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Sunday
Jun162019

The Resignation

O God, whose thunder shakes the sky,
Whose eye this atom globe surveyd,
To thee, my only rock, I fly,
Thy mercy in thy justice praise.

The mystic mazes of thy will,
The shadows of celestial light,
Are past the power of human skill,
But what the Eternal acts is right.

O teach me in the trying hour,
When anguish swells the dewy tear,
To still my sorrows, own thy power,
Thy goodness love, thy justice fear.

If in this bosom aught but Thee
Encroaching sought a boundless sway,
Omniscience could the danger see,
And Mercy look the cause away.

Then why, my soul, dost thou complain?
Why drooping seek the dark recess?
Shake off the melancholy chain,
For God created all to bless.

But ah! My breast is human still;
The rising sigh, the falling tear,
My languid vitals' feeble rill,
The sickness of my soul declare.

But yet, with fortitude resigned,
I'll thank the inflictor of the blow;
Forbid the sigh, compose my mind,
Nor let the gush of misery flow.

The glomy mantle of the night,
Which on my sinking spirit steald,
Will vanish at the morning light,
Which God, my East, my sun reveals.

~Thomas Chatterton (1752-1770) 

Friday
Jun142019

What the profs suggest works

I'm not bragging. Really. I have so far to go when it comes to reading and correctly understanding the Greek New Testament. But I have made progress. And that is exciting.

My Greek prof, Dr. Baxter, encouraged us with some wisdom he learned from Dr. Scot McKnight, and that is to read the Greek NT for seven minutes a day in order to keep our Greek. I took that advice to heart, and since I finished Greek Exegesis at the end of Decemver 2018, I have been spending regular time in the Greek NT, depending on my schedule. Last semester, with my Pentateuch and Aplogetics classes, the time wasn't there, but since the end of April, I've had more time.

I have worked daily on translating I John. Some days, I have missed, of course. But generally, what I've been doing is taking one verse, breaking it down into its phrases, and translating it. I copy the Greek text in a notebook and then I translate. I also purchased Martin Culy's exegetical commentary, which spends time discussing grammatical issues. It has been so hepful.

I recently started reading Matthew in the Greek NT, along with Grant Osborne's commentary. I have the Greek NT in Logos, so I can hover over unfamilar words. I have surprised myself by being able to manage quite well without looking things up.

Of course, I John and Matthew are among the easier books. But we all start slowly and build. When I start Hebrew in September, all of this progress may slow down a bit, but I've built a habit over these months, and I hope to continue having the Greek NT as part of my regular Bible reading.

Professors make suggestions to help, and more often than not, they work. Especially if they've tried them out themselves.

Monday
Jun102019

There's more than one way to skin a cat

I love that phrase. I tend to be a problem solver, so this has always appealed to me.

I was thinking about all of the furor in the Christian blog world over the matter of the Southern Baptist Convention and women preaching. It would be very easy to get caught up that, but I'm trying to stay focused on what is pertinent to me. That simply is not. I'm not part of the SBC, and do not anticipate it ever being so.

I have been thinking a lot about my schooling and its eventual conclusion. It won't be this academic year, and likely not next. I have certain core courses I need to finish, and I only take 2 per semester. I want to enjoy this time; I'm in no hurry. But I still think. I'm more than half completed my MDiv.

One of my oldest and dearest friends and I had tea last week. We have shared many things together: raising daughters, raising sons, homeschooling, teaching the Bible, children who walk away from the Church, and one of the most profound experiences, anxiety. We were discussing the fact that in our local church, there was a need to have more female biblical counselors. There are women who do not want to open up to their pastor, and not every pastor's wife wants to or is equipped to counsel (that may come as a shock to some, but I have it on authority from a pastor's wife that they aren't all built the same).

When I hear that a fellow Christian is suffering with anxiety, I immediately feel sympathy. I know that feeling. I know that helpless feeling; the shame; the paralysis. I try to encourage anyone who asks for help. It's quite co-incidental that there is a certificate program at my school for biblical counseling. It would mean an extra academic year in addition to meeting the requirements of my MDiv. But it is an opportunity to take Scripture and apply it to the lives of others. Is that not what women who want to preach seek to do?

I have no aspirations to be a lead pastor. I can't imagine the pressure. The reality of being scrutizined every Sunday and have my personal life under a microscope. Aside from what I think about what the Bible says on the matter -- and in all honesty, I've never really sat down and examined both sides -- it is not for someone like me. 

But counseling is a way of preaching. No, there isn't an expectant congregation, but counseling is definitely where the rubber meets the road. How does one take the Scripture and apply it to those who are hurting? Struggling? Confused? Pastoring is not all about being in leadership. It's about shepherding, guding. Women do that all the time. Counselling is pastoring even if it doesn't involve church office.

This is something that I'm thinking about lately.

Saturday
Jun082019

Huswifery*

Make me, O Lord, Thy spinning-wheel complete.
Thy holy word my distaff make for me.
Make mine affections Thy swift flyers neat,
And make my soul Thy holy spool to be.
My conversation make to be Thy reel,
And reel thy yarn thereupon spun of Thy wheel.

Make me Thy loom then, knit therein this twine,
And make Thy Holy Spirit, Lord, wind quills:
Then weave the web Thyself. Thy yarn is fine.
Thine ordinances make my fulling-mills.
Then dye the same in heavenly colors of choice,
All pinked with varnished flowers of paradise.

Then clothe therewith mine understanding, will,
Affections, judgment, conscience, memory,
My words and actions, that their shine may fill
My ways with glory and Thee glorify.
Then mine apparel shall display before Ye
That I am clothed in holy robes for glory.

~ Edward Taylor (1642-1729)

* Huswifery means housekeeping.

Friday
Jun072019

The best tip I've had for how to engage in debate

One of the best profs I've had at school thus far is a 70+ gentleman who is also one of the more progressive profs. He's an Emeritus, but he does still teach part time. I'm thrilled to be able to sit under his teaching this fall when I take Theology of Church and Ministry. He was also my Systematic Theology prof. I watched him for two semesters engage in respectful discussion with others. I watched him listen patiently, consider the question, and respond constructively. He is not the type of personto shun another Christian because that individual doesn't agree with him on every point. I learned a lot from simply watching.

By far the best tip I've ever had regarding debate, however, comes from my husband, and the tip is this: stop debating. Or in other terms: if you think the other guy is wrong, let him be wrong.

Being insistent on pushing our (perceived) right to be correct, we can easily become proud and arrogant. We mistakenly think we can change people. We can't. Or we want to be the one who says "that thing" that will alter a person's future. When it comes to the spiritual life of another person, we should want the best for them so much that we don't care if we're the person who changes their thinking. Changing one's thinking takes time; years, perhaps. I've wrestled through things for years (and I'm still wrestling with others) before being convinced one way or another. After we've had our say (respectfully, of course) if it seems like we're not getting anywhere, there comes a point when we must simply look for another alternative: to put it crassly, we should just shut up.