N. T. Wright on Worship

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(Update: Sorry, not sure why there was a problem posting the video but if you click the link you’ll be directed to it.)

Some notes:

-Music used to reflect existing culture or to challenge it

-contemporary worship purely reflect current music forms, though relevant, the danger is the idiom tend to be on the negative rather on positive where there is less reflection on beauty of God and Gospel.

-Many worship songs which basically are like teenage love songs. The of point falling in love  (using the example of lighting a match) is that it is exiting to light a match in order to light candle. Lighting the candle might not be as exiting as striking a match, but the beautiful thing is, if we look after it will last a whole while longer than the part of us lighting a match.

-So what Wright wants to see Christians do is develop music styles that have the exitement of the contempory music scene but to look for something that sustains and lasts.

-For example like the great hymns, they somehow have that capacity of lasting impression but unlike some contemporary worship songs they don’t have that lasting quality.

H/T: New Ways Forward

Did Jesus Really Rise From the Dead?

Here are some of the important notes I jotted down while listening to the talk by Wright:

Seven ways Christians modified belief in resurrection in early Judaism-

1-No spectrum of belief of life after death compared to Jew in the time of Jesus (e.g. Sadducees did not believe in the resurrection and Pharisees do)- basically there is a unanimity in the early Church’s belief in resurrection

2-Although there was belief in the resurrection, it is not tht important/central in second temple period

3-In judaism is not precise on what the resurrection is and would be, but for christians they believed in a transformed body, incorruptible.

4-Early judaism believed that the event of resurrection will hapen at the end to all god’s people but christian believed tht it happened in advanced in Jesus and then taking the position of the early Jews.

5-collaborative eschatology

6-Different metaphorical understanding

7-Association with messiahship- no jews believed that messiah had anything to do with death let alone resurrection

A New Translation of the New Testament by N.T. Wright

King's Version

Judging from the title of this post you would notice one thing. The letters N and T keeps on being repeated. Well, I’m exited about this! It’s N. T. Wright‘s translation of the New Testament from his For Everyone series. Thanks to Mason for the heads up.

The new translation comes with the title “The King’s Version.” If you’ve read Wright you will be sure to know that he constantly finds difficulties with the NIV translation of the New Testament and I’m guessing this would be a welcome translation to get a grasp of ideas conjuring up for a NPP (New Perspective on Paul) reading of the bible.

Over at Christianity Today…

Billy Graham Most admired man 4% (statistical tie)
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I frequent Christianity Today‘s website from time to time and they have some great articles there coupled with some awesome interviews. Here are some links for you’re reading pleasure…

Billy Graham talks on Aging, Regrets and Evangelicals. One of the constant things I hear or read from experienced ministers is that of regretting them not spending time with family. With all the constant reminder that is given in this issue, I believe that this will always be a constant regret that minister will give all throughout their life. Let’s face it, the ministry will always demand your time. Which makes me question, whether this is a curse or a blessing. Well, just my own thoughts.

Talking about books, here are a list of the top books of 2011. Among those mentioned, N. T. Wright‘s “After You Believe” made the cut! Update: Sze Zeng over at his blog asked an important question regarding this particular book list which deals with what a list like this implies. The books on the list are predominantly from a western perspective which seems to lead our general thinking that Christianity in its purest sense is in fact Western in essence which deals with western issues for that matter. Where does that leave the rest of Christianity?

For those who are businessmen out there, this particular article interview is for you. Jeff Van Duzer, who wrote this massive book titled, “Why Business Matters to God: (And What Still Needs to Be Fixed)” (IVP) tells you why business is important and integral; not secondary.

The Wright Links

These are some awesome lectures by the very brilliant NT scholar N.T. Wright, which can be accessed here. This particular excerpt is taken from the site regarding the lectures;

Bishop Wright titled the series, “New Creation in Advance: Building Christian Character in Tomorrow’s Church.” The day was split into two lectures, “The Virtues of the Royal Priesthood” and “Virtue and the Fruit of the Spirit. “ On the day leading up to the lectures clergy from around the Metroplex were treated to a intimate luncheon with Bishop Wright that included a question and answer session.

