The first one was hosted by Vineyard Boise Christian Fellowship and is one of the biggest craft fair in the area. There were only 80 vendors selling their handcrafted items with over 800 folks coming through the bazaar over the two day event.
I sold a decent amount of book safes the first day and was hoping for even more sales on the second day… however while I talked to more people that Saturday, I only made one sale and that was to a lady who saw the safes the night before. Oh well. 🙂
The second Christmas bazaar was held at a local school and was a LOT smaller (just over 30 vendors). Being the first time the PTO had ever hosted such an event, it wasn’t advertised as well and very slow… luckily I was able to break even with one sale and a partner who split the entry fee.
Over the next few days I will be listing all my book safes on Esty for those of you who might want a great Christmas gift. Remember that all proceeds go to help me attend St. Stephen’s University where I’m studying for my Master of Ministry degree. In other words, not only do you get an awesome gift but you help a young man follow the call of God. 😀
The golden age of Israel is widely considered to have taken place during the reign of King Solomon. As the human representative of God, Solomon’s rule was said to describe “the various facets of the kingdom of God manifest in his time” [Morphew 2006, 28]. Years later while under the rule of Rome, the people of Israel would use Solomon’s kingdom as a model for what they hopped God’s future kingdom would look like. Jesus, however, challenged the typical view of God’s kingdom and “quite deliberately remodeled first-century Jewish expectations around himself” [Wright 2011, 117]. And since Jesus is the “one true and living avatar of the transcendent God” [Jersak 2015, 83] it is worth paying attention to how Jesus’ view of God’s kingdom contrasts with the view revealed through Solomon reign.
The zenith of Solomon’s kingdom is best recorded in 1 Kings 4. It was during this time that the people of Israel become as “numerous as the sand on the seashore” [verse 20, NIV] in fulfillment of God’s promise to Abraham [Ge 22:17]. King Solomon defeated Israel’s enemies and ruled over all the people from Tiphash to Gaza with foreign dignitaries and ambassadors flocking to his banquet table. Each day “85 bushels of fine flour, 375 bushels of meal, 10 grain-fed cattle, 20 range cattle, 100 sheep, and miscellaneous deer, gazelles, roebucks, and choice fowl” [verses 22-23, Message] was served. In addition to physical wealth, Solomon had great wisdom and insight given to him by God [verse 29-31]. He wrote 3,000 proverbs, 1,005 songs and knew the ways of the birds, plants, mammals, fish, and reptiles. There was “no aspect of creation” that Solomon could not understand, becoming an “epitome of the Hebrew understanding of the wholeness of life that flows from the rule of God” [Morphew 2006, 30].
In contrast to the riches and glamour of Solomon’s court, Jesus was born and lived among the common people of the land. The angels who announced his birth did so not in the palace of King Herod, but in the fields to simple shepherds [Lk 2:8-15]. The humility of Jesus continued throughout his life with his followers being called friends rather than servants [Jn 15:15]. This is a marked difference from Solomon who conscripted the people of Israel into building his palaces [1 Ki 9:15]. Solomon also enslaved people from neighboring nations [1 Ki 9:21] whereas Jesus brought freedom to the prisoner [Lk 4:18].
In Genesis 12 when God calls Abraham, he tells him that he will be a blessing to the nations [Ge 12:2-3]. This promise was thought to have been fulfilled by King Solomon in that the nations of world came to him seeking wisdom. Jesus, however, transformed the hegemonic kingdom of Solomon into a kenarchy with the people of God commanded to “go and make disciples of all nations” [Mt 28:19, NIV]. No longer were the children of Abraham to be defined by genetics, but the faith of Abraham would spread to all nations with everyone who follows Jesus being called children of Abraham [Rm 9:8].
By expanding the people of God to include the Gentiles, Jesus challenged the identity those who were called enemies of God. Under Solomon and those who followed him, the enemies of the people of God were the Gentile nations around them. Jesus removed the blinders from the eyes of his people to show that it was the devil, evil, sin and death who were their true enemy [1 Co 15:24-26, 1 Jn 3:8]. Through the cross, Jesus defeated the evil one and crushed the head of the serpent that deceived humanity [Jn 12:31-33, Ge 1:15].
