Human bodies run on carbohydrates, proteins, fats, vitamins & minerals, water, and oxygen.
What powers the Body of Christ?Continue reading
This week on The Great Reset we discuss the proposal for FishBowl Dialogues (FBD), a game for cultivating constructive relational practices.
Question: How can we all get better at loving everyone the way Jesus does?
Perspective: By publicly playing a game where we practice, observe, and learn the relevant skills.Continue reading
Question: How do we shift the focus of the Body of Christ from “getting fed” to “getting fit” (to represent Jesus)?Continue reading
This Tuesday on July 7th, 2020 we kick off Season 3 of The Great Reset by introducing oikotics, a novel discipline that unifies economics, politics, psychology & religion.
Question: What is the most useful and healthy way to think about money?
Perspective: Money is the most decentralized mechanism yet for a society to distribute Resources, Status and Relationships. As such, it complements — and competes with! — family, religion, and the state.Continue reading
I’m in the process of cleaning up my “personal” site on DrErnie.com, and as part of that I’m moving some of my earlier writings to this site.
To start with, I present “Unforgiven”, a more-or-less accurate transcript of the first time God really dealt with me about anger…
The stage appears empty except for a single chair, center, facing right. A man sits on it backwards, facing left, hugging the back of the chair. His expression is grim. A single spotlight shines down on him. Another man walk out from right, and stands looking at him from the semi-darkness. The first man speaks, but remains facing left.
In Which We Give Up the World for God, So We Can Give God to the World
Worship is simultaneously the most personal and the most all-encompassing of all human experiences. True worship is to encounter the Divine Presence in the very depths of our being, in a posture of absolute stillness and submission.
Yet such an encounter doesn’t merely empower and inspire us; it also requires us to manifest that same Presence amidst the frenzy and confusion of this present darkness (cf. Ephesians 6:12). Even to those we think least likely to respond…
Memory Verse: “God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth.”” — John 4:24 (NKJV)
In Which We Withdraw From The World To Draw Near To God
The modern world considers solitary confinement and enforced silence as among the worst long-term punishments — with good reason; it is a terrifying thing to be cut off from the consolations and diversions of society. And yet, the very severity of that terror hints at the fertile spiritual soil to be uncovered when we deliberately cultivate time away from the distractions of ordinary human life…
Memory Verse: “Now when it was day, He departed and went into a deserted place. And the crowd sought Him and came to Him, and tried to keep Him from leaving them; but He said to them, ‘I must preach the kingdom of God to the other cities also, because for this purpose I have been sent.’ “ — Luke 4:42-43 (NKJV)
In Which Our Desire For God’s Name Inspires Us to Submit To His Discipline
In Part A of this class we began by studying the theological foundations of Christianity, with a focus on what it means to be baptized into the “name” of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. In Part B we explored what it looks like to appropriate that “name” — God’s character — through the pursuit of wisdom, as contrasted with the simple, mockers, and fools. For Part C, our final module, we will be focusing on Skills for Servant Leaders — the spiritual disciplines necessary to cultivate those virtues in our lives without falling into pride or will-worship.
Our primary text will be Celebration of Discipline: The Path to Spiritual Growth by Richard Foster, which you are encouraged to supplement with one of the other books listed below. In addition, you are encouraged to actively practice the disciplines as we work through these studies, using tools like the memory verse (below).
However, it is essential to remember that the disciplines are only effective if they are not ends in themselves, but means to our greatest desire, which is Christ Himself…
Memory Verse: “Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” — Hebrews 12:1-2 (NKJV)
In Which God Is Glorified Amidst Our Shame, If We Choose His Glory Over Ours
As we finish this module, the most important lesson to remember is that wisdom and virtue are essential — but impossible! No matter how much we try or mature, we will never quite be able to fulfill everything God (or society, or even ourselves) expects of us. By God’s grace we may continue to improve, but we will never be perfect.
Western culture rarely admits the resulting sense of shame, but we still suffer its effects. The ultimate question is whether we will be “real” enough to submit our shame to the cross of Christ, so that He can heal us for His glory — or will we pridefully cling to our own glory, and remain simple, mockers, and fools?
