Values: Monday Monologues (podcast), January 24, 2022

Stephen_HIemstra_20210809

 By Stephen W. Hiemstra

This morning I will share a prayer and reflect on Values. After listening, please click here to take a brief listener survey (10 questions).

To listen, click on this link.

Hear the words; Walk the steps; Experience the joy!

Values: Monday Monologues (podcast), January 24, 2022

Also see:

Monday Monologue On March 26, 2018 

Other ways to engage online:

Author site: http://www.StephenWHiemstra.net,

Publisher site: http://www.T2Pneuma.com.

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Refiner’s Prayer

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By Stephen W. Hiemstra

Sovereign God,

All praise and honor be to you, because you created all that is, was, or will ever be by your sovereign word and declared it to be good. Nothing in heaven or on earth can contend with you or harass us because of your almighty power and your creation of us in your image.

We confess that we act as if we were orphans, not under your protection and grace. Forgive our arrogant and neglectful sin when we fall short of your will for our lives. Forgive us when we tarnish your image in ourselves and others. Forgive us when will focus on circumstances and forget your untarnished image.

We give thanks for the many blessings that you have given us: life, health, family, work to do, and the community of faith to sustain us. Thank you especially for the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ that allows us to approach your mercy seat with confidence.

We lift up our families, communities, and country, plagued with besetting sins and moral corruption. In the power of your Holy Spirit, cleanse our hearts and draw us back to you. May the cure not kill the patient. Teach us the discipline of obedient children that we might grow stronger every day in your image.

In Jesus’ precious name, Amen.

Refiner’s Prayer

Also see:

The Who Question

Preface to a Life in Tension

Other ways to engage online:

Author site: http://www.StephenWHiemstra.net

Publisher site: http://www.T2Pneuma.com

Newsletter: https://bit.ly/HNY__2022

 


 

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Intrinsic and Market Values

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By Stephen W. Hiemstra

 In the beginning, 

God created the heavens and the earth. 

(Gen 1:1)

This immense value of the human being arises from God’s immense power. The observation that God created the heavens and the earth means that they belong to him by creative right. God’s social position is second to none. Because God values human beings, their life has intrinsic value—value that does not change with circumstances—and that value is enormous. The concept of human rights arises from the intrinsic value of being created in the image of God. A tiny fraction of infinity is still infinite.

The Death Penalty

The derivative value of human life arises in the biblical discussion of the death penalty.  We read: “Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed, for God made man in his own image.” (Gen 9:6) This implies that an attack on human beings is an attack on God himself, with explicit reference to the word, icon, used in Genesis 1:26-27. Taking human life is a sacrilege whose penalty is to forfeit your own life. Essentially, human life is sacred.

The hedge placed around human life is similar to the hedge that Moses placed around Mount Sinai. We read: “And you shall set limits for the people all around, saying, Take care not to go up into the mountain [Mount Sinai] or touch the edge of it. Whoever touches the mountain shall be put to death.” (Exod 19:12) This hedge is a consequence of God’s holiness because holy means both sacred and set apart.  Like diamonds in a vault, we protect things of value.

Why the high value of human life in Hebrew culture? We can only speculate that for a nation composed of ex-slaves who would have been abused in every possible way, placing a high value on human life (and by inference condemning any sort of abuse) would be a high priority. Abused people are often sensitive to being touched. The Biblical taboo on sexual deviance and abuse is rooted in historical experience of slavery.

Reducing penalties in capital cases has the practical advantage of reducing the violence targeting police as they apprehend murderers and reducing cost of conviction when prosecutors cut plea deals. It is also often argued that murder is often a crime of passion (or youthful indiscretion) where severe penalties provide no deterrent. Because almost all murder trials are highly publicized, the deterrent effect of a death penalty can be enormous. 

The Slippery Slope

Setting aside the practical benefits of eliminating the death penalty, reducing the penalty for murder has the direct consequence of reducing the sacredness of human life. If murderers can negotiate their way to a reduced penalty, then why not serial killers and mass murderers? This slippery slope is responsible for the increased social strife that we are now experiencing.

Reducing the penalty for murder also violates the social contract that gave the civil authority the exclusive right to yield power. Police officers carry both a badge (a symbol of authority) and a gun (a symbol of power). Prior to the Enlightenment, blood vengeance and honor fights, such as dueling, were the norm. When judges are viewed as unfair or too lenient on murderers, people riot. The riots following police shootings raise the specter of this violated social contract. This is not racial issue, per se. 

