Sunday, July 31, 2005

Final Blog from the UK

Well, this will be my final blog from the UK, the highlight of my trip is probably NewDay - [the link will take you to an online diary of the whole event!] the reason I came to England. My lecture went down well, despite a few technical difficulties with laptop's and DVD's freezing in places they were not supposed to do so! I'm thankful to my friends for inviting me out - it was well worth the effort!

Blogging may slow down for a while as I process the books I've got, the emails I'm behind on, the friends I've neglected for the month I've been away for, the girl whom I've missed more than anything else, and the pile of work waiting for me at home... Joy, Joy, unspeakable Joy! We've got a Student Camp the weekend I get back and then I'm off for two days and then the race will start up once again. Maybe I can get back to the intended purpose of this blog. MY THESIS!
So to all those I met, interacted with, had fun with, worshipped GOD with, and then said good-bye too, thanks for making my trip so fab.
See ya next year - hopefully!

Friday, July 29, 2005

Theological Musings

Between Scot McKnight and Michael Bird I find myself in a bit of a quandary as to whether one, namely myself, should blog on these matters. The ancient debate of Calvinism vs. Arminianism is one in which I have been scarred intellectually, [and possibly emotionally]. It's a touchy subject for me. I've seen it cause so much division and parting of the ways, that I try and avoid the topic like a bad rash.
My testimony is surprisingly similar to that of Bird's. Although, my shocking encounter took place in October 95. At NewDay I had the privilege to bump into my first ever group leader at Summer Camp in 96. Greg Scot was simply amazed to see how much I had changed, developed and grown! It was a nice reminder of how much of God's grace I have been exposed to.
Having said that, I am almost convinced that the debate has been superceded by New Testament scholarship. The metaphysical concerns of this old debate seem foreign to the text of the New Testament and early Christianity up until Augustine. For example, if one had asked Paul whether a Christian could lose their salvation, Paul would have responded: Don't even think about that, just press on and follow Jesus until you die, For HE is worthy! The thought of God doing something like picking a handful of people who were automatically in or out is a metaphysical concern that appears alien to the scriptures. It's like asking what was Paul's view of Critical Realism. "What's that?" Paul would have questioned...
But maybe I'm being naive. Maybe the worldview of 2nd Temple Judaism does have space for such metaphysical and ontological musings and speculations. But I'm not convinced...
Terry Virgo and I were chatting as we wondered through the bookshop at NewDay, which was a fascinating exercise. We come from such different backgrounds, experiences and theological presuppositions - yet the concern for the Church, the passion for Jesus and our wonder for HIS grace was almost identical... So there is space for movement and disagreement among brothers and sisters in The Way. As long as our primary creed, The Jesus Creed, remains the same...

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Wish Lists

Michael Bird has an interesting "wish list" of books that he would like. I would like to note that as a student, I think any generous benefactor should probably sponsor me first! Nah, just joking. But I am surprised at the list of books that he wants, that he doesn't have. I agree, that the fact that he considers himself a historical Jesus specialist and doesn't own a copy of these books suggests that he could be slapped in the face with a very soggy fish, or that some benefactor should be very gracious indeed...
I recently obtained Meier's 3rd volume in the Marginal Jew series, which is very good! Jesus and Judaism was a present when I left New Zealand, so that one's close at hand. Davies & Allison, along with Keener and Bockmuehl are on my shelf, and Nolland hasn't been published yet, so there's hope for me yet! The rest are outside the gospels, so I'm not desperate for them. The joy of being single [and a nerd who spends so much time reading] does afford me the opportunity to buy a few more books! [But the being single bit, might change very soon!!!] I share the desire to get Hengel's Four Gospels and the One Gospel of Jesus Christ but that will have to wait... There are more pressing issues desiring [actually demanding] my $$$.
Phil Jenkins book, The Next Christendom is a fantastic read. There's a summary article by the author, available entitled, The Next Christianity.
I feel sorely convicted by Bird's post 10 ways to tell if you're a NT Buff. I lucked out on #'s 3 and 4, and my Greek paradigms are on my bedroom wall - so I guess that's worse? My copy of BAGD is electronic, so it can't sit on my non-existent coffee table. So is my copy of the Mishna for that matter. #6 is becoming so annoying. Don't people realise the importance of this stuff? Umm, nope! But other than that, # 1 is the worst. I always think, and can sometimes even hear, the echoes of a certain commentary when someone is preaching. Or I realise the sore truth that the person doesn't know what a commentary is, and I'm being subjected to a torturous reading of the text which is making me think crazy things for which I shall have to repent later.
I am really inspired by Ben Witherington's quote that: Good exegetes are not born, they are made and molded, and the process is more helpful and less painful if you are learning from the best. That's why I'm enjoying England so much. I definitely plan to do my Ph.D. here. There are so many good universities and academic institutions. Now if only I could convince Scot McKnight to come back to the UK, so that he could supervise my thesis! Or maybe Tom Wright will take up an academic post again? Or George Caird will be proleptically raised from the dead? That would be cool!
I digress. Nottingham is FAB at the moment, and we have around 5000 people on site - so that is just great. My Seminar on The Mettanarrative of Scripture is on Saturday morning. Please pray. The notes are written, the research done, but if the god and Father of the LORD Jesus the King isn't gracious and kind, I'm merely wasting people's time and my own. And I don't want to do that... So please...
Then I fly home on Tuesday! YAY! I can't wait to be back with ......
I'll leave you guessing.

