Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Scot McKnight commentary on Philemon: cooler than the new phone book

This is such good news that I feel like doing this:

McKnight  inaugurated the release with a  helpful post:

Here's a random reason that rocks (Click to see the rest):

9: An example of how to read a book in the Bible.
Philemon can be used to help people learn how to read a whole Bible book. Move then to a letter of John or to Jude or then to a shorter book like Philippians or Galatians then finally to Romans and Corinthians. Perhaps then on to a Gospel.
Reading each line in light of the whole book is possible for Philemon and it’s a good starting point for inductive Bible study methods. Also for historical context (study Roman slavery) and also for Paul’s house church movement of how they learned to live as Christians in an old institution: the house, the home, the family.  link

Bonus: video of him at Asbury (amazing school, my MDiv)
"The Challenge to Philemon" - Dr. Scot McKnight from B.L. Fisher Library on Vimeo.

Also here's a video (audio, actually):

Thursday, October 19, 2017

"the mystique of superiority that came as a consolation prize"

Image Credit: Lonely Planet

"I believed myself above him simply on the basis of my Upper East Side address; like most New Yorkers,  I had bought into
the mystique of superiority that came as a consolation prize for life in a lonely and harsh metropolis"
-Deborah Feldman, Exodus, p. 201

From the  Amazon blurb on this book:
The author of the explosive New York Times-bestselling memoir Unorthodox chronicles her continuing journey as a single mother, an independent woman, and a religious refugee.

In 2009, at the age of twenty-three, Deborah Feldman walked away from the rampant oppression, abuse, and isolation of her Satmar upbringing in Williamsburg, Brooklyn to forge a better life for herself and her young son.  Since leaving, Feldman has
navigated remarkable experiences: raising her son in the “real” world, finding solace and solitude in a writing career, and searching for love. Culminating in an unforgettable trip across Europe to retrace her grandmother’s life during the Holocaust, Exodus is a deeply moving exploration of the mysterious bonds that tie us to family and religion, the bonds we must sometimes break to find our true selves. link

Related NYC  links:

signs of Kingdom life in Godhaunted NYC? please add comments

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

violins with a jewel-shaped heart

Source: WIRED . Link below
One way to look at string theory is that everything is made of  vibrating strings/ music.

And now...what if  we found that a jewel was at the heart of it all?
"The amplituhedron looks like an intricate, multifaceted jewel in higher dimensions."



I hope U2 is not in a "finishing mood"

U2 apologizes too often that they needed more time to finish the "Pop" album.
                              But they needed less time, not more.

 Some of the best  U2stuff floating around the interwebs are early demos/versions before they got too polished/"finished."

I wish they would take some advice from their friend Charlie,
who sang "I'm not in a finishing mood." (I'm glad Charlie never "finished" that song).

On the atu2 forum,"an tha" says, "I am 100% certain in my belief that the minute and half or so of mofo on that video {first video below} is the greatest bit of recorded u2 available anywhere ever!"

Wookie Warrior said:

