Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Sufjan Stevens - explorefaith music

Sufjan Stevens - explorefaith music# Been listening to this guy and really enjoying the music for about a month now an this is one of the best intro's to him Ive read.

In other News...

Well, Hello, No I havent run away again but work comes first Im afraid and I thought also Id leave some space to get some feedback on my it turns out not so short comment on ephesians part I and II. I will give the penultimate part right after this essay (which I should finish today, correction I need to finish today) But In other news I am reading the RSS feeds and google reader has this great starring system which you'll know about if you use gmail, where you star your favourite posts. Then Ive set up a postroll which I mentioned about a week back, a new 1 or 2 posts come up most days, and more and more are coming from Jesus Creed, partially I suppose because of the frequency of Scotts Posts, but its really good stuff none the less. Its also a helpful aggregator to see my favourite blogs to read in fact. Also Ive been playing with the beta version of coComment which you can read about here, but it dosent work for any comment systems that use pop ups, so until that time, its proving somewhat redundant.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

A Short Comment on Ephesians Part II

Today Im going to look at the theology in Paul's letter to the Ephesians. Paul's letter if you wanted to split it up here could be understood as a two fold piece for the Ephesian Church. From Chapters 1 to 3 Pau'ls discussion is mostly on theological or conceptual grounds. In contrast the following chapters 4 - 6 Paul discusses more practical or directly applicational topics. There are many theological aspects of these few chapters but the one's I am going to concentrate on at the moment are the Divine Grace that Pauls Speaks of, and secondly the issue of Jew and gentile races. Looking at Paul's letters his theology and as one writer puts it, is more of an 'occasional' than 'systematic' theology and so we can only understand in part. But here in Chapter 2:1-10 is a basic overview of the theology or theological perspective which sets out in order that he can go on to speak of church issues in context. Divine Grace here being the centre point of what Paul sets out is important, and fits with Paul's famous theology of "Justification by Faith". As we mentioned in Part I Realised Eschatology is one of the point on which authorship is contested, and Paul's emphasis on this is a direct outworking of the understanding of divine Grace for believers right now. As we discussed in Part I, the letters are written to direct situation s in Church's so it is not unimaginable that Paul would put emphasis on particular areas of theology that he though the conduct of the church he was writing to needed to assimilate into their lives. Though I am in no way and expert of the Ephesian church, it could inferred that the Ephesian Church saw their salvation weighted eschatologically and were not living under Grace for now, and the fullness in which Christ had given to them. Some helpful napkin theology in relation to this is a saying of my pastor: "I have been Saved, I am Being Saved and One day I will Be Saved" A side note yet one worth mentioning is that the grace, which is membership in the kingdom of God to come, and that which is partially manifest, is through faith, this is discussed in Galatians and Romans, but faith itself is a gift, in order for it not to be works, faith comes from a knowing of the truth. Many people know the gospel, but those who KNOW it are those with faith and this extra knowing is faith given by God, so justification, righteous-ing, salvation is from God in two fold, the first that he died so that we might be saved, and that he might defeat Death and Hades, secondly that the very gift of understanding that is from God's grace and not our own intellect. A side line maybe, but a worthwhile observation at least. The second Theological issue which is a little newer to me is the unity of Jew and gentile. Paul's theological outlook is that all who are in Christ are saved. Paul himself mentions that if the law was the judge he upheld it as a jew in all the ways he was taught, but this was still not enough to save him. the only way to salvation for Paul. That is why he condemns the jewish christians for demanding that the gentile converts or greeks, become circumscised. For Paul this request shows that the jews are missing the point and he uses the Exodus story of Abraham (I think its Exodus 12 but not entirely sure) where Abraham is reckoned Righteous before God, before he was circumcised. What Paul is saying is that the nation of Israel is no longer under the old covenant, Pauls speaks later on here in Chapter 2:11 11Therefore, remember that formerly you who are Gentiles by birth and called "uncircumcised" by those who call themselves "the circumcision" (that done in the body by the hands of men)— When paul adds the (by the hands of men) he is directing us towards his opinion that circumcision in the flesh is exactly that circumcision in the flesh. Paul sees this as meaningless if we are not circumcised (set apart for God) in our hearts. Paul continues speaking that there is no favoritism between the Jewish (nation of Israel) and the gentiles, as he sees the gentile as the diasporic descendants of Abraham. In 2:15-16 he goes further: 15 by abolishing in his flesh the law with its commandments and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new man out of the two, thus making peace, 16and in this one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility. Paul seems to be saying here that, what once was two (as in Jew and Gentile) is now one in Christ and so no work of the law will ever justify us, for both Jew and Gentile the requirements are the same, as they are now one. This is a one sided argument, as there are many scholars in both schools of thought but this one makes the most sense to me. Romans 10:12 For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile—the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, Not only here is Paul defending the right to gentiles to be considered complete members of the Christian community but he is also defending everything he is standing for. In the jews demanding that the gentiles become Jews, they are saying that Paul could find salvation in Judaism and the law, and Paul should not have converted, they are denying his calling to the gentiles to assimilate them into the body of Christ: Gal 2:8 For God, who was at work in the ministry of Peter as an apostle to the Jews, was also at work in my ministry as an apostle to the Gentiles. For Paul the gentiles being a full part of the church is an integral part of what it is to be the new Christian community. Finally to conclude this theology Chapters 1-3 section on Ephesians, a good way in which we can visualise the nature of the 3 races which paul is discussing is that if a circle representing the JEWS and a circle representing the GENTILES and overlapped, in the overlap is what would be called the CHURCH, this is the first theory, the theory I am proposing, to understand verse 15 chapter 2 is that there are 3 circles, JEW GENTILE and a third, the CHURCH, a remnant of the Jewish circle and the GENTILE circle make up the CHURCH, but in this, they leave there circles entirely and adopt a new identity as the bride of Christ, the CHURCH. Again Questions, Comments and corrections welcome...

