Thursday, October 27, 2005

Selling My Indulgences to Spend More Time in Purgatorio

A brief interlude from my current series of posts - I just added Purgotorio to my blogroll, for good reason. Marc Heinrich is a witty Christian Hedonist (from Minnesota, surprisingly) who blogs entirely through the medium of pictures. More importantly, he also likes Radiohead. Go check it out - it's not the usual fare in biblio-blogging and it's worth your time. Express enough interest, and maybe he'll invite you to stay at his house.

40 comments:

marc said...

Sooo does this mean you are staying at my house?

Rose~ said...

He IS a funny guy! I enjoy his blog and yours - but his doesn't take as long to read as yours, Sharad. ;~)

TheBlueRaja said...

Marc,

Hopefully next year? I'll definitely be dropping you a line if I can muster the time/money to go! Beers are on me if I'm able . . .

Rose,

That's really the brilliance of marc's blog, isn't it? No reading! After the next few posts they'll be getting smaller, I promise!

Ben Myers said...

Thanks, this is great.

Mike Perrigoue said...

Raja...

Any chance you know of the guys (I won't name them here for obvious reasons) that pastor Cornerstone Church in Leavenworth WA? Unless I'm confused, I believe I've read a review you did for the Clerestory on the Prayer of Jabez.

You don't look the same without the utensils in your hands.

TheBlueRaja said...

I'm the guy! I only carry the forks to formal events, like banquets and weddings. When doing book reviews, I dress down a bit.

Ephraim said...

I've listened to the first of your "Will of God" series. I like it. I'm looking forward to hearing the rest.

btw, my neighbor's brother is a pastor in Nampa. Grace Works on E. Amity Ave. His name is Lynn Barrows. Do you happen to know him?

Shalom

TheBlueRaja said...

I haven't heard of him, but it certainly is a small world, isn't it? I'm always surprised to know that anyone's ever heard of Idaho much less heard of someone in Idaho.

Anonymous said...

I am sorry to pop into a post, your email is impossible to find.

I wanted to thank you for something completely unrelated to your post I'm intruding on and your blog.

And that was the discussion you were involved in at Pyromanic regarding spiritual warfare.

I had the misfortune of crossing Phil J. It appears to me he will post a truth and then self destruct defending it.
I don't get that.

It's taken a bit of time reading him to understand why I step away.

You engaged with grace, and I appreciated what you had to say and the articulate way you said it.
Thank you.
Blog on!

Bene Diction
http://benedictionblogson.com

TheBlueRaja said...

No need to apologize! You're of course welcome to post anywhere about anything. Thanks so much for your kind comment. I went to Master's and lived in the abrasive and combative environment there for awhile, and most of those folks don't ever feel that it's anything but a gracious and wonderful place, since there's very little dissent from the views expressed there. Apart from the odd face-kicking fellow Christians get from them, most of them (Phil included) are genuine brothers, even if they're sometimes easier to love from a distance.

Shoveler said...

I've been looking everywhere for you! Captain Furious has gone wild!


Doxo

TheBlueRaja said...

Everyone else is number 2 . . . or lower.

Mike Perrigoue said...

Explain more about Masters and the environment. I'm intrigued. Especially since I may pursue an seminary education there...

Paul Lamey said...

Interesting take on TMS Blue. I was at a school called TMS at the same time but it must have been another TMS because I don't remember things in such the same way. At least you don't sound bitter.

TheBlueRaja said...

Yeah, Paul - I know it's not everyone's take on the school (as I said), and I'm genuinely not bitter about it. I'm not saying that people weren't generally friendly and accepting, but the more one dissents from some of the views espoused there, the more one tended to be viewed with suspicion. It just wasn't the kind of education I expected, and there were a lot of things about it I found pretty sub-par, especially the way that you're constantly reminded that it's the greatest place on earth and the most faithful to the Bible of just about any other institution in the world. Also, my brother and a few friends who graduated from there were treated pretty shabbily, in my view (in the vein I described before).

