Some Changes Here at Theoblogy

As you can see above, I had an epic weekend of hunting in and around Huron, South Dakota with my new friend, Jorge. I also preached at Grace Episcopal Church in Huron and met many of that church’s wonderful people. And if Albert looks tired in that photo, it’s cuz he is. We arrived home at noon today, and he’s not moving.

There are few things in the world that I like more than hunting. It has become a real focus of what I want in life: time in the outdoors, with my dog and friends, and soon with my kids (once they’re old enough).

Recently, Courtney asked me if there’s anything else in my life that is like hunting — that is, something that’s all-consuming of my mental capacities, something that totally absorbs me and allows me to leave everything else behind. I thought about it and said, No, nothing else has that effect on me.

As I’ve struggled to understand myself better — and the controversies on this blog have played a role in pushing me to do that — I’ve been focusing on what I can learn about being an Enneagram 8. On the drive to and from Huron, I listened to Suzanne Stabile’s lectures, “The Aggressive Stance.” It’s only a part of the puzzle that is me, but it’s been very helpful to embrace the doing center of an Enneagram 8. I’ve talked to Suzanne about this on the phone as well, and she’s encouraged me to start thinking through how my writing sounds to those in the thinking and feeling centers, and to those in the withdrawing and reflective stances.

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Hunting: It’s More Sublime than You Might Think

Here’s the text of the pecha kucha talk I gave at Emergence Christianity last week:

The joy of hunting is sublime. Surprisingly sublime, when you consider that the climax of the endeavor comes with an explosion, in which a firing pin makes a tiny dent on the metal boot of a shotgun shell, compressing gunpowder and thereby causing an explosion that ejects dozens of pellets at breathtaking velocity through a metal tube and, if fate is on your side, into the flesh of a bird on the wing. Surprisingly sublime for an activity that ends, when successful, with blood and death.

I did not grow up hunting. My father is not a hunter, nor were my grandfathers. It is a chosen avocation of mine, often distasteful to those who share my vocation. I have yet to meet another PhD in theology in the field. Instead, I hunt with firefighters and Army Reservists and computer repairmen.

I hunt only birds, because hunting for me is all about the dog. It all starts with the dog.

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John Piper, Doug Pagitt, and a Lame Duck

John Piper (StarTribune/Bruce Bispring)

Some interesting items in the news last Sunday. Rose French wrote a profile of the semi-retiring John Piper, in which Your Favorite Blogger was quoted:

Tony Jones, a theologian-in-residence at Solomon’s Porch church in Minneapolis, is one of Piper’s frequent critics.

“I don’t think the fundamental nature of God is wrath at human sin,” Jones said. “I’m not going to say God isn’t disappointed by human sin … but at the very core of Piper’s theological vision is that God’s wrath burns white-hot at your sin and my sin. When I read the Bible, that’s not the God I find.”

Piper offers no apologies for his theology.

“If you try to throw away a wrathful God, nothing in Christianity makes sense. The cross certainly doesn’t make sense anymore, where [Jesus] died for sinners.”* His views of the tornado and bridge collapse, he said, “are rooted in the sovereignty of God. Even though people see them as harsh, negative, wrathful, whatever, they are good news.”

He said he considers himself a “happy Calvinist — which is an oxymoron. I’m on a crusade to make that not an oxymoron.”

Over in the New York Times, Doug Pagitt rated a quote in a story about church planting:

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Something I Love

Photos by Courtney Perry.

Albert watches some canoes depart.


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