Imaginatively Inhabiting the Bible

Savor – that’s the Word – that’s the vision – that’s the mission – – – Savoring the Auctor and Perfector – – – Savoring the WoG! …the WoG that incarnated, and sought with all His heart to do the will of God like a deer panting for water …like a starving man striving for food!

To subversively counter the disaffected former ‘readers’ and the simply indifferent and negligent. To reclaim grounds and lands and continents of confidence via IMAGINATIVELY INHABITING! To subvert the plausibility of “Bibleless Christianity.” To subvert mammon idolatry and quantitative analysis junkies. To subvert the pragmatists and utilitarianites. To subvert the paradigm of the Scriptures regressing from seldom used to never used, and from rarely thought about to completely forgotten …from the WoG being lost to us as much as if it had ceased to exist. To subversively plant Words in our minds and hearts …in the marrow of our being …in our souls! To find ourselves reading as poets and artists …and with these bold, unlicensed scavengers ask, “What moves me here? What can I use?”

To resist (believing in resistance) and act in sundry ways subversive to: high-tech distraction and buzz – the buzz that forbids me to hear my own thoughts, let alone the voice of God. To resist the dark power that would make Bible-reading one more casualty of this relentless assault on contemplation and the inner-life. To resist the information deluge that has now arrived – and hating with all my heart the scenario wherein the Bible vanishes with barely a ripple.

To delight in the fact that reading the Bible is the most subversive thing a person can do in the tech-centered “information” deluge. The Bible rebukes hollow technology and exploitive policies, as well as the wistful adherents of “Bibleless Christianity.” The Bible cut against the grain, subversive and radically countercultural.

To join the resistance and relish the truth that – – – > the political is NOT ultimate. And to understand that – the belief that it is ultimate is why so many conversations on almost any topic so quickly degenerate into debates between conservative and liberal political agendas. Often people talk, even in Christian circles, as if the only way to really change the world is to engage in political activity. That real change, if it occurs, will begin with a  political movement of some kind. But that is mistaken, a form of idolatry. Politics is always downstream from the culture. …Relishing the fact that change (TGB) comes from ordinary people being faithful in the ordinary and routine of daily life. And grasping (really KNOWING) that this faithful presence is as essential for cultural transformation as scholars developing ideas and artists making art. The Gospel (the advancement and expansion of the Kingdom of Heaven) really begins to be seen in the grace of God fleshed out in the story of history and int he history of my life.

We are drawn to stories not just because they are entertaining, but because stories help us make sense of life in our beautiful, bewildering, and badly broken world. This is why children are instinctively drawn to storytellers.

…We are drawn in – because stories follow a trajectory that reflects our experience of life in a broken world. Stories include an element of tension that must be resolved, and in doing so, echo the deep yearning we have for redemption from the alienation, fragmentation, failure, and disappointment that always lurks in the shadows, bringing tension that we cannot escape.

“Creation, fall, redemption, and restoration is not an exotic doctrinal nicety that Christians believe as a matter of ritual. Rather, it is a definition of the reality in which all human beings live and move and have their being.”

Story is essential to human life …it’s the way we try to make sense of things in a broken world. STORIES are how the perennial questions of existence are considered and explored.

“Imagination is not only the uniquely human capacity to envision that which is not, and therefore the fount of all invention and innovation. In its arguable most transformative and revelatory capacity, it is the power that enables us to empathize with humans whose experiences we have never shared.” – J.K. Rowling

“Trying to understand another person (i.e. really listening to their story) is one of the most profound forms of love.” – Vern Poythress

#ImaginativelyInhabit!

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Conversation w/ Jesus

It’s 29 A.D. You walk up to Jesus and ask Him, “What is the first element on the periodic table?” Jesus stares back at you blankly. Jesus turns to someone near Him and says something in a language you don’t understand (probably Aramaic).

Just then you get a text message from a friend who likes to debate a lot and “be right” about stuff talked about and discussed (i.e. not so much known for being a doer, but definitely known for talking). And – at that very moment (coincidence of coincidences) – he wants to know your thoughts about The Humanity of JesusHOW human was/is Jesus? Was Jesus really FULLY, thoroughly, human?

pause: how do you have cell phone reception at this moment? [that’s a footnote-esque question just for fun].

Somehow your question about the first element on the periodic table gets translated into a language that Jesus actually speaks (because He certainly did not know the English language!). And now – the moment of truth – Jesus gives you His answer – – – > “I don’t know.”

Jesus did not know that in 1869 Russian chemist Dimitri Mendeleev started the development of the periodic table, arranging chemical elements by atomic mass. He predicted the discovery of other elements, and left spaces open in his periodic table for them. And Jesus did not know that Dimitri would settle hydrogen as the first element on the periodic table.

