Luci Shaw

This next Friday, November 7th, Luci Shaw, Christian poet and personal hero, will be honoring us with her presence. She will be talking about the Incarnation/Advent and reading some of her poems. I have heard her speak a number of times and have always been drawn in by her soft-spoken wisdom. We are in for an amazing treat!

See you next Friday!


"Like all art, poems are only hints and guesses that draw our attention to something larger."
Luci Shaw

Which is scarier?

From my cellphone:

Something really scary:Scare tactics at the polls

Synchronized Blogging

This guy has remixed the debates to give us a better sense of the talking points they resort to, time and time again.

(Thank you, BoingBoing, for pointing to these guys.)

A New Hope

More here.

What is Due?

OK, this post is about your assignments.

First, the final exam is canceled. Sooooo, take a gigantic red pen and cross it out on your syllabus (though not on your computer screen). That should be very satisfying!!

Second, you are still responsible for 8 journal entries. One of those entries (any one of them) should interact in one way or another with both The Return of the Prodigal Son (Nouwen) and The Shack (Young). You are not obligated to do more work, just that one entry should interact with these two books: two different articulations of God's love.

Third, if you have not started on your research paper, you should. (I know, I am a nag.)

Fourth, due December 12th, 2008 is a signed & #'ed (pages that is) bibliography. Be honest about what you have actually read.

Finally, remember that there is a quiz on Saturday morning. "Name that Heresy!!"

My office hours continue to be on Tuesday afternoons. I'm very friendly and I don't bite...most of the time.... Come talk with me if you have any questions. If you can't come in on Tuesdays, just write me an email and we can work out a time.


Readings for November 7th & 8th, 2008

Hello to you all,

I just wanted to confirm with you the readings for the next class session of the term. There are three categories of readings: 1) required, 2) highly recommended, 3) and recommended. Obviously, you are only obligated to read the first category, but you really should at least glance at the second category. The third category of reading will just help you in general. We will be having an in-class discussion about The Return of the Prodigal Son and The Shack on Saturday (or Friday!), be prepared.

Required Reading:
Richard Bauckham, The Crucified God.
Henri Nouwen, The Return of the Prodigal Son.
Quash and Ward, Heresies and How to Avoid Them: Forward, Prologue, chapters 2, 5 & 10 PLUS one other chapter of your choice (the book is on reserve in the library).
N.T. Wright, "The Biblical Formation of a Doctrine of Christ."
William Young, The Shack.

Highly Recommended:
Luci Shaw, Accompanied by Angels: Poems of the Incarnation. (On reserve in the library. There is also a selection on google books.)
Kathleen Norris, "A Word Made Flesh: Incarnational Language and the Writer," (on the e-reserve).

Gregory of Nyssa, "To Ablabius," (on the e-reserve).
Yeago, "The New Testament and the Nicene Dogma," (on the e-reserve).

Happy Reading!!


Wesley Quote from Brent Johnson's Talk on Worship

John Wesley


Unity and Diversity within the Body of Christ

From Wesley’s 52 Standard Sermons

Though we have different opinions and worship styles, can’t we still be united? Though we don’t think the same, can’t we love the same? Can’t we be of one heart even when we’re not of one opinion? Of course we can. All of God’s children can unite even though we have small differences. While we disagree, we can still encourage each other in love and good deeds.

My question is this: “Is your heart right, like mine is right with yours?” Most importantly: Is your heart right with God? Do you believe in Jesus Christ as Lord? Do you show your love by your actions? If so, let’s all say, “Yes!” If that is what you want, then your heart is right, and my heart is right there with you.

If so, then take my hand. I’m not saying, “Agree with me.” That’s not necessary. I don’t expect it and I don’t even want it. Nor am I saying, “I will agree with your opinions.” I don’t. I don’t mean “Worship like me” or “I will worship like you.” No. Hold on to what you believe pleases God and I will do the same.

