Category Archives: essay

the end is nigh

Avoidance hasn’t even been the name of the game in regards to study this semester.

In fact, I think plain old ‘over it’ has been.  And it’s not like I’m not enjoying the lectures, it’s just been a long slog. Part time study is hard work.  I wish for the days when I had the time and energy to focus on study. But the end is nigh, and I must choose to focus!

So all that being said, my last essay is on the topic of ‘the covenant’ and tracking the theme of the covenant through the Old and New Testament.  Lovely! (as much as I try to deny it, the fact that I would use the word ‘lovely’ in regards to an essay topic is glaring proof that I’m a nerd!).  I am enjoying the topic, it is chunky and relevant and a lovely reminder of God’s unwavering commitment to humanity.  I have also discovered that NT Wright has some fabulous things to say on the topic, which is making research fascinating and has probably sent the essay in a direction I hadn’t imagined it would go.

This essay is my final piece before I end my Grad Dip, it’s hard to believe it is finally over.  But (baring a fail) in 24 days, it will all be over. Horray for that!


essay (again)

IMG_5553I have to admit, study is a struggle this semester, primarily because there is just so much going on at the moment.  Between now and Christmas we have an interstate wedding, a 4 year old’s birthday, in-laws move to the country, sister moves back to Vic (from the NT), a family camp, kinder duties and activities, a dance concert, book club, church, and… and… and… ! And study!  I really just need to focus and as a dear friend says, ‘suck it up’ and get on with it.  My major essay this semester will look at the following question:

This essay will explore both the Reformation and the post Reformation experience of mission in the light of the new paradigm that came with the Reformation.

Hmm…if anyone has any thoughts or suggestions, feel free to comment!


Llull

I have been pleasantly surprised to discover that I may have actually evolved a little in regards to study.  This semester we have to post one of our essays on-line for the rest of the class and open it up for discussion/thoughts/questions/ideas.  Previously I would have dreaded this, felt nauseated by the concept and avoided it to the last possible moment.  However I posted an essay on Friday (The Life and Ministry of Ramon Llull) and am actually quite disappointed that only 1 classmate has responded (as yet).  I am quite keen to hear people’s thoughts and am looking forward to their input. 

Why the change in attitude? I am still self-conscious about how and what I write and get quite anxious when people read my work.  So why the change?

I am not sure exactly why but I think part of it lies in the essay topic, and part of it lies in realising the wealth of experience and knowledge the people I study with have.   

I had not heard of Ramon Llull up until I had to write this essay, he is quite the enigma in Christian history.  Researching his life and ministry was fascinating.  Llull was a prolific writer whose abilities stretched to many genres.  There is no complete catalogue of Llull’s writing however there is over 280 titles recorded ranging from poetry, songs, autobiographies, doctrinal thesis, books and letters.  Llull’s most renowned work was a method he developed called Ars generalis ultima, The Ultimate General Art, which was essentially a debating tool to be used for converting Muslims to Christianity.  The document was a theological reference by which a reader could introduce an argument or question about the Christian faith and then be directed to the appropriate page to find the answer.  Llull’s methodology and style was revolutionary as it developed the notion of applying logic to science or philosophy, or any number of other disciplines, to demonstrate the truth of the Christian God.  I think I am excited to share a little bit of Ramon Llull’s life with people and am keen to hear how, or if, they found him as interesting as I did (I hope so!).

Once again I also find myself in a class full of interesting and intelligent people who I am growing in respect for.  It is lovely to journey with a group of people who are committed to the process and to learning.  Slightly intimidating, but mostly lovely!


done and dusted

Those of you who have had to contend with my complaining about study this semester deserve medals.  Sadly I don’t have any medals – but I do have cupcakes if that will suffice!  Thank you my gracious friends – I truly am grateful for your support.  

The big essay is done and dusted.  I am quite happy with it actually.  Despite my big ‘opps’ moment of getting dates mixed up, I have loved this subject and the challenge’s it has provided.  I have learnt so much more than I imagined I would.  This subject was previously so foreign and I have had to really push myself to research and comprehend much of the required reading.  I love that process and particularly when the outcome is more than an essay; my theology has been radically transformed over the last 6 months. So I thought I should post a couple of snippets (at my discretion!) from the essay, they will obviously be my favourite bits!

Quick note 1: I have discovered a new (new to me) brilliant thinker, scholar, theologian named Willis Jenkins. I have become quite the fan of his work. He is worth reading if you are at all interested in care of creation theology (particularly his recent article in International Bulletin of Missionary Research is excellent).        

