Tuesday, July 03, 2012

Last Fandango

Okay, as Steve Scott has recently reminded me, my sabbatical is over.

Yeah, that's right, I'm done not blogging. Or something.

But not at Wilderness Fandango. I'm going to try to consistently (once a week) post over at Gospel Chronicles, which will be focused on, you guessed it, the good news about Jesus. If you occasionally got some kind of nourishment from Fandango, you might also from the Gospel Chronicles. Hope to see you there.

For all things non-theological I'll be blogging at Scraps & Scribs. I'm going to post poetry, book chatter, that sort of thing, here. I'm making no hard commitment about frequency of posting. We'll see.

And that's that. My last word at Wilderness Fandango. Seeya over at the new digs!

Monday, March 26, 2012

Ahem . . .

I know I said something about a 6 month sabbatical from blogging, but having made it nearly to three months, I've wandered into blogging again. It's going to be very Gospel-focused this time, and probably only a once a week post of any substance. But Gospel-focused is the thing. I'm going to be pretty strict about that.

Anyway, I'm calling it The Gospel Chronicles. If you liked Fandango, you might also like the Chronicles.

That's all.

Friday, December 30, 2011

Announcing a six month sabbatical from blogging

Well, there's been a raging debate going on in my head over whether I should continue this blog at all in 2012. You might have noticed the lack of posting lately. I've been trying to keep a minimal presence just in case I get all energized about blogging again.

But I don't think that's going to happen right away.

So the choice is, keep hanging around, sustaining said minimal presence, just in case . . . which seems rather pointless . . . or just calling it quits.

Here's what I think. It's no use keeping the lights on in the house if no one lives there anymore.  I think I will be blogging again someday, but not for the next few months at least.

So here's what I'll be doing. First, I'm taking a six month sabbatical from blogging. I'm going to spend some of that time thinking about what kind of blogging I want to do if ever I do ever resume this sort of thing.

And if I do, I think it will be something very different. But for now, the mojo is gone. I'm closing the candy store. When and if I come back, it will be at a different site altogether, with a whole different feel. If it happens, I'll be letting people know in the usual social media places, so by all means friend me, put me in your circle, or whatever.

Till then, farewell.  I'm on sabbatical.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Thursday Three

David Cooke's starter kit for 2012.

I just bought Jared Wilson's Gospel Wakefulness. That should be my next read of 2012.  [Funny that Barnes and Noble does not offer the ebook for their nook, but Christian Book does. What's with that, B&N?]

Speaking of Jared Wilson, his new small group study looks helpful: Seven Daily Sins.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Thursday Three

Listen to N. T. Wright, if only to hear how he pronounces the word "corollary." But no, really, interesting guy and he's making a very important point about the Gospel.

And I think (but this is just a guess) that Wright is making the same point that McKnight makes in his King Jesus Gospel, which I purchased last week and have just begun reading.

Oh, and did I tell you that N. T. Wright's book, Simply Jesus, was undoubtedly one of the best books I've ever read. Seriously. I thought the last chapter was a tad weak (where he answers the question, "what does the Kingdom of God look like in our lworld today?"), but I think Wright is saying very significant things in this book. Yeah, you should probably read it.

Thursday, December 08, 2011

Thursday Three

The Life of Faith according to Internet Monk

Spiritual Progress according to Nate.

Sanctificantion according to Tullian Tchividjian

[Note: Nate and Tullian are writing about the same matters, and seem to be in total agreement.]

Saturday, December 03, 2011

"The concentrated calamity of the cosmos..."

N. T. Wright's Simply Jesus. This is a fascinating book. Wright carefully depicts the particular conditions, political and religious, which form the social context of Jesus' ministry. You come away with a renewed sense of the sheer boldness of what Christ was telling people. How utter radical (and apparently crazy) it is to stand before a crowd and say the things he said. Here's a brief snip:
This, Jesus believed, is what it would look like when Israel's guide came back to Zion. It would not be the three men visiting Abraham, not the burning bush, not the pillar of cloud and fire, not Isaiah's smoky, seraphim-surrounded vision, not Ezekiel's whirling wheels, but a young man on a donkey, in tears, announcing God's judgement on the city and temple that stood on the cosmic fault lines, establishing his own still-uncomprehending followers as its surprising replacement, and then going off to take upon himself the full weight of evil, the concentrated calamity of the cosmos, so that its force would be annulled and the new world would be born. 

