Book review: Jesus the Bridegroom

Thanks to Bloggingforbooks.org for the free review copy of Brant Pitre’s “Jesus, the Bridegroom”.

It never ceases to amaze me at how timely things get in my life. For example, the timing of my reading this book. It has come at a time when I’m immersing myself in an introduction to John Paul II’s “Theology of the Body” and there are a number of cross links between that and Brent Pitre’s book. The spousal analogy in TOTB is emphasised again and again in Brant Pitre’s book so that I find myself learning about the divine love for each soul (for me even!) from the Bridegroom in this book and how that divine love is to be lived out in my married life via JPII’s TOTB.

It was also very helpful for Pitre to explain a lot of the Jewish undertones in the NT texts. I haven’t come across such a treatment in many Protestant books on Christ before so this was refreshing.

All in all, a very intellectually stimulating book that is recommended reading for all Christians of whatever denomination.

Music

[ playing? ] audrey assad – “o happy fault ep”

So my search for new computer speakers (as I painstakingly and possibly annoyingly mentioned on my FB) has come to an end. I can’t believe how limited a range we have here in Australia when it comes to decent computer speakers on a budget. The USA and Canada gets heaps and we get diddly squat (the vast range of Logitech speakers doesn’t even count).

So while I was considering much more expensive “studio monitors” like the Alesis M1Active 520 w/ USB I/O, the Behringer MS40 and the M-Audio AV40 and a cheap bookshelf speaker by a relatively unknown Chinese manufacturer, the Microlab SOLO5C, I ended up with a set of Creative Gigaworks T40 Series 2 speakers. Which means that I’ve saved a crapload of points that I could have redeemed on a pair of Bose Companion 20′s which don’t sound all that much better. To be honest, these actually sound a lot more honest than previous speakers I have used. Only thing is that the integrated sound card for this Toshiba all-in-one pc that I’m using (based on a Realtek ALC268 HD Audio controller) has woeful output from the headphone socket. Maybe a splurge out on the SB Omni 5.1 USB sound card or an ASUS Xonar U7 USB might improve the sound quality. A few universal EQ tweaks to try and bring this set of speakers to a (relatively) flat setting has meant that I’m getting much better quality sound from the T40 than my previous speakers, a set of Logitech’s with a 360-degree firing tweeter and prolly a 3-3.5-inch woofer (the model number escapes me now).

On a completely random note, can’t wait for the new Audrey Assad album which is ready to drop in mid-May 2014!! And somewhat addicted now to SBS (Korea) “Running Man”. I have my wife to thank for the latter.

Time to sleep. It’s been a long day. Maybe tomorrow I’ll get a chance to play with my new toy, a Masport 475ST.

+ 0020hrs

Well, well, well. So I’m back.

2014-03-14

It’s been a while since I’ve come on here. Nearly three years. And things have changed a lot. Including the blog theme which has been updated for the first time in three years.

I’m married now. To a beautiful wife. And that’s about as much as I’m willing to reveal about my family life on here.

I don’t expect anyone to read this blog of rather pathetic musings, but who knows. Someone may find something on here that may be useful to them.

So I think I may restart this blog of mine with posts every now and again. Mainly theological reflections and musings.

The tag line used to refer to me as an “evangelical, anglo-catholic, benedictine”. To a degree I still am. But my theological musings have become more complex since then. It all comes down to the Eucharist (of which a very old post on here used to be one of the most often viewed). But I’m getting ahead of myself.

Evangelical in the sense of saying that “I’m an evangelical because I go to an evangelical church” is now well and truly out of the picture. I haven’t been an evangelical for donkey’s years if I’m honest with myself (though I will still read serious evangelical works of theology, like Michael Bird’s “Evangelical Theology” [2013, Zondervan] to keep in touch). I used to be in favour of Hillsong, etc, etc. Now the more I listen to contemporary Christian music (especially recordings aimed at “praise & worship”) as found in the “evangelical” Christian subculture, I find lyrically they are banal and the music is starting to sound all the same. Gimme solid hymnody and chant anyday.