Friday, July 22, 2005

Conversion Theory

In his latest posts, Scot McKnight does a good job of summarizing his excellent book: Turning to Jesus: The Sociology of Conversion in the Gospels. One of the more recent posts looks at consequences of conversion. I'm really hoping to explore this more. I have yet to read any historical Jesus scholarship about what repent & believe might mean politically and socially.
Wright explores this within a Jewish matrix in JVG but doesn't grapple with what this would mean within the Roman Empire. Maybe we need a "Fresh Perspective" on Jesus' call to discipleship as counter-imperial? If Augustus was worshipped as god, and sacrifices and loyalty were required for him and to him, then surely Jesus' message of "repent and believe" [which I would better conceive as "embrace and entrust"] would be politically significant, even dangerous? Maybe this is my doctorate, just waiting to be conceived and written!
If the gospel, is the royal announcement of fantastic news, then the summons to join Jesus - embracing him as the King/Messiah - would have had to have had political implications. Did Jesus think about this? Was this part of his aims and intentions? If his mission was to the Gentiles, would this constitute a mission to convert the Empire to the rule and reign of YHWH himself, through and in the mission, message and person of Jesus?
Thoughts? Comments? Criticisms?

Esse Quam Videre

Take me to the just side of justice.

And the right side of righteousness,

Not the vindictive side of vindication,

for otherwise--- I do not wish to go.

Lead me to the passionate side of compassion,

And the gracious side ofgrace,

Not the condescending side of mercy

for otherwise I remain remote--- for pity's sake.

Push me past the truant side of trouble

And the pleasant side of pain

Not allowing me to wallow in it---

Lest I marvel at my martyrdom

Carry me to the service side of serving

And the sacrificial side of sacrifice

Not the calculating side of caring for otherwise,

my generosity remains too frugal.

Put me outside my selfish Eden

And beyond my creature comforts

Without raising Cain in my life

for I desire to be a remarkable, not a marked man.

Fill me with an inextinguishable blaze

A peerless and fearless love,

Not a faltering flame or a fumbling forgiveness

for I desire to be christened with real Christ-likeness.

May the Spirit make me spiritual

And the Son shine in my life

And the Father find me faithful,

Lest I miss the Kingdom's goal.

Ben Witherington

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Stealth Blogging?

One is perplexed that a New Testament scholar like Ben Witherington can have his own blog for months, and no-one knows, or is talking about it.
possibly due to the nature of the blog, Ben talks about the spreading of Christianity in Russia and Movies, Movies and more Movies, but even then. I'm also surprised at how many comments and blogs there are on recent films. Is Ben changing careers? He seems to be quite the cultural critic, responding to the use of cell-phones, comics, to poetry, and to movies et. al.
And when on earth does he grab time to watch all these movies, write the blogs and still produce the amount of literature that he manages to produce, which I think is quality stuff? Either this is a different Ben Witherington, and I doubt that, or here we have the making of an evangelical super hero with stealth blogging abilities and... I don't know what else is needed to do what he does...

