Embedded and Deliberative Theology

this is an OLD post here, but contains two very important concepts for Christians to understand about Christian Theology.

Seeking the Kingdom

Recently I read a book called How to Think Theologically by Howard Stone and James Duke. In it they argue that one fundamental aspect of being Christian (and I would argue being human) is that we ought to intentionally think – and to think theologically.

First, we need to understand what theology is, which they define as a “seeking after understanding – a process of thinking about life in the light of the faith that Christians engage in because of their calling.”[1] Because theological reflection is a process, it centers on two common practices: listening and questioning. This back and forth movement encourages humility.

I love the idea that Christian theology is at its root a matter of faith seeking understanding. It is a deceivingly simple idea that is also complex. There are two types of theology that we all have: embedded and deliberative. Embedded theology is what…

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Taking Every Thought Captive – What does it mean?

this is really good – give it a read

Reuben Smith, MS - Mental Health and the Church

Judy approaches her friends at church and reveals that she is struggling with persistent doubt and depression. She tells them she reads her Bible every day, prays, attends church, and serves others. “But the thoughts keep intruding” she confesses. One of her friends gently takes her by the hand, looks into her eyes with great concern, and says “Judy, you just need to take those thoughts captive and make them obey Christ.” The people in the circle nod in agreement and Judy politely thanks her friend. They pray together and then continue with the church activities. Judy goes home feeling much better. Later that afternoon, the depressive thoughts return in earnest. Judy is perplexed. Didn’t she and her friends “capture” these thoughts? Why are they back? Judy’s faith is strong and her friends mean well. But she cannot comprehend how to “capture her thoughts” which have plagued her for years…

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Did Jesus Preach to Dead People After He Died?

sharing here to read later

Epiphanies and Orthodoxy

There is a very peculiar passage of Scripture in the first book of Peter which seems to suggest that Jesus went to preach the Gospel of repentance to those who had already been condemned to hell! What makes this passage even more peculiar is that it is set in the context of a perfectly sensible and unsurprising passage all about suffering for doing what is right.

Direct translation:

He was put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit, in/by which also he went/having gone and preached to the spirits in prison. He preached to those who formerly disobeyed, when God waited patiently in the days of Noah, during the building of the ark, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were saved through water. (1 Peter 3:18-20)

As we read this direct translation a number of questions arise:

  1. When it says Christ was “made alive…

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Nouwen on Listening – QOTD

Listening as Spiritual Hospitality:

To listen is very hard, because it asks of us so much interior stability that we no longer need to prove ourselves by speeches, arguments, statements, or declarations. True listeners no longer have an inner need to make their presence known. They are free to receive, to welcome, to accept. Listening is much more than allowing another to talk while waiting for a chance to respond. Listening is paying full attention to others and welcoming them into our very beings. The beauty of listening is that, those who are listened to start feeling accepted, start taking their words more seriously and discovering their own true selves. Listening is a form of spiritual hospitality by which you invite strangers to become friends, to get to know their inner selves more fully, and even to dare to be silent with you.

Shared from here.

on 1 Tim 2:11-15 – the context

I’ve said that I want to start blogging more and need to discipline myself to “get er done” as Mater would say. lol

I want to take a couple of posts and share how I see the “flow of thought” of 1 Timothy and how that “flow of thought” I think impacts the interpretation of what is often a very controversial passage in the Bible – one about whether women can teach or have any sort of “authority” in the church.  I really intend just to look at the first couple of chapters and not necessarily the whole book.

To start off I would like to remind us all of a rudimentary aspect of learning to read and understand the Bible.   That is…

A text taken out of context is a pretext for a proof-text.

What this means is that one cannot just take a Bible verse and make it mean something all on its own without giving it some context.  When we do that it ends up being a proof-text for whatever we want it to say. In my opinion, this happens with 1 Timothy 2:12, which, in the NIV, reads:

I do not permit a woman to teach or to assume authority over a man;[a] she must be quiet. (the footnote reads “or her husband.”)

This verse alone, in many churches, keeps women from being able to teach anything in the church but children’s church (up to 5th grade).  It’s also used by folks like John Piper to argue that because of this verse, women cannot serve as pastors in churches, (preach or teach from the pulpit), therefore, neither can they teach in seminary where men are being trained for the pulpit.

In other churches – many have made exceptions and will allow women to teach but not be the senior pastor because of the authority issue.

In my personal opinion, I think this is proof-texting.  Using a verse out of context to push one’s own personal preference on an interpretation or church practice.

So, I want to do a little flow through the text here to help build a case, from the text, that this verse doesn’t mean what many often try to say it means.

After the brief introduction Paul begins… (following the NIV here for simplicity’s sake)

As I urged you when I went into Macedonia, stay there in Ephesus so that you may command certain people not to teach false doctrines any longer or to devote themselves to myths and endless genealogies. Such things promote controversial speculations rather than advancing God’s work—which is by faith. The goal of this command is love, which comes from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.  Some have departed from these and have turned to meaningless talk. They want to be teachers of the law, but they do not know what they are talking about or what they so confidently affirm. (bold and underlined, etc are my own)

Right off the bat Paul is telling Timothy to watch out for false teaching – he is to command people not to teach false doctrines – this was the purpose of Timothy being there in Ephesus – to combat the false teachings and promotion of myths and genealogies and meaningless talk.  Paul says many want to be teachers but they don’t know (or understand) what they are talking about – it seems they are unlearned and given to meaningless talk. This is a distraction, he says, from what they’re supposed to be doing, “advancing God’s work.”

This paragraph is important to the overall context of the letter.  It sets that context – false teaching was a problem and it seems many want to teach who did not know what they were talking about – they weren’t well trained or educated you could say – so Timothy was to command them to stop.

I’m going to stop here and pick up in the next post working towards our main verse to show how it fits within the false teaching context and not necessarily as a for all time forbidding of women serving in pastoral ministry.



pastoral ministry

I was recently in communication with a friend about possible ministry opportunities.  It was about a possible church – being the pastor.  It was known I had applied for a chaplain position in the area but that it had not worked out – we were asking about a church.  A comment had been made “if you’re interested in pastoral ministry…” (I’m ordained and have endorsement for chaplaincy with the AG).  I realized that this person (but it is probably really common) doesn’t equate chaplaincy with pastoral ministry – even though it is.  This got me thinking… 🙂

Pastoral ministry is an umbrella term

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I see the term “pastoral ministry” as an umbrella term.  It a descriptor that is all encompassing and includes any work of ministry that involves pastoral care of souls.

This means it can be not just the senior pastor but also the assistant pastor, the youth pastor, the children’s pastor (all associate positions) and so in – it also includes chaplaincy, be it healthcare, institutional, military, you name it.

I do pastoral ministry every day – to families, patients, staff – I am involved in the direct pastoral care of souls.

So, yeah, of course I’m interested in pastoral ministry. 🙂

BUT …. WE ALL KNOW …. I overthink stuff.  lol

WE ALL KNOW it really means pastoral ministry in the local church… (wink wink).