Anglo-Catholic, you could say that I am still that. Though I am more leaning towards the Catholic side of Anglo-Catholic now (there’s a bit of John Henry Cardinal Newman in me). I’m still very much a Prayer Book kinda guy (even more so now that I’m 3 years older). I much prefer a Divine Liturgy/Divine Service/Mass/Prayer Book Eucharist service over a typical evangelical service.

Catholic & Orthodox – I’m very much impressed by Pope Francis’ theological style, simplicity and humility of life. I’ve always been very much impressed on the theological depth of his beloved predecessors, Blessed John Paul II and Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI. Catholic religious orders have inspired me immensely on my theological journey (particularly the Benedictines, Cistercians, Trappists, Jesuits, Dominicans and the Society of St. Paul). The mystical life of Orthodoxy has always been an inspiration to me as also the Eastern Orthodox approach to theology which is different from one born into a Western theological tradition. And the Divine Liturgy. Oh, the Divine Liturgy chanted (with the exception of the sermon) is a sublime worship experience. Hillsong, you cannot and do not compare with all of your staging, lighting, loud sound systems and questionable prosperity theology to a Divine Liturgy.

Benedictine… My rule of life that I embraced as a single man changed immeasurably once I became a married man.  I definitely am unable to become a monk now. The one thing that is still quite Benedictine about me is my approach to work and prayer (even though it may not be overtly apparent to an observer). Both are done for the glory of God and not for me wanting to merit anything from God. And that’s now what leads me to the next stage in my complicated theological journey.

For years I misunderstood Lutheranism. I could quote Luther’s oft-quoted definition of a Christian “simul justus et peccator” and tell you that he nailed 95 Theses to a church door that set off the entire Reformation. But I never really took the time to actually find out what Lutherans believed. And so it came one day to a fortuitous visit to Lifeline’s Bookfest here in Brisbane back in 2010 where I picked up a well-loved and used copy of The Book of Concord (published by Fortress Press and edited by Theodore Tappert back in the 1960s from memory) for a miniscule $2. And so, I’ve been working my way slowly through that alongside the 39 Articles and the Catechism of the Catholic Church for the last 3 years.

Which means that I can now add “confessional Lutheran” to my list. This is what I get for watching Worldview Everlasting and reading Bo Giertz, Luther, Martin Chemnitz, C.F.W. Walther and Francis Pieper in amongst the rest of my reading material over the last 3 years.

So I’m now an Anglo-Catholic-Catholic-Confessional Lutheran-Orthodox Christian. Confused much? It gets that way for me at times too.

As much as I can respect Reformed theology, I still find it somewhat lacking. The current crop of neo-Calvinists isn’t helping the Reformed case.  I’m well and truly out of the Methodist camp now. My grandfather (a now-deceased former Methodist bishop) is looking down on me now probably with a sense of amusement along with some pride that his grandson is finding his own way theologically.

Three years ago, I was seriously contemplating entering either seminary or a monastery. The latter is now out of the option and the former probably is too (unless the Lord opens up a way for my wife and I). Becoming a priest is out of the question (well a RC priest, the Anglican, Eastern Orthodox and Lutheran pastoral ministry is still open to me). Until then, my vocation as a husband and employee of a large organisation is what the Lord is asking me to excel in.

But overall, life is good and so is the Lord.

Time for a shower and then some sleep. It’s been nice getting back into blogging. There might be more in the future.

Possibly on my theological journey, my bugbears with TV/radio/music/contemporary Christian culture/Bible translation and a rather curious hobby I have at paying far too much attention to Bible design and construction amongst other hobbies.

Case in point: Koorong, please bring in some quality leather editions of the ESV (like the Personal Reference Bible and the Single Column Legacy Bible) from Crossway and Cambridge and have them in-stock at stores so customers can actually touch them rather than only be available from the supplier. And get a new supplier if possible too as your prices (even after the AUD’s devaluation against the greenback) are ridiculously high compared with overseas.

Anyhoo, time to jet.

