Friday, December 07, 2007

How This Plane and Ronald Reagan's Death Saved My Life (a non-substitutionary theory of atonement)

This is an excerpt from an email I recently wrote to a pastor I know in Texas. He is coming to Andover Newton in April to share thoughts about the future of preaching. He asked me to share some of my thoughts on the future of this calling and below is a portion of what I gave him.

As a nod to Stanley let me tell you my story. I graduated from Duke set on law school. I graduated with an MDiv but persuaded everyone at the local bar that I was studying "theology". That sounded vague, non-committal, and was served up nicely along with the third round of drinks. I could be anyone I pleased so long as Christianity was something I merely flirted with. A dilletante. Form but no soul.

So I moved to Washington, DC that summer because I landed a job interning for a congressman from my home district. And then Ronald Reagan died, which is actually strangely important to my story. Ronald Reagan died and all the dignitaries were flying in from all over the country and world, and one of them was the governor of Kentucky. He was flying in and somehow his private jet lost contact with the tower and ended up flying into protected airspace. The Capitol alarms went crazy and one of the staffers grabbed the emergency pack full of tylenol and bandaids and anti-anthrax syrum or whatever is in there and we were all off. Running down First St. trying to get as far away from the Capitol as possible because the #$%@ was about to hit the dome.

And that's when it all became clear. That's when Stanley through Yoder through Curtis Freeman all made sense. And it was terrifying. It was terrifying because I realized that I am baptized and because I am baptized my life is not my own and because my life is not my own I didn't want to die doing something I really didn't believe in.

So that's when I called back to North Carolina and I asked to have my youth director back at podunk, nobody ever heard of it, Lowe's Grove Baptist Church. Youth director! Not even minister of youth. Not even youth pastor. Youth director! And then I went back and Lord have mercy I moved in with an octogenarian from that church. An eighty something year old man with wax in his ears and dreams of his deceased wife at night.

And you know what God said, "It is good. It is very good."

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Baptist and Blogger Part VI

Gil Gulick, a third year student at Wake Forest Divinity School is doing research on Baptist bloggers and the role of the blog in 21st century Baptist life. He solicited my help. I thought I would share my answers to his questions here with you. I think something profound is happening with blogs and I would be interested to read what Gil arrives at.

I'll do this in a series of installments. This is the sixth installment.

6. How do you handle comments on your blog? If you allow them, do you
screen them first? If so, what do you screen for? If you do not allow
comments, why not?

Any hurtful, blasphemous, incriminating, or otherwise inane comments get the boot. Commenters are my guests. No one should have to tolerate having grenades lobbed in from someone bent on destruction.