Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Something new to ponder...

I have about 45 minutes a day in the car, plus 3 hours or so every Monday for my commute to/from the coast to teach a class. This great aspect of my gig allows me some contemplative quiet alone time. (Unless, of course, I'm listening to C-Note, J-Dub and da crew hold forth on foxsports radio in the morning...) What a privilege to have that built-in commute time!

As an egghead wannabe, I spend a large part of that time pondering and a part praying. I should, of course, spend the majority praying, but that total depravity thing I wrote about recently rears its ugly head... (I'm reminded of G.K. Chesterton's excellent letter to a British newspaper that had asked people to explain what's wrong with the world. G.K.'s response: "Dear Sirs: What's wrong with the world? I am. Sincerely, G.K. Chesterton")

Recently, however, I have spend a fair amount of that time both pondering and praying. As a Christian who is a university professor and a financial economist, and who used to teach a class called "Christian Worldview," I've long been interested in the intersection of my faith and my academic disciplines of economics & finance. (And there are many such intersections if you're wondering).

As I pondered, I had a Homer Simpson "d'oh!" moment. Why not just check it out for myself! (everybody now: "D'oh!")

Thus, I am launching a long-overdue quest that will take a while--a long while--to complete. I want to find everything the Bible has to say about economics and finance. (hint: Jesus said more about money than He did about heaven & hell combined, according to numerous experts. So much for Jesus' teaching being all about "irrelevant spiritual things"...) The specific approach of finding everything the Bible says about _____ (fill in blank) is called systematic theology. Basically, rather than deciding what I want the Bible to say, I'll just let it explain itself. (novel concept, huh?)

So I'll need your help and your prayers (if you're a pray-er) as I launch. Wayne Grudem and others have done this sort of thing, but one of the great beauties of the Bible is its utter accessibility to an ordinary hammerhead like myself. So I'm off into Christian financial economics professor goober land.

Should be fun! I'm excited!

bb (the goober armchair theologian)

Saturday, January 26, 2008

total depravity of man

Should anyone doubt this particular doctrine of the reformers, then s/he should hang around pretty much any kids sports situation for, oh, 20 minutes or so. Doubt should be removed. Decisively.

(did I mention that I reffed kids hoops this morning? *sighs*)

Note: or, you could hang around with me for that same 20 minutes. Or find a way to capture my thoughts, Spock-like, for,...2 minutes. Again, doubt would be removed, at least about the total depravity of Mike anyway.

Total depravity underscores our need for grace. Our "total need" if you will.

Grace is good. I need it. I crave it. I can't survive in this life without it, and certainly not in the next!! I rest in it, and revel in it.

I'm just glad it's offered, and available in unlimited supply.


Friday, January 11, 2008

OK, prayer warriors. Your prayers are needed...

...for a very good friend of mine.

Jason Weathers is a 30-year-old friend of mine who is a very sick young man. He is a great guy; one of those rare ones with no enemies. Loved & respected by all.

Jason is a Hattiesburg High and USM grad whom I've known since shortly after we moved to H'burg 17 years ago. I was his Sunday School teacher when he met this young lady who joined our 11th grade SS class when her Dad joined the staff of our church. They began going out, despite her attending Oak Grove HS while he played football at HHS. Then they both went to USM. I still remember the Christmas Eve service at church when he told me he was about to propose to her. They've been married for some years now, and have 2 young kids with #3 on the way. They were living down in Naples, FL where Jason was completing a nurse anesthetist program.

Jason was diagnosed with leukemia last weekend. He was flown back here and is in Forrest General Hospital taking chemotherapy. For more on him--including pictures of Jason & his family, go here: http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/jasonweathers

If you are any sort of praying person, please pray for Jason. This is one of the good guys, amigos. There are few guarantees around, but here's one: you'd really like this guy. Very laid-back and easy to get along with by people across the social & age spectrum. He & I are always swapping hard rock music suggestions, most recently at church when he was visiting at Christmas time.

Also, watch this space for more details. I may be asking for volunteers to donate platelets to my buddy Jason in the future.

In the mean time, your prayers are invited, needed, welcomed, and appreciated.

With a heavy heart,

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Let's take a journey together...

First, Happy New Year!! I'd like you to join me on a journey this year.

This journey will take us from the beginning of time through some of the monumental events that define who we are as people and why the world is as it is. We'll be challenged and encouraged.

I'm speaking, of course, of a journey through the Bible.

I was rooting around on the web last week, pondering approaches to reading through the Bible this year. (A regular goal of mine...) Anyway, I landed on this approach, which is the plan for this year.

Basically, it takes one through the Bible in chronological order--though there are both OT & NT passages each day. So, maybe it's more correct to say that this plan takes one through each of the 2 testaments in chronological order. Anyway, check it out. The link below takes you to a 2-page pdf file with daily readings listed there.


(from the guy's own description of the plan)
This reading schedule is designed to take the reader through
the Bible in chronological order. Hence, the poetic and prophetic
books of the Old Testament are inserted at approximately their
place of occurrence in the historical books. For example, the
reading of the Psalms is placed after their historical treatment of
David's reign, because of David's connection with the Psalms. In
the New Testament, Paul's letters have been placed amid the
readings in Acts which approximate their time of writing. The
date of many of the New Testament letters is uncertain, so the
order presented is, to a certain extent, conjectural. The schedule
deviates from chronological organization only in that there is a
reading from both the Old and New Testaments for each day and
gospel narratives are inserted according to the probable date of
Greenville Presbyterian Theological Seminary
P.O. Box 690 Taylors, SC 29687
864 322-2717

If you want to view this as merely reading some of the great literature in existence, that's fine. (Obviously, I view the Bible as much more than great lit, but reading it as merely a collection of lit will challenge your thinking & encourage you & bless you too.)

Join me, won't you?