What I’m saying is, First, love me affectionately, as a friend closer than a brother or sister, as a fellow child of God, a fellow-citizen of heaven, a fellow-soldier in the same battle serving the same Lord and leader, our Savior. Love me as a companion in, and heir of the Kingdom of God.

Secondly, pray for me. Wrestle with God for me, that He would continue His work in my life, making me more like Jesus.

Thirdly, challenge me to love and do good works. Yes, prod and provoke me when I seem to be doing my will rather than God’s.

Lastly, don’t just love me with your words, but with your actions, authentically and sincerely. As much as you can (while still keeping your own opinions and worship styles), join with me in God’s work, and let us go on hand in hand.

Prop 8 = HateVote No on Proposition 8

1. Marriage is a right that belongs to everyone.

2. We shouldn't single out one group of people to be treated differently under the law.

3. Voting "no" on Proposition 8 will help ensure that all Californians have the freedom to marry the one they love.

No Power Without Accountability

Another great song from Billy Bragg. Caution: if you're a right-wing nutjob you may not agree with the sentiments expressed in this song. He explains (before he sings) that the struggle used to be between capitalism and socialism, but these days what's more important is the struggle between capitalism and accountability.

The song itself starts at 3:10 -- feel free to skip ahead to it if you would rather be entertained than indoctrinated.

I grew up in a company town
And I worked real hard til’ the company closed down

They gave my job to another man
On half my wages in some foreign land

And when I asked, "how could that be any good for our economy?"
I was told nobody cares, so long as they make money when they sell their shares

P.S. This is why YouTube is so great.

Lucky Dog

My new dog and my new camera.

Wassup 2008

First, here's the original beer commercial:

Now, here's the election year reunion (same guys!):

InkJet Printers

Best quote about printers ever (how appropriate for a blog named Toner Mishap!):

"Those aren’t really printers; they’re more like temporary housing units for your ink cartridges."

Jewish Comedians for Obama

Opie and Richie, Back on Screen

The only way to see this excellent video is to follow the link

Currently reading

I am in the middle of the new book by Dennis Lehane “The Given Day.” I highly recommend it for a thoroughly enjoyable transportation into the early 1900s of Boston and the issues workers faced from 12 hours days for little pay to the threat of communism being throughout about if one disagreed with those in power.

I only get a hour or two to read on the weekends and only a few minutes before I fall asleep during the week, but while I'm awake every minute reading is very satisfying.

Wait, James Ellroy *isn't* one of the Jetsons?

A few years back I read this and LOVED IT, and just saw the movie, which reminded me how much I liked the book. Apparently it wasn't a fluke -- I'm now reading this, and it's freakin' awesome!

Who Won the Debate? Remix

tip of the hat to Monkeys for Helping

Why I Blog

There is an excellent article in the Atlantic Monthly by Andrew Sullivan titled “Why I Blog.” I highlighted a few of the points :
  • Blogging rewards brevity… it’s a broadcast, not a publication.
  • We bloggers have scant opportunity to collect our thoughts, to wait until events have settled and a clear pattern emerges.
  • A blog is not so much daily writing as hourly writing. And with that level of timeliness, the provisionality of every word is even more pressing – and the risk of error or the thrill of prescience that much greater.
  • Blogging is therefore to writing what extreme sports are to athletics: more free-form, more accident-prone, less formal, more alive. It is, in many ways, writing out loud.
  • It combines the confessional genre with the log form and exposes the author in a manner no author has ever been exposed before.
The bullet points are just the pieces I identify with as a blogger -- a real blogger, once a upon a time, four years ago to be exact. We did daily blogging for a year and it was time consuming, fun, intoxicating, and creative. We have kept it up in bursts, which works for us, but not so much for regular readers. I hope to start again, but it depends on how much time the day job requires. I doubt I or we will reach our halcyon days of that first year, but that is okay and to some extent preferable. I found myself writing to an audience or for a reaction rather than writing for me.

iPod Random 11

I now have a new Classic iPod because my old iPod was packed into my suitcase and the Neutrogena soap seeped into it. I returned it to the Apple store on the day the new versions were released and they give me $50 for my old one, so I purchased a new old one with 160GB. The downside was that I lost all my old play lists. I had some of them on my hard drive, but I altered the order in the pod and not on the computer, so a lot of great play lists disappeared.

