Thursday, April 27, 2006

Cool Quote About Jesus' Baptism

The paper that I was supposed to write a month ago was a 3 page meditation on a New Testament passage. I chose Matthew 3:13-17, Matthew's version of the story of Jesus' baptism. One of the puzzling aspects of that event is Jesus' statement to John the Baptist, "It is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness." I've often wondered exactly what he meant. John's baptism was a baptism of repentance and Jesus has no need to repent. That's part of John's point that Jesus should baptize him. There is no command in the law to be baptized, so what does it mean that Jesus will fulfill all righteousness by being baptized? Leon Morris, an Australian New Testament scholar, in his commentary on Matthew, relates it to Jesus role as the suffering servant from Isaiah who will identify with God's people and by his suffering will make many righteous. Morris says this:

“Jesus might well have been up there in front with John and calling on sinners to repent. Instead he was down there with the sinners, affirming his solidarity with them, making himself one with them in the process of the salvation that he would in due course accomplish.”

Jesus became one of us and leads us through repentance and into the new life of the Spirit, just as one day he will lead us through death into the eternal life of the resurrection in the New Heavens and the New Earth.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Problems With Blogging and Personal Assessment Inventories

My main problem with blogging, like journaling before it, is picking out the time to do it. At least I feel like I can type faster than I can write so that I feel like I'm getting somewhere. I set this thing up on Sunday night and here it is Wednesday before I find a chance to write in it again. I've got to figure out how to make this work better. Plus I haven't even started exploring options like how to set it up to email posts to my friends in China who can't access blogspot. The only people I've told about my blog can't even see it. Oh well. There wasn't anything to see yet, so they hadn't really missed anything anyway. One of my concerns about starting a blog was whether I would have the time to do it, and more than the time, the motivation. I've got a lot of stuff to do. I can't imagine how much harder it would be if I had someone to relate to, like a wife, or someone to rear, like a kid.
Like Bart Simpson, I need structure and discipline or I start flying kites on the lawn at night with a psychotic expression. On my own I tend to bounce from one interest to another. I am, in my own leaden way, flighty, like a balloon full of radon. Since my job is pretty much self-structured, life can get interesting. I think a good image of my work structure is a pot of spaghetti that has been spilled on the floor. That is why I appreciate Non-Sequitur Month (April, for the few readers who might find this blog and who also use loofas) so much. It fits my experience of reality and life in general. One thing happens after another which it may or may not be related to. Then another thing happens. Then I eat lunch. Then it rains. You get the idea. Anyway, like I said, I need to work this blogging stuff more seemlessly (bonus points for anyone who can tell me what that sentence means).

One of the classes I'm taking now is Personal Assessment/Ministry Orientation. It is a one hour class that is required of all beginning M.Div. and M.A.R. students here at Trinity. It was not actually a requirement for me since I took a similar class in my first try at seminary but I took it anyway. I was hoping it would help me work out issues of calling and personal SHAPE for ministry, that I should perhaps have worked out several years ago. Parts of it have been very helpful, especially the lifemap exercise, but it's harder to see the personal assessment inventories we have to do as very helpful. I have a lot of trouble with personality tests of any sort. I hate the MBTI and Keirsey type tests. I actually think they can work quite well in terms of their results but I hate, hate, hate, taking them. I'm usually comfortable with the questions to that identify as an introvert or an extrovert but the rest of them usually leave me very frustrated. You have to pick one or they other and they either don't seem to conflict or don't seem to have a preponderately true or false answer, e.g. either they seem equally valid or equally valid at different times. I also don't trust tests that are based on my self evaluative answers based on a grid or continuum of 1-4 or 5 possibilities (or less, occasionally more). As I indicated above I don't experience things in patterns but as unrelated so it's very hard for me to confidently answer what is "usually true" in most cases (obviously there are some things that are very clear, viz. it is usually true that I am really frustrated by personality tests). Also I struggle with the difference between usually, frequently, sometimes, occasionally, seldom, rarely true. How do I know where it fits on that vague continuum, furthermore, what if the event itself is rare but when it happens has a usual occurance? Then where does it go. Finally, what does it say about a person's individuality that they can be summed up by these few questions with these vague answers. It may be that this approach is valid, there's reportedly a lot of research that's been done on it and people I respect accept its general validity, but I don't trust it and I don't like it, even if I do like my type. Research or reading project for somewhere down the line, I guess.

And that's what I did tonight instead of writing my paper that was due in March.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Baby Step in Grace

I've heard discussion before of the idea that writing can be a spiritual discipline. It is definitely a discipline and is not wholly outside the realm of the spirit. I hope it can be practice of spiritual growth for me. Our pastor began a short(?) series on How to Grow Spiritually this morning. The focus of the first sermon was on being rooted in God's grace. All true spiritual growth begins in the Father's grace but it only continues as we work out the grace that He works into us. This is one of my baby steps into new, I hope, growth.
So I attended a session on social software at EndUser, the Endeavor Users Group Meeting. Endeavor is the company that produces the Voyager Integrated Library System that we use where I work. At the session, one of the speakers suggested, in response to a questions of how to get started with social software, that you should create a blog, post some photos to flickr, or such another activity. I figured blogging would have a pretty low startup threshhold, so here I am with my own lamely named blog. Presumably the content will eventually get might better and might even become interesting. Whatever else it becomes, it will be.