Ancient-Future Grace

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There is so much going on in Holy Week, that it is hard to catch the meaning and significance of it all. But there are a few points we don’t want to miss.  There is this mystery of time that we encounter during Holy Week.  The mystery of time is always present, but we are confronted by it in a powerful way during the Easter Season.  Continue reading “Ancient-Future Grace”

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Letting Go of Holding On

I’ve been all but paralyzed all day. There is plenty to do, and I’ve been so stuck that by this time I am not confident that I can pull off the few pressing things that really need to be done right away.

The thing is, that I’ve been putting more hope than I’ve realized into things that are beyond my control.

No, not quite faith exactly.  Just that I suddenly realize that I have been counting on assumptions that I’ve made, and that others have made around me and my family.  And those assumptions have been boiling to the surface lately to bite us.   Continue reading “Letting Go of Holding On”

Proof comes to Fuller Seminary

This week, the Fuller Company will present our third-ever full-length production, Proof, written by David Auburn, for our winter offering to the Fuller community.   Proof centers around 25 year-old Catherine, who has spent the last several years caring for her father, Robert; a brilliant and famous mathematician who has become mentally unstable.  The play opens on the eve of her birthday, and we begin to discover what caring for her father has cost her—and it is certainly more than her social life.  Catherine is subjected to intrusions that she would not choose for herself, including the persistent presence of her father’s protégé Hal—who is looking for evidence of Robert’s brilliant mind in the pages of the 103 notebooks that he filled over the course of his illness.  Add to this the steam-rolling arrival of Catherine’s estranged sister, Claire, and we are quickly thrust into a world that many Fuller students might find uncomfortably familiar.

Continue reading “Proof comes to Fuller Seminary”

Finally Comes the Bard

“The poet’s eye, in a fine frenzy rolling,

Doth glance from heaven to earth, from earth to heaven;

And, as imagination bodies forth

The forms of things unkown, the poet’s pen

Turns them to shapes, and gives to airy nothing

A local habitation and a name.”

William Shakespeare

A Midsummer Night’s Dream

Act 5, Scene 1

Unscripted Ephesians Ch 2

There is a theatre joke that I love:  What do you call an actor with out techies (those are the people who wear black all the time, and do things off-stage)…What do you call an actor without techies? Someone standing alone in the dark, naked, trying to emote.  What do you call a techie without an actor? Unemployed.

As someone who has worked both on and off stage in various respects, Continue reading “Unscripted Ephesians Ch 2”

Saint Patrick’s Breastplate

Today’s Monday Inspiration comes in honor of the country I arrived in this morning. This is an Irish blessing attributed to St. Patrick. (It may look long, but its a quick read)Be blessed today!

I arise today
Through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity,
Through belief in the threeness,
Through confession in the oneness
Of the Creator of Creation.

I arise today
Through the strength of Christ’s birth with his baptism,
Through the strength of his crucifixion with his burial,
Through the strength of his resurrection with his ascension,
Through the strength of his descent for the judgment of Doom.

I arise today
Through the strength of the love of Cherubim,
In obedience of angels,
In the service of archangels,
In the hope of resurrection to meet with reward,
In prayers of patriarch,
In prediction of prophets,
In preaching of apostles,
In faith of confessors,
In innocence of holy virgins,
In deeds of righteous men.

I arise today
Through the strength of heaven:
Light of sun,
Radiance of moon,
Splendor of fire,
Speed of lightening,
Swiftness of wind,
Depth of sea,
Stability of earth,
Firmness of rock.

I arise today
Though God’s strength to pilot me:
God’s might to uphold me,
God’s wisdom to guide me,
God’s eye to look before me,
God’s ear to hear me,
God’s word to speak for me,
God’s hand to guard me,
God’s way to lie before me,
God’s shield to protect me,
God’s host to save me
From snares of devils,
From temptations of vices,
From everyone who shall wish me ill,
Afar and anear,
Alone and in multitude.

I summon today all these powers between me and those evils,
Against every cruel and merciless power that may oppose my body and soul
Against incantations of false prophets,
Against black laws of pagandom,
Against false laws of heretics,
Against craft of idolatry,
Against spells of witches and smiths and wizards,
Against every knowledge that corrupts man’s body and soul.

