Thursday, January 24, 2019

Who are the Wesleyans?

I recently created a PowerPoint presentation on the question of "Who are the Wesleyans?" Decided to record the presentation in podcast (and video) form. Here are the links:

1. Before there was Wesley (20 minutes)
2. John Wesley
3. Meet the Parents
4. The Wesleyan Church Today

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

OT Theology of God 3 (God of Israel)

continued from here
The God of Israel
The starting point for an Old Testament theology of God is the fact that God is the God of Israel. The Old Testament does not approach God as an abstract philosophical or theological concept. The Old Testament exists because God chose to reveal himself to a people. Through that people, God revealed the Scriptures. The Scriptural understanding of God thus is predicated on the relationship between God and Israel.

Someone might object, "Does not the Old Testament begin with creation?" "Is not Abraham the father of all of those who believe (Rom. 4:11-12)?" These are good questions that lead to important hermeneutical questions. Once we have left the theology of the individual books of the Bible, we have left the orbit of inductive Bible study for the world of the canon and the church. The inductive begins to blur into the theological.

Our approach is to begin with the inductive and move toward the theological. At some point, the Pentateuch was bound together as a package. It would not be too controversial to suggest that the individual books in the Torah were edited into their current form as they became a single canonical bundle. From one perspective, we can consider the Pentateuch as a single work, despite the distinct histories various parts of the Pentateuch may have had as sources and individual books.

Within this literary whole, it seems apparent that the giving of the covenant at Sinai is the center, the fulcrum point of the Torah. The parts of the Pentateuch that precede Exodus 20-40 are leading toward the giving of the Law, and the other books of the Pentateuch play out its consequences. From this perspective, Genesis is a preamble to the covenant, which is found in the latter part of Exodus but expressed more powerfully in Deuteronomy where Moses recapitulates the Law a second time.

Within the Old Testament as a whole, the Law is clearly the centerpiece, the sun around which the other books orbit. What we might consider the historical books point back to the giving of the Law as the point of departure. This fact is especially clear in 2 Kings 22, where Josiah discovers the book of the Law and initiates a thoroughgoing reform.

The prophets proper are best organized in relation to the history of Israel expressed in the historical books. Some prophets functioned before the exile. Some during the exile. Others after the exile. This organizing principle, however, ties them to the organizing principle of the historical books themselves, which we have already seen look to the giving of the Law as their fulcrum point.

The last section of the Jewish Bible, the Writings, are headed by the Psalms, the worship texts of Israel. These of course make reference to the Law in a number of places (e.g., Ps. 19:7; Ps. 119), suggesting that the Law and, at one point, the temple centered their use. Once again, we find that the inductive starting point to conceptualize the Old Testament is the Law.

So the Law is the centerpoint of the Old Testament, and the covenant is the center of the Law. This fact suggests that the covenant is the starting point for Old Testament theology. It is the codification of the relationship between Yahweh and Israel.

Several texts ground this covenant relationship, many of which are in Deuteronomy. "I am Yahweh, your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. There will be no other gods above me" (Deut. 5:6-7). The cornerstone of Israel's faith is the Shema of Deuteronomy 6:4: "Hear, O Israel, Yahweh is our God, Yahweh alone." These passages embody the covenant relationship between one God and one people.

In the ancient world, each nation had its patron deities, the gods that they served. Babylonians did not normally worship Dagon. Philistines did not normally worship Marduk. When two groups of people went to war, they understood their gods also to fight. In the case of the Trojan War, Athena especially took the side of the Greeks, while Poseidon took the Trojan side. The Romans typically invited the gods of whatever city they were surrounding to switch sides, with promises of honor after victory.

Psalm 82 draws on this imagery when it pictures God as the "Most High" in the counsel of the gods of the other nations. From a Christian perspective, this is a figurative rather than a literal portrayal. The point of the psalm is that God is going to judge the other nations for the way they have treated their own poor and needy. To the extent that Israelites might have referred to other gods, Christians might think mostly of demonic forces.

Yet Deuteronomy 32:8-9 uses this imagery as well, "When the Most High gave the nations their inheritance and when he separated the sons of Adam, he set the boundaries according to the number of the sons of God, for his people are the portion of Yahweh, Jacob, the place of his inheritance." The discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls (100BC) have confirmed that the original reading here was "sons of God" rather than "sons of Israel," as the much later Masoretic text says (AD900s).

