Different Freedom?  

Posted by BT

Deep within, the heart has always known that there is freedom
Somehow breathed into the very soul of life
The prisoner, the powerless, the slave has always known it
There's something that keeps reaching for the sky

And even life begins because a baby fights for freedom
And songs we love to sing have freedom's theme
Some have walked through fire and flood to find the place of freedom
And some faced hell itself for freedom's dream

Let freedom ring wherever minds know what it means to be in chains
Let freedom ring wherever hearts know pain
Let freedom echo through the lonely streets where prisons have no key
We can be free, and we can sing, "Let freedom ring"

God built freedom into every fiber of creation
And He meant for us to all be free and whole
But when my Lord bought freedom with the blood of His redpemption
His cross stamped "pardon" on my very soul

I'll sing it out with every breath, I'll let the whole world hear it
This hallelujah anthem of the free
That iron bars and heavy chains can never hold us captive
The Son has made us free, and free indeed

Let freedom ring down through the ages from a hill called Calvary
Let freedom ring wherever hearts know pain
Let freedom echo through the lonely streets where prisons have no key
You can be free, and you can sing, "Let freedom ring"

Let freedom echo through the lonely streets where prisons have no key
You can be free, and you can sing, "Let freedom ring"
You can be free, and you can sing, "Let freedom ring"

A New Book  

Posted by BT

Some of you probably don't know that, in addition to my regular job at Nazarene Headquarters and several part time jobs around the campus at MidAmerica (mostly pertaining to sports), I also am a freelance proofreader and copy editor. I primarily work for Youth Specialties, and many of my previous projects probably wouldn't be books I would normally pick up and read (for example, check this one out: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0310256801/qid=1125415985/sr=1-1/ref=sr_1_1/104-6775439-4819932?v=glance&s=books).

This week, however, I enjoyed a serendipitous moment as I opened my most recent project. You can see it by following the link above (nothing I've worked on is out yet...I think January is the earliest release date of anything I've done). It's called "The Church in Transition," by Tim Conder, and it is unbelievably, almost frighteningly, apropos for my current state of mind. It strongly addresses how we (1. Dare I include myself in the "emergent church?" 2. I think I think I'm not sure about that name) can share life with the existing church, regardless of how disillusioned we may be with it.

I'm really enjoying it so far. I hope some of you will read it when it is released in January, not because I worked on it, but because it's just pretty cool.

Now Reading: "The Bible Jesus Read," by Philip Yancey
Cardinals' Magic Number: 17

This morning...  

Posted by BT

I was reading this this morning by Philip Yancey, and I thought it spoke well to much of the current discussion/thought process.

"Is it possible that God permitted the entire tragic experiment of Israel's nationhood in order to prove a point about the visible kingdom--about any visible kingdom? Solomon, with every advantage of wisdom, power, and wealth--all good gifts from God--led his nation to destruction. Did God grant Solomon those advantages in order to put to death illusions and thus prepare the way for a new kingdom? Kingdoms of this world are built on intelligence, beauty, wealth and strength. Yet even at their best, their Solomonic best, such human attractions fail. Has not history born out that truth again and again, world without end?

A later king--one greater than Solomon, he claimed--established his rule instead among the lame and poor and oppressed and ritually unclean. He belittled Solomon's glory by comparing it to that of a common day-lily. He offered no rewards other than the prospect of an executioner's cross. Solomon's kingdom succeeds by accumulation; Jesus' kingdom succeeds by self-sacrifice. 'You must lose yourself to find yourself' was Jesus' most-repeated proverb. The world was still not ready for Jesus' kind of kingdom. Even when he returned to earth after resurrection the disciples did not grasp the difference: 'Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?' they asked, still yearning for the visible kingdom of Solomon.

The kings of Israel who followed Solomon did not learn, the disciples who followed Jesus did not learn, and what of us? I can envision the Teacher of Ecclesiastes standing before the magazine rack of a modern newsstand. 'All these body-building magazines--Shape, New Body, Muscle and Fitness--do you think flesh lasts forever? Have you no thought for the grave? These business magazines--Success, Inc., Entrepreneur--what are you scrambling for? Do you truly believe you will find satisfaction there? Mad, Lampoon, Atlantic, Harper's--I tried folly as well as wisdom, and both lead to the same place. To the grave.' In Jesus' cryptic words, which could stand as a summary for the message of Ecclesiastes, 'What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul?'

Ecclesiastes has an eerily modern ring to it because we have not learned its most basic lessons. We too chase the allure of the visible kingdom."

From "The Bible Jesus Read," by Philip Yancey


Posted by BT

Truly, it is time for Pat to go.


Posted by BT

Inspired by a number of my friends who regularly practice this odd, public journal/soapbox, I thought I'd start a "blog" of my own. I don't know if this will work for me, but I'll give it a shot.

For starters, if you're wondering about the title, check out Ephesians 3:16-19. It is my "life passage," if there is such a thing.

Some of the things presently percolating:

1. The Old Testament is gaining meaning to me as I read Yancey's "The Bible Jesus Read."

2. I am thoroughly intrigued by the conversations that have been taking place among my friends (I hope they would call themselves my friends) regarding the emerging church (at least I think that's the buzz term these days). Also piquing my interest is all the political/religious right/anti-war talk. I have a few thoughts about this:

a) I have a friend who is considering a career as a navy chaplain. What place does chaplaincy have in the military?

b) My grandfather (Pops, hereafter) was in the navy and served in the second world war. I have a profound respect for Pops' faith journey, and am troubled by the anti-war sentiment (which I agree with, incidentally) and how his military involvement reflects on his faith. Any thoughts?

c) The "allegiance" discussion is what first drew me in, whether you can have allegiance to both a temporary country and an eternal Kingdom. I'm still wrestling with this one, but, suffice it to say, I'm further from the "religious right" than I've ever been.

This is a good start.