“In pastoral care, in particular, we do well to remember that we do not need to be experts in a million different fields to be faithful to our calling. We do not need to know how to handle every difficulty, hurt, or need presented to us. But we need to be faithful in this: proclaiming the news that Christ is risen.”
From Wesley Hill in his most recent article, “Pastors, You Have One Job.” I highly commend the whole thing.
Andrew Wilson from Think Theology praises PJ Smyth’s analogy of church elders as bridesmaids:
I once took a wedding where it was pouring with rain and muddy outside the church. I was moved watching how the bridesmaids selflessly got wet and muddy to ensure that the Bride didn’t. They were clear in their minds that the day was about the Bride, not them. They were resolute in their endeavour to present a clean, dry beautiful Bride to the Groom, even if they got grubby in the process.
About a week later I preached a message entitled “Elders are Bridesmaids.”
The Bride we serve belongs to Him. We are stewards of the Son of Man’s wife. And, one day we will give an account to God for how we stewarded our responsibility as maids to his Bride (Heb. 13.7).
Last I checked, Jesus is the one who presents the bride to himself in splendor without spot or wrinkle, holy and blameless, having sanctified her with his baptism and word.
From Ross Douthat, in The New York Times,
The rhetoric of anti-Catholicism, whether its sources are Protestant or secular, has always insisted that the church of Rome is the enemy of what you might call healthy sexuality. This rhetorical trope has persisted despite radical redefinitions of what healthy sexuality means; one sexual culture overthrows another, but Catholicism remains eternally condemned…But at the same time, the way the “healthy sexuality” supposedly available outside the church seems to change with every generation offers a reason to be skeptical that all Catholic ills would vanish if Rome only ceased making “unnatural” demands like celibacy and chastity.
The difference between the secularists of today who believe that priests need to be sexually liberated, and the Protestants of the past (and present), is that the Reformed believe Rome insisting on clerical celibacy goes beyond scripture and even violates it. This twists the gospel by concluding that celibacy is necessary for a better spiritual life…
R. Scott Clark comments on the Distributed Education (DE) seminary model, which instead of having students come to a campus sends the professors to the students. It is primarily a response Tim Keller’s suggestion that the current seminary model is now inadequate and a different approach is needed.
Until parishioners are prepared to see physicians or surgeons who earned their medical degrees online, they should not accept ministers who have only an online degree. There is a reason why we send physicians to brick and mortar schools, because we know from experience that to do otherwise is to cut corners and we are not prepared to do that with our physical health. Why then are we willing to consider training the physicians of our souls with less care?…
Students traveled to them for a reason: education is not a consumer product that can be distributed by Amazon. Education is a process. It is a culture. It is a habit that is formed in community. It takes time in a community of scholars…Distributed education seeks to disconnect the outcome of education from the process: initiation into a culture and the formation of habits. It assumes that education is what happens when a prof travels to a church and delivers lectures thereby transmitting information. That is not itself education. The lecture is only a beginning of education for the student. Lectures are clues to a world of learning but they are rudiments, bread crumbs that invite the curious to continue learning.
Clark’s whole post is worth reading, and there are a few points I think are worth adding.
The first is that DE disconnects students from other students. The community aspect of education is not just student-to-professor, but peer-to-peer…
Andrew Bunt of ThinkTheology has shared an overview and some thoughts on Brent Strawn’s book The Old Testament is Dying.
Strawn’s basic thesis is that knowledge, understanding and good use of the Old Testament are waning; in short, the Old Testament is dying. He uses a helpful analogy to explore this by likening the Old Testament to a language. Languages help us make sense of reality, and the Old Testament has the potential to do the same. But languages can die, and so the analogy provides a useful way for Strawn to explore the possibility that the Old Testament is dying…
Strawn then explores how this demise can be seen more broadly, and it is here that he makes particular use of the language analogy. The process of a language dying is called repidginization because as the original language dies out the simplified version that is left is like a pidgin language. When languages repidiginize sometimes the pidgin version then develops into a new, but different, language called a creole. Creoles are completely regular – they remove all the complexities of the original language…