Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Theology of the Cross

Rob at Love and Blunder lays it down solid in this post. Speaking of theology of the cross, is the book by On Being a Theologian of the Cross by Gerhard Forde a "confessional" work? Any major problems with its presentation? What I've read, I've liked.

Mr. Jefferson Goes to the Middle East

My Alma Mater Grove City College is hosting a two day conference on Democracy and the Middle East on April 5th and 6th entitled, Mr. Jefferson Goes to the Middle East. The conference is hosted by the Center for Vision and Values and it's executive director Dr. Paul Kengor who authored God and George W. Bush. Check out the reading list which includes links to full text articles by the presenters. Then, clear your schedule.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Reformed Distinctives Scale

At the CAPS conference, I decided to eschew the road most traveled and attend a session at 7:45 in the morning entitled, Development of a (Presbyterian) Reformed Religiousity Scale. I was the only one in the room besides the presenter until a few minutes after the time to start had elapsed, when a couple of others came in, obviously turned away from the other (full) sessions. The scale was developed to measure change in reformed beliefs over the course of a college career, as people took on the ethos of the school through their cousework and other activities. Turns out that the scale had three factors labeled 1.) Evangelical Belief, 2.) Evangelical practice (piety) and 3.) Reformed Distinctives. However, with the exception of the item "I would describe myself as a Calvinist," I could endorse a number of the items on the Reformed Distinctives subscale. For example, "I believe that Jesus is God and came in the flesh to live among humans." It's amazing to me that this didn't load with Evangelical beliefs subscale. Also, "I belive God transfers the righteousness of Christ to those who put their faith in Him." Interestingly, I found several items on calling that closely mirror those that y'all have helped me create for my dissertation research.

Pastors' Personalities and Congregations' Expectations

Remember a while back when I asked y'all to help me pilot test a measure of traits desired in a pastor? Well, we finished the paper and presented it at the annual International Conference for the Christian Association for psychological Studies as a poster presentation (all the work, a fraction of the glory). It went pretty well actually. There was a lot of presentations on clinical work and some research on clinical themes, but not a great deal of science. Anyway, here's a short synopsis of what we did.
  • We had the pastors of two churches fill out personality, vocational interest, job satisfaction and burnout measures.
  • We had individuals in the congregation tell us about their ideal for a pastor (using the questionnaire that I had y'all fill out) and rate their satisfaction with the pastor by putting a mark on a line somewhere between "My pastor is the best I've ever had" and "My pastor could improve some things"
  • I crunched the data

It turns out that the church whose pastor better matched the congregation's expectation on vocational interests (averaged across all congregants) experienced less burnout. That congregation also had higher satisfaction scores. Our study gives some preliminary evidence that a congregant's idea of a perfect pastor predicts his or her satisfaction with the actual pastor who stands in front of them every week. So, if I expect my pastor to have Investigative interests and know his Book of Concord like the back of his hand and exegete scripture like a true theologian, I will be more satisfied if that is what I see in the pulpit on Sunday morning. Also, if I expect my pastor to love the arts and to incorporate interpretive dance into the service and he spends his time explaining Greek and Hebrew, I will not be too pleased. Not earth shattering stuff here, but never been researched. Of course, this result was extremely preliminary because of the sample size (respectable in terms of congregants, but there were only two pastors, which is very limited).

One person that we were talking to about the paper suggested that we could offer a service to screen individuals and tell them which church/pastor they would be most happy with. I'm pretty sure I lost a kidney from that comment. It haunts my mind that I may be enamored of Lutheran theology not becuase therein lies the most clear and beautiful presentation of the faith once delivered to the saints, but because of my own personality - namely that I like a bit more formality and mystery on a Sunday morning.

I can send the paper itself to interested parties.

Friday, March 17, 2006


So, how often does something like this happen in the LCMS? It seems as if someone is recalling the Concordia: The Lutheran Confessions version of the Book of Concord. I haven't been around long enough to see this sort of thing before. On the one hand, I'm glad someone is making sure that our confessional documents are properly presented and not misleading. On the other hand, I tend to trust McCain and Veith - two of the editors (the other two I know nothing about).
HT: TheologyGeekBlog


nunc est bibendum

now is the time for drinking (Horace)

From my Latin for the Illitarati calendar

See also, Purpose Driven Drinking

Tuesday, March 14, 2006


Sweet! A firm date has been set for the Rapture. Too bad two different couples I know are getting married on that Saturday. Short honeymoon indeed.

Lutheran Carnival XIX

Lutheran Carnival XIX is up at Be Strong in the Grace. Very well done.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Ten Top Trivia Tips about Kletos Sumboulos!

  1. Grapes explode if you put them inside Kletos Sumboulos!
  2. Kletos Sumboulos was invented in China in the eleventh century, but was only used for fireworks, never for weapons.
  3. The canonical hours of the Christian church are matins, lauds, prime, terce, sext, none, Kletos Sumboulos and compline.
  4. While sleeping, fifteen percent of men snore, and ten percent grind their Kletos Sumboulos!
  5. The difference between Kletos Sumboulos and a village is that Kletos Sumboulos does not have a church.
  6. Fish travel in schools, but whales travel in Kletos Sumboulos!
  7. Kletos Sumboulos can last longer without water than a camel can.
  8. A chimpanzee can learn to recognize itself in a mirror, but Kletos Sumboulos can not.
  9. The ace of spades in a playing card deck symbolizes Kletos Sumboulos.
  10. Kletos Sumboulos was named after Kletos Sumboulos the taxi driver in Frank Capra's 'It's a Wonderful Life'.
I am interested in - do tell me about