Archive for July, 2010

Community, Special Announcements

We’ve lost a saint – Art Gish

Today, I read in Newsline (see below) that Art Gish was killed in a farming accident at the age of 70. What a saint and prophet we’ve lost! I first got to know Art at NYC in 1971. He was one of the speakers. I thought he was nuts! I didn’t understand what it meant to be a radical Christian at the time. As NYC ended, he gave me a ride to Pennsylvania. Over several hours, we got to talk and I realized that he’s just a normal person with a lot of passion.

A few years later, Bethany Seminary flew me from La Verne College to be on campus to check the seminary out for a few days. Art and Peggy invited me and the other La Verne students over for lunch. I was really hungry and was disappointed when I learned they were serving soup. Until this time, I had only had the “Campbells” variety. By the time I finished my soup, I was stuffed! It was fantastic, with all the fresh vegetables and other ingredients that Peggy put in.

Art and I haven’t had much contact over the years since then. But knowing how he loved Jesus, and how his faith moved him towards “radicalism”, I’ve been touched and inspired!

Thanks, God, for saints like, Art!



Church of the Brethren peacemaker and activist Arthur G. (Art) Gish, 70, died in a farming accident yesterday morning when his tractor rolled while he was working on his farm in Athens County, Ohio.

Gish and his wife, Peggy, have been organic farmers, life-long workers for peace, and members of the New Covenant Fellowship in Athens, Ohio, a communal church affiliated with the Church of the Brethren. Peggy Gish currently is serving with Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT) in Iraq.

“We have lost a person important to the Church of the Brethren who has been a visible witness to Christ’s peace around the world,” said Stan Noffsinger, the church’s general secretary, remembering Gish’s strong witness for active Christian peacemaking. “It is a true loss to the church and the thousands of people he served…. We mourn this loss.”

“He has been a formative influence for so many people,” said Bob Gross, executive director of On Earth Peace. Gross and his family were part of the New Covenant community along with the Gish family for some years beginning in the 1970s.

Gish is remembered for his participation in the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s and the protest movement against war in the 1970s, and for his work for peace in the Middle East in more recent decades. He was a speaker, preacher, and writer with “incisive and frequently controversial views,” as characterized in an interview with “Messenger” magazine published on Aug. 13, 1970. Up until recently he had worked in the Middle East for periods of time with Christian Peacemaker Teams, beginning in 1995, often as a part of the CPT teams in the West Bank city of Hebron and in the Palestinian village of At-Tuwani.

Ministry Formation, Spiritual Formation

What’s Your Epistemology?

I’m sitting in a Doctor of Ministry class today on the topic of “Theological Epistemology”. The class is being taught by Dr. Thorsten Moritz, from Bethel Seminary. He is challenging us to think about:

What is your epistemology? How do you approach knowledge and understanding what knowledge is?

What is your methodology in approaching the Biblical text? Where does that methodology come from? Does it bring-out the true meaning of the text, or does it reveal what you want it to say?

How do you know what is truth? Because of the Enlightenment, the professor is saying that we use prescribed methods or steps to understanding the Bible that might actually block the true meaning of the text.

One classmate shared that, “If you only have a hammer, everything looks like a nail.” If we only have one methodology for approaching the text, then will all of our understandings of the text start to look like a “nail” (i.e. fit our preconceived notions)?

What scholars to you listen to in your Bible Study prep? Do you know what tradition they are come from? Is there an epistemology above your or your favorite interpreter’s understanding of knowledge?

These are just a few of the questions that we’re reflecting on today. Dr. Moritz is trying to impress upon us that there is a problem on how pastors approach the Bible and teach their congregations the message(s) of the Bible.

How do YOU do theology and approach the Bible?