...thoughts expressed here are not necessarily final.

September 11, 2006 Five years later

The news channels have done an exemplary job, I think, in preserving the dignity and the pathos of 9-11 on this 5th anniversary. I thought FOX news did an excellent job inparticular. I cried some tears of empathy and inspiration at the stories we relived today. God bless America, and America, bless God for his Goodness in the midst or terror!

Musings on insufficiency

I was asked to day if I think Christians should work on improving areas of weakness. Sounds like a no-brainer, but I do have a qualified response.

I would propose that, yes, we are to be about improving our weaknesses. But I would qualify that by saying there is a difference in inadequacy of experience and the inadequacy of insufficiency.

The inadequacy of insufficiency glorifies God as it points to His sufficiency. Weakness is often an occasion for the obedience of faith. If God were to tell us to go march around Louisville with flashlights and hot water bottles to accomplish his purposes, we'd best get to it. 2 Cor 9:8, it is God's provision that makes us adequate for every good work. We see in the feeding of the 5000 that He intends to multiply our limited resources so they meet His unlimited responsibilities.

The focus on US and OUR weaknesses and strengths can be a problem as we could end up examining ourselves to death. When would we know if we have improved "enough"? Also, the ability to improve in this area should give us NO cnfidence in our ability to improve upon our inadequacy of insufficiency.

I'm not just proposing a vacant "git 'er done' attitude as excellence is something that honors the Lord. I think we should be more in touch with developing a godly sense of supernatural giftedness versus the sole reliance on natural talent that pervades the church. We must recognize that all gifts are of grace alone- Peter calls it poikilos- multicolored or multifaceted grace. Uh-oh, that's another can o' worms :-)

Over time we may overcome the inadequacy of inexperience, and this is good. We are to be willing workmen, not ashamed. we are to grow until we are conformed. We are to study to show ourselves approved in this area. But with our inadequacy of insufficiency, if we discover coping mechanisms, we discover how to go with the flow, that is another thing. We discover the false premise that being really good at some things in the category of inadequacy of inexperience helps convince us that we may not be inadequate after all. The problem here is that what worked so well in rightly helping us overcome our inadequacy of inexperience can give us a false sense of confidence when it comes to our insufficiency.

While we're on the subject, here is a side road to consider...We also need to see that this can tend to cause the church to look at some people as being cast off and as a result cause us to pursue people whom we see have potential for being used of God. There is no who's who of premium converts out there, not athletes or successful businessmen, etc. This is a false premise. We laud tremendous sinners who are converted and make them celebrities- this is wrong- Anybody is somebody in the body by the very virtue of having been included in the first place. We misunderstand life. We think the key to happiness is doing things well. Or in "Being Good" or being good at performing something.

More posts for your comments...
95700 Theology and Leadership: Discussions - 11:26am Sep 13, 2006 EST -

To develop a Christian theology of success, I think it is necessary to also address a theology of failure as well. I suppose a thoroughgoing tehology of the Cross would subsume both of these. The world's definitions and Scripture's are paradigmatically in juxtaposition, it seems to me.

On the other hand, the way Lord Yahweh interacted with the people of the old covenant included performance based standards along with blessings and cursings for obedience or non obedience. While I am not a full-blown dispensationalist, I do see that the fulfillment of the law in Christ and the tenor of the new covenant is different in its fulfilled state than in the former shadow.
The mantra of business is bigger, better , more is more. For those being conformed to the likeness of the son of God, the standards are- is it good, is it true and is it beautiful? that may mean less is more. That may mean forsaking all to follow to a nondescript life from the world's standards. Even if we succeed in the world's eyes and it is not of faith, it is sin. If it is of faith we will not boast in the success of it, but rather in the Cross.

Over and against this is the plain fact that numbers in the church represent souls that are precious.