Christ to shield me today
Against poison, against burning,
Against drowning, against wounding,
So that there may come to me abundance of reward.
Christ with me, Christ before me, Christ behind me,
Christ in me, Christ beneath me, christ above me,
Christ on my right, Christ on my left,
Christ when I lay down, Christ when I sit down, Christ when I arise,
Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks of me,
Christ in every eye that sees me,
Christ in every ear that hears me,

I arise today
Through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity,
Through the belief in the threeness,
Through the confession of the oneness,
Of the Creator of Creation.

Ireland or Bust

I interrupt our regularly scheduled programming to share with you a new summer adventure:  In a couple of days I will board my first-ever trans-atlantic flight and fly to Ireland.  With the exception of the occasional jaunt into Mexico (and, really who counts the occasional jaunt into Mexico?) I have never really been out of the country.  This is in spite of the fact that I am considered one of the jet-setters of my family.

As a result I will be taking Faith Unscripted off the rails between now and when I return, the first week of July. Expect anything but our regular conversations while I am away.  I do not know how much time I will have to write, or when I might have access to the internet.  But when I do, I will probably be posting thought, pictures, and whatever else I can during the trip (maybe even a video?).  Also keep an eye on my twitter feed (see the feed to the right of your screen on most browsers, or follow me at twitter @nickybarger). We’ll return to Monday Inspirations and “thoughtful thursdays” as they normally appear in early July.  For now, this trip is sure to be both inspirational and thoughtful.

Why Ireland? Well, for one thing, why not Ireland?  Simply speaking, the Brehm Center offered two courses there this summer, and I was determined to go.  The more complicated answer is this: this is what I came here for.  I recently sat in an office with an advisor trying to work out my schedule for the rest of my time at Fuller.  Though my time with her was productive, and her services helpful,  it seemed apparent to me that she thought that my choice to go to Ireland was a waste of time and money.  “You have no more electives, you realize these won’t count, don’t you?”

Bless her, it was her job to point that out to me.  But frankly, in that moment, all I could see was someone who just didn’t get it.  You see, I am not on an specific pre-planned/known-to-me career-path that required me to get and MAT in order to advance professionally.  But, let’s be clear, my degree is more than mere “personal enrichment”.  I am confident of my call to Fuller, and despite my ignorance of God’s plan, I have no doubt a plan exists.  I am in the rare but not unique position where I have to pick and choose the education I get, because on one hand I need to fulfill the requirements set before me to graduate.  But I also need to get in the classes that resonate with that cord God plucked in me that made it clear God was moving me to Fuller for a reason. Without a doubt, the courses I am required to take have value, and I do learn from them.  But, just the same, I have to keep an eye open for those classes that I suspect have more to do with God’s plan for my life, than the Registrar’s plan.

So, then.  Ireland.

For now, my parting gift to you is this recent satellite image of IRE, where the entire island was briefly exposed with no cloud cover whatsoever.  This is a rare shot of the Emerald Island.  Enjoy. 

Unscripted Ephesians: chapter 1

The book of Ephesians, like many others in the Bible, starts off with an excited flurry of language—It feels a little excessive, really, to the modern reader.  And, to further the case against Ephesians, the book contains a slew of phrases that have become the basis of “christianese”: insider language that is so over used, it has begun to  loose some meaning. To top off the case Continue reading “Unscripted Ephesians: chapter 1”

Unscripted Ephesians: an introduction

Last quarter I took a class on Ephesians, and through a quarter-long series of events (including a pretty serious illness) I had to resort to taking an Incomplete in the class, in order to finish the final assignment at a later date. Then, as it turned out, my officially approved request for an Incomplete was held up on a technical matter—and it wasn’t until I was nearly half-way through the quarter when I learned that I could still make up the last assignment, and finish the course for a grade. But, by then I was well underway with my new class work and my thesis project; there wasn’t room on my plate for an extra research paper. In comes my friend and advisor to the rescue: she suggested that I pitch an alternative assignment to my professor, which I did—and he was intrigued enough by the idea that he has given me the go-ahead! So, without any more ado, I announce the forth-coming short series Unscripted Ephesians; where I will take a look at the Biblical book of Ephesians, Faith Unscripted style. This may be a little different than some of my other posts, but I invite you to join in the dialogue just the same!

Exhale so you may Inhale

photo by Suse Sternkopf, used with permission

It feels like it is time for things to be at an end.

Don’t you think that the world seems a little weary lately? Perhaps it is simply because I am in school, and we are bearing down into finals season of the Spring quarter. In the midst of a flurry of end-of-year and beginning-of-summer activity, many of the faces I see around me seem sallow, overtired, and under nourished. Continue reading “Exhale so you may Inhale”