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Friday, April 21, 2006

A Short Comment on Ephesians Part 1

In the last few months Ive been studying Romans, though at quite a shallow level. Im aware of the possibility of such a deeper and more meaningful study but unfortunatly time does not permit it right now. John (who no longer blogs which sucks) mentioned to me yesterday how he wanted me to blog some of the study I do for my degree and since I have nothing with me to do work on my essay on justification in Romans, I thought a productive thing to do would to blog some stuff about some of the minor or smaller of Pau's letters, this is definatly a completly subjective and snapshot view of 3 of his letters. Firstly Ephesians, In the academic world of theology there is some debate on the authorship of Ephesians, as in whether it actually was written by Paul, for me this is not too big a deal as the canonisationof it for me confirms it's Godss Words so it is somewhat insignificant who the vessel of delivery was, saying this, I do actually think that Ephesians is a Pauline letter and the arguments against in are fairly weak. Basically there is nothing that is completly non Pauline within it. Some of the issues that authorship is fought over though are interesting to glance at. Firstly in Ephesians 2 Paul is speaking of eschatology (the end times) in a sense of realised eschatology (as in much of the work of Christ in the belivers lives is happening right now, thos purportedly is in some contrast with Pauls comments within Romans which speak of a more balanced eschatological view point where although Christs works are being outworked in our lives they are also something which will be completed. This soteriological (issues of salvation) issue can be understood when we see that it is sometime helpful to place slight emphasis on either of the sides when speaking into situations. So for example when Paul was writing to the Ephesian Church as when he was writing to the church in Rome he knew of issues which he felt he needed to comment on and couldn't visit so addressed them in the form of a letter (and one of his disciplesd who would carry the letter, read it to the church and explain anything they didnt understand) In Ephesians here this is Tychicus (6:10-20) but in Romans for exmaple it is Pheobe (Rom 16:1) Another issue for scholars who argue over authorship is the hierarchy of the Church as outlined in (Eph 4:11) Apparently the remnant of Pauls Churches were considered the more charasmatic less structured churches, this is argued from such scriptures that speak of sharing with everyone and those that speak of the equality for everyone under Christ. For me there are two responses for this argument the first is that there nowhere in the corpus of pauline literarure where Paul speaks against the hierarchy of Churhc offices that are subsequently mentioned in chapter 4. Also though I havent the time right now to check the approximate dating of the letter to the Ephesians, As time moved on and the Church found issues with the lack of offical offices Paul saw fit to put them in place. Unfortunatly that is all i have time for right now, thatcovers the authorship debate within the letter to the Ephesians....Comment and corrections are welcome, as long as you have Grace in understanding that Im a 2nd year undergradate student who has hashed out a quick informal overview and not a definitive academic commentary!

