The Chair and the Desk 11/17/15

From the chair:

4 It shall come to pass in the latter days 
that the mountain of the house of the Lord 
shall be established as the highest of the mountains, 
and it shall be lifted up above the hills; 
and peoples shall flow to it, 
and many nations shall come, and say: 
“Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, 
to the house of the God of Jacob, 
that he may teach us his ways 
and that we may walk in his paths.” 
For out of Zion shall go forth the law, 
and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. 
He shall judge between many peoples, 
and shall decide for strong nations far away; 
and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, 
and their spears into pruning hooks; 
nation shall not lift up sword against nation, 
neither shall they learn war anymore; 
but they shall sit every man under his vine and under his fig tree, 
and no one shall make them afraid, 
for the mouth of the Lord of hosts has spoken. 
For all the peoples walk 
each in the name of its god, 
but we will walk in the name of the Lord our God 
forever and ever. 

-Micah 4:1-5

I went searching for this passage today, and, because I don’t know Micah well, it took me a while to find it. As I read Scripture, it does not seem that the Bible pushes us toward the view that “all faiths are the same.” The more philosophers and sociologists I encounter, the more I find that they do not push us that way either. Yet, somehow, it has become a prevailing notion in our society, and we must decide whether we will tune our ears to the word of the majority or “the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.”

That being said, a commitment to “walk in the name of the Lord our God” is in no way a commitment to violence or exclusion. I do testify that not all gods are God, but the Lord our God is calling not only people but peoples, many nations, to the Mountain of the Lord, where tanks become tractors, soldiers become chefs, preachers become poets, and no one shall make us afraid, for the mouth of the Lord of hosts has spoken. Because I follow this God and this God only, I have great hope for any person and all peoples.

From the desk:

“…seminaries should do more to encourage their brightest students to consider working in the church rather than the academy, precisely because cultivating the wisdom of Jesus Christ on the ground requires more intelligence and creativity than writing scholarly articles does.”

-Kevin J. Vanhoozer and Owen Strachan, The Pastor As Public Theologian: Reclaiming a Lost Vision, p.2

I’m only half a chapter into this book, but when the table of contents gets you excited, you know it’s going to be good. I applaud pastors–I hope and pray I can serve the Church as one, and if this PhD leads to other work as well, I hope every word of it is in service to these servants.

“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.

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