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Showing posts from May, 2013

book response: Prototype by Jonathan Martin (2013)

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Pastor Martin is strong in being weak. This is good. His honesty in his weakness and God's goodness towards him, nevertheless, makes him an engaging author of Prototype: What Happens When You Discover You're More Like Jesus Than You Think? He tells story of a Jesus who is awesome and who does awesome things through the people around him. He elevates everyone else in this book and not himself. He keeps pointing to
others as examples of Jesus at work and points to himself only to show the wonder-working power of his savior. His perspective, and style, are seen in this quote,
I feel like the guy from the old Hair Club for Men commercials: "I'm not just the president... I'm also a client." I'm not just the pastor, I'm a body under renovation. Because if God is saving anybody at Renovatus, He's saving me, and I have plenty to be saved from and even more to saved to. p. 186 The more honest he is about his oddities, the more normal he comes across. My f…

housing upgrades after disasters

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In light of yesterday's blog about stronger homes for stronger tornadoes, I've been thinking about two related issues.

Issue one is the added cost for safety.

Hurricane straps make a difference, as would basements, or safe rooms. In an interview on NPR yesterday with the former mayor of Joplin, Missouri, Mike Woolston, he talked about the burden poorer people would bear if the building code was changed to require safe rooms. Joplin was severely damaged by a monster tornado two years ago.
BLOCK: You mentioned rebuilding there in Joplin. And I wonder if - as people are rebuilding, do you find that they are building any differently? Are they making their homes any - possibly any safer than they were before, adding safe rooms or storm shelters? WOOLSTON: I think quite a few people are adding safe rooms, and I think probably more of them at least talking about it. There was some effort moving forward shortly after the storm to have safe rooms required in all new construction. Th…

jumbo straw bale house

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I like housing that is outside the norm, which could also be phrased, I like abnormal housing. Look at my Pinterest page to see all the alternatives that strike my fancy. Maybe they have a different shape, or a smaller size, or use a different building material.

In New England, we have an abundance of stone houses. We "grow" as many rocks as we do trees up here. I like the solidity of stone. I like the solidity of timber framing as well. But stone is continuously solid, unlike the fame only of the timber. Growing up, I played in rock forts. I didn't build them, but in the woods around my childhood home, boulders that were dug up and out of the way of construction were shoved into the woods. They made a great fortress for childhood Johnny.
Nowadays, I like rammed earth. It's solid, and beautiful.
I also like the earth log wall.

But I live in New England which gets pretty cold. Neither dirt nor stone have a great R-value. I like thermal mass, but research shows, in cli…

Tony Jones plans to follow through with his civil marriage

Two years ago, I wrote a post, which generated more hits than I normally see on my little ol' blog, criticizing Dr. Tony Jones's decision to have a sacramental but not civil marriage in order to demonstrate his allegiance to the gay community in Minnesota. His Twitter statement read, "But we are not getting legally married until you can. We are getting sacramentally married." In hindsight, as my views have evolved on gay marriage as a civil right, I really appreciate his sentiment. I still do not think it was the right call as a church leader or seminary professor. Even a national columnist thought it was a poor choice.

But today, Minnesota legalized gay marriage, and Dr. Jones has announced his plans to civilly marry his sacramental wife this summer. I'm happy for them.


the angry, bloody God of the Bible? part 5

This series started from a lectionary reading last week, Psalm 68. I can't track with David ascribing to God this invitation,
Psalm 68:21 Surely God will crush the heads of his enemies, the hairy crowns of those who go on in their sins.
22 The Lord says, “I will bring them from Bashan; I will bring them from the depths of the sea,
23 that your feet may wade in the blood of your foes, while the tongues of your dogs have their share.”
But then stories come out, such as today's, of women escaping sexual slavery. And I have to admit, there is a part of me that wants to wade in these brothers' blood. What they did was so wrong, I have a hard time processing it rationally, and want to react to it viscerally. This is why our society has a legal process and tries to stop lynch mobs. Those guys hurt three women, yet it disrupts the baseline of trust in our society, and hurts all of us.

Did you see what happened there? My brain and my heart had a dialog and my soul is trying to synt…

the angry, bloody God of the Bible? part 4

You might think I'm the brilliant kind of writer who knows the end from the beginning when composing pieces. If you thought so, you are mistaken, and that's why I'm only a blogger with a day job. This weekend, I think I saw a light at the end of the tunnel. But this post is still in the dark tunnel. I chose not to finish surveying the synoptics, because I did not expect much from the effort.

The same style of violent language shows up again in John the Beloved's Revelation. It's a little different in that the heavenly armies are doing the butchering. In the Apocalypse, nothing is clear and simple, so much of it is symbolic. This is from the end of chapter 14.
Rev. 14:17 Another angel came out of the temple in heaven, and he too had a sharp sickle. 18 Still another angel, who had charge of the fire, came from the altar and called in a loud voice to him who had the sharp sickle, “Take your sharp sickle and gather the clusters of grapes from the earth’s vine, because…

the angry, bloody God of the Bible? part 3

I didn't have time to research and write today, but I did have time to read. My eyes and ears are "open" to this topic, and I'm seeing how others are struggling like myself with God's violence.

Here are a couple I came across today.

Morgan Guyton is an associate pastor in a United Methodist church. I follow him on Twitter and after clicking through a couple links I ended up on his post about God's anger, God’s wrath as a cosmic spiritual immune system. He's a blogger after my own heart. His blogs are too long and bleed all over the place. They are an absolute mess, and I love it. I also really dig over-extended metaphors. I don't know if I buy all of his ideas in this post, but I identify with his struggle.

Richard Beck is a professor of  psychology at Abilene Christian University. He, too, is a believer who wrestles with God. Yesterday he wrote a post Devoted to Destruction: Reading Cherem Non-Violently. He writes about his jailhouse Bible class readin…

the angry, bloody God of the Bible? part 2

This series, the angry, bloody God of the Bible? begins here.

This post jumps right into the data from Jesus.

Jesus told his disciples that by seeing him, they've seen the Father. He is God. The same God as in the Old Testament. One option not available but born out of similar frustration is that of the early church heretic Marcion. His solution was to reject the Old Testament and most of the New Testament. He was Jesus-only to the extreme. But Jesus, himself, says some extreme things.
In Matthew 10 he states,
34 “Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. 35 For I have come to turn “‘a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law— 36 a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household.’ 37 “Anyone who loves their father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves their son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. 38 Whoever does not take …