Ecclesia and Ethics: An Eco-friendly and Economically-feasible Online Biblical Studies and Theology Conference

Well, this looks very, very interesting.

N.T. Wright, Stanley Hauerwas, Michael Gorman, and Northeastern Seminary‘s very own newly appointed Professor of Biblical Studies, Nijay Gupta are among the presenters of this “eco-friendly and economically-feasible online biblical studies and theological conference.”

From the site:

Ecclesia and Ethics: An Eco-friendly and Economically-feasible Online Biblical Studies and Theology Conference is an academic and ecclesial conference taking place on Saturday May 18th and Saturday May 25th 2013 in real-time via the high-tech Webinar site No software will need to be purchased by presenters or attendees, and Webinar access is provided entirely for free due to a generous Capod Innovation Grant through the University of St Andrews in Scotland. Participants and attendees will be able to sign on, present, and listen to or watch presentations from anywhere in the world with reliable internet and a computer. Registration for the conference consists of a $10/£7 (minimum) donation to one of our Recommended Charities. We invite participants to give according to their means above the $10/£7 to one or more of our charities if they feel led and are able.

Main papers will be presented by our Main Speakers: N.T. Wright, Michael Gorman, Dennis Hollinger, Shane Claiborne, Stanley Hauerwas, Brian Rosner, Mariam Kamell, Nijay Gupta, Michael Barber, and Sungmin Min Chun. Additionally, we will have five Multiple Paper sessions throughout the conference, via five Virtual Rooms which will feature papers from a total of 20-25 selected papers. Interested parties are invited to submit an abstract to for consideration from January 2013-March 2013.

To whet your appetite, here is a video interview with N.T. Wright regarding his take on “Moral Formation, the relationship between the Church and the Academy, and the relationship between Theology and Exegesis.”

And here is an interview with Nijay Gupta, our newly installed Professor:

Looks promising, to say the least.

Go here for more.


Home, Homelessness, Homecoming Part 3

Here is the final installment of Brian Walsh’s video series from the folks at The Parish Collective. If you want to know more about Walsh, check out his blog or his books or the dialogue his wife and he presented entitled “Outside a Small Circle of Friends: Jesus and the Justice of God” at Wheaton’s Theology Conference 2010: A Theological Dialogue with N.T. Wright.  They are all great resources.

For more on the great work from the people at the Parish Collective, check out their site. If you like what you read, talk with me about working on some collaborative for the Syracuse area. I’d love to chat. You can always check them out on Facebook and join their online community full of resources and dialogue. Again, great, great stuff.

Enjoy the video.

The Road to Emmaus: Wordle Style

This is the text from the Gospel Lesson for tomorrow’s worship gathering at St. Andrew’s Anglican. In my studies for this Sunday I always read the appropriate texts several times over. From there I check things out in books, online articles, different blogs, commentaries, etc. It’s a good thing to know the proper historical context, narrative context (both in Scripture in its entirety and its specific book), any linguistic clues, among other details.

The image above is another tool that can employed. Wordle allows you to copy and paste any text you want in order to create a Word Cloud, like the one above. From there you are able to get a great visual display of the written text. The larger words mean they show up more frequently, indicating what the main idea/person/place might be. Now, this isn’t always the case, and it doesn’t replace good exegetical study, but it can help us imagine what might be going on. Hopefully, it helps a bit.

Psalm 88

When was the last time you heard a sermon or study on Psalm 88? I would be willing to bet that you never have, especially if you are part  of an evangelical/conservative church. We tend to see Christianity as a faith of joy, smiles, and overall goodness depicted by things going well for us. This is at least true in the Western, American church.

Yet Psalm 88 slaps us in the face and reminds us that life isn’t so simple.

Lurking beneath the veneer of happiness and smiling faces lies the reality that life is difficult and God doesn’t always appear as our close friend. The songs we sing where we will always praise God, always feel his close presence, and always be found in some weird form of “boyfriend-girlfriend” type relationship isn’t true.

Reality is found in that we don’t always have this type of experience. Life is difficult and God doesn’t always seem just “a phone call away.” Thankfully, our forebears, the Hebrews, remind us of this in Psalm 88. As Eugene Peterson says, “The Greeks had a story for every situation; the Hebrews had a prayer for every situation.” And for the absence of God they wrote and lived out Psalm 88.

