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“We need to remember that emotional intensity is not a guarantee of a valid prayer.
Goose bumps or tears are not a measure of faith.”

John Ackerman, Spiritual Awakening: A guide to spiritual life in congregations

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Reading in the Economy of Grace

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Much of John Webster’s Holy Scripture: A Dogmatic Sketch has been ridiculously dense for me to read through.  I might yet actually write something about what I’m reading, but I’ve found this chapter “Reading in the Economy of Grace” easier to read and beneficial.

In discussing the creaturely act of reading Holy Scripture (a.k.a. the Bible), Webster says:

We do not read well; and we do not read well, not only because of technical incompetence, cultural distance from the substance of the text or lack of readerly sophistication but also and most of all because in reading Scripture we are addressed by that which runs clean counter to our will.  Reading Scripture is thus a moral matter; it requires that we become certain kinds of readers, whose reading is take up into the history of reconciliation.  The separation of reason from virtue in modernity has made this acutely difficult for us to grasp.
Nevertheless, a Christian theological anthropology will envisage the act of reading Scripture as an instance of the fundamental patter of all Christian existence, which is dying and rising with Jesus Christ through the purging and quickening power of the Holy Spirit.  Reading Scripture is thus best understood as an aspect of mortification and vivification: to read Scripture is to be slain and made alive. And because of this, the rectitude of the will, its conformity to the matter of the gospel, is crucial, so that reading can only occur as a kind of brokenness, a relinquishment of willed mastery of the text, and through exegetical reason’s guidance towards that encounter with God of which the text is an instrument.

p. 87-88

All U of T students have access to free copies of Microsoft Office (Word, Excel, Powerpoint, Outlook)

So, I’m sorry if this isn’t new to you, but it is to me.  I’ve already finished an undergrad (plus OISE) and have now started a masters degree at U of T.  During this time, the mail server changed (we now have @mail.utoronto.com email addresses) to a Microsoft based online version of Outlook – which has at been visual improvement.

But to cut to the chase…

We have access to Office 365 – an online version of Outlook, Calendar, People, OneDrive, Tasks, Word Online, Excel Online, PowerPoint Online, and OneNote Online.  This is useful when making small adjustments, or viewing an attachment.  To access this just click “Office 365” when you are logged into http://www.mail.utoronto.ca

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HOWEVER! most of us do the bulk of our writing on programs/apps “offline”.

I’ve been rocking my 2008 Mac version since the start of my undergrad (and have been using Pages for the past couple years… then converting to .docx when professors can’t handle .pdfs).

See the “Install Office on more devices”? (on the screenshot above)

You can install Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Outlook all onto your Mac or PC by clicking Install.

It really is that easy.  All you need is your UTORid and password.

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“One ironic example is our talk of Scripture as ‘the Word of God’ … The scriptural word for Scripture is Scripture.”

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James Barr’s Fundamentalism contains its misapprehensions about evangelicalism but also its penetrating insights, and one of the latter is this criticism, that for evangelicalism the Bible often has the form of authority but not the reality.  Doctrinally we are committed to a theology of the Word, but precisely that commitment can hinder us from actually being a people of the Word, because the fact that we accept that theoretical commitment provides us with a false sense of security, as if it guaranteed a real commitment to scripture.  The result is that it does the opposite.  We love to tag texts onto things, as if that made them biblical.  One ironic example is our talk of Scripture as “the Word of God”; in Scripture, phrases such as “the word of God” or “the word of truth” are not used to refer to Scripture.  The scriptural word for Scripture is Scripture.

John Goldingay, Key Questions about Biblical Interpretation, pp. 104-105.

Really enjoying life: a very brief story

Indian priest Anthony de Mello told this story:

“A rich industrialist from the North was horrified to find a Southern fisherman lying leisurely beside his boat. ‘Why aren’t you fishing?’ asked the industrialist.

“‘Because I have caught enough fish for the day.’ said the fisherman.

“‘Why don’t you catch some more?’

“What would I do with them?’

“‘You could earn more money,’ was the reply. ‘With that, you could fix a motor to your boat, go into deeper waters and catch more fish. Then you would make enough money to buy nylon nets. These would bring you more fish and more money. Soon you would have enough money to own two boats… maybe even a fleet of boats. Then you would be a rich man like me.’

“‘What would I do then?’

“‘Then you could really enjoy life.’

“‘What do you think I am doing right now?’ said the fisherman.”

Joel Houston on FOXnews

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http://video.foxnews.com/v/2296942312001/hillsong-united-preaching-faith-worldwide-/?playlist_id=2296942312001

Joel Houston on how his church is making huge waves using music to spread a message.

I wrote my final paper on Hillsong United last year.  Interesting how something like that is now mainstream news.  It’s cool to be ahead of the curve.

You can read my paper here.

It’s been a while…

I haven’t blogged in a while.

Self-reflection is a practice that is heavily stressed in Teacher’s College – to the point where its value is often depreciated.  Many complain.

But today was the second day in a row where I took time to listen to music for the sake of listening.  As a musician and music student teacher, I rarely make time to enjoy or use music as therapy (un-wind, relax, comfort) and I seem to forget how affective and wonderful it is to listen to music.

I have a forty-five minute subway ride back downtown from my teaching placement and its been refreshing to listen to Iron and Wine’s Our Endless Numbered Days these past two days.  Soft guitar playing and relaxing melodies with the occasional heavier bluesy track, it has brought peace and calm to my busy and restless heart and mind.

Writing reflections on my day in this mood is a very effective use of my time.

Take some time to listen to what you need to.  Take some time to reflect.