Archive for November, 2009

You will find below my reading list for 2009.  You might call it my bibliography for the year.  I have tried to start the list out with things that people would find the most interesting, which for the readers of this blog I think would be the “average joe” section and “church leadership”.  However, for the resident theology nerds you will find a reading list for Biblical theology and exegetical works, as well as theological readings (primary and secondary) from the Patristic period all the way to the modern.  If I felt that a comment might be helpful, or if I wanted to strongly recommend a book I left my remarks next to the bibliograhical information in bold.  If you have any questions about the books themselves I would be happy to answer them.  Enjoy!  To see the list simply click through… (more…)

preached by Rob Sturdy on Nov 29th, 2009

Are cartoons more mature than movies aimed at adults?

Posted: November 30, 2009 by limabean03 in Current Issues, Film

One of my favorite memories growing up is heading off to the movies with my Dad on Saturday’s.  I recently tried to do this with my son David and was trying to figure out what movie we might go see.  I really wanted to see “The Fantastic Mr. Fox,” a Roald Dahl children’s novel set to the big screen by the very talented director Wes Anderson.  I was unsure if “Mr. Fox” would be a film suitable for David.  I was more concerned about any scary scenes frightening him than anything else.  I typed in “Is the Fantastic Mr. Fox suitable for children,” in the Google search bar and came up with this review.  Long story short, we didn’t go see the film, although I still want to.  But I did find this interesting quote in the review that I thought I’d share with you:

“A colleague remarked to me, as we were leaving the theater, that what we’d just seen isn’t a children’s movie—not so much because it’s crass but because its themes and humor aren’t on a kid’s level. If you remember, I opened this review with an allusion to midlife crises. And that’s something no 8-year-old can begin to understand. (Or care about.)

Which brings me to an interesting trend I’ve been seeing in movies of late: Children’s movies are often more mature, more thoughtful and more responsible than some of the adult-targeted flicks I see.

What I mean is that R-rated romps are often infantile in their composition and lack of intelligent nuance, trumpeting only perpetual (and irresponsible) adolescence. The likes of Fantastic Mr. Fox, meanwhile, laud moral compunctions, responsibility, cooperation and familial unity.”

I enjoy movies so I see quite a few of them and I have to agree with the writer’s point.  I recently saw a film called “Up”, which was probably one of the finest movies I’ve seen in years.  It is a children’s cartoon from Pixar, however the film dealt with incredibly complex material such as infertility, growing old, broken families, friendship and responsibility.  It was escapist on one hand (it is a cartoon after all!), but rather than remaining in escapist territory it actually caused you to return and reassess the complexities and confusion of life.  Contrast that with say, the recent string of comic book films that are marketed not to teenagers but to adult men.  In a well documented phenomenon called “delayed adolescence,” it seems as if Hollywood and a great deal of other commercial forces are helping to prolong a man’s teenage years well into his thirties.  Ironic isn’t it, that a theatre will be full of grown men watching the latest Spiderman as they engage the unfulfilled vigilante fantasies of their teenage years while eight year olds will be watching cartoons learning how to be responsible men and raise families.  Seems kind of backwards to me.  Oh well. 

For a preview of “Up” click below. 

preached by Rob Sturdy on Nov 22, 2009

If you will excuse a brief rant (you should be used to them by now!).  One of the problems with Anglicans is that we have so few living, accomplished theologians.  C.S. Lewis (dead but recent!), great apologist and tremendous author, would not and should not (by his own admission!) be included in a list of Anglican theologians.  Of recent note, we certainly the accomplished Alister McGrath, J.I. Packer, John Stott, and of course N.T. Wright.  I suppose one could include the RO crew of John Milbank and others but I suspect they will fail to make an impact at any other level than the highest ivory tower.  Of all the living Anglican theologians  N.T. Wright has emerged as a thoughtful and influential theologian both in the world of academia as well as at the popular level.  It is then perhaps a “perfect storm” of his popularity, mixed with the scarcity of accomplished Anglican theologians that causes many Anglicans to swallow him wholesale without really engaging his exegesis of Paul and his (mis) understanding of the Reformed tradition.  Don’t get me wrong, I am a great fan of N.T. Wright and very much enjoyed his Christian Origins and the Question of God series (I’m currently re-reading all three).  Nevertheless, his exegesis of Paul and his reading of the Reformers, particularly his understanding of Calvin’s exegesis of Paul needs to be read critically.  Often times Wright comes off as someone who has read about Calvin, but has not actually read much of Calvin.  John Piper tried to engage Wright on these issues and in my opinion was not able to rise to the challenge.  However, Michael Horton in the review posted below does a very fine job and the review is worth the read.  It provides a thoughtful balance to those folks who enjoy N.T. Wright but can’t read him critically because they do not have the necessary theological training to read him critically.  Of course the flip side of this coin are those folks who hear Michael Horton or John Piper pronounce a verdict and hop in place so as not to stray to far from the party line.  Read Wright’s new book for yourself.  Use Horton as a good response.  Go read your Bible.  Come to a thoughtful conclusion.  Horton’s review is found directly below:

Wright sees Genesis 15 as the background for everything that Paul says in Romans 4 (66). So too did the Reformers (especially Calvin) and the federal theologians who followed. Wright is even willing to speak of Abraham’s righteousness as “his right standing within that covenant, and God’s righteousness” as “his unswerving commitment to be faithful to that covenant—including the promise (Romans 4:13) that Abraham would inherit the world. Here we have it: God’s single plan, through Abraham and his family, to bless the whole world. That is what I have meant by the word covenant when I have used it as shorthand in writing about Paul” (67).