Pilate & stuff

Talking about W. Carter and his excellent research on the gospel of Matthew, and now John too. His latelst project is another book on John, maybe a commentary? Much like his one on Matthew? Wow, that would be interesting! And there's a fab article online by him on Pilate. It details some of the issues inherent in doing the kind of research I am trying to do, which is helpful stuff to know.
anyway, London is doing good. But today is research day, so alas, no exploring! Which is a good thing cause then I won't be tempted to buy any more books! I couldn't resist getting: The Written Gospel which is a collection of articles on the gospels form, content, origin and development, edited by Markus Bockmuehl and Donald A. Hagner. Cambridge Uni. provides a nice excerpt for thos interested. I'm particularly looking forward to reading: Eye-witness memory and the writing of the Gospels by Martin Hengel, one of the world's finest New Testament scholars. Apparently, Richard Baukham is set to write a book on this topic. That would be excellent, given his intruiging article about it in the first JSHJ issue.
back to work...
Doing some research, I cam across an article: The Secret of the Transmission of the Unwritten Jesus Tradition by Birger Gerhardsson. Published in New Test. Stud. 51, pp. 1–18. For those interested. I don't know how long it will be available for, so download it and read it later if you can't now. Gerhardsson's book: Memory and Manuscript: Oral Tradition and Written Transmission in Rabbinic Judaism and Early Christianity [Eerdmans, 1998] is solid piece arguing for much of the Jesus Tradition.
My collection of these sorts of articles is growing rapidly, so that whenever I have some free time, I can always find a good article to read in my own personal saved library!

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Matthew Matthew Matthew

FINALLY, another decent commentary on the Gospel of Matt. Thanx to Dr. Bird [Speaking by faith!] for the heads up on John Nolland's new NIGNT commentary on the gospel of Matt.

Having devoted the past ten years of his life to research for this major new work, John Nolland gives us a commentary on Matthew that engages with a notable range of Matthean scholarship and offers fresh interpretations of this most Jewish of the Gospels. Without neglecting Matthews sources or historical background, Nolland's volume focuses on the story that Matthew tells and how it is told.

Nolland maintains that the Gospel of Matthew reflects the historical ministry of Jesus with considerable accuracy, and he brings to the table new evidence for an early date of composition. With remarkable facility he connects Matthews story with its source in Mark as well as with other parts of the biblical narrative. Other features of his commentary include an introduction summarizing key information, accurate translations of the Gospel based on the latest critical Greek text, and thorough bibliographies for each section. Students, teachers, and preachers of Matthews Gospel will be delighted by these features no less than by Nolland's invaluable verse-by-verse comments.

I'm really excited by this new commentary because solid commentaries on Matt are few and far between! Davies and Allison are a must have for any serious scholarship but for straight exegetical and historical study, I'm still going with Keener and France. Morris and Hagner were unhelpful at best and just resorting to theology at worst. not that there isn't a place for theology in a commentary, but I found these two authors resorted to theology far to quickly without actually exegeting the text and struggling with its meanings and meaning. Keener is the best for historical criticism and back-ground information. The primary sources given could keep any scholar busy for a long time! I've not read Luz on Matthew, but from what I've heard its pretty good. So yeah, if it comes out in September [hint hint, it's someone's B-day in September!] I'll have to think about letting someone get it for me [hint, hint].
Enough hints, I want this commentary!
UPDATE: Silly me forgot to mention Warren Carter's seminal commentary on the Gospel of Matthew: Matthew and the Margins: A Religious and Socio-Political Reading (Maryknoll: Orbis Books, 2000). This has been a tremendously helpful commentary for all the background information on Roman Imperialism. On that, I just managed to get a copy of Ittai Gradel's excellent book: Emperor Worship and Roman Religion [OUP, 2002] Wheeler offers a fare review of the book which has its origins as a doctoral thesis under Simon Price, whom many will know as the author of Rituals and Power: the Roman Imperial Cult in Asia Minor [CUP, 1984]. This book paved the way for research like that of Carter's, Horsley and of course, mine!

