In HOPE 5.25                                  back to home                        David Timms

Ministry Resource

If you've read Eugene Peterson before, you'll probably be glad to hear of a new series he is writing. The first of 3 major volumes is now out. "Christ Plays in Ten Thousand Places: A Conversation in Spiritual Theology," Eerdmans, 2005. I have my copy and can hardly wait to get started again with this spiritual mentor. 

HOPE Happenings

Have you been to lately? Hope International University's new web site has just been rolled out, and you'll find it very user-friendly. It will also keep you up-to-date on the latest happenings, and coming events.



Hope International University
Fullerton, CA 92831


"Never once in my life did I ask God for success or wisdom or power or fame. I asked for wonder, and he gave it to me." (Abraham Heschel)

Party Time

When we reduce God to a system of thought or, worse, to an honorable and serious version of ourselves, we violate Him.

The rationalism of our day - and the centuries preceding us - has turned the wildly free, flamboyant, and ebulient Creator into a sombre, intelligent, and generally manageable shotgun rider.

In our sedate theology, He fights off the bandits when our stagecoach comes under attack, but generally sits quietly, hands off the reins. We invite Him on board for the ride, precisely because we can trust Him to sit fairly still and cover our tail in case of trouble. He's good to have riding beside us, eyes peeled for the Bad Guy.

The thought that our heavenly Father might be an outrageous reveller or a wild artist who thrills to splash color across the universe like a painter with an endless canvas, is unsettling to say the least. Yes, He may call for the fattened calf to be killed for a celebration, but He is far too dignified to dance heartily. He would surely prefer to sit regally on a throne than make mud-pies and laugh with children.

As we create Him in our image, we restrain Him in the same ways that we ourselves feel restrained, and in so doing we lose wonder and freedom.

Catherine of Siena, a 14th century Italian mystic, sounds almost blasphemous to suggest that God is "pazzo d'amore, ebro d'amore " - crazed with love, drunk with love. God, crazy? God, giddy? Is not self-control and seriousness the ultimate goal of life? Isn't unbridled exuberance a sign of youthful immaturity? Can we really apply these terms to God and remain respectful?

The cosmic cop barely breaks a smile in our theology. Could He possibly enjoy football (or better, cricket)? He never relaxes. He is ever alert - and therefore, ever tense. His watchfulness denies his playfulness.

And so, our theology takes on moribund tones. Our intimacy with Him becomes measured by intensity not levity, by seriousness not celebration. Could it be that the artists and mystics, the playful children and the poets, the laughing and the light-hearted have more to teach us about God than the weary rationalist, burdened by the seriousness and stress of the world?

Bring on the color, the laughter, the dancing, the music, and the extravagant celebrations. Perhaps as we see the Father in this light, we'll find permission to revel in life a little more ourselves. 



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David Timms serves in the Graduate Ministry Department at Hope International University in Fullerton, California. "In HOPE", however, is not an official publication of the University and the views expressed are not necessarily those of the Administrators or Board of the institution. "In HOPE" has been a regular e-publication since January, 2001.

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