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Extracurricular Activities 6.14.14 — Christ's Ascension, "Cosmos," & 10 Reasons for Seminary
Question: Why does God the Father always have to use his left hand? Answer: Jesus because is sitting on his right hand! That’s a corny joke I know, but a good opener to talk about Jesus’ ascension, the moment which marks Jesus’ departure from the earth and the beginning of his heavenly session.
Sadly, the ascension is something of a poor cousin in terms of both the theological import attached to it and the relative neglect of Ascension Day even among churches that would identify themselves as liturgical.
Like many of you, I watched the entire FOX series Cosmos for the last several weeks and which concluded this past Sunday. More than once I found myself in stunned awe of the incomprehensibly huge and old universe we live in, and how much science has been able to learn about it...
Though less prominent than with the original series (with Carl Sagan, which I also watched when it come out), there did seem to me to be an undercurrent of impatience with religion in general, or better with Christian fundamentalism in particular...
What disappointed me a bit, though, was how little awareness there seemed to be of how religious people, including Christians, genuinely synthesize cosmic, geological, and biological evolution in their thinking.
...With Christian or Jewish presuppositions, or indeed Muslim, then if you believe in what it says in Genesis 1 about God making heaven and earth—and the binaries in Genesis are so important—that heaven and earth, and sea and dry land, and so on and so on, and you end up with male and female. It’s all about God making complementary pairs which are meant to work together. The last scene in the Bible is the new heaven and the new earth, and the symbol for that is the marriage of Christ and his church. It’s not just one or two verses here and there which say this or that. It’s an entire narrative which works with this complementarity so that a male-plus-female marriage is a signpost or a signal about the goodness of the original creation and God’s intention for the eventual new heavens and new earth...
I returned yesterday from an invitational conference in Oklahoma City on dating papyri (sponsored by the Green Scholars Initiative, hereafter GSI). Out of respect for the presenters of papers, I won’t pre-empt publication by giving details. But I can say that I found the presentations on Carbon-dating especially informative and also of some significant import.
Essentially the GSI has access to the Green Collection of manuscripts & Bibles, and several papyri were chosen for rigorous Carbon-dating. The papyri in question has been dated first palaeographically, and then very small snippets were submitted to three respected laboratories in the USA for independent dating by Carbon-14 processes.
Today’s (re)post offers ten reasons for going to seminary, and I know full well that many today both find seminary irrelevant and contend they are “successful” ministers without seminary. I’ve heard not a few of said contenders say that they think seminary would have hurt them. I disagree mostly… and, yes, the MDiv or a seminary degree is the union card or accreditation level for many churches … so here then are ten reasons to attend seminary:
Extra-Curricular Activities is a weekly roundup of stories on biblical interpretation, theology, and issues where faith and culture meet. We found each story interesting, thought-provoking, challenging, or useful in some way – but we don't necessarily agree with or endorse every point in every story.
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