>> www.joshburnham.me

This blog has been moved from this .blogspot address to another blogging platform. You can feel free to click around and read what's here, but for any new content, please check www.JoshBurnham.me.


Has it been two weeks?

Wow! It seems like I’ve had more to write about in the past two weeks than I have in a long time. Sadly, I haven’t had (or taken) the time to write. Here’s a brief recap of my last few weeks, and then we’ll move onto some meat…
- I played paintball with some friends. Paintball is fun!
- Helped provide Thanksgiving meals for local families.
- Helped deliver Christmas gifts to children in other countries.
- Went to Nashville, TN, for a National Youth Workers’ Convention.
- Celebrated my birthday. I’m now 26 for the first time in my life.
- Enjoyed Thanksgiving meals with family. (yes, “meals”, plural)
- Began Advent.

Time has flown by lately, but in a good sort of way. I look forward to blogging more often in the coming days!


Isn’t about time for an update?


No, I haven’t abandoned you. I’ve been squeezing a week and a half worth of work into three days (or trying to at least). I’m leaving for the YS NYWC tomorrow, and a couple of big projects had to get completed up before leaving. And with Thanksgiving next week, I had to knock out some of next week’s duties, too. But, enough with the excuses.

A while back, I really got to thinking about the beginning, when everything started. I had been preparing to speak for a couple of occasions, and noticed that I kept pulling from the first two chapters of Genesis.

The Bible starts in the book of Genesis, and tells about how the world began and when the universe was created and how everything received its order. In fact, it starts off, “In the beginning…”, which seems like an excellent place for a really great story to start. We are told of God’s creation and how “it was good.”

Then comes chapter 3. God’s creation rebels. The world breaks away from God’s original design. The rest of the really great story is God’s search to restore what was lost, to reconcile creation to himself, and to renew all things.

It just struck me that in those first two chapters, when things were good, their must be truck loads of insight as to how God created us to live and what He intends for His creation.

Also, I came across this quote that I thought fit quite well. “Any error about creation also leads to an error about God.” -Thomas Aquinas.

Technorati tags: , , ,


Did it pass?

Keeping my loyal readers updated on an earlier topic, yes, the referendum on the city being allowed to sell pouring license to local establishments passed, 451 to 330 at press time last night (w/ 74 paper ballots yet to be counted).

This was a highly debated topic here locally. One of the local newspapers ran two full page adds in last week’s paper leading up to the election yesterday. One add, placed by a ‘Citizens in Favor of Economic Progress’ group, was in favor of the referendum. The other add, which opposed the proposal, was placed by the Dodge Baptist Association, and was unanimously endorsed by 39 local Baptist churches. The add was in the form of a resolution adopted at the Association’s recent meeting. It cited a number of negative effects of alcohol, as well as several scripture references (1, 2, 3, 4) warning against the evils of drinking.

Worse than any potential evils of alcohol being served in local restaurants, I feel, is the concept of God that has been promoted through this debate.

I stepped into line at City Hall to place my vote yesterday. There was an older lady, seventies or so, in line just ahead of me. There not being many people in the lobby, she began to speak loudly to the gentleman checking registration and the few in line. “If we allow this into our town, we better watch out, buddy. God’s going to destroy us just like He did New Orleans for their sinfulness. This would be enough to make Him angry and when He’s angry, you better watch out. You give this a year, and He’ll bring a twister or something to destroy our town and those places that are serving the alcohol.” [No, this is not an exact quote, but I have tried to maintain the essence without exaggerating.] She went on to talk about never having eaten at the local Pizza Hut, because they serve beer, and that she didn’t intend to ever visit any of the places that chose to do so. The gentlemen checking voter registration politely nodded and “yes ma’am-ed” her as she carried on.

I was honestly deeply disappointed with her little monologue. Not so much about her opinions on alcohol, but on what I feel is a terribly twisted understanding of God. To claim that God looks down on Earth from some cloud overhead, ready to throw lightning bolts at those who step out of line, seems absolutely childish and ill conceived.

After she had stepped into the next room to place her vote, I, not altogether uncharacteristically, followed an impulse. Being next in line, I approached the two guys at the table, presented my ID, and as they checked my name on the list I asked them, “So were you agreeing with her to be polite or because you think she’s right?”

They didn’t respond. I didn’t need them to.

And, AB's PigInnerds won in one league (We're tied with 4 other teams for first place!) and lost in the other league (Sitting in 6th place.).