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Meier & the Cross

Well, almost. Over at Deinde, Mark Cheeseman has some Concluding Thoughts on a series of lectures given by J. P. Meier. Cheeseman makes the comment that Meier was questioned as to why Jesus was killed? Apparently, Meier took the same line as Sanders.
Meier's answer was along the lines of E. P. Sander's solution to this problem, probably no surprise given that Sander's also views many of the conflict stories as inauthentic. Probably the most interesting part to his answer was the observation that Caiaphas and Pilate, among all the Jewish and Roman leaders of the era, survived substantially longer than most of the others who held similar positions. Furthermore, their periods of leadership are roughly the same. Meier suggested that they lasted as long as they did because they were able to work effectively together, and most importantly, were together effective at heading off the sort of thing that happened in 70 C.E. In essence, they were good at engaging a policy of pre-emptive strike (Meier actually used that term with a bit of a wink at its most recent usage), in which they could pick the troublemakers early on and get rid of them before anything came of it. Eventually, Jesus poked his head up too far in some of the things he did when he went to Jerusalem the final time (Meier goes with the Gospel of John on this one, that Jesus went up to Jerusalem a number of times and 'ministered' there). The policy of pre-emptive strike rolled into play and Jesus was able to be conveniently done away with at the time most people were busy preparing for the Passover feast. [Italics mine.]
I wonder why Meier didn't develop this further. Or maybe he did, and Mark just hasn't mentioned it. It would be strange for Meier to merely adopt this line of thinking without developing the counter-imperial stance more. Meier views the conflict stories between Jesus and the Pharisees as inauthentic, so he must provide another plausible hypothesis to explain this. I think he's right concerning the Roman government operating on a "pre-emptive" strike, but this must be developed.
I wonder if scholars will begin to adopt Horsley's thesis more effectively into a full blown portrait of a counter-imperial Jesus. I know that's certainly what I would like to explore. For me, the more I read the gospels, the more I feel as if the major issue Jesus is challenging is idolatry. Repent and Believe only make sense within the context of an Israel that has once again forsaken YHWH and embraced the idolatry of self, odd practices and compromise. Notably, Rome was an IDOL. Everything and everyone drawing attention, affection and allegiance away from YHWH was to be challenged by Jesus. And even more bluntly, Jesus was claiming that affection, attention and allegiance to himself was in affect as good as to YHWH. This was offensive and dangerous to both Israel and Rome, and that is why Jesus died. Well, that's what I'd like to argue from a close reading of the gospels. But I'll need to wait a while to do that...

Power Play and the Gospel

The big older stories of who we are and what we're here for have been challenged and deconstructed. This is, in a sense, turning modernism's rhetoric on itself. Modernism, (the movement which began with the eighteenth-century Enlightenment) made its way, though writers like Voltaire, by attacking the big, over-arching story told by the church. postmodernity has now done the same to all the great stories by which human beings order their lives (‘metanarratives’), not least the stories of 'progress' and ‘enlightenment’ which modernism itself made its stock-in-trade. The Bible, rather obviously, offers not only some fairly substantial individual stories about God, the world and humankind, but in its canonical form, from Genesis to Revelation, tells a single overarching story which appears to be precisely the kind of thing people today have learned to resist. Like all metanarratives, it is instantly suspected of being told in order to advance someone’s interest. It is, people suspect, some kind of power play.[1]

This snippet from Tom Wright’s new book, Scripture and the Authority of God, is a fantastic spring board for me to share my thoughts on this pivotal topic. I must confess that postmodernity is absolutely correct that the metanarrative of scripture [the all encompassing story from Genesis to Revelation] is a power-play! The German philosopher Nietzsche was correct to suggest that life and relationships are a will-to-power. But Nietzsche’s conception of power was obscured by several factors we need not explore here.

It is my contention that both Nietzsche and postmodernity are fundamentally wrong in their unwarranted assumption that all power-play’s are intrinsically bad. Human experience had taught Nietzsche a certain perspective on ‘power’ and Nietzsche had presumed that this perspective of power was universal. However, that presumption is invalid even in the world of human experience.

The beauty of scripture, and the truth about God that it unveils, is that it tells the story of power that is given - not taken. The creation account is one in which the all powerful Creator powerfully displays his majesty by ordering the cosmos, giving life to it’s beauty and then creates those who are given power and authority to accept and enjoy this lovely creation. God gives his creatures, the pinnacle of creation, the power! The power to know who we are, the power to unlock our potential, the power to know and to love in authentic relationships, with God, self, others and creation. God comes to Adam [and Eve!] and invites him into a partnership with God whereby Adam is given governing power over creation.

However, we have abused this power and authority and ruined our relationship with God, ourselves, others and creation. Now, we are further destroying ourselves [exchanging the truth about God {and by implication then, everything else} for a lie!] by forsaking, forgetting, and forgoing this empowering story. Postmodernity is in danger of throwing the baby out with the bath-water, in 'incredulity to metanarratives’ [2]. We must discover through careful investigation the liberating story of the gospel that empowers us, not destroys us!

