I’m leaving town for a work conference this week. See you all when I return!
I’m leaving town for a work conference this week. See you all when I return!
You’ll have noticed by now that my usual
rigorous haphazard schedule of blogging has gotten a bit off-kilter of late. My usual tendency is to try to post Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Sometimes one of those gets forsaken, and so I supplement with a Tuesday or a Thursday post. Sometimes, I have so much to say, I’ll even manage four or five posts in a week.
But this semester, my class is at 8 a.m. Mondays, which means I have no flexibility in the mornings to sit and write a post. I have to be out of the house by 7:30. On top of that, the class sis so writing-intensive, I’m taking two study nights a week, and a study night guarantees a 1 a.m. bedtime. Which means getting up early to write something is quite difficult. So that leaves Wednesdays and Fridays for posting.
I enjoy blogging, and I think it helps me process and retain what I learn in class, so I’m not about to stop. Nevertheless, the blog will be a little slower, at least until May.
I wound up reading 38 books in 2012, not all of them incredibly germane to this blog (ahem, Hunger Games), but I wanted to take a brief glimpse at the ones that affected me most, regardless of whether I’ve mentioned them here already. These aren’t necessarily the best books written in 2012, though a couple do qualify in that regard; rather, these are simply the best books I managed to read last year, in the order in which I read them:
Well, I’d planned to do a lot more blogging over the Christmas break, but stomach bugs have ways of changing one’s plans, and my wife and I spent most of Christmas and the days immediately thereafter awash in nausea and/or poop as one by one we all fell to the virus.
On that lovely note, Happy New Year! To ease back into the swing of blogging, I’m going to follow the crowd and list the most viewed posts from 2012:
For all the talk about post-Christian societies and all the fear mongering about impending secularization and persecution, the reality remains: If you are Christian in America, you are most likely comfortable, accepted – and extremely powerful.
The question, then, is what do we do with this power?
The men didn’t get it. They betrayed, abandoned and hung him on a cross. Yet while he was there, who stayed with him? The women. They got it. They stayed at the cross. They returned to the tomb, and as a result, were the first to see the risen Christ. The crucifixion and resurrection stories do not have a “masculine feel.” Indeed, the whole life of Christ is decidedly opposed to the masculine norms of his day.
Two weeks ago, our church did communion down front, “Catholic style.” We all stood up and took the crackers and the little plastic cups from servers at the front of the auditorium. I brought my daughter, mostly because I didn’t want her getting into trouble way in the back while we were at the front. After I had taken communion, the sweet older ladies who were serving us leaned down to my daughter’s level and said (paraphrasing): “Jesus loves you very much, and this is the life he gave for you.” And she took her first communion.
Often when I discuss politics on here, I cast it in terms of morality and compassion. What does a moral, compassionate society look like, and how do we as Christians work to achieve that? I firmly believe one way is quit supporting organizations whose positions are morally repugnant and uncompassionate. The NRA is one such organization.
This insidious notion of the “deserving” versus the “undeserving” poor has infected every level of our discourse. It determines whether we roll down the window and give change to the guy with the cardboard sign. It shows up in our attitudes toward the impoverished who live in the neighborhoods around our churches. And it reveals itself, sometimes more surprisingly honest than others, in our political discourse.
6. Love Wins
Many Christians would likely condemn Les and Scott GrantSmith for their relationship. There was a time I would have, too. But love is a mighty, inexorable power. It leads a man to accept his partner’s new identity, and it leads a man to sacrifice himself for a people who despise him. It saves us all from the slavery of sin and death.
It’s no coincidence that Christmas occurs so closely to the winter solstice, the shortest and darkest day of the year. In premodern rural cultures, the lengthening of the days (i.e., the “rebirth” of the sun) was a significant sign of hope for the coming spring and reason to celebrate. The parallels between the rebirth of the sun and the birth of the Son were simply too easy for the church to ignore them – and indeed why should it have?
[O]ur professor certainly advocates a return to the way things used to be, and that’s a fairly conservative position, even if what he envisions would be considered a radical change from how things are practiced in most churches today.
I’m not sure I agree with him – culture often has defined worship services more than any particular doctrinal stance.
[R]ather than spend my morning turning exquisite phrases of outrage, allow me to focus on something positive. This weekend, I read an amazing story from The Washington Post‘s Petula Dvorak about a transgender 5-year-old. Yes, you read that correctly.
The prophets in each case argue the technical aspects of the worship simply don’t matter – the songs, the offerings, the feasts, the prayers – it’s all worthless compared to how the congregation treats the poor, upholds justice, opposes oppression and loves others.
It was a good year for the blog; thanks for coming along for the ride. I’m grateful for your readership this past year and in the one to come.
With a paper due in less than two weeks, a final the week after that and Thanksgiving right around the corner, blogging is going to be light for a little bit. I have to get up pretty early to get blogging done before work, and late nights at the library make that a lot more difficult.
So have a great Thanksgiving, and we’ll resume our conversations next week!
It also means I’ve been blogging for more than a year – I started this thing in late July 2011, and here I am, somehow still trucking along. In celebration, here are the top 10 posts by pageviews this blog has had since its inception. If you’re newish, maybe you’ll find something you like; if you’ve been here from the beginning, thanks! Maybe you’ll find something you missed or forgot you liked. Or maybe the fact that these posts are the most viewed here will make you once again wonder why you’ve wasted so much time reading this blog.
Without further ado:
So I fully intended last week to write a “going on vacation” post. But the stress of getting everything packed up and into the car drove it from my mind, and though I brought my laptop with me, never even opened it until this morning. So instead this is a “sorry I went on vacation and didn’t tell you” post.
I’m pretty sure dropping off the face of the earth without warning for a whole week isn’t right up there on the list of things you should do to sustain your blog traffic, but the average hits per day actually increased when I was gone. Apparently, the masses have spoken: We like your blog better when you don’t say anything.
Undaunted, I’ll continue posting anyway, starting tomorrow. Be warned.
Yes, that’s right,
your favorite blog this blog you read has joined 2009. Follow @DisorientedBlog, and you’ll get up-to-the-second updates and perhaps stimulating conversation between me and other intrepid theological bloggers. Or just updates.
With a scintillating endorsement such as that, how can you refuse?
I was all set to write a rockin’ post about the acceptance of polygamy in the Bible and whether that means the church should be more accepting of it today – but I stayed up late trying (and failing) to finish my reading for this upcoming Maymester on Amos, and therefore woke up too late to write anything more than this apologetic note.
Fear not, dear readers! After next week, blogging will resume in earnest. Until then, however, I’m afraid activity here will be spottier than it already was. Have a great day!
A quick update today to let you know I’ve posted my latest paper. In our New Testament class, we were assigned a 20-page paper dealing with an introductory critical issue involving one of the books of the New Testament. I picked Paul’s purposes for writing Romans, mostly as a way to do some exegesis of Romans 1, which is kind of a clobber chapter for those who condemn homosexuality. (The treatment of sex in the Bible is something of an interest of mine and may turn into a thesis or a dissertation down the road. You might recall that my Old Testament exegesis paper was on Leviticus 18.)
Well, the paper was returned this week (got an “A”!), and as is my custom, I’m posting it here. So what’s it about?