OPEN discussion

"So I do not apologize for admitting to being on a pilgrimage in theology, as if it were in itself some kind of weakness of intelligence or character. Feeling our way toward the truth is the nature of theological work even with the help of Scripture, tradition and community …. A pilgrimage, therefore, far from being unusual or slightly dishonorable, is what we would expect theologians who are properly aware of their limitations to experience." Clark Pinnock

Thursday, February 01, 2007

I have been tagged :) Which is a good thing because that is probably the only way I will posting... at least for now. Anywho,
1) Grab the book closest to you.
2) Open to page 123; go down to the fourth sentence.
3) Post the text of the following three sentences.
4) Name the author and book title.
5) Tag three people to do the same.

"The focus, then, is not so much on Jesus's inability as on the people's lack of faith. Clearly Mark sees a connection between faith and healing, as the previous stories in the second half of Mark 5 show. We may perhaps put it this way: while faith in itself does not necessarily produce a miracle, lack of faith limits the reception of help readily available from Jesus."

Ben Witherington III 'What Have They Done With Jesus?'

I tag Buddy, Chris, and Denver

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

TAG!!!! I'm it! I have been tagged by John Frye at and if I understand correctly I am supposed to to share 5 odd or unique or interesting things about me that you might not already know. This will no doubt prove to be a difficult task for me as I am well known to share any interesting facts about myself with everyone I meet, over and over again. Good luck me.

1. I am lucky enough to hold the single game scoring record at the Potter's House (32 pts) along with my good friend Jonathan VanKeulen. Mine came at home against Crossroads Charter Academy (interesting sub-point - all 32 points came in the first 3 quarters.) Jon's came against Holland Black River (interesting sub-point - 25 of his points came in the 1st half, and at the end of the first half the score was 25-25).

2. I am on the cover of a Devotional book 'for guys.' called 'Graffiti.'

3. I have an extensive Detroit Tigers collection that at one time I would wager rivaled any of a fan my age. However some of the key pieces have been donated to charities, so it is not as strong as it once was. Some of my favorites include a ball signed 'happy birthday Evan - Phil Regan', An Ernie Harwell face mask from when he was fired by Bo Schembechler, Programs from the last game at the Corner, and the first game at COPA, and my autographed Sweet Lou Whitaker ball and card.

4. I can juggle.

5. I love to read. Lately I have been wrapped up in Ben Witherington III who is beginning to rival N.T. Wright as my go to guy for questions about the life and times of Jesus. Luckily for me it doesn't have to be a one or the other issue.

I tag anyone who reads this blog!

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Who was the disciple Jesus loved? Ben Witherington III says not John son of Zebedee but, wait for it... LAZARUS!! And I agree. Ben Witherington rocks my world.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

I apologize to my avid reader(s?) for not making it clear (or for that matter even alluding to) in my previous post that there would be more to come. I took for granted that anyone who knows me and my great admiration for the current Bishop of Durham could expect that there would be a lengthier post to follow my previous fuzzy pictures and short blurb.

The day began like any other day, that is, any other day where I got little to no sleep the night before, and upon waking up found a facebook wall post wishing me a Happy N.T. Wright day. I woke my cousin up who is home from ICS in Toronto and told him he had better jump in the shower toot-sweet if we were going to get to Calvin's campus in time to be the first in line.

We arrived on campus at 10 a.m. and the doors were not scheduled to open untill 11:30 for a talk that was to begin at 12:30. When we arrived there was nobody in line and the doors to the auditorium were wide open as one young lady was setting up inside. We decided it would be safe to take a bit of a walk around campus to kill some time since it was a beautiful day (not least because it was N.T. Wright day) outside, and it was approximately 174 degrees inside. After our walk we hovered outside the Fine Arts center gaging whether or not the people walking into the building were there to hear the Good Bishop or just passing through.

At around 11 the campus took on a more academic air and we decided we better line up if we (this is me talking not my Cousin Chris) were to be regognized as the #1 (and #2) N.T. Wright fans in West Mich. Immediately after Chris and I lined up a few others filled in the line behind us, untill two young men like ourselves came tumbling into the line. One of the two who I imagine fancies himself quite the wit asked the young lady who was setting up in the auditorium if she was in fact N.T. Wright. Much to my amusement no one laughed and the confused girl went along her merry way. They then inquired to those ahead of them inline, whether any of us had camped out all night. when everyone indicated that we had only been waiting a few minutes they declared that they in fact had camped out all night, but mistakenly outside the library, not the fine arts center. Much to their Chegrin I imagine no one offered them their place in line to make up for their camp ground blunder.

