Friday, September 08, 2006
I confess my greatest stress thus far this week is with a project called Mentored Ministry. It's driving me crazy and the fact that it bothers me so much bothers me even more. It's really much ado about nothing when I get right down to it.

It bothers me because I feel completely out of place. This is supposed to be a workshop for lab in preparation for the pastorate. The thing is I don't want to go into the pastorate. Sure, I know everybody says that, but I'm serious. I'm required to take this for credit for my degree. The first thing we were given was a survey regarding our experience with and opinions on funerals. I don't ever plan on presiding over a funeral in my life.

In my time in school over the last two years, I've experienced an increasing narrowing of what I believe God's calling for my life is. My experience in Israel this summer proved the clearest evidence yet that my passion is in communicating the Old Testament to people, and I want to do that at the undergraduate level.

Why the Old Testament? Because while Jesus Christ is the author and finisher of the faith, he enters human history in a specific time and place and culture to fulfill a specific promise. That promise is embedded in the story of Israel from Genesis to Malachi. I'm obsessed with where things come from. You can't fully grasp the meaning of the Gospel until you've come to know the story of Israel. The Pentateuch introduces the character and quality of Yahweh. The historical books chronicle the story of an unfaithful nation. The Psalms provide the conversation between man and God, while the wisdom literature spells out how to be good person and please this God. The prophets are the heart and soul of a nation, an emotional roller-coaster through the tensions of a just Yahweh and a corrupt and fallen world.

Why undergraduate? Because I remember when I was 18 and sitting in my college Old Testament as Literature class when I was first bitten. We were watching a cheesy video about the siege of Lachish in 700 BC by the Assyrians when something clicked. This was like Braveheart. This was a broad geo-politcal setting filled with real flesh and blood people being intersected by the supernatural. Interplay between Isaiah, Hezekiah and Sennacherib is still my favorite story of the Bible. A mind at 18 is much more open to new worlds such as that of the Bible than a 25-year-old one already set in its ways.

Flannery O'Connor once said something to the effect that you can tell a lot about a community by the stories it tells. I want to tell the stories of Yahweh to the Church.

Now, if I could just get the credit for this class by telling the church just how awesome the stories of Habakkuk and Amos are, I'd be a much more calm and relieved person.

posted by Peter at 12:03 AM
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