From the chair:
10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. 12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. 14 Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. 16 In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; 17 and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, 18 praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication.
Last years, someone helped me realize (I don’t remember who, but I’m fairly sure I didn’t realize this myself) that the fruit of the Spirit is an invaluable passage. Sure, we talked about it in Sunday School, but as a four-year-old I didn’t realize that I’d be a quarter-century into my life and still wonder (alone, and with others), what is this all about? What is this for? How do I live? Last year I realized that there’s really no better answer than “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith, gentleness, and self-control.”
This morning, “the armor of God” had a similar impact on me. So many people demand so many things of us, but this is a divine and invaluable list: Put on truth, righteousness, the readiness of the gospel of peace, faith, salvation, the Spirit and Word of God. I can’t define the ideal pastor, scholar, or person, but I have no doubt that any investment in fostering these things is well-spent.
From the desk:
“More often than not, it is a theologian’s personal history, in a particular sociopolitical setting, that serves as the most important factor in shaping the methodology and content of his or her theological perspective. Thus theologians ought to be a little more honest, and let the reader know something about those nonintellectual factors that are so important for the opinions they advance.”
-James Cone, God of the Oppressed, 1975 ed., p.vi
This is something I appreciated right off the bat in James Cone’s book. I’m still thinking through his overall project, but I admire the way he incorporates his own life and community without letting it completely control his conclusions–we need more theologians to engage hymnody, poems, folk stories, and anecdotes the way he does.
“The chair” is the one Annie aptly chose for the corner of our living room, and it’s where I am committed to daily hearing from God’s Word–the Word I above all else hope to speak to others. “The desk” is the one by my coffee grounds and spare charger (if I get to the library early enough); it’s where I have the privilege of reading and thinking all day, where I intend to learn for others’ sake.