Seminar on Old Testament, in English and Lithuanian

This summer, I was honored with the invitation to speak at a retreat for one of our sister churches in Vilnius, 180º Bažnyčia (Church). This Saturday seminar was in two parts and is titled, “How Can Christians Make Sense of the Old Testament?” (“Kaip krikščionys supranta Senąjį Testamentą?”)

180º Bažnyčia Seminar
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COVID, Tech, and Church: Some Links

I used to more regularly post links to readings I was finding interesting—this was for me a replacement for Facebook or Twitter, which allow for very quick sharing. (I do once again have Facebook and Twitter, but I never post anything as a rule, because I don’t trust myself—it is strictly for communicating with specific people and communities who don’t like to use email or other messaging services like Signal and WhatsApp.)

I haven’t done as much sharing of links lately, but I might get back into it. WordPress used to make it very easy with the “Press This” link you could install on your browser, which would save a link (and even an excerpt) of a web page as a draft post. Then I would gather all the information when I had 5-7 links/excerpts, and share them in a single post. Sadly, WordPress no longer has this as a free feature–you can install a plugin with a paying service, which I’m not prepared to shell out for.

But, I digest…

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Performativity, Privacy, Scrutiny: More Concerns about “Online Church”

In a series of posts a few months ago, I expressed many concerns about the continuation of “online church,” that is, online streaming and recording of church services to be consumed by members of the congregation and the general public. I’ve been continuing to reflect on these issues, which are not going away anytime soon–in fact, they will only become more important. I want to make several additional points about online church that build on previous posts here, here, here, here, and here. (Though it might be helpful, it’s not necessary to have read those posts before engaging with the points below.)

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New Publications on Chronicles and International Biblical Scholarship

I’m pleased to announce two new articles of mine that have been published in open-access collections.

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Write As Children of the Light

This is the final installment in a series of pastoral reflections from 2020 about academic research: “Researching Christianly.” Read the previous post, “Research as Foot-Washing.”

As we prepare to send our writings off to journals (or have papers or projects snaking through the pipeline already), the process can seem rather opaque, as we have learned from Prof. Belcher’s book and through previous experience. The peer-review process is far from perfect, and does not ensure that only The Truth™ is permitted to enter the canons of knowledge. Given that the public relies on us to seek and present the truth, we should all be concerned about deficiencies that undermine the credibility of academics in society.

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Research as Foot-Washing

This is the next in a series of pastoral reflections from 2020 about academic research: “Researching Christianly.” Read the previous post, “A Wise and Understanding People.”

This week I’d like to reflect on our motivations for research. One common motivation is benign and noble, but not sufficient in itself. Each of us (researchers) can recall a moment, early on in our academic journey, when s/he felt the thrill of learning for its own sake. We chose this vocational path because we love reading and writing, learning the techniques and insights of our fields, and honing our own academic tools of study. I’ll speak only for myself, but maybe your experience is similar: I originally chose the path of master’s/doctoral research because I wanted a qualification to teach—but now I would continue to do research in my field for personal enjoyment and fulfillment, even if I had no students to teach. Once one has drunk at the fount of knowledge, it’s hard to take a slurp from a stagnant pond. (I’ll leave you to imagine what the pond might be—but you know my opinion of social media…)

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A Wise and Understanding People

This is the next in a series of pastoral reflections from 2020 about academic research: “Researching Christianly.” Read the previous post, “Love of Wisdom.”

Last week, I wrote about the dignified and noble search for all kinds of knowledge about the world and our place in it. This week I would ask: under what terms of engagement should we as Christian researchers join the broader academy in this search for knowledge? In research, we stand on the shoulders of, and beside, other scholars in our fields. Besides the general imperative to conduct our research ethically—do the premises and aims of our research overlap with those of other convictions?

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Love of Wisdom

This is the next in a series of pastoral reflections from 2020 about academic research: “Researching Christianly.” Read the first post, “It Must Not Be This Way Among You.”

The terminal degree in most of our fields is doctor of philosophy—“philosophy,” of course, meaning “love of wisdom.” The wide purview of “wisdom” applied to all our fields (not just theology or ethics) has biblical precedent.

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Sermon: “I Have Dealt With You for My Name’s Sake” (Ezekiel 20:30-44)

This is the audio (38:03, 11.7 MB) of a sermon preached at our Lithuania home church, Klaipėda Free Christian Church, on September 5, 2021. The main text is Ezekiel 20:30-44.

The elders in Ezekiel’s day were at a loss as to how to approach God. Their guilt was before them, and everything that YHWH said through Ezekiel was abundantly true. Continuing to the time of Jesus: How did God deal with his sinful people, still in exile, still oppressed by the Romans and their gods, and victims of their own sinfulness? There seemed to be no way out.

But God, who was rich in mercy, provided a solution for his people, in Christ. Jesus was tempted in the wilderness for 40 days, as Israel was for 40 years. Jesus went into “exile,” the death of a cross, separation from his father. Not because he deserved it, but because he chose to take our sin upon himself. Jesus “passed under the rod of the Father’s anger” for us! Jesus did so, so that he could bring his people into the land, that we would be fit to bear the name of YHWH God! And, he gave us his body and blood, continuing offerings so that we can be in fellowship with God!

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It Must Not Be This Way Among You (Series: Researching Christian-ly)

Last summer, I had the pleasure of facilitating a hybrid “Writer’s Workshop” for LCC colleagues. We heard from three experienced researchers from the US, UK, and Hungary about how to conceive of, generate, and popularize our research as Christian academics. Then about seven of us LCC faculty continued to meet in person to work through a book that takes a novice researcher from raw data to submitting to a journal in 12 weeks.

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