Thursday, July 06, 2006

ABCs and 123s

Dang, does anyone ever blog anymore? I guess I can't talk, since my posts have become less regularly scheduled. . .and since I don't have time to read blogs anyway, I should shut up. :)

So what's up in the durrrty South with Lorena, you ask? Well, Greek is a fascinating yet very difficult language to learn. I made an A on my first test, though! I've made some great friends already and looking forward to meeting more who join us in August. I'm tired and looking forward to resting a lot this weekend. I seriously spend 8+ hours each weekday either studying or in class. . .I eat, sleep, and breathe Greek. I didn't realize that my brain could work like this; at the end of 7 weeks, I should be fairly competent at reading and translating an ancient language. Every night, I'm cramming more vocab in my head, and I'm amazed that it's all still in there (for the most part). Very interesting.

I saw some Austin folks this week--a family from SOTH was in town and I spent time with them and their extended family. Tons of cousins, aunts, and uncles. . .I felt like part of the family, and it was really sweet.

I found a book at Cokesbury that intrigued me, so I ordered it online and started reading it today. It's called If Grace is True: Why God Will Save Every Person. Good timing, considering the fact that Rob and I were discussing something along these lines this past week. For the most part, he and I have very similar theological opinions and ideas. . .but the whole idea of this book causes a lot of discussion between us. I find that I agree more and more with the idea that God will save every person, which some Christians might say is 'radical.' But I don't care--I think that's what God is: radical. If grace is really true, then what does that mean? How will that change our lives? How will that change the world? I'm curious to see how this book (written by two well-known Quaker ministers) will affect/encourage my thoughts. . .

I lead chapel next week for the first time. . .and of course I'm assigned to the very first day! At least I have a partner, and at least my classmates aren't too intimidating. . . :) Of course, I wouldn't be in seminary if I weren't comfortable leading worship. But oftentimes, there hasn't been an accompanist, which means I'd have to lead the hymns a-capella. . .we'll see how it goes!

Later, friends.


Blogger sarah said...

Hey, that book sounds really interesting! I've been thinking about that idea myself, lately... how grace means that God saves everybody, because Christ died for everybody... and yeah, I find most people don't tend to agree with that. So I guess it is fairly radical.

Glad you're enjoying your time at seminary so far... I'm so proud of you! Happy Greeking!

6:21 AM  
Blogger trishy said...

Hey girl! I'm so proud of all tht you are doing. AND I want to borrow that book from you when you are done.

AND I WILL BE BLOGGING THIS AFTERNOON. I've probably lost all readers, but I just haven't felt like it to be honest. I was tired of writing about how I was worried about everything in my life. Now that weight has been lifted and I feel like talking again. So keep that in mind everyone...Trishy will be blogging again.

I can't wait to see you, friend. I WILL be driving there to see you before you know it!

10:17 AM  
Blogger trishy said...

nobody reads blogs anymore, apparently. how can we remedy this?

hope greek is good this week!

8:43 AM  
Blogger Becky said...

Congraulations on your first A!! That's very awesome. I'm glad that everything is going well for you up, or down, there...whichever one it is. I'm still super proud of you!!
Good luck on leading your first chapel, I'm sure you'll do amazingly!!

9:22 AM  
Blogger Tamber said...

Your current book of choice has definitely got me thinking. I know that Christ died for everyone and that grace is extended to everyone, but where does that leave the people of Sodom and Gomorrah? God clearly chose to destroy them because of their sin. I know that is "Old Testament stuff" and that we are living in the time of grace brought about by Christ, but God is also the same now and forever. The same God that destroyed that city because of their sin is the same God that rules today. What do you think?

8:52 AM  
Blogger Lauren said...

Tamber, I definitely see your point. God is the same now and forever. And I haven't totally made up my mind on this issue, because we all know that it's not up to us who gets saved and who doesn't (though sometimes we'd just LOVE to have it all figured out, right? :). . .but your question is a good one. I welcome all thoughts on this (and other future theological reflections) because the way I see it, we're all in this together! We need each other to bounce ideas off of.

I do believe that God is the same God then, now, and forever. . .but what I'm wondering is: if Jesus' purpose was truly to eliminate sin from the world (in the sense that, though we will still sin, we will not perish because of it), then doesn't that change God's relationship with us? It doesn't change God , but it changes how God relates to and treats us. I believe that, since Christ's resurrection, God no longer sees us as horrible sinful creatures who can never do anything right (no matter how hard we try). Christ has made us blameless in God's sight, which is hard-- almost impossible-- for us to fathom. To God, we are considered righteous no matter what we have done. Still, our response to this gift should be good works-- acts that benefit God, God's people, and the world. But no matter what, we will fail. That's where we need the grace. And the current issue I'm pondering is how exactly that grace is extended to all of God's children. I guess some people (like my Dad, who sent me an e-mail commenting on this post yesterday) would say that yes, the grace is extended , but if someone intentionally refuses to embrace it, then that person has chosen to reject the gift and therefore may not receive it. . .

And then, you have people who a) don't believe in Christ, b) believe, but live unhealthy lives (spiritually, emotionally, etc.); and c) don't believe in Christ AND live unhealthy lives (e.g., Hitler). I don't have time to go into this, but maybe someday we will.

