Thanks also to the Anchoress for talking more sensibly than many whose sites I've visited since the story broke: I have already lodged some complaints about this administration and the party that created it, and my liberal colleagues here at Westmont have lodged further substantial complaints about Bush, his administration, his policies, the way he has been waging this war, and the Republican Party he is creating. But as an urban gospel music fan I think my expectations were probably unrealistic. Let it suffice to say that I would be embarrassed not to single out the ones who really poured their lives into my program, and equally embarrassed not to mention every one who played even a small part, because all were significant and transformative. It sends just as real a signal to the marketplace as buying or selling. That future is not ours to deny just because these people do not call upon Jesus as Lord.
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See more Engineering jobs in Telford See all Engineering jobs. Senior Maintenance Technician Premium. Permanent Acorn Recruitment Posted 12 days ago. Water Treatment Engineer, Technician Featured. Permanent Accord Engineering Recently. Permanent Acorn Recruitment Expires in 1 day. Is the Spirit who conceives him, who leads him along the Father's mission and indwells his body, calling upon him to Come and confessing him as Lord, not the Son's best follower?
When it takes the Spirit to provoke our own confessions, how can we arrogate the title "Christian" to ourselves as a possession, as something our own? The term "Christian" was coined only in Antioch after Jesus ascended; but it belongs to God in the story of Jesus Christ, not to us.
Tutu made the word our possession. But we take it on only with fear and trembling, knowing that the Messiah judges whether or not we know him and serve him and prove faithful to his office. Tutu turned two different things into a false dichotomy: The Archbishop Emeritus left us with that agonizing choice because he chose not to tell us the story of Jesus Christ, a story that points somewhere else than those two horrible options.
In fact, by winsomely forcing them on us he told us a different story, the story of pluralism, in which God floats free from his own beloved Church. He gut-punched every Christian in that room with that throwaway line, and left a lot of us walking out at the end in stunned, devastated silence.
Even worse, Tutu did not answer the second part of the question, about what Christians might teach others. We Christians don't need to teach them our culture, our history, our apologies, or even our religion. We bear only one thing. It is not something we created or own. We are merely entrusted with it for a time and held accountable for its fruitfulness when that time is over. That thing is the good news of Jesus Christ. It is his story and his name above all names that we offer the world with joy and expectation.
It is through him that South Africa's and America's and the world's forgiveness and reconciliation come. My life will never remotely compare to his. He is a prophet of justification by works.
He has forgotten the one thing that matters most. Moreover, this man entrusted with the highest teaching office in his Church has invited us to do the same. I refuse to forget. I refuse to go home and sleep peacefully after even as godly a man as Desmond Tutu takes such a generous question and, when asked what might be worth teaching, shrinks back from naming the name of Jesus.
Jesus gets the glory. Jesus , not "Transcendence," is the name above every name. Someday every tongue will confess, "Jesus, Christ, Lord" to the Father's glory. South Africa's freedom from its demonic past is a sign of that Father's kingdom. It accrues to his glory. Desmond Tutu's vision has been a big part of that. But Christians don't own our name, our glories, or even our sins. The Dalai Lama doesn't own his spirituality or prayers.
Progressives and conservatives don't own their Goodness. I don't even own this lousy blog. And none of us owns our futures. Jesus' blood got him the deed to them all. If you learn anything from us "Christians," whether we are godly, enthralling Nobel Peace Prize laureates or intolerant, weak, arrogant, hypocritical bloggers, for God's sake learn that.
Tonight I was honored to deliver the fall Paul C. Wilt Phi Kappa Phi lecture, compressing several chapters of material from my work on the Lord's Prayer. Here is the Adobe Acrobat version of the lecture.
I am sorry that I don't have copies of the wonderful comments of my two respondents, Carter Crockett from our economics and business department and Jeff Schloss of our biology department. Nor is there a transcript of the lovely discussion that followed. All I will say about them is that I have plenty of good things to think about, and that they are just the kind of thing that can happen at a Christian liberal arts college.
Thanks to everyone for coming. Well, it just so happens that this blog is only mostly dead. There's a big difference between mostly dead and all dead. Mostly dead is slightly alive. Nevertheless, it is only slightly alive, and it will stay that way at least until the end of the semester. I have more responsibilities at home, more students than ever, more committee assignments, and several urgent projects.
But I do appreciate the encouragement that I get from readers not to stop, and I am taking that encouragement seriously. Not blogging for eight months is an interesting experience, though. First the pressure of not publishing dissipates. Then the guilt of not publishing gradually disappears. Finally the joy of learning without the obligation to report on it re-emerges. Of course I miss blogging too.
But when I return I will also miss not blogging. While the blog is mostly dead, keep watching this space for links to those projects when they come on-line.
