Friday, August 29, 2008

"The Reign of God" is a Subjective Genitive

That's one of many things I learned last night in my first class at MBBS. The class is called "The Church and God's Mission in the World" and that is exactly what it is about. We will discuss God's mission from creation, through the Israelites, through Christ, through the apostles, through church history, and up to the present day. The ultimate goal is to determine just what it is we're supposed to be up to.

The teacher is excellent. Three hours flew by. I came out with a great deal to digest and ideas galore for classes I want to teach.

One of the key ideas (for me) was the idea of God's Kingdom being active. We often mistakenly think of the Kingdom as being a place rather than an activity. It helps me to think of it as the "reign of God" rather than the "kingdom of God." As disciples, we are called to join our Creator in His work, not to simply be where He is. This is what Jesus meant when he told the twelve, "I sent you to reap that for which you have not labored; others have labored and you have entered into their labor." (John 4: 38, NAS)

We enter into the Kingdom just as we enter into this labor. Alongside an active, loving God.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

A Gentle Reminder

If I were to believe everything I read in newspapers and magazines, I would think that Barack Obama was the greatest thing to happen to America since the founding fathers.

If I were to believe everything I saw in some videos I've recently been sent or have seen posted on blogs, I would think that Barack Obama was the antichrist.

I'm sure that the truth lies somewhere in between.

I tend to stay away from the incredibly divisive topic of politics on this blog. I love all y'all and I know full well that you have widely differing views. I don't even leave comments on other blogs (usually) when they are of a political nature. And, this year especially, I find myself idealogically far away from some of the people I love the most. So I doubt if I'll be saying much more as November approaches. I simply want to mention this:

Let's all enter the exciting and frightening political season before us with open eyes, ears, and minds.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

First Day of School

Tomorrow is my first day of school. I haven't been this excited in a long time.

Seminary presents a lot of challenges. There is a LOT of reading. There are writing assignments. There is a lot of time that must be invested. Our biggest challenge will be the tuition. It's one thing to trust that God will provide, to know that I'm following His will in this and that He will be faithful. It's another thing entirely to plan a budget around $4000 a year that doesn't exist.

Still, given all that, I can't wait for class to start. I can't even express how much I look forward to discussing these books with other students. And, to add to the excitement, God has designed it so that my friend Jim will be taking my first class with me.

I'm sure that the product of my study will show up in this blog. I know I run the risk of going overboard with how much I share here. I trust y'all will let me know when enough is enough and it's just time to share funny pictures of James again.

Our first book is called "The Realm of the Reign" and was written by Ben Witherington. It discusses the kingdom language of the Bible, a topic I recently have been teaching on. Witherington wonders whatever happened to Kingdomtide and, as someone who never even heard the term before, I'm wondering right along with him.

Tomorrow's the first day of school. It can't come soon enough.

Monday, August 25, 2008

A Very Brady Blog

We were blessed with an amazing barbecue this weekend, courtesy of the finest barbecuer this side of the Mississippi. Brady's folks cooked up an amazing meal and we got to share it with great friends. We had time to get better acquainted with "Son #1" and "Daughter." I was especially interested in their tales of European education. Guess what? It's different from US education. We had wonderful conversation and enjoyed laughing and sharing together.

On Sunday, Brady shared his third of four sermons on the subject of faith. For some reason, I tend to remember Brady's sermons more than most and this was one I won't forget soon. He spoke bluntly and beautifully of faith in the face of death. There are lots of times that I remember thinking how much a sermon made me want to die, but it was true this time for a different reason. Without death, of course, we can never go home. We would forever remain aliens in a foreign land. I mean the following as a compliment: Brady's words reminded me of a great line by Admiral James T. Kirk. "How we face death is at least as important as how we face life."

But it was that life of which Brady spoke most highly. He challenged me by presenting the idea that death is unnatural. Only life is natural. In a world that tries to help people find peace by explaining that nothing is MORE natural than death, it was of great comfort to hear somebody proclaim the opposite. In Christ we have life, and that abundantly.

Brady and family will leave us all to soon, but what joy it has been to see them and spend time with them.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

First Grade

James is really enjoying his first week in First Grade. His mother and I are dealing with the realities of weekly spelling tests, school days that go until 3:00, and the goal of reading 1,000 pages in a year!

What happened to finger painting and playing in the sandbox?

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Rough Start

The three days of meetings with which we begin every school year is never my favorite time. But this year, those days were greatly preferable to the first day of school.

I'm not sure which I missed most: the air conditioning or my student rosters.

