writing things down…

Archive for Quotes

Quotes for January

I’m not sure if any of my Facebook friends noticed the quotes I put into the “About Me” section of my profile sidebar. I plan to change those from time to time with quotes that I come across in my reading. It’s sort of a New Year’s resolution of mine—a way for me to keep track of some of the lines that have struck me throughout the year. The following are the ones I posted in January. I began on the 6th, Epiphany, hence the quote from Matthew.

1/27 – Like Christ’s love on the cross, human love is most itself when it is utterly open, unguarded, and vulnerable. -Eugene McCarraher

1/22 – I believe that Christ is the Lord, goddam it. It’s not that I believe in God, but that He believes in me, in us. And I’m willing to bet my life on that. -Will Campbell

1/21 – revelation is the manifest presence of God which can only be had on its own terms, and which cannot be converted into something plain and available for classification. -John Webster

1/18 – A lie cannot live. -MLK, Jr.

1/15 – Prayer is, simply, pledging allegiance. Consequently, prayer is political and a form of resistance and protest.

Prayer specifies your God, your kingdom, your hope, your ethic.

When you pray you choose sides. -Richard Beck

1/14 – Each eucharistic community is not merely a part of a whole, as if Christ could be divided into parts, but a microcosm, a mini-cosmos in which the cosmic Christ is wholly present. -William T. Cavanaugh

1/13 – God is as much present in the mundane and in life’s tragedies as he is in those experiences which are typically seen as the more likely demonstrations of divine activity. -Michael W. Pahl

1/12 – Ensnared by stunted imaginations and unfettered appetites, we still routinely confuse having a plethora of choices with being free. -Barry Harvey

1/11 – Christ Jesus did what he did because that is what it means to be in the form of God. -Michael Gorman

1/7 – The radical gospel is not sixth-grade civics. -Will Campbell

1/6 – When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy. -Matthew, the evangelist


Will Willimon on Politics in Biblical Preaching

Yesterday I posted a quote from Will Campbell on Patriotism in my Facebook Notes. What I should have done is posted it here in katagrapho, since whatever I post on this blog shows up in my Facebook Notes. I won’t repeat the Campbell quote. You can follow the previous link to read it.

From now on I will put interesting quotes and excerpts from books I am editing here. That way the handful of blog readers can see them, as well as the handful of Facebook friends.

In addition to Campbell’s Crashing the Idols, I am also working with Will Willimon’s Preaching Master Class, the next volume in the Art for Faith’s Sake Series that we publish in partnership with Fuller‘s Brehm Center. As I was reading the chapter, “How Unbiblical ‘Biblical Preaching’ Can Be,” I came across these bits that resonated with my immersion into Will Campbell’s writing.

Previously, we mainline, liberal Protestants were the ones who were so bent on mixing religion and politics. Now it’s the Religious Right, but it’s essentially the same project. It’s a politicized project that is tough for biblical preachers; once they get infatuated with politics, they don’t stay biblical for long.

Let’s face it, the Bible is downright nasty toward folk in power, particularly if they work for the government…

The New Testament has virtually nothing to say to folk who enjoy a powerful majority, but everything to say to those who are a persecuted minority. I find little scriptural help for how to run a multi-million-dollar political action group, but lots of verses about what to do when you are in jail.

Two further things:

1. There is much in Willimon’s book that these folks could stand to read as they try to do everything “biblically” in the shadow of the Capitol building. (HT: Halden)

2. It should go without saying that this blog, my Facebook content, and most other material I place online are all my personal ruminations, opinions, gripes, etc. It should also go without saying that the thing I spend most of my day doing—i.e., acquiring, editing, proofing books—would have an impact on my ruminations, opinions, gripes, etc. None of it, however, is meant to represent the position of my employer, Wipf and Stock Publishers.

God’s John Hancock

“…the cross is the signature of the Eternal One. Any other understandings of God are henceforth rendered either incomplete or obsolete or idolatrous.”

– Michael J. Gorman, Inhabiting the Cruciform God, 33

Writing & Teaching

Writing is the only profession where no one considers you ridiculous if you earn no money.
Jules Renard

This is one reason why most academic theology writers also teach… Oh, wait, there’s not much money to be made in that either. (Follow the link and notice the lowest salaries among all of the professor lists.)

New Covenant Commentary Series

I am currently working with the files for the first two volumes in the New Covenant Commentary Series.  The series description reads:

The New Covenant Commentary Series (NCCS) is designed for ministers and students who require a commentary that interacts with the text and context of each New Testament book and pays specific attention to the impact of the text upon the faith and praxis of contemporary faith communities.