Again, Christians would not take this passage literally, but it gives us the same sense that, of all the peoples of the earth, Yahweh especially chose Israel. Deuteronomy 7:7 puts it well: "Yahweh did not love you or choose you because you were more numerous than all peoples, for you were the least of all peoples. The book of Jonah makes it clear that God was not uncaring toward the other peoples of the earth, even the enemies of Israel. As Christians we might say that God used Israel as an entry point to the world with a view to the world's eventual salvation.

The Ten Commandments stand at the beginning of a covenant agreement between Yahweh and Israel. [1] They are to have no other gods above him. They are not to make images of him or any other god. They are to keep any oath they make in which they invoke his name. Deuteronomy 28 invokes both blessings and curses on Israel depending on whether they keep the covenant or break it. Keeping the covenant results in many material blessings. Breaking the covenant will result in even more cursings.

The books of Joshua, Judges, Samuel, and Kings are often known as the "deuteronomic history" for the way that they embody the consequences to Israel depending on their faithfulness to the covenant. We see what happens to Israel in battle after one man, Achan, violates God's command (Josh. 7). The book of Judges in particular is a case study in the consequences of such obedience or disobedience. Whenever Israel turned to other gods, Yahweh allowed them to be defeated and enslaves.

The starting point for an Old Testament theology of God is the fact that God is the God of Israel. The story of creation, more than anything else, served to show that the one God of Israel was the creator God, not Marduk of the Babylonians or the god of any other ANE people. It was Yahweh, the God of Israel, who laid the foundations of the earth (e.g., Ps. 102:25), not some other god.

[1] The similarity of this pattern to ancient suzerainty treaties is often noted (e.g., Hittite treaties). The ruler of a people agreed to defend and provide for a people if they in turn would give their complete loyalty to the ruler.

Monday, January 21, 2019

OT Theology of God 2 (canon 2)

Continued from last week

The Christian Old Testament
The same books that are the Jewish Scriptures are also the Old Testament for Christians. It is important to understand the distinction. The ultimate meaning of words is a function of their contexts. Accordingly, the words of the books of the Jewish Scriptures and Old Testament--although they are the same words--have quite different connotations and implications depending on the canonical context in which we place them.

The meanings of words are ambiguous without context. Words tend to have multiple possible definitions, not to mention the virtually limitless metaphorical uses to which they can be put. Additionally, the books of the Old Testament are not one book but a collection of books written over hundreds of years in differing contexts themselves. When this multiplicity of factors is conjoined with the question of appropriation for today, the import of these books can vary widely depending on who is doing the appropriation.

For those who do not accept the New Testament as Scripture, the Old Testament is not "old." It is not incomplete. For Judaism, the Old Testament is the testament. For such a person, the Jewish Scriptures may not anticipate a coming king. A Jewish reader may or may not see human nature as fallen or intrinsically corrupted. Such a person may see prayer and worship as the contemporary equivalent of the sacrificial system of Leviticus.

For a Christian reader of the Old Testament, Jesus Christ is the king who continues the royal line of David. The death and resurrection of Christ provides a fulfillment of the Levitical sacrificial system. For the Christian, default human nature is under the power of Sin, with Adam as either the literal or symbolic demonstration.

This biblical theology is a Christian biblical theology. That is to say, while we will try to listen to each biblical text first on its own terms, the ultimate organizing principles assume that a New Testament followed the Old Testament. Further, we assume that the Christian church followed the New Testament.

Of course Christians disagree on the precise contents of the Old Testament canon. They agree on sixty-six of those books. They agree on the five books of the Law: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy. They agree on the "Former Prophets" of Joshua, Judges, Samuel, and Kings. They agree on the "Latter Prophets" of Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi.

It is in the Writings that there is some disagreement. Nevertheless, even here, there is agreement on Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Songs, Ruth, 1 and 2 Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther, Lamentations, and Daniel. To these books, the Roman Catholic Church would add Tobit, Judith, Wisdom, Sirach, Baruch, 1 and 2 Maccabees, as well as additions to Esther and Daniel. The Orthodox and Ethiopian churches include one or more others.

In keeping with Jerome's categorization of these as "deuterocanonical," as a kind of second canon. While we may reference them on occasion, we will focus on the books on which all Christians agree. Where these other books are most relevant for us is when they illuminate some aspect of New Testament belief or practice.

Friday, January 18, 2019

Annual Women in Ministry post

About once every year, I make a post here supporting women in ministry and/or egalitarianism. Here is this year's post.

