Archive for September, 2008

facebook = crack

Posted in Identity, Random on September 27, 2008 by Robaigh

About 2 weeks ago I got a Facebook account.  I think I had tried this once in the past and just didn’t get it, but situations at school kind of forced me into it this time around.  I got hooked inside the first 5 minutes.  There were tons of people online at the same time that I was and I found myself “chatting” with two people for about an hour and a half – long enough, in any case, to piss away homework time.

The next couple of days were a huge let-down.  Nobody online to chat with; only the occasional “notification.”  It must be like the second time hitting the crack pipe – not nearly as good as the first, but still too alluring to put it away.

Well, I’ve now managed to get my Facebook addiction under control.  It was much easier to deal with than the time I gave up on myspace.  Maybe the myspace experience was helpful in that way.  Burn me once, and I’ll learn.

Anyway, I ran across this today.  It made me chuckle.

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Interesting post on hell

Posted in Christianity, Counter-culture, Ministry, religion with tags , , , , , , on September 25, 2008 by Robaigh

http://owenstrachan.com/2008/09/25/tim-keller-on-preaching-hell-in-a-tolerant-age/

Keller is fascinating to me.  Good writer, too.

drink & think

Posted in Christianity, religion on September 19, 2008 by Robaigh

Tonight I went for some conversation to my school’s Beer & Theology group.  The discussion group works kind of like this:  we have beer (or non-alcoholic beverages of our own choosing), and we go around the room, each person mentioning a theological issue they happen to be pondering at the moment.  Once all have had their say, the group decides by consensus which topic we’ll pick up on, and from there, it goes where it goes.

The topic we landed on this evening was the subject of miracles and magic in the Bible.  Some were concerned that Christians tend to deride weird occurrences outside of those written about in Scripture as “magical” or as “superstition” instead of as miraculous, but they don’t judge the feeding of the 5000 (for example) in the same way.

There was a lot of interesting discussion, but it was all fairly surface-level.  One of our profs then asked what role Scripture plays in our understanding, or what point arethe Scriptures trying to make.  My take on Scripture is that, at its most basic level (if such a thing exists), Scripture is the revelation that God chooses to make to us in written format about God’s self.  Judging on that level, whether the miracles attributed to Jesus happened in “reality” is secondary to the larger point that Scripture is making, i.e. that Jesus is God.

This was merely an observation on my part, and I was just trying to answer our prof’s question, but my response didn’t go over very well.  To make myself clear, I actually do believe that the miracles attributed to Jesus did, in fact, happen in reality; however, if I were to find out that they didn’t, it doesn’t shake my faith because I still believe in the bigger Truth revealed through the Scriptures.  The reality of Jesus feeding 5000 with a few loaves and fishes is only as important as the reality of a literal farmer, who literally sowed some of his seed on the rocky soil, etc.

One might argue that the sower story was clearly marked as a parable, using a fictional but believable example to make a larger point, but what if the miracle stories are doing the same thing?  Does our faith rest on the factuality of these stories?  I would hope that our faith looks to something bigger than that.

The main critique I received was that viewing Scripture’s role in the way I describe is too reductionist.  (To be fair, I did use the word “reduce” in my explanation, but at that point I was two beers in and was really just thinking out loud.  I wasn’t carefully crafting an argument. )  I heard people saying that reality is too complex to reduce things to basics like that, but I think their critique was misdirected on that word “reduction.”  What I was talking about didn’t really deny complexity.  Hmm.

We went on from that point to discuss the meaning of “reality,” and how notions of reality are culturally constructed.  Eventually we ran out of time.

I guess what I’m writing here isn’t really that important.  I didn’t even have quite as much fun in this conversation as I did last week when we discussed demons and the “satan.”  Still, I wanted to write this down in case I want to come back to it at a later point and either expand on my ideas or to witness ways in which my thinking has grown.

Grape Harvest

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on September 13, 2008 by Robaigh

This morning we decided to forgo our usual trip to the farmers’ market in Dubuque in order to take part in the grape harvest at the seminary.  Wartburg makes its own communion wine from a set of vines planted back in the 1980s.  There’s something extremely cool about that.  Someone was half-joking about planting a stand of wheat to use for communion bread.  I love the idea.  Count me in.

The community aspect of this harvest is what really struck me.  We had students, staff, faculty and everybody’s kids helping out – all of this despite the rain.  There’s a beautiful circularity (is this a word?) to the whole thing: we pick as a community, we make the wine as a community, and we share again in the Eucharist as a community.

The other thing that stood out was how much this reminded me of a living history event, only without talking to the public.

Anyway, here are a few pics from my flickr acct.  You can see the rest there.

Cringeworthy

Posted in Christianity, Humor, music with tags on September 12, 2008 by Robaigh

Jesus is a friend of mine.  I let him drink out of my soda bottle without wiping off the top.

Jesus is my friend.  He loaned me two dollars one time.

Another reason to love Tom Waits

Posted in Humor, religion with tags , , on September 6, 2008 by Robaigh

Or should I hate Tom Waits as the latest in a string of people who have had similar (but frankly better and more creative versions of) ideas that I have come up with in my clever, clever brain?

Backstory: A few years ago – right about Easter time – a friend (Big Dan of the Skanktuary) and I headed over by foot to a local Walgreen’s pharmacy in search of a hunk o’ candy.  We had just retired from a few hours of brew-pub imbibery (please nominate for Real Word status), so we were feeling especially witty.  While perusing the vast sugary selection, it struck us that it’s very, very strange to celebrate easter by giving children chocolate symbols of execution.  Hershey’s bunnies are weird enough, but a cross made from chocolate is kind of beyond the pale, don’t you think?

So, as we riffed on this theme, we began coming up with other, similarly inappropriate candy items that one could market, in order to make a quick buck off of in the name of the Most High.  A chocolate Jesus with a nougat center was one item – My Sweet (and Nougat-Filled) Lord, we could call it.  We also had an idea for a  Sermon on the Mounds bar (or an Eternal Almond Joy, cuz sometimes you feel like a nut…).  Oh, there were others, the names of which slip my mind at the moment, but they were all quite clever, I can assure you.  (Feel free to add your own ideas as comments, by the way.)  “Immaculate Confections” was going to be the name of our company.

As Fate would have it, Tom Waits beat us to the punch.  (My life’s story.)  Here’s video evidence.  Enjoy.

Clearly, the End is Near

Posted in Humor, Random with tags , , on September 6, 2008 by Robaigh

Latest sign of the impending Apocalypse right here: