Bright Angst

Bright Angst

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Light

light-coming-down

Somehow, the last iteration didn’t quite capture the contrast between light and darkness that I hoped to.  It did however, catch the emotive sense.  In this iteration, I simply took out the color and made the contrast starker through differing tones and levels of definition.

light-coming-bw

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Meeting and Greeting in Hamilton

As we’ve been living here longer, we have met some wonderful people!  About once or twice a week we have the opportunity to entertain or be entertained by our fellow seminarians, professors, and church friends.  It really creates quite the contrast from our life in Milwaukee where we were in the heart of the city doing ministry.  Now we are in the heart of this Christian education world.  In some ways it’s a bubble, but in others, it provides the space needed for study and preparation for further ministry.  Had our adult life started with education we might not have seen the value of it until it was too late.

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Rachel and TechMission

While Juan hits the books, Rachel is diligently working at Techmission and paying the bills.  Her commute is over an hour long!  However, this is worth it because she can stay involved in urban ministry which she loves.  This also allows her to increase her skills as a manager and evaluate what she would like to do career-wise as we stare into the future.

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Juan’s Spring Classes

Currently, Juan is taking courses in preaching, exegesis, and education!  He recently preached in class on Luke 8:22-25.  The main idea of the sermon was "Do not fear God, but instead put your faith in Jesus who is God over creation."  For his exegesis class he is writing a paper on the discussion between Nicodemus and Jesus in the first part of John 3.  Finally, he is also studying unity as an educational component in ministry as applied to catechesis. (What a mouthful!)

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Juan and Rachel

Juan is currently attending seminary at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary in South Hamilton, MA.  He is interested in issues of Grace in all aspects of life, but in particular, as they relate to the issues of Church health, unity, and ethics.  Currently, he works as a Physics Lab Instructor at Gordon College.  Some hobbies include computer programming, eating, and reading.

Rachel currently works for TechMission in Dorchester, Ma.  She has a passion for urban ministry and actively pursues the ideals found in racial reconciliation, social justice, and the Gospel.  She enjoys reading, the outdoors, and cross stitching.

We both worked for Here’s Life Inner City in Milwaukee before coming to Boston, and we don’t know exactly where we’ll go after this stage of life.  We worship at 7 Mile Road.

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New Life

What a roller coaster of a summer!  Rachel and I moved here to scenic South Hamilton, Massachusetts, a suburb of Boston to go to seminary.  Things are finally settling down, but I’m realizing our webpage has suffered some terrible neglect.

With that, a basic update seems in order.  Rachel is currently working two jobs until the fall when she will quit her part time one.  She is working full time at TechMission, an organization that strives to bring technology into inner city ministries.  Her part time job is as a tutor at a Sylvan Learning center.

I am currently in my second Greek class, and am working as a “media tech” for the school.  That mostly means that I copy a lot of CD’s and DVDs and occasionally run sound.  In the fall I will start as a Physics lab instructor for Gordon College.

Our life is crazy, but we’re settling in and will hopefully find our place here soon.  Blessings to you!

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Prayer

During our Urban Immersion time in a couple of weeks, we’ll be having a time of worship and prayer.   I wrote this prayer to help us prepare and I thought it might help others of you prepare for your own times of prayer.

Heavenly Father, you are gracious beyond our understanding.  Thank you for this time that we have to meditate on you, help us to see you clearly.  Lord, would you empty our minds of distraction?  Will you open our spiritual eyes and ears so that we may see and hear you clearly?  Will you calm our pride, our anger, our anxiety, our fear, and our self-righteousness so that we can listen with our whole heart?  Will you quiet the lies of our enemies, let the Truth ring in our souls, and prepare us to hear of your great might and glory?  Thank You for yourself, your gift to us, an unworthy people.  Thank you for your grace that takes the pressure away from us as it frees us to be what you intended.  Thank you for your mercy on us in our broken state.  Thank you for a right relationship that brings us back to you.  May it continue to bring us to you in humility with a proper view of who we’re not in light of who you are.

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God Man

Jesus is an amazing figure if you believe Him to be fully God and fully man.  It’s a paradox and simply won’t be contained by the most eloquent of our dissertations or argumentations because it defies logic.

To get an idea of what he must have been like, we could look at someone like Peter who was with him a lot.  I can only imagine him in a state of panic when Jesus from his sleep awakens to terminate the storm on command and in Power.  How with His Power Peter was able to step out on the water, and the awe he must have felt before he sank.  To see people healed, not just some superficial healing, but when Peter chopped of someone’s ear in his anger, to see that ear made whole before his eyes.  Jesus was holy, he was scary.

At the same time, how much of their relationship was mundane?  Sure Jesus was always the teacher, but you’re sitting around a fire eating fish that you caught that morning.  Then you’d be spending a day walking here or there.  Talking to families, meeting people… all things that are not scary, they’re just boring.

I imagine just as Peter was getting used to things and feeling comfortable, Jesus would do something truly frightening.  Would Peter be wondering “what did I get myself into?” or did he eventually get used to seeing some of these things, particularly nearer to the end of Jesus’ ministry?  Maybe they should make a movie about Peter’s life that highlights the struggle of accepting a God/Man.

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Conversations With a Teaching Fellow

In my New Testament Survey class I have a few interactions with my “teaching fellow” that I must do.  Already they’ve been the subject of a couple of posts.  This last one was interesting, so I will reproduce it in its entirety.

I’d like you to integrate this course (NT501) with your future ministry goals.  For example, is there anyone you look to in the NT as a role model for the kind of people-focused ministry you are interested in?  Or is there a particular passage that serves to guide your ministry desires?  Take this in any direction you wish, just tell me how the NT can play a role in your future ministry.”

This last question seems rather difficult, perhaps because it’s so open, or maybe because I have such a fuzzy picture of the future.  I admire a good number of people who appear in the New Testament as well as the authors who wrote certain books.  They influence me greatly by their example in what they wrote and how they obviously lived.  Then of course Jesus is a model to us all…

As someone who converted when he was 16 from an anti-Christian atheism (wow I’m in the 3rd person) I feel a particular affinity towards Paul and his conversion story.  I grew up in California liberalism and was for the causes of secularism, globalism, and choice that mark our liberal societies.  I adamantly pursued these goals against Jesus and yet when I found Christ, I realized how I was persecuting Him unjustly in a lot of ways.  My life changed and I was called into ministry, and now I feel called to the lost, and hope to fight for their salvation.

However, now I look at Peter, his betrayal of Christ, and how Christ built him up to be a rock for the Church.  Again, my life is full of turning from God, and Christ being gracious enough to not only forgive, but to build me up to ultimately serve God to the greatest capacity (I hope) I can.  I am passionate about the Church and the building up of this Body that Christ established.  Unity and Strength coming from humility and service are the pieces of Peter I hope to emulate.

Then, (and perhaps more oddly) I look to James.  The language in his book is peppered with biblical allusion, the words of God are his own, and his arguments are a hard-hitting summary of what life in this Body is really all about.  It’s difficult to hear, but I’m impressed that he knew God so well.  Hopefully, the things in the Bible will become so much of me, that what I say sounds oddly familiar because it’s what God has put on all of our hearts.

Finally, I look at John, (or Juan, as I am) and I see someone “Blessed by God” who considers himself beloved of God and I am grateful to be in good company.

Are there any people you look to in the NT?

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