I wouldn't dream of discouraging you from going, Mike, but it's got its strengths and weaknesses, like every seminary.

TheBlueRaja said...

Mike,

If you'd like to talk some more, we could do it offline -- you cou could always email me (yadavfamily at velocitus dot net) if you'd like. Thanks!

Bobby Grow said...

I am a graduate from another, "evangelical seminary" on the west-coast, and would affirm the Blueraja, they all do have their strengths and weaknesses.

One of the weaknesses, looking from the outside/in, of TMS is what blueraja has said; at least I've received the same testimony from others who have attended TMS. And that is that there is a bit of an sectarian attitude present within the walls of TMS.

Raja, is this sectarianism, in your opinion, driven by the belief, from TMS's perspective, that they are the vanguards of the true gospel (i.e. the gospel according to Jesus); as opposed to other more liberal seminaries such as Talbot and maybe my own alma mater, Multnomah Biblical Seminary?

marc said...

I'm gonna guess that a bit of ol' Johhny's Mac's scottish certainty has trickled down a bit.

Bobby Grow said...

Ah yes, Marc, his progeny . . . the "MacArthurites"--good old Scottish Commen Sense, eh ;)!

TheBlueRaja said...

Bobby,

I'm not sure about Multnomah, but you can be certain that Dallas, TEDS, Talbot, Fuller, Regent, Claremont, Westmont, and everything oversees (besides those places planted by/affiliated with TMS) have the status of sliding down the slippery slope of theological liberalism. Even men like I. Howard Marshall, J.I. Packer and F.F. Bruce are considered "liberal" in some sense. Karl Barth is seen as a full blown wacko. Even handed, judicious and balanced critiques were something of a rarity in both theology and exegesis classes, and contemporary issues in theology weren't even addressed.

Here's what Marc's referring to, even though those who rest on these sorts of philosophical foundations of course vehemently deny that they rest on any philosophical foundations.

Bobby Grow said...

Multnomah would be in the same vein as Talbot and the others--so I guess I'm "just slippin" then. I have tried to point this out, to some Master's graduates that I know, i.e. that they are not immune from pre-understandings/and epistemological comittments that are are prior to; and thus shape the way they make interpretive decisions when engaging in exegesis of the text of scripture. There seems to be a failure to want to acknowledge this, even when provided with substantive examples from history, i.e. Cappadocians, or Augustine (Platonism), or most of the Reformed heritage (i.e. Thomism/Ramist)--but to no avail. I guess they'll (i.e. the perspective under discussion here)we'll have to reap the consequences of at least their naivete'/at most their arrogance relative to their un-willingness to be self-critical when it comes to epistemology and exegesis.

How did you make it Blue, being the critical thinker you are, at such an institution? And, out of curiosity, hadn't you heard of TMS's reputation before you enrolled?

Scottish common sense realism and certainty are a connection I never made with MacArthur and ilk--c'est la vie.

TheBlueRaja said...

Bobby,

I hadn't heard anything about TMS's reputation before I went - I become a Christian only four or five years prior to going, and I didn't really have any way of knowing how to choose a pace; so I simply went where my pastors went.

As far as my own "critical thinking", I would characterize my growthin in study as being driven much more by God's work on my character than by an intellectual pursuit for its own sake.

I have much more of a passion to characterize others accurately in my reading, to see profit where i can, to focus on what is helpful instead of on what I can blow out of the water, and to keep my own limitations, presuppositions and stupidity before me in study so that I'm not too quick to draw my guns.

In other words, when I started seeing my studies as inseprable from Christian "one anothering" and the fruit of the Spirit (instead of excusing sin in the name of "fighting for the truth") God used that time to grow me both spiritually and academically.