Thursday, April 20, 2006

cool shark shots

131819241 26D318F889 M Ive always loved south africa from the days when I used to long and go and surf J bay, I just found this through Liquid thinking which i havent been on for ages. 131819240 22D6596703 O These photos and stories are from Africa geographic which I didnt even knew existed. None of these photos are fake but they are unbelievable!! Here are links to the stories: African geographic Great White Mating and Sharky Shores 131819239 C92950F869 M

I would be Grateful if you could....

Hey, just a very quick post for a request that you could pray for me!.....Over the winter in North East Scotland my body hasn't reacted well to the cold and Ive had about 5 or 6 bouts of thw flu and cold over the winter which has sucked. Towards the end of the winter a group of people were praying for me in relation to it, and they felt that God was saying I was carrying too much, and was stressed with attaining the grade in my studies and keeping all the other plates spinning. I just had a nice 3 weeks off, and Ive just returned to University and have some coursework to get done which Im working away, and Ive come down with something again, ironically it makes work more difficult so more stressful. Anyway I would be grateful if you could pray as I could definatly do without this for the next week or so.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Wholly Yours, My Easter song

Ive recently been enjoying this song, I guess its one of those songs that just helps me express what I want to say in worship to God, one of those songs I feel like Ive written but couldn't spit out. I love that Dave Crowder didn't keep in simple or shy away from a bit of wordiness, some of these words have much more depth than some of the cardboard-like words we get in some songs. I thought Id share the words I am full of earth, You are heaven's worth, I am stained with dirt, Prone to depravity You are everything that is bright and clean, The antonym of me, You are divinity What a certain sign of grace is this From a broken earth Flowers come up pushing through the dirt You are everything that is bright and clean And you're covering me with your majesty And the truest sign of grace was this From wounded hands redemption fell downLiberating man You are holy, holy, holyAll heaven cries holy, holy God You are holy, holy, holyI wanna be holy like you are But the harder I try The more clearly can I Feel the depth of our fall And the weight of it all And so this might could be The most impossible thing Your grandness in me making me clean Holy, Hallelujah Holy, Holy, HallelujahYou are holy, holy, holyAll heaven cries holy, holy GodYou are holy, holy, holyI wanna be holy, holy God Dave Crowder from the Album A Collsion

Retraction Revision, well maybe just a clarification

I happened to re-read one of my posts the other day in light bof a comment which made me think it was maybe interpretted differently than I posted it. It was Islam, Jihad and Ignorance So just quickly Im going to add some comments on what I I can tell I wrote it in a rush. The Introduction maybe sets my thoughts up incorrectly Since 9/11 Ive been fustrated with pretty much the ignorant speak of muslims as one body moving as one. What I was attempting to say was that I was fustrated with people speaking of Muslims in blanket terms, while you can deny post modern thinking till your blue in the face, it is inconceivable that every Muslim, or given that Christian, American, White person thinks and acts in the same way. Also later on the post I mentioned my attempt at communicating a balanced perspective on subject Ive struggled to find a way to relate a more balanced understanding of Islam in a world view which constantly seeks to polarize its characters. I think here instead of "in a world view" it would be helpful to say to a World View, as Im was speaking of communicating balance and perspective on Muslims to those who seek to stereotype. So I hope that cleared a few things up. ORIGINAL POST HERE

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Academics/experts etc

As I sit here researching essays for the next couple of weeks as I get ready to go back to lectures after the easter break, Im looking at books 10's of them written in every concievable subject and sub subject!...that what somebody once said about experts is possibly true, An Expert (feel free to add academic etc) is someone who learns more and more about less and less until they know absolutely everything about nothing. Hopefully I can keep my learning in life broad as well as may continue.