  I've always wondered what exactly U2 meant when they were talking about finishing Pop. Like Larry saying, "If we had two or three more months to work, we would have had a very different record. I would like someday to rework those songs and give them the attention and time that they deserve." How different would Pop have sounded if the band had been given another couple of months to "finish" things? I don't see why U2 looks down on this fantastic record so much, it's easily one of their very best albums and it certainly is one of the greatest I've ever listened to. Perhaps it's because of poor sales and the mixed reception, so the band claims that the finished product is... Not finished.
     If you read up on it, that claim could be justified as being true. The album was being worked on until the very last moment. According to Wikipedia, the chorus to Last Night On Earth wasn't even written until the night before the album's release. Edge was also still recording back-up vocals, Howie B. was still adding effects to Discotheque, and there was no definitive version of Mofo. Additionally, Larry's back was injured for months, forcing the band to work on the songs without his assistance. Maybe U2 did work on a tight schedule, but Paul McGuiness still believes that there was plenty of time to finish Pop. First it was scheduled for a late-1996 release before being pushed back until March 1997, giving plenty of extra time to finalize things. From mid-1995 (when the band first began working on Pop) until March 1997, U2 had around 20 months to create the album. It seems like time was not the issue.
     It seems as if U2 had plenty of time to record, produce, mix, master, and release Pop. I do believe claims that the album was unfinished are just excuses to answer why it was so heavily criticized. But maybe they really do believe the record isn't finished. Read what Bono said about If God Will Send His Angels: "Bono originally thought the song was too soft and asked to 'f*** it up,' saying, I thought, this is, like, pure. Now drop acid onto that.'"
     That doesn't sound at all like the Bono we know now, does it? Interesting that of all people, Bono would be the one to call out a song as being "too soft." Keep in mind, this man wrote songs like Beautiful Day like a couple of years later... Anyway, do I agree? Absolutely. Although the track does give off this, mysterious, eery feeling when featured on an LP with numbers like Discotheque and Mofo on it, If You Wear That Velvet Dress serves the same purpose (and does it better). I'm Not Your Baby or Holy Joe could have easily taken its place on the record and made a great album even better... But now I'm getting sidetracked. Bono obviously pushed for a darker album, which explains the second side of it. I remember him once saying something like, "the album begins at a party and ends at a funeral." Very insightful comment.
     Had U2 been given just three more months to work on Pop, how different would the record have sounded? Maybe the album would feel even darker, delving even deeper into their experimentation. What does everyone else think?  link
Click this if first video doesn’t work :

Wednesday, August 02, 2017

"He Doesn't Love Me Anymore" ( a vintage sermon of mine)

=Here's a vintage (c. 1999) sermon of mine that Pete Kuiper transcribed as it was happening,
and is including in an upcoming book designed to be a training manual for pastors.
He'll be breaking it in in the Philippines at a Baptist seminary.
He includes an analysis and questions in the book, in light of cognitive therapy, and other topics be specializes in.

I have to say:
-I didn't preach from a manuscript (so read it in oral style)
-I wouldn't preach it this way if I did it again (Cheese alert). It may come off a little Osteeny (lol. I was ahead of my time ).
-It's kind of an unusual sermon for me.  Though I was usually inductive back then, this is more of a "textual" (Genesis 29:34-35) sermon than exegetical/expository.  Very risky (eisegesis), but must be done sometimes.
Your mileage may vary.
-I have reformatted it a bit from the book.

Thanks for the press, Pete!
I'm honored he remembered...and re-membered..
a sermon that I had forgotten.

First. let me return the favor .Here's some press for Pete>
Pete's bio: 

Specializes in counseling couples and individual adults using intensive counseling format.
Pete is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker with over 40 years of experience in the Christian Mental Health field, including experience as a special education teacher, therapist, and administrator. Pete received his bachelor's degree from Calvin College and his Master's in Social Work from Western Michigan University. In addition to a variety of outpatient settings, Pete was a program director in several inpatient psychiatric hospitals, both for Rapha Treatment Centers as well as New Life Clinics. It was in the inpatient setting where Pete developed his passion for an intensive approach to therapy. He has seen first-hand the potential of powerful breakthroughs and lasting results in utilizing this modality of treatment. For the past 15 years he has been doing Brief Intensive Counseling in the beautiful mountain town of Buena Vista, Colorado. It was there that he co-founded CrossRoads Counseling of the Rockies.
In addition to his full-time therapist role, he also teaches a daily cognitive therapy group. Pete frequently receives feedback from clients saying his material is helpful because it is practical rather than just theoretical, and that his examples and illustrations make it easy for them to make personal application.
He and his wife, Marty, have been married for over 40 years and have two married sons and seven precious grandchildren (pictures available upon request!).  link

Worship leader has just read Genesis 29:34-35...

He Doesn’t Love Me Anymore

I had a great day last Sunday.
 My wife came up to me and said,
        “You know, you’re more handsome than Brad Pitt.
                 …and you can preach better than Billy Graham,”
                                           I had a great day.

And then some of you came up to me after church and said,
       “You know, you’re more handsome than Tom Cruise,
                             …and you can preach better than Wesley.”
                                           I was having a great day.