1. Adam and Eve were made with complete equality in the beginning.
  • "Let us make humankind in our image. In the image of God he created humanity, male and female he created them" (Gen. 1:27).
  • "Helper" (2:20) does not imply subordination (e.g., Ps. 54:4).
2. Subordination is a consequence of the fall in Genesis 3:16, not a consequence of the creation.

3. Nevertheless, God uses women in the Old Testament in the highest political and spiritual roles, even though it is less common.
  • Deborah--the highest leader in all of Israel both spiritually and politically (Judg. 4:4, 8)
  • Huldah--a higher spiritual authority with greater spiritual insight than the high priest of Israel (2 Kings 22:14-20)
4. Jesus elevated women in his ministry above their default level and role in the culture of that day.
  • Matthew 1 elevates women in the genealogy of Jesus.
  • Elizabeth and Mary are given atypical attention for that culture in the story of Jesus birth in Luke 1-2. Luke in general pays a lot of attention to the role women played in the gospel story--this would have been striking to an ancient reader.
  • Luke mentions that wealthy women provided for Jesus and his male disciples as they traveled (8:3).
  • The names of the twelve vary some. The choice of twelve men fits the patriarchal culture. His women disciples were there too in the mix (cf. Acts 1:14).
  • But Jesus did not appear first to a man but to Mary Magdalene (John 21:11-18). And women were the first witnesses to the resurrection, in a sense making them the first apostles (Matt. 28:5-10).
5. The Day of Pentecost brings the Holy Spirit, the great equalizer.
  • A sign of the new covenant and the new age is that sons and daughters will prophesy. Of course, because the Holy Spirit fills them both equally (Acts 2:17).
  • "In Christ there is neither Jew nor Greek; there is neither slave nor free; there is not 'male and female.'" (Gal. 3:28). This is what we would expect as God reorients identity to the spiritual dimension, above the earthly and physical and tribal.
  • Note the slightly different wording for male and female in Galatians 3. It may echo Genesis 1:27 where God creates them "male and female." Perhaps not any more in the new creation.
  • We are thus not surprised to find women ministering in Acts. Lydia hosts the church at Philippi. I suspect this implies she was an elder in the church at Philippi.
  • Priscilla is mentioned before her husband in the discipleship of Apollos in Acts 18:19, 26.
6. Paul's letters also witness to the ministry of women in his churches.
  • The purpose of 1 Corinthians 11 is to continue the equality of the spirit for wives to prophesy in public worship without shaming their husbands culturally. The veil is the solution. Women will be able to prophesy to men and women in the Spirit if they will veil their heads so as not to culturally dishonor their husbands while being in unusual proximity to other men and their wives (in a house church).
  • So the goal is to free up women to minister spiritually despite the husband-headship of the culture.
  • Paul seems to call Junia an apostle in Romans 16:7, indicating that Jesus appeared to her and her husband in an apostolic resurrection appearance and commissioned them both to go as witnesses to the resurrection. Some later manuscripts tried to change her name to a male name likely because the idea of a female apostle made them uncomfortable.
  • Phoebe (Rom. 16:1) is a deacon (diakonos) of the church at Cenchraea. In my opinion, these diakonoi were the closest parallel to what we call a minister in a local church today.
  • Priscilla is again mentioned first in Romans 16:3 as Paul's co-worker and as host of a church in her house, probably implying that she is an elder of that church or collection of churches.
  • Euodia and Syntyche were coworkers of Paul at Philippi alongside male coworkers like Clement (Phil. 4:2-3). Other female workers are mentioned (Mary in Rom. 16:6; Tryphena and Tryphosa in Rom. 16:12; he singles out Persis as a hard worker in the Lord in Rom. 16:12).
  • Paul mentions a church at Colossae that met in the house of a women named Nympha (Col. 4:15), making her the host and likely an elder in relation to those churches.
  • None of these passages make any point that these women only ministered to other women or that they were carefully subordinated to male lead pastors or that they only ministered under the direction of their husbands.
7. The curse is undone by the redemption of Christ.
  • Theologically speaking, if the subordination of women was a consequence of the Fall, then the redemption of Christ implies the re-equification of women in relation to men and their husbands.
  • Jesus points to such an equification of women in the kingdom when he says in Mark 12:25 that women will not "be given in marriage" in the kingdom. Since we live in a culture today that is open to such equality, contextualization suggests we should enact it now, even within marriage.
  • The idea that someone has to make the final decision seems like an excuse, especially if mutual submission is going on (Eph. 5:21). (By the way, the word submit is not actually present in the Greek of 5:22).
  • It is in Hebrews that the new covenant insight of the totality of Christ's atonement comes fully into view. That is to say, it is in Hebrews that we fully see the end of all need for further atonement in Christ. All sins--past, present, and future--are redeemed through Christ. This truth is not as clear in the rest of the New Testament (cf. Acts 21:24) and may have taken the destruction of the temple to be fully understood by the New Testament church
  • This may have implications elsewhere in the New Testament. Are there places in the rest of the New Testament where the implications of Christ's full atonement are not yet fully appropriated because of the cultural context of that day? E.g., 1 Tim. 2:15 speaks of childbearing playing some saving role. This is an odd statement given the full atonement provided through Christ!