Surviving 2010

2010 has been at best a year of survival. Not in a sense that the journey has been life threatening, but this have been hard as the years come by. This year in particular has been trying but it has not been all that bad. I mean everybody has their hard stuff to go through and we all have them. For me its been the struggle to live with the financial means that I have, and with the habit that I often struggle with; buying books.

Seminary life has been trying especially in the first semester but right up to the second things have been going on pretty smoothly. Assignments have been burdensome but they have been enjoyable as well. Seminary life is hard and believe me it’s not all bliss but that’s what makes it great. I have my sleepless nights working on writing and reading assignments. I’ve enjoyed going through 1 Peter (See the post I did on 1 Peter’s reflection on Christ’s death: Part 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5) and reading through Newbigin‘s the “Gospel in a Pluralist Society” (See my post on this here). Theology 1 towards the end of the semester has been the highlight I have to say although I did it as an elective. That lecture I might add has been superb, and if Clive Chin does come up with his systematic theology book, I’d add that to my library as well.

But I guess some of the highlights to the year is starting out on a new relationship. With all the stress of student life and living life having someone beside you is a great support. To that special someone I’d like to say thank you for being a part of my life. I love you. My aunt has been a great help to my family and also myself. If there is an award for the best aunt out there she would win it hands down. Thanks for the support!

I’ve been blessed with superb gifts also as well. My girlfriend bought me “The Global Dictionary of Theology” which is a massive achademic book! My aunt bought me “The Resurrection of Jesus” by Michael R. Licona which is a massive book on the ressurection to go with the one written by N. T. Wright. And a good friend got me Alter Bridge’s new album “AB III” which is my favorite band. These gifts have been awesome.

Well, here’s to 2010. It’s been an awesome hard trip.

Reflections Seminary and Getting Excellent Grades

St. Augustine writing, revising, and re-writin...
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Studying in seminary has been to me love and love hate relationship. I emphasize love here because I love it really. There is no greater joy in learning and listening to lectures and reading scholarly books (even though sometimes I don’t understand stuff I read!). I also say ‘hate’ because sometimes thinking about getting good grades is sometimes a hassle really.

It gives me great pleasure if I do get good grades because of the amount of work I do in writing up ideas to a given topic and argue and critique issues and coming to a well argument for positions that I hold. I mean who wouldn’t like to see great comments on their well written paper!

But sometimes always having this mentality that “I simply have to get good grades only” makes me tired. Being ruled by this “demon” make studying and writing a bore and a pain in the butt. But that aside it help it grades are good or great if there are ambitions of getting a well deserved degree.

Well, thinking along these lines I kind of have to make peace with the gifts that I have, being content where I don’t have all the answers or I can’t really express ideas I have in my head in understandable phrases. But improving when I can on comments made by lecturers and trying to see things from a wider perspective. I mean not making it along the levels of being a biblical scholar is not the end of the world.

I heard a podcast by Rob Bell on his experince and he did not do well in his journey but look where he is now. A good reminder for me and for those who struggle in this area.

Well what I’m learning through this all is that, although I might not be able to make great arguments of a given topic or issue, seminary ‘failure’ is not the end of the world. In fact, I for one have to admit that learning is like a journey. You fail but you learn something new along the way. I have to admit that stuff I wrote when I first ventured into theological studies were crappy. Ideas I had were one dimensional. Books I read were stuff I mostly agreed with. Looking back at it now I have seen that my mind has developed through mistakes.

For example, Christianity was only about salvation and going to heaven until I learned about the ‘kingdom of God.’ Reading books by Scot McKnight and N. T. Wright has broadened my views. I always thought that resurrection was limited with the soul being raised until I learned that it was a bodily kind of resurrection.

So, I have to remind myself that, even if my papers now don’t get critical acclaim globally, learning it a lifelong thing. One develops his or her mind and life by living, failing and getting back up again. Learning does not end when one gets his PhD, it’s something that gets developed through time. Failure is a platform to greater heights only when one take it like a man or woman, accepting failure and moving along and keep learning and being thinking people in life.