The NCCS has a number of distinguishing features. First, the contributors come from a diverse array of backgrounds in regards to their Christian denominations and countries of origin. Unlike many commentary series that tout themselves as international the NCCS can truly boast of a genuinely international cast of contributors with authors drawn from every continent of the world (except Antarctica) including countries such as the United States, Puerto Rico, Australia, the United Kingdom, Kenya, India, Singapore, and Korea. We intend the NCCS to engage in the task of biblical interpretation and theological reflection from the perspective of the global church. Second, the volumes in this series are not verse-by-verse commentaries, but they focus on larger units of text in order to explicate and interpret the story in the text as opposed to some often atomistic approaches. Third, a further aim of these volumes is to provide an occasion for authors to reflect on how the New Testament impacts the life, faith, ministry, and witness of the New Covenant Community today. This occurs periodically under the heading of “Fusing the Horizons and Forming the Community.” Here authors provide windows into community formation (how the text shapes the mission and character of the believing community) and ministerial formation (how the text shapes the ministry of Christian leaders).

It is our hope that these volumes will represent serious engagements with the New Testament writings, done in the context of faith, in service of the church, and for the glorification of God.

Series Editors:
Michael F. Bird (Highland Theological College, Dingwall, Scotland)
Craig Keener (Palmer Seminary, Philadelphia, USA)

Titles in this series:
Colossians/Philemon by Michael F. Bird
Romans by Craig Keener

Forthcoming titles (in order of projected publication):
Ephesians by Lynn Cohick
James by Pablo Jimenez
1–3 John by Sam Ngewa
Revelation by Gordon Fee
John by Jey Kanagaraj
Pastoral Epistles by Aida Besancon-Spencer
Mark by Kim Huat Tan
Acts by Youngmo Cho
Luke by Jeannine Brown
2 Peter and Jude by Andrew Mbuvi
Matthew by Joel Willits
1 Peter by Eric Greaux
1–2 Thessalonians by David Garland
Philippians by Linda Belleville
Hebrews by Tom Thatcher
Galatians by Brian Vickers
1 Corinthians by Bruce Winter
2 Corinthians by David deSilva

Bird’s and Keener’s volumes should be available by the end of the summer. Here’s a little taste from the early pages of both.

What begs for transformation in many cases is our ecclesiology. Why is the church so diverse, and is this a good thing? After all, diversity breeds difference, debate, and even division. Would not a uniform, homogenous, almost clone-like church be better for unity? Yet the body of Christ has an indelible and irreducible plurality built into it. The church is one body with many parts complete with a unity in diversity. Experiencing the power of forgiveness and being made part of the renewed Israel is a saving event that crosses racial, geographical, and cultural boundaries. Christians have a shared identity in Jesus Christ, they are part of a renewed Adamic race, they have accepted the call to come into Abraham’s family of the faithful, they are forgiven of their wicked and godless ways, and they seek to cultivate the virtues of faith, hope, and love as well. That which unites them is infinitely stronger than anything that might divide them from one another. (Bird)

Whatever else “faith” means for Paul, it is not a human work, whether physical or (as sometimes in Protestantism) mental in nature (Rom 3:27–28; 4:5; 9:32; Gal 2:16; 3:2, 5). It involves dependence on God’s righteousness. This means not a Kierkegaardian “leap into the dark” (reacting to the Kantian consignment of faith to the category of subjectivity), but embracing truth in the gospel (in contrast to the false ideologies of the world; cf. Rom 1:18–23, 28). We should note, however, that just as “righteousness” involves transformation, so the term pistis includes the sense of “faithfulness”—loyalty and allegiance—and not simply an intellectual acknowledgement. Genuine dependence on Christ invites genuine loyalty to him, not simply reciting a statement about him as if nothing is truly at stake. (Keener)

Harvey on Freedom and Humanity

From Barry Harvey’s latest, Can These Bones Live?

Ensnared by stunted imaginations and unfettered appetites, we still routinely confuse having a plethora of choices with being free. (17)

In place of shared patterns of judging human behavior and relationship that allow people to determine what they can reasonably do and say together to foster a just and equitable common life and language, the ruling regime of nation-states and global markets offers political discourse that is dominated by the marketing slogans and sound bites, and the calculation of short-term advantages, which are incapable of sustained deliberations about the basic conditions of our humanity. (18, in discussion of Rowan Williams’s reflections on secular body politic. See Lost Icons.)

“Every church…

…is an emerging church, because it is not yet the kingdom.”

Edmund Gibbs, “Preaching Arts in Emerging Churches.” Theology, News & Notes (Winter 2007), 28.