  • As another example, the household codes with regard to slavery accommodate the societal structure of the day rather than enacting the firestorm that would have come from living out the kingdom trajectory of total abolition.
  • There is nothing uniquely Christian about the household codes of the NT when they subordinate wives to men. Aristotle structures the household in exactly the same way (Politics 1.1259a-b). It is pretty much what everyone thought. It is thus when the biblical texts move toward the equality of women with men that they are being distinctively Christian.
  • The trajectory of the kingdom is thus toward the non-subordination of women to men in any way. Since our culture is open to this position, it would be ironic for us to push for the earthly and cultural when God has opened up the way for the heavenly and eternal!
  • 1 Corinthians 11 shows that in Paul's day husband-headship was a distinct cultural issue from women engaging in prophetic ministry. Paul is finding a pathway to honor both in his cultural context. Most men with wives in ministry are fully supportive of that ministry... so wouldn't it violate husband-headship if that wife defied her husband and didn't obey her call? :-) And since Christ is the head of the man, who trumps the situation--a disobedient husband or the Lord of all? It is better to obey God rather than man. 
8. Misunderstood Passages
  • In the light of 1 Corinthians 11, the later verses in 14:34-35 cannot be talking about spiritual speech but about disruptive speech. Women are assumed in 1 Corinthians 11 to participate in the spiritual speech of the worship service. For this reason, these verses do not have any bearing on this question.
  • I might mention that a number of scholars do not think these verses were in the original copy of 1 Corinthians for several reasons. Such faith-filled scholars include Gordon Fee, Richard Hays, and Kenneth Schenck.
  • 1 Timothy 3 does seem to assume that elders and deacons will be men, and probably the majority were. But this chapter does not explicitly forbid women from being elders or deacons. This argument against women in ministry is thus an argument from the typical to the universal, an argument from silence.
  • That leaves us with only one verse in the entire Bible that even sounds like it could prohibit a woman from being the teacher of a man. You should never build a theology on one verse. 
  • Indeed this issue tends to reveal one's hermeneutic. Like those who used individual verses in the Bible to argue against abolition, those who argue against women and ministry argue from individual verses rather than the arch of Scripture as a whole. Did Christ redeem women from the sin of Eve or not?
9. 1 Timothy 2:12-15
  • The words woman and man here, used in such proximity, with Adam and Eve mentioned, suggest to me that 1 Timothy has husbands and wives in view. The words used here usually mean husband and wife when used in proximity to each other.
  • If so, then we have here another husband-wife passage and our discussion is at an end. Husband-wife relationships are a different discussion from women in ministry, as I have argued above.
  • These verses are unique in Paul's corpus. Nowhere else does Paul say anything of this sort. The uniqueness of the statement leads us to wonder if something is going on in the context of Ephesus leading to such a stark statement. (Scholars actually debate whether Paul wrote 1 Timothy) 
  • I've heard it suggested that the present tense of 1 Tim. 2:12 could be significant--"I am not (currently) allowing a wife to teach or be an autocrat over a husband."
  • The context of the Artemiseum at Ephesus is often mentioned, where women played dominant roles. The unusual strength of the word "dominate" or "usurp" in 1 Tim. 2:12 is often mentioned. I. Howard Marshall once suggested that Paul does not tell men that they can dominate their wives either.
  • The train of thought is difficult (never base a theology on an unclear and disputed passage). For example, although 2:13 mentions the creation order of Adam and Even, my friend David Ward has pointed out how limited such an argument is. After all, the plants and animals were made before Adam and he isn't subordinated to their authority!
  • 2:14 sounds like it refers to the deceivability of Eve. Certainly women were less educated at the time of Paul, but that isn't true today at all. That argument may have fit Paul's world and Ephesus, but it is not a timeless argument.
  • I've already mentioned how strange 2:15 is, given that Christ has saved all men and women from the shame of the fall. Wives are saved through the blood of Jesus Christ, not through childbearing!
  • In short, we tend to fixate on this verse today because a certain segment of the Christian community uses it as a proof text. But these verses are atypical of Paul. They are atypical of the whole of Scripture. They are often used to point in a different direction than the overarching story and trajectory of Scripture as a whole. They are often used to point in a different direction than the trajectory of the kingdom.
10. Common Sense
  • If those who have questions about women in ministry will allow this one idea, it will change everything...
  • Would you at least allow that there are exceptional circumstances where God might call a woman to minister. Deborah would seem to say so.
  • If so, then the question shifts to, "Is this specific woman called to a role in ministry?" 
  • And if you will let this be the question, then you will find that in this age of the Spirit, God is calling lots of women into ministry.
  • And let's be honest, if a plane is crashing, I want the best pilot to be in charge. That's the question that makes sense--is this person (male or female) the most gifted, graced, and called person to lead this church?
Women are being called by God into ministry. Woe to us if we put any stumbling block in front of them!