All of that sounds uncomfortably triumphant and self-congratulatory. But if you remember that I'm only speaking from my own experience and not criticizing anyone else's, and conisder that I'm embarassingly ignorant on any number of theological topics (especially for the time and resources I have at my disposal), hopefully it'll sound less so.

Bobby Grow said...

Blue said,

"As far as my own "critical thinking", I would characterize my growthin in study as being driven much more by God's work on my character than by an intellectual pursuit for its own sake.

I have much more of a passion to characterize others accurately in my reading, to see profit where i can, to focus on what is helpful instead of on what I can blow out of the water, and to keep my own limitations, presuppositions and stupidity before me in study so that I'm not too quick to draw my guns."

Thank you Blue, I need to learn to better communicate my criticisms of "others"; and at least make known that when I am critical I am speaking to myself--as much as "them" (whoever or whatever that might be/and not that I've arrived anywhere). I fear that instead of inviting people for constructive dialogue, I end up repelling and alienating myself from brothers/sisters in Christ with whom I would hope to spur on to love and good works.

I'm working on this area; and humility is required "from both sides" in iron sharpening iron process.

Thanks for your transparency, Blue, I've appreciated the interaction here.

marc said...

Bobby,

I agree with your thoughts about Blue's comments.

As to your use of the word "Transparency"; I find it becoming kind of a Evangelical buzz word these days. I propose a new term, perhaps...

seethroughness.

Bobby Grow said...

You're right Marc, I was going to say "authenticity" ;) instead of "transparency"--but now I have a new word to add to the semantic domain "seethroughness".

I really do appreciate your "seethroughness" Mr. Blueraja

Jonathan Moorhead said...

Sharad, since you are a "contributor" to the TMS Alumni blog, have you considered sharing your feelings on TMS with the other alumni?

Mike Perrigoue said...

Yes, good point moorhead. I would like to see how other alum land on this issue.

TheBlueRaja said...

Jonathan and MIke,

I hadn't considered posting about my personal experiences or criticisms of TMS for various reasons, including the obvious one: bitching and moaning posts aren't usually the most well recieved ones (I remember Dr. Rosscup actually using that exact phrase about whining students). Making this comment here was relavent to "Anonymous", who percieved the same combativeness I've experienced in the TMS/GCC enviornment, and to Mike, who wanted to know more. It's not a subject I think is worthy of a post, or even further elaboration than I've given here (which is why I told Mike to just email me if he wanted to talk more). End of story. There will be no film at 11.

Jonathan Moorhead said...

Sharad, the reception of criticism largely depends on the perceived motive behind the words. The acrimonious tone on your blog (“bitching and moaning,” “I went to Master's and lived in the abrasive and combative environment there for awhile,” “odd face-kicking fellow Christians get from them,” “you're constantly reminded that it's the greatest place on earth,” “my brother and a few friends who graduated from there were treated pretty shabbily”) does not send a positive message.

Thusfar, your comments show no true love for the Christians ministering at TMS. Why do I say that? Love would desire the brothers there to grow in order to become a mighty instrument in God’s hand. For you to say, “It's not a subject I think is worthy of a post” shows little concern.

Every seminary has its strengths and weaknesses. It is wrong for us to see weaknesses and then to attack (ironic that you are doing the very same thing that you are attacking TMS for) without true concern for correction. True love corrects in gentleness with prayerful hope of reform.

Personally, I loved my time at TMS, and I loved (and feared) the godly men that taught me. Were there weaknesses? Sure, but I don’t mock them as na├»ve and arrogant because they have not been “enlightened” as I have.

Remember, the TMS Alumni blog “HAS BEEN CREATED FOR THE PURPOSE OF BEING A PLACE THAT ALUMNI OF TMS CAN COME TOGETHER FOR REUNION, MUTUAL EDIFICATION, PRAYER REQUESTS, QUESTIONS, CHALLENGES, CONCERNS, AND ENCOURAGEMENT.” Lets try to keep it at that level. Thanks Sharad.

