Looking Back: Follow the Truth

Installment 2 of my trio (read yesterday’s post below for the set-up) is also from the 20 June 2005 edition of Occasional Episltes of Grace and Peace.  The title is Follow the Truth:

…wherever it may lead” read the sign on the Music City Assembly of God…not bad for a marquee one-liner. I snapped a picture of it one day on the way home; that photo has been above my desk in my study ever since. I think it’ll make a fine intro to my blog: it is simple and it is honest. And as far as one-liners go, its a splendid compass point. I’d like that sentiment to hang over my desk here in cyberspace.

I don’t know the subtext behind that marquee. Maybe the good folk at the Music City Assembly intended it to have a subtext of swarshbucklin’ go-get-em “defense of the faith.” Maybe they were trying to communicate with the commuters on Edmondson Pike that their church was a safe place to seek truth. For all I know they got it off one of those horrid emails that comes around every so often loaded with 27,000 trite-if-not-idiotic one-liners (i.e. OUR CH–CH…what’s missing??? UR).

Whatever their intent, and whatever the subtext, it struck me in a positive way. And the sentiment has remained with me. I’d like to embrace the rhetoric that speaks with humble conviction: I will follow the truth where it leads. I want to seek truth. Not that I have obtained it, for I see darkly, but one day…

Seeking truth, and following truth, is a hopeful journey. Hope is confidence in what (who/Who) is other than my self; I am not satisfied with now, I press on to the more truthful tomorrow. I am not satisfied with self, but only in He who is truth. Truth-seeking is a humbling journey. I am not arrogant now, indeed, I cannot be, dare not be, arrogant in the now, but relentlessly open to the more truthful tomorrow. It is a journey: both in seeking truth and in following it. Both in discernment and in implementation.

I’d like to be hopeful in my journey for and with truth. I’d like to be humble in my journey for and with truth. I am humbled by my ignorance and my failure to implement. Sometimes I’d rather not go where truth will lead. Sometimes I am deluded by my prideful knowledge. Hope both lifts my vision beyond pride and humbles me because I constantly see how far I have yet to journey. Hope also lifts my vision beyond despair, because I am not secure because of my grasp of the truth, or a truth, or any truth, but I am secure in Him who is Truth.

In future posts I’d like to explore how this sentiment can shape my task as teacher, exegete, theologian and scholar. I’d also like to explore how this sentiment can shape how I live as a human. I’m charged up to do this because I am convinced that the hopeful-yet-humble journey of truth-seeking resonates in our own postmodern context. I want to speak a word of grace and peace to our context; I suspect that the Music City Assembly marquee may give me the vocabulary and the spirit with which to do it.

Your thoughts are welcome here, friend.

Grace and peace.

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Looking Back on Blogging: A Trio Worth Re-reading

I began blogging in June 2005 at blogspot and continued there through August 2008.  Before that I maintained a faculty web page on the Ezell-Harding site for over two years.  That page was obviously academic in nature (my Biblical and Theological Studies links page is the residue of that old page).  My vocation, as I see it, has changed little in these last three years, although every one of my employers has (that’s another series of posts for another time).  Nevertheless, Escriptorium stands in a line of thinking/typing aloud, conducting research, fostering scholarship, and exploring all things historical, theological and ecclesiastical.  The kiddos showed up occasionally, as did a few crass remarks and some inane rambling, but the blog has been an extension of my interests and vocatio.

Looking forward to 2009, if the Lord wills, I’m reposting today, tomorrow and the next, a series of posts which launched my blog back in the summer of 2005.  I re-read them a few days ago and though I might change a few phrases here and there, perhaps make an addition or a subtraction, they essentially remain an accurate indicator of where I want to be as far as this blog is concerned.  Getting ready for a new year, I find it helpful to return to these three posts.  Perhaps you will enjoy them as well. 

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Well, here goes… from the 20 June 2005 inaugural edition of Occasional Epistles of Grace and Peace:

So I have now joined the throng of bloggers. I’ve hitched my wagon to the electronic equivalent of the old party-line, only there about 27 billion people listening in, and not just on conversations, but on my own random thoughts, and this I do voluntarily (?), knowing that the world can see. This is too odd. At one point not long ago I whispered a vow to myself that I wouldn’t get caught up in this gig. And now I’m rambling on my own seconds-old blog about how I’d never blog. And what is “blog” anyhow; sounds like something you’d scrape off your shoe after a walk through the park. (Excuse me sir, but I think you have stepped in some blog…) I suspect that this sort of mildly self-critical irony, and dry mediocre humor, is par for the course.

So here’s to it. I’ll only go around once, so why not?

I’ve been mulling over this blog for a while, even in spite of my prejudice against all things technological (in the new world order there will be no technology: that’s an inside joke only about twenty-seven of you in cyber-space will even get), primarily as a way for family to keep up with us, our goin’s and doin’s, and as a way for me to interact with my students, who are more comfortable online that I am drinking coffee in a Waffle House (ok, another one of those things that only the elect will understand). Of course, the trick is to con my students into actually looking at their teacher’s blog. How dorky that must be. What am I thinking anyhow?

There are some creative things I’d like to con this blog into doing: hopefully to extend the conversations begun in my classroom, to probe ideas and post reflections. I’d like to take advantage of those possibilities. I’d like to write and publish; this is a way to do that as well.

So, perhaps this will be a worthwhile journey (there’s another one of those esoteric “blog phrases”…I’m irritating myself). Time will tell.

In all seriousness, my hope is that this will be a place for thinking out loud about all sorts of things, where the journey is as prized as the destination, and where enjoyable conversation makes the whole thing worth its bandwidth. Do check back in; I’d like to hear from you.

From my desk to yours, my sincere wish for you is grace and peace.

refreshed by your presence

“…the God who lifts up the downcast lifted our heads and our hearts with the arrival of Titus. We were glad just to see him, but the true reassurance came in what he told us about you: how much you cared, how much you grieved, how concerned you were for me. I went from worry to tranquility in no time!…” writes Paul in 2 Cor 7 (The Message).

We were refreshed by Mark Manry’s visit last week.  Mark and Lori are friends from Lipscomb who are moving now into the home stretch of their time in Jinja, Uganda.  Look for their ministry at www.manryfamily.com.  It was good to see him again and to hear about all things family, mission and work.  I cooked breakfast and we feasted most all morning as the kids played.  Visiting with Mark reminds me of our many trips to the woods during which our worries were wisped into tranquility like smoke from a campfire.

Here we are in my study.  I’m holding Uncle Dave on Acts, Mark holds Lives of the Leaders of the Church Universal (with a chapter on AC):

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Here is one Mark took of us with Sara.  Forgive my deer-in-the-headlights glaze.  The other children weren’t still long enough to be photographed.  As it should be.

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