Now that I have gotten use to my Apple computer, I have been frequenting the iTunes store much too regularly. I have spent hundreds of dollars in the past few months buying music; I will write a post about some of the new music I have purchased. An example is the Seals & Crofts for wife for our relaxing weekends of floating around and doing nothing.

“Walk On” by U2
“Sugar Baby” by Bob Dylan
“On a Misty Night” by Joe Lovano
“Even the Losers” by Tom Petty
“Besame Mucho” by Carmen McRae
“Besame Mucho” by Eldar
“You’ll Never Walk Alone” by Frank Sinatra
“Dedicated to You” by John Coltrane and Johnny Hart
“We May Never Walk this Way Again” by Seals & Croft
“Worrisome Heart” by Melody Gardot
“Are you Alright?” By Lucinda Williams


Hey, should we have a potluck lunch on Saturday November 8th? It is the last day of the class. What do you think?


Power Point Slides, October 17th, 2008

Here are the slides from the lectures on Friday October 17th, 2008:


Spider-Man, Santa Claus, and Fishing

Best. Ad. Ever.

Just a Heart Beat Away...

Reality in our century is not something to be faced.
Graham Greene (1904–91), novelist

I suspect the fact that the world, no matter who is elected, is going to start to change for the better once the "Disastrous Duo" of Bush and Cheney leave office on Jan.20, 2009. This is finally setting in and Cheney's heart is having a hard time accepting this situation.

Vice President Dick Cheney experienced an abnormal heart beat on Wednesday morning and will see doctors to ''restore his normal rhythm'' -- the second time in less than a year that he will have the procedure.

Cheney, 67, canceled a campaign event he was scheduled to attend Wednesday

This Weekend: October 17th & 18th, 2008


I am looking forward to this weekend. We have a couple of guest lecturers coming to the class.

On Friday we will be discussing what it means to be a 'person'. We'll explore this first through the lens of liturgy, especially lament. I have asked a good friend of mine, Brent Johnson, to come in and talk with us. He is a worship pastor at Warm Beach Free Methodist Church up in Stanwood, WA. We'll do a little talking and a little bit of singing along the way. After the morning session, we'll move on to talk about the concept of participation. By the end of the day, we may even do something creative or arty. You never know.

On Saturday, Dr. Matt Jenson from Biola University will be with us to talk about humanity and sin. (See his book: The Gravity of Sin.) It should be a good but intense day of teaching and discussion. We'll end with a question and answer time.

So, please read and be prepared to engage this weekend. And don't forget the quiz at 10AM sharp on Friday!!


In Search of the Trinity

I was looking back over some of my notes today and found the first use of the concept of "triad".

Theophilus of Antioch (180 AD), in his To Autolycus, discusses the shape of God's creative activity as Father, Logos and Sophia. Here is a quote:
  • "He is God, who heals and gives life through Logos and Sophia. God made everything through Logos and Sophia, but by his Logos the heavens were made firm and by his Spirit all their power [Ps 32:6]." Theolophilus of Antioch, Ad Autolycum, tr. by Robert M. Grant, Oxford: Claredon Press, 1970, I.7.
In another place, he says:
  • "the three days prior to the luminaries are types of the triad of God and his Logos and his Sophia. In the forth place is man, who is in need of light--so that there might be God, Logos, Sophia, Man." (the footnote to this: "This 'triad' is not precisely the Trinity, since in Theolophilus' mind man can be added to it.") Theolophilus of Antioch, Ad Autolycum, tr. by Robert M. Grant, Oxford: Claredon Press, 1970, II.15.
Though this is not a perfect articulation of trinitarian theology, you can see how Theolophilus is attempting to put words and concepts to something that was already believed in early Christendom.