"This is Love", said John the apostle, “that we lay down are lives for one another - as Jesus the King laid down his life for us”(1 John 3:16). In this verse, and in the life, teachings death & resurrection of Jesus, the gospel’s concept of power is seen in laying down one’s life to empower others to make decisions and actions that are most beneficial for others! God does not regularly impose his will upon others, but rather wills-to-empower us, to love HIM and serve HIM because that is both what we are created for and what will benefit us most as God’s creatures. Piper has noted that “God is most glorified in us, when we are most satisfied in HIM” [3]. And the liberating fact is that nothing satisfies like an infinite, omni-loving, fantastic and authentic GOD. In other words, nothing will fill the gaping hole within our souls, except Jesus.

I notice that in several miracles stories the gospels present, Jesus asks “what do you want from me?” For example, Mark 10:51 Jesus asks: "What do you want me to do for you?" I'm sorry and don't want to sound obtuse, but that has got to be the biggest DUH question around. What is Bartimaeus really going to ask for, other than his recovery of sight? Some money? Some sympathy? Maybe a new matt to sit on? Maybe a place with the Messiah? The question is so obvious that we miss its impact: Jesus is empowering Bartimaeus by giving him the choice. Jesus doesn't just do it, he waits for honest communication [relationship] and then only acts accordingly. This is a prime example of Jesus' attitude and actions with women, and others on the margins of society. Jesus empowers the human being because he understands their identity [creatures of the Most High YHWH] and their purpose [They are to Love YHWH and people holistically].

We should embrace a suspicion of a postmodernity that says we cannot know We may not be able to know through the means which has been provided by pre-modern and modern means, but there is an epistemology of love which has proved fruitful and faithful in my life, and the lives of those around me this epistemology invites the world to “taste and see that the LORD is good”[Ps 34:8] This epistemology is found in Schweitzer’s call to discover the Unknown, through faithful obedience and fellowship with Jesus, his people, and his world.

Because, this is truly and helpfully empowering in every sense of the word. Through critical interaction and relationship with what is, who is and where we find ourselves, the Unknown is discovered and unveiled and found in the face of Jesus of Nazareth.

[1] N. T. Wright, Scripture and the Authority of God, pg. 4 [2] Lyortard, The Postmodern Condition: A Report on Knowledge, pg. xxiv [3] Piper, The Supremacy of God in Missions, pg. 27


Well, not exactly, but a new found friend called "Pete" from East Grinstead has kindly allowed me to invade his office and steal some broadband... YAY!

London has been amazing! Did the whole of London over two days, everything from the London Eye, to St. Paul's Cathedral which was by far the best experience of this whole trip, sight seeing wise. The best experience, apart from meeting new people was actually a prayer meeting here in East Grinstead on Saturday night. We started at about 9:45pm and ended at about 2am. The Joy of being YOUNG! A gathered group of Students and those in their twenties were there to pray for the Up and coming NEWDAY event, which I'm privileged to be a part of. It was a significant time and I feel that God has some significant plans for them as they pioneer into this community with the model set by Jesus. I'm recommending that they grab Scot McKnight's rad new book, The JESUS Creed, and work through it first with their leaders and then with their "glo" groups [glo groups resemble our 'tribal' groups back home.
I'm hoping to do some blogging on various things I've been reading, but I've also got to check and recheck my lecture for NewDay, making sure all the bugs are out - and all the deep stuff in. Thanks for the prayers, its been well worth it.

Saturday, July 16, 2005

What is Consensus?

What is Consensus? The issue seems vastly important if we are to gain ground in establishing what scholarship actually says about certain issues. I want to know how and where one can validate a claim to consensus? If it's just a feeling gained from interaction with the literature, people and thoughts of those around about a view, that doesn't really seem like a consensus to me at all.

I think scholars must be far more specific in what they are claiming. For example, timing. When did the consensus develop? Who are the major proponents of the consensus? Is the consensus continental or universal? Is the consensus constrained by traditions such as evangelicalism or fundamentalism?

It seems plausible that if a view/position can be shown to be held by a large number of various scholars from various traditions and academic backgrounds and has a reasonable history with several key players going in a certain direction, then a consensus has been established. Of course, this is more vague than specific [making it still unhelpful] but these are the ingredients that a consensus should have.
thouughts and criticisms?


