July 24, 2007

What I've been up to...

Well, I've taken this second part of the summer to Sabbath a little and not do too much at all especially blog. I've definitely felt like there have been some things to flesh out and to say, but I've been partly lazy and partly just enjoying the freedom of being where I'm at right now. I'm not taking any classes for this second part of the the summer so I have more time to read what I want and to watch all kinds of movies.

What I'm reading:

I'm about half way into this very important work by Volf. This heavily theological and philosophical work explores human relationships and the need for more than the modern altar call for freedom, but for reconciliation both with God and one another. I highly recommend this book, and I still have a ways to go. Though I do warn, this is not for the faint of heart. Volf writes sometimes in a heavily convoluted and abstract manner. I'm not reading much else because of this one, it's taking its toll on me while transforming me.

I've also enjoyed Wright's "fresh perspective" on Paul. I'm prepping myself for this fall semester in which I'm taking a class covering the NT minus the Gospels and Acts. I've only read two other works by Wright, but I really like his interpretation. He takes a more 1st century take on what words like Messiah, Christ, Kingdom, Apocalypse, Covenant, and Creation mean. Instead of some escapist radical founder of some new religion, Paul must be understood within his Jewish context, as a Jew who followed Jesus Christ. Book read for the 3 chapters I've gotten into.

Shane Claiborne is the result of studying under Tony Campolo, and how when you really let the Gospel take root in you heart, it'll wreck your life. Shane tells many stories that reveal the beauty and brokenness of this world and the dire need for Christians to drop the wardrobe of conservative, republican, Americanized Christianity for something more radical. Radical in the sense that he desires a return to more biblical. Shane's one of the founders of the Simple Way in Philly, who are a group of people I deeply respect that are seeking solidarity with the poor, redeeming broken places, and sepaking against legalisms that destroy relationships. I read this book in a few days, easy, but well worth the effort. I recommend it to anyone seeking out a Christianity other than what we've been sold in Lifeway or TBN.

I've also been reading many commentaries and books on Matt. 5-7, the Sermon on the Mount, which I've had the pleasure of working through in Sunday School with the college students. I'm hoping God wrecks their life with this challenging piece. For the most part I'm using Living the Sermon on the Mount by Stassen, Reading the Sermon...by Talbert, Seeking the Kingdom by Dockery and my dean Dr. David Garland, Divine Conspiracy by Willard, Cost of Discipleship by Bonhoeffer, Sermon on... by Guellich, Sermon on...by Clarence Jordan from the Koinonia farm, and NT Wright's commentary on Matthew.

Since, my wife is a school teacher she has the summer off, so we've watch too many movies takes to blockbuster.com. Here's a few that I would recommend and are very good movies.

Sophie Scholl was a movie played at Truett movie night that I missed, but thought I would go ahead and rent it. The movie was really good. I went back and rewatched some of the more intense dialogue between Sophie and her interrogators...brilliant writing. This movie gave me a new sense of perspective for those in Germany who were 1) brainwashed by the lies and story of Nazi Germany and 2) those who were opposed to it. This movie may be one of my favorites, I really like that nonviolent resistance was the stance of the heroine and heroes of the movie.

Catch a fire is set during the Apartheid, which sadly I'm way too ignorant on especially since it happened in my lifetime. This is a story of one man transformation from peaceful, to violent, back to peaceful. Focus films has created another social piece that speaks into the injustice of our world that still exists. Watch this one.

We actually went last night and watched the new Harry Potter movie. I'm not into the books, mostly because I'm reading other things, and have other fiction on my list right now that I'm trying to read. After that, the Potter series will still have to wait, but the movies will do. I think has been the best of the Potter movies and probably the darkest. I'm not that big of a fan of the whole series, but I enjoyed this movie well enough, so I would recommend it.

From what I can remember these have been the better of the movies I've seen this summer. With our free time, we've watched too many such as the Aliens Quadrilogy, Fast Food Nation, A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints, Shut Up and Sing, Road to Guantanamo, Smoke Signals (really good), Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada (also really good), Jesus Camp, The Mission (another good one), Freedom Writers, The Last King of Scotland, and this is just the tip of the iceberg. I do recommend any and all of these listed though, very good celluloid if you ask me.

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