obiter dicta

I’ve subscribed to Christian Studies, a scholarly journal published by Austin Graduate School of Theology, for about a decade now.  It is a high-quality, thoughtful journal and you should read it.  The subscription price simply can’t be beat.  One of the features of each issue is “Obiter Dicta,” an oh-by-the-way miscellany of quotes I can count on to get under my skin.  The new issue has a few I “amen-ed” right out loud when I read them:

“What we wear, where we stand, how we move…all matter, not because we are ritualists, but because this is God’s drama and we can easily get in the way.  When those leading worship stand to one side, this makes the point dramatically; when worship-leaders, including musicians, assemble directly in front of a congregation like a rock group at a concert, this can make exactly the wrong point…To insist on a free-flowing succession of worship songs at the whim of one leader is not to strike a blow against ritualism, but to put that leader precisely in the place where the Reformers saw the mediaeval priest, coming between the worshipers and God.  Good liturgy preserves us from personality cults whether Catholic or Protestant.”       –N. T. Wright


“Repentance, dying to self, submission–these are not very attractive hooks to draw people into the faith.  I think the minute you put the issue that way you’re in trouble.  Because then we join the consumer world, and everything then becomes product designed to give you something…if we cast the evangel in terms of benefits, we’re setting people up for disappointment.  We’re telling them lies.”   –Eugene Peterson


“We meet with the high and holy one, the God of fire, in order that we may ourselves be transformed and be agents for the healing of his world…To enjoy worship for its own sake, or simply out of a cultural appreciation of the “performance” would be like Moses coming upon a burning bush and deciding to cook his lunch on it.”       –N. T. Wright

Look for Christian Studies here.


Happy Birthday to 11th Street Church of Christ in Nashville.  Tomorrow they celebrate 100 years of ministry.  We’re planning on dropping by.  I’ll report tomorrow evening, Lord willing.


That’s about the 27th time I’ve caught myself saying ‘Lord willing’ recently.  Perhaps its my southern raising; would that all Christians live more submissively –and more confidently–in the consciousness of the Lord’s will.


Where were you October 4, 1798?  Today marks the 210th anniversary of Barton Stone’s ordination.  I authored a post for the DCHS blog; as soon as its posted there, I’ll reproduce it here.   


(another) New blog: I’m experimenting with a blog as a way to do genealogy online.  I plan to upload photos, documents, memories, etc.  Drop by icefamily.wordpress.comand take a look.  This replaces a similar blogspot site I began and then never touched again.  I intend to actually add content to this one.


My lovely wife has now entered the digital world…on facebook.  Look her up, she’s having a blast.  I looked at facebook a while back and just didn’t see the fireworks, sorry.


I do, however, see fireworks when I follow one of my blog posts, titled fa sol la, with another titled obiter dicta.  To each her/his own.


One thought on “obiter dicta

  1. Hey Mac,

    I linked to your blog a while back through Adam Metz’s blog. I’ve enjoyed reading your posts. I’m curious about the N.T. Wright quotes. Could you please note the source/book/article?

    Brian Bergman

    P.S. Hope you, Laura and all the kids are doing well.

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