Quick note 2: I am really keen to explore the idea of salvation stories (see below) and the way in which we (Western, Anglo-Saxon, middle class people), and other cultures, not only tell the story of salvation, but what we decide comes under the umbrella of salvation.  Something to keep pondering and work on I think.

Little reminder of the essay questions:

How does a ‘care for creation’ theology fit into a missiological context?  Discuss this relationship between ecology and the theology of salvation, taking into consideration how this affects the mission of the local church.

Couple of snippets:

The present struggle for the church is to displace humans from the centre of soteriology and instead take a careful and original look at salvation to deal with the problems of the environment (Jenkins, 2003:401, 402).  As Willis Jenkins suggests, more than ‘green-washing the church’ needs to occur if there is going to be an appropriate and biblical response to the current environmental crisis (Jenkins, 2003:403).  Jurgen Moltman, like Jenkins, suggests that the church’s salvation stories need to be reconstructed to introduce and implement a care of creation theology (Jenkins, 2003:403; Moltmann, 2000:110).  It will only be as the environment takes it place alongside humanity as having redemption qualities that care of creation will become an essential part of the church’s mission. 

The current environmental crisis leaves the church with a multitude of pertinent questions which will form and define the church’s ecclesiology, soteriology, missiology, and care of creation theology and praxis.  Missiology is more than a framework to validate care of creation; caring for creation has missiological implications and purposes.  Not simply because God has deemed creation to be part of Christ’s redemption, but because the degradation of the earth contributes to the degradation of the poor and powerless.  God has proclaimed that creation matters and that his redemption reaches to the created order. 

Whether or not the church can begin to make a connection between salvation and creation will radically change the way the world views the church, but more importantly, it will also determine the church’s mission to the world.

The local church finds itself in more than an ecological crisis; essentially it is also confronting a new and serious theological crisis.  The manner in which the church addresses the sociological and ecological place it finds itself will determine their way forward.


care of creation

 

IMG_4781I have spent a great deal of time over the last 3 months considering whether the likes of recycling, buying fair trade products or my use of electricity has any implications on my faith or in fact involved my faith at all.  While I am still thinking/reading/considering I am swiftly coming to the conclusion that yes – how I treat and use the earth and its resource’s  is an expression of my faith, whether I recognise it or not. 

It would be easy to feel overwhelmed and depressed about the current environmental crisis we find ourselves in.  And although it is serious and somewhat scary, as someone who believes in the God of Creation, I find myself being challenged and excited about the mandate we have to care for creation.  The salvation story of Christ involves all of creation, not just humanity.   

Below is the first draft on the introduction to an essay I am writing on this topic. It gives a little indication to where I’m heading.

The prevailing understanding of biblical texts and Christian traditions has been defined by its concentration on the relationship between humanity and God.  As a result there has been little attention to the environment in which this relationship takes place.  A close look at Scripture reveals that the natural world is also in relationship with God and must be included in a discussion of soteriology and missiology.


essay

I am attempting to write an essay at the moment (obviously not going so well as I am totally distracted by this and other equally diverting websites).  It is a great essay topic and a great class, but I am finding it difficult to focus.  One of the reasons for this is that the essay is only 2500 words but I currently have 32 pages of typed, single-spaced research notes.   I don’t know what to do with it all.   I love the research element of writing essay’s.  I love finding obscure scholars, old and new.  I love discovering a new perspective on an old idea.  I love stripping back a topic to its bare basics and building it back together and seeing it look totally different to what I started with.  I love learning.

So the moral of the story is – just get on with it!

The class is: Theology, Mission and the Care of Creation

The essay question is: How does a ‘care for creation’ theology fit into a missiological context?  Discuss this relationship between ecology and the theology of salvation, taking into consideration how this affects the mission of the local church.

If you are even vaguely interested in the topic, any of the following are worth checking out:

Berry, R. J. (2003). God’s book of works. New York, NY: T & T Clark 

Bouma-Prediger, S. (2001). For the beauty of the earth. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic

Jenkins, W. (2008). Ecologies of grace. New York, NY: Oxford University Press

Moltmann, J. (1985). God in creation – an ecological doctrine of creation. London, UK: SCM Press

Sider, R. J. (2005) Rich Christians in an age of hunger. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson

Wright, N.T. (2007). Surprised by hope. London, UK: SPCK