The Chair and the Desk, 1/5/16

From the chair:

“When a woman is giving birth, she has sorrow because her hour has come, but when she has delivered the baby, she no longer remembers the anguish, for joy that a human being has been born into the world. So also you have sorrow now, but I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you.” 

-John 16:21-22

Yes, much seems to be going wrong in our world. It often leads us to ask, What’s going to happen? God is going to be faithful; that is what will happen. We will see Jesus. The past and the present are not all there is. We have a great future, a future with God.

From the desk:

“Why then did early Christianity spread? Because early Christians believed that what they had found to be true was true for the whole world. The impetus to mission sprang from the very heart of early Christian conviction. If we know anything about early Christian praxis, at a non- or sub-literary level, it is that the early Christians engaged in mission, both to Jews and to Gentiles.” 

-N.T. Wright, The New Testament and the People of God, p.360

I’ve felt bad about asking for this book since…well, since I received it, because I’ve never finished it. I do want to read it, but it’s so long. It also got a bit technical in the middle. I now know more than I knew I needed to know about “1st c. Judaism within the Greco-Roman world.” Nonetheless, one of the things I want to do before classes start up is make an honest effort at all the half-finished books on my windowsill. This is at the top of the stack, and I’m really grateful for it now that I’ve dedicated some time to it.

Wright is one of the most thorough scholars I know. I don’t always understand him, but I increasingly trust him. When he says something like “If we know anything…” he really means (and has really made a case) that this is truly important. After three-hundred-some pages of ancient backgrounds, he concludes that one of the clearest distinguishing marks of Christianity is that Christians share their faith. Christians share their faith because they believe it applies to everyone; we believe it is good news for everyone. The sharing impulse is at the very core of who we are. If I’ve lost sight of it, perhaps I’ve lost sight of who I am.

“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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