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"Remember Me:" Worship, Stuff, and the Communion of Saints

Posted by Dr. Todd Hall on April 12, 2018 at 10:35 AM

Like most congregations, the church that I attend has our Sunday hymns projected onto the screen at the front of the building. This has been very helpful for several members who struggle with eyesight problems. But unlike some congregations, we’ve kept our hymnals in the pew as well. I always like to hold the hymnal in my hand and sing along that way—usually because the projected songs don’t have shape notes, which is the only way I can read music, but also so I can reflect on the words of the songs we’re singing.

On a Sunday morning a couple of weeks ago I took the hymnal from the back of the pew in front of me in preparation for the opening of our corporate worship. Like always, I opened the hymnal to the correct song number, but something made me flip to the front of the book. There I found a memorial plate to a member of our church who had gone to be with his Lord many years before. My mind was flooded with memories of the man as I read the words, “This hymnal is given to Holland Street Church of Christ in loving memory of…” He was a good man, a good husband and father and grandfather, and he had lost his battle with heart disease suddenly. My brother, our minister, the worship leader/youth and family minister, and I stood around his hospital bed and sang hymns over him from these very hymnbooks as he passed from this life. I read the plate again and tears filled my eyes.

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Topics: Teaching Moment, Worship, Incarnation, Communion

More Effective Ministry

Posted by Dr. Keith Stanglin on April 5, 2018 at 9:17 AM

I was recently intrigued by a student who shared with me his primary reason for coming to study at Austin Graduate School of Theology.  While heavily involved in prison ministry, he found himself on the receiving end of questions that he had a hard time answering.  And these inquisitive prisoners, who had quite a bit of free time on their hands for reading and contemplating, asked some tough questions. The prison minister admitted that he was getting tired of saying, “I’ll get back with you on that one,” and he sensed a little frustration from the prisoners who also noticed this continuing refrain.  He acknowledged that he needed to be better equipped if he was going to benefit these men.  But who is there to answer the minister’s questions?

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Topics: Teaching Moment, Seminary, Effective Ministry

"O Lord, Our Lord": The Story Behind Psalm 8 in Timeless

Posted by Dr. Mark Shipp on April 3, 2018 at 11:20 AM

Here is another story behind one of the songs from the Timeless: Ancient Psalms for the Church Today Psalter/Commentary series. Timeless is a commentary set of all new translations and commentaries on the psalms by established Old Testament scholars for the layperson. Timeless also includes 2–3 new musical settings following each psalm to enhance worship and reflection, study and devotion. Timeless books may be purchased through acupressbooks.com, Amazon.com, or timelesspsalter.com. Professionally recorded CDs and booklets of the music may be purchased through CDBaby.com and timelesspsalter.com.

This post is by Deb Dorman, one of our more prolific composers, and tells the story behind Psalm 8: “O Lord, Our Lord, How Majestic is Your Name.”

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Topics: Psalms, Timeless

Join us for a guest lecture: The Reign of God in the Book of Daniel

Posted by Dawn Bond on April 2, 2018 at 9:47 AM

At noon on Wednesday, April 4, Austin Graduate School of Theology will host a brown-bag lecture by Dr. Choon-Leong Seow, Distinguished Professor of Hebrew Bible at Vanderbilt University on the topic “The Reign of God in the Book of Daniel.”

Everyone interested in the subject is welcome to bring a lunch and join us in the Hocott Student Commons.

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Topics: About Austin Grad, Scripture Passage, Old Testament, Biblical Narrative

Philosophy of Religion

Posted by Dr. Keith Stanglin on March 8, 2018 at 9:43 AM

Aristotle began his Metaphysics with the observation that people first began to philosophize out of wonder or marveling (thaumazein). 

On those rare occasions that we late modern folks find an opportunity to contemplate things away from the noise, screens, and other distractions, we, too, might experience that same ineffable sense of wonder that motivated the ancient philosophers.  We may find that the universe presents itself to us as a question.  Even when we are confident about its answer (namely, God), the solution itself may raise other questions or puzzles.

Although questions of these sorts can be addressed in any theological discipline, the discipline of philosophy of religion  is especially suited for such questions.  

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Topics: About Austin Grad, Philosophy of Religion

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