Here are links to a few recent additions to TelfordWork. Most of all, you should read the tremendous textbooks I have chosen for my class on the Life and Literature of the New Testament. They'll keep you busy! Each is worth a review in this space. As I said, there is more in the pipeline, so don't give up quite yet. A week ago I preached this slightly long sermon to a delightful group of scholarship candidates and their parents here at Westmont. Now tonight, at UCSB, it will be a talk on the wholeness or lack thereof of Christian life on college campuses.
This weekend the tables will be turned, and I will be the audience for a big stack of students' papers. The group is amazingly accomplished musically, with a commanding presence on stage. They established an immediate repoire with the audience, teaching us an African round for everyone to sing at the outset, and keeping the show conversational throughout.
The political correctness of the whole event was of course impeccable. I came expecting that, and it didn't really bother me. Nineties nostalgia and all. The extent to which the Christian heritage of the black musical tradition had been submerged into an all-inclusive whole-earth spiritualism did surprise me a bit, and it disappointed me even more. But as an urban gospel music fan I think my expectations were probably unrealistic.
Early in the set, Ysaye Maria Barnwell reminded everyone that a deep strength of the Civil Rights movement was its commitment to nonviolence and sang "Let us Rise in Love," a composition of hers written after September This Christian pacifist agreed, and sang along. Then came the next song, an encouragement of the political activism in which the group is truly rooted.
Carol Maillard I think introduced it by praising the protesters who had courageously gathered "when the Republicans invaded New York," her home town. A touch of bitterness in her inflection; appreciative laughter from the audience.
Tired of conservative bloggers' harping about the insularity and the double standard on today's left? But I'm a lot more tired of the insularity and the double standard. This woman, whose parents must have suffered under segregation, doesn't want busloads of her mayor's fellow Republicans at her town's lunch counters.
And her "diverse" Santa Barbara audience, few of whom suffered under segregation, finally agrees with standing ovations. This former Republican is now fighting the temptation to re-join the party as an act of solidarity. And I want that to change much more than it already has. Is turning the GOP into "invaders" going to facilitate that change? Isn't it just for the satisfaction of bashing outsiders in a room safely full of insiders?
The last couple of numbers were freedom songs. I sang along, not feeling the triumphalist vibe emanating from the rest of the room, yet finding all the company I needed in the words themselves.
I sang along, not rooting for the bland "change" these progressives envisioned but awaiting the Christ-won freedom at the real heart of the black church tradition. Do these people know how pathetic this looks? Do you really think the moment would have been passed over in silence if it had happened under a Democratic administration?
Even if you think the U. In fact, wasn't that once a conviction of America's Civil Rights movement? I sang along, wondering how long it will be before our college campuses are intellectually loving, inclusive, diverse, serious, or even free. I sang along, because I am as susceptible as everyone else to the sociological deafness that distorts and silences other people, and I need deliverance from that evil just as much as the ones who sing to me and hear only their own voices echoing back.
I try to be more hospitable in class than they were in concert, but am I really so different? What do I say that I cannot hear, or choose not to reflect upon, or immediately forget?
I sang along, because despite the ambiguity of the group's theology I assume they are my sisters in Christ, and that means we belong together. I sang along, because Jesus' most scathing words were not reserved for Romans but his cousins the Pharisees, and while he was more welcoming of them into his circles than this audience was of "red America," he was also more critical. I sang along, thinking of some of the careless remarks I have heard in church over the years that left others feeling even more angry as I felt at that moment, and hoping for freedom there too.
I sang along, because my college's president recently reminded all of us in chapel that Jesus' Golden Rule is the sum of the law and the prophets. We disciples have a lot of work to do just to bring a single standard back to the way we treat each other, and the work can start as soon as someone notices the work order.
But I won't be singing along next time, because I'm not interested in going again. There are better songs to sing, or at least better ways to sing these. If the American Church, let alone America, is ever going to get past idolatry, condescension, judgmentalism, hypocrisy, and red or blue political correctness, we will all need to change our tune.
Anyone want to join me in singing that round? We learn any skill through mentors and examples. I have had so many fantastic teachers through the years that the verse "to whom much is given, much will be required" truly scares me. Just about every professor I had at Fuller and Duke showed me how to be an educator, especially when they weren't trying. The names would both bore you and come across as ingratiating name-dropping. Let it suffice to say that I would be embarrassed not to single out the ones who really poured their lives into my program, and equally embarrassed not to mention every one who played even a small part, because all were significant and transformative.
The same is true of my high school teachers. Before I was old enough to learn that there were alternatives, the faculty of Flintridge Preparatory School showed me what it is to live out of the love of both learning and learners.
