Friday, March 30, 2007

Something of an apology…
The Tot and Jittle staff extends its deepest condolences for the extended silence. Not hearing from the most trusted source of campus news must have frustrated our faithful readers these many long months. What kind of a student publication simply disappears for months with no explanation? Outrageous.

The T&J staff attempted to justify their collective irresponsibility by citing the “overwhelming” amount of work they had to do over these last few months. The editorial board has responded to such ridiculousness with nothing short of stiff and sweeping reprimands. After all, none of the T&J staff are likely to graduate anyway, given their participation in this little project.

With an adjusted view of their situation, the T&J staff has responded with a flurry of activity. They insisted not only on returning to work, but on returning retroactively.

Therefore, the Tot and Jittle gladly presents everything you missed. But not all at once. That could cause medical issues.

November 2006

International student asked for intercultural insight
May Lim sometimes doubted that anyone in her Sanctification and Ecclesiology class actually saw her sitting there. Day after day she would come to Todd 114, sit in the back row—in the chair nearest the door—take copious notes, pack up and leave. Then Wednesday, October 25 happened.

On Wednesday, October 25, the classroom discussion focused upon the topic of church discipline. Although, from May’s perspective, the day seemed to progress normally, all at once a classmate raised her hand. The classmate’s words jarred May out of her note-taking malaise.

“I would assume,” the classmate said, “that church discipline looks different in cultures that are more shame-motivated than ours. Like Asian cultures. I was wondering if May had any insight into how church discipline might look in other contexts.”

May, who grew up in Shanghai, couldn’t believe her ears. At first, she didn’t know if she should respond. But, after a short internal argument, she acquiesced. May shared her experiences, drawing upon her childhood. When she finished, the classmate and professor thanked her and May walked out of Todd 114 a new woman.

“I had never been asked about the differences between my culture and this one,” May laments. “It’s like most students just assume that everything everywhere is like North America and in places where it’s not, something is wrong.”

The professor—who had repeatedly wished that more international students would share in class but had avoided singling them out so as not to embarrass—expressed his delight in the unexpected blessing. “It was great,” he said. “That needs to happen more often.”

At this time, May has no plans to take on the role of significant contributor in her classes, still content to sit quietly and take notes. Yet, she also feels for others who feel forced into cultural silence. “I’ve given some thought to starting a support organization called IEXIST which stands for International EXperiences Influence the Study of Theology. It would provide international students a place to share their experiences in studying theology in North America.”

Even if IEXIST never comes to fruition, May recognizes that something fundamental has changed about her seminary experience. “Somebody knows I exist. Maybe it’s only one white girl, but it’s a start.”

Greek pick-up line gets cool response at home
Elliot Carson knew exactly the right remedy for his wife Kennedy’s long, hard day at home with their three young children. He was convinced that a shot of romance in the middle of the busyness would provide an evening of instant relief. But Kennedy proved a tougher audience than Elliot anticipated.

As soon as Elliot walked in the door of the couple’s three bedroom house in Mesquite and saw toys strewn across the living room floor, Kennedy working on dinner over a hot stove while two toddlers clung to her legs and the newborn wailed in the highchair, the sensitive husband knew that the time had arrived for him to re-kindle the flame with an original language gem his Greek professor had mentioned weeks earlier.

“I sauntered up behind her, put my arms around her and whispered in her ear, ‘You must have some reduplication, because, baby, you’re perfect.’” Kennedy answered with something a little louder than a whisper.

Neighbors Ken and Julie Ryan say that Kennedy’s response could even be heard next door. “She must have been pretty upset,” Julie says. “Some of those words I’ve only heard on The Sopranos and two others I had to look up.” Ken agrees. “It was so scary, I thought that maybe I should go next door and apologize, too.”

Despite her outburst, Kennedy knows that Elliot’s heart was in the right place. “It’s flattering that he’d think of me,” she says. “His timing pretty much sucked, though.” Kennedy doesn’t know how she’d react to future attempts at romance by her budding scholar, but insists that she’s no longer angry. “And I’ll tell him so in a week, when he’s served his time on the couch.”

