Monday, March 29, 2004

Question: Devotional Life for Progressive Christians

Do you find it difficult to have any sort of devotional time? When I was growing up, I was almost compulsive about my personal Bible Study, devotion time, etc. Somewhere along the way, I got more and more sporadic. In part, I found myself frustrated with the devotional books that I considered theologically too conservative. I find it hard to bond with God when you're busy mentally disagreeing with the author of whatever resource you're reading.
My habit was broken, and I've never gotten it back for more than a few weeks at a time. So, a disciplined devotional/prayer/bible-reading life - is it something I should be striving to get back, or something that is filled by other ways I am close to God?
This is a debate I have with myself all the time. On the one hand, God is just simply the center of my life. I don't have specific time spent with God, because I honestly feel that all my time is with God, with varying degrees of my awareness! On the other hand, is that the easy way out? Isn't there something to be said for the discipline of devotions?
What do you think?
Do you have a devotional/prayer life?
Are there progressive Christian resources you would recommend?

Sunday, March 28, 2004

General Conference

I'm preparing for a prayer vigil our church is holding for General Conference 2004, and I ran accross this excerpt from the Prayer Guide for delegates.
Blessed are you,
who has woven my body a many-chambered
mystery
to stand and praise you.
Blessed are you,
who has formed me in your image, to be a man
[woman].
Blessed are you,
who has brought me forth fragrant and naked
in your sight.
Blessed are you,
who taught me how to clothe the naked.
Blessed are you,
who raises my body to walk the path
with strength.
Blessed are you,
who sets the solitary in families,
loving every tongue and tribe.
Blessed are you,
Who makes me part of your servant people.
Blessed are you,
who calls me to the work of creation, day by day.
From Wrestling with Grace by Robert Corin Morris

Friday, March 26, 2004

Eternal Sunshine

Went to see Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind this weekend. Hard to write about the movie much without spoiling it. Written by Charlie Kaufman, who also wrote Being John Malkovich and Adaptation, so if you liked those, I'm guessing you'll like this. What a great movie to showcase Jim Carrey's talents. I think he's brilliant, but he often gets overlooked because of his eccentric behavior and tendency toward physical comedy. I don't think anyone can write him off after this one. Also relieved to see Elijah Wood doing well in a post LOTR role. I was worried he'd always be Frodo, but he did a great job in his small part in this film.
So, trying not to give away much if you haven't seen it, this movie deals with erasing memories, painful, hurtful memories. Things get complicated though, as you see it's difficult to erase memories without erasing more than you intend, part of your own identity. Think of just one decision in your life - If you had chosen/acted differently, how many other things would be impacted by that decision? (Think Back to the Future 2!)

Wednesday, March 24, 2004

Poem and Essays

My new favorite poem. Also included in Will Willimon's Pastor book which I wrote about yesterday.

Batter my heart, three-personed God; for You
As yet but knock, breathe, shine, and seek to mend;
That I may rise and stand, o'erthrow me, and bend
Your force to break, blow, burn, and make me new.
I, like an usurped town, to another due,
Labor to admit You, but O, to no end;
Reason, Your viceroy in me, me should defend,
But is captivated, and proves weak or untrue.
Yet dearly I love You and would be loved fain,
But I am betrothed unto Your enemy.
Divorce me, untie or break that knot again;
Take me to You, imprison me, for I,
Except You entrall me, never shall be free,
Nor ever chaste, except You ravish me.

John Donne, "Holy Sonnet 14"

- Still trying to find an excuse to use it in worship or something.

Also, check out this link. There you'll find essays written by Drew faculty members in preparation for General Conference 2004. I haven't read them all yet, but I do particularly recommend the one from my favorite professor, Dr. Traci West. Clear and articulate as always.

Tuesday, March 23, 2004

The Passion

Still have not seen the Passion of the Christ. I actually heard a Jewish professor of New Testament Studies, Amy-Jill Levine, speak briefly about the film at Bangor Theological Seminary, Maine, in January. Levine served as a consultant for the film. She didn't elaborate much, but said, "Mr. Gibson did not follow all of my suggestions," when questioned regarding anti-Semitism. I might watch it when it comes to DVD - meantime, I'm counting down the days til I see Syracuse's annual production of Jesus Christ Superstar. I like it - it's powerful without beating you over the head with death and violence.
On that note, that's a question I have about Passion. Is Jesus' death meaningful because it was violent? Many, his contemporaries, and many many since then, have suffered horrible, terrible deaths. (Think of, for example, the death Gibson suffered in Braveheart. I don't follow Jesus because I think he died the worst death. Christians celebrate the death and resurrection because of an understanding of why Christ died - for others.

Monday, March 22, 2004

trying out a blog at the suggestion of a pastor friend. after seeing that textweek has added a blog, i was further encouraged to give it a try. look for a more substantive post soon.