Present Matters has been a great little place for me, but I feel like I’ve moved on from it’s original purpose. Plus, I’m trying in general to reorganize DualRavens into something a bit less Winchester House. I’m not ready to close the doors here quite yet, but I will start doing a little more writing at my newest blog. Wander over to the Ravens. It’ll be my primary place for talking about most stuff. Plus, I’m trying out a look, but it’s not quite done and I’d love to hear how it works for folks.
When I made the move to the new host my occasional blog Morning and Evening, which served more as a place for my personal journaling, didn’t quite make it. I got the content, but somehow lost all the admin stuff, meaning I couldn’t update it or do anything with it. When it was spammed I had to take it down because I had no control.
But, now I’m thinking I need something like it again. That journaling with Barclay Press was helpful and it spurred me to think about making that a bit more regular.
So, I took the content of morning and evening and started a new blog, once that better reflects my goals and thoughts. It’s called Learning to Dance.
Present Matters is going to make a similar transition soon as well, though I might just start a new blog and leave this as the ‘old blog’. Part of the reason why I haven’t been blogging much of late is because I feel like my initial goals with this blog have changed so much, not least because my interests have changed a lot. What was once terribly interesting is now boring. What has become interesting I haven’t gotten into the habit of writing about.
So, I need a bit of a change. For me at least. It’s a change that’s a long time in coming. Keep watching. I’m going to start writing a lot more again real soon.
A couple weeks ago I spent the day up in Santa Barbara with a friend. We had a nice day of it, lunch on the beach, visit to the natural history museum (where I spent a good bit of time twenty years ago), and wandering about the Mission. The point of the trip, however, was in the evening. We are both Wheaton College alumni and we joined other alumni at a Wheaton Club event, with the featured speaker Dr. Gary Burge, professor of New Testament at Wheaton. I had him about ten years ago or so for a brief class, only eight weeks long. But it was one of those classes that provide a sure foundation for later study. My time in seminary went wonderfully smooth academically in large part due to his teaching on New Testament Criticism. He was a masterful teacher then. And now.
This is what he talked about:
Jesus as Middle Eastern Story-Teller and Theologian
Jesus Christ was a master storyteller. His parables and metaphors swept up his audience and surprised them with themes they never before expected. Jesus’ stories gained power through his use of humor, surprise, irony and poetry, which were all based on the culture of first-century Palestine. Dr. Burge will bring to life Jesus’ teachings in their original context, helping us to hear like first-century listeners.
Here’s what he said, bout an hour long:
Been quiet here. No real reason. The calm before the storm? Quite possibly.
I haven’t been neglecting writing. This is the project of my past week, an interaction between Jurgen Moltmann and the Emerging Church.
I journaled for the last two weeks over at Barclay Press.
The San Miguel Island ’07 trip pictures are now in the gallery.
In December Elephant seals, male and female, come down from Alaska to the beaches of SoCal islands to breed. The males leave pretty soon after their business is done (there isn’t a March of the Seals, to be sure) leaving the ladies to raise the babies. The females don’t eat during breeding or raising. When the pups are weaned, the females go swimming for a couple of months to eat. Then they come back to the islands and shed their skin. When this is done they swim back up to the Alaska, never getting out of the water until it’s time to breed again.
During the three weeks their skin is flaking off, the elephant seal females don’t eat. They just sit on the beach, lounging around.
Been a long while since I posted. No reason why. Though part of it is my thinking about making some big changes on dualravens in general and I’ve been otherwise focused on that.
Then again, for the last weekend at least, I didn’t even have a computer or any contact with the world, at least the civilized world. Me and the natural world had a grand time.
Went to San Miguel Island over the holiday weekend.
More pics later.
Back in seminary I had come to an end of the road. I had spent years and years listening to and reading the great Christians of our time and the eras before. Yet, it became unsatisfying as I heard the same sorts of things over and over again, plucking mostly at my intellectual side, encouraging me to believe all the right sorts of things. But it wasn’t enough. The storms were too heavy. I was in a wilderness needing water not salt. It was then I made a discovery and at the end of the road a whole new road opened up. I found the writings of men and women who lived in the early centuries and who sought the depths of Christ with a dedication and passion unmatched. It took me a while to find these guides because my tradition is suspect of other traditions. We have a bias towards the wisdom of the familiar and I was taught to be wary of those who lived in earlier times and had other distinctions in their pursuit of Christ. And yet, in reading these texts I realized how the bias I had been taught was likely little more than a whisper of the devil encouraging a poverty of wisdom.
Because when I started reading John Cassian, and then others, I found light and hope and renewal that led me to a new beginning of wisdom and set forth a path in which I could see myself walking down the rest of my life as I seek to take hold of what I can now only barely grasp.
Now, in this present mood of quiet and distance I am again finding comfort in these words and hearing again in the simplicity a wisdom that I need. For the time being, at least, I’m going to post some of these thoughts, hoping that as they edify me maybe someone else will find them helpful.
“When Anthony lived in the desert he was beset by depression and attacked by many sinful thoughts. He said to God, ‘Lord, I want to be saved but these thoughts do not leave me alone; what shall I do in my afflictions? How can I be saved?” A short while afterwards, when he got up to go out, Anthony saw a man like himself sitting at his work, getting up from his work to pray, then sitting down and plaiting a rope, then getting up again to pray. It was an angel of the Lord sent to correct and reassure him. ‘Do this and you will be saved.’ At these words, Anthony was filled with joy and courage. He did this, and he was saved.”