Here’s this week’s schedule:
May 14: Ps 32/51/86/122
May 15: 2Sam 13-15
May 16: Ps 3-4/12-13/28/55
May 17: 2Sam 16-18
May 18: Ps 26/40/58/61-62/64
May 19: 2Sam 19-21
May 20: Ps 5/38/41-42
May 21: 2Sam 22-23; Ps 57
Here’s this week’s schedule:
May 14: Ps 32/51/86/122
May 15: 2Sam 13-15
May 16: Ps 3-4/12-13/28/55
May 17: 2Sam 16-18
May 18: Ps 26/40/58/61-62/64
May 19: 2Sam 19-21
May 20: Ps 5/38/41-42
May 21: 2Sam 22-23; Ps 57
I teach 11th and 12th grade English and serve as Head of 11th Grade at Mount Vernon Presbyterian School. I do a lot of reading, baking, running, and DIY projects. Also, I love the Mindy Project. Like, laugh-out-loud-a-little-longer-than-is-appropriate love.
Where are you originally from?
Right here in Atlanta. I grew up in Morningside but have also lived in Boston and Washington, DC. I always say that because I want everyone to know that I got out and saw the world … country … ok, East Coast … for a bit.
How did you find your way to NAPC?
My love of basketball. Ha. Just kidding – my husband started playing basketball on Tuesday nights and loved everyone he met. He kept asking me to look at North Avenue as we explored different churches and after a couple of visits (and a young adult party and retreat), I was hooked.
What is currently playing on your ipod/computer?
I’ve been listening to a lot of Lumineers and Of Monsters and Men lately. But the classics are David Bowie and Dolly Parton.
Do you have a talent that people would be surprised about?
Well, I have a painting in my house that l painted that looks just like a Rothko. Most people are impressed (or at least act impressed) when they see it. But Rothko’s pretty easy to mimic – mostly rectangles.
What is your favorite Atlanta area restaurant?
We spend a lot of time at Verde. And I love Murphy’s.
Since you and your husband Jesse are both English teachers, do you sit around talking about grammar all the time? Or maybe you talk about Shakespeare?
Wait, hold on, I just had to check to see that you had used correct grammar there. Honestly, Jesse loves to discuss literature all the time. I like to discuss future vacations and celebrity news, so I’m a little disappointing to him. But our first date was to see Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing.
What are you most excited about for this summer?
We’re going to Thailand! It’ll be our first exotic adventure together. We’re going to eat street food every 10 minutes. There will be elephants involved.
If you could travel anywhere in the world, all-expenses paid, where would it be?
I’m kind of on an Asian kick right now, so maybe Vietnam and Cambodia and Malaysia and Indonesia?
What’s the best part of being a part of NAPC?
I just love how genuine and warm the congregation is—especially the young adults. NAPC’s focus on missions and the way that focus is authentically lived out in the life of the church is a rare thing. I feel inspired each time I interact with an individual connected to NAPC.
Where’s your preferred spot to sit in the sanctuary?
Front left, about 12 rows back, facing the front. Sometimes we sit on the right side but it just doesn’t feel right.
How are you involved in the Young Adult ministry?
I’m so glad you asked, Jeff. Jesse and I have been involved with the Young Adult Ministry Team, and we’re currently doing some serious brainstorming about this summer’s RETREAT, which is going to be AMAZING. Forgive me for the all-caps, but last year’s retreat (which was a little intimidating to a new-comer like me) was the most significant experience I’ve had in connecting with friends and getting a taste of how laid-back, fun-loving, and thoughtful this group is. Not to mention the good food, beautiful scenery, and excursions to hike and pick berries. This year promises to be just as awesome, if not more so …
Here are this week’s passages:
May 7: 2Sam 7; 1Chron 17
May 8: Ps 25/29/33/36/39
May 9: 2Sam 8-9; 1Chron 18
May 10: Ps 50/53/60/75
May 11: 2Sam10; 1Chron 19; Ps 20
May 12: Ps 65-67/69-70
May 13: 2Sam 11-12; 1Chron 20
Sorry for the tardy post y’all. Here it is:
Apr 30: Ps 102-104
May 1: 2Sam 5:1-10; 1Chron 11-12
May 2: Ps 133
May 3: Ps 106-107
May 4: 2Sam 5:11-6:23; 1Chron 13-16
May 5: Ps 1-2/15/22-24/47/68
May 6: Ps 89/96/100-101/105/132
Have a great week!
