The Chair and the Desk, 4/6/16

From the chair:

“I myself am satisfied about you, my brothers, that you yourselves are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge and able to instruct one another. But on some points I have written to you very boldly by way of reminder, because of the grace given me by God to be a minister of Christ Jesus to the Gentiles in the priestly service of the gospel of God, so that the offering of the Gentiles may be acceptable, sanctified by the Holy Spirit.” 

-Romans 15:14-16

It’s often nerve-wracking to have to “speak boldly” as a Christian leader. As I read this section in Romans this morning, I was struck by several things that Paul is clear about when he has to do so:

  • “I myself am satisfied about you…that you yourselves are full of goodness”–he is ready to believe good things about them, even amid these concerns
  • “filled with all knowledge and able to instruct one another”–he doesn’t think he’s the only one who has important insight, even though he has something important to say
  • “my brothers”–he considers them brothers and sisters, a relationship of equality and affection
  • “by way of reminder”–he takes into account what they already know, and in this sense gives them the benefit of the doubt
  • “because of the grace given me by God”–he does not speak from entitlement; he recognizes that this insight and authority are only gifts to be stewarded
  • “to be a minister of Christ Jesus to the Gentiles in the priestly service of the gospel of God”–he makes sure his responsibility before God is what motivates him to say it
  • “so that the offering of the Gentiles may be acceptable”–his focus is not on getting it off his chest but on helping the hearers actually become godly
  • “sanctified by the Holy Spirit”–he recognizes that only God the Spirit can make any of us godly, and does all this in His power

From the desk:

“…there are signs that philosophers are discovering what Dewey articulated so well. Philosophy isolated from the rest of life can become sterile. When philosophers deal exclusively with the problems of philosophers they can lose contact with the problems of men.” 

-Richard Bernstein, Praxis and Action, p.202

This is certainly true in philosophy, and I need to keep thinking about a paper for this practical reason class that is both philosophically rigorous and relevant to the “problems of men.” Yet, it’s also true of homiletics. Our field, in particular, should not just read to write and write to publish and publish to have a comfortable life. We need to keep in mind real sermons from real preachers, to serve the Church, to serve God.

“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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