95500 Critical Inquiry and Research Design: Discussions - 10:17am Sep 13, 2006 EST -

Modernism has created a dichotomization in every aspect of life. As for Dr. Mohler's quote about if churches were doing their work, seminaries would not be necessary, I say Amen, brother. But the issue is not just that pastors must train other pastors in the local church, but that it must be a holistic discipleship approach. It is in the local church context that leadership bubbles up from the inside naturally. The local church is the place of nurture and nature.
Seminary can provide tools and experiences that operate as iron sharpening iron only to the degree that the profs and students are all involved in local church ministry themselves. That may seem to be an obvious statement, but it is not the case too many scenarios. Most importantly, the nurturing of those who are pursuing vocational ministry, in my mind, shuld not be approached in a bifurcated, modernistic way.

We need to realize that EVERYONE is called, and that there is not class distinction between "full time ministers" (AKA clergy) and those who passionately pursue ministry outside that context. Sadly, that is the case- but who are the "uncalled"? The kind of nurture that the Bible proposes is a lifelong enterprise. No pastor can do it alone, it takes a church, not a village.

At the other extreme, someone receives a "call" ,and they are immediately shipped off from their local church for the seminary to "fix them up" and they, in the process may be plunged into a new ministry situation where their time is divided between counseling and conducting funerals for broken people in a newfound flock with zero support mechanisms and learning to parse Greek at the same time. Sound familiar?

95500 Critical Inquiry and Research Design: Discussions - 09:23am Sep 13, 2006 EST -

So what are the issues concerning churches preparing pastors versus seminary training? Don't get me started.

Other things to take into consideration are doctrinal purity and acountability- these are issues for both sides of the fence. If you have ever been in a lecture hall scenario where the prof is a sage on the stage for 120 inquiring minds and yet cannot take questions due to the nature of the situation, it makes you realize the necessity for a both/and approach.

I have always looked at the seminary as a resource that is worth having. In our situation, seeking the PhD, it is a forum for scholarly interaction, something you cannot generally get in the local church. We walk between two worlds, as Nicholas Wolterstorff has said, and we must discern whether the agendas of the church community versus the scholarly community are the same.

In their present state, it is obvious that they are not always in alignment (I am not saying they should be the same, just in alignment- Seminary is not the Church). Most local churches, I would argue, are ill equipped to provide the kind of educational experience the seminary can offer. On the other hand, I have met some people at seminary that have never done anything but go to school all their life and are not presently involved in meaningful ministry. What kind of preparation is THAT? The issue is not that seminary is a modern invention, but that we must strive to live in an unfragmented way as a result of the fall and of the paradigms of modernism.

As I alluded to above, the lecture hall setting is a reality to be contended with in most of higher education, but that does not make it right. We have the advantage in the LEAD school of some forward thinking minds that are leveraging the learning environment design to our advantage and God's glory I think. The technologies have enabled us to build community in the cohort format that I have rarely experienced in University or Seminary and only in the best of churches.

The Names of God

We went to a musical for chorale and congregation at SBTS Thursday evening. It was new work by Phillip Landgrave, entitled "The Names of God." It was a wonderful time of praise and worship focusing on the attributes defined by those names. Wonderful orchestration and amazing amount of music coming from a small number of instruments. Critique: some of the melodies were, as an old friend, Barbara Conley used to say, "not very tuneful."

They did inspire me to sing my own compositions. I will unfld them here in the weeks ahead.


Before the beginning began
The nothingness obeyed your command
As your creative Word you proclaimed
You spoke forth and the world was framed.

From that which was void, without form,
A watery chaos was born
Then earth from the heavens and sea from dry land
Were all separated by your holy hand!

All sufficient maker of all
The universe heeds your creative call
Triune majesty, reigning supreme
You created it all, Elohim!

Lord of Creation
You laid the foundation
Of the world you saw in your mind
And all that you spoke you designed

All of the life on this earth
At your Word, it was all given birth
And in all this story your glory's displayed
Oh Elohim, what a wonderful world you have made!

