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Entries for #Essay

Humanity & the Church

Introduction Humanity and the Church or, to cast them in more theological terms, theological anthropology and ecclesiology, are highly related doctrines that often get overlooked in the Christian theological community. First providing a brief history to setup a framework for theological discourse, I seek to better understand what humanity is in the eyes of and relationship to God and to define what the Church is and is called to be in the world. Read more...

Posted: Fri, Apr 28, 2017, Words: ~6100, Reading Time: 29 min

Jesus, Center & Surplus

At the center of what makes Christian theology distinct from the general theological conversations of the religious traditions of the world, is the Christian engagement of Jesus. Other traditions – Judaism and Islam particularly – have something to say about the historical person of Jesus of Nazareth; his life, ministry, and teachings. Only Christianity, however, places cosmic implications on Jesus. Within the Christian tradition, Jesus is not only prophet, rabbi, and rebel, but also Messiah, Christ, or “Anointed One. Read more...

Posted: Tue, Mar 14, 2017, Words: ~1400, Reading Time: 7 min

The Aim of Christian Understanding: Engaged

In chapter two of The Formation of Christian Understanding Charles Wood takes on the task of defining exactly what the goal of Christian interpretation of the Bible should be. At the core of Wood’s understanding is a hermeneutical approach centered around a God who actively seeks deep relationship with his creation and a community of believers doing theology together. Though I see need to nuance some of Wood’s main points, his goal of focusing Christian interpretation of Scripture around coming to better know God and applying this knowledge as a theological collective are affirmed by Anglican doctrinal standards and more than applicable to the daily lives of Christians within the Anglican Communion. Read more...

Posted: Mon, Nov 28, 2016, Words: ~1900, Reading Time: 9 min

The Origin and Purpose of the Revised Common Lectionary

The Revised Common Lectionary1 was published by the Consultation on Common Texts2 in 1992 after six years of testing and feedback from their original lectionary introduced in 1983. The purpose of the RCL was to revive a pattern for eschatological reflection in the church by focusing Christians each Sunday on where they exist in time, what has come before, and what will come at the end. By leading Christians through Christ’s “birth, baptism, ministry, death, and resurrection,”3 the RCL ultimately sought “to lead God’s people to a deeper knowledge of Christ and faith in him. Read more...

Posted: Mon, Jan 18, 2016, Words: ~700, Reading Time: 4 min

My Call to Ministry

The path to ministry God set before me was indeed mysterious. I was raised in the Mormon church, but always felt that something wasn’t right. For the longest I assumed it was my lack of faith and sinfulness that prevented me from being able to believe the things I should. When I left home for university I stopped attending church and, though I still considered myself a Mormon, started exploring different options. Read more...

Posted: Tue, Jan 12, 2016, Words: ~1300, Reading Time: 6 min

Evangelical Anglicans in the First American Century

Introduction The 19th century was a time of great action and change in the religious scene in America. Republican ideals and the new sense of freedom offered by America’s vast frontier led to great revivals of religion. Americans questioned the established churches and forged their own religious paths with nothing except personal conscience and the Bible as their guide. Within this context the post Revolutionary War remnants of the established English church remained in America. Read more...

Posted: Sun, Dec 27, 2015, Words: ~5700, Reading Time: 27 min

Wesleyan Theology, Reduced and Engaged

Introduction For a movement still in its infancy when compared against other traditions and movements within the Christian oikoumene the Wesleyan church tradition has already reached a high level of diversity both in theology and practice. John Wesley was not a systematic theologian. His theology, like the apostle Paul, came out of the practical needs of the people he ministered to.1 Wesley was more focus on what he need to teach his parishioners and how best to teach them along with what the entire revival should be doing to best serve God and neighbor. Read more...

Posted: Wed, Apr 29, 2015, Words: ~4900, Reading Time: 23 min

The Apocalyptic-Eschatology of Jesus and Paul

Introduction The dominant worldview of Jesus, Paul, and the contemporary Hebrews was that of apocalyptic-eschatology. The prophets of the Hebrew Bible had spoken of the coming Kingdom of God and Jesus had declared himself a prophet who was the sign that the time of the end was coming for the world. Jesus, Paul, and their contemporary Judaism all have something to say about the Hebrew god’s revealing of the end of time. Read more...

