Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Entering into the text...

I have been reading through the book of John. Yesterday I read "Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him ." Joh 3:36.

You have to really carefully read this sentence to be sure you hear what it is saying. It does not say "those who believe in the Son have life and those that don't won't have eternal life. " It says those who believe will -- and those who don't obey won't. A very interesting way to say that belief involves entering into the drama God has prepared for us. It just so happens, that Eugene Peterson follows what I quoted yesterday with the following relevant comment about reading Scripture.

"We enter the world of the text, the world in which God is subject, in order to become participants in the text. We have our part to play in this text, a part that is given to us by the Holy Spirit. As we play our part we become part-icipants.

We are given this book so that we can imaginatively and believingly enter the world of the text and follow Jesus. John Calvin in his treatment of Holy Scripture is commonly cited in this regard "all right knowledge of God is born of obedience". There is hardly a Scripture exegete or translator of any standing in the Ch5ristian community who hasn't said the same thing.

If we have not entered this text as participants we aren't going to understand what is going on. This text cannot be understood by watching from the bleachers -- or even from expensive box seats. We are in on it."

-- Eugene Peterson in "Eat This Book" page 69

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Reading Peterson's "Eat This Book"

It has been difficult to write as there is to much going around in my head, but I thought the following quote from Eugene Peterson's book "Eat This Book" (pg 46) was right on the mark for my current mindset. He is talking here about reading the Scriptures.

The vast and embracing world of revelation to which our spiritual­ity text gives witness is a narrative form that is badly served when we ei­ther atomize or privatize it. We obscure the form when we atomize Scrip­ture by dissecting it, analyzing it like a specimen in the laboratory. Every detail of Scripture is worth pursuing endlessly; no scholarly attention expended over this text is ever wasted. But when the impersonal objec­tivity of the laboratory technician replaces the adoring dalliance of a lover, we end up with file drawers full of information, organized for our convenience as occasions present themselves.

He goes on to say.

It ceases to function as revelation for us. Far too many contemporary spiritualities, as befits our technological age, are obsessed with technique. If the Christian Scrip­tures are treated as just another tool for enlightenment or access to the knowledge that is power, sacrilege has been committed. We also obscure the form when we privatize Scripture, using it for what we are wont to call "inspiration." Our Holy Scriptures, of course, are pervasively personal. We are personally commanded and blessed, rebuked and comforted, warned and guided. But personal is not the same as private. Privacy is possessive and isolating. The private is what is withdrawn from the com­mon good for individual control or use or enjoyment; it is stealing. When we privatize Scripture we embezzle the common currency of God's revelation. But Scripture is never that — the revelation draws us out of ourselves, out of our fiercely guarded individualities, into the world of responsibility and community and salvation — God's sover­eignty. "Kingdom" is the primary biblical metaphor for it.

Friday, February 17, 2006

The good reader...

The good reader is one who has imagination, memory, a dictionary, and some artistic sense.... Since the master artist used his imagination in creating his book, it is natural and fair that the consumer of a book should use his imagination too.
-- Vladimir Nabokov "Good Readers and Good Writers

Friday, February 10, 2006

Son ... Father

And here is the uniform

If you look close -- you can see Cindy's red hair as well.

November 1960

Here is proof I once had red hair. No -- I did not doctor the photo. What you see is what you would have seen if you were there. Twelve years old... yup I was playing trumpet then.


"We read books to find out who we are... A person who had never listened to nor read a tale or myth or parable or story, would remain ignorant of his own emotional and spiritual heights and depths, would not know quite fully what it is to be human."
-- Ursual La Guin, The Langage of the Night

Wednesday, February 08, 2006


My peace and satisfaction comes not so much from my level of competence as by my doing what God wants me to do. Contemplation (a lifestyle guided by reading, meditation and prayer) is what gets me there. I am taking time to reflect....