Thursday, July 27, 2006


In some ways it's perfectly reasonable to assume that when two people approach any text in scripture they may interpret it differently. After all, each person has their own baggage, history, and presuppositions that they can never totally distance themselves from. Therefore, it is quite possible for two people to approach a text, both feeling quite certain that they are appoaching it "objectively" and come away with wildly different interpretations. How then, one might ask, can someone tell if their interpretation is the "right" one? Is it possible that this isn't even a good question?

On one hand, we have 3 pound brains that will forever be reaching for the infinite God. On the other hand, we have the promise of God's Holy Spirit living in us and guiding us. Scripture has inspired some of the most beautiful and truly good acts in human history and scripture has been used to justify genocide and other things too horrible to mention. Using scripture, some people espouse that God loves everyone while others (also using scripture) espouse that God chose some to love and others to hate and condemn. The list goes on and on.

I don't presume to have this all figured out. I do, however, believe that scripture works on more than one level. Is it possible that our interpretations of scripture say something about the kinds of people we are becoming? Could it be that our interpretations function like a spiritual Rorschach test, which clues us in to the kind of heart we are cultivating? I have to admit that I find it odd that the people who seem the most certain about their interpretations often seem the most unChristlike in their character (not necc. refering to morals here). As important as it is for us to think about how we are interpreting scripture, perhaps we should spend some time reflecting on what our interpretations say about who we scripture is interpreting us

Thursday, July 06, 2006

"My" Lord's Prayer

Do you know that passage in Romans that talks about the Holy Spirit interceding for you when you don't know what to pray for? I find myself in that situation a lot. I use words all of the time, but there are times when, though I am thoroughly convinced of the power and importance of prayer, the words simply fail me. I constantly find myself in situations where I have no idea what to pray for. I found this incredibly disheartening for years...I felt like I wasn't "good" at prayer. I while back, I read N.T. Wright's exceptional book Simply Christian, and I ran across this bit of wisdom:

"Part of our difficulty here is that we moderns are so anxious to do things our own way , so concerned that if we get help from anyone else our prayer wont be 'authentic' and come from our own heart, that we are instantly suspicious about using anyone else's prayers. We are like someone who doesn't feel she's properly dressed unless she has personally designed and make all her own clothes; or like someone who feels it's artificial to drive a car he hasn't built all by himself. We are hamstrung by the long legacy of the Romantic movement on the one hand, and Existentialism on the other, producing the idea that things are authenic only if they come spontaneously, unbidden, from the depths of our hearts...There's nothing wrong with having a form of words composed by somebody else. Indeed, there's probably something wrong with not using such a form. Some Christians, some of the time, can sustain a life of prayer entirely out of their own internal resources, just as there are hardy mountaineers (I've met one) who can walk the Scottish highlands in their bare feet. But most of us need boots; not because we don't want to do the walking ourselves, but because we do."

In context, Wright is proposing "The Lord's Prayer" (as well as a few others) as a form for prayer rather than just an example of one. It's a form that can be used in exactly the situations I have been describing, not to be passionlessly recited, but to be passionately engaged. In those times (which I've had a lot of recently), I rework Jesus' prayer. I pour my feelings, situation, faith and need into this form and deep, meaningful prayer comes out on the other side. Normally it winds up sounding something like this:

"Our Father in Heaven,
May I always revere your Name and hold it in high esteem...
And may I live in a way that causes others to do the same,
The desire of my heart is that Your dream for Your creation would come true...that in both my life and in the world around me, Your will would be reality the same way it is in Heaven,
You have always met my needs and I trust that you will lovingly continue to do so,
You have forgiven me,
Help me to forgive all others in the same way
Please guide me away from tempation
Save me from the evil one and the evil that seeks to destroy your work in the world and in me,
for the kingdom, the power, and the glory all belong to you (not me),
and they will be yours forever (as will I)."


Saturday, July 01, 2006

Zondervan is using me...

to help promote NOOMA. I was doing a random search today and ran across an online booklet promoting the NOOMA DVD's which features a quote from me about how I used one of the films. They contacted me a year or so about this, but I hadn't heard anything about it, so I assumed that nothing came of it. I couldn't be happier, because I really do believe in this resource. CLICK HERE to view the booklet (click on my name if you want to read my quote).

I have also been contacted about helping to promote a project called The Voice, which is being published by Nelson Bibles, World Publishing and the Ecclesia Bible Society. It involves a collaboration of several of my favorite authors including Chris Seay, Brian McLaren, Lauren Winner, and Greg Garrett just to name a few. The project also includes some of my favorite musicians like Derek Webb. Basically the aim of the project is to bring scripture to life for emerging generations in postmodern culture. I am really excited about this and am already reading The Last Eyewitness: The Final Week, which is the first book to be released in the series. Look for a review of both this book and the accompanying music CD, Songs From The Voice Vol. 1: Please Don't Make Us Sing This Song in the near future. I highly recommend that you check out all of these resources.