So today I spent the better part of the day working on my thesis paper. [With it being so blasted hot, this worked out really nicely.] Anyway, if you're interested, here's the abstract in working form. Enjoy.
The interaction between God and his people is one of covenantal journey, one marked
by faith and a deep hope. Perhaps nowhere is this ideal more captured than in the textual writings of the Second Temple Period, especially within those texts
often demarcated as “apocalyptic” writings. These texts, formulated by various
communities within the Second Temple Period, display a yearning and a strong
belief that God is not absent, but quite present in their midst. Trusting in
his past faithfulness and promises, these communities believed that God was
about to act significantly in their present context, bringing about the
expectant hope of complete restoration.
deeply appreciate these texts and the communities that developed them, we must
initially explore the development of apocalyptic literature as a genre and a
vehicle for this expression of faith and hope. How did this genre develop and
why was it chosen as a central vehicle of the Second Temple Period?
Secondarily, we must explore the texts themselves and their relationship to
received texts and traditions. How did these authors and redactors see their
texts? Were they “scripture” on equal footing as the received texts of their
day? How did they use the vehicle of apocalyptic literature to portray their
dreams, desires, and understanding of God and his activity in the world? On a
broader scale, what can we learn about the category of “scripture” from the
texts collected and produced in the Second Temple Period?
of this paper is to explore selected writings of the Second Temple Period in
order to gain a vision of how various expressions of Judaism understood their
relationship with God and their world. By specifically exploring the nature of
their writings, both of content and category, we hope to gain a clearer vision
of their self-understanding, along with their vision of God and his activity in
the present world. Central to our discussion will be how these communities
utilized the writings that had been handed down to them in the development of their
own textual traditions. It is in this interaction with received texts that we
have an insightful vantage point into their self-understanding and their view
of their own particular texts.
be examining three main texts produced from three different communities, which
exhibit varied nuances of “Judaisms” within the larger Jewish community of the
Second Temple Period – 1 Enoch, the book of Daniel, and the Habakkuk pesharim from the community at
Qumran. All three texts evidence an unfolding theological trajectory rooted in
an apocalyptic worldview. They all display a reliance upon received texts and
traditions, which are integrated into new forms and endowed with new meanings,
resulting in a wholly new textual creation.
Mark Galli recently tackled the issue of recent Christians in the news in his article, The Scandal of the Public Evangelical. The article was thought-provoking, but once again the comment section proves to be much more entertaining. [Apparently grace is still a controversial topic...]
I would add one more thing to Galli's thoughts. I don't think society at large is looking for followers of Jesus to be perfect. I think they are looking for them to be authentic, approachable, honest, and responsible. All too often, they get just the opposite.
The latest Nooma offer, Whirlwind, has been posted by the good people at Flannel on their website to watch in its entirety. It beautifully explores suffer and Job. If you have ever gone thorugh difficult times, this is a much watch. Don't know how much longer it will be up, so swing by and enjoy.
I'm spending the day doing some much needed writing on my thesis. [More on this later...]
In the meantime, I've been chewing a bit on this post by Robert Cargill. Maybe you're like me, I grew up hearing "God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life" until it became a mantra. I've always felt a bit uncomfortable with this kind of thinking. It seems so trite and so self-centered, like God exists for me and my "wonderful plan." I've also never really been satisfied with how we reconcile the issues of pain and evil into this "wonderful plan" thing. Seems like our efforts are all to fraught with mental and theological gymnastics.
Cargill answers the pressing question, "Does God really have a wonderful plan for our lives?" His answer and thoughts may surprise you. It is a read well worthy of your time and pondering.
It's a crazy opportunity, but Josh was recently asked to play on an exhibition team from the US in the Dominican Republic, through Sports for Kids International. It's a nine player team made up mostly of high school players who will be playing exhibition games for a week. It should be a great experience for Josh, to see how he stacks up with guys who are a year or two older than he is. He is so excited. So the last week of July, Josh and I will be heading down to the Dominican Republic for a little baseball vacation. Pretty sweet...
Here are a few pics from last weekend's tournament in Riverside. [Thanks to Bill Rees, as always, for taking some great shots.]