Where Are We? A Brief Reflection on the Death of Alfie Evans

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Alfie Evans was a British citizen who died last Saturday, April 28, at just under two years of age, after an extended period of treatment for a neurological condition afflicting his brain. What do the events of his brief life tell us about the world we live in and how Christians should engage it? … [Read more...]

What is “the Way”? Part 1: Fulfillment of Philosophical Aspirations

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Three hundred years before Christianity was a religion, Jesus taught his disciples to walk in “the Way.” Alongside the simple term “students,” his earliest followers most common self-description was "the Way.” But what's that? Categories can help us narrow in on the target. When asked by their Greco-Roman contemporaries to plug themselves into an existing category, early Christians had only one answer. “Although we gather to worship, we are not a religion – much less a mere superstition.” (Superstition was the derisive term the Romans’ used to designate various religions of foreign extraction.) “Although we provide, from our own pocket, … [Read more...]

“Remember Me:” Worship, Stuff, and the Communion of Saints

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Like most congregations, the church that I attend has our Sunday hymns projected onto the screen at the front of the building. This has been very helpful for several members who struggle with eyesight problems. But unlike some congregations, we’ve kept our hymnals in the pew as well. I always like to hold the hymnal in my hand and sing along that way—usually because the projected songs don’t have shape notes, which is the only way I can read music, but also so I can reflect on the words of the songs we’re singing. On a Sunday morning a couple of weeks ago I took the hymnal from the back of the pew in front of me in preparation for the opening … [Read more...]

More Effective Ministry

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I was recently intrigued by a student who shared with me his primary reason for coming to study at Austin Graduate School of Theology.  While heavily involved in prison ministry, he found himself on the receiving end of questions that he had a hard time answering.  And these inquisitive prisoners, who had quite a bit of free time on their hands for reading and contemplating, asked some tough questions. The prison minister admitted that he was getting tired of saying, “I’ll get back with you on that one,” and he sensed a little frustration from the prisoners who also noticed this continuing refrain.  He acknowledged that he … [Read more...]

“O Lord, Our Lord”: The Story Behind Psalm 8 in Timeless

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Here is another story behind one of the songs from the Timeless: Ancient Psalms for the Church Today Psalter/Commentary series. Timeless is a commentary set of all new translations and commentaries on the psalms by established Old Testament scholars for the layperson. Timeless also includes 2–3 new musical settings following each psalm to enhance worship and reflection, study and devotion. Timeless books may be purchased through acupressbooks.com, Amazon.com, or timelesspsalter.com. Professionally recorded CDs and booklets of the music may be purchased through CDBaby.com and timelesspsalter.com. This post is by Deb Dorman, one of our … [Read more...]

Join us for a guest lecture: The Reign of God in the Book of Daniel

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At noon on Wednesday, April 4, Austin Graduate School of Theology will host a brown-bag lecture by Dr. Choon-Leong Seow, Distinguished Professor of Hebrew Bible at Vanderbilt University on the topic “The Reign of God in the Book of Daniel.” Everyone interested in the subject is welcome to bring a lunch and join us in the Hocott Student Commons. … [Read more...]

Philosophy of Religion

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Aristotle began his Metaphysics with the observation that people first began to philosophize out of wonder or marveling (thaumazein).  On those rare occasions that we late modern folks find an opportunity to contemplate things away from the noise, screens, and other distractions, we, too, might experience that same ineffable sense of wonder that motivated the ancient philosophers.  We may find that the universe presents itself to us as a question.  Even when we are confident about its answer (namely, God), the solution itself may raise other questions or puzzles. Although questions of these sorts can be addressed in any … [Read more...]

New Summer Course – Don’t Miss Out!

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// You won't want to miss this exciting new course with Dr. Jim Reynolds! Pastoring in an Age of Spiritual Anarchy July 16-20, 23-27, 6pm-9:40pm … [Read more...]

How Bad Was Martin Luther?

In my Church History (late medieval to modern) lectures this semester, I recently finished the unit on Martin Luther and the beginnings of the Protestant Reformation.  While teaching about Luther, I was reminded of the many commemorations that took place last year on the occasion of the 500th anniversary of the 95 Theses (October 31, 1517).  It seems that nearly everyone interested in church history, including yours truly, was obliged to comment on the legacy of Luther and the Reformation.  One of the overarching themes in many of the contributions, Roman Catholic and Protestant alike, was the tragedy of the schism, which was … [Read more...]

Not in Vain

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What’s in a name? Well, it turns out that the answer to that question is “a whole lot.” Names can be venerated and names can be tarnished. They can follow someone around, and they can come to symbolize character and personality. Names matter. Especially the Name of God. … [Read more...]