Friday, April 29, 2011

A New Name for the Same Great School

For those who didn't know, I am about a year away from graduating with my Master of Divinity degree. Yesterday it was officially announced that I will graduate from a different school than the one I began at, all without ever transferring. I began my graduate education at Mars Hill Graduate School, but we have now changed our name to the Seattle School of Theology and Psychology.

I find myself a little ambivalent about this change. On the one hand, it was DEFINITELY time for a name change. There is a mega-church here in Seattle that goes by the same name, so it has been incredibly confusing to explain to people that my school is in no way connected with the church. Mars Hill Church is undoubtedly doing many good things here in Seattle, but their theology is very, very different than ours and I don't always agree with the things they teach or the actions they take, so it has been frustrating to constantly be connected with them. I find myself repeatedly defining my school based on what we are not, rather than being able to gush about the things that we are, the real reasons I love my institution. It will be refreshing to tell people what school I attend and not immediately need to qualify that statement.

On the other hand, I LOVE our old name (and am not crazy about our new one). I love what it stands for. I love that Mars Hill was a place that Paul went to engage genuinely with his culture, a place of knowledge and wisdom and philosophy. I love how cool Mars Hill sounds. Maybe that sounds trite, but I don't care. Mars Hill Graduate School just rolls off the tongue a little better than the Seattle School of Theology and Psychology. I love that the initials don't sound like a sexually transmitted disease. SSTP sounds like I've caught something just one step down from chlamydia.

So I begin my time at the Seattle School of Theology and Psychology with both joy and resistance, both excitement and hesitation. I am sure it will take me a little while to adjust to the new name, but I am excited for what it means for our institution. It definitely feels like a new chapter in our story, one I am glad I get to be a part of. The following videos were produced by the school, and were both incredibly helpful for me in this time of transition. The first was just released last night following the official name change, a look forward to life in a new era. The second is a video from our founder and former president, Dan Allender. It is a helpful look back at why Mars Hill was chosen as the first name and why it will always be special to me and so many others.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Royal Wedding Annoyance

Maybe I just don't understand why everyone is so excited about the upcoming royal wedding between William and Kate, but I find myself annoyed at all the coverage. Just yesterday we had dozens of people killed in terrible storms in the South, and yet this dumb royal wedding was still monopolizing the news stations. I appreciated waking up this morning to this funny, cynical commentary on the royal nuptials. Enjoy!

HT:  The Ongoing Adventures of ASBO Jesus

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

A Crazy Couple Weeks

The past couple weeks have been incredibly busy. Two weeks ago we flew out for Bismarck, ND to see our family. Mandy's sister just had another baby, Savannah Grace, so we were excited to spend a few days getting to know her. We also spent 2 days up near Winnipeg, celebrating with my sister-in-law at her college graduation. It was so great to see her school for the first time, to see the place that she has spent the last 3 years.

We flew back to Seattle last Wednesday and were instantly inundated with Holy Week. We traveled out to Maple Valley on Wednesday night for choir practice, Thursday night for the Maundy Thursday service, twice on Friday for Good Friday services (which I preached at), and again on Sunday for Easter. Crazy. When you add in that I spent most of the day Thursday mountain biking in Bellingham, WA and all day Saturday rock climbing at Gold Bar, it makes for a crazy couple weeks. While I do get a bit of a break, it doesn't last long seeing as though I am attending a conference all day Friday and Saturday and preaching again at church on Sunday. Wow.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Leaving Town for the Week

Tomorrow is my last day of class for the semester, so after I turn in some last-minute assignments I am a free man for about 2 weeks. The first week will be spent in North Dakota and Canada. Mandy's younger sister, Kathy, is graduating from college this weekend, so we are flying out to see her big day. She goes to college near Winnipeg in Manitoba and we have never had the chance to go visit her, so this will be our last chance.

We will also get to see our newest niece for the first time. Mandy's older sister, Summer, just had her third child in January, Savannah Grace. We are excited to meet her and to hang out with the rest of Mandy's family. Needless to say, I probably won't be blogging for a few weeks as I will be busy traveling. I will be reading Jayber Crow by Wendell Berry and Free for All by Tim Conder during the next few weeks. I'm excited to finally be able to read whatever I want. Talk to you all soon.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

The Pain of Honesty

Most of you know that I am a huge fan of Rob Bell, have had him as a seminary professor, have read everything he has ever written, and have been listening to his podcasted sermons for about 8 years. At some times over the past 8 years he has even been more of a pastor than anyone else in my life. It is painful for me to watch him be criticized by part of the theological world, usually by people who have not even read his book(s). This newest cartoon from the always-brilliant Jon Birch of ASBO Jesus is stunningly intelligent commentary on the current situation. Enjoy!

HT:  The Ongoing Adventures of ASBO Jesus

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Rob Bell's Confession of Faith

Many of you may know that the pastor, speaker, and author, Rob Bell, has taken incredible criticism over the past month for his latest book, Love Wins. The unfortunate fact, however, is that much of the critique was offered prior to the book's actual release, by people who had not yet read the book. Many assumed that Rob was going to say something heretical and claim to be a universalist, which he did neither. I know this because I have actually read the book, which is a great introduction to healthy conversation about heaven and hell.

The following video is a statement he made at his church on Sunday. I hope you enjoy it. I hope others will stop slandering this brother in Christ. At least read the book first before you do it!

HT: Homebrewed Theology

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Amazing Double Play

Baseball is back and I couldn't be more excited! I'm a huge Mariners fan and have been anticipating opening day for months. The Mariners are not expected to be very good by most people (myself included), but won the first 2 games before losing the next 2. So now, sitting at 2-2, I am a bit confused about who this team actuallyis, but still hopelessly pessimistic.

The M's lost last night to the Texas Rangers, which was disappointing. One incredible defensive play made the game for me though. With the bases load and no outs, Texas hit a ball up the middle of the infield that Jack Wilson turned into a double play. The play was the most athletic, artist play I've seen in a baseball game in quite some time, so I thought I would share the video with you all. Seriously impressive, Jack. Kudos. Now hopefully you guys can start swinging the bat the way you're flashing the glove!

Click HERE to watch this incredible play.