 And then I was greeting some of the first time visitors,
       and some of them knelt before me and said exclaimed,
              “You know, You’re more handsome than an angel,
                           and  you  can preach better than St. Paul.”
                                   I was having a  great day..

And then..
             I woke up.

 And I think I’ll settle for being a little more handsome than my high school photo,
                and a little better preacher than I was last year.

 So it is with all of us.
 People want to take a number and stand in line just to tell us how wonderful we are
                  —in our dreams.
 I met a girl one time who I just had to impress.
And I did something I had to do
  —I bought a sport coat, and I put on cologne.
             But something must have worked…
                                                           because she married me.

Have you ever done this—said,
 “If I just do this,
 or say that;
             if I adjust this
              or perfect that,
                      then maybe they’ll love me?
 A little less weight, a little less gray,
 a little less belly you might say,
 a little more hair and a little more style,
 that’s what it’s all about,
                      “ someone love me.” . . .
Primping and preening: it’s about
                                             “someone love me.”

You know what, that’s what graffiti is all about.
 It’s  undecipherable, all those scribbles and scrawls,
                      you don’t know what it means.
                     I’ll tell you what it means:
                                                      love me.

That’s what gangs are  often about:
                                                Someone love me.
 That’s what
 teenage rebellion,
                      teenage pregnancy,
                                                     teenage suicide
                         are  often about:
                                            Someone love me.
 That’s what
       extra marital,
                      post-marital affairs
                                   are about.
                                                       Someone love me.

What won’t we do to get someone to love us?
 Sell someone a line of goods,
 sell ourselves short,
 sell our bodies to another,
our soul to the devil?
 Because how deep is that cry,
 deep inside,
                       “Someone, please…………… love me.”

 And probably the hardest words pastors and counselors have to hear on a regular basis:
 he doesn’t love me.
 she doesn’t love me
 any more.

 Especially if it’s a husband  saying this of a wife,
                           or a wife claiming this of  a husband.
 Have you ever had to say it,
pray it
admit it?

 There’s a woman I know of,
 her husband was really ignoring her,
and not giving her the attention that she should have.
 What could she do but resign herself to the inevitable?
 What could she say, what could she pray, but
                   “He doesn’t love me.”

 In spite of this relationship
which was less than perfect,
 she had a baby,
 and she said,
“Aha…, this should do it,
                 this should make a difference,
                                                         this should win his love.”

Have you ever found yourself saying something like this?
 “Surely now that I’ve done this,
                     I’ll win his love.
 Maybe since I’ve done that,
                       surely he’ll respect me now.”
 Surely he’ll give me more attention now,
             surely he’ll change his mind now.
                              “Surely he’ll love me now.”
Ever said that

 You do what you need to—
you get a hair cut,
 you get a suit,
get a dress,
                       you get religion.

You do what she did:
                                                you get pregnant.
That’s what she did. Had a baby.
 Didn’t work
Had another one, and said,
                              “Surely he’ll love me now.”
 Didn’t work.
 Had another baby.
 Didn’t work.
 You feel like you know that woman?. . .

You know her name:
 And most significantly, you know and can relate to her situation,
 her heart crying out:

             someone love me.
And you know the bondage of needing
someone to love you,
and doing something
 in hopes that
 it’ll work………….and it doesn’t ever work.
 And she had  still another baby,
 a fourth.
 But this time
 Leah discovered the secret of getting free of that bondage of needing
 people to love her,
 or to make her feel significant.

Verse 35. What does it say?
 This time I’ll win him over?
This time will be the charm?
 This time the baby will endear my husband to me?
This time I’ll leave that macho idiot a lesson  ………..
             as I leave him at home with four screaming kids and I go to the mall?
 This time
 it will be different.
 This time
 I won’t be bound by what he thinks.
This time
 I’ll give up my longing to what I can’t control anyway.