Another source of early trinitarian thought is Irenaeus of Lyon (125-203). He also talks about God creating through the Logos and Wisdom (Sophia), but more specifically talks about the Son and the Holy Spirit as the two hands of the Father:
  • "It was not angels...who made us, nor who formed us, neither had angels power to make an image of God, nor any one else, except the Word of the Lord, nor any Power remotely distant from the Father of all things. For God did not stand in need of these [beings], in order to the accomplishing of what He had Himself determined with Himself beforehand should be done, as if He did not possess His own hands. For with Him were always present the Word and Wisdom, the Son and the Spirit, by whom and in whom, freely and spontaneously, He made all things..." Ireneaus, "Against Heresies," in Ante-Nicene Fathers, vol. 1, Edinburgh: T&T Clark; Eerdmans, 1996, Book IV: chapter XX.1.
Well, I hope that gets you thinking or at least answers some of your questions about early sources of trinitarian language and theology.



There were a couple of questions submitted to the "question pot" during our class time last weekend that I wanted to share with all of you. I think that they are very good questions, even if they are difficult to answer properly.

So, here you go:

1) "Was Jesus fully human before his earthly birth? Was flesh and blood part of his particularity in the Trinitarian relationship? If not, the what was his particularity within the Trinity?"
  • We'll talk about this question during the final weekend of the class. Are there any other questions along these lines that I can address as I prepare for the final weekend of class?
2) "It seems that if God is a Trinity and Jesus repeatedly proclaims that his purpose is to point to God the Father, do you think modern/post-modern Christianity over emphasizes our focus on Christ? For example, even St. Patrick's prayer was all about Christ's presence with us, but would it not really be the Holy Spirit's presence we should be praying for, since it is the Holy Spirit who actually resides in us. Does Christ actually reside in us?"
  • Again, we'll talk about this a bit the final weekend of class. Who is Christ for us and in us? Paul talks of us being "in Christ" but what does that really mean? Any thoughts?

3) "Bob Ekblad talks about hearing the Holy Spirit and learning to "listen" to his leading. Is this really possible? Can we "hear" God's voice?"
  • This would be a great discussion question. What do you think? Obviously Bob believes this.

These are all excellent questions! Keep asking and discussing!!


Power Point Slides, October 8 & 9, 2008

For any of you that are interested, here are links to the power point slides from this weekend:

What is Theology?

Trinity and Perichoresis

The Trinitarian Shape of Creation

Please let me know if you have trouble opening these ppts.


Snake Alert

On vacation, saw a snake. Still waiting for my brother-in-law to identify it for me... can you do it? 12-16 inches long, and it looked like -- well, like in the picture I took up.


It's a mountain gartersnake -- thanks to my brother-in-law, who responded to my facebook page post.

Don't send this child to camp again.

Names have been censored to protect the allergic. This is a real notice from camp last summer regarding one of our campers. I just dug it up to share it with a friend, and now you get to enjoy it as well.

Live Blogging the Debate... Sort Of

OK, I've got the vice presidential debate paused so I can share a few first thoughts.

Right at the beginning, Sarah Palin entered the debate arena, shook hands with Joe Biden, and loudly asked, "Can I call you Joe?" Someone apparently told her to stick with the "just us folks" approach.

She's already used the phrase "hockey moms have to unite."

Did she really use the phrase "never again" in regard to the economic situation we're in right now? Did she *really* want to evoke thoughts of the Holocaust?

She actually said, "darn right!" She's so folksy; I think I'll vote for her, 'cuz she's just like me!

My favorite quote so far, in response to Biden's prompting her for an on-topic response: "I may not answer the questions the way you or the moderator want, but I'm going to talk straight."


She pronounces "nuclear" just like W: "nook-yular." [shiver]

Revised Syllabus

Hey everyone,

You'll find a copy of the revised syllabus online. Don't worry, not much has changed. It is just a little more 'filled out' with names of the guest speakers, etc.

You'll get a hard copy of the syllabus on the first day of class, this Friday. We'll talk through any changes at that time.

Chelle (aka Dr. Stearns)