Archive for November, 2011

Friendship

Saturday, November 26th, 2011 by Diane Chandler

I’m reminded of the power of healthy friendships and how they infuse life into our discouraged hearts.  With friends, life is invigorated with breath and hopeful in outlook. Without friends, life becomes suffocating, hopeless, and nondescript.  Friendship involves sharing privileged information and is like fuel added to an empty tank.  Friendship is also proven and enriched during times of crisis.  

In his book Franklin and Winston: An Intimate Portrait of an Epic Friendship, author Jon Meacham recounts the deep friendship that developed between U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt and Prime Minister Winston Churchill during World War II.  Interesting, Roosevelt had quite a negative impression of Churchill when they first met twenty-one years earlier.  Roosevelt was running for a state senate position and made a visit to London. He found Churchill brusque.  What brought them together years later as president and prime minister was Adolf Hitler.  However what kept them together was friendship

Throughout WWII, they exchanged nearly 2000 letters, spent over 100 days together, and celebrated holidays with one another.  They encouraged each other in the midst of dark times.  In the last 24 hours of Roosevelt’s life, he penned these words for a speech that he would never deliver: “Today we are faced with the pre-eminent fact that, if civilization is to survive, we must cultivate the science of human relationships.” [I’ll resist the temptation to discuss the lack of friendship and collegiality, which characterizes the political atmosphere in Congress at present.  However, I do wonder if friendship is one of the missing ingredients in solving our nation’s problems.]

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Revising a Seminary: Student and Alumni Reflections

Thursday, November 17th, 2011 by Wolfgang Vondey

In a previous post I invited students and alumni of the School of Divinity to voice their opinion about the Future of the Seminary and the current attempt to restructure its curriculum. We had a large number of responses, many of them by email rather than directly to the post. Here are the results of opinions offered. They are interesting, to say the least, even if not always conclusive. The table below shows the responses ordered from highest to lowest percentage. Opposing opinions do not always show next to one another. Let me know what you think!

Number

Respondent Feedback

%

1

SOD should keep biblical language/biblical studies courses

15

2

SOD should offer more practical/ministry-oriented courses

12

3

SOD should NOT reduce or drop spiritual formation courses

8

4

SOD should keep systematic theological courses

8

5

SOD should revamp church history

7

6

SOD should offer academically oriented courses

6

7

SOD should NOT reduce the degree programs

6

8

SOD should offer courses related to education, counseling, and  psychology

  4

9

SOD should reduce or drop spiritual formation classes

4

10

SOD should find a way to reduce the courses/costs

4

11

SOD should offer more electives and reduce the core

4

12

SOD should offer more online courses

4

13

SOD should offer training in technological research tools

3

14

SOD should implement a mentoring program

3

15

SOD should re-evaluate practical/ministry-oriented courses

3

16

SOD should revamp missiological courses

3

17

SOD should reduce the electives

2

18

SOD should offer chaplaincy program

1

19

SOD should offer more summer courses

1

20

SOD should create more motivating pedagogical techniques

1

21

SOD should offer public speaking courses

1

The Law of the Spirit

Thursday, November 3rd, 2011 by Jason Wermuth

In Matthew 5:17, Jesus tells his disciples “Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets; I have come not to abolish but to fulfill. For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth pass away, not one letter, not one stroke of a letter, will pass from the law until all is accomplished.” This is a curious passage to many Christians who have received a Christianity which seems to provide freedom from the letter of the law in favor of submission to the law of the Spirit (Rom. 8:2). In what follows I will show that Jesus is the fulfillment of the law, and he is our liberator from slavery to the written law.

While Jesus declares that he did not come to abolish the law, he certainly reinterprets it and engages in creative and unorthodox practices regarding the law. For example, in Matthew 5:21, Jesus takes the command to murder and strengthens it, adding that “if you are angry with a brother or sister, you will be liable to the council; and if you say, ‘You Fool,’ you will be liable to hell of fire.” Here Jesus has introduced a harsher requirement than what is in the actual law. In other places, however, Jesus softens the law (much to the chagrin of his Pharisee contemporaries). In Exodus 20:8-10, the Israelites are commanded to “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.” The passage continues describing what that should look like: “Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath of the LORD your God, in it you shall not do any work…” In Mark 2:23-28, Jesus is walking through the grainfields with his disciples on the Sabbath when some of his followers start to pick the grain and eat. The Pharisees, apparently keeping a watchful eye on this Rabbi who had a tendency to play fast and loose with the law, confront Jesus about the “work” his disciples are doing on the Sabbath. His eloquent reply ends with “The Sabbath was made for humankind, and not humankind for the Sabbath, so the Son of Man is lord even of the Sabbath.” In one more instance of Jesus’ subversion of the standard of Sabbath keeping, Mark 3:1-6 tells us that Jesus healed a man with a withered hand on the Sabbath. In other instances, Jesus touches lepers, spends quality time with Samaritans and eats with tax collectors and prostitutes. All of these would have been considered anathema for a law abiding Jew.

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