Friday, October 30, 2009

Friday Fun: Videos I Think You'll Enjoy...

Hope you find these as funny as I did...

And I thought this would be as nostalgic for some of you as it was for me...

Also - here's imonk's "Halloween Rant".  Hope everyone has a happy Halloween!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Circumcision and the Church

I had just finished up leading a Bible Study last week on “The Allegory of Hagar and Sarah” in Galatians 4. As soon as the students left that morning I opened up my google reader to submerge myself into the blogosphere. Coincidentally, Peter Rollins had a post about what he called the "Circumcision Question”. If you do not know who Peter Rollins is, I highly recommend reading anything he writes. He is one of the most forward thinking Christians I’ve ever had the opportunity to come across. Anyways, in this post he draws a somewhat forgotten line from the earliest church’s debates over circumcision to what the problem equates to for the community of Jesus followers today.

After Paul had left the Galatian church, new persons arrived claiming to the gentile church that they were welcomed into the covenant of the Israelites through the messiah as Paul had claimed, so long as they followed the Mosaic Law and hence became circumcised. Needless to say, Paul found out about this and not only disagreed, but was also unhappy with the situation. The letter to the churches of Galatia is what followed as Paul’s response to this problem.

What we read specifically in Paul’s allegory of chapter 4 is that gentile Jesus followers have a choice: they can either be slaves to the law or free through “ working (or made effective) through love” (5.6 NRSV). At first glance, its tough to find the relevancy for Jesus followers today, especially since we don’t happen to be debating or discussing issues of circumcision often in our gatherings. But in reality, as a church we are still deeply struggling with the concept of what is necessary to fully participate in life as a Jesus follower (and a community of Jesus followers) and what is not necessary. “Not necessary” can be misleading here though, because not only was circumcision not necessary, but it was also, according to Paul, a direct hindrance to fully living for the purposes of the Kingdom of God.

So let’s struggle openly, as the early church did only a couple decades after the death and resurrection of Jesus, with what Rollins so wisely calls the “Circumcision Question”. What are the essential misguidings of the church today that bind Jesus followers to the yoke of slavery (5.1) instead of the freedom for which Christ came?

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Midweek Mess - Things of Note from the Past Week

Hey All,

We'll do this each week, but here are some things I think are worth checking out from the blogs that I enjoy following!

Peter Rollins on the 'Circumcision Question'

A pretty solid argument from the Bible for Women in Ministry. This was a good read.

A great article from the OOZE on mistakes that churches must avoid.

Hope you enjoy!

Monday, October 26, 2009

A Not So New Endeavor...

Although I know that I am a week late, I realized that the yearly Torah reading schedule just started over. So, as I did last year at this time, I plan to attempt to read the Torah in a year's time but this time getting past Exodus. If you're interested, here you can find some info on the weekly readings as well as the reading schedule.

I love disciplined reading schedules. They help to keep me focused on actually reading scripture instead of relying on my "feelings" to not only motivate me to read but to find the "right" passages to read. Sure, there's benefit to allowing the Holy Spirit to teach me and lead me through scripture seemingly randomly. The honest of those of us who choose to read scripture in this manner can admit that the motivation to read is difficult to maintain, and thus this reading plan over long periods of time bears little fruit.

But there's also so much wisdom to allowing the Holy Spirit to speak through a planned out reading schedule as well, not to mention the communal benefits of reading along with the Jewish faith community . Since I'm sure I'm in the same boat as everyone in wanting to read more scripture than I am currently doing, why not add a planned reading schedule to my current random reading? Plus, who doesn't love the stories that the Torah provides. Feel free to join me in reading the Torah for the next year. We're already into Noah (Genesis 6:9-11:32), so now's a great time to start reading along!