Tuesday, September 16, 2008

School of Theology: Donald Miller 1

7:51pm, Tuesday night, buttery popcorn popping, coffee brewing, triple fudge brownies, Donald Miller speaking. First of 5 sessions with Donald Miller (There will be more coming from JMac. The two will be tag teaming the next 2 days.)

Don will be discussing a Christian Worldview.

Random bits to set the backdrop during his introduction:
  • Opens with his background. Mom sent him to a two week intensive camp to prepare students to defend their faith on college campuses.
  • Interesting comment on The Village. Critique of the church. Live in seclusion, create ghosts to keep you in the village.
  • Christianity explains everything (sports, fashion, life, why AJ bought the hat that he did...). We'll get their eventually... But I like where this is going. This has been one of my favorite topics to ponder over my last year at PSU and taking sociology classes.
Quick study of the elements of story (More Lord of the Rings as example)
  • How do you philosophically defend the different between music and noise? There are some things that cannot be defended. Story works for a very similar reason. The writers work within a formula to write the story. Why does story exist?
  • Opening scene: Gandolf, Shire, frolicking, content -> puts the ring on and tries to make an escape -> evil is set out to destroy -> form the fellowship -> At the end they set out as the fellowship is broken. (There must be a "What's going to happen next?")
Act 1
  • Exposition/characters and setting
  • 15-20 minutes/100 pages
  • Inciting incident. Introduction of conflict (the more the better). Life can never be the same. Doorway through with the character walks through and can never return. Humans seek stability and as a result the journey begins.
Act 2
  • Dealing with Conflict
  • Majority of the film/story. 1.5 hours
  • The fight against "giant midgets". The journey. Meeting with the "guru". Mythological structure (even in Hitch, Will Smith is the guru. Life has been disrupted, and the guru helps to achieve stability again.)
  • Rising action
  • Climax. Good has to face evil in order to bring final resolution to the story. A battle had to be fought in order to bring the fellowship together.
Act 3
  • Brings closure and resolution to the story
  • 15 minutes
  • Falling action
  • The happily ever after. Crowning of the king. People get fidgety if it's to long, so you have to give them 15 minutes to calm down from the climax.
So why does this work and where does it come from?
  • Two dominate brains. 1) How do I get a good job. How do I get married. What is the right way to raise kids. What is the right way to read the Bible. 2) Why do we exist? Why is a sunset beautiful? Why should I get a degree
  • America is a dominate "how" culture". Go to the bookstore (Christian included) and look at the mountains of how to books.
  • Stories/Bible answers the why question and leave the how questions for you to figure out.
  • America tries to translate Scripture to a how culture and much is lost. We also loose the ability to think for ourselves when everything is reduced down to simple how formulaic points.

“The ‘how’ doesn’t make sense unless we know the answer to the ‘why,’” he explains. “Here’s a Calvin and Hobbes cartoon that illustrates this for you. Calvin is in class, and the teacher is asking everybody to turn in their homework. Calvin asks, ‘Why do we exist?’ The teacher says, ‘Calvin, don’t change the subject. Just turn in your homework.’ But he says, ‘I need the answer to that question before turning in my homework becomes important.’ Our culture is just doing things without asking why they’re doing them. (cbn.com)

  • Does Christian worldview explain why there is an existence, characters, and a setting?
Genesis 1
  • Verse 1; explains the existence of a setting before which only God existed. God is non-existent within a fathomable understanding of how humans can understand existence. It is infinite (G.K. Chesterton; instead of trying to measure the ocean, just swim around and half fun in it.). We begin to understand why God calls himself "I AM". A place for wonder, awe, reverence, ultimate respect. (Rakel recommended we use another language so Donald Miller spoke in tongues to explain it to us. Now we all understand perfectly.) Language is finite.
  • The world is God-breathed (poetic. Because language is finite, it's the best way to convey because God is not "existent". If we try and interpret literally, we get ourselves into all kind of heresy but it's our natural response to the enlightenment)
  • Verse 3; Light. You cannot see light. Light is invisible. You can only see what light touches. Light is the only thing in the cosmos that works that way (it's not a wave or a ray). In a vacuum with nothing to block light, it will move 186,000 miles per second which is the same speed at which matter would not be affected by time (molecular density expands and you would explode if you went that fast). First things God creates, something that does not exist, is not material, is not affected by time, something you cannot see, goes on infinitely.
  • And God goes on in Scripture to call himself the light of the world.
  • Embedded in the exposition/in our reality God is giving us living examples with which we can be educated about Him.
  • You can go on and do this with sexuality, male and female gender, marriage, having children (and why children form so slowly, what God is teaching us), sheep, seasons, digestive system, that you need to drink things to live, urinating.
  • This whole thing is a giant educational playground to learn about God, to humble us, to put us in our place, to let you know without any doubt that you are not God.
We'll move on from light in the morning. The idea is that God will get bigger for us; bigger then Einstein, Hawking, and Hubbard.

1 comment:

Tiana said...

Hey David,
Just wanted you to know I read through all this good stuff and wish I could be there to soak it all in! Sounds like eye opening stuff and a real look into the mirror of your heart.