Part 6 of 6 in the series Concise Theology:
- Thanks: Spiritual Maturity
- Wise Risk: Faith
- He’s Worth It: Worship
- Open to God: Holiness
- Make Us Like Jesus: Discipleship
- God Loves Us Like Jesus: The Gospel
A. Sinner’s Prayer
I confess that you love me better than I can ever love myself.
Please forgive me for putting myself first instead of loving you with all my heart, soul, mind and strength, and my neighbor as myself.
I am sorry for not listening to and obeying you. I open my heart to receive and trust Jesus Christ as my Savior and Lord.
Make me like Jesus through your Spirit, Word, Body, and Blood.
I ask this in the name of the Father, Son & Holy Spirit.
B. Brief Catechism
I want to be a Whole Christian.
I want to love the Lord my God with all my heart, all my soul, all my mind, and all my strength, and be part of a worshipping community with others who do.
I want to love my brothers and sisters the way Christ loves me,
my neighbor as myself,
and my enemies.
Especially my enemies. For I have discovered that I only see the log in my own eye after I find grace for the speck in someone else’s.
The Nerd Bible (pdf) started with my sermon notes from 1985 at Park Street Church in Boston, where I was an MIT sophomore. Our college pastor Tony DeOrio used phrases like “integrating faith into our lives” and “love should differentiate Christians from the world.” Being intrinsically lazy — not to mention nerdly — I wrote those phrases down using calculus (#7 and #9).
When MIT made available a new-fangled Postscript printer capable of math symbols, I decided to learn the formatting language LaTeX to try it out. Just for the fun of it, I started with my sermon notes, then added other verses which used the different math functions available (#2, #3, #6 and #8). The Fourier transform (#6) is the only formula not recognizable by most first-year calculus students, but it makes such a beautiful mathematical/theological statement I feel it is worth the confusion it causes.
In the fall of 1986, I was studying cultural contextualization in the “Perspectives on the World Christian Movement” missions class. I realized my equations formed something pretty close to a gospel outline in math. To fill in the holes, I came up with several theological and Christological statements (#1, #4,and #5). “Lamb’ de God” probably represents the pinnacle of my efforts at combining bad puns and good theology.
The final touch (#10) was based on a challenge my lab partner Scott Beasley issued after seeing my first draft. “Yeah, but could you ever represent the Song of Solomon in calculus?” You be the judge.
Update: Also available as a T-shirt.
My friend Leland Brown recently found an amazing mathematical theory book called Optimal State Estimation: Kalman, H_infinity, and Nonlinear Approaches, by Dan Simon. In addition to being a great resource for a math problem Leland is working on, Appendix C turns out to have some fascinating meditations on the Christian Life — inspired by math! See below for some excerpts.