Work in Progress

Baseball, Seminary, Wrestling, and the Dreams and Days of one Mike Work's Angeles experience

Tuesday, September 23, 2003


orientation began today, and in short, it was humbling/transforming, as I realized that I am going to get my ass kicked here.

my recent thoughts about Seminary have been that the exegesis, history, systematics won't be tough. hey, I'm Mike Work; i eat this stuff up.

and then it just really pierced me today, realizing that this is more than academics, and that everything in me will be challenged; it's not just mental gymnastics. if that were the case, as it might have been elsewhere, a masters would be a breeze.

romans 12.1-13 was the text preached at convocation this morning, and from that, the faculty discussion of the school's purpose, and the overall atmosphere on campus today, i realized how different this will be. i could go elsewhere and master the texts in true subject/object fashion, and at many state schools, the faculty would be fine with that. here at fuller, the faculty doesn't just want you to cognatively understand the material, but to be transformed by Christ.

you can't take the personal component out of ministry, and turn God into merely a concept. God is bigger than that, and refuses to be cornered by me.

jumbling now, will refine later.
- M

Wednesday, September 03, 2003

Sites I just ran across that looked intriguing:

Costa Del Sol - American in Spain with thoughts on Spanish culture, has a link to Book Crossing, very intriguing concept on book distribution.

protean: design belongs to a comp sci undergrad at Washington in St. Louis; looks good, both in content and design, and worth perusing.
Learning to love again
Seeing Mike 2k2 and 2k3 and the vast difference in interpersonal interactions and attitudes, noticing my inability to let people finish their thoughts without commandeering them, and wanting to listen instead of just waiting for my turn to speak (wording from Fight Club). It's as if conversation has become a game for me, and I hate it. Depersonalizing/dehumanizing, objectifying, I/it instead of I/Thou

This is where I've been over the past ten months, wanting to get my heart back, and finding my thoughts echoed in a Caedmon's Call song, taken from 40 Acres.

This old heart's been left
Out on my sleeve
and I have paid as it's been rent
into pieces

Seems everyone I've loved has
Taken a bit of my insides
I'm scattered as the woman whose body
Was torn for the twelve tribes

When did my heart get so petrified
when did it get so hard to feel
when did my heart get so afraid to love
when did it get so hard

And the easy-living Gnostic proud
Use their knowledge
Like a wrecking ball to tear me down
Flooding me with their fallacies
I can't walk on this water
I'm starting to drown

Strike this rock with your rod
I'll take the blows
Till your living water begins to flow
as it flowed from the man of sorrow's sides
on that day when his body
was torn for the twelve tribes

Lyrics taken from Caedmon's Call Song Vault
Reflections without a surfaced connection:

A week away from beginning the move; excited, yet freaked out. Ready to get to Pasadena/live and study there, yet looking through my me & present surroundings and thinking that I'm nowhere near ready to actually pull out of the driveway.

What do I want to do? One, I would really like to work out details on a specifically Christian epistemology/framework for knowledge in light of the incarnation, cross, and empty tomb, and see tremendous practical benefits, specifically within an academic atmosphere/university, as well as in the remainder of day-to-day life. Pauline emphasis on practicality and usefulness for the church, not solely interesting categorical rigor...

Sociological books: The Tipping Point & Bowling Alone: shoot this to E and see what his thoughts might be

Below is an echo of others' thoughts on community and of a situation facing the church in the western world. Corporate Intimacy: can be tough, and it isn't instant, but does need to develop, and is worth it. Challenging? Should be.

Taken from Mars Hill Seattle:
Though a relationship with Christ contains a very personal element, recent cultural trends often reduce this to a warped, unscriptural individualism; it depicts you and Jesus as two loners in a buddy-cop movie, trying to battle your three opponents—your flesh, the world, and the devil—outside of healthy, biblical community. A segment of professing believers in our country today don’t go or get involved with church at all, claiming that “all they need is Jesus”. This is frequently more tragic than it is merely ludicrous. At the same time, many people mingle briefly on Sunday, expecting smiles, handshakes, and token name-dropping to occur, thinking they’ve successfully embodied community. Neither could be farther from the truth. Believers are charged to embody the gospel corporately, to live and breathe, pulse and flow, flex and move as a body. To do this, we need to gather together… not just as a token gesture on Sunday, but also to chew on tougher biblical meat, to develop lasting relationships, to work alongside one another, and to celebrate together. For this reason, Mars Hill Church provides classes for education and introduction, community home groups for growth and intimacy, projects to bring hands together for the common good, and special events to eat, drink, sing, and party together in glorification of a righteous and holy God. Since God has blessed Mars Hill with a large, diverse body, it can be hard to keep track of all the various functions; please use this resource to be interactive with your body: to find out where you fit, to increase your health, and that of the church, in a place where your mind, talents and voice can best be engaged as we move through the seasons together. Lastly, like good cheese and choice wine, this will take time... intimacy will not likely develop after week one; authentic relationship requires patience, prayer, and the beauty of walking together for the common cause of Christ.
Brief thoughts/internal notes:
ties between the book of Proverbs and Jesus' teaching, esp. within the sermon on the mount & Johannine emphasis on the word. Potential subject for study/investigation. Step one: read the texts, exegete, exegete, exegete. Incredibly easy to be a bad Bible teacher, just be sloppy with the text, misquote, eisegete/read myself in as the be-all/end-all (gratitude: Stuart, Evan, Kelly - 10pm Tuesday meeting before teaching from Mt. 13 on a Wed. this spring; push to get to what Jesus said, instead of what I wanted him to say, and a reading that led to worship of God, not worship of self)

What does God say?

Don't take the verses out of context to try and beat someone over the head with them; rather, let the Word speak to you, rip your chest out, and then replace you. Malachi 3.6: is changelessness simply an attribute of God, or is it a reason to worship:
"I the LORD do not change. So you, O descendants of Jacob, are not destroyed."
More of a statement on God's faithfulness/mercy, which leads to worship over who God is, than as simply a proof text to attack people.

Why are you reading the Bible?

Are you trying to argue with people and win fights? Do you look for ammunition or do you look for God? Mastery: who is mastering what? Am I over or under God? Critical exegesis: can be turned to good or evil: searching for what God says, or a means to discredit? information or transformation?