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

"Jesus, in all of His fullness, is the good news." Frank Viola

I'm always recommending Frank Viola's book. Once someone pushed back by saying Frank Viola was heretical and sending me the link to one of those watchdog websites where the guy goes on and on about all the heretics out there. I had to scroll about a mile to get to mention of Viola and I don't even remember now what it said, but the episode sticks in my mind because Viola seems so dang sound to me. He's just very Jesus-centric. If you haven't listened to his Epic Jesus podcast, you should do so. You'll se what I mean. But I wanted to mention a recent interview over at the blog called illuminate. The blogger is Jamal Jivanjee. There's good stuff over there. Anyway, back to the interview. Jamal starts out with the following comment.
The word ‘gospel’ means ‘good news’ and Jesus Christ is the personification of good news. Simply put, He is the gospel! In the New Testament, Paul & the apostles would proclaim the actual person of Jesus Christ. This was much more than a message containing some propositional truths about Christ and a few things He did. I’m convinced that all of our problems are rooted in a small vision of Jesus Christ. Simply put, the church is in desperate need of a large and stunning view of Jesus Christ! This view of Jesus Christ is rarely presented, however.
I love that. This is the gist of what has been guiding me for a long time now. I'm sorry if it sounds simplistic and unworthy of a post-doctoral degree in theology, but what we need is more Jesus. Jesus is big and strange and category busting and inconvenient to one and all.

 I like Frank's definition of the Gospel, and his definition of the Kingdom. They're helpful. My guiding principle as I journal through the Gospel of Mark is very close to what Frank is talking about. Jesus and the Kingdom and the Good News are in many ways interchangeable. Jesus is the good news, and Jesus is the the Kingdom. These statements of equivalence may require qualification, but they are nevertheless essentially true.

 Read the interview for some insightful explication of this idea and others. I kind it difficult to snip a characteristic quotation from this wide-ranging interview, but here's a try:
If you examine everywhere the term “gospel” is used throughout the New Testament, you will discover that it’s always bound up with the Person of Jesus (His work is united with His Person. While people regularly separate His work from His Person, you can’t separate His Person from His work. The same is true with His teachings). In His preaching and teaching, Jesus consistently pointed to Himself. In fact, the early church regarded the four gospels to be “the gospel.” And what do those four gospels present? They present Jesus: His life, His story, His teaching, His work. Read the four gospels carefully sometime and count the number of times that Jesus speaks about Himself. You will have no doubts that His message—His gospel—was Himself. (I’m thrilled that some evangelical scholars are writing about this now.) Paul, Peter, John, et al. preached the same gospel as did Jesus. Their message was also Christ.
If we start with Jesus and keep the focus there, we will not get all bent out of shape by secondary things. And my point is, everything else is secondary.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

"When death dies, all things live."

The Gospel is not our own personal happiness plan.

I love this interview with Scot McKnight. I haven't read McKnight's new book yet, but it's next on my list. I think he's put his finger on one of our key problems. Some snips from the interview:
The point is this is a story about Jesus and we’ve made it into our personal happiness plan. It’s like when we root for our favorite sports team. When I watch the Bears, I root for the Bears because I want them to do well, not because of something I will get out of it. To me some people watch the Bears only to see if their players are going to score fantasy points so their teams can win. That is what I think we have become. We have become fantasy Christians. We see ourselves vested in certain elements so that when those elements do well we feel good. We don’t care about what’s going on in the pages of the Bible except to the degree that it satisfies what we want to get out of the Bible.

The Triumph of the Lamb

I notice that Stephen Altrogge at The Blazing Center has been reading Dennis Johnson's book on The Revelation, The Triumph of the Lamb. I mention this only because Triumph is one of the best Biblical commentaries I've ever read. If you want to study The Revelation, you should read Triumph of the Lamb. That's all.