Thursday, August 24, 2006

Adam Ellis, Adjunct Professor (how did that happen?)

Well, it's official. I am now an adjunct professor at Ohio Valley University. I am teaching BIB 105: Introduction to the Bible. I taught my first class today...actually we just went over the syllabus, but I really enjoyed it. There were about 44 people in the class today. It's designed as an introductory course for those without much Bible knowledge/background...and students can test out of it by taking a placement test, in which case they would go into the "Life of Christ" class. There were about 15 or so students who hadn't taken the placement test yet, so I dismissed the rest of the class early and administered the test during the last 20 minutes of class. As I'm passing out the test, one of the students says, "So, how can we stay in this class? Should I just bomb the test so I can stay?" I considered that a compliment.

CLICK HERE to see a copy of my syllabus (if you are at all interested).


P.S. I'll be in Nashville for a week for Grad School soon. If we are friends and you are in that area, and you would like to get together to me ASAP.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Reviewing "The Voice"

Sorry this post is late. I'm finishing up reading for Grad School and getting ready to teach intro to the Bible at OVU, as well as being deeply involved in the normal chaos of youth ministry. Anyway...on the the reviews.

The Voice

The Last Eyewitness: The final week of Jesus--
I have to say that I'm impressed with this resource. I recommend it highly to anyone (adult, college, teen) who has honesty found it hard to "get into" personal Bible study. It is, in essence, a fresh tranlation of scripture...but it is so much more than that. It is a fresh approach. In particular, this volume covers the final week in the life of Jesus primarily from the book of John. Clearly deliniated from actual scripture, is a first person commentary written in the voice of John that brings in tons of historical and cultural context (I like this approach b/c it doesn't come across as scholarly, but is extremely informative and enlightening). "John" also bring in the perspectives of the other gospel writers (translated by different writers) where it gives a fuller picture of what's going on in the story. Chris Seay is the main author/editor for this volume (though it includes writing/translation by Brian Mclaren, Lauren Winner, Greg Garrett, and others). This is a promising start to the series.

Songs From The Voice Vol. 1: Please don't make us sing this song--
I normally hate things like this. Basically this is a compilation CD where music artists give their interpretations of several of the psalms. While I agree in principle this is how the pslams should be done, normally it results in fluffy pop garbage. I expected to hate this CD. I didn't. It's beautiful. These folksy arrangements hit home in unexpected ways and, I think, really capture the spirit of these pslams. Artists like Derek Webb, Don Chaffer, Sandra McCraken, Sara Groves and others lend their talenst and gifts to this beautiful interpretation.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

The Lens of Grace

As I was praying before bed a few nights ago, a phrase came out of my mouth that I didn't expect. I had been struggling with some attitudes and things that I didn't feel too good about and was basically trying to "ask for forgiveness" and "ask for strength", etc. Instead, I found myself saying "You have forgiven me. Help me to grow into the person you already believe me to be." I was stunned. I just sat there for a few minutes, then I surprised myself again by saying, "Help me to learn to see others the same way that you see me." I know that I've heard and read stuff like this before, but it had never really come together like that for me before. Grace is a lens that God chooses to view me through. He sees my life and my character through this lens that somehow refracts the light in such a way that all he can see is Christ in me. He then encourages me and helps me to become the person he already sees me as...the person he keeps insisting I already am. While I see evidence all around me and in me to the contrary, God adamantly maintains that the way he sees it is the actual reality. He gives me the choice of choosing the reality he is calling me into or one that I construct for myself. I choose his. However, as soon as I choose God's reality of Grace, the lenses of Grace must necessarily slip over my eyes as well. I am to reflect what I am given. I am to see as I am seen.