My late Good Friday post and maybe my whole easter address

CalvaryI feel somewhat guilty that I have no deep theological thoughts to offer today, but beforeI begin the rest of my thoughts through that guilt, I want to outline how unbelievably grateful I am that the God of Israel sent his only son to die on a cross for me a wretch, but then gloriously turned it round to conquer death and hell so that I could be free for eternity. I can't even begin to describe what that means to me on the 2Dness of a webpage. Yesterday, when most Churches were having prayer meetings (as well they should) our church held an open mic night in the cafe of our church. It was a great evening with loads of community building time for the people in the church and for loads of people that don't come to church. It was really great to hear comments by people who don't are unchurched to say stuff like, "I never though churches did stuff like this" and "this is what church should be enjoyable" The evening was also important for the church, as church needs community....the mission of the church is to become a community that affects the community. To break that down we need to be a genuine loving community IN the church in order to look out of the church and be a genuine witness, and events like last night I think really build that. I sometimes wish that the church I'm involved in was (if this is not too much a vague term) a bit more liturgical, a bit more full of tradition, which maybe to some may sound strange, but over arching all of that Im glad more than anything that Im in a church that is trying to be REAL to the people inside and outside its walls. When I think of Jesus, when I act out the scriptures in my head, I see Jesus with this authenticity, this REALness that can connect to the common man, better than the existing religious structure. he did it radically and was pushed out of the religious circles for it. I hope I can be this selfless when I need to be radically real to someone. Listening to: My Little Empire from the album "This Is My Truth Tell Me Yours" by Manic Street Preachers

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Friday, April 14, 2006

Time coincidence

I just recieved this from my friend Derek interesting fact! On The 4th of next month, at two minutes and three seconds after 1:00 in the morning, the time and date will be 01:02:03 04/05/06. That won't ever happen again in our lifetime In fact it will be approx. 400 generations before it happens again. You may now return to your life.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006


Apparently there are still people out there without gmail address' Join the revolution TallSkinnyKiwi: New Gmail address Its not the holy grail anymore, but I like the pic andrew So if your in need of a massive inbox then just email me asking for an invite at byrnesyliam at gmail . com

Islam, Jihad and Ignorance

REVISED: Since 9/11 Ive been fustrated with the ignorant talk by westerners speaking of muslims as moving as one, there is no more unity within the wide spread of the Christian Church (less in fact in my opinion) than there in in the Islam faith community. This is usually used in conjunction with terroism/suicide bombing. Since last year when I took an indepth study course of Islam in the anthropology of religion, Ive struggled to find a way to relate a more balanced understanding of Islam to people with a world view which constantly seeks to polarize its characters. I stumbled across this Blog run by a Muslim who clears up a few things, for either people (westerners) with a severly typofied and narrow perspective of Islam or Muslims who equally ignorant, believe that they are actions like 9/11 and other such atrocities are part of a holy war. Unwilling Self-Negation ยป How To Be Violent In Islam To read the laster retraction and revision of this post click here

Another Great Idea from Google: postrolling

You might remember my software changes post where I was playing like a child in a playpen with google labs stuff, well one of the project google reader (a less than ideal but sufficient free online rss reader) In the same theme as their gmail system you can "star posts" for later posterity, they've also included a code that means you can effectivly "postroll" (instead of just blogroll) stuff by linking to your current starred posts. Its installed a little lower on the side bar (oh for a typepad style 2 column template!...let me know if anyone has one for wordpress or blogger) The only problem with it, is that the colour schemes are utterly uncustomizable and this "black" theme is difficult to read, but I applaud google for the concept.

