Before A Great Cloud of Witnesses: A New Year At Seminary

Cain leads Abel to death, by James Tissot.
Image via Wikipedia

I was asked to share a passage of Scripture and a brief reflection for a community event this evening and I thought I’d offer it here for all of you as well. I shared this among Fuller students as we prepare for the fall quarter which begins tomorrow.

Here are a few excerpts from Hebrews 11-12:

“Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. Indeed, by faith our ancestors received approval. By faith we understand that the worlds were prepared by the word of God, so that what is seen was made from things that are not visible.

By faith Abel offered to God a more acceptable sacrifice than Cain’s. Through this he received approval as righteous, God himself giving approval to his gifts; he died, but through his faith he still speaks. By faith Enoch was taken so that he did not experience death; and “he was not found, because God had taken him.” For it was attested before he was taken away that “he had pleased God.” And without faith it is impossible to please God, for whoever would approach him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him. By faith Noah, warned by God about events as yet unseen, respected the warning and built an ark to save his household; by this he condemned the world and became an heir to the righteousness that is in accordance with faith… Continue reading Before A Great Cloud of Witnesses: A New Year At Seminary

Faith and The Difficult Process of Discernment

An angel prevents the sacrifice of Isaac.Image via Wikipedia

“And without faith it is impossible to please God, for whoever would approach him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.”

(Hebrews 11:6 NRSV)

Over the last month Emily and I have been working through a major life change question. I was looking at taking a job, which would have meant full-time work, moving out of LA, and slowing down the PhD by a number of years. Emily and I have been thinking that in the next year we’ll be moving, so when this job opportunity came up it seemed like it might be a good fit. But finally, after a very long process of praying and weighing the options, it felt premature to leave Fuller now. Emily’s got a great work situation with teaching 20 hours, a job that helps pay the bills, while allowing us to both have time with L and me to get about 25-30 hours a week of study in. At that pace I should be able to finish my exams by the end of next summer. It wasn’t an easy decision though, and one that weighed heavy on me for quite some time. I thought it’d be good to think out loud about the process of discernment we went through. Continue reading Faith and The Difficult Process of Discernment

Kierkegaard on Solitude

It is an awful satire, and an epigram on the materialism of our modern age, that nowadays the only use that can be made of solitude is imposing it as a penalty, as jail. What a difference there is between those times when, no matter how secular materialism always was, man believed in the solitude of the covenant, when in other words, solitude was revered as the highest, as the destiny of Eternity – and the present when it is detested as a curse and is used only for the punishment of criminals. Alas, what a change.

Kierkegaard, The Diary of Soren Kierkegaard, 23