This time
 I won’t waste my time.
This time I’ll choose that path to inner, hilarious freedom.
This time
 I won’t seek the praise of another.
 “This time
                                          I’ll praise the Lord”
 Do you hear that?
 Do you sense her posture,
           her demeanor,
                     everything about her

“This time,
 I’m free from what others think.
 This time
 it doesn’t really ultimately matter if my husband loves me.
 This time
I know where my acceptance lies.
This time
 I don’t have to praise another so he can praise me back.
 This time,
                           I’ll praise the Lord.”
 And she stopped having children,
                   She didn’t need to.

 And wouldn’t it be wonderful
if that dream I made up really came true?
And People came up to us on the streets and said,
 “Aren’t you wonderful?”
But even better, if that never happens to us,
 we might  learn that attitude deep in our souls that says
 “I don’t need the praise of another;
I need to


the Lord.”

A burglar broke into a home.
 He didn’t want to turn on the lights,
 so as he used a flashlight .
He heard something that scared him and stunned him.
 It was a voice that said,
 “I see you. And Jesus sees you.”
He was frightened, and  began to run,
until the beam of his  flashlight revealed  the source of this voice,
 and to his
and amusement,
he saw..
 a parrot in his cage, saying

“I see you, and Jesus sees you.”

But then focused the flashlight beam  beneath the cage,
                       and there was:
                                            a snarling pit bull.
                      And the parrot said,
 “Sic ‘em, Jesus.”


 You can’t hide from him.
 He’s caught you red-handed.
 And we’ve all burglarized the kingdom.

And he sees us in the light
. And because he does, he has every right to sic us, to get us.
 But does he do it?

He looks at us..
                            and loves us!!

He made it himself,
          from popsicle sticks and pieces of sheets.
 That’s how this little boy made a sailboat.
And he loved it.
 It was his most incredible, precious possession.
 One day as he was playing with it on the river his family lived next to,
it floated away from him beyond his reach.
His heart sank.
What does he do?
 He follows the stream
down to the next town,
 where he finds his boat
 in the window of a pawnshop.
 “That’s my boat, sir, give me back my boat!”
 “Sorry son, I paid someone for this boat.
 You’ll have to buy it back.”

So the boy hurried home,
            got all his money from his piggy bank
                                       and returned to the store.
As he walks out of the store with the boat under his arm, he says,

“I love you two times over.
 First I made you,
 t                                                           hen I bought you.”

And Jesus…………..
 loves us two times over.
 He made us,
 and through the cross,
                            he bought us.

But like Leah,
  do you ever feel
“He doesn’t love me any more” is true of..

You know what?

It is
true of Jesus!
 He doesn’t love you any more,
           he can’t love you any more,
             he won’t love you any less or more
                           depending on what you do or don’t do.

He doesn’t need to love you any more,
 he already loves you
with an undying love that died for you.
He already loves you
with a perfect love;
 he always and already loves you,
more than you can ask or imagine or dream or pray,
habitually ,
in love with you,
you can’t do anything about it.
 He doesn’t love you any more than that.
 He sees you and your intrinsic worth:
 he made you, and he bought you.
 He doesn’t need to love you any more than that.
He can’t possibly love you any more than that.

So, along with Leah,
 have you come to realize that
someone can’t be made to love you?
 You know, someone can’t be made to love you!
But hear this, ]
and  feel free to shout “Amen” if you really believe it:
 someone can’t be made to love you,
but someone who made you, loves you.
someone can’t be made to love you,
but someone who made you, loves you.

Someone who made you, and sees you as you are,
died for you.
 Someone who loves you two times over,
                       can’t love you any more.
Jesus  bought you, saught you, caught you.
 So..along  with Leah,
 are we grasped by the Holy Spirit with crazy good news?  

 How about this?
 Have you ever twisted someone’s arm to win them?
 There is Someone who had his arms twisted, to win you!
 More than his arms were twisted,
he had nails in his arms and his feet,
                         and he was speared.

Because he loves you.
 He can’t possibly love you any more than this.
 The cross shows me, he absolutely cannot love me /you/us any more..
any more
                                             than that.
He doesn’t love you any more than that.