The sacredness of human life requires justice. If the justice system employs market values rather than intrinsic values in determining penalties, then murderers will be punished according to the financial and social status of their victims. If you compare the Ten Commandments with other legal systems in the ancient near east, they differ in having only one set of laws for everyone. The other systems all embody one set of penalties for aristocrats and another set for everyone else (e.g. Arnold and Beyer 2002, 104-117). Judges need no victim impact statements if life is sacred. Racial differences in penalties mirror this increased reliance on market rather than intrinsic values.

Human rights—a concept based on intrinsic value—exist because we are created in the image of a Holy God. If the sovereignty of God or his existence is questioned, then the sacredness of human life is diminished as we slide down along the slippery slope. Milestones along the slippery slope include less concern for discrimination, injustice, abuse, mistreatment of prisoners, weapons of mass destruction, euthanasia, abortion, designer babies, and a host of other detestable practices.

Shouting louder about any of these issues is a vain exercise if we disrespect God and forget that we are created in his image.

Intrinsic Versus Market Value

Our capitalist society focuses, not on intrinsic values, but on market values. Market values change with volatile circumstances. Your market value as a person implicitly depends on your productivity. If you are young, old, or unable to work, then you are a dependent and a burden on working people. The focus on market values inherently disrespects God’s image. When God is not honored, neither are we.

The strong influence of market values on our self-image explains, in part, why depression rates tend to be highest among population groups who are unable to work. The rate of depression, suicide, anxiety disorders, addictions, and divorce appear to be correlated with changing job prospects. Is it any wonder why elderly people become so depressed that they need to be medicated? As their physical and financial strength wanes, their mental state declines under a market value assessment..

Economists value human life by asking questions like: How much life insurance do you purchase? This is a market-value measure of self-worth. Market values go up and down. At age 25, I might only buy a little life insurance while at age 40 I might buy considerably more. Circumstances change our assessment of both perceived needs and self-worth.

God’s Sovereignty

God’s sovereignty is our sovereignty. While God’s domain is the universe, our domain is our family, the church, and work in the community. In God’s economy, we are sovereign in our domain analogous to God’s sovereignty in his domain. Our self-image should reflect this sovereignty even though, in Christ, we yield it with humility, much like our Heavenly Father.

References

Arnold, Bill T. And Bryan E. Beyer. 2002. Readings from the Ancient Near East. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic.

Intrinsic and Market Values

Also see:

The Who Question

Preface to a Life in Tension

Other ways to engage online:

Author site: http://www.StephenWHiemstra.net

Publisher site: http://www.T2Pneuma.com

Newsletter: https://bit.ly/HNY__2022


 

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Neyrey Explains Honor and Shame, Part 1

Jeremey Neyrey Honor and ShameJerome H. Neyrey.  1998.  Honor and Shame in the Gospel of Matthew. Louisville:  Westminster John Knox Press. (Go to part 2)

Review by Stephen W. Hiemstra

A frequent comment in the church today is the need to stop using all those “churchy” words. While the definition of “churchy” may be up for grabs, the focus of these comments is usually on words that have in the postmodern context lost their meaning. Verses, such as—“Worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power…” (Rev 4:11 ESV)—almost certainly be classified as knee-deep in churchy words, because our buddy culture admits no one worthy of praise, glory or honor or of titles such as Lord and God.

Introduction

In his book, Honor and Shame in the Gospel of Matthew, Jerome H. Neyrey states his objective plainly:  “This book focuses on the praise of Jesus of Nazareth as presented in narrative form by the evangelist Matthew.” (1)  Neyrey sees gospel as a type of ancient writing form called an encomium which is a structured biography designed to offer praise (2). The rules for writing such encomium were the subject of rhetorical handbooks, starting with Aristotle.  Neyrey (4) writes:

“Nothing in the exercise of praise was left to chance, for students were instructed concerning the form of speech of praise, as well as the specific content of each element in that form.  They learned to organize their praise according to the conventional manner of presenting a person’s life from birth to death and in light of specific rules for developing praise at each state of life.”

