The Chair and the Desk, 12/11/15

From the chair:

16  On that day it shall be said to Jerusalem: 
“Fear not, O Zion; 
let not your hands grow weak. 
17  The Lord your God is in your midst, 
a mighty one who will save; 
he will rejoice over you with gladness; 
he will quiet you by his love; 
he will exult over you with loud singing. 

-Zephaniah 3:16-17

This is not “instrumental” hope; that is, we do not hope for this day thinking that this day will get us something else beside itself. This is our “intrinsic” hope: That God himself would be in our midst, rejoicing over us with gladness, quieting us by his love, exulting over us with loud singing. All our other hopes are simply glimpses of this ultimate promise.

From the desk:

“Practicing as a theologian pastor means becoming expert in translation. That is, we need to translate the big words of our systematic theologies, textbooks, and fancy academic hoopla into the vernacular of everyday. And we need to do it without being patronizing, remembering that technical words usually function as a shorthand. Avoiding technical terminology does not mean you have to say less; it merely means you have to take more time to say it.”

-Josh Moody, “Seven Ways to Theologize as a Pastor,” in The Pastor as Public Theologian: Reclaiming a Lost Vision by Kevin Vanhoozer and Owen Strachan, p.33

This is a good direction for preachers and a good reminder for congregants: We can understand more than arrogant academics would have us think, and a good pastor is going to help us do so.

“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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