Posts from February 2012
These days have been filled with contrasts for me. In a way, we all face these contrasts, but when they are too close to each other, the tensions they produce literally move us from joy to tears. One the one hand, my baby daughter is now two-months-old. My wife and I celebrate the joy of her life and are thankful for the Lord’s blessing upon us. We are tired and somewhat sleep deprived, but her smile brings joy to our existence and reminds us about the goodness of life. On the other hand, however, it was the second anniversary of my dad’s passing and I find myself missing him more every day. Dead is as real as life and both bring deep emotions that flow from the core of our beings. Why can we be so happy and so sad at the same time?
Cinematic portrayals of Biblical stories can be a helpful means to encourage our Christian walk. Especially is this the case for me when I watch a movie about the life of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Of course, not everything in a film will be theologically accurate—but no film can accomplish that task. A movie is the director’s and actors’ interpretation of the Gospel events. I have appreciated the following six movies about Jesus. There are sections in each film that touch me deeply and nurture deeper appreciation and love for our Lord. Perhaps one or more of these films will benefit you in the same way.
My students usually have trouble grasping Chalcedonian Christology that Jesus, God the Son, lives as one person in two natures, simultaneously. I’ve thought about this repeatedly enough that the traditional formulation feels familiar to me, but students hearing it for the first time are confounded. Maybe I should be confounded more myself, and allow the mystery to creep in more heavily when I consider the Incarnation. I like to add that it’s appropriate when we think about Jesus and the deep things of God that we feel a bit dizzy.
But we still need to try and make sense of it however we may grasp at these deep things with our feeble minds. Often I find that the hardest thing is not in thinking that Jesus is eternally God the Son, or that he is a true human being, but that he lives a dual life by possessing both natures and living through them at the same time (the hypostatic union). The analogy I explain to them from our life experience is focused on understanding the simultaneity of the Incarnation for God the Son.
Rolane and I took home many impressions from our visit to Israel back in 1994. Not the least among them was the image of shepherds ‘abiding in the fields, keeping watch over their flock’. As we hurried in true western fashion from one important site to another, we came upon one or more of these caretakers seemingly just ‘hanging out’ with their wooly charges.
We were impressed because their demeanor was in such sharp contrast to the model of shepherding we often see in our churches and ourselves. In the midst of hurrying about being faithful feeders, guides, guardians and healers of our people, we often neglect the power and blessing of just being there with them.
Herman Bavinck helpfully (as usual) comments on a proper way to understand “tradition” and its relationship to Scripture and theology:
“[F]or a correct understanding [of the Bible] it still often requires a wide range of historical, archaeological, and geographical skills and information. The times have changed, and with the times people, their life, thought, and feelings, have changed. Therefore, a tradition is needed that preserves the connectedness between Scripture and the religious life of our time. Tradition in its proper sense is the interpretation and application of the eternal truth in the vernacular and life of the present generation. Scripture without such a tradition is impossible . . ."
As part of a 16-week overview of the Story of Scripture, I am preaching on the Ten Commandments this Sunday at church. The Second Commandment, in particular, has generated a variety of explanations:
“You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below” (Exodus 20:4).
Why no images? Explanations vary, and they are not necessarily mutually exclusive. Here are just a few:
The different tasks of leadership pose many challenges for a leader. It requires that the leader have a good sense of knowing the people well enough to relate to them but also for him to have a good sense of direction in terms of where he wants to lead them. Fundamentally, however, one of the most neglected aspects of leadership entails knowing exactly where the leader is in terms of self-awareness. In other words, the leader must have a good read on his own strengths and weaknesses in order to know how to best lead the people he shepherds over. This requires a strong sense of self-awareness of the leader in his giftedness, his personality, and his leadership style. This entry will examine the biblical encouragements for self-awareness and the hindrances that prevent his success in leadership.