They became my default expectation for what counts as teaching, and I have never been content not to live up to the expectations they created in me. Did anyone inspire me at Stanford? It is not that there were not great teachers there; for instance, Stuart Reges in computer science stands out as one of the best teachers I have ever had.
I think I just wasn't in an inspirable frame of mind in college. From tenth to twelfth grade, I was on the Flintridge varsity water polo and swim teams. I was not varsity because I was a great athlete! I was varsity because we were such a small school that there was no junior varsity.
I was and remain a mediocre athlete. However, we were not a mediocre team. We excelled in our league because we had an excellent coach. Brian Murphy arrived between my ninth and tenth grades and transformed my school's water polo program. In weeks he turned us into league champions. An Olympic alternate in Munich, Murph taught us the Hungarian offense and the Russian counterattack, dazzled us with stories of European superstar polo players who could tread water with air between their legs, terrified us with drills in which we had to pass the ball until it was dry, and got us in the water with morning and afternoon workouts that started at 6 a.
We even practiced on Saturdays. He shouted constantly in practices. He was more demanding in the water than any teacher in the classroom. His discipline was rigorous, his authority absolute. During games, however, he was Zen-like. He deferred to the ref, even after bad calls. He raised his voice just once in three years of competition. He took the regular victories as serenely as the jarring occasional close defeats. He counted on all the hours of preparation to see us through the minutes of trial.
I didn't like water polo or swimming season. I was not on the teams because I love these sports. I was on the team because my parents made me choose a sport every year of junior high and high school to make me more competitive as a college applicant.
I never assimilated into athletic culture. I never wanted to go to practice. I never won a race. I never started a game. I worked my ass off. Hey, a sports story deserves a little sports jargon. My body learned the skills and gained the conditioning I needed to pass for a player.
I learned to get along with real athletes. I learned asceticism and endurance. I learned how a team works. I learned the tradition of water polo. During last summer's Olympics, there I was watching water polo on TV and teaching my children the plays. And while I never wanted to do it, I was always quietly proud of myself.
Moreover, as a senior, I received the "Most Improved Award. But I was becoming a water polo player. MIP is an odd award to win in your last year of school. But my father bursted with pride when I received it at the end-of-season banquet. Now that I am a father, I finally understand why. And I am discovering the source of the same energy he and my mom mustered to be up with me making breakfast and driving me to school to get me in the water by 6: A banner in my school's gymnasium still chronicles our league championships: Murph owns those years.
I was at my twentieth-year high school reunion last fall talking with Flintridge's new director of development when Murph came up. As I reminisced, it hit me that Murph taught me as much about teaching as any "teacher. My classroom is a swimming pool where people are trained and transformed rather than merely informed. My expectations are sky-high. My A and B students are learning what it is to be stretched, and my C and D students are learning what it is to persevere.
Both the non-believers, Catholics, liberal Protestants, etc. The books and lectures aren't ends in themselves, but leverage for playing a game worthy of the name "Christian faith. As a result they are learning that Christianity is more than just guilt and justification; it's also pain and sanctification. They are learning that it's okay to blow off steam with complaints, but not okay to corrupt the team with cynicism.
They are learning that the ultimate criteria of faithfulness are not how skilled or talented or insightful a player is, but whether she cheats or plays by the rules, whether she gives up or keeps going even when she's discouraged. And my students rise to the occasion. When I put them through more than I sometimes feel I have a right to, and much more than I ever tolerated as an undergraduate, they receive it with gratitude and grow it into character that brings tears to my eyes.
One semester a few years ago my students started calling me "Coach. I consider it the ultimate compliment of my teaching career. It also gave me a new standard to strive for. Well, not quite; there are a few sites that don't yet work. But I switched to FireFox this week. So far, so good. I'm a happy camper. The funny thing is that Kim and I own a little Microsoft stock.
How many of a company's stockholders still root for open-source products that threaten their income? Yes, I'm well out of the habit. At the same time, I keep hearing from occasional readers that they appreciate this blog and my site in general, that it's needed, and that I should continue it. I appreciate those comments, and they are sure to keep me going, if pretty irregularly.
I have been directing my writing energy to a book on the Lord's Prayer and my reading energy to course texts. That doesn't leave much extra for a blog. Against all past precedence, I am actually making headway on the book even while the semester is in progress. That will almost certainly end once student papers start coming in, so I am trying desperately to finish a chapter while I still can.
Still, I received a provocative e-mail recently; when I responded to it, my answer was basically a theological FAQ. And if you are truly interested, then read the book to which I appeal at the end. If time permits in the next few days, I'll end the year with reading recommendations from some of the terrific texts we read this semester in my classes.
And students, watch this space for news that next semester's syllabi have been posted. I didn't bother to link to it, though. Now that I have found out some readers are using it a good idea, since I post so rarely , I am including a link on the right, as well as here.
