August 29, 2006

Jesus Cursing the Fig Tree

Directly after the triumphal entry of Jesus into Jerusalem, a very troubling text surfaces. Mark 11:12-25 and Matthew 21:18-22 tell the story of Jesus cursing a fig tree for not bearing fruit. There seems to be some debate whether or not the tree was in season to bear fig, but it seems plausible that it should have had something on it.

I've heard people accuse Jesus of being luny for this act of cursing a fig tree, just because it didn't bear fruit when it was supposed to. Obviously, at face value, this story is nonsensical.

The question that we should ask then is, "what significance, if any, does the fig tree carry in the Palestinian culture of Jesus' day?"

For the nation of Israel, the fig tree symbolized peace and security. Micah 4:4 and Zechariah

3:10 are good examples of how the fig tree signified rest for the nation. Also, the prophets would speak about the destruction of vines and fig tree to warn of hte impending judgement of God on the Israelites, see Jeremiah 5:17, Hosea 2:12, and Joel 1:7 and 12.

The fig tree became a national symbol of peace for the Jewish nation of Israel, so when Jesus cursed the fig tree, he was giving a great object lesson for the end of an era. No longer would Israel be in peace, rather because of such actions as turning God's house into a den of thieves Jesus was declaring that the nation of Israel would never bear fruit again.

A new era had begun. The Jesus movement. The inauguration of the Kingdom of God on earth, and instead of a priestly nation, God's chosen people were now to be his called out ones, Christ followers.

To Disturb

The duty of the church is to comfort the disturbed and to disturb the comfortable.

--Archbishop Michael Ramsey

August 27, 2006

Prepare Yourself!

Derek Webb for FREE!!!

I beg you to get this album and LISTEN to it.

Outside these Walls of Ours

Can we ever step outside of ourselves? Experience reality beyond our beings?

I think everyone has to admit that they are limited, by space, knowledge, experience, understanding, etc. Even scientists, I think, should admit that the "laws of science" must be looked at with humility, and be able to admit that, well, maybe we just got it wrong. Take Newton's Laws of Motion, which at the subatomical level have mostly been disputed.

I guess, what I'm trying to say, is that there is nothing that we can experience outside of ourselves. We can try to be objective, but even then, our own understanding of what objectivity is subjectivity.

If your a scientist and you stumble across this, please shed some like on this from your perspective.

August 22, 2006

Semester Startup

Today was the first day of the fall semester. I'm excited for the most part, I don't have too great of what I call the syllabus syndrome (you know the feeling of being overwhelmed by all the assignments all at once). It was mostly exciting to see everyone again. I've missed the community at Truett that God has given me. Also, I'm mentoring a cov group this semester, so I'll be able to meet some new guys this way.

My classes look good. I start off in the morning with Christian Worship which shouldn't be too hard. I think the content will be alright, but some of it will be subjects I am past and don't really care about...worship wars, but I'm very interested in going into the Christian calendar and liturgy (work of the people). Next, I go to Scriptures 3, the Gospels and Acts which is taught by Dr. Garland. He is cream of the crop of prof's at Truett, so I'm looking forward to sitting with him looking at these great texts, but also this can be intimidating. No tests, but the papers and work should be tough and keep me busy...I have a presentation this Thursday, already.

After lunch I head over to Dr. Stroope's class, Christian World Mission. I am looking forward to learning about the history of modern missions, but also grappling with the very essence of what the church is according to Missio Dei. I'm torn in this class already, because we get to write a paper over an issue of choice from a list. My choices are Universalism, the Kingdom of God and Mission, the development of Missio Dei, the Trinity and Mission, and much more.

Finally, on Tuesday night I have Next Generation Leadership from 5 to 7. This class should be interesting. We meet until the end of September, go to a conference in Atlanta for 5 days, then we don't meet anymore, we just do 3 books reviews.

Overrall, I'm excited about getting back into the rhythm of the semester. I hope that school and the FBC ministry work together.

Update 2: Sacramental Mustang

With ease and care, the engine came together. This part was especially hard, because it was oily and everything had to be lined up just right.

This is an amazing improvement over how horrible it looked when I cracked it open. No more crust!!!

The oil pump and timing chain went on next. Also, I put the Trick Flow Cam, stage 1 in it.

Everything finally lined up after several hours of working with the bearing and caps, and also the rod caps. It took a while, but after I realized what I had done wrong, it was an easy fix.

You can see in the pic on the right, I got the water pump installed, then went to work on the ARP head studs. In this pic the head gasket is on wrong, but luckily I got that before any thing was final.

Next, It was time to put the heads on, test for clearance, take them back off. I used good old Orbit gum to test clearances.

The heads are a much improvement over the stock E7's. These are the Edelbrock Performer RPM's, with 1.6 FMS rocker arms. It took a bit of elbow grease to get the bolts down to spec, but these jokers shouldn't be going anywhere.

