the loss of their few confidants is pretty much the end of it for them

    the evolutionary sociologist, again, might leap into gear again, this meme being part of the "leader-of-the-pack" ideology, where it's lonely up the top. (tho, again, my hypothesis is that this is due more to necessity than desire)

    men, therefore, need that female companionship in some ways more than do the women., as their default position will not be to seek male companionship, but solitude.

    perhaps this helps explain why some women can find commitment to a bloke tough - the default position isn't so bad, and this compared with the perceived uncertainty of marriage, the default is immensely more preferable.

    the maniacal ramblings of a jilted man, or a profound philosophical treatise. i'll be the judge, thanks.

    Wednesday, October 17, 2007

    the cordial of judgement

    this week's sermon title will be "Lamentations :: Judgement and Lament"

    however, i realised this morning that judgement is perhaps one of those "churchy" words, that are confusing to the non-churched, and glossed over by the churched

    so i'm trying to come up with an analogy, and i'm currently like the dog doing its circles over its bed before it sits down, with cordial

    (was this too obtuse a way to say i've almost come to a definitive decision?)

    so if you say "i'm going to make a glass of cordial," the assumption is, you're going to pick the cordial flavour (red or yellow - yes, they are flavours), then you're going to put the the liquid in a glass, add water (never the other way around, unless you're COMPLETELY insane), and then drink the darn thing

    likewise for judgement:
    God evaluates the situation, makes his decision, and then completes the appropriate action, be this blessing or cursing

    judgement isn't just weighing up, it's not just handing down a verdict, but all of these, along with the execution

    how many thumbs up does this get - or is it redundant, do people already widely get the idea of God's Judgement?

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    Wednesday, October 10, 2007

    the philosophy of politics

    i found this fascinating interview from Jon Stewart's Newshour, linked here by way of Swords to Plowshares, which i found via Faith and Theology which i usually look at via Nothing New Under the Sun!

    it's a really insightful look at what it means to live life out, if all of life was politics!
    for example, do you say what is right, or what will win? the answer, for one who lives life as if it were all politics, is obviously the latter.
    it's how to win friends and influence people taken to the extreme.

    i guess it might win you friends - but what kind of friends?

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    Monday, October 08, 2007

    new bible translation!

    i was trying to find some hints on some specific rendering decisions on Lamentations, for my up-coming sermon series at Wild St

    and lo and behold, i came upon a new, post-modern Bible translation project - the International Standard Version!

    the idea is, they had a crack at a new translation, got lots of feedback, and instead of just declaring it the final version (despite its name!), they have actually decided to invite feedback.

    from their website:

  • all ISV readers are invited to comment on how specific passages of the current release of the ISV can be rendered clearer and even more insightful in the next version.

    they want people to:
  • Send us a suggestion on improving a specific verse
  • Report a typo error in the current edition of the ISV text
  • Ask us a question about why we rendered a specific passage the way we did.

    it's good to note that Final decisions on acceptance of textual suggestions will remain with the Committee on Translation so we can maintain scholarly standards set by the ISV Foundation.

    you can even get listed as a contributing editor, provided you help out enough (however much that may be)

    i believe you can get paper editions, but for a while at least, and particularly until they've finished Genesis, Leviticus, Numbers, 1 & 2 Kings, 2 Chronicles, Job, Isaiah, and Ezekiel, if you want to use it you'll have to use either a PDA, or bring your laptop to church with you!


  • Sunday, October 07, 2007

    t-shirt talk

    been thinking about t-shirts
    youth group want some - something about sense of identity
    found this one via
    i don't have many christian t-shirts, mainly coz they're tacky and stupid (i found one at vinnie's once, with "www.jesus.come". yup.

    however i do like kurt's "i am not the messiah",
    as well as threadless's arminianism v calvinism (h/t to elsie), on the front (as i remember), "i chose this t-shirt", the back with "this t-shirt chose me".

    Wednesday, October 03, 2007

    book list

    i've had to compile two different book lists in the last week,
    1/ for my college application form, listing "at least 5" Christian books that have influenced me, and
    2/ for CBS Core, a suggested reading list, as the students start building Christian libraries for themselves

    so what are the top 5 Christian books that have influenced you?

    mine are:
    1. The Myths of Science (ed. by Kirsten Birkett)
    2. Knowing God (JI Packer)
    3. Holiness (JC Ryle)
    4. Evangelism and the Sovereignty of God (JI Packer)
    5. Answers in Genesis - (tho this was remarkable for my early Christian growth, i look back now with sorrow as i see how they manage to pigeon-hole the creation v evolution debate)

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