Monday, November 28, 2005

Thoughts on Biblical Authority

I linked to an interesting post at Scot McKnight's blog that has created a ton of discussion. In it Scot suggests, "that authority does not sufficiently describe our relationship to Scripture" and further that "'identity' might say more (without dismissing authority or the term)."

Len asked what I think, so I'll throw a few thoughts out there. First off, anytime you even come close to suggesting that God might be more important than the Bible, people get bent out of shape. Now I've purposely stated that in an inflammatory way for a reason. You see, the Bible is very important to Christians, incredibly important and rightly so. Yet, I don't think anyone would say that the Bible is more important than the Triune God, yet many Christians act as if it is without really realizing it. (And this gets into tricky stuff that I've touched on in other posts and that is that when people appeal to biblical authority they often are appealing to their own authority without realizing it. To say something is or isn't biblical is really saying, it is or isn't biblical as I understand and interpret scripture.) And this is no new revelation and it is one reason why Christians have attempted to articulate via creeds and such the things we mostly agree on.

Next, I'm a big fan of Scot's. While I've only read The Jesus Creed(so far) and his blog on a regular basis, I find him to be very insightful, so my bias will be in his favor. (Just figured I'd mention that.)

Third, I like what NT Wright has to say about biblical authority.

Taking all these things together, I'll say that I think Scot is right on.
Identity think is a better word than authority because it authority is contained with in it. Now that may sound strange, but if I am a Boston Bruin, there are certain things I do and don't do because of my identity. I will pass to my teammates, but not to my opponents. (Okay, maybe that's a bad example given the state of the Bruins these days, but I think you can see what I mean.) The reason for all the controversy in the comments has less to do with the actual content of what Scot has articulated and more to do with fear. That fear is that we can just jettison the bible unless we understand it as a source of authority. Scot is not suggesting that we do that, but anytime you suggest there may be a better word than authority, folks will get nervous. Again, though, I find NT Wright's article especially helpful.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Biblical Authority?

Very interesting post and discussion.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Some Answers

Several of my readers have inquired as to the reason for the current Bruins malaise. Okay, so that's not exactly true. One person asked, and not as eloquently either. I believe the question was, "Why do the Bruins suck?"

Well, there are several reasons. Here ya go:

1. Defense.
As I mentioned here, the defense going into the season was a big concern. Injuries to Leetch and Moran haven't helped, though I'm not sure how much we actually miss Moran. I had been of the opinion that the Bruins should stick with the young guys, and while Dallman and Alberts and to a lesser extent, Jurcina (my guy) have shown they have what it takes to be legit NHLers, they have been terribly inconsistent. Nick Boynton has not played well and Gill has been Gill.

They've added Dave Tanabe, which may help and hopefully Leetch will be back soon. I don't think Tanabe is the answer though. Hopefully with Leetch coming back and the young guys gaining some confidence, things will turn around.

2. Discipline.

Or should I say a lack thereof? The Bruins take too many penalties and too many bad penalties at the worst possible times. Their last game showed a marked improvement in this area (3 penalties the entire game) so hopefully that trend will continue.

3. Goaltending.
It is very easy (and fun) to blame your goaltender. It is just as easy for poor defensive and undisciplined play make your goalies look bad. So, the chicken or the egg? Still, Toivonen who has looked better than Razor, has let in too many soft goals. Raycroft? I dunno. He just doesn't look confident. He's played okay, but has yet to really steal one or really play outstanding.

4. Coaching
It's time for Mike Sullivan to take the gloves off.

5. Leadership
Thornton has done okay numbers wise, but he needs to step it up in a big way. He needs to finish some checks and set the tone.

Finally, in looking at all these problems and trying to find the common denominator, Mike O'Connell has to take a good measure of blame here. He's the one who put the team together and planned to go into the season with a minimum of two rookie d-men slated for the opening night roster. I've said it before, in the new salary-cap era, good management gives teams a decided edge. Does that idea fill your heart with hope Bruins fans?

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Giving Thanks For Pet Peeves

At a hockey message board that I visit now and then a thread was started asking folks to share their hockey pet peeves. It got me thinking about pet peeves in general and so here are a few.

Hockey Pet Peeves (Watching)

-People who scream “SHOOT” any time a player has the puck in the offensive zone.

-Icing. I know sometimes you just have to do it, but it kills the flow of the game.