Next, I had to bolt on the intake and get some higher valve covers to clear the rockers.

The covers will add a cool effect inside the engine bay. Maybe after it's running for a while, I'll paint the upper plenum to match.

Before I could bolt up the transmission, I decided to look inside and make sure there was no build up or excessive wear. Also, I wanted to change the speedo gear to help with the 3.73's in the rear end. Unfortunately, I took it apart and put it together 3 times. It took a while to diagnosis the problem, but I fix it after a call to a T5 expert.
This little yellow gear on the back is what drives the speedo cable. with the change it should be a lot more closer than it would have been.

Finally, I got the tranny and started bolted onto the engine. I also decided to go with a Ram HD clutch, new throw-out bearing, and pilot bearing.

I got my wife to help push in the car, as i guided and put the engine in the bay. It was a little difficult putting it in with the tranny attached, but much easier than it would have been to go underneath with the tranny.

After much manipulation and my wife's pushing the car, we got the engine in.

Last night I put fluid in the engine and tranny, plugged in some things, and bolted down the engine. Now all that's left is bolting on what I can of the exhaust (the driving it without mufflers to a shop to get them welded on), bolt in the shifter and center console (I'll get some interior pic's up later), and plug in a few more wires. Oh yeah, then there's the whole deal of getting insurance, registrations, and passing inspection...the emphasis being on passing...or maybe the emphasis should be on getting it running period.

Update 1, Sacramental Mustang

The few weeks have been rough. I've been busting it trying to get as much done on Sacramental Mustang before this semester started. Well, classes started today, and I have the engine and transmission in. All that is really left is to bolt on the accessories and exhaust, along with some smaller items. Here's some pic's of progress.

Much of the wiring, battery, and coil are in. If you look closely you can see the MSD leads that are tapped into the coil. I hope the battery tray lasts, the hold downs are not the best quality.

To the right is part of my cold air, which is actually missing the upper pipe from MAF to throttle body. The MSD 6aL was pretty easy to install, and you can see the green tach wire running into the bottom too.

The lower intake needed to be matched to the gaskets that will sit on the heads. I took a dremel tool to both the upper and lower to open them up some and polish the insides the best I could. Several hours later (25-30), and several dremel bits, I finished with dust everywhere.

Much of what I learned throughout this experience was patience and paying attention. Also, paying the price up front for something greater in the end. Much of the build was uneventful, hot, frustrating, but in the end it's really coming together.

I'll follow up this post with the engine build.

August 16, 2006

Blessings of Retreat

Today, I met with some other folks from school to prepare for spiritual mentoring this coming fall. The morning began with some intro's of what God had done for us this summer, then we had like 3 to 3:30 hours of quiet, then some discussions afterwards...and boy did I need it all. I've allowed myself to be so consumed with sacramental mustang that I've been missing out on so much of my normal routines. I look forward to getting back into them this fall.

This summer has been so busy that I haven't taken the time to sit, listen, and reflect. Our leader asked us to open with what God had done for us this summer. At first I thought, uhm, nothin'. Then as I sat and reflected God swarmed my mind with the many graces and much love that has been sent to me over the past few months.

Also, I began the silent time by walking the labrynth. Man it was hot outside, but I loved it. God used it to speak to me. I feel rested and prepared for this semester...that is of course until Tuesday when it actually starts.

August 14, 2006

Who Would of Thought?

My buddy Lucas, over at has had some interesting discussion over something that has been on my mind lately...universalism. Here are some of my thoughts on something that has come to mind, and brought up in the conversation a bit. Mostly, the world is screwed up because of the this isn't your normal churchh bashing post.

This is my proposal. The church, in the modern period especially, created a sacred church building. All else was secular. Business, homes, markets, etc were all secular places. People had to gather into buildings to experience the food or drinks allowed!!!

But inside this sacred place, people found a God painted with a cruel and unusual face. A being that chooses some for heaven, some for hell, all to his glory. It happened, maybe we lost touch with reality... the incarnation, but it happened, and people reacted.

Mostly, they ran from this God. They ran from the sacred into the secular...their place, where it was safe to eat, drink, cuss, and live without the tension that everyone is staring at you, judging you.

So what should we do? First, we could do away with the secular/sacred divide. Let's be the church and worry less about going to some building. Let's rid ourselves of Jesus stickers, shirts, C.D.'s, posters, paper weights, hats, bands, fishes, special movies and music. And redeem where we are. No longer allow normal things to be secular, but realize that all places and things can be sacred, created by God in her presence.

We would also benefit from ridding ourselves from this God of distance, far beyond in the great'll be lucky if he chooses you. Instead, we should talk about the suffering God, who came as a man to be with us, to redeem us. A God of justice in our affairs, not just in damnation on account of his holiness. A God of grace and love, with us, among us.