Well folks it looks like I'm in London! I spent the day wondering around, and found my way into St. Paul's Cathedral - WOW! What an experience of the GREATNESS of YHWH, and their awe for the GOD of creation. It was wonderful to explore the place in depth and I even managed to pick up some more literature [don't have any clue when I'm supposed to read all the literature I've gathered on this trip!!]
I'm missing blogging at the moment, just because I'm all over the place and am not plugging my laptop in anywhere to read mails and stuff. It's just random visits to the Internet Cafe's which gets rather expensive after emailing people and checking the latest updates. Ah, the students life!
However, when I get back home, I'm planning to tackle the problem and issue raised by mark Goodacre's post: What is Consensus?

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Exploring Oxford

Greetings friends and fellow bloggers. As you'll know from my last entry I'm having the privilege of exploring parts of the UK before speaking in Nottingham at the New Day conference. I'm currently in Oxford, checking out the Library and exploring the town. WOW, it's quite an amazing little place. I found the most deadly book shop with all sorts of precious gems that ended up costing me a small fortune...
Oh well, I guess it's not every day one gets to visit such an intellectual centre and although I won't be studying here [although dreams of one day doing post-doctoral studies...] I am leaving with a pile of books that will keep me well informed and able to engage with the thoughts and teachings of those who lecture and advance their views on this prestigious campus. I'm hoping to go to Wycliffe Hall later today, but time is ticking and so I must dash...
I'll be in London later this week, and then on to Cambridge next week which will be a super treat. :) I am chuffed about this trip and am glad to have this opportunity. Thanks to those who made it possible... May our gracious Father in Heaven, bless ya sox off...

Sunday, July 03, 2005

Off To the UK

I'm off to the UK on monday so I won't be blogging for July. Thanks for all the emails, comments, prayers and encouragement. I hope to blog about it when I get back, but the season will be hectic. Remember, GOD is always looking for ordinary people to play significant roles in his unfolding drama of history. God is so amazing, and far more than what mere words could ever express.
For HIS name and renown are the desires of our hearts!

Friday, July 01, 2005

The Drama of Scripture

One of my hobbies of late is reading up on scripture and story. I am excited by Tom Wright's notion of scripture and history as an unfolding drama. In the section "Theology, Narrative and Authority" in The New Testament and the People of God, Wright says the Biblical story consists of "five acts":
1-Creation; 2-Fall; 3-Israel; 4-Jesus. The writing of the New Testament-including the writing of the gospels-would then form the first scene in the fifth act, and would simultaneously give hints of how the play is supposed to end." (pp. 141-142)
Now two scholars have taken this approach, with minor alterations, and have told us the story of scripture and our place within this story. There book is a helpful introduction to the whole field of using the category of "STORY" to introduce people both to scripture and theology.
The Drama of Scripture has been written to tell the biblical story of redemption as a unified, coherent narrative of God's ongoing work within his kingdom. After God had created the world, and after human rebellion had marred it, God set out to restore what he had made: "God did not turn his back on a world bent on destruction; he turned his face toward it in love. He set out on the long road of redemption to restore the lost as his people and the world as his kingdom." The Bible narrates the story of God's journey on that long road of redemption. It is a unified and progressively unfolding drama of God's action in history for the salvation of the whole world. The Bible is not a mere jumble of history, poetry, lessons in morality and theology, comforting promises, guiding principles and commands; it is fundamentally coherent. Every part of the Bible-each event, book, character, command, prophecy and poem-must be understood in the context of the one storyline.
The authors have even put together a helpful website that accompanies the book. It has helpful articles and reading guides as well as powerpoint slides to help people understand both the story line of scripture, and our mission within that story. It is a must read for those interested in this field! One of the ways I believe that we are going to get mission into the church's DNA is to tell the story of YHWH, the King and their Spirit and how they have chosen to include us in their never ending story.
Once we realise who we are, where we are, what's wrong, what the solution is and what time it is in this unfolding Drama, then our identity, purpose & place where we belong will become abundantly clear. We will be compelled by his love into his mission with his people through his Spirit. Incidentally this is what I'll be lecturing on @NewDay 2005 in Nottingham in a few weeks. I hope to use the image of EXILE to tell the story, but it is so foreign to a biblically illiterate generation that I'm having a few doubts. I plan to use the Matrix trilogy as a backdrop to enlighten them as to the biblical imagery but this is quite hard to do in a one hour lecture that mush convey and cover so much material. But YHWH is faithful and we shall attempt the impossible in HIS strength!