+ 2142hrs

Less than a week to go

Ordinary Time 15 – Sunday

My oh my, things have moved quickly. At the beginning of the 2011, I started off the year (re-)finding a special someone who I had neglected and treated horribly over the last few years. By God’s grace she forgave me and gave me a shot at being her boyfriend and her fiancée. She’s is someone who blew my mind and blew my heart away the first time I met her 9 years ago (it’s almost the beginning of the 10th year since I’ve known her). And in less than a week, I will be united with her as husband and wife. The beginning of a new family with Christ as the head.

My time dabbling in the monastic world is something I treasure deeply. I learnt more about myself during the four years where I was seriously contemplating being a monk given what was going on in my life at the time. And those four years weren’t easy. But during those four years, I have learnt tools that will serve me a lifetime in my spiritual walk with God (the LoTH, centering prayer, Ignatian reflection, ascesis, rule of life, etc, etc).

And not only in my own walk with God, but as a partner with my soon-to-be wife in our walk with the Lord together. I know she and I come from different viewpoints regarding the Christian faith (she more evangelical, I more from the ancient-future and “catholic” world). But this will be an exciting ride full of challenges (that we will overcome), the bad times (which I hope and pray we don’t have too many of) and the good times (which I hope and pray we have more of).

As for blogging, it’s becoming ever more infrequent now. Last year I was having some serious thoughts about shuttering this blog down after almost 10 years of blogging: starting out with Xanga, then LiveJournal, a failed attempt on Blogger and where I am now here on WordPress.com

After married life, I’m not foreseeing any spare time for me to add extra posts on any regular basis. I’ll keep this blog open and who knows, I might pop in once and a while, but dear readers take this post to be my final hurrah. It’s been fun writing about the thoughts on my mind and the theological struggles that I’ve gone through, but a new chapter of my life is beginning and with that it’s time to move on.

Pax Christi sit semper vobiscum.

Amen.

+ 1815hrs

It’s about a month away…

Wednesday after Whit Sunday (aka Pentecost)

In about a month’s time my life will irrevocably change. I get glimpses of this each and everyday before my big day with E, but on that day itself, her life and mine will be bound together even more tightly than how our lives are intertwined now.

Married life is something that I once wondered whether or not it was going to form part of my vocational makeup. At the beginning of last year, thoughts about giving my life utterly and indisposedly to the Lord in the monastic way was a serious thought. Was it escapism? I don’t know, but like Andrew Krivak (who was once a novice Jesuit only to leave the Society for married life in the “secular” world) I’m finding that married life is going to be a part of my vocational makeup.

The monastic heritage (Benedictine, Cistercian, Carmelite, Carthusian charisms) that attracted me 6-7 years ago still plays a very important part of my Christian walk. I’ve found something quite freeing in embracing the Catholic heritage of the Christian faith that has added to the pre-existing deposit of faith that my forebears passed on to me as a Protestant. And the Catholic view of what a family should be is something that I’ve never really heard much about in Protestant circles (even though I know that there is this line of thinking in Protestantism).

So I will still get up and pray the Offices of the catholic Church. I will still attend and help serve at Mass during weekday lunchtimes whenever possible. I will still serve in some way in the local congregation of the Body of Christ (however imperfect she may be) that I am a member of on Sundays and other days. But more importantly, I will do this all as a married man and be open to the varied, myriad ways that the Spirit of God works in my life and in E’s life so as to fulfil the mission of the Church (that is, to play my part in the only truly global group that exists for the benefit of those who are outside of her).

Amen.

+ 0100hrs

The Domestic Church

350. Why is the Christian family called a domestic church? (CCC 1655-58, 1666)

The Christian family is called the domestic church because the family manifests and lives out the communal and familial nature of the Church as the family of God. Each family member, in accord with their own role, exercises the baptismal priesthood and contributes toward making the family a community of grace and of prayer, a school of human and Christian virtue and the place where the faith is first proclaimed to children.

The Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church

+ 2356hrs

Aldersgate Day for Anglicans

Lesser Festival of John & Charles Wesley (CoE Common Worship Sanctorale)

O God of mercy,
who inspired John and Charles Wesley with zeal for your gospel:
grant to all people boldness to proclaim your word
and a heart ever to rejoice in singing your praises;
through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.
Amen.

+ 0800hrs

On the cusp of being a 30-something Christian

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.