My very fine friend, Jamie Boyce, loaned me her copy of Peter Leithart's A House for My Name, which I just now finished reading. Jamie is a grad student at the University Next to Carrboro, and one of our team members going to Ukraine with me. What a terrific book. It is an overview of the story of the Old Testament and it is amazing how many thoughtful topics are raised in less than 300 pages. The book is also structured as a study guide, making it a perfect tool for small or large group discussion. I didn't actually try to answer all the study question since jamie wanted the book back.
The last chapter deals with the book of John, tying in many of the OT themes. Something that occurred to me while reading about John's passion narrative is the emphasis on Jesus speaking truthfully while still being rejected and mocked by the other characters of the story. This is similar to a point I have picked up from Hauerwas and other "post-liberal" theologians, namely that we tend to think that the gospel/christian teachings are the sort of thing that any reasonable person would believe if they are presented in the right way. The theologians show why this is not the case in theory. Jesus showed (and told) that it is not the case in practice either.
In other news, I couldn't have been more pleased yesterday that I got a chance to talk with a certain professor of theological ethics about my mission trip and that he gave me some support money. It is a very difficult thing to beg for money, but something that is, I have learned, an integral part of ministry. The professor agreed wholeheartedly with that sentiment. He said, "begging is part of Christianity; we pray, after all."