Saturday, July 23, 2005


I have been rather swamped/distracted/tired this past week. Work was a bit stressful, though I finally started making tangible progress on Friday. I wish I had Lassen to look forward to, but it doesn't look like I'll be getting out of state again until Thanksgiving, or possibly late October.

It was an awesome week at Shallowbrook this year (they seldom aren't). Sid presented us with the clearest outline of Revelation 6-22 that I have ever heard of or even thought possible to do in a week's time. Tom went through 1st and 2nd Timothy, spilling gems all over the place. I think I'm going to go back through in my personal reading and gather some of them up. I also intend to do the same with Revelation. I didn't take too many notes0, but what I did glean was an overall picture; a framework that my mind can more easily hold while I search the scriptures. Al had us studying several of the names and titles of God in groups, then he tied it together by using what we had observed to illuminate a passage in Joel. Out of the three, I would say Al's subject was the most abstract. Tom's turned out to be the least, which was unusual, though not unwelcome.

For those of you who don't know, Sid is in commercial real estate in Orange County, Al is from Illinios and (I think) teaches medical school, and Tom is a doctor of some sort from Texas/Canada. Anyway, once a year for the past several years, they all converge on a farmhouse called Shallowbrook outside of the tiny town of Bradford, Ill for one week with about 50 young people (and we must never forget the cooks), for 30 hours of intense Bible teaching. The schedule is roughly: 8:00 breakfast, 3 50-min lectures, 12:00 lunch, 3 50-min lectures, 5:00 dinner, free time until midnight. There is a 10 minute or so break between the lectures, which is just about right for a boisterous game of Round Robbin. Evenings are good for swimming, volleyball, tennis, basketball, singing, ultimate frisbee, football, long conversations with new and old freinds, and all sorts of mischeif. On the last night, there is a talent show, of which I will say that this year there weren't any acts that deserve the quote marks (except perhaps the Canadian skit--although saying "eut and abeut in a beut"1 with 12 marshmellows in your mouth is quite impressive. Props to Caleb and Max.)

Tom's talks this year were, as I mentioned, quite practical (relatively speaking). I don't think you can study 1st and 2nd Timothy and not get a sense of what God values and how He expects one to behave among His Church. Sid's were less so, but again, I belive this follows from the subject matter. "When thy judgments are in the earth, the inhabitants of the world will learn righteousness." -Is 26:9 I think this verse has applications to us today who read about God's judgments, whether in Revelation, Matthew, the Psalms, prophets, or the Pentateuch. We can see, for example, the corruption that the Bible calls "fornication" in religious systems and the political systems with which they exchange power. Peter says of false prophets, "their judgment from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep." If I can see through the eyes of faith that God's judgment is barrelling like a freight train towards those who do evil, I think it begins to have practical consequences in my actions. My point is2, just because something might be higher up on the stack, or not be about or even to us, it is certainly for us, and has direct bearing on our 'conversation.' Al's talks were equally aethereal, and with just the same, although a different kind of, practicality. He provided us with a tool for interpreting scripture. It seemed to some like a lot of time was wasted flipping through concordance pages, but in that flipping and scribbling and discussing, several key patterns were uncovered that enabled us to confidently apply a passage later on that we would have, without the preceeding research, been hesitant to confidently apply. Al wasn't feeding us fish, he was giving us all rods and line and showing us how to cast and reel and stoke a fire.

Reminds me of a couple of Slashdot sigs I've seen:

Give a man a fish, he owes you one fish. Teach a man to fish, you give up your monopoly on fisheries. ~
Give a man a fire and he's warm for a day. Set a man on fire, and he's warm for the rest of his life.

Oh, and I finished reading Harry Potter and the Halfblood Prince. I look forward to the term "snogging" becoming popular among fifth-graders.

0 but then again when did I ever take notes in school?
1 "out and about in a boat"
2 Oh, no! It's happening! Give me two more minutes, I'll finish up this post.


  1. Wow, sounds like a good year. Bummed I missed it, especially the flipping through concordances part. I love that.

  2. I really enjoyed Sid's talks. That booklet is something else. It should prove valuable reference material. I had always wanted a bit better grasp of Revelation, and he provided the framework to study it further.
    I wish the talks at Shallowbrook would stimulate more discussion and healthy debate among the young people. Sooner or later, many of the topics, books, or issues addressed at Shallowbrook and Lassen come up in our daily walks as we fellowship and study with other believers. As young believers we should also be considering these many topics as they relate to ourselves and our assemblies. Your thoughts?

  3. Hey I have a Xanga-esque generic MySpace acct. if you're intersted.
    I dislike Myspace even more than I dislike Xanga.

  4. beck,

    I don't know that I'm much interested in leaving comments on myspace. That would requre going to a myspace page and looking at its contents in an attempt to find out where words might be written in between the various pictures and miscellanious widgets. It also implies that meaningful communication might exist on myspace, which I refuse to accept on principle.

    Thanks anyway,