For his part, Elliot has learned his lesson. “Perhaps it would have been better to offer to make dinner,” he says. “But that doesn’t mean I won’t try again sometime. Maybe once I start Hebrew. Yeah, I bet Hebrew is much sexier.”

Ed. Note: Interested in better Christian pick-up lines? Click here.

Dear Alumnus…

Dear Alumnus,
How would you recommend I spend my reading week and Thanksgiving break? I have the option to take my family to Disney World or to sit in on a week-long debate about the authorship of the Pastoral Epistles. What would you do?
-Cameron the Conflicted

Dear Cameron,
As the spiritual head of your family, you owe it to them to create lasting memories. And what’s more lasting than the Word of God? Did Christ swear that Disney World would never pass away? In heaven, nobody will ask to see your vacation photos, but someday you may run into Paul and you wouldn’t want to piss him off by questioning his work. Clearly, the best thing for your family is that you’re secure in your knowledge of the Word. So, pop in a copy of The Lion King and tell your kids you’ll see them later. They’ll understand and thank you for it later.

DTS Man Goes to the Movies
Since money is always tight around the holidays, I made the always difficult decision to save a few bucks this month by going to the $2 movie theatre that shows second-run films. Predictably, the film I encountered at this seedy, low-brow establishment was nothing short of blasphemy captured on celluloid. In fact, this might be the most overtly pagan film I’ve seen in a long time. So, I’ve taken it upon myself to warn you about the dangers of a film known as The Devil Wears Prada.

As indicated in the title, this film deals with the Prince of Darkness himself. Although I spent most of the movie praying for the souls of those around me, I did catch enough of the plot to offer you two solidly Christian reasons for avoiding this movie.

The first reason that sensible Christians are avoiding this film is its subject. The emphasis on Satan is bad enough, but this movie doesn’t stop there. The film unites Satan-worship with the equally troublesome sin of materialism. Until I came home and did a Google search, I wasn’t aware—meaning that you likely aren’t either—that Prada is a shoe company. A very expensive shoe company. The filmmakers are subtly pushing the twin messages of celebrating Satan and buying fancy clothes. Yet, in Matthew 7, Jesus warns the Israelites not to worry about their clothes. Since this passage clearly has no relevance to those of us in the church age, I hesitate to bring it up, but it is worth noting that worry about clothing is one sign that a nation will reject God’s kingdom offer. Therefore, to worry about clothes is likely a sign that you are not elect.

Second, the film majors in trickery. This is not surprising since we all know that Satan is not only the Father of lies, but also the Father of tricks (which is why we should also avoid Halloween—but that’s another column). The main character offers a great example of this film’s tricky nature. Worried about alienating the lucrative Christian filmgoer market, the filmmakers cleverly disguised Satan as a middle-aged woman with the last name “Priestly.” Tricks that most might fall for, but—luckily for you—not DTS Man. We must see through such tricks and call them what they really are: tricks.

In response, I call for all Christians to respond in the most Christianly way we know how: a boycott! Let us boycott this Prada company who slavishly gives devotion to Satan. Let us stand in front of their stores with signs reading “The Savior Wears Flip-Flops,” and “My Feet Are Fitted With The Readiness Of The Gospel of Peace.” Remember, we must remain steady in our cause, for Prada prowls like a roaring lion. Beware of this film! Beware of this company! What good is it for a man to gain the whole world yet be cast into the flames of hell in $400 shoes?

Monday, October 30, 2006

October 2006

Student sermon “sucks,” post-seminary future unclear
Kenneth Coleman had such big dreams. Now they lie in pieces on the floor of his preaching class.