Three days into the school year, I still don't have a list of my students' names. The air conditioner is working though, and my classroom is a frigid 68 degrees. Our grading program is not available yet, so we are entering data and taking roll by hand. Old school. We are told that we will have access to textbooks within the next few weeks. That will be nice. At least one of the three copiers is functioning. Long lines but, hey, bring a book. Over the summer, they confiscated my laptop and installed Office 2007. So far I'm not a fan. But at least my laptop is working (most of the time). Many of the others that went through the "installation" have completely failed.

I wonder if they knew we were coming back....

Monday, August 18, 2008


On Friday, I took James to see "Star Wars: Clone Wars." It was wretched. At some point, George Lucas decided that the "Star Wars" movies were kids' movies. Um, no. No they're not. Unless your idea of a kiddie movie involves the main character seeing the charred remains of his aunt and uncle...or dismemberment...or immolation.

Actually, if your interested, the reasons behind the degeneration of "Star Wars" can be found here. Be warned. This is only for us diehards. The rest of you should not click that link.

Anyway, we went to this horrible movie. James loved it. On the way home, he asked me if there is blood in our brains. My boy is starting first grade today and he is beginning to ask some excellent questions.

What followed was a great conversation about oxygen. James listened intently, asking questions along the way. I told him about how our lungs take in oxygen, and our blood takes it all over our bodies. That led to a discussion of how trees and plants give off oxygen and how we give off what they need to live in turn. (I tried not to burden him with tough ideas like carbon dioxide or chemical formulas along the way). We talked a bit about the amazing world that God created and the intricacy and beauty of it all.

Then came the following exchange:

JAMES: So, does fire need oxygen to live?

DADDY: Actually, fire has to have oxygen. Without oxygen a fire will go out.

J: What about water? Does water need oxygen?

D: Water is partly made of oxygen. Without oxygen, it wouldn't even be water.

J: Then why does water put out fire?

D: ...

J: Daddy, why does water put out fire?

D: That's a great question, dude.

J: So why does water put out fire?

D: Did you like the movie? Who was your favorite character?

Friday, August 15, 2008

Aaaaaaaaaaand we're back...

Our long, national, blogless nightmare is over.

For now.

Two more meetings and my first week back will be finished. Kids return to school on Monday. I have a fantastic schedule this year of Calculus and Algebra II. After a year of Freshman Algebra I (shudder) I am really looking forward to it. I also look forward to catching up on my blogging. I know my blog buddies are all still out there, but I haven't been checking in much. All that is about to end.

Somebody asked me recently if I blog at work and the answer is, yeah, pretty much only at work. Is that how your tax dollars are being spent, you might wonder. Again...yeah. My rationale/excuse is as follows.

My students are assigned to groups. They learn better that way and if I keep up with the classroom discipline, they use the time together well. But a good number of kids aren't used to learning this way. They have been conditioned to raise their hands every time they have a question. So my policy is that, once the assignment has been given, they may only ask questions of each other for the first ten minutes. There are exceptions of course, but generally I have to occupy myself with something else or I will jump to their rescue too quickly. Sometimes that "something else" is grading, sometimes it's lesson planning. Sometimes it's blogging.

So as the assignments begin to flow next week, I will probably be around a bit more often.

As a concluding sidenote, I have to mention how nice it will be to be able to catch up with Brady's blog by actually talking to Brady. It's so great to have him and Stephanie in town and to get to hear his preaching this month. He is a great preacher...and a better man.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

The Post Office

One of my goals for the summer was to sell a bunch of books on eBay. Today I packaged up the last of them, including a very large shipment (in a very large box), and headed off to the Post Office. The pattern has been that every other time I do this, I encounter difficulty and, as this was an odd-numbered trip, I was prepared for the worst.

The conversation went thusly:

Completely Unhelpful Postal Person: You can't use that box.

Me: Which box?

CUPP (pointing, of course, to the large one): That box.

Me: Why not?

CUPP: It was previously used to ship something *mumble mumble mumble mumble* perfume.

Me: How can you tell?

CUPP: Because of that marking.

Me (having had some experience with finding the exact question to ask): What if I covered up that marking?

CUPP: That would be ok.

Me: Do you have a sharpie?

CUPP: I have a red one.

Me: Would that work?


Me: Would a black one be ok?

CUPP: Yes.

Me: Do you have one?


Me (to Previously Completely Unhelpful Postal Person at the next station): Excuse me. Do you have a black sharpie?


Me: Can she borrow it?

PCUPP (handing it over): Sure.

Me (to Original Completely Unhelpful Postal Person): Could I borrow your black sharpie?


At which point I blacked out the offending marks, gave back the sharpie, and paid up.

But I can't help but wonder, if I hadn't asked exactly the right questions in exactly the right order, if things would have worked out so well.

Free Counter
Hit Counters