Technorati tags: , , ,


How was your weekend?

I’m coming off an exciting, but long, weekend, and feel like I’m staring down the barrel of a long ‘to-do’ list for this week.

I’m happy to be able to tell you that Georgia Southern had an exciting win over Furman, 27-24. In fantasy football news, going into tonight’s football game, AB’s PigInnerds has won in one league (currently 120-39) and needs a big night from Edge James to win in the other league (currently 42-30).

I spent the Friday and Saturday listening to RVL put some cultural context around Jesus. Without a doubt, this gives me way too much to chew on for a while. He discussed events in the Bible and thoughts about God I have dealt with before, but to then put some cultural background to the text and paint a more vivid picture of the world Jesus experienced, the message of the Gospel is suddenly infused with a much deeper meaning and beauty.

Here’s a little from the weekend:

The fact that Jesus was a Jewish rabbi carries a tremendous amount of weight in terms of what it means for us to follow him. He calls us to be his disciples. That’s not just people who know a lot about him, not just students of his teachings, and certainly not just people who pay token respect for an hour on Sunday mornings.

To be a disciple is more than wanting to ‘know what the rabbi knows.’ It’s to want to ‘be what the rabbi is.’ To learn to walk like him, talk like him, live as he lives, seeing and approaching life as the rabbi does. It takes an intense commitment to become like the rabbi.

The scripture says, “he who says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked.” -1John2:6

And that’s the challenge of discipleship; to learn to walk as Jesus walked. So, tomorrow when you get up, and stand there brushing your teeth or getting dressed or fixing your hair, look in the mirror and ask yourself…

Today, are you a disciple?

Technorati tags: , , , ,


Where does theology begin?

One day when I get rich (or die trying), I’d like to have a waterproof laptop computer installed in my bathroom shower. “Why?” you ask. Because it seems like I have a lot of good ideas in there, and it’d be quicker to be able to record them right away. Of course, it would also prolong the time I’m in the shower and run up our water bill, while wasting precious resources…

Anyhow, got to thinking about this this morning: How much of our theology is based on an understanding of “the beginning” ? How much of our understanding of God and His creation is dependant upon a good understanding of the first two chapters of Genesis in the Bible?

More on that next week. I’m off for tonight and tomorrow to spend some time listening to Ray Vander Laan in West Point, Georgia.

Technorati tags: , ,


Have you met this guy?

I mentioned before that I was beginning Brian Mclaren's book A Generous Orthodoxy. Early on in the book he writes about the seven Jesuses he has known. He writes of how he grew up in a conservative Protestant church and what he learned of Jesus as a young kid. He goes on to talk about 'meeting' the Pentecostal / Charismatic Jesus, the Roman Catholic Jesus, the Eastern Orthodox Jesus, and a few others.

One of the things that really grabbed me was this section:

If the Evangelical Jesus saves by dying, the Pentecostal Jesus by sending his Spirit, and the Catholic Jesus by rising from death, the Eastern Orthodox Jesus saves simply by being born, by showing up, by coming among us. In Jesus' birth, these Christians believe two wonderful things happen. First, God takes the human life of Jesus into God's own eternal life, and in so doing, Jesus' people (the Jews), species (the human race), and history (the history of our planet and our whole universe) enter into - are taken up into - God's own life. God's life, love, joy, and power are so great that all our death, hate, pain, and failures are eradicated, swallowed up, cancelled, extinguished, and overcome by being taken up into God. In this way Jesus will ultimately bring blessing to the whole world, to all of creation.

Second, as humanity (and all creation) enters into God through Jesus, God also enters Jesus' people, species, and history. And by entering all creation through Jesus, God's heart is forever bound to it in solidarity, faithfulness, loyalty, and commitment. God will never give up until all creation is healed of its diseases, cured of its addictions, retrained from its foolishness, reclaimed from its lost state. Jesus saves by coming, by being born. It's no wonder that, for the Eastern Orthodox, Christmas is celebrated with such profound joy and rich, sustained intensity. It's the celebration of God's saving (rescuing) of the world - that God has entered creation through Jesus (incarnation is the theological term for God's embodiment in Jesus) and creation has been taken up into God so that all will be well. This is surely Good News!

Two things: One, the 'bigness' of that understanding of salvation as redemption for all of creation; and Two, the deep meaning of Christmas because of God's coming into this world as Jesus, making a way for creation to know it's Creator and restored to a right relationship through that coming.

Technorati tags: , , ,