Last Thursday, Coleman delivered his first sermon in Preaching I. When he finished, his world began to unravel. “The comments were, um, a little harsh,” class TA Eric Adams said. “His sermon was lacking in some areas.” Cory Alton put it more succinctly; “He sucked.” Others in Coleman’s class agreed. “He had no clear direction,” Peter Reeves said. “It was almost as though he had no idea the difference between an EP, a TP and an HP.”

Coleman identifies overconfidence as the root of his poor showing. “Honestly, I didn’t really take it too seriously,” he said. “I’ve always just kind of gotten by on my natural abilities before, so I thought this would be no different.” Although his classmates urged him to spend more time in preparation prior to his sermon, Coleman reportedly blew off such suggestions. Reeves relates that Coleman rebuffed him when Reeves asked if he’d prepared. “He just looked at me and said, ‘Preparation? We’re talking about preparation? I mean, if we were talking about the actual sermon, that’s one thing. But what are we talking about here? Preparation?” Coleman had no comment on Reeve’s allegations, saying, “I’m not here to talk about the past.”

His selected text, Proverbs 17:9, didn’t help matters much. “After reading it through a couple times, I thought the main thought was that we, like Adam and Eve, need to cover ourselves when we’ve done wrong,” Coleman explained about the sermon he titled “Put Some Clothes On, For God’s Sake!” He added, “In retrospect, that might not have been exactly right.” “It was a train wreck,” Alton said. “And his story about the nude beach was really inappropriate.”

The bombed sermon casts doubt on Coleman’s future. A recipient of the President’s Scholarship upon acceptance to DTS, Coleman had plans to plant a church after graduation. Now, he’s reconsidering those dreams. “Ever since I was a young man, all I’ve wanted to do was preach the Word,” Coleman said, fighting back tears. “I never really paid any attention when people told me I needed a back-up plan. But maybe I need one now.”

Those who knew the former associate pastor at Winnetka Community Church in Winnetka, Wisconsin, saw such promise in Coleman. “I always loved when he’d pray for the offering,” Eunice Hardy said. “He had such a lovely tone.” Senior pastor Robert Peterson, who worked closely with Coleman, just shakes his head in disbelief. “Unbelievable,” Peterson said. “If you had brought in 100 guys who wanted to be preachers, he’s the one I would have put money on. Great kid from a great family. It’s simply stunning.”

Respected church prognosticator Elmer Poston—who publishes his “Top 100 Pastoral Prospects” list annually—never saw this coming either. “Before he went to seminary, this guy had tremendous upside,” Poston said. “All the physical skills were there; a strong voice, controlled gestures and consistent eye contact. But, what really put him over the top in most people’s minds were the intangibles. His wit and ability to relate to everyone in the pew made him a top prospect. If there ever was a can’t-miss prospect, it was Coleman. But, you know what they say: ‘That’s why they preach the sermons.’”

Although Coleman believes that he can recover from this setback, he knows that something like this may stain his record for years to come. “Churches talk,” Coleman laments. “And once you get a reputation as a bad speaker, it can be hard to catch on somewhere else.” Despite the failed first attempt, Coleman is eager to get back behind the pulpit. “I can redeem this with my second sermon, I know it.” Coleman’s text for that sermon is Proverbs 22:22–23. “It mentions court twice,” he said. “I think I might dress up like a judge and pound a gavel on the pulpit each time I make a point. That should show everyone what I’m really all about behind the pulpit.” We can only hope.

Couple plans Halloween Party…in Swiss Tower
Jordan and Alexis Covington couldn’t stand the thought of spending October 31st alone. So, they invited all of their neighbors over for the biggest Halloween bash in the history of Swiss Tower.

“We saw an opportunity to redeem this typically pagan event,” Jordan said. “Our party offers an alternative for those who want to have a little fun without all the negative baggage associated with Halloween.”

The party will feature typical Halloween events, with appropriate evangelical twists. “I’m probably most excited about Parsing for Apples,” Alexis said. “It should be really fun, and challenging, too. These aren’t just luo or qatal. We mixed in plenty of irregular stems and geminates, too.” Other events include a race to carve “John 3:16” into a pumpkin fastest and a “Color the Two Beasts of Revelation” coloring contest for the little ones.