From my perch at the front of the line I was able to watch many intellectual pillars of the community enter and take their place in line behind me. (Mk 10:31?) Not least of whom were John Frye, Mark Ponstein, Phil West, John Booy, and THE Nicholas Wolterstorff. When the doors finally opened we ran to the front row and sat directly in front of the podium where, had N.T. Wright looked down even once (he did not) he would have been looking directly at our fine group.

The talk lasted an hour and was great, although very similar to a talk he gave last year at the Washington National Cathedral, and it was not much more than an outline to his book 'Simply Christian' that I have already read. That is not to say that I got nothing out of the talk, in fact it helped, I'm sure, that I was familiar with the material and not much of what he said went over my head. (However I was somewhat perplexed by some of his 'broad strokes' in which he lumped pantheism and panentheism into the same 'group a' which he set against the dualisms which he placed in 'group b' and then suggested that we move toward a 'group c' although group c sounded an awful lot (according to cousin Chris) like Panentheism.)

Afterward I was able to wait in line to meet the man, the legend, The Bishop. I had been preparing to tell him that and I quote "Your work has meant a lot to me." Before having him autograph my book and cordially turning down his offer for me to come back to England and study with him. However this fantasy went up in smoke as the young man directly in front of me handed the Right Reverend his book and said and I quote "Your work has meant a lot to me." My thunder stolen I pushed my book accross the table and said "could you make it out to Evan?" if you are taken back by the sheer brilliance of my inquiry N.T. Wright did not seem to be. After spelling my name for him, he handed the book back to me, smiled, and I said thank you very much, and headed home.

The book is now diplayed in a prominent position on my bookshelf where all books by N.T. Wright belong, when not in the hands of inquiring minds.

It was indeed a Happy N.T. Wright day :)

Friday, January 05, 2007

I met N.T. Wright today. YAY

Sunday, December 31, 2006

Don't Forget the Tangy Zip

When dealing with the healing miracles of Jesus, John Dominic Crossan (co-founder of The Jesus Seminar) insists that there is a distinction to be made between curing a disease and healing an illness.

In his words

'Doctors diagnose and treat diseases, but patients suffer illnesses. To put it bluntly, a disease is something between me, my doctor, and a bug.... But there are other dimensions of my experience that are missing from that picture... the entire social dimension of it.... Disease sees the problem in a narrow, physical focus; illness sees it in a wider psychological and social context.'

In Jesus day the social disease was leprosy which Crossan classifies not as modern Hansen's disease but as any affliction of the skin which would have made the host unclean under the terms of the Jewish law.

Today Crossan talks about our culture's social disease as AIDS. The similarities of the diseases are not very similar at all, but the illness, or the social stigma that accompanies the two in their respective time and place make the comparison suitable.

Most of us are familiar with the idea of Leper colonies, places outside of the city where communities were likely formed by those not welcome or accepted by the 'clean,' due to their diseases.

In today's terms I am reminded of the musical Rent in which several of the main characters are afflicted with AIDS (both the disease and the illness in Crossans terms). One of the main characters, Angel, a cross dressing street percussionist, throughout the musical seems somewhat oblivious to the social ramifications of AIDS and is just himself/herself no matter what. Halfway through the story AIDS wins out and Angel dies. This is an example of the effects of the DISEASE - AIDS

Another main Character, Roger, a struggling musician, finds out from his girlfriend April that they have AIDS. April seemingly aware of the social implications of such a disease is more afraid of ostracization than she is of death, and so rather than face the stigma that accompanies such a disease, she takes her own life. Although April is not much of a character in the musical itself, she is an example of a death at the hands of the ILLNESS - AIDS, although the disease did not take her life.

Crossan believes that what Jesus did was heal the illness, but not cure the disease. Jesus, for Crossan, would not have been able to save Angel from the way he died. But Jesus would have been able to save April. Jesus did not rid the body of the disease, but he rid the person of the illness of being forced into seclusion. Jesus miracles were not medical marvels but social marvels, that subverted the Jewish laws of what was clean and unclean and invited everyone to participate. This presents a clear challenge to the temple priests who were in charge of keeping the boundries between clean and unclean.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

OH what a glorious yuletide celebration.

and by that I mean 'I got some terrific presents this year!'