Honor (τιμη) is the “worth or value of persons both in their own eyes and in the eyes of the village or neighborhood”“concern for ‘honor’ as reputation and ‘good name’ was endemic to the ancient world…” (5)

An important, but questionable, assumption in some biblical interpretation is that honor and shame play a same role in our own culture as in biblical culture. Cultural anthropologists sometimes describe American culture today as a guilt-innocence culture where guilt is only triggered when a law has been transgressed and shame, if experienced at all, is trigger when a law is broken and publically exposed[1]. The shame and guilt so important in biblical culture has lost its meaning. Complaints about the meaninglessness of “churchy” words underscore an important cultural shift that renders aspects of the biblical witness out of reach[2].

Organization

Neyrey writes in 10 chapters divided into 3 parts:

Part One:  Matthew: In Other Words

  1. Honor and Shame in Cultural Perspective
  2. Reading Matthew in Cultural Perspective

Part Two:  Matthew and the Rhetoric of Praise

  1. The Rhetoric of Praise and Blame
  2. An Encomium for Jesus: Origins, Birth, Nurture, and Training
  3. An Encomium for Jesus: Accomplishments and Deeds
  4. An Encomium for Jesus: Deeds of the Body and Deeds of Fortune
  5. An Encomium for Jesus: A Noble Death

Part Three:  The Sermon on the Mount in Cultural Perspective

  1. Matthew 5:3-12—Honoring the Dishonored
  2. Matthew 5:21-28—Calling Off the Honor Game
  3. Matthew 6:1-18—Vacating the Playing Field (v).

These chapters are preceded by an introduction and followed by a bibliography and indices.

Assessment

Neyrey is a tough read. Not only is it hard to follow the arguments, the arguments challenge important preconceptions that we hold in reading scripture. What happens if the “Jesus in our head” is not the Jesus of the bible?  What if our kids hear something different than what we do during the Sunday morning service? These are important questions which directly affect our interpretation of scripture and experience of church.  In Part 2 (look for the post on Monday, March 2), I will explore Neyrey’s arguments in more detail.

Footnotes

[1] http://www.knowledgeworkx.com/blogs/knowledgeworkx/item/141-three-colors-of-worldview.

[2] For example, read:  2 Corinthians 7: Godly Grief (http://wp.me/p3Xeut-Ba).

Neyrey Explains Honor and Shame, Part 1

Also see:

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Heart and Mind: Monday Monologues (podcast), January 17, 2022

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 By Stephen W. Hiemstra

This morning I will share a prayer and reflect on Heart and Mind. After listening, please click here to take a brief listener survey (10 questions).

To listen, click on this link.

Hear the words; Walk the steps; Experience the joy!

Heart and Mind: Monday Monologues (podcast), January 17, 2022

Also see:

Monday Monologue On March 26, 2018 

Other ways to engage online:

Author site: http://www.StephenWHiemstra.net,

Publisher site: http://www.T2Pneuma.com.

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Holistic Prayer

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By Stephen W. Hiemstra

Almighty Father, Beloved Son, Spirit of Truth,

All honor and praise to you for your Triune unity unites heart and mind in undergirding law and modeling mercy, grace, patience, love and truth. May we be and do no less.

Forgive our divided hearts and minds, our disrespect for law and our willingness to practice mercy, grace, patience, love, and truth when it suits us. Be our guide; be ever near.

Thank for the example of Jesus of Nazareth who in life modeled a sinless life,  who taught us about your heart and mind, and who died on the cross that we might draw closer to you as sons and daughters.

In the power of your Holy Spirit, may our daily disciplines become habits, and our habits grow into holy lifestyles that model your image to all those around us.

In Jesus’ precious name, Amen.

Holistic Prayer

Also see:

The Who Question

Preface to a Life in Tension

Other ways to engage online:

Author site: http://www.StephenWHiemstra.net

Publisher site: http://www.T2Pneuma.com

Newsletter: https://bit.ly/Christ_2021


 

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Heart and Mind

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“The LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and 

that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. 

And the LORD regretted that he had made man on the earth, and 

it grieved him to his heart.” (Gen 6:5-6)

By Stephen W. Hiemstra

Because we are created male and female in the image of God, it is important to understand this image. Because God’s image is closely tied to the giving of the law (Exod 20), the church has often concentrated on a cognitive interpretation. God’s revelation of his attributes in Exodus 34:6, however, introduces a more emotional  interpretation of God’s person. Thus, we see in the Godhead of scripture a more complex image of God than is normally pictured, where heart and mind are integrated closely, a characteristic that theologians sometimes refer to as Hebrew anthropology. In a postmodern context, we might describe the Triune God as emotionally intelligent.