In Which We Humble Ourselves Before God and Our Elders, Who Exalt Us
This week we shift our study of wisdom from the “theological virtues” (faith, hope, and love) to what might be called the “blessed virtues” from the Beatitudes. We will follow Peter Kreeft (below) in contrasting them with the Seven Deadly Sins, beginning with Humility vs. Pride:
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” — Matthew 5:3
In contrast, humility is recognizing the painful fact of our own poverty of spirit, so that we empty ourselves in order to receive our heavenly King.
In Which We Are Rescued from Our Folly by God’s Love
Love is the primary virtue of the Heart. It is both a Decision that gives rise to Emotions, as well an Emotion that gives rise to Decisions — and it needs both to thrive. It can be defined as “the ability to pursue another’s glory — even at the cost of your own.”
Love is particularly needed by the Fool, whose emotional damage drives a cycle of self-punishment disguised as the pursuit of pleasure. The only way out is to purify our hearts by receiving God’s love and forgiveness, to the point where we love Him more than the false gods we’ve served — and discover what it means to genuinely love ourselves…
In Which We Become the Church, As We Grow Into Christ Our Head Via His Gifts
Continuing the theme of Sanctification, we explore how we are discipled into the name of Christ through His body — the Father’s principle vehicle for forming His Kingdom, by His Spirit. Specifically, we see how the fact that we serve One God requires us to worship Him as One Church.
[Note: I am now using the New King James Version for my interlinear; hopefully this will increase the readability.]
In Which We Receive the Gospel, And Are Saved By It
Our series so far — indeed, the first half of human history — is but a prelude to the coming of Jesus Christ. In Christ we have the word of God made flesh, the perfect revelation of God’s character, a tangible representative of the Trinity, and a reminder of what we were created to be.
[NOTE: the official syllabus is now on the “Lead” page; this post is obsolete, but kept for the sake of historical continuity].
[Yes, I should probably have written this before the first lesson, but better late than never…]
In thinking about it, I ought to take my Curriculum one step further, and actually identify the passages and key learnings for each lesson. Not only will this help ensure I’m on the same page as my pastor, but it would enable others to write some of the lessons (since class starts on September 4th!).
I’ve also cross-referenced these lessons against two common systematic theology books:
In addition to providing a sort index to the topics covered, this allows students and teachers to use those as supplementary textbooks.
In my Rules of War, I assert that the most important challenge is to “Know your Objective” — i.e., understand where you are going. Earlier, I stated that The Purpose of Comprehensive Theological Education was:
to equip leaders for a lifelong journey of bringing their “whole selves” (heart, soul, mind & strength) and “whole worlds” (family, church, community & marketplace) into ever-increasing alignment with God’s purpose (redemption, kingdom & glory).
There’s a more concise way to phrase that: conforming to the image of Christ, aka “Imago Christi”. I consider this the central tenet and purpose of Comprehensive Theological Education. Over time (I have no idea when), I hope to fill in other ‘CTE Lights’. Stay tuned…
Now, the first thing you need to realize is that oatmeal is part of my life. Not a big part, or a hugely important one, but a regular part. It is a central focus of my morning routine, right up there with coffee. I’m not religious about it — when I go out, I’m more likely to have an omelette — but if I’m home I’ll have oatmeal.
That isn’t meant as an excuse, or any sort of justification for how I reacted. I’m just trying to give you some context, to help you understand what happened, and what it might mean. These are the raw ingredients; what you make of them is up to you. Kind of like oatmeal itself.
Click [Read More] to experience what may well be the silliest parable you’ll ever read. Even if it was ‘just’ a dream — and one God used to clarify my life purpose.
Is it time? To die?
“Always. Every day is a good day to die.”
Tell me what I must do
“Place your happiness and your life here on the altar, then step away.”
Shouldn’t I tie it down?
“You cannot tie cords so tight you cannot untie them. Only I can do that.”
Very well. Father, I give you my life, my happiness, my will and myself. [laying it on the altar]. I will do only that which I see you doing; when I do not see, I will ask and wait.
“Do you mean that with your whole heart?”
Probably not. But I mean it with all the heart I have, and can give. I give up the right to fight my own battles, or even to pick them. The right to defend myself, and shame my enemies. The right to, well, do whatever I want. What I want; the right to make independent decisions that are heedless of God’s desires.
All this and more, I give to you, O my God.
“That is enough. Now step away.”
[Read More] for my experience of being crucified with Christ.