What you see really is what you get. So what do you see?

Contemplating Jesus’ transfiguration (MT 17.1-9) has opened me up to a new appreciation for what transcendence entails in Christological terms. It’s not just a ‘vision’ the three disciples who accompany Jesus have (a kind of symbolic presentation to their imagination). Rather, they see the world the way it truly is. Their eyes are opened to see abiding realities neither immediately perceived nor exhausted by the material order. But though that order is exceeded and transcended by such realities, it is a perfect means of revelation.

Matthew 17:1-9 | After six days Jesus took with him Peter, James and John the brother of James, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. There he was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as the light. Just then there appeared before them Moses and Elijah, talking with Jesus. Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good for us to be here. If you wish, I will put up three shelters—one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.” While he was still speaking, a bright cloud covered them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Listen to him!” When the disciples heard this, they fell face down to the ground, terrified. But Jesus came and touched them. “Get up,” he said. “Don’t be afraid.” When they looked up, they saw no one except Jesus. As they were coming down the mountain, Jesus instructed them, “Don’t tell anyone what you have seen, until the Son of Man has been raised from the dead.”

Think differently, live differently

bob-hamp-bookPart of what I do at our church here in Minneapolis is direct Recovery ministries, a network of support groups helping people get and stay free. Typically folks think of 12-Step programs for addicts when they think about ‘recovery’. But recovery embraces more than just substance abuse. We’re all in recovery. Most of our classes address issues you might not think of when you think of ‘recovery’ — marriage support, divorce care, anger management, anxiety and depression, boundaries, purity, etc. One amazing thing I’ve observed since beginning to work in the recovery community is struggling and hurting people coming alive to the healing truth of God’s abiding and indestructible joy (apatheia), but that’s another issue.

In this post I’d like to share a resource I’ve taped into this summer teaching through Bob Hamp’s Foundations of Freedom. Excellent material. Up to this past Spring Bob was a staff pastor at Gateway Church in Ft. Worth, but I believe he’s back in private practice now.

Rachmaninoff the theologian

A couple of years ago Anita and I went to hear Rachmaninoff’s 2nd Symphony. We were familiar with his works for Piano but had never taken time to listen to his symphonies. We sat speechless throughout the entire four movements. The 3rd (Adagio) movement (Part 1 of 2 linked here for your enjoyment; don’t miss Part 2) escorted me out of the hall to I know not where. I’ve never come back completely. I’m listening to it now on the back porch, just settling into the truth which this symphony shares. If you still wonder what transcendence is, don’t do more reading, do more listening.

Another Rach piece my son and I love and listen to over and over is his 3rd Piano Concerto. I’ve listened to it hundreds of times. You never recover from Rachmaninoff. It’s probably not the best way to listen to his 3rd Piano Concerto the first time, but here’s the amazing Valentina Lasitsa playing the 3rd Rach without the orchestra. From minute 9:30 onward it’s indescribable, and after the storm begins to settle the transition that occurs at 12:35 is an invitation to as healing a moment as you’ll every have in music.

Treasures and Trials of Eastern Orthodoxy

abraham_webInteresting and helpful reflections on Eastern Orthodoxy by Bill Abraham (by Dylan Pahman).

William J. Abraham: The Treasures and Trials of Eastern Orthodoxy
Last night I attended an engaging lecture at Calvin College by Dr. William Abraham of the Southern Methodist University Perkins School of Theology. Abraham, whose religious background is Irish Methodist and who is now a minister in the United Methodist Church and the Albert Cook Outler Professor of Wesley Studies at Perkins, gave a presentation titled, “The Treasures and Trials of Eastern Orthodoxy.” As someone who…

Repost: God enters our nightmare

b5534-12-white-crucifixion-chagallA couple of friends and I were talking about how one might articulate a Chalcedonian understanding of Christ’s experience on the Cross. Lucid dreaming came up. Tom Morris introduced lucid dreaming as an analogy of the traditional two-minds Christology and we explored it here back in May. See what you think!

Rhoda Rides Again.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAFriend and philosopher Alan Rhoda has been responding to a critique by Bill Craig and David Hunt of a Faith & Philosophy article Alan published (with Boyd and me) back in 2006 advocating for open theism. Alan has gone on to advance the philosophical debate in great ways.

Warning for readers: Our original article and Alan’s replies to Craig/Hunt aren’t the most accessible reading. Eggheads will enjoy them. Others might struggle. You’ve been warned!

You have Part One, Part Two, and Part Three.

You’ll find links to the 2006 F&P article there as well.

Great job Alan!