Books

Alumnus Paul J. Pastor releases book about Holy Spirit

Comments Off Written on January 11th, 2016 by
Categories: Alumni, Books

Educational Ministries graduate Paul J. Pastor released his first book, “The Face of the Deep: Exploring the Mysterious Person of the Holy Spirit,” on February 1 (David C. Cook, 2016). It’s available for order wherever books are sold. Until you can get your hands on a copy, Pastor answers our questions about “Face of the Deep” and the unique vision behind it.

PaulPastor

Can you give a brief synopsis of your book?

I’d love to. “The Face of the Deep” is a theology book about the Holy Spirit, but from an unusual angle.

The book embodies a theology of the Holy Spirit in its form as well as its content — in how I wrote, not just what I wrote. As a result, “The Face of the Deep” is structured symbolically, and written in tight creative non-fiction (prose poetry at times). My style has been very generously compared to Wendell Berry or Annie Dillard, a wonderful, unusual way to write about doctrine.

If I had to say the book is about one aspect of that theology, it would be the Holy Spirit’s immanence, which is the two-dollar word for the closeness God keeps with creation. But with that said, people shouldn’t get false expectations. The book is not an exhaustive work of pneumatology at all, nor is it an organized spiritual memoir. It’s really meant to be a prose icon — art that embodies theology and sharpens our ability to see and know God. There’s a lot of personal story in the book, a lot of history, theological meditation, biblical exegesis, even a fair bit of nature writing. But it all traces how the Spirit and his love is much closer and more meaningful than we think.

What compelled you to write “Face of the Deep”?

A personal question and a community mission.

In many ways, I wrote this book because I needed to read it. I felt a gnawing question about the Holy Spirit for many years — where is he? My family came to Christianity in a Charismatic tradition, but even still, it seemed that my experience of the Spirit, and the ways people talked about him in church were light years away from the stories and poetry I read about him in the Bible. I needed to see the Spirit in my life, my world, the way that I saw him in the Bible — close, and good, and strange, and very holy. I began to find him, often where I least expected him.

But that quest soon spilled over into a broader calling. I began talking about the Spirit with others who shared my questions or frustrations, and began to see that the calling to explore was for more than just myself. I wrote my graduate thesis on links between the stories of Babel and Pentecost, then began teaching a yearly class on the Holy Spirit here at Multnomah that taught doctrine in that “immanent” way, integrating icon, art, poetry, and story with classic systematic theology. Each time, the response was overwhelming: “Why don’t we talk about this in church?” “I see God even more richly now.” “Where can I go to learn more of this?”

Eventually, the vision for the book came to me all at once, in the time it took me to walk from the front step of our house inside. I saw it all—that it needed to include stories from my life, art, symbol, densely and beautifully written, structured as symbols within symbols.

You and graphic artist Martin French collaborated to create 14 modern icons of the Holy Spirit for your book. Can you tell us more about the images you two came up with? Why did you want to include original iconography?

Holy beauty leads us deeper into the knowledge of a holy God. There are times that an image can speak in ways that rational arguments cannot, and it was important for me to ground the book with powerful, compelling illustration. Wow, did Martin ever do that!

We worked together to create symbolic images (“Seven Stars” and “Seven Lampstands”) that integrated ancient symbols and a few modern ones, each visualizing a particular doctrine about the Holy Spirit, emphasizing the way that he works in and loves our world. The images form a path to think about the Holy Spirit in images, not just words.

How might reading “Face of the Deep” benefit the journey of a Christ-follower?

I think they’ll fall much more in love with God, in renewed imagination and wonder.

They’ll come out on the other side of this book with new language to talk about the Spirit’s holy work in their own life, a clearer understanding of how the Spirit works with the Father and Son, and most importantly, the invitation to live with the Spirit in a deeper, richer way than they might have imagined possible.

Also, I think that it’s beautiful book to read — and that never hurts the soul!

What are your hopes for this book?

Before anything else, my hope is that the Spirit himself is happy about it! From the beginning, I prayed that this book would be an offering to him, something lavish and lovely, purely from a sincere heart and adoration for the Trinity.

As well, I hope that it sparks conversation — that people, pastors, churches, even book clubs or small groups all can use it as the first step in discovering the Spirit’s work and closeness in their own lives.

And thirdly, I hope that other young theologians, writers, artists, and poets are inspired to pick up their pens and paintbrushes, notebooks and cameras, and begin considering how they can express the historic truths of our beautiful faith in fresh, exciting ways. Theology is rational, but so much more than a bare mental exercise. It needs to live, breathe, burn. This book is one small way that the truth of the Creator God is coming out in my life. I hope it inspires others to explore the mysterious life of God’s Holy Spirit in theirs.

For more information about Paul J. Pastor and his work, visit his website. You may also click here for a (free!) “Face of the Deep” seven-day devotional. 