Maybe some comments on the coverage someday. I have seen very little like your words out on the Internet. You folks are the salt of the earth. I went to the pet store for hamster supplies a few days ago. After the checkout person thanked me for coming, I replied, "You're welcome. And whomever you vote for, or don't vote for Still, it will be nice when this contest is over. In the middle of the playoffs it always seems as if the future of the world depends on my team winning the series, the game, the play.
Afterwards, the groupthink fades, perspective returns, and life goes on. Many of your loved ones, neighbors, strangers, and enemies need that generosity now. Don't wait until the election is over; don't wait until normal perspective is already returning; offer yours right away.
Then, since the game isn't quite over yet, here is my favorite Bush endorsement, and here is my favorite Kerry endorsement. Both come via Instapundit , though I read both blogs regularly anyway.
Unlike big media, who lost this campaign for both my interest and my loyalty. Life goes on, not just after the election but already. Whoever you are, may the risen Son's peace be with you today, tomorrow, and forever. Somebody still reads this blog! Not because the parties are compromised but because the system is. Big money, entrenched, self-interested power decides whom the people get to vote for. Jonathan isn't objecting to voting in any modern nation-state; he tells me he will vote in Canada if and when he is qualified.
The country that produced its current Liberal Party is better? As usual, Jonathan and I agree even as we disagree; the theological assumptions we share inform the political assumptions we don't, to produce interesting results and fruitful discussions. So you will never find the two of us facing each other on "Hardball. Political theorists have shown that no voting system can be truly neutral.
The peculiar dynamics of America's federalism, its first-past-the-post winner take all, rather than proportional representation system, and its constitutional balance of powers produce peculiar results. Incidentally, I prefer this system over Canada's Westminster model.
A different system would produce a different variety of favoritism. Perhaps it would be a better one; perhaps not. As a conservative I approach reform with a built-in skepticism: What unintended consequences would accompany, distort, or reverse the intended ones?
The McCain-Feingold campaign finance "reform" whose effects are being felt in this year's s is a good example of why I would rather not tamper with what has produced workable results in the United States for two hundred years. It's true that "big money, entrenched, self-interested power" has a disproportionate say in selecting candidates. Yet the Democratic Party's incoherence and the Republican Party's weakness did too. I don't go for the "tweedle-dee and tweedle-dum" marxist account of American politics where the stakes in one party or the other winning are inconsequential because the same powers survive every change of administrations.
Trial lawyers, teachers' unions, big labor, African-America, and the extremely rich want Kerry to win because the stakes are high for them.
Likewise for Bush's supporters among Chambers of Commerce, the moderately well off, the less populous Rocky Mountain states, the Christian right, the military, and so on. In European politics, coalition-building follows voting; in American politics, it's more the other way around. At one level I am voting for Bush because, while I find the Republican coalition incoherent and mildly offputting, I find the Democratic coalition fundamentally self-contradictory and extremely offputting.
Yet at a deeper level and loyal readers of this blog can look back to my posts last summer for evidence of my convictions , I am voting against the candidate of big journalism. I refuse to reward the disgusting behavior of our country's really our world's journalists. The traditions of honest journalism are a huge countervailing force to the big money and entrenched, self-interested power behind the American political process. This year more than ever, it seems, they have decided to hold their tongues and mete out misleading "coverage" until their man gets elected.
If they had the courage to use it, journalists would have the prophetic power that puts truth-tellers "over nations and kingdoms" Jeremiah 1: Instead, they have settled for false prophesying: They have healed the wound of my people lightly, saying, "Peace, peace," when there is no peace'" Jeremiah 6: The past few months have seen the spirit of false prophecy spread and flourish even after unprecedented misbehavior The New York Times , CBS News and criticism.
No, they were not at all ashamed; they did not know how to blush" 6: Today's journalists don't know how to blush, do they?
As powers and principalities struggle for dominance through both parties, and as mainly Democrats resort to disenfranchisement-by-lawsuit and outright voter fraud to prevail in this election even at the price of the good faith of the world's oldest democracy, I still view journalists' false prophesying as the greatest compromise of the formal and informal system by which America is governed. My vote against Kerry is an admittedly imperfect sign that "'therefore they shall fall among those who fall; at the time that I punish them, they shall be overthrown,' says YHWH" 6: That day may not come in , but it will come.
This disillusioned former journalist is looking forward to it, and rejoicing already. Coming from a Republican family, I feel a twinge of familial guilt when I think about this. But ever since I read in college of a Jesus who calls his followers to leave everything and follow him, I have become accustomed at least to the idea of feeling that loss. I am increasingly convinced that the logic of political parties is a bad idea for Christians.
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