All sufficient maker of all
The universe heeds your creative call
Triune majesty, reigning supreme
You created it all, Elohim!

Through your sovereign Spirit and Word
Chaos and darkness were changed as they heard
And in your image man was made
The image of Elohim in man is displayed.

All sufficient maker of all
The universe heeds your creative call
Triune majesty, reigning supreme
You created it all, Elohim!

Anthony Foster
September 15, 2006
Genesis 1:1, Hebrews 11:3


Oh sovereign Lord, our Lord
You are worthy to be adored!
Master of all you survey
We will seek the words you say.
We will hear and we will obey!

Lord of life , Lord of love
Lord of heaven above
Lord of earth below
Come now and show
Your will in us so all may know.
Oh Lord most high
You alone are Adonai
You speak your command and we comply
Rule over us, sovereign Adonai!

By your pleasure nations rise and fall
By your pleasure you extend your call
By your pleasure we live or we die
Rule over us sovereign Adonai
We praise the name of Lord Adonai!

Lord of life , Lord of love
Lord of heaven above
Lord of earth below
Come now and show
Your will in us so all may know.
Oh Lord most high
You alone are Adonai
You speak your command and we comply
Rule over us, sovereign Adonai!

Anthony Foster
September 15, 2006
2 Samuel 7:18

Our Good Provider (Yaweh Yireh)

Where there is need, there is your will
Our cup of emptiness you will overfill
For You are sufficient for all you require
As we pray you determine our heart's desire.

What we need most you have not denied
Our very sacrifice you have supplied
You are the source and you will provide
Every insufficiency you fill
Yahweh Yireh , provide what you will!

For from your hand of plenty you give
A storehouse opens wide so we may live
And we're filled to overflowing 'til our spirits groan
For you are what we need
You're the feast on which we feed
All the blessings we have ever known.

Our faith and family and friends
Are gifts the good provider sends
The blessings and the breath
That takes us through life to death.

What we need most you have not denied
Our very sacrifice you have supplied
You are the source and you will provide
Every insufficiency you fill
Yahweh Yireh , provide what you will!

Anthony Foster
September 15, 2006

Remember this guy? Of course it is Henry Gibson. I didn't know it but he has beeen in scores of movies and TV shows since his early days of Laugh-In. I scoured the Internet for some of his poems and found very few. I added a couple of memorable ones.

Little Birdie

I saw a little birdie go hop, hop, hop.
I said, "Little birdie, won't you stop, stop, stop?
Oh birdie, stop your hoppin, stop your hoppin!"

But he didn't.


Dogs Are Better Than Ants

Dogs are better than ants
Because you don't have to bend so far to pet them
In addition, they are sturdy old muzzlers
Who fetch us our slippers, papers, and twig chunks
Twig chunks
But most of all, they stay out of jelly jars and
Never go squish if you happen to step on them.
Why I Like The Lizard

I like the lizard because
He's always so interested in the welfare of others.
Well, take for example the fly,
Which he does. Slurrrrrrppppp.....
The Eyelash

The eyelash is a friend to man.
It lives to serve the eye.
It fights the dirt and dust and grime,
And keeps the eyeball dry.
Flick, flick. Flick, flick.
It's busy as a bee.
Flick, flick. Flick, flick.
It's helpin' you and me.

Marshall McLuhan

Marshall McLuhan,
What are yuh doin'?

How I Saved A Baby Rhino from Slippin' In The Quicksand,
Whilst In Search Of My Fountain Pen,
Last Summer Along The Amazon River

With great difficulty.
The Thumbnail

Did you ever stop to figure
Why the thumbnail is so hard?
Well it hasn't any choice
With all that skin to guard.
It may look fat and pudgy
But it's heart is good and true.
It's prettier than a toenail
And easier to chew.
You Are What You Eat

If you are what you eat,
Then here's what I am:
Broccoli, papaya
Wheatgerm and Spam.


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From the personal weblog of Anthony Foster @http://anthonyfoster.com/blog/