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Posts tagged "David Browder"

Individualism, Community, and Kafka

Individualism, Community, and Kafka

This post, first published on our site in 2008, remains a timely critique that cuts straight to the heart! Written by David Browder:

If one is to enter any sort of seminary situation or spend time in any form of Christian subculture, that person will encounter two things. They are two sides of the same coin. One is “community” and the other is Western individualism. The first (one is told) is good, and the second is bad. I have been doing some thinking on both and would like to publicly “air” out what I have come up with. Perhaps the reader…

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Hopelessly Devoted: Genesis Chapter Thirty Three Verses Twenty Four Through Twenty Eight

This morning’s devotion comes to us from the Rev. David Browder. 

Then Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him until daybreak. And when he saw that he had not prevailed against him, he touched the socket of his thigh; so the socket of Jacob’s thigh was dislocated while he wrestled with him. Then he said, “Let me go, for the dawn is breaking.” But he said, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.” So he said to him, “What is your name?” And he said, “Jacob.” And he said, “Your name shall no longer be Jacob, but Israel; for you have striven with God and with men and have prevailed.” (Genesis 32:24-28, NRSV)

Although swooning on my part is a rarity, U2 is a band I like very much. In their song “Bullet the Blue Sky,” Bono sings, “Jacob wrestled the angel; and the angel was overcome.” Bono then folds the famous story of Jacob wrestling the angel into the midst of a song about unjust violence and hypocrisy. Military force in El Salvador is mentioned, as is 1980s televangelism.

R-1311927-1253218044.jpegWith all the flux and panic of humanity, what does it mean for Bono that Jacob overcomes the mysterious man with whom he is wrestling? As dour as Bono’s prognosis is, Jacob’s is no better. Jacob is sure that his sly chicanery has brought him a just and violent death, courtesy of his brother Esau. As you might remember, Jacob had stolen Esau’s birthright by a despicable deception, and Esau is now on the way to meet him face-to-face. Jacob is backed into a corner, Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata playing in the background, with no one to blame but himself.

It is at this moment that God comes to Jacob. He does not come as a sweet and gentle person but as an adversary. As an adversary He breaks the remaining vestiges of Jacob’s faith in himself. Wrestling with God, Jacob actually believes that he is prevailing, but all the mysterious “man of God” had to do was reach out and touch Jacob’s leg to dislocate it. As dawn breaks, Jacob asks for God’s blessing, and what a beautiful metaphor: Jacob’s faith is transferred from himself to God as a new day dawns.

All the political and social unrest of the world adds to personal strife. Troubled relationships, broken dreams, and unexpected tragedies can be like a powerful Esau racing toward you with fires to start. “Bullet the Blue Sky” plays as belief in your own ability to master your domain diminishes. It is then that God visits “under the guise of His opposite.” A new day dawns as your faith is placed in One who does have control and dominion. It turns out that the One you have been fighting all night is totally in your corner.

Hopelessly Devoted: Romans Chapter Four Verse Five

Hopelessly Devoted: Romans Chapter Four Verse Five

This morning’s devotion comes from the Rev. David Browder.

And to the one who does not work but believes in him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness.

I once had a friend in college who was a kind soul but profoundly confused and deeply conflicted due to some difficulties in his past.  Like many people, the outward bearing of his inward struggle resulted in, shall we say, an achievement gap of sorts—so much so, in fact, that his grades in school were a consistent catastrophe, which really only exacerbated the issues.

On one particular occasion, after a Spring semester,…

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Birmingham Conference Recordings: Grace, Rest and the End of Scorekeeping

Birmingham Conference Recordings: Grace, Rest and the End of Scorekeeping

A major thank you to everyone who helped us put on our conference in Birmingham, AL, especially all the good people at Cathedral Church of the Advent. What a delightful and inspiring time it was! Lots of laughter, a few tears, some great food and tons of new connections, we could not be more grateful. The audio files for the presentations are below, listed in chronological order, and are embedded to be playable on this site. You may download them by clicking on the title. We have also provided links to where you may purchase the media that was used…

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Hopelessly Devoted: Ecclesiastes Chapter Two Verses Twenty Through Twenty-Three

Hopelessly Devoted: Ecclesiastes Chapter Two Verses Twenty Through Twenty-Three

In light of all of tonight’s zombie-trolling, cheerleaders-from-the-dead, and bloody celebrities, a short word on the nature of identity, and the only hope we’ve got. This Monday morning’s devotional comes from one of this weekend’s speakers, David Browder:

“So I turned about and gave my heart up to despair over all the toil of my labors under the sun, because sometimes a person who has toiled with wisdom and knowledge and skill must leave everything to be enjoyed by someone who did not toil for it. This also is vanity and a great evil. What has a man from all the…

