Friday, May 28, 2010

Attending to the Trinity

May 30, 2010
Josh Broward

Proverbs 8:1-11, 17, 22-23, 29-31
Romans 5:1-5
John 16:5-7, 12-15

Today is Trinity Sunday. Our belief in the Trinity was born out of the experiences and teachings of Jesus the Messiah. When he was raised from the dead, his disciples faced the unlikely truth that God had come to them as a human being. On Pentecost, the disciples experience the Spirit of God like never before, and our understanding of God as Trinity was unstoppably begun.
Followers of Jesus began to see hints of the Trinity in the Old Testament. For example, we read the description of “Wisdom” in Proverbs 8 today. Theologians debate whether this is a reference to Jesus or to the Holy Spirit, but there is clearly some “part” of God that “was born before the oceans were formed” and that participated in creation.
The combination of Christian experience, the life and teachings of Jesus, and the hints in the Old Testament led Christians to the doctrine of the Trinity. The word “Trinity” was first used by Theophilus of Antioch in about 170 A.D. About 150 years later in 325, the Council of Nicea declared the doctrine of the Trinity to be fundamental to Christianity. Now, we say with Christians around the world, “We believe in one God the Father Almighty ... We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ ... We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life.” We believe in the Trinity.

But what does it mean? What is the point? What difference does the Trinity make for us? Well, it makes lots and lots of difference for us, and it means lots and lots of things. However, today, I want to narrow our focus to one point. GOD IS IN US. ...

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Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Prayer (Community Basics - Week 5)

Once upon a time, there were a group of cooks who never ate. They met together to cook. They made the most incredible dishes - adding just the right spices and holding the pan over the heat just so. But each week after they finished cooking their masterpieces, they tossed them into the trash bins and returned home.

Once upon a time, there was a Manchester United fan club. They all had the Man-U shirts and hats. They new all of the players’ names and statistics. They had autographed balls and photos. Their fan club met every week, but they never talked about soccer. They never watched any Man-U games. They weren’t even interested in the celebrity gossip about the Man-U players. Externally, they were the biggest fans in the world, but internally, their club had very little to do with Manchester United.

Once upon a time, there was an artists’ guild that didn’t do art. Artists from around the city met together to talk about the art of art. They discussed brush strokes and the tools for chiseling marble. They had heated debates about the best kind of paper to use when painting with water colors. However, the curious thing was that none of these art experts ever did any art.

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Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Bath House with the Pastors

Yesterday, I went to a meeting of Cheonan pastors. After lunch, we played soccer at a field across town. I asked if I'd be able to make it back for my 5pm appointment. "No problem. We finish at 4pm."
We had a nice game on a short field with side walls and a back net thing that kept the ball in play. No big fouls and two goals (one off the goalie's butt!). Nice day for a defender.

After the game, everyone decides to go to the public bath house for a "quick 15 minute shower." I enjoy the shower, hot tub, sauna, and postlude shower. Then one of the other pastors asks me to scrub his back - not kidding - and remember, we're completely naked. This is actually a sign of friendship and care. It's common to see father and son pairs giving each other a good scrub down. After a few minutes, he offered to scrub my back. It actually felt pretty good.

After about an hour, we finally left, and I was 30 minutes late for my appointment. But ... good times.

Recent Reviews

I have recently finished a few books and movies that deserve reviews.

1. FOLK TALES FROM KOREA. This is a fun collection of folk tales - mostly from oral sources. I had a few surprises as I read. Many of the tales have people turning into animals or animals turning into humans - mostly foxes and tigers - always evil figures. After many of the stories, I found myself scratching my head saying, "And the point was ...?" There is a great emphasis on respect for elders, finding out hidden truths, and success of underdogs. Some of the stories would make great movies (as I'm sure they already have). Some were just plain silly and fun, like the story of General Pumpkin who decimated whole armies with his flatulence (powered by massive consumption of pumpkins)!

2. NORTH KOREA. This book, written by Korean scholar Bruce Cummings, left me very sad at how badly the USA has messed up our relationship with North Korea. After reading this book, I feel like I have a much deeper understanding of our neighbors to the North. In many ways, their actions and attitudes are very understandable given our mostly hostile stance toward them. I was deeply surprised that atomic weapons were a regular part of our war strategy in Korea clear through the 90's (and maybe still - though there are no nuclear weapons on US bases in South Korea now). I highly recommend this book for anyone who wants to understand Korea (North or South).

3. CHINATOWN (#21 on AFI's top 100 movies of all time). This is a very good tragedy, staring Jack Nicholson and Faye Dunaway. It's kind of a story about how messed up life can be sometimes. Sometimes, despite our best intentions and noble actions, everything goes wrong and the bad people get just what they want. That sucks, but it's true. This story is beautifully crafted and poignantly depicted. However, it still lacks the moral power that I really want in a movie, so it loses a star on that count. I'll give it 4Js.

(Only 4 movies left out of the top 25. Making progress.)