Hebrew anthropology (the study of human beings) refuses to separate feelings and thinking. Heart and mind are inseparable. Greek anthropology separates the two, vacillating between giving priority to one or the other. Because Greek anthropology dominates the modern era (think about the division of labor among professionals), it is hard for modern people to understand Biblical writing—when Jesus talks about the heart, he means the whole person, not just the organ pumping blood or mere feelings. 

Limits to a Cognitive Approach

The cognitive approach often assumed in theological discussions cannot fully inform our faith because it is based on faulty Greek anthropology. As theologian James K.A. Smith (2016, 2) writes:

“Jesus is a teacher who doesn’t inform our intellect but forms our very loves…His teaching doesn’t just touch the calm, cool, collected space of reflection and contemplation, he is a teacher who invades the heated, passionate regions of the heart. He is the Word who penetrates even dividing the soul and spirit; he judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.”

Inherent in this statement is the Hebrew view of anthropology—note the two references to heart. What Greek would talk about “the thoughts and attitudes of the heart” (Heb 4:12)? Drawing attention to this anthropology, Smith (2016, 5) asks: “Do you ever experience a gap between what you know and what you do?” If he had the rational mind in view, no such gap would exist but, of course, we all experience this gap.

This line of thought leads Smith (2016, 7) to observe: “what if you are defined not by what you know [the mind] but by what you desire? [the heart]” If our desires are reflected more in our actions than in our words, then this Hebrew anthropology leads us immediately into an inconvenient, but vital, discussion of ethics because our hearts are not lily-white clean as our words. It also forces us to discuss how we know what we know (the epistemology question), because our hearts are not so easily persuaded to follow even our own thoughts. Suddenly, much of the New Testament language sounds less churchy and more informed by an alternative world view, one decidedly not Greek.

The Cognitive Theory of Emotions

The heart and mind dichotomy is described alternatively as feeling versus thinking or body versus mind, emotions versus logic, or even the male versus female stereotype. The terms used are less important than the concept. The postmodern concept of emotional intelligence builds on Hebrew anthropology.

While this subject is very timely, it is not new. Theologian Jonathan Edwards (2009, 13), writing in 1746 about the effects of the Great Awakening, noted that both head and heart were necessarily involved in effective discipling. Thus, he coined the phrase “holy affections” to distinguish the marks of the work of the Spirit from other works and associated these holy affections directly with scripture.

Elliott (2006, 46-47) distinguishes two theories of emotions:  the cognitive theory and the non-cognitive theory. The cognitive theory of emotions argues that “reason and emotion are interdependent” while the non-cognitive theories promote the separation of reason and emotion. In other words, the cognitive theory states that we get emotional about the things that we believe strongly. Our emotions are neither random nor unexplained—they are not mere physiology. Elliott (2006, 53-54) writes: “if the cognitive theory is correct, emotions become an integral part of our reason and our ethics” informing and reinforcing moral behavior.

God’s Wrath

God’s wrath in the Old Testament and Jesus’ anger in the New Testament suggest consistency with this cognitive theory of emotion. Unlike other gods in the ancient world who behave badly and inconsistently, God gets angry primarily over sin, as cited in the Genesis 6 passage above. The Bible often refers to this trait as righteous anger.

The only passage in the New Testament where Jesus gets angry occurs in the story of the healing of the man with the withered hand:

“Again he entered the synagogue, and a man was there with a withered hand. And they watched Jesus, to see whether he would heal him on the Sabbath, so that they might accuse him. And he said to the man with the withered hand, Come here. And he said to them, Is it lawful on the Sabbath to do good or to do harm, to save life or to kill? But they were silent. And he looked around at them with anger, grieved at their hardness of heart, and said to the man, Stretch out your hand. He stretched it out, and his hand was restored. The Pharisees went out and immediately held counsel with the Herodians against him, how to destroy him.” (Mark 3:1-6)

In the story, Jesus asks the Pharisees if it is right to do good on the Sabbath?  In other words, is Sabbath observance more important than caring for one another?  Their unwillingness to answer incensed Jesus and he gets angry because of the “their hardness of heart”. In his anger he heals the man. The object of Jesus’ anger is accordingly a hardened heart (Elliot 2006, 214).

