William Placher, 1948–2008 | First Things

I stumbled upon a tribute to the life of William Placher recently and found it to be a really well done piece that deserved to be shared. I had no idea Placher studied under Hans Frei at Yale Divinity School. Yet another reason I need to read Frei’s book, The Eclipse of Biblical Narrative. I am definitely drawn to post-liberalism and its focus upon narrative theology. I wonder if that is why I find Placher’s style so compelling. He writes in a very unassuming, yet brilliant way. He lets the reader in on the most up-to-date discussions in theology, infuses them with historic Christian confessions and leaves the reader with a couple of questions/observations, allowing the tension to rest upon the reader. His approach is subtle, but persuasive. He doesn’t tell the reader what to believe, but lets history and theology speak for themselves. I appreciate the tone of his writing and its generous attitude towards the diversity of theological discourse. There is a kind of winsomeness in his approach that I find compelling. I think we all can learn from this as we attempt to engage in the practice of theological writing.

William Placher, 1948–2008 | First Things.

We are all Made of Stars

Source: Hubblesite.org

If you’re familiar with the band Moby, you’ll know that he has a song called “We are all Made of Stars.” The idea is an uplifting one, it being that humanity is united together by the very makeup of our physical composition. How is this the case? When we study cosmology, we learn that all the basic elements for life i.e. carbon, nitrogen, oxygen etc. were forged in the deep nuclear furnaces located in the center of stars. As stars age and decay, they eventually explode, ejecting their contents into the dark abyss of deep space. In the formation of planets and new stars, these elements combine through gravitational forces and the process continues. Yet, for a unique planet such as ours, the expulsion of these elements proves fortuitous, for they become the building blocks of life. Were it not for the existence of stars and their element forging capacities, we would not exist. I think this points to the truly vast and wonderful design embedded in God’s created order. The Bible talks about the fact that we are fearfully and wonderfully made. This must be true, for we are no less than stardust. It doesn’t get much better than that. Hard to believe and yet nevertheless true. We are the unique formations of materials originating in the hot, dense center of colossal balls of light which we can see with the naked eye when we look to the heavens at night. A small reminder of how very special we are in God’s sight. Something to consider when you feel a little down sometimes. We are all made of stars and that’s pretty dang incredible!

Languishing in Exile

I wrote this a few months ago and saved it. At the time I was feeling a bit down and out. I think I see now why a lot of people journal and write out their thoughts. I know what I was feeling at the time but things have gotten a bit chipper for me as of late. Thought I might share it anyways in case folks out there can relate to what I was feeling.

I’m  in a class that is studying the book of Isaiah.  It is largely about one major event that impacted the Jewish people during their time as a nation, the exile into Babylon.  Sometimes I can identify with being an exile.  Feeling stuck without the ability to communicate what you’re really feeling about life, faith and everything else.  What happens when a trip to the desert becomes a Gilligan’s Island scenario?  Did they ever get off the island?  Sometimes I wonder what it means to be here.  Sometimes I feel like I’ve been put here by circumstances beyond my control.  At other times, I feel like I’ve been put here by my fellow believers.  I feel a distancing that keeps creeping in between my friends in the past and now.  Its as if the time and journey I have been on in exile has caused me to be forgotten.  The walls of the city have fallen and nobody cares.  God has abandoned me to the wilderness filled with lions, jackals and hyenas.  I’ve been left to fend for myself.  I never wanted my life to get to this place.  I don’t how long its been since I’ve really been to a church and felt safe.  I keep trying to put myself out there and I keep getting shot down.  Its as if something is keeping me from being able to experience community.  I can’t put my finger on it.

Published in: on July 8, 2011 at 2:06 pm  Leave a Comment