Background of the week

painteddunes Originally uploaded by Byrnesyliam.

Well again Ive been busy this week, but there is stuff in pipelines a) for blogging and b) maybe a move of blog! Watch this space Meanwhlie check out some of my flickr photos if you like This is my background just now, I took this photo a few days ago its in the Paul and Marks visit set, and then I just played with the contrast as Im sure you can tell then put a watercolour effect on it. Kind of like a John Miller

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Poker and Friends

well Im sitting here at the moment playing poker at 1:17am.....well in fact I just lost. We've had two friends up from cornwall, Paul Adams and Mark Davy. Paul just won £5000 (technically in chips! hehe) after cooking us an enbelievable meal this evening with good wine, starting with beautifully cooked salmon with asparagus and a really nice sauce. Then an amazing bit of aberdeen angus steak and honey roasted vegetables. Paul then finale-d with some summer fruits and chocalte mousse. It was honestly one of the best meals Ive ever eaten and we also had a great time. Today we played at a wedding and then went to my first Scottish Premier league football match, Aberdeen Vs Hibernian, Aberdeen won 1-0 and a good time was had, as it included a good football game pittordrie pie. Paul and Mark came up to see John and I as friends and missionary interests for the church their involved in planting in Torpoint Cornwall. Everytime I meet these guys that are involved in the Church plant, Im blessed to be supported in prayer by such an exciting work, but more than that to have such good friends. Anyway, Ill update this post with photos of everything Ive mentioned in the next couple of days.

Friday, April 07, 2006

software thoughts

I dont know how or why I still use Internet Explorer when I start up my PC but I do. Ive enjoyed safari on my iBook but not being able to tab through the windows is a pain so today as its announced that the famous renegade open source (not sure what open source is, the click here) browser firefox has clinched 10% of the browser market Im throwing my lot in with the underground and downloading it for my iBook and if that works out well then maybe even my PC too. I think the seller for firefox was that the tabbed window browser means you can have multiple home-pages, which is ideal for me as I always go to the same few pages when I get online whatever I plan to do. Because its open source, many a third party have made sweet extensions for it, which are little add on tools which make the browser even more handy and personal. Speaking of extensions, Google Labs, the research and development arm of the massive internet company google have released some nice ones. I had a good look round Google labs today, as they are churning out some great stuff. My picks at the moment are: Web Accelerator - As Far as I can see its a swish cache type thing, but enables web pages to load quicker, especially good if you have free space on your hard drive. Though it would as ever be nice to see a mac release. Google Reader - Ive been looking for an online RSS/Atom feed reader for ages, as Im running NetNewsWire on my iBook, I needed something a bitmore accesible, and this might just be it, Im going to try it out and get back to see how it goes On the way out: This isn't quite released for the public yet, though its not too hard to get a peek at, but google have just released an online page creator called non-surprisingly Google page creator, which looks like a great tool, though obviously still in the development stage. It is definatly the tool for people who cant be bothered to learn script, buy a program to make a nice looking webpage. It also seems google is going to be offering free hosting for these web pages at check it out at

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Google Pack

Google have just released a PC pack, what they think is the essentials from their products and other freeware, it seems like a good idea, Im definatly pleased they bundled firefox as Im definatly a new advocate of that. Also a free version of norton is a nice add. The only thing I wouldnt have put in there is the real player because Im not much a fan of it. Go see here the google Pack

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Selfless blog principles/I nailed him

A strange thing happens when I open my iBook to Blog, I read my RSS feeds, basically everyone else's blog. Far from the lofty, academic, (but still inspiring and great) theological musings going on out, Ive been checking a few of my friends blogs out just keeping tuned in to their life, and I end up spending so much time reading their blogs that I just forget I opened up the computer to write about whats happening with me. Now while I hope I dont become too 'unexpressed' I hope I can cultivate being more interested in other people than myself, not in a gossipy way, just in a taking an interest, etc way. basically in a Jesus way, who just outrageously loved the people around him, until they decided enough was enough. I am they.

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