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Written by R. Todd Mangum Friday, 14 February 2014 00:00

sex love God

Philip Yancey suggests that the blessing of marital love — including the pleasures of sex — is one of the strongest indicators we have of a Creator God who loves the human beings He’s made, and who is breath-takingly skilled in the kinds of good gifts He crafts for them, too. In the scheduling for the faculty blogs, I just happened to draw Valentine’s Day — so I thought I’d float some theological thoughts about love and marriage, sex and intimate relationships today.

Sex and intimacy are integrally related — or at least were designed by God to be. In our narcissistic, hedonistic, hyper-sexualized culture, though, people too often seek to separate the two, with the thought that sex can be enjoyed without the baggage of “relationship.” That’s a lie. But it’s a lie with a lure to it — and is therefore causing pain and destruction amongst people in our culture on a spectrum from humiliating devastation (at its worst) to a numbing sense of protective, unfeeling cynicism (at best). One by-product of the Fall, Genesis tells us, is that Adam and Eve noticed their nakedness . . . and shame replaced what was previously unmitigated exhilaration.

 

Written by R. Todd Mangum Wednesday, 12 February 2014 00:00

missional leadership

What difference does being missional make for organizational leadership? (There’s actually a whole stream of literature on this question, with more stuff still coming out regularly.)

It’s not an easy question — in that, transforming an organization or institution requires change. And make no mistake: the church is an organization (as well as a body or family); just like a seminary is a higher education institution, as well as a ministry training ground. And change does not happen spontaneously, nor does it come naturally to people — and it is people who make up organizations.

Change requires vision. But there are real liabilities to a single “visionary leader” seeing him-or-herself as the change agent. You may have seen instances yourself in which a leader has flashed and fizzled in either burnout or throw-out. I have seen this happen to a couple of our own graduates even. The literature on the subject warns against this, too.

   

Written by Larry Anderson Monday, 10 February 2014 11:47

...in order to change the world.

spheres of influence

In Os Hillman’s book Change Agent, he states: “If we are to impact any nation for Jesus Christ, then we will have to affect the seven spheres or mountains of society…These seven mountains are business, government, media, arts and entertainment, education, the family, and religion.” Hillman goes on to say: “It is important to have conversions, but it is more important to have those who are converted operate at the tops of the cultural mountains from a biblical worldview.” These are some challenging words that I fully support.

When we look at each sphere of influence, it’s easy to see how in the realm of business, the abolishment of the ‘Blue Laws’ did away with Sunday as a day unto the Lord. This had a direct impact on our culture. We witnessed how systemic racism and oppressions can dictate who receives loans, jobs, and promotions. The rules of engagement continue to lack integrity and rules to silence any godly communication or celebration are being banded.

   

Written by Stephanie Lowery Friday, 07 February 2014 12:48

Kenya is 50

The East African country of Kenya just celebrated 50 years of independence in December! Take a minute or two to check out these amazing photos of the country, then you won’t wonder why I love it. Okay, so most people reading this probably didn’t celebrate Kenya’s jubilee, but if you think about it, 50 years is a big milestone for a young nation.

What was the U.S. doing in 1826?

Having an eggnog riot. Yep, you read that right.

So be patient with young countries [see through 1:17] and don’t underestimate them.

You may have missed the news about the 50th anniversary celebrations in Kenya; did you miss news of the bombing at Westgate mall in Nairobi last fall?

   

Written by David Lamb Wednesday, 05 February 2014 00:00

Oyster Dome

In Part 1, I told about my trip to Logos Bible Software in Washington state to tape two courses (1, 2, Samuel, and 1, 2 Kings). I concluded my week discussing David’s song in 2 Samuel 22 where he praises his God for being his rock, his deliverer, and his savior. After a full week of taping, on Friday I wanted to head to the woods where I encountered God on my hike to Oyster Dome. After reaching Oyster Dome, I had 5 minutes to enjoy the spectacular view of forest, mountains, coastline, ocean, islands, clouds and sunset before heading back to my car, hoping to arrive before dark. (Review is now over.)

After going down about fifteen minutes, the path didn’t look familiar. “I don’t remember walking across these logs.” I had a moment of panic, thinking that I made a wrong turn. I decided just to backtrack and find the right path. After walking back about 10 minutes and not seeing an obvious “right path”, I began to wonder if I had made a mistake backing up. I decided to just keep going the way I had originally gone.

But now the panic really began.

   

Written by David Lamb Monday, 03 February 2014 00:00

Logos Bible Software

Recently, I was in Bellingham, Washington taping two courses for Logos Bible Software. For the sake of video consistency while taping each course, I needed to wear the same shirt. Monday through Wednesday morning I wore my red shirt for 1, 2 Kings. Then Wednedsay afternoon through Friday I wore my green shirt for 1, 2 Samuel (as modeled in front of Logos wall with Josh Burdick). My green shirt particularly was getting a bit ripe as the week progressed. By the end of Friday, the shirt would become more pungent.

I concluded my final lecture on Friday morning in Samuel looking at 2 Samuel 22, David’s song of thanksgiving for God’s deliverance, which also happens to be virtually identical to Psalm 18.

   

Written by Derek Cooper Friday, 31 January 2014 00:00

Christian Narratives

The American essayist Wendell Berry writes in “Christianity and the Survival of Creation” that “The significance—and ultimately the quality—of the work we do is determined by our understanding of the story in which we are taking part.”

One of the ramifications of living in the twenty-first century is that we are entangled in a myriad of unrelated and, oftentimes, unwelcome “stories.” In addition to the honorable vocational stories in which I have elected to participate—as a Christian, a husband, a father, a friend, and a teacher—I am simultaneously entangled in countless unwanted stories relating to consumerism and materialism, evolutionism, sexism and racism, and many other narratives that endorse greed, waste, and an unbridled “pursuit of happiness.”

What I have learned about God through teaching is that not all narratives are created equal.

   

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