Bobby Grow said...

Just to clarify, Jonathan, I said:

"I guess they'll (i.e. the perspective under discussion here)we'll have to reap the consequences of at least their naivete'/at most their arrogance relative to their un-willingness to be self-critical when it comes to epistemology and exegesis."

That wasn't Blueraja, that was me. And that has been my experience with just about every person I have ever interacted with from the Master's Seminary (of course that's a huge generalization, but I don't believe it's a hasty one)--BTW, on a personal level, I'm not necessarily attacking character, just doctrinal praxis. The sectarianism reflected by the Master's seminary is undeniable--i.e., MacAruthur's understanding of the gospel, and if not, it's a "less than" type of gospel that needs to be corrected.

I don't think I heard Blueraja attack anyone personally, did he? His experience can be different than yours, without having to be called on the table for it. He is more than able to speak for himself (much more able than I)--I'll stop. I just wanted to clarify, that I used the language of naive and arrogant (BTW-that's not to say I'm not those things--and I'm working on it), not Raja.

TheBlueRaja said...

Thanks, Bobby. I appreciate it.

marc said...

Lets get this discussion back where it belongs... about PURGATRIO!!

Blue I can't believe you haven't come over and commented on the variegated gnomism post. I thought it might go over the head of most of my readers, but not you, or Bobby for that matter. BTW Bobby, I like your blog and linked to it on PURGATORIO.

TheBlueRaja said...

My sentiments exactly, Marc! Put the spotlight where it belongs!

I just saw your JVN post and fell out of my chair in convulsions! And I thought it was funny, too.

Bobby Grow said...

Thanks Marc, I agree, this article was all about YOU :)--how did we end up talking about TMS ;)? I also linked to your Purgatorio, at my site--I didn't realize you had 2 blogs (i.e. the music worship one & purgatorio); well now I know--and I'm the better for it :-). Cool images on your site!

Andy S. said...

Hey Raja! I just tried to email you at the address you left here in the comments ("yadavfamily at velocitus dot net") and it bounced back. What's up w/ that? Can you email me (asnider at tms dot edu) so I can contact you? Thanks!

TheBlueRaja said...

Andy,

That's because I'm an idiot. It's actually yadavfamily at msn dot com.

hettinger said...

yadavfamily at msn dot com

the old obfuscation and clarity principles butting heads again...

Anonymous said...

Bene - I found only one reference to your blog at Pyromania, and it was basically a link back to something you posted. Was your "run-in" with Phil Johnson something he posted at YOUR blog? Can you post a link to it?

Blue Raja and others - I don't understand why you connect Phil Johnson with TMS. He doesn't have any affiliation with the school either as a faculty or as a graduate, does he?

--a confused reader, just trying to make sense of why this comment thread is seething with so much deep bitterness

TheBlueRaja said...

Anonymous,

When you look at Pyromaniac's blog and aggregate all of the "bible-zine" covers, comics, satire, provocation, exposes, etc. you'll see that nothing posted in this section comes close to the kind of sharp edged criticism offered on that blog (which isn't to say I don't appreciate any of that. I often do).

"Seething bitterness" doesn't really describe anything posted here, although there has been some mild criticism of TMS, mostly personalized to my own experiences there.

As to the connection with Phil Johnson, while not a professor at TMS, he is an influential pastor at GCC, the campus upon which TMS resides. The culture of GCC is directly related to, and relevant for, appraisals of the environment at TMS.

Hope that helps. But with all of that said, remember the point of this post -- and that is, of course, that Purgatorio rocks.

Mowens said...

Sorry to return to TMS, but I think two comments are in order: 1) regarding their failure to recognize their own presuppositions, see R. Thomas' own work, "Evangelical Hermeneutics; 2) I'm inclined to think that their sectarian approach to Christianity functions as a easy means of defending views that are not as firmly biblically based as they would like to believe.