For starters I was given some authentic Texas BBQ sauce that smells absolutely mouth watering and has had me craving a pulled pork sandwich ever since I smelled it. (Thank you Leah, Andy, and Family)

I received a B&N gift card which I wrote about previously

I got Judas and the Gospel of Jesus by N.T. Wright (which was a great read) and a trip to see the Nativity, which I, in similar fashion to a blogging friend of mine will give somewhere b/w 1 and 2 thumbs up. (thank you to John and Julie)

I purchased a leather book weight with a giftcard which is used hold down those pesky pages that like to flip over while reading 800 page books ;) and some gourmet coffee (thank you to my sister and brother in law)

Also 2 decks of authentic casino used playing cards from aruba, season 3 of scrubs on dvd, and a book 'baseball and philosophy' (thanks to my brother and sister in law)

From my Parental Units I pulled in two books by Historian Howard Zinn, One on Just War which was absolutely brilliant - and the other 'A people's history of the 20th century' which stands to be a good read. Evil and the Justice of God by N.T. Wright (who is coming to GR on the 5th and 6th of next month), A detroit tigers t-shirt, and Dead Poets Society special edition DVD.

whew - Stuff, and lots of it. I spent today re-arranging my book shelves, which is oddly enjoyable.

There are of course 4 major sections to my bookshelves 1) Theology - which is dominated by N.T. Wright and the authors he critiques (Borg, Crossan, Vermes, Wilson etc.) 2) Philsophy - which is made up of mostly Berry and Copleston but is starting to show my affinity to Augustine... perhaps when I come up with a better critique I will post my paper on the Augustinian conception of evil as privation. 3) Sports, Mostly books about detroit tigers, with the two largest subcategories being Tiger Stadium (thanks to Shamar) and Ernie Harwell. 4) is the fiction sections which is a potpourri of random books from my brother (buddy) and from classes with Van Dyke and Stevens. I prefer compilations of short stories from the likes of Flannery O'connor, and Steven King although I am not much of a fiction reader these days I do love 'Catcher in the Rye' and the more modern coming of age story 'The Perks of Being a Wallflower"

So anyway... some random words about christmas presents and bookshelves. TTFN

Paul: The Mind of the Apostle by A.N. Wilson

"I cannot imagine a more lucid or compelling life of Paul. A.N. Wilson has distilled a vast amount of scholarship here, taking us boldly into the mind that invented Chritianity as we know it. Full of paradox and irony, Paul's life - in Wilson's deft narrative - has never been more vividly conjured." - Jay Parini, author of The Last Station

Who is Jesus? by John Dominic Crossan and Richard G. Watts

"Opinions ranged from 'his views are so far out I can't believe he say's he's a Christian.' to calling my approach 'a way of fully appreciating the richness and beauty of the Gospels, in our 20th century context." - J.D. Crossan in Who is Jesus?

Beyond Belief: The Secret Gospel of Thomas by Elaine Pagels

"Lucid... a spiritual as well as an intellectual exercise.... [Pagels] seems to rejoice that in the earliest years of Christianity there existed these strange, dissident doctrines" - Frank Kermode, The New York Times Book Review

Jesus a New Vision by Marcus Borg

"A Scholar who is alive in wonder and belief, Borg accomplishes the hardest task of all: he looks at the obvious and helps us see it as if for the first time." - Eugene H. Peterson, author of Long Obedience in the Same Direction, Working the Angels, and Reversed Thunder.

The Meaning of Jesus by N.T. Wright and Marcus Borg

"A fantastic reading experience for all those who identify themselves as Christians. N.T. Wright describes powerfully what Christianity has traditionally been. Marcus Borg presents his convictions about and his vision of what Christianity can become. Together they sing a majestic song of faith into which the whole world can be invited to join." - John Shelby Spong, Bishop of Newark, author of Why Christianity Must Change or Die

These are the 5 books I picked up today in the used book section of the Barnes and Noble on 28th Street. I had the privelage of buying books (for purposes other than school) for the first time in a while, thanks to the B&N gift card I received from Lori for Christmas. I was like a kid in a candy store in the B&N used religion books section which has a much better variety of books than does their contemporary new religion books section.

Anyway I went slightly over the card limit but I was disciplined enough to put back a few books that I wanted but could not afford. I also felt I should save some books for those who do not get up as early in the morning as I do to spend my gift cards.

Thanks Lori :)

And Chris for telling me the books were there!