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A Mini-Conference Preview, Part 3: I Don't Want To Be A Freak (But I Can't Help Myself)

A Mini-Conference Preview, Part 3: I Don’t Want To Be A Freak (But I Can’t Help Myself)

With the upcoming Mockingbird Mini-Conference now less than six weeks away (!) we continue our series of posts to familiarize everyone with the conference theme and why we chose it – sort of a preview of what the talks will entail, and one that we hope will grab you (and convince you to register ASAP!). This week’s contribution is a preview of “Grace in Addiction: Help for Those Who Cannot Help Themselves” courtesy of John Zahl and Tom Becker:

Addiction is no laughing matter. The devastation it causes forces us to question the limits of the human will’s ability to…

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A Mini-Conference Preview (Part 1 - Everybody Hurts... Sometimes)

A Mini-Conference Preview (Part 1 – Everybody Hurts… Sometimes)

With the upcoming Mockingbird Mini-Conference only fifty days away (!) I wanted to start a series of posts familiarizing everyone with the conference theme and why we chose it, sort of a preview of what my talk will entail, and one that I’m hoping will grab you (and convince you to register ASAP).

I’ve come to understand in my own life that the deep substratum that trumps all other categories of human identity is suffering. We all suffer. And this conference seeks to reach people on that level. Let me explain:

One morning last Spring, a member of my Sunday…

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NOV 19&20! God's Grace When We Need It Most: The Gospel For Hard Times

NOV 19&20! God’s Grace When We Need It Most: The Gospel For Hard Times

This November 19th and 20th, please join us at Christ Church in Pensacola, Florida, together with our special guest, The Rev. Dr. Paul F. M. Zahl, as we take an in-depth look at how God’s Grace can find us and transform us even in the midst of difficult and trying times.

This mini-conference takes the same approach as this blog (hopefully!): accessible to both believer and nonbeliever alike, culturally-engaged, theologically passionate, and, despite the heavy subject matter, fun! We also anticipate that it will be a time of extraordinary warmth, humor and fellowship – a great opportunity to reconnect with old…

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PZ's Podcast This Week: The British Invasion

PZ’s Podcast This Week: The British Invasion

Today two new talks have been published on “PZ’s Podcast” (Subscribe free on iTunes.)

The first is entitled The Browning Version and concerns a 1951 movie starring Michael Redgrave and written by Terence Rattigan, which is based on Rattigan’s 1948 play.

It is about a man who must lose his life in order to gain it. The material connects directly with the 25th Chorus of “Mexico City Blues”:

Is my own, is your own,
Is not Owned by Self-Owner
but found by Self-Loser —
Old Ancient Teaching

This podcast is dedicated to David Browder.

The second cast for this week is called “‘Man Gave Names…

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Read, Mark (Galli), Learn and Inwardly Digest

Read, Mark (Galli), Learn and Inwardly Digest

It seems that we can’t get enough of Mark Galli. In a recent (web only) article entitled, Asking the Right Question: why neither worm theology or worth theology will do, he continues along a line of theological inquiry that is running parallel to what we are working through here. He writes:

We read the Bible not just to answer our questions but to frame the questions themselves. In our state of confusion, we’re always tempted to ask the wrong questions. But God is so gracious he reveals not only the core issues that…

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Love Doesn't Justify; Faith does: an interview with Dr. Mark Mattes

Love Doesn’t Justify; Faith does: an interview with Dr. Mark Mattes

Regular readers of our blog will, no doubt, be familiar with the deep thoughts of our favorite philosopher-hunter, David Browder. Recently, he forwarded me a discussion that he had been havingwith one of our heroes, Dr. Mark Mattes, who gave these addresses at our first-ever Mockingbird conference in 2008 and is the author of the MUST-READ The Role of Justification in Contemporary Theology. They thought that their conversation may be of interest to us here on the blog, and were they ever right. We’re hoping that this will be a regular feature here, but in good reformation-theological form, we’re just…

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Lyle Lovett's "God Will": Why We Don't Like Grace

Lyle Lovett’s "God Will": Why We Don’t Like Grace

David Browder recently wrote a great post about the human way of doing things (all about rewards for virtue, punishments for vice; AKA the Law), and compared it to the inscrutable and offensive grace of God which seems, in human terms, perversely attracted to unbelievably messed up sinners. A lot of times we agree intellectually with the idea of God’s grace for sinners–until we hear about a particularly bad sinner. Then we begin to choke on grace because it’s not fair. This is especially true when we are on the hurtful receiving end of someone else’s sin.

Anyways, this all put…

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