Thursday, August 6, 2020

Book Review: Finding The Right Hills To Die On (Gavin Ortlund)

Finding The Right Hills To Die On
(by Gavin Ortlund)

"Is that a salvational issue?", "Can't we all just get along?" These are questions I'm all to familiar with and used to use myself in the cause of unity. Because, on the other hand, I had seen people dividing over the silliest things. But over the last few years I've finding this framework somewhat inadequate. That's where Gavin Ortlund's "Finding the Right Hills to Die on" comes in.
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Wednesday, March 11, 2020

The Ethics of Parenting (Nine Paradigms)

Photo by Daniel Cheung on Unsplash
Our Sabbath fellowship has been studying ethics using Steve Wilkens' Beyond Bumper Sticker Ethics. The book goes through nine different theories on what makes something right or wrong and how we can know the difference. Anyway, I put together the following descriptions to make some of this theory more relatable. I give you the ethical theories of parenting. Enjoy!

Cultural Relativism
Look to your neighbors and fellow Mommy bloggers for advice. Follow the culturally accepted standards

Ethical egoism
You're raising up your future caregivers. Also consider points for present enjoyment and cuteness, help with chores, and how they contribute to your status / reputation.

Sunday, February 24, 2019

Ezekiel's Temple Part 2: Telescopic Prophecy

The Ezekiel Temple poses a challenge to all interpreters. In the last post, I examined the supposedly simple pre-millennial view and pointed out some complications. Here I'd like to propose a potential solution for post-millennial and amillennial interpreters.

The problem for the post-millenialist and amillennialist (and the pre-millennialist who accepts the above arguments) is that the language of the Ezekiel Temple appears very specific in nature and is therefore difficult to conceive of as anything but literal. This makes an allegorical interpretation seem unlikely.

A few other solutions have been proposed. One is to interpret the passage as referring to the second Temple. However, if that is the case, one would have to account for the differences. Herod's Temple didn't measure up to the dimensions of the Ezekiel Temple.

Another proposed solution would be to see this as a potential Temple that could have been built had Israel repented. Again, history seems to work counter to this interpretation. A remnant of Israel did repent, did return to the land, and did rebuild a Temple. Why wasn't it the Ezekiel Temple?

Ezekiel's Temple Part 1: A Few Problems

The temple described in Ezekiel 40-48 was always my go to for defending both a belief in the rebuilding of the Temple and a pre-millennial view (that is, a literal thousand year reign after the second coming of Messiah). Over the last several years my views have shifted, and the Ezekiel Temple has become more of a problem to solve. Before, the thousand year reign seemed a convenient place to put all those passages that didn't seem to fit either in this world or the world to come. When I began to adopt a post-millennial position (the idea that the thousand year reign is more of a spiritual reality for a non-specific long period of time that began with Messiah's first coming) because of other Scriptural evidence, I was left with a number of passages that no longer had homes in time.

I want to propose a possible solution to the Ezekiel Temple problem for the post-millennial view, but first I want to look at whether the pre-millennial view provides an adequate framework for understanding this difficult passage. Placing the Temple in the time period of the thousand year reign seems like a simple enough solution, but I would suggest there are two problems the complicate the matter.

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

2019 Reading and Writing Goals

With the new year in place, I thought I'd throw my hat into the yearly reading and writing challenges. It's been a good reading year (about 16 books in Goodreads stats are a bit off) and I'd like to keep that up. After a year long hiatus from blogging, I'd also like to pick that back up again. Side note: The FBTL website goes away in January (all the wonderful contributions are backed up). That project was a fun experiment, but something I just don't think I was ready to commit to long term. We'll keep things low key and on a more personal level for a while.

Thursday, June 7, 2018

An Unexpected Turn

Sometimes life takes us in a direction we didn't expect. It's not always dramatic; sometimes it's only a subtle shift, but significant nonetheless.

Over the last couple of months, my wife and I have been re-evaluating our priorities in the context of our family and our community. We took a hard look at our plans to launch a business and/or a ministry and to find a way to work from home. What we realized is that these things are not a priority in this season of our life. Rather, our focus needs to be on building up our community and establishing a foundation for our young, growing children.

I tried to extend Parashah Messiah too long -- past its purpose. Keeping up with it has been a challenge, much less trying to build up FBTL as a whole. That's why I've decided to let both of these go for now. I thought I could work on establishing traditions for my own family and share/promote those formally through the FBTL page simultaneously. It proved to be too much. So, I'm cutting the latter in order to better focus on the former.

I've learned a few things over the last two years. For one, engaging an audience (and especially recruiting writers) is just as hard as it ever was. I remember this difficulty back from my days of publishing the Midrash Newsletter; I just thought that I could put in the effort necessary to overcome it this time. And, I did, for a time. Until I started running out of people to ask to write.

I also have another point of experience in my continuing inner struggle between the structured/formal and the messy/informal. Both have a place in this world, but finding what works best for me in engaging others has been a back and forth tug of war. What I've learned here is though I think I would love to work in the formal (I had such a blast working with the HarvestMag team), I'm not sure I'm cut out to lead such a venture. For now, I fall back on my informal, but honest blog.

Which brings me to the future. Building a foundation for my family is my priority right now, so I don't know that I'll necessarily have the time to pick this blog back up in the way that I used to write (though, when I do have the time and have thoughts to share, the Hopeful Heretic will be here for that purpose). Most of my focus is going to be on a renewed effort in my own education (working on some Greek, early church history, and basic philosophy) and building traditions and practices for my family.

I'll leave the FBTL website up for now, though I imagine I'll probably take it down toward the end of the year (hosting a website isn't quite free). I'll keep a backup of all the wonderful Parashah Messiah articles. A big thank you to everyone who participated in this project. It's impact may have been small, but it was there. Especially early on, I received several messages from folks talking about how the Parashah Messiah posts encouraged them in their faith. More importantly, I have seen God moving throughout other teachers and parts of the Messianic movement to bring a restoration of the Gospel to this corner of the church.

I'm not sure where the future will take me, whether I'll eventually take up FBTL up again or join someone else in their work or just keep quietly working in my own family and community (with the occasional blog post, of course). But, for now, this is where I'm at. Thank you to all who have been with my on this journey thus far. I look forward to the years ahead.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Why "Faith Beyond The Letter"?

Well, I promised you all a post about why I decided to move Parashah Messiah over to Faith Beyond The Letter (and why I created FBTL in the first place). Here it is. Finally.