Wright does a great job of showing how Romans 4 is rooted in Genesis 15, Deuteronomy 27-30, and Daniel 9 (67). However, since he is only working with “one covenant” and his “single-plan” emphasis eschews any nuance between different types of covenants (a temporal-typological and an eschatological homeland) even within this one plan, he mistakenly assumes that Deuteronomy (the Sinaitic covenant) is just another form of the Abrahamic promise except for its ethnic exclusivism (esp. 67). Wright is most persuasive in his insistence that justification be interpreted in the light of God’s covenantal promise. This is something I never heard in mainstream evangelicalism, but have heard repeatedly from Reformed theologians. “As in Daniel 9, it is because of God’s faithfulness to the covenant that he must punish his faithless covenant people, and as a result their covenant failure (‘unrighteousness’) thus shows up his covenant faithfulness all the more” (68).

It’s not an abstract point that Paul is making, Wright correctly insists, but one that is bound up with the covenant history of Israel. “The point of Romans 3:1-8 is not a general discussion about God’s attributes and human failure,” he properly contends. Nevertheless, again we meet an example of a good point swallowing other important things whole: “Likewise, the unfaithfulness of the Israelites is not their lack of belief…The point is that God has promised to bless the world through Israel, and Israel has been faithless to that commission” (67). Paul expressly says in Romans that his countrymen according to the flesh were condemned for refusing to place their faith in Christ rather than in their own works (Rom 9:32). The writer to the Hebrews says that the wilderness generation was barred from entering the promised land because they did not respond in faith to the preaching of the gospel (Heb 3:16-19). As covenant theology has emphasized, the covenants with Adam and Israel are indeed a commission to bring God’s righteous kingdom to the ends of the earth. However, it is not only a commission to global mission, but a specific kind of commission to fulfill all righteousness. Adam and Israel were entrusted with God’s law, on trial in God’s garden, and both probations ended in the failure of the covenant partner. This is the bleak backdrop of Jesus’ identity as the Last Adam and True Israel. However, for Wright there is no distinction between covenants: judgment on the basis of Sinai (Dt 27-30), with deliverance on the basis of the Abrahamic promise (Gen 15).

Remarkably, Wright accuses the old perspective (or at least Piper) of down-playing the law-court metaphor (68). This is highly ironic, given the fact that the grounding of justification in the law-court (imputation rather than infusion) has been the heart of the debate between Reformation and Roman Catholic interpretations. As in his other books, Wright mistakenly assumes that the Reformation view argues that God’s essential righteousness—in other words, his own attribute of righteousness—is somehow given to believers. But this overlooks the crucial role of Jesus Christ as mediator in the traditional view: It is not God’s attribute of righteousness, but the right-standing that results from a complete fulfillment of God’s law, that is imputed to believers. It is Christ’s obedience, not his essence, that becomes ours. Further, Wright appears to argue against the “old perspective” as if it were the very opposite (viz., the Roman view). In this context, Wright insists, “righteous” doesn’t mean “virtuous,” but in right standing (68). “That ‘finding in favor,’ that declaration, is ‘justification’; the result is that Bildad is now ‘righteous,’ that is, ‘in the right.’ This does not mean, primarily, that Bildad is virtuous, certainly not that he has a special concern for the glory of the judge” (69). Why does Wright keep criticizing justification as “making virtuous” as if it is the Reformation view, when it is precisely the view that the reformers rejected? (more…)

Dying for the sake of the Gospel (Phil 2.25-30)

Posted: November 23, 2009 by limabean03 in Uncategorized
Preached by Iain Boyd on 11-15-09

Prayers requested for Iain Boyd and his family

Posted: November 23, 2009 by limabean03 in Trinity Tidings

If you were at Trinity this past Sunday you would have heard that our Associate Pastor, Iain Boyd received the very sad news that his cousin was shot and killed over the weekend.  I have copied the post from his blog below and included a news article about the young man, Jay Derby, who was killed.  Please pray for Iain, Shelly, and their family that Christ would  be the ultimate source of strength and consolation. 

“I got a phone call about 8:50 this morning that my 20 year old cousin, Jay Derby, was accidentally shot and killed last night. I’m with my family in Charlotte now. Please pray for me and my family in the midst of this tragic loss. In the midst of this senseless death, the Lord is comforting me tremendously through the truth of His word. Please pray for the same comfort for my aunt and uncle as they struggle through the loss of their son.”

Click here to go on over to Iain’s blog and leave a message of support.

Here is the news article from the Charlotte Observer:

An Appalachian State University student from Matthews was killed in Boone early Sunday in what police say was an accidental shooting at an off-campus party.

Jay Derby, 20, was a 2007 graduate of Butler High School studying business, his father Mike Derby said.

When Mike Derby last talked to his son, Jay Derby was planning his trip home for Thanksgiving break.

“He was doing well in school, his grades were good, he was looking forward to coming home,” Mike Derby said. His son was one credit hour from being a junior and planned to graduate in 2011.

At about 5:30 a.m. Sunday, two Matthews police officers knocked on Mike and Susan Derbys’ door.

“They said that Jay was shot while at a party,” Mike Derby said. “It was a tragic accident.”

read the rest of the article by clicking here