The praise that pours forth from the lips of [John] Ames and Augustine, moreover, is particular. No vague thanks here. There is an earthiness to these confessions: “You called and cried out loud and shattered my deafness. You were radiant and resplendent, you put to flight my blindness. You were fragrant, and I drew in my breath and now pant after you. I tasted you, and I feel but hunger and thirst for you. You touched me, and I am set on fire to attain the peace which is yours” [Augustine, Confessions 10.27.38]. This is praise you can sense, on specific streets in specific towns.
At the end of the story Ames suggests, “To me it seems rather Christlike to be as unadorned as this place is, as little regarded” [Robinson, Gilead, 241]. What does Gilead have to do with Hippo? Well, earthiness, for one. Ames and Augustine speak the language of sound, sight, smell, taste, and touch; of bodily apprehension. But if they are right, all this is the stuff of heaven too. In Gilead and Hippo we do find something truly Christlike, the earthy humility of arms outstretched in a Word of celestial praise: “Great are you, Lord, and greatly to be praised!” â€” Han-luen Kantzer Komline, “Heart Conditions: Gilead and Augustinian Theology,” 42.
Frequent ESN contributor and Graduate & Faculty Ministries Staff Mark Hansard returns with Part 2 of a summer series on faith and reason. As you may remember,Â Part 1Â took aÂ brief look at a Scriptural basis for using reason and logic.
We’re always happy to share Mark’s thoughtful writings. Interested in reading more by Mark? You can explore his thoughts on learning about godly scholarships through Hebrews, his popular posts on The Fruit of the Spirit in Academia, or all of his literary and theological reflections for ESN.
Discipleship, becoming Christ-like, empowered by the Spirit to image God to the worldÂ is not magic. Nor is it merely intellectual. It’s a matter of re-forming our loves, re-narrativing our identities, re-habituating our virtue.Â And that is centered in the practices of the people of God gathered by the Spirit around Christ’s Word and the table.
Love takes practice. Worship is our gymnasium. . . .
— Conclusion to James K.A. Smith’s presentationÂ Liturgical Discipleship: Worship as the Center of Spiritual FormationÂ at theÂ 2014 Ancient Evangelical Future ConferenceÂ (Theme:Â As We Worship, So We Believe: How Christian Worship Forms Christian Faith).
- wrestle withÂ As We Worship, So We Believe: How Christian Worship Forms Christian Faith –Â personally and with respect to the various communities with which I am connected
- explore the development of A Theology for Higher Education for ESN
- expand/deepen the Emerging Scholars Network (and our budding partnerships)
- envision more of the framing of ESN’s Devotionals for/by Academics.
James K.A. Smith’s presentation onÂ Liturgical Discipleship: Worship as the Center of Spiritual FormationÂ (Youtube, ~ 1 hour) struck a deep chord and I am still giving it prayerful consideration. I encourage you to meditate upon itÂ in preparation for the Lord’s Day. To God be the glory!
A few questions . . . [Read more…] about James K.A. Smith on “Liturgical Discipleship”
In last night’s Christian Devotional ClassicsÂ (Evangelical Seminary)Â a fellow student shared how much he appreciatedÂ Gungor‘s “lifting” of the words of Augustine’sÂ ConfessionsÂ inÂ Late have I loved you. As you may remember Augustine’s ConfessionsÂ won ESNâ€™s Best Christian Book of All TimeÂ and this is a beautiful selection from the text.
Belatedly I loved thee, O Beauty so ancient and so new, belatedly I loved thee. For see, thou wast within and I was without, and I sought thee out there. Unlovely, I rushed heedlessly among the lovely things thou hast made. Thou wast with me, but I was not with thee. These things kept me far from thee; even though they were not at all unless they were in thee. Thou didst call and cry aloud, and didst force open my deafness. Thou didst gleam and shine, and didst chase away my blindness. Thou didst breathe fragrant odors and I drew in my breath; and now I pant for thee. I tasted, and now I hunger and thirst. Thou didst touch me, and I burned for thy peace. — Augustine. Confessions. Book Ten, ChapterÂ 27. Newly Translated and edited by Albert C. Outler. Philadelphia: Westminster Press  (Library of Christian Classics, v. 7).Â Accessed 6/3/2013.
Have you come to love the “Beauty so ancient and so new” or have you “rushed heedlessly among” theÂ beautiful things [made] out of dust, failing to give them their proper place? As you engage in your daily academic endeavors, do you pant, hunger, and thirst for the Creator, i.e., come to know God even more richly? Are you part of a community which encourages you and provides accountability toward that end?