I did an interview about suffering as a promo for my reading at Abington Library in Clarks Summit, PA tonight at 6:00 pm. The interview is linked here.
On June 1 (6:00-8:00 pm) I will be at the Abington Library in Clarks Summit, PA. I will be sharing my chapter from When Suffering is Redemptive and discussing the effects and the long-term implications of living with severe chronic pain. A Q&A will follow. See program flyer here: CommunityFlyer_RedeemingSuffering
Review of Ruth A. Tucker, Black and White Bible, Black and Blue Wife: My Story of Finding Hope after Domestic Abuse (Zondervan, 2016) 206 pages.
Ruth Tucker of Jerusalem to Irian Jaya fame, has penned a personal, heart-wrenching account of years of domestic violence at the hands of her “charming, articulate, and intelligent” husband and once beloved pastor. Her ex-spouse (who is never named in the book) inflicted untold physical and emotional horror on her and their son for years. Sadly, Tucker’s experience is not unique in the church. Women and their children like her and her son (Carlton) should not have to suffer in silence and alone. The church needs to read this book to be motivated to come along side others like Tucker.
What Tucker suffered at the hands of her husband was terrible and inexcusable. Her ex’s use of the Bible to cower Tucker into submission was not only violence inflicted on his wife, Ruth, but also abuse of the worst kind on the biblical text itself. And this is where Tucker does not differentiate between what the Bible actually teaches and what her husband inflicted on her based on his warped hermeneutic. For Tucker they are one in the same. Since her husband demanded total and unquestioned submission and would physically and/or emotionally make her tow that line, any male who supports and practices loving biblical submission (i.e. complementarianism) in marriage is like her husband.
While there is certainly a danger that the doctrine of biblical submission in marriage has (and will be) used as a vicious club (23), Tucker misses the point that God never intended this doctrine to be wielded in such fashion. Sadly, she also confuses the perpetrator with the teaching when she writes, “Yet the doctrine of male headship demands that an independent single woman turn into another woman—a woman under subjection” (53). Tucker’s horrendous experience was at the hands of her ex who had violated the biblical text long before he had abused her.
Just received my copy of When Suffering Is Redemptive: Stories of How Anguish and Pain Accomplish God’s Mission edited by Larry Waters (Weaver Publishing). The paperback is available from the publisher for $11.25 or $11.14 from Amazon.
I contributed chapter three: “Redeeming Chronic Pain: When Surgery Fails.”
If you have a soft heart for suffering people, this is not an easy read. However, for those who are hurting, it may be an encouragement that others have and are suffering and God is with them in their pain and sorrow.
Below is an email I received this weekend. Sounds like a neat opportunity.
I’m assisting Jennifer Cunneen from Wycliffe Associates to find volunteers to do a Hebrew check on their Old Testament translation. They need as many folks as possible, even as many as 100. The start date is anytime, and for the end date, it’s a bit more flexible. The first phase of this work ends on September 30, 2016, but they need folks to stay for as long as they can. Ideally, they would prefer six months to a year, but they can work with shorter time frames. Below is a detailed explanation of the Bible translation.
Wycliffe Associates is working on a Bible translation that is completely free of copyright. Not only do they have an English copyright-free translation, but are also translating into 52 of the main gateway (trade) languages throughout the world. These Bibles will be freely given to national translators, so that they may use them to translate into their minority languages which have no Scripture.
To make sure that they have been completely accurate with the original text, they need volunteers who are willing to help them check for accuracy. Their focus is on the Old Testament right now, which means they need volunteers with Hebrew knowledge. The volunteers don’t have to be fluent in Hebrew, but previous Bible background and experience using Hebrew tools would be helpful. The work is done remotely, and would only require about 10 hours per week.
All of this work is done online, so volunteers must have a good internet connection, and feel comfortable accessing their text on the computer. Volunteers will check the translation and then report their findings to Wycliffe’s team by email, or another online interface. They are asking for 8-10 hours per week of service. Please contact Jennifer_Cunneen@wycliffeassociates.org with any student volunteers. Jennifer and Wycliffe Associates appreciates any assistance and prayers to find volunteers.
Blessings in Jesus,
For those interested in how seminary education should be delivered need to read Paul R. House’s, Bonhoeffer’s Seminary Vision: A Case Study of Costly Discipleship and Life Together (Crossway, 2015).
House uses Bonhoeffer’s seminary model as a way to evaluate the current shift of seminary education away from resident programs to online. While House recognizes the need and value of online seminary education in a few incidents, these are only for emergencies where a potential student is unable to attend a residential program.
House argues that the delivery system of seminary education should be driven by theology and not cash flow that some have suggested online programs promise. He writes, “Thus I believe that a biblical theology of pastoral formation makes face-to-face community-based seminary education a priority, not a preference. (I also believe that the same is true for a Christian liberal arts university, but that is a subject for another time.) Online education for degree credit (at per-credit fees) may be reserved for true emergency cases, but not be accepted as normative or used regularly for pastoral formation” (15).
Most seminary professors would applaud House’s call. However, it is not the professor who needs to be convinced but the potential student. One of my seminary students, who left today for his paid internship, stopped by yesterday and rehearsed all that he learned and experienced by being in a residential program. He recognized that while he could have taken his degree online, he realizes that his educational experience would not have been as full or as rewarding if he simply did his courses online. While this student had a family and steady job, he was unique in that he had the finances and medical occupation that was transferable to almost any geographical area. Many students do not have these same blessings. Contrary to House, online seminary education is a strong, viable (and biblical) alternative for many students. However, seminary faculty, administration and potential students need to recognize the strengths and weaknesses of each delivery system.
While not everyone will agree with his premise or conclusions, House raises thought provoking questions that seminaries need to wrestle with as we train others for ministry in the local church.
Although Christmas is over, here is an after Christmas message I preached on December 27 at my home church in NJ on Isaiah 9.