Emotional Intelligence

If God acts not out of impulse, but out of concern for the law and righteous, then the cognitive theory of emotion provide important insight into the character of God. Our beliefs should likewise inform our emotions.

Emotional intelligence, as it is normally interpreted focuses on employing our intuition about other people’s emotional states in crafting our response to them. This is an application of Hebrew anthropology because emotions and thinking are treated as integrated, but the concept is less fundamental to our thinking than Hebrew anthropology, which is more of a philosophical approach. 

Emotional intelligence says nothing, for example, about the righteousness of the emotions observed or the purpose to which this intelligence is put to use. People talented in intuiting emotions may become people pleasers or be tempted to use this talent in devious ways. Consequently, it is probably best to describe God’s character as holistic rather than emotionally intelligent.

One in Christ

The unity of head and heart in Hebrew anthropology is usually thought of in individualistic terms, a kind of holistic worldview, but the social implications run deeper. The Apostle Paul writes:

“For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and call were made to drink of one Spirit. For the body does not consist of one member but of many.” (1 Cor 12:12-14)

When Paul talks about slave or free, he forbids class distinctions. Unity of head and heart poetically removes the class distinction between managers and workers, who are now one in Christ. Democracy is rooted in Hebrew anthropology.

References

Edwards, Jonathan. 2009. The Religious Affections (orig pub 1746). Vancouver:  Eremitical Press.

Elliott, Matthew A. 2006.  Faithful Feelings: Rethinking Emotion in the New Testament.  Grand Rapids: Kregel Academic and Professional.

Smith, James K. A. 2016. You Are What You Love: The Spiritual Power of Habit. Grand Rapids: Brazos Press.

Heart and Mind

Also see:

The Who Question

Preface to a Life in Tension

Other ways to engage online:

Author site: http://www.StephenWHiemstra.net

Publisher site: http://www.T2Pneuma.com

Newsletter: https://bit.ly/Christ_2021


 

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Smith: Speak Postmodern, Part 2

Smith_review_02032015James K. A. Smith.  2006.  Who’s Afraid of Postmodernism:  Taking Derrida, Lyotard, and Foucault to Church.  Grand Rapids:  Baker Academic. (Go to part 1)

Review by Stephen W. Hiemstra

Smith offers detailed comments on three, key postmodern authors—Derrida, Lyotard, and Foucault—and argues that each is fundamental misunderstood in their usual interpretation.

Derrida

Smith sees hope in the Derrida’s critique, “there is nothing outside the text.” (36), because the modern understanding of the Christian message is itself a distortion of traditional church teaching.  In attempting to frame the Christian message in ahistorical truth statements (God is love), the narrative tradition (God showed his love by sovereignly granting the exodus of the nation of Israel from Egypt) has been lost.  Because the Christian message is contextual in biblical accounts and is interpreted by the church, it meets Derrida’s primary concerns.  Consequently, according to Smith, the church must, however, abandon modern stance and language in order to thrive in the postmodern environment (54-58).

Lyotard

Smith also sees Lyotard’s idea of a metanarrative as misunderstood in its bumper-sticker characterization. Postmodern critics have trouble with the metanarrative or big story of scripture—creation, fall, redemption, and eschatology (62-64).  Smith disputes, however, that the scope of metanarratives is Lyotard’s main concern.  Rather, Smith sees Lyotard’s main concern being the truth claims of modern use of metanarratives—science is itself a metanarrative but falsely and deceptively claims to be universal, objective, and demonstrable through reason alone (64-65). Smith writes:  “For the postmodern, every scientist is a believer.” (68). Lyotard is perfectly okay with the idea of faith preceding reason, following Augustine  (65, 72).  Accordingly, Smith says that the postmodern church needs to abandon modernistic claims to truth (e.g., give up the “scientific” approach to apologetics) and, instead, to value story (narrative), aesthetic experiences, and symbols, such as the sacraments (77).  In this way, Smith takes Lyotard to church.

Foucault

Foucault’s concern about institutional power structures is hard to reduce to a bumper-sticker characterization, in part, because he resists reductionism in his writing style and focuses on tediously pure description (96).  Smith sees Foucault preoccupied with disciplinary structures, but wonders what his real intentions are.  He talks about two readings of Foucault:  Foucault as Nietzschean and Foucault as a closet enlightenment liberal (96-99).  Smith writes:

What is wrong with all these disciplinary structures is not that they are bent on forming or molding human beings into something, but rather what they are aiming for in that process (102).