-Referees who make “even up” calls. You know, one team has had 3 powerplays in a row, so you know the other team will get the next call. Just call the game.

-Matthew Barnaby…’nuff said.


-Teammates who won’t back check. You can always find them waiting for the breakout pass though.

-Guys who hold your stick.

Other Pet Peeves:

-Stupid commercials, especially on the radio.*

-Overcooked steak- “medium- rare” does not mean “medium- well.”

When I thought about the last one I had another thought that quickly followed: “Wow, how bad is my life?” If you think about it, pet peeves are pretty luxurious, aren’t they? There are people around the world who aren’t sure how they will eat today and I can’t stand it when my steak is overcooked or when an opponent holds my stick during my recreational activities. I have much to be thankful for, even pet peeves.


*My current favorite is from "Home Genius". They're a company who installs wiring, stereo components etc. in homes. In their commercial they have two friends talking and one says, "I want a way to listend to my CD's while my life listens to the radio." His friend, the "Home Genius" shill, responds, "What you need is a multi-source system."
Friend one responds in a confused tone, "Multi-WHO?"
Uh, that would be "source". One syllable. Genius? No.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005


Tony Myles, whom I never met, has an interesting post at his blog. He stumbled onto my blog one day, left a comment and so I figured I’d visit his and have been visiting his pretty regularly since. I think he ventures back here now and then too, and if so, yo, Tony, rock on.

Anyway, his post here about salvation is very interesting. (I write here with great happiness for Jessica and the others present. This in no way should be seen as a commentary on the holy moment/event that took place at Tony’s church. This is simply some theological reflection.) I have used the “Bridge to God” illustration more than once in the past and found it very helpful. Over the years, however, I’ve begun to wonder about it’s helpfulness. First, I’ve grown skeptical of the idea that a person becomes saved when they pray a prayer to receive Jesus or to “accept Jesus into their heart.” It’s not that I’m against these things- I think they can be helpful and important first “baby steps,” as Tony puts it. It also gives people an opportunity to answer Jesus’ question, “Who do you say I am?”. Clearly, this is significant question.

My problem is that it places way to much emphasis on a decision I have made or a prayer that I have prayed, and not nearly enough emphasis on what Jesus has done for me. It also seems to limit salvation to something that happens to me in the future. I’m saved now, at the moment I pray this prayer, so I can go to heaven when I die. Salvation now, good for the future. Meanwhile, what? (See also, Trees.) Finally, this blessing is blessing for me. It benefits me, and apparently only me.* (I owe a huge tip of the hat to Brian McLaren here. See, A Generous Orthodoxy.)

Tony proposes that a second bridge is needed to improve the classic bridge illustration. This second bridge allows or enables us to love others because we have been loved first by God.

I like this addition because it helps reduce and perhaps eliminate the idea that salvation, while a present transaction happening now but good for only later, has implications for the present and has a benefit for others as well. Clearly a good addition, no?

Still, I’m not sure about it. I think part of the problem is that it is a linear illustration and there are inherent limits to a linear illustration, especially when the decisive act in salvation occurred a couple thousand years ago. Tony also defines salvation a bit differently with this new illustration. He describes salvation of becoming the person that God created you to be. I like this definition a lot because it requires a lot of filling in. If you say salvation is saving a person from sin and hell, there isn’t much to think about except heaven. If you take the latter definition the obvious question becomes, “Who has God created me to be,” and this leads to a lifetime of exploring and discovering. Perhaps, with a linear illustration, this is the best we can do.

I wonder if there is a better illustration? Still, I think Tony’s salvation definition is a good one. More thoughts to come later. Maybe.

*I’m not saying anyone who uses this illustration feels this way or believes this.
I’m simply talking about the illustration on it’s own merits, outside of a community of faith that would help fill in a fuller understanding of salvation.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Pat Robertson

Pat Robertson opened his mouth again. I would think that it would be difficult for him to speak with so many feet in his mouth, but he managed once again. Here in New England there is a sports radio station in Boston, WEEI, which plays a feature called The Whiner Line at the end of their afternoon drive show, The Big Show. The Whiner Line is a collection of recorded listener call ins whining. It is often funny and occasionally crass. Anyway, before every Whiner Line the following announcement is made: "The views expressed on the Whiner Line are not necessarily those of The Big Show, its staff or WEEI in general. Don't blame us for what these nit-wits say. Eh, they don’t speak for us."

