Wednesday, October 26, 2005

A Pity, We Were Such A Good Invention

A poem, by Yehuda Amichai

They amputated
your thighs off my hips.
As far as I'm concerned
They are all surgeons. All of them.

They dismantled us
Each from the other.
As far as I am concerned
They are all engineers. All of them.

A pity. We were such a good
And loving invention.
An aeroplane made from a man and wife.
Wings and everything.
We hovered a little above the earth.

We even flew a little.

Grace & Peace

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Which theologian are you?

Here are my results from the "Which theologian are you?" test. Pretty fun. I am happy with most of this analysis. I even think Anselm kind of looks like me! Or, wait...
You scored as Anselm. Anselm is the outstanding theologian of the medieval period. He sees man's primary problem as having failed to render unto God what we owe him, so God becomes man in Christ and gives God what he is due. You should read 'Cur Deus Homo?'



Karl Barth


John Calvin


Jonathan Edwards


Charles Finney


Friedrich Schleiermacher


Martin Luther






Paul Tillich


Which theologian are you?
created with

Saturday, October 15, 2005

the old guard

After discussing my previous post with several people, I though a demonstration of the quintessential Vineyard style of some of the original leaders might be in order. See if you don't think I'm right:

Pictures of the "Yale School" are forthcoming.

Grace & Peace

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

hairbrained schemes

Something interesting is happening in the church where I work. It's not a theological shift, nor a religious awakening. We're not changing staff. We're not building a new wing. In fact, most people wouldn't notice it at all. We're simply changing...hairstyles.

Actually, it's a little more complicated than that.

For a long time I have joked that all the early Vineyard leaders appear so much alike! If you could see pictures of many of the early pastors, you would notice this strange convergence of styles. It's a particular "look:" casually dressed, slightly overweight, balding but with straight, sandy-colored hair changing to silver. And all of them have beards - John Wimber, Kenn Gulliksen, Bert Waggoner, even my pastor Bill Elander. It is somewhat uncanny.

But as I've met the younger generation, especially folks interested in diving into the Vineyard from a historical or theological angle, I notice that a lot of us have a particular style too. Maybe someday we'll be called the "Yale School" of Vineyard thought. We all tend to be casually dressed too, but instead of sandals and hawaiian shirt, we have the relaxed look of postmodern graduate students. Most of us are tall and thin, occasionally scruffy with dark shaggy hair. I can't tell you how many times I get confused for Matt Croasmun, a friend and fellow YDS student who also works at my church.

Okay, so maybe what I'm describing is simply the "grad student" aesthetic. Maybe we're not that unique. We dress comfortably because we're students, we don't shave because we were up till 1am studying. We don't get haircuts becuase we cannot afford it. Maybe we're all skinny because we don't eat well. Of course, I'm not pretending to be a social scientist in my analysis, just note something of interest that never ceases to make me laugh. But who knows? Maybe someday people will joke about those "old Vineyard guys" that all look alike. It's funny how that seems to happen.

Grace & Peace

Sunday, October 09, 2005

How Rhenquist Screwed the Pooch

For his many years of service to the nation, William Rhenquist deserves our greatful admiration. He was undoubtedly a capable and beloved Chief Justice - leading the court through its conservative 'renaissnance' of the past 25 years.

But Rhenquist really screwed the pooch.

When he first became ill with cancer, Chief Justice Rhenquist should have retired. The US currently has a Republican administration committed to nominating justices in the mold of Clarence Thomans or Antonin Scalia - folks Rhenquist would have been proud of. Instead he decided to stay on at the Supreme Court until his death, and made the selection process much more difficult for the President. Now Pres. Bush is in a tough fight selling his nominee, Harriet Miers, not only to Democrats, but to conservative Republicans as well, who question not only her judicial and constitutional philosophy, but her credentials to serve as well.

But imagine if Rhenquist had resigned back in early 2005.

Initially, things might have seemed more difficult. It was certainly a tough time for the President, putting things back together after a difficult election campaign. Even in the wake of victory, there was a fragility to the national political conscience, and increasing worry about the fate of Iraq and the global War on Terror. An all-out fight over a Supreme Court nominee might have seemed a risky endeavor.

But the President would have had many tools at his disposal that he no longer has. For example, if Chief Justice Rhenquist had retired, Pres. Bush could have chosen a woman to take his place. A strong conservative in the mold of Maura Corrigan, Alice Batchelder, Edith Jones, Priscilla Owen, or Janice Rogers Brown. While these would have been a tough sell to liberal Democrats, the President would have had the added political benefit of nominating a women to fill a man's seat (thus increasing the representation of women on the court) and inviting this woman to be our nation's first female Chief Justice.

Assuming the success of such a nomination, the President would have exchanged one solidly conservative Justice with another of even greater political gain. This would have left someone like John Roberts available to fill the seat of retiring Justice Sandra Day O'Conner. Of course, Justice Roberts was initially tapped to fill Justice O'Conner's seat, and while it would certainly have been a difficult nomination process, the benefit of not having to nominations back to back would certainly help, and Justice Roberts seemed like such a strong candidate from the beginning that he was destined to succeed.

Thus, by refusing to retire early enough, the late Chief Justice Rhenquist has unwittingly made Pres. Bush's task much more difficult, and potentially robbed the President of the ability to enact the conservative shift on the court that so many have so long desired.

So, Mr. Chief Justice, may you rest in peace...but gosh, if you haven't made things difficult!

Grace & Peace