This blog has been established for the exchange of ideas. Posts do not necessarily reflect the philosophies of the Seminary.
Dr. Nijay Gupta
Dr. J. Richard Middleton
Dr. Deana Porterfield
When I was a young Christian, I was led to believe that “worldly” identity and attachments were sinful and all that mattered was worshipping Jesus Christ “in spirit.” Taken to an extreme, the idea meant to me that cultural aspects of this earthly life were temporary and, therefore, obstacles in the way of our eternal and spiritual identity. Perhaps the most memorable example of this came with the push in our youth group to destroy all of our “secular” music and the expectation we would only listen to Christian music. Perhaps another tacit assumption was that the “strong” believers would limit their participation in “secular” clubs and sports, and would devote more time to church activities (student leader board, church choir, youth group, etc.).
The Native American sits next to the Congolese man to discuss the Pan-African/Swahili group. The Nigerian man greets the Anglo woman while the Myanmar-Burmese man speaks with the African American woman. The Rwandan and Eritean men take their seats and prepare to meet. This is not the opening of a United Nations session. This is the leadership team at my church in Buffalo N.Y. sitting down together to ask the questions that will guide and shape their ministries.
The Cross and Gendercide: A Theological Response to Global Violence Against Women and Girls
I often say as I listen to preaching that I can tell where the theological thrust of focus of the preacher is. We preach what we believe. My core belief, the one thought that I hope and try to convey to persons in every sermon that I preach is this: God’s grace is real and available, without qualification or precondition or any stipulation. It is “good to go.”
I entered into lent this year captivated by the idea of anticipating the resurrection. It has been 10 years since I began to observe Lent. During those years I have fasted from habits and I have fasted from food. I have contemplated dying to self, wrestling with sin, and receiving forgiveness. But this year as I entered Lent I was captivated by the anticipation of the Resurrection.
O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Romans 7:24
In the Old Testament book of Joel, we see the author warning the Israelites about a plague of locusts which will come and overtake their lands, destroying their crops, and leaving them with no food. This coming locust invasion is the direct result of their disobedience to God. But it’s not too late, this invasion can be stopped if the people will just repent of their sins and follow God.
In the Deep South, although the first day of spring is still officially a few weeks away, the plants and trees around my neighborhood are beginning to show signs of re-birth. Winter is slipping away. Shoots and blossoms, while mostly dormant at present, will soon burst forth with glorious expression.
After I had completed my Master of Divinity degree I engaged in many seminars, professional development events, spiritual life refreshments, and other ongoing educational opportunities. But I was "chomping at the bit" for something much more rigorous, a kind of personal and professional development that had real accountability and required authentic advancement.
I was in my late 50s when I made the decision to start the D. Min. program. At that point, my time was divided between two challenging occupations. For half of each week, I was engaged in the practice of law at a large law firm. For the other half of each week, I was employed as the assistant director of U. S. ministries for an association of churches.
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