Here’s what to read this week:
Apr 23: 1Chron 1-2
Apr 24: Ps 43-45/49/84-85/87
Apr 25: 1Chron 3-5
Apr 26: Ps 73/77-78
Apr 27: 1Chron 6
Apr 28: Ps 81/88/92-93
April 29: 1Chron 7-10
I am re-posting here something I placed on Facebook last week. Some people seem to be shocked and appalled at my suggestions. Others have had good and nuanced questions that are making me go deeper in my thinking. I would love to get your perspective as well. You can shoot me an email, comment here, or add me as a friend on Facebook
A while back, I began a string of posts that mentioned that followers of Jesus should support a ban of semi-automatic weapons, and should not meet violence with violence but instead ought to follow the example of Jesus in the face of violence. These posts raised quite a bit of debate and some great questions. In this note, I hope to clarify what I have said and give the biblical basis for such a position. My approach will be in response to three questions I have received. 1- what exactly am I advocating? 2-Why go primarily to the gospels for that position? 3-How do I handle the O.T. scriptures in general and more specifically any O.T. scripture that would seem to have a very different message than what Jesus said? I doubt I will answer these questions perfectly, but will attempt to do so honestly.
First, what am I advocating? Like all things in life, as I grow and change what I advocate for tends to grow and change as well. Where I am at today is a place that says it seems wise to have a ban on semi-automatic assault weapons. I cannot understand why private citizens need to have legal access to a weapon that is clearly designed to bring about the rapid injury and/or death of others. I am not calling for complete gun control where private citizens do not have access to privately owned firearms for recreation. However, I am calling into question whether Christians ought to advocate for semi-automatic weapons and whether Christians ought to use guns for “self-defense” from a theological viewpoint. I deeply question how a Christian as a private citizen theologically justifies putting themselves in the place of judge and jury in making a snap decision to take the life of another human being.
To the first point, (a ban on semi-automatic weapons) I will not go to scripture to advocate. Most arguments I hear favoring access to semi-automatic weapons tend to go in one of two directions, both of which are fueled by fear. The first fear is government control and relies on the straw man argument of “if one type of weapon is banned the government is coming for all of your weapons.” The second is that guns (even semi-automatic ones) are needed to keep us safe. This causes me to ask where this logic leads. If more guns make people safer should every home have a gun, should every person have a gun? Should we at some point consider giving our children guns to keep them safe? Where is the sane line as a society? If a gunman creates terror by taking the lives of innocent people and as a result we all feel that we have to be armed in order to feel safe have we not allowed him to terrorize us in a way that carries the terror and fear way beyond the horrific event?
As Christians we have a rich trove of scripture that encourages us to not be ruled by fear, yet most of what I hear from those who want no gun reform use tactics that actually try to utilize and capitalize upon fear. However, I am getting ahead of myself. Why would I hold to a view that says a private citizen should not put themselves in the place of judge and jury in taking the life of another human being, and why go primarily to the gospels for this position?
There is huge theological significance in the birth, life, death and resurrection of Jesus. On this, I think all Christians agree. I would like to center the conversation on two theological realities that took place because of Jesus’ incarnation among us. The first is that Jesus ushered in the breaking into the present of God’s kingdom, a new eschatological reality. Many of his teachings in the gospels strongly reinterpret what devoutly religious people thought they knew about God. Jesus said radical things. “You have heard that it was said an eye for an eye and tooth for a tooth, but I tell you do not resist an evil person” (matt 5:37). This would have been truly offensive to those who followed O.T. law. There was a Levitical law that allowed for an eye for an eye and a tooth for tooth. Jesus ushers in a new reality that stands in stark contrast to the old reality. Jesus actually has the gall to lift an enemy from the despised category to someone who is worthy of love. “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. (Matthew 5:43-48). The O.T. standard was only to love your neighbor, someone from your own people, (Lev 19:18). Jesus is changing the rules of the game. In the Beatitudes, he creates all new blueprints for normal life in his kingdom. The poor in spirit, the meek, those who mourn, those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, the merciful, those pure in heart, the peacemakers, and those who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness are all called out as bearing the marks of citizenship in this new kingdom reality. He then goes on to explain even more explicitly what it looks like to live in God’s kingdom. Murder is wrong and so is the emotion of anger below it when it causes us to hate another and wish malice upon them. We are invited to see that the kingdom of God is at hand and reorder our lives as a response to live as citizens of his kingdom.
Why go to the gospels for answers on modern issues such as Christians and deadly force? Jesus is the incarnation of God. He actually moved into the neighborhood and lived among us (John 1). We do not have to wonder how God would act if he were among us. The gospels show us exactly how he would act, because he was here among us, and when we saw Jesus, we saw the Father (John 14:7). So, how did Jesus, the perfect representation of the Father, act in response to violence or the threat of violence? I can think of at least five instances where violence was present in the life of Jesus. It tells us much to see how Jesus and God reacted.
