Thursday, June 21, 2007

prayer continued...

This is quoted in Philip Yancey's book Prayer: Does it make any difference?

A Franciscan Benediction:

May God bless you with discomfort
At easy answers, half-truths, and superficial relationships
So that you may live deep within your heart.

May God bless you with anger
At injustice, oppression, and exploitation of people,
So that you may work for justice, freedom, and peace.

May God bless you with tears
To shed for those who suffer pain, rejection, hunger and war,
So that you may reach out your hand to comfort them and
To turn their pain into joy.

And may God bless you with enough foolishness
To believe you can make a difference in the world,
So that you can do what others claim cannot be done
To bring justice and kindness to all our children and the poor.


Does this speak to you in any way? How so? Let me know.


Monday, June 11, 2007


I have been reading through Philip Yancey's newest book Prayer: Does it make a difference? (2006). It is really a good read - it is helping me see how prayer can work from different angles. I just finished chapter 5 which talks about prayer as lament or complaint. Do you ever find yourself complaining to God in prayer or lamenting a difficult situation? Yancey argues (rightly) that we should because the Bible teaches us to - just read the Psalms. At the end of the chapter he offers a quote by Walter Brueggemann from his book The Message of the Psalms (a book I own and that is very good, btw), I am putting it up to see what y'all think because it is a bit thought provoking. Well, it is part Yancey, then the quote from Brueggemann.

The Bible schools us to pray with blistering honesty. Walter Brueggemann suggests one obvious reason for candor in the book of Psalms: "becasue life is like that, and these poems are intended to speak to all of life, not just part of it." Brueggemann finds it jarring to visit upbeat evangelical churches and hear only happy songs, when half of the psalms are "songs of lament, protest, and complaint about the incoherence that is expereienced in the world. At least it is clear that a church that goes on singing 'happy songs' in the face of raw reality is doing something very different from what the Bible itself does (Prayer, 66).

I was struck by this quote - is it true that many evangelical church worship services may be acting somewhat in contrast to what is seen in the Bible? If we based our worship services on the Psalms, it seems to me like 7-8 of 10 songs would center on lament, complaint or protest and only 2 might actually center on praise and thanksgiving, that is if we patterned our song services based on what we see in the Psalms. Should we pattern our song services after the Psalms and should we be sure to include songs of lament and such? How do you think the fist time visitor might respond to such a scene or even a pre-believer visiting for the first time?


Friday, June 08, 2007


Well, after three and a half but well enjoyed years I finshed a Masters of Divinity from the Assemblies of God Theological Seminary! (commencement was May 5th, 2007)

I did not have specific focus though I would say it is top heavy with biblical studies/theology and the biblical languages and exegesis. I did take the practical ministry courses but my philosophy was that I wanted to invest my time (and money) in things I would really only have one shot at - being mentored in the biblical languages and how to study the Bible.

The way I see it, there are things that change and things that do not change. "How to do ministry" is always changing - but the Bible does not change. So, I chose to spend as much time as I could in Bible or theology classes (you can never have too much Bible and theology, imo) and the languages knowing once I was done I would probably not always have the time to really be digging in - whereas with ministry I figure I can always read the latest and newest book on ministry - but I would not always have the opportunity to be mentored in Bible study and how biblical languages work. I really believe this will pay off for me in the long run. Make sense?

One question we all ask is what now? Well, now that I have an MDiv I need to find a J.O.B and start paying the bills - seminary is very expensive. What job will I pursue? Also, My wife and I both have the MDiv (we met at the seminary and married a year later) so we really prefer that we do ministry together so we are seeking the Lord for what direction we should go. Our biggest heart is to do cross-cultural work, particularly overseas.

Until then, I/we have several different avenues of possibilites - teaching, pastoring, or even chaplaincy. I believe my strongest gifting is in teaching so I am praying about how I should pursue that. I do sense the desire to go for doctoral work but I want to take some time and reflect on my MDiv experience before moving on - besides I hardly have a dissertation topic or proposal, which should probably be turned in with the applications (and also need the "extensive pastoral experience" most schools want - if I did a chaplain residency I could probably do a PhD in Pastoral theology and couseling, which would be interesting).

One problem I have is I am a generalist - I love all aspects of the Bible both OT and NT - both intrigue me - though I probably have more of an inkling for the OT and really enjoy Biblical Hebrew. At one point I had the desire to be able to teach from any major genre of the Bible. The other problem is I am seeing just how competitive teaching is, even overseas. It seems like everyone wants to teach. PhD programs are very comptetitive so I need to know this is what the Lord is leading me to do before I would invest in such a commitment. So, as you can see, I need some time to pray and seek the Lord for his direction.

Well that's about it for now.