Another eagerly anticipated event is the costume contest. “We thought a costume contest would be fun, but wanted to stay away from the scary or gory stuff,” Jordan said. “We ruled out all kinds of options.” Outfits on the couple’s original costume blacklist included ghosts, monsters, witches, pirates, goblins, superheroes, maids, chefs, doctors and gas station attendants. Finally, the couple realized they needed to have a theme for the evening. After that, it didn’t take long to decide on “Heroes of the Faith from Hebrews 11.” Jordan gladly modeled his Moses costume for us. Even this theme, however, came with an important caveat. “On the invitation we said that everyone in the chapter was fair game except for Rahab,” Jordan said. “We didn’t want our brothers to stumble or anything.”

Like any respectable Halloween party, the Covingtons will provide plenty of candy to their attendees. “We picked up lots of ‘Testamints’ and ‘Scripture Candy’ from Mardel,” Alexis noted. “Some people may be expecting Snickers or Butterfinger, but we would have had to buy those at the grocery store and we thought this was a great way to support Christians in the marketplace.”

The evening will conclude with a bang. “For anyone who wants to stay up really late on a school night,” Jordan said, “we’re going to end the party by watching a scary movie.” The Covingtons labored over the right flick to cap off the night. “We wanted something really scary,” Alexis said, “but had lots of trouble deciding.” After eliminating most of the titles in the “Horror” section at Blockbuster, the Covingtons finally settled on their choice. “We’re going to watch Inherit the Wind,” Jordan revealed. “What’s scarier than the decline of evangelical dominance in America?”

Although the Covingtons are unsure how many of their neighbors will attend, they’re convinced that their party will walk the thin line between freedom in Christ and “loving the world.” “We made it clear on the invitation that this party would focus on Jesus,” Alexis said. “We replaced the letter ‘t’ in ‘Party’ with a cross. This isn’t going to be like those Halloween parties where a bunch of unsaved people get together and watch movies about demons and stuff. We’re really going to do something that stands out like a city on a hill.”

Dear Alumnus
Dear Alumnus,
Between juggling work, assignments, and reading, I can’t seem to set much time aside to see my friends. During your time at seminary, what did you do to maintain your social calendar?
Lonely in Lincoln

Dear Lonely in Lincoln,
The best advice I can give you in this regard is to make your time in the original languages your primary concern. You will quickly notice, like I did, that those who know their Greek and Hebrew are the ones who have the most friends. Other guys will flock to your side, simply desiring to learn at your feet. And as for the young ladies, what girl can resist a scholar? If you keep the first things first, friends will come to you.

DTS Man Goes to the Movies
Since it’s been a busy month with school and the “Great Figures in Theological History” action figure collection hasn’t moved too briskly on eBay, DTS Man had neither the time nor the money for this month’s review. But worry not, my loyal readers, I plan to use the “reading” week break to catch up and will return in November with 2 reviews. Until then, I hope you only dream in hi-def!

Thursday, September 28, 2006

September 2006

Dear Readers…
This is us responding to public outcry/impassioned pleas/good, old fashioned peer pressure.
Several faithful readers have noted, with much sadness, that this blog provides no place to leave comments. No longer.
Please peruse, read, and leave comments. The comments section will, however, be moderated.
If you leave a comment and it never appears, assume the worst (i.e. a Greek exam).
Never say we haven’t done anything other than provide you a laugh or 7.
-Tot and Jittle staff

Lincoln Hall room a “turn-off”
Eric Colton has everything going for him. Young, single, smart and dedicated to the Lord, he appears to be the perfect catch. Yet Eric Colton has a problem. The disheveled mess in which he lives turns away potential romantic interests in droves. Eric Colton is single because of Lincoln Hall.