In a truly horrific fashion, that often gets lost in the Christmas story, genocide occurred within the first three years of Jesus life, and he was the ultimate target. God could have risen up a Joshua like figure to stop this horrible pre-meditated act upon innocent children, but he does not. He does providentially care for Jesus by telling Joseph in a dream to flee the area and go to Egypt. He did not meet violence with violence, but providentially shielded his son from the violence.
John the Baptist is in prison and Jesus knows it. John is fearing for his life and rightly so. Jesus could have stopped this governmental conspiracy levied against his cousin. He instead reminds John of the ultimate purposes of the kingdom and allows John to become a martyr. This is troubling for our modern mindset. Far from our vision of fairy-tale ending faith, we can expect that to live as citizens of Jesus’ upside down kingdom it may end up costing us everything, including the life that we hold so dear.
3-The law requires death
A sinful woman is brought to Jesus. She was caught in the act of adultery. The law demands that she be stoned. Jesus does not carry this out, instead he points out that those who would kill have missed the point. He calls for he who is without sin to begin the killing. They all walk away. Jesus, the one without sin is remaining. He chooses restoration over violence. It makes me wonder why as his followers we are so quick to defend violence and are slow to give the best of our energy to restoration.
When Jesus is arrested in the garden Peter lunges towards “redemptive violence” as he pulls out the favored weapon of the day and cuts off the ear of one of the arresting party. Jesus not only rebukes Peter but also heals the damage he did. The early church fathers went on to teach that when Jesus disarmed Peter he disarmed us all.
Jesus could have stopped the proceedings against him at any time, but he was willing to suffer and die. His death accomplished many things including our redemption. It also showed that someone could walk the path he chose and in the end when violence comes remain true to kingdom teachings and ethics. He demonstrated enemy love on the cross, forgiving people even as they tortured and killed him.
I have yet to find one instance in Jesus life, teachings, experience where he retorted to or encouraged citizens of his kingdom to embrace violence.
This has much to say to us as modern day Americans. First, our primary citizenship is not as an American, it is as a citizen of God’s kingdom. Secondly, the blue print for how to live in God’s kingdom was both taught and incarnated by Jesus Christ, the second person of the godhead himself. This provides very good reason to go to the gospels when asking the question how should citizens of God’s kingdom react in a given situation.
So, Jesus brought the kingdom and a new way of kingdom living among us. He also ushered in the new covenant rendering the requirements of the law obsolete. Almost all Christians agree we live in a new era that is vastly different from the era of the old covenant. Given this, how do we faithfully deal with O.T. scripture?
First, we fully integrate those things that are ontological realities. Most of this can be found in the first three chapters of Genesis. We are created in God’s image, we are fallen, and we are in need of salvation.
Second, we carry forward those things that the N.T. gives renewed emphasis towards and especially those things said and modeled by God himself in the person of Jesus. Again, that answers the burning question of what would God do if he were among us.
So what do we do with passages like the one where God tells Joshua to kill Canaanites, and how do we know it is not for today? Well we have a God who in the new kingdom reality under the new covenant does not give renewed emphasis on violence; in fact, he gives the opposite message. In addition, when we look at how God incarnate among us reacted towards violence we have no hooks to justify our own desire to fight violence with violence as citizens of his kingdom who happen to live in modern times.
This way of asking what do we carry forward from the O.T. seems the only way to handle scripture that I have found that provides any consistency and keeps us from picking and choosing (cherry picking) certain items from the O.T. Without this sort of guide, we are left to our own devices to choose whatever we personally find applicable from the O.T. This means I could choose to find applicable that my wife should be declared unclean and camp out in the yard when on her period, to stone my children when they are rebellious, and call out the sinfulness of all Christians who mix polyester and cotton in their clothing. I do not do any of these things because Jesus did not do it, and the N.T. does not give them a renewed emphasis. I do however care for the poor and care about compassion and justice issues because Jesus did so and there is a renewed emphasis on this in the N.T.
I believe that followers of Jesus should support a ban on semi-automatic weapons because semi-automatic weapons do not have a place in the lives of those who are citizens of God’s kingdom. I also believe that one is hard pressed to find theological justification for a Jesus follower to take up a weapon of violence against their enemy. I come to this conclusion from careful study of the gospels because that is the only place that shows what God, in the person of Jesus, did while in human form. Starting in the gospels also gives a logical and consistent approach to understanding what sorts of things we carry forward from the O.T. to new covenant living.