Toledo Times; Three random want ads.
“Wanted: 57 Chevy.”
 “Wanted: housekeeper, 10 hours a week.”
 “Wanted: someone, anyone, to love me.”

 Like Leah
 have you ever placed a plea, a prayer,  an ad like that?
 When you’re looking
for someone to love you,
 does Jesus cross your mind?
He’d better cross your mind, because hear this:
 Jesus loves you so much,
                   he didn’t mind the cross
 He doesn’t love you any more than that.
That’s already a love that no height,
 nor depth,
nor principality or power
 can separate us from.
He couldn’t
love us any

There is a heretical,
 almost unforgivable
 theological position
 that some of you are holding.
 Right now,
 if it is your position
that you are unlovable,
 I have a command from  no one less than the Lord God:
fall on your knees and literally change your position.
 Don’t talk about a precious creation of God like that.
He loves you and knit you together in your mother’s womb,
 and God in Jesus Christ loves you.

So can you learn this lesson from Leah?
 Someone already loves you with a better than perfect love.
 Someone can’t love you any more.
Someone is unconditionally in love with you.
And he need not love you any more.
 Because he looks at you, and loves you.
 He made you, and he bought you.
He doesn’t love you any more.

You can’t earn it. Can’t turn it away.
 Can’t win it. Can’t sin it away.
 Cannot outspend it, He’ll always extend it.

Don’t wrestle for it, just nestle in it,
 Don’t try to win it with a religion of good works,
 for religion is not good enough and never works.
 Jesus Christ loves you and he can’t possibly, can’t even, doesn’t need to,
doesn’t have to

 love you any more.

He already loves you
with a love that surpasses understanding.

. So if that’s true,
 like Leah,
 can we say with nthusiasm, with encouragement, with conviction,
 “This time
 I’ll give up
 trying to please everyone and their mother.

I’ll hang up
my efforts to earn anybody’s love.
 I’m fed up
with my efforts to meet others’ approval to be a legitimate person.”

That dream I told you about
 —let’s turn it into a nightmare for a moment..

 One day,
 without warning,
 your spouse, your best friend, your child, your fiancé
—one day, they look you square in the
eye and they say,
 “I don’t love you.”
They even say,
 “I hate you, I never want to see you again.”
I can’t see you anymore.”

They walk out of the door of your life,
and as the door slams,
 and it’s like a prison door,
 and all you can hear is the refrain of the door slamming..
 and the words:
 “I don’t love you.”

 So you go to work or school, wherever you go on a regular basis,
and expect to find one friend,
but everyone in unison looks at you and says,
in unison ..
“We don’t love you, be gone.”

 You’re frantic.
And so you go to the one place—it’s Sunday morning—
where you can expect friends.
 You come here to church.
You see friends you’ve prayed with,
 people you’ve wept with,
people you’ve been through the crucible of life with,
who’ve baptized you and blessed you,
 and here, one by one,
 they march out that back door,
             they storm out,
                    they look at you
and turn and scream and say,

 “I don’t love you anymore!”

Now if this should happen to you, and it should not,
……….but there’s no guarantee it will not in this life..
 can we,
 like Leah,

This time,
I know where my ultimate acceptance comes from.
 this time,
 I know  from where and who my affirmation comes,
 this time
 I know it is who loves me,
 this time I won’t be bound by others.
Someone loves me.

This time,
 someone can’t be made to love me.
 But someone who made me loves me.
 This time
 I can forget twisting someone’s arm to win me,
 because Someone had his arms twisted on the cross to win me.
 His name is?


And if my position is that I’m unlovable,
 in the name of Jesus I’m going to cancel that position,
 change that position,
 get on my knees in a new position and repent and say
“Jesus, you love me.”

No matter what anyone thinks,
no matter if my husband or wife walks out of my life forever,
 no matter what happens,

 I’ll celebrate that there is one who looks at me,
 and loves me.
 There is one who’s name is Jesus,
who doesn’t
love me any more
 than perfectly.
 And we can say,
“This time
 I won’t even bother seeking the praise of another.
                This time
                     because He can’t possibly love me
this time
                       I’ll praise the Lord.”