“His room is disgusting. A total turn-off,” said one third-year female that used to be interested in Colton and asked to be referred to only as Jenna. “Seriously, he had a pizza box that was, like, a year old that he was using as a doorstop. And he keeps all his clothes in piles on the floor. He says he knows which piles are clean and which are dirty, but I find that hard to believe.” A former neighbor of Colton’s—who asked not to be identified—said, “The guy’s a total slob. If you ask me, it’s an issue of spiritual maturity. I mean, if you can’t even conduct the affairs of your dorm room in an orderly fashion, how can you be expected to shepherd the church of God?”

Repeated attempts at helping Colton to clean his room have been rebuffed. “We organized a ‘Clean Up Colton’ event,” says Jeff Baxter, another former neighbor. “We got something like ten people together on a Saturday morning, grabbed all of our supplies, and prayed before we headed out. But, he heard about it ahead of time and refused to let us inside.”

Undeterred, Baxter simply switched tactics. “I decided that maybe he wasn’t ready for such a confrontational approach to the state of his room,” Baxter explains. “So, I decided just to give him a book that I thought could help him.” The book—The Berenstain Bears and the Messy Room—was meant to “get Eric thinking,” Baxter contends. Instead, Colton just dug in his heels even further. “His room got even messier after that,” Baxter laments. “It’s like he’s living in open rebellion.”

Colton finds such attempts at forced cleaning or subtle persuasion offensive, intrusive, and unnecessary. “I don’t know why people make such a big deal out of this,” he says. “Some day I’ll be ready to clean up my room, but now just isn’t the right time for me. Right now, I’m having too much fun practicing sermons to worry about the state of my room.”

More importantly, Colton denies that the room is a hindrance to his romantic life. “I’ve been on a number of dates recently,” he contends. “One girl even agreed to a second date.” Colton maintains that when he finds “the one,” the condition of his room won’t even be an issue. “I want a girl who will love me as I am. And really, if she desires to be a pastor’s wife, shouldn’t she be beyond such worldly concerns anyway?” How right you are, Stinky. How right you are.

Students and administration confounded by student choice
Third-year student Michael Perkins recently did something so rare that few could remember the last time it happened at DTS. During a discussion in Soteriology, Perkins passed up an opportunity to make a point. As he told his friends at lunch later that day, “I just decided that maybe my opinion on the matter wasn’t all that crucial at that point.” The results have caused a stir around campus.

Discussion of Perkins’s act—usually referred to in hushed tones as the “moment of silence”—has swept throughout the seminary community. “I’m stunned,” Corrine Exeter said. Exeter, who has had six classes with Perkins throughout her time at DTS, couldn’t recall another time when such an outrageous act had occurred. “He usually has plenty to say, so to hear that he chose not to, well, it’s surprising.” John Stovall, another classmate of Perkins’s, found it refreshing. “I know I’m only a second-year and he’s a third-year and all, but there have been many times when I would have preferred he didn’t share at all.”

The discussion of Perkins’s “moment of silence” has even reached the highest levels of the seminary. One official from the administration—speaking on the condition of anonymity—said, “This act is nearly unprecedented in the annals of seminary history. We’ve been contacting many professors, both current and former, and none could remember anything like it.” He continued, “Nobody expects something like this from a third-year. From a first-year, sure. They stay quiet out of fear. But a third-year? Unprecedented.” What remains unclear, at this point, is whether Perkins’s act is a temporary aberration or will establish a pattern.

“I haven’t decided whether I’ll do it again or not,” Perkins says. “I mean, in one way it was a nice change of pace, but on the other hand, I still feel like the in-class discussion was lacking in some way. Could my comment have changed that? Probably, yeah.” Whatever he decides, an entire community waits breathlessly. Perkins recognizes the gravity of his choice. “Ultimately, I may owe it to the other students to share my wisdom. Otherwise I might as well bury my five talents.”

