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NT Wright – Retelling Stories: Alternate Histories and the Lord’s Prayer

Mike Work, writing on his class blog recently, wrote a great short post about Jesus’ way of being a storyteller.  He writes,

In his [NT Wright] words, “Jesus made a regular practice of retelling the story of Israel in such a way as to subvert other tellings, and to invite his hearers to make his telling of the story their own (174).??? The prominent locus of this was in the parables, which told the story of Israel, but tweaked it, often shifting the boundaries and reversing the outcomes of the story. One prominent motif was the divine status reversal, with those well-off in the present often coming out not so well. These stories did something; they painted an alternative future, which countered the visible reality of Jesus’ day.

Mike’s comment stirred my mind in two directions, one is directly related to the first verse of Lord’s Prayer and the other has to do with Quakerism (next post).

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World Hunger and Sustainable Eating

It’s important for me to point out a fellow Fuller PhD student, Russ Kirby, who has written a stellar argument for having a sustainable Diet.
Russ, a practical theologian, says,

If there is enough food to fully feed the world, then why are 840 million people still literally starving to death? Why do at least 5.2 million children die every year of malnutrition? Is the West simply hogging the food? While it is difficult to truly understand and appreciate the nuances that complicate global sustenance and cause world hunger, the connection between a meat based diet and rampant starvation (which is rarely discussed) needs to be drawn out.

The truth is, there is more than enough food to feed the world, but not on a meat-centered diet. Let’s pretend this was a perfect world. Let’s divide the world’s land (available for food production) equally among her peoples. Each person would then get 2/3 of an acre of land. Sounds great right?

From Hungry For A Better World (or “Starving For Sustenance”)
The issue that Russ brings up, will be an issue that today’s church will have to face if it wishes to participate in God’s love for the world; I don’t see any other option. We can no longer pretend it is not an issue live blindly to the needs of others, we know that following Christ requires sacrifices this is one of them; if we do not we will not be sharing with God in loving the world.

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Reflecting On Your Influences

Every now and then it is a good idea to consider the influences you have in your life, maybe a “lull in grace??? as Patrick has called it, is a perfect time.  I  first thought I would make a top three list of four different categories; books, music, movies, and blogs; but later decided to just do literature and movies because I wanted to not make it a 2006 favorites list but a real reflection on my own influences.

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Sometimes We All Blackout

Lovedrug, a band some friends of mine are in, are coming into town on Saturday to play at the Knitting Factory; a line to one of their songs is the title of this post and the current state of my life.

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Qaddish and The Lord’s Prayer: Jesus’ Subversive Tactics

In this continuing series on the Lord’s Prayer I am looking at the Jewish prayer known as the Qaddish, and comparing it to the Lord’s Prayer.  When we compare these two prayers we see themes arise that are particularly interesting when we consider that Christ’s prayer is intentionally tweaked to include rather subversive value, which give us clues into how he understood the Kingdom of God. 

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Bike to Work Day: Communities and Sustainable Life

[Updated] Thursday, May 18th was Bike to Work Day. The city of LA and its surrounding suburbs participated in various activities and sponsored prizes in hopes of encouraging people to ride their bikes to work more often. I participated in Pasadena’s Bike to Work Day and their sponsored events. Cyclists met in front of the central library from 7-8:30 A.M., ate a continental breakfast, had tune-ups done on their bikes, received door prizes and had their names put in various raffling drawings.  [You can also read this article on CICLE.org]

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Chris and Amy over at Shooting The Kids wrote on Photos For Your Child’s Safety.  I wanted to give props to them for pointing out Brian’s great flickr site that seeks to help find missing children. They have a great short interview with him that let’s you know how he got started and how its helping people.  You may even notice that some of the pictures link to his site are now broken links, that because those kids have been found.

A Brief Synopsis from Chris’ Site:
Currently Brian and his team pull missing children’s photos from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and posts them on flickr, tagging them in ways to help people find these kids (they are hoping to organize them in such a way that they can be search by area as well).  He is also trying to gain access to more photos so he can have a great impact in helping kids but its been a difficult road. 

If you have a blog or a flickr account add this guy to your list of contacts and view the pictures, this is a great and easy way to be on the look out.  We can be innovative in the way we help others and I think Brian is up to something that is worth backing.     

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Blog Party With Friends

Our third ever  “blog party” to happen at our house saw a radical boost in attendance!  For the first two gatherings, JR and I were the only ones to come. However, this time we had 5 bloggers present.  My wife, Emily, decided to join us this time around and although she didn’t work on writing a post, she worked subscribing to a number of PMC blogs.   Chris  worked on writing for his professional blog, Katagrapho, that he will be using with his students in New Testament exegesis.  Joy also came, and decided to buy her own domain and power up a WordPress blog, which was pretty exciting; I was able to help her get the basics down but the learning curve in the beginning is always a bit high.  I think we will see some great stuff on her new site, as she is interested in Feminism, Anabaptism and Ethics.  JR, an integral part to the Blog Party, was able to make it even though he’s been busy trying to “beat the man.”  Al in all, it was a load of fun hanging out and kicking it WordPress Style!

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Bike to Work Week

This coming week, May 15-19, is bike to work week.  I have already expressed my disappointment in not being able to participate because of my accident, but I thought I could pass along some links and what-not about biking.  There are some great resources on the web about getting started as a bicycle commuter, reasons why you should do it and other tips on “saving your tail??? while biking in the city.

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The Paternoster – A Formative Christian Practice for All Followers

I’d like to frame the next group of “featured” posts that will be showing up here on gathering in light. I will be continuing to post my thoughts on the Lord’s Prayer, and how it can and should be used as a missional discipleship tool in churches from Anabaptist and Quaker, to emerging and missional, to Orthodox and Catholic (and everyone in between) churches. The main points of thinking that will be presented here is: how the Lord’s Prayer ought to be something practiced by all Christians on an ongoing basis, comparisons between the Qaddish, an early Jewish Prayer, and the Lord’s Prayer, as well as thoughts on each of the petitions and how they should inform the church’s overall missional engagement with the surrounding culture. I am posting these thoughts in about 800 words, in hopes to spread out the conversation and encourage dialogue.