Here you go:
Apr 16: Ps 56/120/140-142
Apr 17: 1Sam 25-27
Apr 18: Ps 17/35/54/63
Apr 19: 1Sam 28-31; Ps18
Apr 20: Ps 121/123-125/128-130
Apr 21: 2Sam 1-4
Apr 22: Ps 6/8-10/14/16/19/21
AND THE WINNERS ARE…
…to the first annual Young Adult Bracket Tournament:
First Place: In a landslide Mike Buchanan wins dinner for him and three of his favorite friends served up by Chef Jeff and Chef Josh.
Second Place: Han Park wins a signed copy of Living the Christian Year by Bobby Gross.
Third Place: Britt Hubier wins a Presbyterian Homes of Georgia golf shoe bag (no selling it on ebay, Britt!).
Last Place: In an almost impossible feat, Mitch Costley scores exactly zero points and “wins” a 3-pack of adult Depends diapers.
Thanks to the other 25 people who submitted brackets but did not win. Better luck next year!
This week’s readings are:
Apr 8: 1Sam 1-3
Apr 9: 1Sam 4-8
Apr 10: 1Sam 9-12
Apr 11: 1Sam 13-14
Apr 12: 1Sam 15-17
Apr 13: 1Sam 18-20; Ps 11/59
Apr 14: 1Sam 21-24
Apr 15: Ps 7/27/31/34/52
Have a great week,
Who’s Who at NAPC?
What’s your occupation and/or hobbies? Occupation: Research Technician at NeurOp, Inc., a pre-clinical pharmaceutical research company. Hobbies: Reading, playing guitar, watching movies, playing PlayStation. As far as the reading thing goes, I mostly read fantasy books (think Harry Potter, Eragon, and Game of Thrones) and theology books. That’s actually all I read.
Where are you originally from? Cedartown, Ga., where you may have been skydiving or riding on the Silver Comet Trail.
How did you find your way to NAPC? Well, we moved down to Atlanta in September and were looking for a church home that had a service with young people outside of the Georgia Aquarium’s operating hours, because my wife was working at the aquarium. And it had to be close to the aquarium. We found it on the Internet, I guess. And I had been to North Ave. when they had Rob Bell there in 2010, so I figured if it was cool enough to invite Rob Bell, it was probably cool enough for me.
What is currently playing on your ipod/computer? I don’t know where my iPod is. And my computer usually plays either Pandora or Jango, and the artists I typically listen to are Ray LaMontagne and Amos Lee, with some Needtobreathe, Mumford & Sons, the Lumineers and Nickel Creek.
How often do you check Facebook? Never. Seriously though, probably about once every other month.
Do you have a talent that people would be surprised about? The people at work seem to be surprised that I can sing decently. I always have to lead “Happy Birthday” at birthday celebrations there. People also seemed surprised that my not-so-secret talent is growing a pretty epic red beard.
What is your favorite Atlanta area restaurant? I guess, in no particular order, Thumbs Up (East Point location), Antico, Vortex, and I have a feeling Community Q is going to be one after having it at Ryan and Emily’s wedding.
What was your favorite question/answer from the recent young adult game night? When my wife had to charade “bra shopping.” Talk about awkward. That was classic. And she was on a team with all girls and Jeff, and all the girls got it immediately, and all the dudes were clueless. Good times.
What are you most excited about for this summer? My trip to San Diego. I’m going to be in the wedding of a former college roommate/fraternity brother.
If you could travel anywhere in the world, all-expenses paid, where would it be? I would really like to go see the areas around the Mediterranean where the early church kind of started. Start in Israel and work my way north. Basically do like one of Paul’s journeys, stopping by places like Damascus, Tarsus, and Ephesus on the way to Rome. And probably make a pit stop in Constantinople/Istanbul to check that out too.
What’s the best part of being a part of NAPC? There are lots of things I guess. Obviously the best part is the people, because that’s what the church is, right? And then the spirit of the people; they seem to be there for the right reasons, and they’re very open and welcoming. And it’s not in a conference center/auditorium/gymnasium. Also, the leadership in the church seems very thoughtful and thought-provoking, both in the worship experience as well as the teachings. So I guess the church just feels sincere, authentic, not overly showy and put-on. I appreciate that.
Where’s your preferred spot to sit in the sanctuary? Next to my wife.
How are you involved in the Young Adult ministry? We usually attend the Sunday night service, and we’re in the Tuesday night small group. And I’m looking forward to playing softball.
What’s one (appropriate) question that you’d like to have answered by someone in the NAPC young adult community? What should I do and see in San Diego? And what’s the policy on the books in the NAPC library? (sorry, that’s two questions)