Dear Alumnus

Dear Alumnus,
As an international student, I find that many of my classmates have a very different perspective on things. Sometimes, when I feel like I can share and help them see things from a global viewpoint, I get scared. What would you recommend?

Dear Pablo,
What you are feeling in those moments is not fear: it is the conviction of the Holy Spirit. You would do well to soak up all you can from those who were blessed enough to be born in America, a Christian country. God has obviously extended special grace to the citizens of this nation, and you would benefit greatly if you would simply listen to everything they tell you and immediately implement it in your own context. Then, perhaps, God will turn His attention and love toward your country, too.

DTS Man Goes to the Movies
Recently, DTS Man headed off to the Cineplex to take in the new Kevin Costner and Ashton Kutcher movie The Guardian. After seeing the film, I could only arrive at one conclusion: this, simply, is the greatest movie ever made that deals with the somewhat murky topic of angelology. While some may not see this film as a vehicle to discuss angels, their roles and reality, I can’t see it as anything but.

First, consider the title. While Christians of every ilk debate the reality of guardian angels, this Believer is a believer. I personally know a guy whose friend’s mom’s boss was once pulled from a burning car wreck in the uninhabited back woods of Kentucky by a seven-foot-tall man with enormous white wings growing from his back. That, my friends, is a guardian angel if I’ve ever heard of one. Therefore, with the reality of guardian angels sufficiently established, let’s explore the parallels to the real life versions and the celluloid renditions. This movie deals with those who search not the backwoods of Kentucky but the choppy waters of the ocean looking not to pull survivors from burning car wrecks but to snatch those left treading water from the clutches of the icy abyss. Additionally, these Coast Guard rescue swimmers actually come from the air, too. Like an angel descending from heaven, they descend in their helicopters at the time of greatest need. Friends, the connection couldn’t be clearer, nor the intent more obvious.

A second sign that this film intends to convey a spiritually significant message is the choice of director: the incomparable Andrew Davis. Davis previously directed such Christian faves as The Fugitive, an extended allegory about the night that Peter betrayed Jesus, and Under Seige, which my mother wouldn’t let me see, but I have concluded is about the state of the Evangelical church after the Scopes Trial of the 1920s. With such a résumé, is it any wonder that Davis has again resumed his theological ponderings with The Guardian?

The film itself tells a powerful story of a Coast Guard rescue swimmer in training. From our enlightened theological perspective, however, we can clearly recognize that, through The Guardian, we have the privilege of witnessing a junior guardian angel (Kutcher) in training. We watch as he learns the ropes from a senior guardian angel (Costner) and makes his first attempts at protecting his earthly charges. Think of it as the Bizarro Screwtape Letters. My friends, you simply cannot miss this exquisite film which pulls back the curtain of heaven and gives the viewer a glimpse into the training room of guardian angels. When all of the facts are considered, The Guardian may prove to be the greatest evangelistic tool of the 21st century.

Previous films have explored angels in America and the outfield, angels who dance, smoke and chew (and date girls who do) and angels who fall in love with Bobby Brown’s wife, but never before has Hollywood explored angels functioning in their most likely role. Thanks to Davis, Costner and Kutcher, that travesty has been rectified. Guardian angels, your movie has finally arrived.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

August 2006

True DTS Student Code of Conduct Discovered
Each year, incoming classes receive a copy of the Student Code of Conduct. For many years, however, a rumor has circulated that a different code of conduct exists. The rumor contends that this code of conduct more realistically governs the actions of students on campus. While the administration denies knowledge of the existence of such a document, recently a copy arrived at the T&J offices in an unmarked envelope. The attached note suggested that this document was unearthed during the recent renovation of the Campbell Academic Center.

