I am posting on N.T. Wright‘sÂ Lent for Everyone: Luke, Year CÂ (Westminster/John Knox, 2012)Â even in the midst of Lent so that some additional people may benefit from this great resource. I find most devotionals pretty schmaltzy. Not so this work by noted New Testament scholar N.T. Wright. The book follows readings in Luke. Wright’s commentaries are a brief exposition of the text that really do comment on the text rather than use it as a springboard for some “inspiring thoughts”. He concludes each day with a “Today” section that gives relevant and sometimes pointed direction for reflection, prayer and action based on the text of the day.
n. t. wright
Ard Louis The calling of Christian postgrad students and academics (1/29/2012) from oxfordchristianmind (52 min, 52Â sec).
Description:Â What does our calling to be disciples of Christ mean for our academic vocation (whether temporary as students or longer term as a career)? What are some of the promises and pitfalls of the scholarly life? How can academics and postgraduate students serve and relate to the wider body of Christ (the Church)?
Getting to know Ard Louis (Reader in Theoretical Physics at the University of Oxford):Â Last spring I had opportunity to connect withÂ Ard LouisÂ at a conference. I appreciated extended conversation with an InterVarsity alumnus who brought international perspective to graduate studies in the United States, was blessed by participating in an InterVarsity fellowship, and continues following Christ with passion as an academic in another country. In addition to checking out the resources available atÂ Developing a Christian Mind at Oxford , I also took time to soak in his excellent Veritas Forum presentations,Â e.g., Does Science Make Faith Obsolete?Â at Johns Hopkins University andÂ Science and SpiritualityÂ atÂ Swarthmore College. [Read more…] about The calling of Christian postgrad students and academics — Ard Louis
A few weeks ago I wrote about purpose; I presented a handful of perspectives on the purpose of our human existence and asked the question, Why should I go to grad school, anyway?Â Today I want to zoom in on one particular thread that, as you may have noticed, traced prominently through two of the given perspectives. That thread is the glory of God. Now, before I lose you completely with those worn out old words, let me shake them off and give them back their . . . glory.
Irenaeus, a father of the early church, famously said:
The glory of God is the human person fully alive.
That is, when a human being experiences and enjoys the richness of God and his creation, that human being puts God on displayâ€”he or she shows to the cosmos the true nature of its creator. Jesus was and is the human being who most clearly displays the creatorâ€™s nature. He is the very renown and wisdom and honor of God in human flesh and, when he went to the cross, he displayed Godâ€™s mysterious core: justice and self-giving love.
But what about us? How can this possibly relate to work in a science lab or at an editing desk, or, in my case, in a religious studies seminar? Hereâ€™s the thing: God has created all of us individually, to act as his representatives, hisÂ ambassadors (2 Cor. 5:20) in the world in very real, specific ways. Jesusâ€™s specific vocation was, in complete obedience to the Father, to reveal the self-giving love of God through his life and work and, ultimately, his death on a roman cross, taking onto himself the sins of the world, rising to prove the weakness of death and evil, and sending his Spirit. (Iâ€™m sure Iâ€™ve left something out here, but you get the idea.) [Read more…] about How to Be a Christian Academic: A Brief Theology
Committing to grad school means time, money and, for most of us, anxiety. An early graying head is a sign of a PhD candidate. Despite the cost, many of us enter into this commitment without much deep reflection on the function of grad school. Sure, we consider the end resultâ€”a higher pay rate, power to help those who canâ€™t help themselves, accomplishment of our dreams, and so onâ€”but questions of real, ultimate purpose often go unanswered. Why is a higher paying job more desirable? Why should we want to help the poor and oppressed? Who cares about accomplished dreams and success?
To begin to answer these questions we need to ponderÂ purpose. That is, “Why am I here?” If we can answer the quandary of fundamental human purpose and meaning, then answers to all the other questions will begin falling into place. But again, many of us never really think about the â€œbig question.â€ For some itâ€™s just too overwhelming. For others, the day-to-day routine doesnâ€™t allow time for such consideration. Or maybe, if youâ€™re like me, the question of purpose is always lingering in the background, whispering at every turn, nudging every decision. Whatever the case may be, I hope the following discussion aids in the pursuit of an enriched and satisfying human life.
Iâ€™ve done a bit of digging and come up with several â€œpurpose statements.â€ The following is an assortment of todayâ€™s (and one of yesterdayâ€™s) most prominent voices in the question of human purpose: the Dalai Lama XIV, N. T. Wright, Albert Einstein, Christopher Hitchens, and Pope Francis I. These quotes are only snapshotsâ€”they donâ€™t capture fully the philosophies they represent, but they do, I think, offer clarifying windows into their respective worldviews. [Read more…] about Why Should I Go To Grad School, Anyway?
Last week I wrote about my journey as a developing follower of Jesus in a secular university.Â I told you that I’d become a stronger Christian during my time in the academic world, and now I want to tell you a little bit about what happened in my mind and heart during that time. This post is, to an extent, a response to Andy Walsh’s question in the comment thread of last week’s post in this series:
You mentioned that your Christian faith is stronger as a result of the experience. Did you find that aspects of your theology changed during that time? To put it another way, were there any shifts in what you believed along with how strongly you believed them? […] Â I was just musing that we (Christians broadly) talk a lot about strengthening/deepening our faith, and I wondered if that was a general phenomenon, or if it correlated with particular beliefs. In other words, is it possible to have a strong/deep faith in anything, or are there certain beliefs which are more amenable to that kind of reinforcement.
I came into college a brand-new believer and left a pretty new believer â€” going on 6 years now, nearly all of which passed while attending the U of Montana. So you could probably guess that my thinking has been shaped a lot by the academic world. And youâ€™d be right. The methodology I began to put to use in school sparked further personal research outside of the classroom. The critical, â€œoutsiderâ€ lens, which is generally employed in the secular classroom, caught my attention. Secular scholars have come up with some really tough arguments that I needed to overcome or adapt if I could continue to believe in the creation of the worldÂ â€” however long that process tookÂ â€” and the physical resurrection of Jesus.
Those are two beliefs, creation and resurrection, that my academic research has greatly strengthened. [Read more…] about Becoming a Thoughtful Christian in the Secular Academy: Part II