Posted: Mon, Apr 20, 2015, Words: ~3600, Reading Time: 17 min

Background on Klaiber and Marquardt's Living Grace

The selected readings from chapter two of Walter Klaiber and Manfred Marquardt’s Living Grace: An Outline of United Methodist Theology focus on two traditional flashpoints in Western Christianity’s tension between the ever-growing body of secular truths and theories about the natural world and the all-powerful, loving creator God of the Old and New Testaments. In the first selection - pages 93 to 102 - the authors focus on the tension between the Judeo-Christian belief in ex nihilo1 creation and natural science’s discovered truths and generally accepted theories over the last several centuries. Read more...

Posted: Sun, Jan 25, 2015, Words: ~1600, Reading Time: 8 min

Background & Theological Analysis of "O For A Thousand Tongues to Sing"

Background “O For A Thousand Tongues to Sing” was written in May 1739 by Charles Wesley in remembrance of his moment of assurance and full conversion. The year before, Charles had become very sick and was cared for by a group of Christians. Their service, prayers, and testimonies during his sickness greatly affected Charles and caused him great reflection. While on the mend after the sickness, he was reading from his Bible and had an experience that would later be mirrored by his brother John at Aldersgate. Read more...

Posted: Tue, Jan 13, 2015, Words: ~1000, Reading Time: 5 min

The Divine Plural in Early Genesis

The first four chapters of Genesis in the Hebrew Bible are interesting for many reasons. In these chapters the ancient editors have stitched together two even more ancient written sources — the Yahwist and Priestly — to give an account of the creation of the world and humankind. The saga of Earth’s first people and their dealings with God are masterfully presented to set the stage for the later patriarchs and the coming of Israel as a covenant people. Read more...

Posted: Wed, Nov 12, 2014, Words: ~1700, Reading Time: 8 min

Essay in Answer to ¶310,2a UMC Discipline 2012

The path to ministry God set before me was indeed mysterious, but now – looking back – clear and obvious. God in his mercy saved me from the dark, uncertain lands of my youth. He offered me his only son, Jesus Christ, and filled me with his Holy Spirit. He nurtured me through his Holy Word and the saints of his Church. The joy in my life is now totally incomprehensible to my old self. Read more...

Posted: Tue, Oct 14, 2014, Words: ~1600, Reading Time: 8 min

Humility in the Apophthegmata Patrum

The editor of the Alphabetical Collection of the Apophthegmata Patrum intended to record and share sayings ? small vignettes displaying mastery or deep knowledge of a Christian truth ? with fellow Christians living the monastic life. The ancient editor with his or her focus on the practical aspects of Christian mastery, not only the intellectual, shows his or her groundedness in the concerns of lay practitioners of Christianity rather than the more philosophic musings of the clergy. Read more...

Posted: Sun, Oct 12, 2014, Words: ~1800, Reading Time: 9 min

Form Criticism

Introduction Form criticism is a way to approach the biblical text that focuses on finding the pre-written, oral origins of the various stories and episodes within text of the Hebrew Bible. First developed in Germany by Hermann Gunkel before the first World War, form criticism emerged from Gunkel’s realization that there were sections of text within the Hebrew Bible that likely had origins in an oral tradition before being written down. Read more...

Posted: Wed, Sep 24, 2014, Words: ~2000, Reading Time: 9 min

The Bible in the Methodist Tradition

The Articles of Religion of the United Methodist Church were adopted in 1784 at the founding conference of the former Methodist Episcopal Church. John Wesley, the initiator of the Methodist revival within the Church of England, took the original thirty-nine articles establish by the English church and edited them to make them more concise and removed overly Calvinist language. Wesley compiled his revision of the Anglican thirty-nine articles, now pared down to only twenty-five, into his Sunday Service of the Methodist, a book similar to the common prayer book of the English church. Read more...

Posted: Wed, Sep 10, 2014, Words: ~1400, Reading Time: 7 min