I Like Prepositions…

I’m not sure when it first happened, but I’ve become obsessive over prepositions. Not necessarily on blog posts, but in writing my thesis and Bible studies it can feel like I spend way too much time thinking about prepositions. Nevertheless, even if no one else is paying attention, I enjoy thinking about them:

-does “by” or “through” better communicate the power in play?

-does “in” or “with” better describe the relationship between the characters?

-does “alongside” or “among” better explain the characters proximity?

-does “upon” or “into” better depict the arrival?

My best guess is the obsession has come from closely studying Paul’s letters for several years now. His usage of prepositions — e.g. in Christ: ev and eis; with Christ: sun; and through Christ: dia — can be maddening. Furthermore, interpreters draw extraordinary amounts of meaning from these prepositions which is fascinating and appalling, sometimes at the same time. In this regard, I am finding Constantine Campbell‘s Paul and Union with Christ an interesting read (review should be coming by end of the month, brief preview – more fascinating than appalling). And I am also looking forward to reading Murray Harris’ Prepositions and Theology in the Greek New Testament.

Does anyone else share my obsession with prepositions? Where did it come from? What are your favorite prepositions to obsess over?

Warp and Woof (9.28.2012)

What is preaching? – Ed Stetzer has great article on preaching. Now I do not preach much, but I do listen to a lot of preaching…and Ed’s advice is spot on. It also speaks to those of who teach the Bible. Here is a sample (click above for whole article)…

I love all kinds of preaching–thematic, topical, verse-by-verse, creative, filled with meaningful illustrations and well-delivered–as long as it communicates God’s Word given to us. Anything else is not preaching. It’s just an airing of opinion that evaporates or a dissemination of advice for people to take or leave.


‘Does Digital Distraction Stunt Your Creativity?’ – We live on the internet. This may seem a bit of an exaggeration, but not really. Most have multiple places on the web where we interact everyday (most likely multiple times a day) – twitter, facebook, blogs, etc. And this is not even considering that the internet is where we get the news, do research, shop, find somewhere to eat, etc.

This article in the Telegraph talks about the dangers of the internet and this follow up article by Simon Bailey does a nice job of discussing its dangers for writers especially.

How big of a distraction is it for you? What ways to do monitor your usage?


Distracted Students – On a similar note, as a parent and a teacher I wonder about the effects of 24/7 connection on my boys and students. This a great article about how one professor challenged students to disconnect. Definitely worth the read.


Internet Manners – Finally, as we all learn how to engage with a world that is being lived on-line, this post on how to be good commenters should be required reading!


It has been a wild few weeks in our house…accidents everywhere. Started two weeks ago with me slamming my fingers in car door…then last week I tripped heading out the door to take boys to school and kneecap landed on root in yard (it hurt!)…oldest hit by middle with baseball bat…middle hit by youngest with golf club…and so on. Each accident was caused by divided attention. I know it is all part of life in a house with three young boys, but has made me reflect on paying attention.

My prayer is that I remember to focus on those closest to me, give them full attention when we are together. To look in their eyes when we talk, not a some screen. In a world so full of distractions, attention – full attention – is needed more than ever.

O Lord, make me know my end and what is the measure of my days; let me know how fleeting I am! – Ps. 39:4


Warp and Woof (8.24.2012)

Note: The title has nothing really to do with what I am posting, I just like the phrase and amazed how regularly I find it in academic writing.

The Mindset List (2016) – Published every year since 1998 The Mindset List looks at the world in which the incoming class of college freshman live. It is always worth a chuckle or two and if nothing else a reminder of how old I am (we are). Four stuck out to me this year:

  1. The Biblical sources of terms such as “Forbidden Fruit,” “The writing on the wall,” “Good Samaritan,” and “The Promised Land” are unknown to most of them.
  2. Having grown up with MP3s and iPods, they never listen to music on the car radio and really have no use for radio at all.
  3. Probably the most tribal generation in history, they despise being separated from contact with their similar-aged friends.
  4. Slavery has always been unconstitutional in Mississippi, and Southern Baptists have always been apologizing for supporting it in the first place.

God’s Grace in the Newspaper – John Barclay is one of my favorite New Testament/Pauline scholars and besides that he is a genuinely nice fellow. But I am not sure which impressed me more Barclay’s description of grace or the fact it was published in an actual newspaper.

School can be a Stressful Place – As school begins, around the US this article is great reminder of the stresses of the academic grind and its effect on other areas of students lives. This is something I personally have to deal with as a husband, father, professor, and student. The emotional fatigue that each of these can carry can lead me to be ineffective in every area of my life. While this article doesn’t deal with the spiritual ramifications those are also very real.

Writing Advice as Motivational Posters – I am not sure if these are actually made as posters, regardless the advice is good. My favorite because it is true so often for me is:












And the most practical:











Finally, God has really been impressing on me that I need to learn to accept new! It is quite easy for me to fall into line (or some might call it a rut) and jsut continue doing the same old things because it is just what I do. To be honest, I like it…I like the same old thing…I like to have consistency in certain areas of my life because with three boys ages 5, 3, and 2 so much of my life can seem out of control!

Yet, God has been quite clear this past week that new things are coming no matter if I like it or not…and clear that it will be OK because they are coming from him. It is not very often that he uses the different areas of my life to confirm his message, but Isaiah sums it up well:

Isaiah 42:8-9 – “I am the Lord; that is my name; my glory I give to no other, nor my praise to carved idols. Behold, the former things have come to pass, and new things I now declare; before they spring forth I tell you of them.”

Lord, I accept new things are coming from you. Give me the courage to accept them and a willingness to give you all the praise for them.

Let the Writing Begin…My Blog and My Thesis

After a short spurt, it might look like the blog has once again gone dormant… Actually, I spent the week at my parents house which has the wonderful benefit of being without the internet. I would not like to be permanently without it, but for a week or so it is great to unplug if only a little bit (I still had twitter and email on my phone!).

I continued to write while I was there with the thought I would drop it all on the blog when I got back, but have decided to keep the week’s ponderings to myself.

But today’s post is not about what I wrote, but what will be starting to write…starting Monday the blog will become my place to think out loud about my thesis (US dissertation). After a self imposed break, I am starting year two (started in January of this year but officially now entering my second year) of my thesis currently entitled Embodied Biblical Interpretation and Christian Identity: Galatians 3 & 4 as a Metaphorically Structured Continuum.

After 6 months of researching, outlining,  identifying and developing the key components of my project, it is time to start writing.

In short, my thesis integrates cognitive linguistics’ conception of the metaphorical structure of thought (Conceptual Metaphor Theory (CM) – Lakoff, Johnson, Turner, Fauconnier, etc) with a narrative interpretation of Galatians. The aim is to incorporate CM at the structural level of Paul’s soteriological discourse, to examine how conceptual metaphors lend coherence and structure to Paul’s narrative of Christian identity.

This blog is going to be a place where I ask questions that come with taking my thoughts from theory to real (in this case from my head to the page). And hopefully a place where you will help me sort through these questions critically. Just don’t tell me advisor where all my good ideas came from!

See you Monday (one last weekend of leisure) as we discuss narrative interpretations of Paul.