Whew! I don't even know if that all makes sense. I have to head back to Greek class now, but this is so much more fun! :)

(By the way, Tamber, I miss you and have been thinking about you a lot lately. Hope to see you sometime in December when I'm in Austin over Christmas break. Love ya lots. :)

10:00 AM  
Blogger Tamber said...

I agree with your Dad about people refusing to embrace the gift that is freely given. There are too many places in the Bible where it is clear that there are people who will be eternally separated from God. I think this separation is not God's desire, but a result of his justice. I think CS Lewis once said that hell is not locked from the outside by God but from the inside by the people who have refused to accept God.

Christ's coming does change our relationship with God when we choose to accept that changed relationship. I also think that Christ did come to defeat sin, but the victory has not yet been fully realized. One day there will be no tears, but we are still living in the age where sin has been conquered but still allowed to exist. This in-between time while sin is still allowed to continue is a period of grace in itlsef so that people have time to respond to the grace of God before sin is finally defeated and eliminated at Christ's return.

And I have also thought about you and would love to see you at Christmas!

1:50 PM  
Blogger Lauren said...

Well said! I agree with all of that. I'm curious to see what my book reveals to me as I continue to read (which I'm finding it hard to find time to do lately!)

I'll say the same thing that I told my dad: For some reason that I can't explain, I feel the Spirit leading me to check this out further. There's been a stirring in my heart regarding salvation that tells me that I need to continue to explore what I truly believe. Our experiences of God and of the Holy Spirit are unique to each of us; my personal experience calls into question some things that I feel I need to struggle with a bit more.

And, as I've often noticed about myself, I often get wrapped up in a certain idea for a couple of weeks, and then get tired of wrestling with it. It seems like I'm never 'solidified' on some issues, and I like that. The important issues are solid (that Christ died, was risen, and has freed us from sin, death, and the grave), but some things I don't know if I'll ever have figured out. And to me, that's okay. God's probably like, "Lauren, if you'll stop analyzing me for a second, you will experience me a lot more intimately."

I need to remember that. :)

3:34 PM  
Blogger Tamber said...

Well said as well. I don't think that we should ever stop seeking the truth. After all, Christ is the way, the truth, and the life. The issue I continue to wrestle with is the idea of predestination and free will. I think about it a while and always come to the same conclusion as Normal Geisler: we are chosen, but free!

5:44 PM  
Blogger trishy said...

I've enjoyed your back and forth discussion, ladies. I can't wait until I'm in a frame of mind to jump in. My mind is all boxes, moving, wedding details, and "don't forgets"...

Really, though, some great thoughts to chew on.

7:16 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

1)God Desires That All Men Will Be Saved
2)The Bible Teaches That Not All Men Will Be Saved
3)Therefore, Not All Men Will Be Saved

It is important to remember that Jesus, more than any other Apostle or Church Father, taught about the doctrine of Hell. When one starts to say that all men will be saved, it not only undermines the authority of Holy Scripture, but the authority of Christ Himself.

Tamber’s comment on the C.S. Lewis’ passage is key, as far as a 20th century influence goes. God is a necessary being, and by definition contingent beings (humanity, etc.) have to depend on a necessary being to exist. But what happens when the contingent being willingly rejects the necessary being? Well, the consequences from such a choice can only be seen through spiritual eyes. The passage referenced by Tamber is highly crucial in this discussion. It is not God who sends human beings to Hell. The contingent being who rejects God and goes to Hell is subhuman; meaning what actually goes to Hell is less than human. The contingent being who accepts God’s gift of grace is more than human, meaning what goes to Heaven is a humanity redeemed and exalted like that of the body of the resurrected Christ. Perhaps a good illustration would be helpful here. I recommend you read Lewis’ last installment of the Narnia saga for a narrative perspective. (*Notice not all of the four children who entered the wardrobe in the first book end up going to Aslan’s Country*)

Now, from a relational perspective, an illustration would be very helpful. Suppose you love someone very deeply. This person can either be a sibling, a parent, a friend, or a lover. And after a long while in this relationship, this other person decides they no longer want you around in their life. It would not be love to force them to be with you; it is similar to our relationship with God. God is lover, parent, sibling, and friend…but above all He is love. And if God forces a contingent being to follow Him, to be in relationship with Him despite the person’s free will, He would cease to be love, and therefore, cease to be God.

9:13 AM  
Blogger Lauren said...


9:24 AM  
Blogger Tamber said...

Lauren, I bet you never thought that mentioning book you are reading would generate this much discussion! I don't think I have more to add that "Anonymous" hasn't already said.

When is your chapel?

1:40 PM  
Blogger Lauren said...

ha ha! You're right--I did NOT know that this would cause so much discussion. . .but I like it!!

Chapel was Tuesday, and it went well. I lead it again in a couple of weeks. I found myself getting nervous right before worship began! It's not about me, though. . .had to remind myself of that. :)

7:05 PM  
Blogger Tamber said...

I am so glad that it went well. Now you can focus on Greek again without distractions!

6:10 AM  
Anonymous be said...

nice blog here. I came here from another blog i was just reading.

11:58 AM  

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