Friday, September 11, 2009

Reading John Calvin

I'm looking forward to the theology classes that I've registered for this fall at Reformed Theological Seminary.

In looking at my syllabus, it looks like I'll be spending a lot of time reading John Calvin's "Institutes of Christian Religion."

A number of years ago I read all of Book One and most of Book Four of the "Institutes"...and found it very helpful. I'm looking forward to digging into it again this fall.

I'll write more to keep you up to date on my reading....


Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Interview with Todd Hunter

Here's the link to Christianity Today's interview with Todd Hunter.

Todd and I have crossed paths a few times over the past 20 years, and I'm looking forward to working with him in the future.

In the early 1980s, Todd was instrumental in helping to get a Vineyard church started in Cincinnati (at the time he was pastoring in Wheeling, WV and traveling to Cincinnati to meet with a small group. Later he encouraged Steve and Janie Sjogren to move to Ohio to pastor the group). The Vineyard Community Church, that eventually grew from that small group, is where I worked for several years and where my wife currently works.

I met Todd a few years after that (now nearly 20 years ago) when he led a few Vineyard seminars and workshops that I attended.

Now, Todd has joined the same Anglican group that I am affiliated with...the Anglican Mission in the Americas (AMiA). Later this month, he will be ordained an Anglican bishop.

Joining Todd in the consecration to the office of Bishop will be Rev. Silas Tak Yin Ng (of Toronto, Canada) and Rev. Canon David "Doc" Loomis (of Hudson, Ohio).

Doc currently serves as Canon Missioner for AMiA and oversees a regional network of Anglican churches. Last August, Doc commissioned me as a Lay Catechist in the Anglican Church.

Here are two links to learn more about the Anglican Mission in the Americas (AMiA) and our local network of Anglican churches:


It adds up to: 441

Spending some time this week on music from the eighties (the nineteen eighties that is)....

Anyway, I ran across a site from another favorite Christian band from the 80s, a band called 441.

I've found it difficult in years past to find the band's website, as search engines seemed to give me all kinds of information with the number "441" except for info. about the band. But I was able to find them this week!

Here's the link to their site:

At the bottom of the main page on their website they have a control that you can click to listen to many of their songs for free. (The songs start with a recent live concert but you can scroll down to listen to older studio recordings).

The band's first album was the self-titled "441", released in 1984. A year later the band released "Mourning into Dancing", and in 1988 the band released their third (and seemingly final album) called "Sacrifice".

Over the years, I've enjoyed all three albums, but their first album is probably my favorite (which I think I first purchased in 1985).

Their "break out" hit from that album is the song "Break Out" (which reminds me a lot of the music by the Violent Femmes and the song "Rock this Town" by Brian Setzler and the Stray Cats).

The song speaks of conformity and breaking free from the negative influences of others:

Everybody tells you just what to do
Try this buy that
white teeth get you a girl
You always wonder how clothes make a man
All Jesus wants is you to take a stand
Break out! Break free, it’s your responsibility

(from the song Break Out)

Another song which is a sentimental favorite of mine is called, "Mom and Dad" which expresses a thankfulness and love for one's parents.

Another favorite from the album is the song, "In His Presence", which describes facing difficulty and living with the uncertainty of God's will and purposes:

When I find myself in times like these
I know I can be close to Him
But it’s a while before I can see
Why He’s got me in the state I’m in"
(from the song "In His Presence")

The song then reminds the listener that regardless of circumstances we are living in the presence of God:

In a while I’ll be through this
I’m waiting and I’m watching
And I’m going through a trail time
In His presence I am
In His presence I am
In His presence I am
(from the song "In His Presence")

The album ends with the wonderful song, "Looking at You", which describes the theological idea of sanctification - the process of growing in God's grace and being conformed more and more into the image of Christ. The song uses these words:

I can’t believe it when I look at you I see myself
(from the song Looking at You)

If you haven't heard of the band 441, I'd encourage you to give them a listen.