Smith sees Foucault offering 3 lessons to the church:

  1. To see “how pervasive disciplinary formation is within our culture”;
  2. To identify which of these disciplines are “fundamentally inconsistent with…the message of the church”; and
  3. To “enact countermeasures, counterdisciplines that will form us into the kinds of people that God calls us to be” (105-106).

It is worth asking in this context:  when exactly did the church relinquish its internal discipline and why?  Smith sees communion, confession, foot washing, and economic redistribution (107) as the kind of disciplines that need to be maintained.  A more normal reading of discipline might ask why the teaching of the church—church doctrine—is ignored and no dire consequences follow for those most engaged in the ignoring.

Discussion

Smith gets it.  Smith is unique in seriously reflecting on how to apply the lessons he sees in Derrida, Lyotard, and Foucault.  He asks:  “…is it possible to be faithful to tradition in the contemporary world?” (109)  He opines:

A more persistent postmodern [church]… will issue not in a thinned-out, sanctified version of religious skepticism (a “religion without religion”) offered in the name of humility and compassion but rather should be the ground for the proclamation and adoption of “thick” confessional identities. (116-117)

Smith sees radical orthodoxy as admitting that we do not know the truth, but confessing a mysterious and sometimes ambiguous faith (116-118).  He writes:

A more persistent postmodernism embraces the incarnational scandal of determinant confession and its institutions:  dogmatic theology and a confessionally governed church (122).

This radical orthodoxy involves “affirmation of liturgy and the arts and a commitment to place and local communities.” (127).

Assessment

Having just published a devotional book which reviews the traditional teaching of the church [1], I find much to like in Smith’s Who’s Afraid of Postmodernism! Perhaps the only real caveat that I would offer up is that the pluriform and variegated phenomena of postmodernism (26) will likely involve a range of responses, not just radical orthodoxy [2].   Some will work; many will fail.  Re-imaged, will the old wine poured into new wine-skins yield  a church able to experience both the immanent and transcendent attributes of God?  Likewise, will the exclusivity of Christ be lost in a church claiming only the right of private beliefs?  It seems likely that for now radical orthodoxy is likely to pose an interesting postmodern experiment, one of many.

Footnotes

[1] A Christian Guide to Spirituality (T2Pneuma.com).

[2] .  Elements of postmodern, modern, and traditional cultures appear to coexist in tension with one another even in small organizations and most certainly in society more generally.  See a serious of articles online:  Can Bad Culture Kill a Firm?  For example: (http://bit.ly/1DeSLse)

Smith: Speak Postmodern, Part 2

Also see:

Books, Films, and Ministry

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Author site: http://www.StephenWHiemstra.net

Publisher site: http://www.T2Pneuma.com

 

 

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Interpreting Images: Monday Monologues (podcast), January 10, 2022

Stephen_HIemstra_20210809

 By Stephen W. Hiemstra

This morning I will share a prayer and reflect on Interpreting Images. After listening, please click here to take a brief listener survey (10 questions).

To listen, click on this link.

Hear the words; Walk the steps; Experience the joy!

Interpreting Images: Monday Monologues (podcast), January 10, 2022

Also see:

Monday Monologue On March 26, 2018 

Other ways to engage online:

Author site: http://www.StephenWHiemstra.net,

Publisher site: http://www.T2Pneuma.com.

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Heart and Mind Prayer

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By Stephen W. Hiemstra

Father God,

We praise you for your consistency in heart and mind. Your immutable character is eternal and unchanging with the seasons. Your judgments enforce justice and your mercy supports life itself. Help us to model our behavior after yours.

We confess that we are like reeds blowing in the wind, sinning when it suits us, and when we find advantage. Forgive our sin and teach us to live without it.

We thank you for the life, ministry, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ who redeems us from bondage to sin and gives life meaning.  Help us to accept his love and learn from it.

In the power of the Holy Spirit, help us to model ourselves after you, to pattern life on earth with that in heaven, and to show mercy, grace, patience, love, and faithfulness to those around us.

In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Heart and Mind Prayer

Also see:

The Who Question

Preface to a Life in Tension

Other ways to engage online:

Author site: http://www.StephenWHiemstra.net

Publisher site: http://www.T2Pneuma.com

Newsletter: https://bit.ly/Christ_2021


 

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