Apollinarianism is the heresy [proposed by Apollinaris of Laodicea …died 390] that Jesus could not have had a human mind; rather, Jesus had a human body and lower soul (the seat of the emotions) but a divine mind.
Did you know that – – – > the explanation for Jesus’ miracles is NOT His divinity …the explanation for the miracles of Jesus is The Holy Spirit!

Risk Leads to Responsibility

Adventure leads to ‘boredom’

Rivers lead to the ocean!

:::

& speaking of the ocean …Jomebadesius was reading the story of Job, and he commented, “God gave Job into the hand of Satan, but Satan is never not in the hand of God. The massive gravity (which is never not all-encompassing and always powerfully supreme over all of us on earth) of God governs the goings and doings of all (which is to say ALL) who are inescapably subordinate (never to be graduated from subjugation). *The boy who is placed by his beloved on board an enemy vessel does well to meditate on the fact that his beloved owns (and has authored) the ocean! …and is in fact absolutely sovereign ore the enemy’s boat as well – even if it should somehow travel in realms other than the ocean.”

Childbirth & Photography

When people say, “Give it to God in prayer,” or “I need to pray about that stressful and complicated situation” their view of prayer is typically too tame. Giving a stressful situation to God is like giving birth to a child. You must push, there is wincing and screaming, there is passion and pain …and there is sweet relief and authentic joy.

You could be the world’s best photographer. You could be the most expert darkroom technician. You could present entire albums of astonishing photos to a person; each photo masterfully captured and developed. But if the viewer is blind they won’t see any of it. For all their beauty, the pictures will go utterly unappreciated by those who don’t have eyes to see them. One the other hand, a toddler who shares poorly taken pictures on a disposable camera that were developed at Walgreens will have his mother’s undivided attention and awe!

Prayers that Rage

Rage. It’s okay. At least it can be. God says to me that it is true that raging in prayer is not only okay, but it is commanded. To ask God to curse evil is a good thing. Evil deserved (i.e. it is OWED) God’s wrath! Pleading with God to destroy evil …that is the essence of keep me from temptation and deliver me from evil! Evil is something that I want to be delivered from because it is repulsive and utterly deserving of God’s wrath and infinite displeasure.

But these prayers Jar My Sensitivities!? Indeed …in large part because you have indwelling sin still in you, the monster in the hollows has not be utterly eradicated. Though the death blow has been dealt the monster writhes. But didn’t Jesus tell us to love our enemies, and pray for those who persecute us!? Indeed …& we must see (and SAVOR) that these heartfelt pleadings of the pray-er to persecute the wickedness that persecutes the people of God are in NO WAY inconsistent with that command of Jesus!

The key is to know with all our hearts WHO owns vengeance? Vengeance is NOT a personal, autonomous, individualistic plan for selfish-sinner vindication. Imagine Saul in 1 Samuel 22 seeing the language of Psalm 109 …and it is not hard at all to picture him saying, “Yes! this is precisely my problem …I’m being bullied by David, and nobody loves me.” However, I believe that Saul would leave out verse 4 (and no doubt a few other verses as well), because some of the verses are simply too hard to retain while maintaining a sense of self-earned-&-realized autonomy.

The ppl of God MUST cry for God’s vengeance against atrocities and the autonomous lies that gave rise to them. The people of God MUST NOT diminish the depth of darkness and agony – for that would be do dilute the power of the cross and cheapen grace!

Outrage is a gift of God. The non-Holy-Spirit inhabited person (the person w/o the redeeming influence) does not know what wickedness is …that person doesn’t have right ears and eyes (and we would all be that person if it were not God’s mere good pleasure to adopt some into His family out of the darkness). The “enlightened” person does not glare at the darkness, because the darkness is fine (or fine-ish) for all who dwell in darkness – – – their outrage is not aimed at the darkness …it is aimed at the light!

 

Contemporary readers, particularly those in more affluent societies, can allow these prayers to help them enter the suffering life of the people of God, to transport them from their relative ease into the ghastly suffering and consternation of persons who have been uprooted, mocked, or abused. These prayers awaken the conscience to the human cry for redress, the cosmic demand for moral order and justice. They can lead one to feel as deeply as one ought the horrendous insult to Yahweh and his creation perpetrated by those who lie and cheat and kill and abuse and blaspheme. Made callous by exposure to continual evil, one may lose the sense of outrage these evils deserve, whether done to us or to others or to God. These prayers awaken that outrage, which is to be offered to God and which motivates to redemptive action.