Dr. Metzger introduces latest book, announces public reading at Powell’s

Comments Off Written on October 8th, 2015 by
Categories: Books, Seminary, Students, Theology

Dr. Paul Louis Metzger — Professor of Christian Theology and Theology of Culture and Director of New Wine, New Wineskins — has released his latest book, “Evangelical Zen: A Christian’s Spiritual Travels with a Buddhist Friend” (Patheos Press, August 2015). The work features Metzger’s late friend, Zen Buddhist Priest Kyogen Carlson, who wrote the foreword and responded to Metzger’s essays.

A book reading for “Evangelical Zen” is set for 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, January 26, 2016, at Powell’s City of Books. The event will include readings from Metzger and Sallie (Jiko) Tisdale, who will be reading one or two reflections from Abbot Kyogen Carlson’s contributions in the volume.

Until then, Metzger answers our questions about “Evangelical Zen” and the unique vision behind it.

EVZen

Can you give us a brief synopsis of the book?

“Evangelical Zen” is part Augustine’s “Confessions” and part Robert Pirsig’s “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance.” As an Evangelical Christian theologian, I reflect on my spiritual journey — an inner pilgrimage of sorts that weaves through a physical 40-day journey with my family in Japan.

The experiences of that journey, the beauties of Japan, its culture, and its religion become for me a lens on a deeper quest: I am searching for and, I believe, finding a global humanity in conversation with my friend and literary traveling companion, Abbot Kyogen Carlson, a Zen Buddhist Priest.

Can you define what you mean by “spiritual travels”?

Our travels through life as Christians are ultimately spiritual, not secular. We should never compartmentalize our faith, even in seemingly secular and pluralistic cultural settings.

Moreover, our faith is not static. While our eternal destination as Christians is secure through personal faith in Jesus Christ, our faith is an ongoing journey. Thus, our encounters with various people, places and things in life can serve as sign posts of faith as we seek to love God with all our hearts and our neighbors as ourselves.

What compelled you to write this book?

I felt compelled to write this book because my spiritual journey has taken me to Japan over the years through marriage to my wife Mariko, a Japanese national. Our children Christopher and Julianne have joined us on that journey. I have come to deeply love Japanese culture. Through my experiences in Japan, I have come to love Jesus more while also loving people across the globe. My travels there have helped me in my endeavors to become more sensitive to people of various cultures here and abroad.

Such growth here has been enhanced through my friendship over the years with Zen Buddhist Priest, Kyogen Carlson, who founded Dharma Rain Zen Center in Portland with his fellow abbot and spouse, Gyokuko. Since we first met in 2003, and until his sudden passing from a massive heart attack in September 2014, Kyogen and I developed a deep, abiding friendship. He agreed to write responses to the various essays, as well as a foreword to the whole book. For all our theological and philosophical differences from one another revealed in the book, Kyogen’s thoughts complete mine in this volume as we seek to understand life and humanity better.

How might reading this book be beneficial for a Christ-follower?

Evangelical Zen will help Christians navigate life and our increasingly diverse and multi-faith culture in such a manner that we can love God through Jesus more without having to love our diverse neighbors less. In fact, I believe our Christian faith, if cultivated well, makes it possible for us to love people of diverse paths better and with more sensitivity here and abroad.

Why is it important to build friendships with people of other religions?

I believe God’s love has been on display over the years with my Buddhist friends here in Portland, as my students and other Christians have joined the Carlsons, Dharma Rain Zen Center parishioners, and me for potluck meals and dialogues where we discuss key aspects of our respective faiths, including what divides us. We don’t sweep our differences under the table, nor do we stop short of engaging one another relationally. Instead, we go through our differences to build bridges of authentic trust that bind us together in the midst of culture wars that could easily divide us.

My students value such opportunities to engage people of diverse faiths. After all, they also live in an increasingly religiously diverse society. Like all of us, they need to learn how to engage their multi-faith society well in grace and truth. Their neighborhoods, the marketplace and ministry contexts (such as in the various spheres of chaplaincy and pastoral visitation) require that they become sensitive and adept at presenting biblical truth in a truly meaningful and gracious way. As our former MU president Dr. Joe Aldrich used to say, “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.”  That is equally true here in the States, Japan, and anywhere else in the world.

New scholarship named after beloved professor

Multnomah University is adding a new scholarship named after Distinguished Professor Emeritus David Needham, who taught at MU for 44 years. The David C. Needham Scholarship is being made possible by a generous donation from two Multnomah alumni — a married couple who wish to remain anonymous.

Needham-Sized

A heart for missions

The couple, who met at Multnomah in the 1960s, was struck by Needham’s humble style of teaching and tender heart for students. They have a deep appreciation for the friendship they’ve cultured with Needham and his wife Mary Jo for the past 45 years. By providing a scholarship under Needham’s name, they hope to celebrate their former teacher while blessing current students who feel called to missionary work.

“We are pleased to be giving this scholarship to students who have a heart for missions, particularly unreached peoples and East Africa,” they said.

After serving as missionaries in the Mexicali Valley for 15 years, the couple began developing ministries in Tanzania and East Africa — an adventure they have been committed to for the past 20 years.

Transforming forces in the world

Needham was thrilled to receive the news of the scholarship. “I was happily amazed when I heard about it,” he said. “This scholarship is helping MU fulfill its mission — equipping students to become transforming forces in the world.”

