Monthly Archives: September 2007

Is This What It Feels Like to Have a Successful Sports Team

As a Philadelphia sports fan I have been especially bred for skepticism. If there is a way to mess things up, rest assured that a Philadelphia team will find a way to do it.

In the world of baseball many eyes were turned to the Phillies today. With one win they could almost assure themselves a play off spot. I figured it would be too good to be true, and expected a big loss.

Without cable TV at my disposal I checked up on their game throughout the day, and I’ll be darned if they didn’t win. This wasn’t a nail-biter, see-saw battle. The Phillies won in a big way, strutting into the play offs as if they belong there, as if they aren’t really a Philadelphia team.

This is a shock to my system. A Philadelphia team just won a big game, and I don’t know how to handle it. I mean, I’m sure they won’t win the World Series or anything that big, but still . . . I can’t wrap my brain around it.

Philly has this tradition as of 1983 for having horrible sports teams who cannot win championships. It’s our own secret little identity, and we like suffering quietly while others rave about the poor Cubs who can’t buy a World Series, unlike the Red Sox.

Now I need to cope with success and frankly I don’t know what to do about it. Skepticism exercises its grip, telling me that it can’t last. It has been my friend for so long. How far should I let myself enjoy the success of my home town’s sports team?

The Cambridge Companion to Evangelical Theology

From our little isolated outpost in Arlington, VT I have been feeling the pinch of not being close to a serious seminary library for the purpose of research. We already keep our local library busy ordering loan books for pleasure reading, I can’t hit them up for library loan books on theology.

cambridgecomp So I have to suffer and purchase brand new theology books. The one I’m most excited about is The Cambridge Companion to Evangelical Theology. The book appealed on a number of levels. Cambridge series is consistently excellent, as the essays are always short, well-written, and full of information. For my purposes the collection of contributors is diverse (as in race, gender, and culture) and focused on the issues of evangelical theology in our changing world, rather than a group of stodgy American theologians trying to defend the ground won against liberals in the days of the Bible wars. Dare I use the word relevant?

A number of the essays address evangelical theology from various global perspectives, the very thing I’m working on in chapter nine of my little theology book. Last night I read about African and Latin American theologies.

In the Latin American section C. Renee Padilla writes of Latin American theology, “one of the most significant contributions of this movement to the cause of God’s Kingdom has been a rich body of literature in which the mission of the church is viewed in terms of integral mission–a mission that maintains the unity between justification by faith and the struggle for justice, between faith and works, between spiritual needs and material and physical needs, and between the personal and social dimensions of the gospel” (269).

Padilla cuts through the dichotomies in theology that pit works against faith and social justice against individual salvation. There is no doubt that Latin American theology can lean too heavily toward the social Gospel or even revolutionary ideology at times, but I really like the corrective it provides to American theology. I can’t help thinking that some combination of North and South American theologies could be really good for the church in America.

links for 2007-09-28

The Mystery of Baxter the Escape Artist Rabbit

Sept2007 004 Our rabbit Baxter is as cute as they come. Small (about 2 pounds), brown, soft, and endearing as all get out, he is a real joy in our home. We are always amazed at how brave/stupid he is.

He thinks nothing of jumping on top of his cage and hopping around while his feet become entangled in the wires. Not only will he jump onto the couch, he’ll climb to the top of the couch and then on top of the pillows on top of the couch, typically falling onto the couch. He loves scampering behind the book cases (and we have many) on top of the small base board heating unit.

His latest trick is wiggling underneath the baseboard heating unit BEHIND a book case. It’s such a tiny space, but he can pull it off somehow. The problem is that we have repeatedly attempted to block off this part of his room (we keep him in a 4 foot by 4 foot play pen) only to find him behind our barriers chewing on the edges of the area rug.

Carpet is harmful for bunnies and the rug in his room is just a temporary measure. All the same, no matter how we arrange his play pen, boxes, gates, and anything else, whenever out of his play pen to run around he always, always, always manages to make it behind the play pen and into the world of carpet fringes and the dark underside of heating vents.

I stepped up my efforts this morning with a seemingly impenetrable set up. Before I was done my other blog post he was back there. How does he do it? I have a few theories, but none of them are very satisfying. He’s like a little mouse that wiggles through impossible spaces.

The problem is a bit complex because we can’t let him out without providing a way for him to get back into his room, and to the carpet edges that we have failed to block off. Rabbits get freaked out when they cannot run back to home base. So it looks like I’ll be spending my weekend creating some kind of Baxter barrier. It’s not the first time I’ve made an elaborate barricade for our rabbits.

Under the Protection of Scripture

Over the past week or two I have noticed a trend of sorts. I could say this in any number of ways, but the gist is this: the more scripture I read, the less likely I am to sin. That’s a bit simplified, since I really noticed radical differences in my state of mind, attitude, and thoughts as well.

I shouldn’t be surprised by this. If I read the Bible even more than I currently do, I probably would have remembered that Psalm 119:9 says, “How can a young man keep his way pure? By living according to your word” (NIV). The Bible itself knows that there is something spiritually beneficial about reading the Bible.

While traveling out to Ohio last week I was pulled out of my Bible and breakfast routine, and therefore didn’t place myself into the story of scripture where God is at work in humanity. From there it was a simple matter of “out of sight, out of mind.” Familiar sins of anger and selfishness bubbled to the surface in many ways, even if I did my best to keep them bottled up.

Now that I’m back home and into my routine of reading through 3-6 chapters each morning, I can’t help but feel so refreshed and renewed. I’m far from perfect, but there is a greater protection that I have when I’m immersed in the world of the Bible and let that direct my course throughout the day.

Of course I’m bound to forget this lesson and perhaps a year from now I may end up writing the same exact post …

The Emergent Village Weblog

I used to subscribe to the Emergent Village Weblog, but it was a pretty vanilla affair with event updates and the occasional post from someone with a good idea. With the redesign of the Emergent Village web site, I’ve noticed that the blog has been infused with new life.

I was so impressed with the latest incarnation of the Emergent blog that I even added it to my Google homepage, which is one step up from my Bloglines account in importance. Almost every new post on the Emergent blog is something of interest.

The trick with this blog is pointing users to content elsewhere, which is fine by me. I’m glad someone is out there finding the best information about the emerging church and posting it in one place. We really need that, and Emergent has done a great job.

Is This Web Site Easy to Read?

As of right now I’m still a loyal user of WordPress. I’m pretty happy with the Minyx Light theme, mainly because it’s very simple and does not require tweaking with images, colors, or lines. I don’t have much time for design right now.

Nevertheless, while I’m talking about the theme of this site, I was wondering if this site is easy to read? I made the “about” box yellow-ish to help stress the two column look, but I’m also toying with the thought of making a line down the middle in between the two columns. I find the site easy to read, but I also spent a lot of time looking for this exact format, so I may not be the best judge. I’m open to any reader suggestions on how to improve this site.

While writing yesterday I also took some time to revamp my professional writing site: While I do blog there occasionally on writing, the weight of my book deadline, a few small projects, the insanity of our personal lives that has kept us constantly on the road, and the intensity of work during the Fall season all make it really hard to keep this blog and that site well fed with posts. Therefore the blog on my home page and has been moved to it’s own page.

When you visit, you’ll now hit the “About” page where I talk about my current projects. As always there is a page with links to some of my writing, though not all of it is available quite yet.