Excerpt from the Letter to Ma & Pa

#2 – This excerpt from Carl Honore’’s book Praise of Slowness, “Fast is busy, controlling, aggressive, hurried, analytical, stressed, superficial, impatient, active, quantity-over-quality. Slow is the opposite: calm, careful, receptive, still, intuitive, unhurried, patient, reflective, quality-over-quantity. It is about making real and meaningful connections – with people, culture, work, food, everything.” #3 – From Denis Haack (Critique Magazine), “Being inundated with information leads to unhappiness. …Being bombarded by news 24/7, and having immediate, all-the-time, access to information breeds misery.” Denis quotes David Brooks, saying, “Many of us consume ‘political’ news and commentary in a concupiscent sort of way – voluntarily subjecting ourselves to gratuitous information and stimuli. The unhappiness results speak for themselves. Our mood is affected most by the news we most consume.” Denis ends the article by saying, “Part of the difficulty is that no one wants to appear ‘uninformed,’ and so we assume the problem is not in the situation but in our weakness. Both turn out to be mistaken ideas.”

Stuff from Denis

“Central heating keeps my family warm through the cold Minnesota winters, yet removed the necessity of my son doing the healthy chores of chopping, stacking, and feeding wood into the boiler.”

Never say YES to anything without knowing what your will first say NO to in order to make the commitment possible.

sensation-seeking and the desire for independence.

“Fast is busy, controlling, aggressive, hurried, analytical, stressed, superficial, impatient, active, quantity-over-quality. Slow is the opposite: calm, careful, receptive, still, intuitive, unhurried, patient, reflective, quality-over-quantity. It is about making real and meaningful connections – with people, culture, work, food, everything.” – Carl Honore’ [In Praise of Slowness]

Definition of Enlightenment & What Not

“That mistaken upheaval of thought that imagined truth to be reducible to logical, impersonal, abstract ideas.” [i.e. deadly blindness to the folly of my deceitful heart.]

Tyler’s not responsible to finally THWART evil, but he is called to participate in thoughtfully working to offset evil.

*God is pleased to adopt and employ WEAK vessels …the Divine employment of the HIGHLY IMPERFECT!

“Evil digs a hole and the Maker makes a well.” – Arthur P. Wingfeather

“We can hardly make anything beautiful that wasn’t beautiful in the first place. We aren’t writers, but gleeful rearrangers of words whose meanings we can’t begin to know. When we manage to make something pretty, it’s only so because we are ourselves a flourish on a greater canvas. That means there’s no end to the discovery.” – AP – – – > – – – > – – – > – – – > “…On and on it goes, all the way to the lightless borderlands of time and space, which we come to discover in some future age are but the beginnings or endings of a single word spoken from the mouth of God. Some nights, while I traipse down the hill, I imagine that word isn’t a word at all, but a burst of laughter.”  

“The gospel gives me hope, and hope is not a language the dark voices understand.”

“The burden God places on each of us is to become who we are meant to be. We are most fully ourselves when Christ most fully lives in us and through us. The mother shines brightest with her child in her arms, the father when he forgives his wandering son, and the artist when he or she is drawing attention to grace, by showing the pinprick of light overcoming the darkness in the painting, or the story, or the song. The world knows darkness. Christ came into the world to show us light. I have seen it, have been blinded by it, invaded by it. I will tell its story.”

Life is Learning & Yearning & Awing!

Life is Groaning and Glory-ing

Life is Lament & Laughter

Life=a tension of being profoundly repulsed and also relentless relishing with holy hope!

 

“Jesus comes to us to dwell within our lives not only to show us the way, but so we will experience, perhaps for the first time, unconditional love and grace …Jesus invites us into a community of radical generosity …Christ may indeed lead us to mystery and humility that gives away power; thus the exclusivity of the Kingdom comes with quite a price! Christ holds the center still, calm, peaceful, fixed, and guides us into the storms of life.” – Makoto Fujimura

O Church Arise

“O church, arise, and put your armor on;
Hear the call of Christ our captain.
For now the weak can say that they are strong
In the strength that God has given.
With shield of faith and belt of truth,
We’ll stand against the devil’s lies.
An army bold, whose battle cry is love,
Reaching out to those in darkness.

Our call to war, to love the captive soul,
But to rage against the captor;
And with the sword that makes the wounded whole,
We will fight with faith and valor.
When faced with trials on every side,
We know the outcome is secure.
And Christ will have the prize for which He died:
An inheritance of nations.

Chorus:
Arise, shine for your light has come
Arise, shine for the Risen Son
Lift your eyes, we are His radiant bride
Arise, o church arise!

Come, see the cross, where love and mercy meet,
As the Son of God is stricken;
Then see His foes lie crushed beneath His feet,
For the Conqueror has risen!
And as the stone is rolled away,
And Christ emerges from the grave,
This victory march continues till the day
Ev’ry eye and heart shall see Him.

So Spirit, come, put strength in every stride;
Give grace for every hurdle.
That we may run with faith to win the prize
Of a servant good and faithful.
As saints of old, still line the way,
Retelling triumphs of His grace,
We hear their calls, and hunger for the day
When with Christ we stand in Glory.