The price of a college education is high, Needham added, but he thinks the new scholarship will be a big encouragement to students who want to serve.

“I hope that Multnomah will accomplish its goal of teaching them to live the Christian life and share it with others,” he said. “I hope that they will have the proficiency to share the Gospel with people around the world, and I hope that this scholarship will continue to grow year by year.”

A gift from David Needham

Since Needham’s retirement from Multnomah in 2008, he has kept busy teaching adult classes at his church and writing. He has published four books, including “Close To His Majesty,” which he is offering to the Multnomah community for free.

In lieu of payment, we invite you to consider giving a gift to a student through the David C. Needham Scholarship. Visit our donation page to contribute any amount you choose.

Download your free copy of “Close To His Majesty.”

Teachers, scholars and leaders: Faculty add to a rich legacy of scholarship

A lot of great things are happening at Multnomah – new majors, new online degrees, new athletic programs – but one thing hasn’t changed: our commitment to providing an exceptional academic experience firmly rooted in God’s Word.

josberger_featureimageOur professors express this commitment by cultivating biblical wisdom in our students and publishing works that add depth and meaning to their respective fields. They’re experts in biblical exegesis, language and theological research – and they’re keenly aware of the complexities of modern society.

“Our faculty serve as thought leaders in their particular academic areas,” says Dr. Craig Williford, Multnomah’s president. “Their research, publications, speaking and teaching are all anchored in the authoritative Word of God.”

Multnomah’s rich legacy of scholarship continues to this day. Current Multnomah faculty members have authored more than 20 books covering a wide array of topics. They include Al Baylis, Derek Chinn, Brad Harper, Rebekah Josberger, Rex Koivisto, Rick McKinley, Paul Louis Metzger, Daniel Scalberg, Wayne Strickland and John Terveen.

“They know that God’s truth provides the proper foundation for all our academic explorations,” says Williford. “Combining their commitment to the Bible with being on the forefront of research provides the best quality educational experience for our students.”

Visit our faculty page to learn more.

Christian University Bookstore Celebrates A Decade On Campus

Comments Off Written on July 12th, 2012 by
Categories: Alumni, Books, General, Students
Christian University Bookstore Celebrates A Decade On Campus

In an era where small independent book stores are closing down, one still remains - and remains true to their passions of providing current and hard to find theology books. More than just a textbook and class notes store, Windows Booksellers have become a staple on Multnomah's campus. Oh yeah, they're open to the public too.

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Steadied By Faith

Steadied By Faith

A Message from the Alumni Director

“How could I do such a wicked thing and sin against God?” Genesis 39:9

I've been enjoying Dr. Lockwood’s book, Unlikely Heroes—Ordinary People with Extraordinary Faith, a Biblical and Personal Reflection on Hebrews 11. Through my read I’ve appreciated the opportunity of getting to know our president more. His unique blend of academic perspective and devotional application, as he identifies the cast of these Old Testament characters—simple, ordinary, flawed people living out extraordinary faith, has been encouraging. Read the rest of this entry »

Metzger, Romney, and America’s Mormon Moment, Part 2

1 Comment » Written on June 15th, 2012 by
Categories: Alumni, Books, Faculty, General, Seminary, Students
Metzger, Romney, and America’s Mormon Moment, Part 2

Evangelicals and the Upcoming Election

As a continuation of a previous MUblog post, this post explores how evangelicals can graciously engage Mormonism as the 2012 U.S. elections approach. The following is a column written by Multnomah's Dr. Paul Louis Metzger earlier this year for evangelical voters in Florida’s Sun Sentinel prior to the Florida primary.

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Don’t you folks ever read your Bibles?

Don’t you folks ever read your Bibles?

Bob and Cindi Norsworthy - BS 1983, Wives Certificate 1983

That phrase, and the passion for personal engagement with the Word of God that evoked the challenge, is indelibly etched in a winsome way, in the heart and mind of every alum that ever experienced the life of Dr. John G. Mitchell.

It’s been thirty-three years since I first felt the passion and the intercession behind those words, delivered in that thick Scottish brogue. Yet those words still lead and guide me today, to a sacred and private place of intimacy with my Jesus and the only source in the universe of any “real life” … the Word of God. Read the rest of this entry »

Metzger, Romney, and America’s Mormon Moment

Comments Off Written on June 12th, 2012 by
Categories: Alumni, Books, Faculty, General, Seminary, Students
Metzger, Romney, and America’s Mormon Moment

The Mormon Moment

It is fair to say that Mormonism has come into the mainstream of American culture with the emergence of Mr. Mitt Romney as the Republican hopeful for the 2012 U.S. presidential race. Some have called this development the “Mormon moment.” Read the rest of this entry »

President’s New Book Book and Website

Comments Off Written on February 11th, 2012 by
Categories: Books, General
President’s New Book Book and Website

Yesterday we posted a somewhat cryptic looking teaser that referenced some alleged tomfoolery that our President Dan Lockwood was mixed up in. Well, today the announcement was made by the man himself on his Facebook page.

Dr. Dan's Official Blog is Live! Read the rest of this entry »