I want to take out an ad in every major newspaper that says, "The views expressed by Pat Robertson are not necessarily the views of all Christ followers everywhere. Don’t blame us for what this nit-wit says. Eh, he doesn't speak for us."

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

One more? Please?

While I plan on getting a worship team of youth back together for our youth gatherings each week, I have, in the meantime, returned to leading our musical worship with the trusty acoustic. When I was about to do our last song I happened to look at my watch and noticed we were 5 minutes past our end time and told everyone that we had to close. A young man looked at me and said, "No! One more? Please?" How could I say no? Of course, I want to honor their parents who may be waiting as well, so I tried to do both. I closed and prayer and said for those who don't have rides waiting and can stay, we'll do one more song. Anyway, it's just really nice to know that at least one student was connecting with God and felt the need to continue. I trust there were others as well.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Cam Neely

Cam Neely was inducted into the hockey hall of fame last night. Cam Neely came to the Bruins in 1986. I was 12 years old, still young enough to be in awe of an athlete. With all due respect to Ray Bourque, Cam Neely was simply the greatest Bruin I have ever seen. (I never saw Orr play, only highlights.) There was nothing Cam couldn't do. He could hit, score, set guys up and fight. Neely was ferocious and I'm sure there were many NHL players who were scared silly when Neely was on the ice.

The Bruins had traded Barry Pederson to Vancouver for Cam. Barry Pederson had been a very good player for the Bruins and I was upset that they would trade him for some guy I had never heard of. Early in Cam's first season I remember saying to my dad, "Hey, have you noticed this

Neely guy? He hits everything on the ice that isn't a Bruin and he's scored a few goals too." By the end of the season I had mailed in my 7th Player Award postcard with my vote, Cam Neely, scribbled on it. Cam won the trophy in a landslide. Over the next few seasons, he solidified himself as the ultimate Bruin and the ultimate "power forward,"which is a title that wasn't used in hockey before Cam. He defined the position.

I was bitterly disappointed when he had to retire and disappointed once again when his comeback failed. Cam was the last athlete that I was ever in awe of. Sure there are still athletes I admire and like a lot, but something happens to you as you get older, you know? Cam Neely, Hall of Famer. Sounds good to me.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

There's Something About Daughters

When I found out my wife was pregnant with our first (and so far, only) child, I was very excited. Over the course of weeks before we learned of the gender, people would ask me if I wanted a boy or a girl. I told the truth. I wanted a son. I didn’t get a son, I got a daughter and I couldn’t be happier about it.

The truth is, I loved Kaylee before she was born. It was somewhat frightening how I loved this baby that I couldn’t physically see. Sure I saw evidence of her, but I couldn’t see her. When Kaylee was born, I was overcome with emotion. I remember looking down at her when she, seconds old, was resting on my wife with her head on Katie’s shoulder. I said to Katie, “Look at her, hon. She’s beautiful.” Looking back, I feel as though I couldn’t have been more wrong in wanting a son. Should the Lord bless us with another child, I will honestly say “I don’t care what the gender of the child is.”

Kaylee is woderful and she has been a very easy kid so far. She slept through the night at an early age, sleeps pretty late (8:00 – 8:30 am), is rarely fussy and so on. Last night however, she had a tough night. She woke up several times crying. This was particularly frustrating as she seemed to wake just as I would fall asleep again. We decided perhaps it had to do with new teeth and gave her some Tylenol. I held her for a long time as she began to fall asleep on me.

I put her back in her crib and went back to my own bed. I tried to burn the memory of this late night cuddling in my mind. I know the day is coming when I’m going to wish I had savored these moments more, so I try to savor them as much as I can.

My favorite short story writer is the late Andre Dubus. In my favorite of his stories, A Father’s Story, the main character, who is a devout Catholic, covers up an car accident in which his intoxicated daughter killed a pedestrian. He couldn’t bear to watch her take the punishment that she would receive had he not covered up the accident. He has a conversation with God about this. He reminds God that God is a Father and God responds by acknowledging as much but adding that He did not lift the cup from His child. The father responds, “Yes, but you didn’t have a daughter.”

(I can’t find my copy of this story or I’d quote it directly. Perhaps I’ll pick it up at the local library and fix this.)