October 2, 2003

Every great civilization has some equivalent of what the fifth-century (BC) Athenians called polupragmosune . As defined by William Arrowsmith, that word “connotes energy, enterprise, daring, ingenuity, originality, and curiosity; negatively it means restless instability, discontent with one’s lot, persistent and pointless busyness, meddling interference, and mischievous love of novelty.” This is a wonderful description of Americans (at our best), 19th-century Brits, early medieval monks, first-century apostles. Read more

October 2, 2003

Sermon outline for October 5: Toward Jerusalem and the Cross, Luke 9:1-62 INTRODUCTION Luke 9 marks the great turning point in Luke’s account of Jesus’ ministry. Luke 9:1-9 forms the climax of the Galilean ministry, and later in this chapter, Jesus begins His journey toward Jerusalem, where, as He predicts to His disciples, He will suffer and die. First Jesus works in Galilee, and then sends out the Twelve. The same pattern is repeated in Jerusalem: First Jesus goes to… Read more

September 30, 2003

Virgil seems nearly to have come to the Augustinian insight that the Roman empire is nothing more than civil war writ large. Aeneas, the pius hero, has to combat furor , which is passion, anger, rage, everything that causes disorder in the world. But during the battle scenes in the second half of the Aeneid , Aeneas is full of fury on several occasions, and he ends the epic furiously driving his sword into the chest of Turnus. This, from… Read more

September 30, 2003

The multi-faceted David Gelernter offers a rousing call to the Bush administration to defend their Iraqi policy on a moral rather than strategic basis in the October 6 edition of the Weekly Standard . He compares the debate over Iraq today with the debate between Chamberlain and Churchill in the period leading up to World War II. The party of appeasement, he points out, was not motivated by “laziness or indifference,” but “conviction,” specifically a (mistaken) Christian conviction that war… Read more

September 29, 2003

In the September 29 issue of the Weekly Standard , Sam Munson reviews Peter Carey’s novel, My Life As a Fake , a fictionalized account of a famous Australian literary hoax. As Munson summarizes the (true) story: Over a single wet weekend on an army base (or so at least the legend of their hoax has it), [Harold] Stewart and [James] McAuley composed reams of mock surrealist poetry. They invented a properly tragic biography of oppression and early death for… Read more

September 28, 2003

Exhortation for September 28: We sometimes think of the church as a collection of families, and in some respects that is true. More fundamentally, though, the church is a family. We are brothers and sisters of one another because we are all brothers and sisters of Jesus, whose Father is also our Father. This is what Jesus says in our sermon text this morning. When his own mother and brothers come to visit Him, he doesn’t stop what He is… Read more

September 27, 2003

The Twelve apostles are all men of Galilee, but as soon as Acts opens they are based in Jerusalem and remain there, even after the stoning of Stephen and the dispersal of the church. Perhaps there’s a connection with the remnant typology mentioned in an earlier post: The remnant has moved from the North (Galilee) to the South (Jerusalem) and remains there until the destruction of the city. In this scenario, the apostles are like Jeremiah before the destruction of… Read more

September 27, 2003

I don’t have my sermons taped, and have been asked why. Here’s a couple of reasons: 1) Jeff Meyers pointed out a number of years ago that taping sermons tempts a pastor to preach to a group other than the church in front of him. Instead of addressing the specific local concerns, he will be tempted to be a “prophet to the nation.” Some preachers are called to that; most aren’t. I’m not. 2) As I’ve mulled over this more… Read more

September 27, 2003

Listening to Jim Jordan’s tapes on Daniel has helped me to put some pieces together in Luke. Jim discusses the “remnant covenant” at some length in the first couple of tapes, and points out some of the main features of that period of Israel’s history. In many respects, these features are brought out also in Jesus’ ministry: 1) Elijah and Elisha form a “church” independent of the temple. Jesus does the same, offering forgiveness and atonement and cleansing apart from… Read more

September 26, 2003

The gods in Euripides are savage, unpredictable, random, liable to sneak up and destroy you at a moment’s notice. No wonder that Paul’s announcement that Jesus had defeated the principalities and powers came as such great good news. Read more

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