In celebration of the incoming class, and in order to give them an advantage many of us wish we had enjoyed when we enrolled, the Tot and Jittle staff gladly presents The True DTS Student Code of Conduct:

1. I will always defend my point, even if it requires belittling a brother or sister in Christ.
2. I will always preface any such defense with a spiritual platitude, thereby making it seem as though my belittling serves to better my listener.
3. I will avoid eye contact with those I don’t know while walking on campus. If I should unintentionally make eye contact, I will greet such a person with nothing more than a head nod. In rare circumstances of unavoidable awkwardness, I will grunt, “huawyu.”
4. I will make sure that in each class I take, at least one person is willing to complain about the dress code or alcohol policy to the professor. If no such student exists, I will personally assume that responsibility.
5. I will ignore all talk from my professors when they say that the grades I earn in seminary do not define the experience. I will treat such speech as propaganda. Instead, I will vigorously pursue the best grade possible—arguing with any grader or professor who refuses to see the brilliance in my work—in order to find my validation in my GPA or in what my transcript says.
6. I will take advantage of any opportunity to make fun of any theological tradition which doesn’t view things the way I do, whether in class, in personal conversation or at any other time while on campus. I do this fully realizing that God has left nothing of Himself cloaked in mystery and I alone know how to interpret Scripture. I also fully realize that I don’t really know what the traditions I mock actually teach, but that I know enough to sound like I do.
7. I will acknowledge that women study on campus, but at no time will I treat them as though they have something to contribute to my own education, with counseling courses the notable exception.
8. I will nod affirmingly at every mention of world missions, knowing that if I did not, others would think that I don’t support missions. Of course, I don’t, but I don’t want anyone else to know that. Instead, I will speak of “my mission field at home.”
9. I will never walk on the grass, preferring instead the crowded sidewalk, so that I won’t stand out from everyone else.
10. I will complain about my professors in the Walvoord Student Lounge, the Chafer Chapel, the Turpin and Mosher libraries, the Todd Academic Center, the Mitchell Ministry Center, or the Campbell Academic Center. In other words, pretty much whenever I get the chance. I will do so with an arrogant and self-justified spirit that refuses to acknowledge that they may have studied longer than I.
11. I will make an appropriate number of Biblical language jokes at home, regardless of the continued chilly reception they receive.
12. I will curse the name of Turabian, lamenting its difficulty, while harboring the truth that I didn’t pay attention in RS101 or bother to load the template on my computer at home.
13. I will try my best to make my games of solitaire look exactly like taking notes, making sure to look at the professor and nod knowingly before looking back down at the screen to move the 8 of spades.

Couple "inexplicably" moves out of Swiss Tower
While the summer heat took a toll all throughout the Metroplex, perhaps the most damaging effects of the summer swoon were felt right here at DTS. In a decision that can only be explained as a result of too much sun exposure, Kyle and Lisa Johnson announced plans that sent ripples through the DTS community. In late July, the Johnsons decided to move out of Swiss Tower.

“We began to feel out of touch with the non-Christian world,” Lisa said. “The other day Kyle mentioned how he used to live next door to some non-Christians in college and it was a great opportunity to share the gospel. We were hoping to experience something like that again.”

The Johnsons’s optimism isn’t shared by everyone in the community they’re leaving behind. “If you ask me, it’s a terrible idea,” said one resident of Swiss Tower, who chose not to reveal his identity. “I mean maybe you’ll have an opportunity to speak to some pagans, but what if they rub off on you more than you do on them? Too risky.” Another Swiss Tower resident blames the Johnsons’s decision not on the soaring heat, but on something else entirely. “It’s that damn Brian McLaren,” Karen Richardson claims. “All that talk about postmodernism leads people to do crazy stuff like this. Honestly, their decision is inexplicable.”

Despite the lack of support from the community, the Johnsons remain excited about their new home. “We’ve already met some non-believers from two doors down. We’re planning to have them come over for a bar-be-cue,” Kyle says. “Maybe some of our friends from the Tower can join us. I really think that when they get to know some non-believers, they’ll find that it’s not really that scary.” Maybe not, or maybe that's just the heat talking.

