1. Fear is an imagination of the future without the reality of God.
2. Entertainment is a fundamental tool of formation of character.
3. I can find no justification in the Scriptures for thinking as a conservative/republican or liberal/democrat. There, of course, my be some overlap in conviction. And the lack of that justification does not mean it is not allowable. But I can only assume that if the Scriptures were our true starting point, we would hold those labels and convictions lightly or not at all regardless of the ridicule we would be assailed with.
4. I feel more at home in this world when on a hike in the woods.
5. One thing I have learned as a Counselor is the way we talk to each other matters.
6. Contempt is an acceptable habit in our culture.
7. Do not be impressed with the study of Psychology. Most texts on the subject talk very little of how the ancients thought about the subject. I have one text in my possession right now that gives 90 percent of it’s writing to the past 150 years. So don’t be too impressed.
8. You will not enjoy watching God provide for you if you do not create space for him to do so.
9. I wonder if we have ignored “the authorities, …the cosmic powers of this darkness, …evil, spiritual forces in the heavens,” to our personal and collective detriment.
10. I want to live like Lazarus, who after having been raised, now lived the truth of “For you died, and now your life is hidden with Christ in God,” and “the power of his resurrection.” My guess is that when he heard the authorities wanted to kill him, he responded with, “What? I cannot be killed for I have already died! Let them do what they want with me. I know the power of resurrection.”
for 7 and 9, I’ve been reading some books by a pastor from Ghana named Esther Acolatse on the nexus of counseling and spiritual warfare in African theology that has been fascinating. She pointed out something interesting about divergences in theological liberal and conservative wings of Western Christianity. The post Wink post Bultmann demythologized approach tends to translate the powers into abstracted economic and political concepts, while conservative/evangelical groups tend to construe spiritual powers mostly in individual therapeutic/counseling terms. She’s written about how African Christians can praise God in services but rely on charms and amulets in day to day life and sometimes I wonder whether that still happens in the West but in different forms.
I’ve been reading a pile of books on spiritual warfare, exorcism, and diabology for reasons I won’t get into in a comment past saying I was looking at those fields when I was considering seminary–but Acolatse seems to have found a disconnect in Western Christian approaches that bracket off powers and principalities to political systems that oppress people on the “left” and obstacles to personal fulfillment on the “right”. Amanda Witmer’s Jesus the Galilean Exorcist highlighted something I noticed isn’t discussed much, how Jesus’ exorcisms were often PUBLIC and involved both healing of the demonized and a restoration of them to the communal life from which their unclean status precluded them. That has gotten me thinking about how in American Christian writing in the internet age this double-edged aspect of exorcism as a subset of healing splinters out into the social exclusion question or the purity code question in the contemporary West to the exclusion of keeping the two connected. Jesus cast out unclean spirits and restored people to fellowship and said “go and sin no more”. It often feels like American pop level Christian authors have been prone to just one or the other of these but not embracing both.
another thought on 7, have you read Ephraim Radner’s A Profound Ignorance that came out recently? He discusses the shift in definitions of pneumatology from philosophical discourse on the nature of the spirit/soul through to a branch of natural science that could be considered fluid dynamics through to the most recent definition of systematic theological discussion of the third person of the Trinity. It’s kind of a blast to read. It also might thematically connect with your observation about how “not far back” psychology books go, maybe–it’s interesting that Radner pointed out how Spirit became spirit became zeitgeist as Western modernism evolved. I’m about halfway through A Profound Ignorance now but I’m heartily endorsing it on the fantastic first half I’ve finished so far this year.
By way of a contrast, some of the academic monographs I’m reading on exorcism as healing highlight that in the ancient world exorcism was not necessarily the one-and-done method. Amanda Witmer, I think, dwelt a bit in her book on how Jesus’ exorcisms were presented as sometimes happening in stages and in one of the scholarly monographs I’ve read there’s an interesting observation that even in the exorcism accounts Jesus is described as casting demons or unclean spirits out but not destroying them–if we take that with Jesus’ parable about the returning unclean spirit He taught, this suggests to some scholars that Jesus was warning that the demons that got cast out could come back, that a person could have a demon cast out and then when the demon returned it could come back more powerful than before … I’m speculating that perhaps if we consider that in counseling terms, Jesus’ teaching warned that having your “personal demons” cast out doesn’t mean they can’t come back worse than before if you aren’t vigilant.
Just added that one to my list. Sounds like my kind of read.