Thursday, January 17, 2019

OT Theology of God 1 (canon)

The Old Testament Canon
The starting point for an Old Testament theology of God is the fact that God is the God of Israel. That is to say, the Old Testament does not approach God as an abstract philosophical or theological concept. The Old Testament itself does not exist as a collection of musings from philosophers. The Old Testament exists as the Scriptures of a people--indeed of two peoples.

The Jewish Scriptures
The first people for whom the Old Testament exists as Scriptures are those who practice Judaism as a religion distinct from Christianity. For such individuals, these are the Jewish Scriptures rather than the "Old" Testament. For practicing Jews who do not believe Jesus to be the Messiah, the Jewish Scriptures are not an "old" testament but the testament, the covenant.

The canon of Judaism is the canon of most Protestants today. A canon was a measuring rod, and in this case a biblical "canon" is a collection of books considered to be a measuring rod for a religious group. Both Christians and Jews consider the books of the Jewish Scriptures to be such a measuring rod.

This canon had not yet reached its definitive shape at the time of the New Testament. Its first two parts were established by then, but not the third. The first section of the Jewish Scriptures is the Law (Torah), the Pentateuch--Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy. In both Jewish and Christian Bibles of all sorts, these are the first books of the Bible.

The second section of the Jewish Bible is the Prophets (Nevi'im). This section includes not only what Christians think of as historical books (Joshua, Judges, Samuel, Kings) but also what we actually consider to be the prophetic writings of the Old Testament (Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and the twelve "minor" prophets). The Jewish canon is thus conceptualized by a different grouping of the books.

The limits of the third section of the Jewish Bible was not yet finalized at the time of Christ, the Writings (Kethuvim). Disagreements between Catholics and Protestants over the contents of the Old Testament may in fact relate in part to the fluidity of this collection in New Testament times. Luke 24:44 alludes to this section when it speaks of the Law, the Prophets, and the Psalms, since the Psalms are first in this section.

At the time of Christ, various Jewish groups also disagreed on the contents of this section. Samaritans of course limited their canon to the Pentateuch, and they had their own version even of it. Some Essenes likely considered some of the books in the Dead Sea Scrolls (DSS) to be Scriptures. These included books that were known even previous to the discovery of the DSS, such as 1 Enoch and the book of Jubilees. These two books are part of the canon of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church even to this day.

The books of the Roman Catholic, Orthodox, and Anglican Old Testament canon include several books that are not in the Bible of most Protestants. These include books like 1 and 2 Maccabees, Wisdom, Sirach, and Tobit. As part of the Septuagint, the Greek translation of the Old Testament, these relatively late books had more lasting influence in Greek-speaking Jewish circles than in Aramaic-speaking ones. Since the early church quickly became more of a Greek-speaking than Aramatic-speaking movement, it is no surprise that Christians in the earliest centuries tended to consider these writings as Scripture of a sort. [1]

The Christian Old Testament
The same books...

[1] Jerome in around the year AD400 considered them "deuterocanonical." That is to say, he considered them a secondary part of the canon, not quite as significant as the other books but significant enough to be considered part of the canon.

