Good morning everyone! (so much for weekly updates…but at least its more frequent than before)
Last night I began a class on the Prophetic Books of the Hebrew Bible. Well, actually, the first lecture was concerning how to understand interpreting the Bible. It mostly consisted of us reviewing how you can see the Bible historically, as literature and theological. It was interesting and lively as a lecture and a discussion.
In the midst of the lecture we came across an interesting topic that I thought would be perfect for another blog entry. Especially since its still technically January and I missed Epiphany. My professor (Dr. Tremper Longman) mentioned that another biblical scholar Robert H. Gundry has written a commentary on Matthew where the story of the wise isn’t a historical Gospel / tale as many people have interpreted, but a mid rash. This is significant I think (and makes a lot more sense.) Let me explain.
A midrash is a Jewish tradition where characters in the Bible and their tales are expanded on to further explanation a theological point or argue a certain teaching or perspective. The most well-known is the book The Red Tent however there are several more out there on Sarah, figures like Jacob & David. I think Mr. Gundry has a point. Ironically, the wise men story is only found within one Gospel (Matthew) and it is an unusual story consider what elements are standard within the Christmas tale. However, thinking back throughout the Biblical narrative, the added story of the wise men as a Midrash pointing to the involvement of the Gentiles into the Jewish story makes perfect sense. Look at Ruth… the tale of strangers coming into town.
Of course I would like to expand on this further…but class is about to start ;- )
Good afternoon/evening my friends!
So, just as promised, here I am blogging twice in one week! aghast! But I was really motivated this time to talk about something I noticed was a constant theme this year during the Christmas season. Not only was it a theme to be reminded of during the hardships of the month of December worldwide but also I went to TWO separate Christmas eve services where this topic was referenced in the sermon… and, well, there’s a christmas carol “O Come, O Come…”….
Once again, blog delayed. In order to proper blog– must keep up to the daily thing.
So, I figured since the Christian’s year starts just before christmas… what better time to restart the blogging! And as I write this, I am watching the ever christmas favorite “Muppet Christmas Carol.” ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Muppet_Christmas_Carol ) And the reason I prefer this version of the time-honored Dickens’ story is 1) The Music, 2) the Muppets and 3) the Message. Here are the reasons why….
The music for MCC is unique. For once a Christmas movie doesn’t take the traditional songs and bash them or take the department store songs and play them over and over. The songs I believe are written for the movie, involve both the storyline and the characters (which is part of the reason I watch this version.) It reminds me of Jim Henson’s funeral…the Muppets (including Big Bird and Elmo) were part of the service. Here’s a link http://youtu.be/KSE1Mtnnm4Y
2) The Muppets
Unlike most muppets movies, this is one that uses the muppet characters as characters in the Dickens’ story. In fact, Gonzo is Dickens with commentary from Rizzo the Rat. Kermit is Bob Cratchet, Fozzy as one of Scrooge’s employers. Working with the humans (which, btw Michael Caine makes the best Scrooge, especially after you think of him as Batman’s butler and so forth…) I think as a kid using the muppets made something familiar understandable and enjoyable. Something we probably need to remember as a life lesson somewhere down the line.
and the most important….
3) The Message
Now–the Christmas Carol message of giving and selflessness is standard. You expect the ghosts, you expect the change of Scrooge. It’s part of the tale. HOWEVER… most christmas carol stories are afraid to play this out. Afraid to even describe it. But with MCC, Dickens (aka the Great Gonzo) is narrating the story… so there is no adjustment from the book (minus creative interpretation.) MCC also incorporates the traditional muppets message of peace and giving. Hence the ending song “the Love we Found…” It points to the importance of what Christmas leads to: the gift that came, the selflessness act of God coming as a child in Jesus. Something unique to christmas stories. Yay for Muppet Christmas Carol…
Yay for Jesus!
So remember the true meaning of Christmas…. and enjoy your christmas traditions that bring you there…
Again I apologize for the far and few posts… Seminary has become a lot more busy this quarter since I have a total of 4 papers, 1 presentation and 3 full books to read within 10 weeks. I didn’t sign up for this because it was easy though… it just takes a lot of time to get through all these things
So this quarter at Fuller I’m taking another Systematic Theology class. Except this time of tryingto understand the many facets of God & the Trinity & what it means to be human, we’ve moved onto Christology (study of Christ, who He is & What He has done) and Sotierology (the study of salvation.) Say that 3 times fast.
As I write this, I am hearing the buzzing of bugs & the chirp of crickets. yes folks, I’m in the South. South Carolina to be exact. Even though I am currently attending Fuller Seminary, the Lutheran candidacy requirements 1 year residence at a lutheran seminary so I am visiting Lutheran Southern Seminary in Columbia. This is a complete change from what I am used to. Even for what used to exist in Evansville. I feel completely out of my element & confused beyond belief. Yet… someone confused me for another student about 1/2 hour ago… as I was coming back into the apartment they are letting me use for the weekend. I’m really excited about this– I think it will all unfold as planned tomorrow when the event actually starts. And luckily there is a Lutheran church in walking distance that doesn’t have service until 11am! Wow… I can sleep in!