Dear Alumnus
Dear Alumnus,
I’m having trouble finding time to exercise during my studies at DTS. What did you do to stay fit? – Angela

Dear Angela,
I’m not sure I understand your question. Outside of repeatedly lifting your Scofield Reference Bible and using the stairs in the library, I don’t know what else to recommend. Ultimately, we’re all going to have perfect resurrection bodies, anyway, so I’m not sure why you’d expend the effort here on earth. Your time would probably be better spent perfecting your exegeticals, as they, unlike your temporary soul-suit, will most likely become valuable references in the eschaton.

DTS Man Goes to the Movies
On August 25, the movie Invincible will open at theatres everywhere. This film tells the story of Vince Papale, a Philadelphia bartender who earned a spot on a Philadelphia professional football team. Despite initial appearances, Invincible is not just another gridiron tale. This movie, in fact, serves as a two-hour illustration of the themes of Isaiah 40:31.

First, the prophet begins by discussing, “Those who wait for the Lord.” The film makers depict Papale as 30-years old when he got his chance to play in the National Football League. If so, then he obviously was familiar with waiting. While the movie doesn’t explicitly state that Papale was waiting for the Lord, per se, those with the appropriate theological sensibilities will recognize that just as the Lord sovereignly rules over the events of time and space, so the coach in the film, Dick Vermeil, sovereign ruled over the events of his football team. Therefore, in waiting for coach Vermeil to hold an open tryout, Papale was actually, if indirectly, waiting on the Lord. After watching coach Vermeil in action, one can’t help but leave the theatre with a new appreciation for God’s sovereignty.

The prophet continues on to say that, “Those who wait for the Lord will gain new strength.” In the case of Papale, who never played college football, his new strength was evident on the field. The fact that he even made the roster of a team in the National Football League testifies to his newfound strength. Such strength clearly had no place in his previous jobs as a substitute teacher and bartender. The filmmakers’s message couldn’t be clearer: If you wait on the Lord, you will gain new strength (i.e. If you wait for coach Vermeil to host an open tryout, you will make the team even though you didn’t play college football). For many of us, this beautiful promise hits home.

The film continues to illustrate the principles that Isaiah wrote about when it comes to the choice of football team for Papale to play for. Isaiah promises not only that those who wait on the Lord will gain new strength, but also that they will “mount up with wings as eagles.” It is no small coincidence that in the movie, Papale plays for the “Eagles.” While the filmmakers attempt to credit “history” with the choice and even claim that the National Football League has just such a team in Philadelphia, those of us who are spiritually sensitive should recognize the greater truth here. Just as Papale rose up to football prominence with a team named the “Eagles,” so those who wait on the Lord (or coach Vermeil) will gain new strength (make the team) and rise up on wings like eagles (and play for a team called the “Eagles.”)

The final point in Isaiah’s promise is perhaps most evident to those who love football. The film depicts Papale as playing wide receiver for the “Eagles.” This position requires much running. Papale ran. Plenty. And he clearly must not have grown tired because he just kept running. In all that running, Papale fulfills the final portion of Isaiah 40:31: “They will run and not get tired, they will walk and not faint.” Papale’s ability to run his routes over and over without falling or growing weary suggests that he epitomizes one who “waits for the Lord.” Every Christian should long for and look forward to the day when we, too, will possess this ability to run and run at an open tryout for a team named the “Eagles,” while at the same time catching enough footballs to impress the “coach” who may ask us to wait until we’re 30-years old before we gain “new strength.” What a promise! What a film!

Clearly, this film, Invincible, represents the greatest evangelistic tool of the 21st century. All Christians should take friends to see it, churches should set aside special worship services to discuss its themes and it should be required viewing for any who hope to understand the real message of the prophet Isaiah. Please take advantage of this opportunity to display to your non-Christian friends the benefits that come from waiting on the Lord. And if Mark Wahlberg ends up getting arrested for drunk driving and spewing racial slurs, we can simply conclude that he is being judged for appearing in Boogie Nights.