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

High School to Masters in Five Years (KERN program)

For Graduating High School Students:
The School of Theology and Ministry (STM) at Indiana Wesleyan University (IWU) has a special program that has really become the backbone of our undergraduate school: the KERN Mentoring Program
  • About 25 students a year receive a significant scholarship from their second semester freshman year for 5 years (in the past, some have received as much as $3000 a year in their undergraduate time)
  • Graduate with a bachelor's degree in three years.
  • Then receive a Master of Practical Theology degree in two more years (an MDIV equivalent in hours and coursework)
The Bachelor's Degree Part
Major in one of four ministry tracks: Christian Ministries, Worship Ministry, Youth Ministries, or Children's ministry.
  • Admitted into the Kern program in the second semester, with a significant scholarship each semester.
  • Take the ministry core with courses like evangelism, inductive Bible study, Christian theology, advanced Bibles, and church history.
  • Take general ordination courses like counseling, preaching, worship, and local church education.
  • Take courses in your specialization in ministry, like teaching the Bible to children (Children's Ministries), the Christian year (Worship Ministry), youth in culture (Youth Ministries), or church leadership (Christian Ministries).
  • Finish in three years if you want--one year less translates to about $10,000 in savings!
The Master's Degree Part (four possibilities)
The Master of Practical Theology
  • A 72 hour curriculum (the required number of courses in an MDIV)
  • Up to 9 hours of advanced standing with credit from your undergraduate work
  • Your first year is onsite in a cohort with courses like spiritual direction, worship renewal, strategic pastoral counseling, biblical theology, hermeneutics, and more.
  • Your second year is a residency (usually a paid residency) in a teaching church, finishing out your course work online while you are being mentored at a church. 
  • These include courses like multi-ethnic ministry, pastoral care, church health, youth and family education, and philosophy for ministry. 
  • Normally finish in two years, while possibly receiving almost $200 a credit hour in scholarships.
Other Master's Degree Possibilities
  • Master of Arts in Spiritual Care (a one year option beyond the bachelor's degree)
  • Master of Arts in Biblical and Theological Studies (a one year option after bachelor's)
  • Master of Arts in Theology (a two year option after bachelor's)

Monday, January 14, 2019

Old Testament Theology on Patreon

I have been doing some videos/podcasts on Isaiah but it wasn't energizing me or (I think) my patrons.

So I'm switching it up. For a few months I plan to look at verses in the Old Testament in a series on Old Testament theology. The revised weekly plan is:
  • Monday - continue to do a video on the letters and pronunciation of a Hebrew verse of the week.
  • Tuesday - for patrons only, continued work on my inductive Bible study textbook
  • Wednesday - podcast on patreon covering the OT theology relevant to the verse of the week
  • Thursday - for patrons only, continued work on my inductive Bible study textbook
  • Friday - continue to do a video on the Hebrew grammar of the verse of the week
  • Saturday - patrons only, continued work on my inductive Bible study textbook
  • Sunday - Christian Sabbath :-)

Tuesday, January 01, 2019

New Year's Resolutions (2019)

"I have a feeling it's going to be an odd year."

The new trend is to pick a word for the year. I'm picking the word INVENT.

Something Old
  • I want to finish writing two books this year, two textbooks. They are both already about half written. One is on inductive Bible study. The other is "Greek for Ministry."
  • I'll renew last year's goal of 6 miles of running a week in the winter, with 15 once it warms up.
  • I'll continue my trajectories on Patreon and Bible study.
Something New
I want to innovate this year, both personally and professionally.
  • Personally, Trent Nettleton, myself, and a couple designers have been in conversation to create a New Testament Survey app. This would function like a textbook except it would be interactive. Perhaps finished in spring.
  • Professionally, I want to 1) reach new students in new ways, 2) continue to connect the church with the academy, and 3) enrich student formation and experience. Here is where my principal investment in INVENTING may be.
Something Borrowed
  • I'm sure I will read several books before the year is out. I'm not always sure what they will be. I suspect the first one will be The Coddling of the American Mind, by Jonathan Haidt.
  • Dare I continue my quest in math and science? Perhaps I will feebly aim to continue.
Something Blue
  • I'll take this in the sense of family. This is truly launching year and the goal is God-directed launches! My two older step-daughters are on trajectory to leave Indiana. My son has a major decision to make. My daughter is looking at various Christian colleges. May the Lord direct their paths!