Read it below and allow it to sink in. Maybe our faith needs to be disoriented a bit.

1 LORD, you are the God who saves me;
day and night I cry out to you.
2 May my prayer come before you;
turn your ear to my cry.

3 I am overwhelmed with troubles
and my life draws near to death.
4 I am counted among those who go down to the pit;
I am like one without strength.
5 I am set apart with the dead,
like the slain who lie in the grave,
whom you remember no more,
who are cut off from your care.

6 You have put me in the lowest pit,
in the darkest depths.
7 Your wrath lies heavily on me;
you have overwhelmed me with all your waves.
8 You have taken from me my closest friends
and have made me repulsive to them.
I am confined and cannot escape;
9 my eyes are dim with grief.

I call to you, LORD, every day;
I spread out my hands to you.
10 Do you show your wonders to the dead?
Do their spirits rise up and praise you?
11 Is your love declared in the grave,
your faithfulness in Destruction[e]?
12 Are your wonders known in the place of darkness,
or your righteous deeds in the land of oblivion?

13 But I cry to you for help, LORD;
in the morning my prayer comes before you.
14 Why, LORD, do you reject me
and hide your face from me?

15 From my youth I have suffered and been close to death;
I have borne your terrors and am in despair.
16 Your wrath has swept over me;
your terrors have destroyed me.
17 All day long they surround me like a flood;
they have completely engulfed me.
18 You have taken from me friend and neighbor—
darkness is my closest friend.

Psalm 80: Restore us

I read this Psalm this morning as part of the Morning Office. I thought I’d post it just in case someone out there hadn’t read it yet or perhaps it has been awhile. I have no comments on it; the words speak for themselves. Read and reflect.

Psalm 80

For the director of music. To the tune of “The Lilies of the Covenant.” Of Asaph. A psalm.

1 Hear us, Shepherd of Israel,
you who lead Joseph like a flock.
You who sit enthroned between the cherubim,
shine forth 2 before Ephraim, Benjamin and Manasseh.
Awaken your might;
come and save us.

3 Restore us, O God;
make your face shine on us,
that we may be saved.

4 How long, LORD God Almighty,
will your anger smolder
against the prayers of your people?
5 You have fed them with the bread of tears;
you have made them drink tears by the bowlful.
6 You have made us an object of derision to our neighbors,
and our enemies mock us.

7 Restore us, God Almighty;
make your face shine on us,
that we may be saved.

8 You transplanted a vine from Egypt;
you drove out the nations and planted it.
9 You cleared the ground for it,
and it took root and filled the land.
10 The mountains were covered with its shade,
the mighty cedars with its branches.
11 Its branches reached as far as the Sea,
its shoots as far as the River.

12 Why have you broken down its walls
so that all who pass by pick its grapes?
13 Boars from the forest ravage it,
and insects from the fields feed on it.
14 Return to us, God Almighty!
Look down from heaven and see!
Watch over this vine,
15 the root your right hand has planted,
the son you have raised up for yourself.

16 Your vine is cut down, it is burned with fire;
at your rebuke your people perish.
17 Let your hand rest on the man at your right hand,
the son of man you have raised up for yourself.
18 Then we will not turn away from you;
revive us, and we will call on your name.

19 Restore us, LORD God Almighty;
make your face shine on us,
that we may be saved.

Preachable Paintings

Jesus Appears To Mary Magdalene

Here is Jesus Appears to Mary Magdalene by Lavinia Fontana. The biblical context for this is taken from John 20 where John describes the resurrection and Jesus’ appearances. John tells how she mistakenly thought Jesus was the gardener. Within his theological rendition of casting Jesus’ work of new creation, Mary seeing Jesus as the gardener on the first day of the week is pointing us back to Genesis 1. Adam was the first gardener in the first creation that came about in the first week. Now Jesus is initiating his kingdom plan of new creation beginning with his crucifixion and resurrection as the restoration of everything.

Hence the painting.

Have you ever seen Jesus portrayed this way?