Jesus’ banquet table also shows a marked contrast to the picture of God’s rule under Solomon. Rather than limiting the table to foreign dignitaries and members of the royal household, Jesus opened up God’s table to the weak, sick, outcast and the common people [Lk 13:29, 14:15-24, Mt 8:11]. Gone also was the Kosher meal restrictions that forbid the people of God from eating with the Gentiles [Ac 10:15]. Jesus himself was to be the bread on God’s banquet table which would bring life to all who partook of his flesh and blood [Jn 6:25-59]. Whereas Solomon’s table reflected the daily bounty of God’s kingdom, God’s table under Jesus transformed into a radically inclusive table from which no one will ever go hungry. The Eucharist feast celebrated by Jesus followers around the world testifies to the power of this new cruciform banquet table.
If there is one thing that history remembers about King Solomon, it is that he was a very wise man. 1 Kings 4:29-34 tells us that he was the wisest man on earth during this lifetime with a “breadth of understanding as measureless as the sand on the seashore” [verse 29, NIV]. This wisdom, though a gift from God, was still human wisdom. The crucified Jesus, on the other hand, is the “wisdom of God” [1 Co 1:24, NIV] that puts to shame all other wisdom. St. James even goes further, saying that the “wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere” [Ja 3:17, NIV]. Jesus, through the cross, shows us that the wisdom of God goes beyond knowing how to govern a country or settle disputes.
The temple is the other thing that history has remembered about King Solomon. This temple was huge, beautiful and considered to be one of the wonders of the ancient world. It was the symbol of God’s presence in Israel and a drawing card for the nations as declared by Solomon in its dedication [1 Ki 8]. Jesus transforms this symbol of God’s kingdom just like he did with all the other facets of God’s rule through Solomon. Through the cross, Jesus declared that the temple was no longer needed. The religious, political and cultural life of the people of God was now to be found in and through Jesus and not through a building. Furthermore the people themselves became the living temple of God, sealed with the Holy Spirit who dwells inside each follower of Jesus [1 Co 3:16].
The last remaining transformation that Jesus completes in our model of God’s kingdom has to do with creation itself. Under King Solomon, all the plants and animals of the land, sea and air were seen as being subject to the rule of humanity. Jesus transforms this view in that he not only was the one who created the heavens and earth, but he also is the one who continues to uphold it [Co 1:16-17]. Jesus is the one true King of the universe, having everything that was, is and is to come under his feet [Ep 1:18-23].
In conclusion, Jesus of Nazareth, “the image of the invisible God” [Co 1:15, NIV], transforms the model of God’s kingdom seen under King Solomon. Rather than being an exclusive hegemonic kingdom for a select few, Jesus transforms it into an inclusive kenarchic kingdom that actively seeks out the lonely, weak, outcast and poor. Gone is the controlling, power-over view of God; instead it was replaced by a consenting, participating, and loving model of a king – a king who died upon the cross for each one of us.
Jersak, Bradley. 2015. A More Christlike God: A More Beautiful Gospel. Pasadena, California: CWRpress.
Morphew, Derek. 2006. Breakthrough: Discovering the Kingdom. Cape Town, South Africa: Vineyard International Publishing.
Wright, N.T. 2011. Simply Jesus: A New Vision of Who He Was, What He Did, And Why He Matters. New York: HaperOne.
I’m four days back from my trip to St. Stephen’s University (SSU) and still trying to get back into the swing of things. Work, family, odds, ends and all the stuff that you find you miss when you are away for a few weeks. =)
My time at SSU was wonderful. At first I was very uptight and nervous as I didn’t know what to expect from the professors, classmates or even the country (it was odd being in a foreign country that wasn’t all that foreign). The altitude and climate difference also threw me for a loop that first week – causing me retreat into myself and be more introverted than I typically am.
Somewhere over the weekend I found my footings and started coming out of my self-imposed shell. This caused one classmate to comment on that Monday that I was a different person. 😀
I had four classes crammed into those two weeks. Below is a quick outline of these classes:
Spiritual Formation – Lorna Jones, Ignatian Spiritual Director
Drawing on the spiritual formation exercises of Ignatian Spirituality, this class walked us through some contemplative practices – giving us a chance to stop and reflect on what we were experiencing and learning. It was interesting walking through these practices as a group as I’ve always heard them talked about within an individual context. I’m looking forward to introducing some of these practices into my local small group here in Boise. 🙂
Historical theology: Ancient Insights for Today (16th–21st C.) – Dr. Peter Fitch
This was our main class throughout the two weeks. Dr. Peter is a great professor that has a way of encouraging dialogue and drawing out insights from each class member on our required readings. A lot of the book reports that I have posted here over the past few months was written for this class as we had to read writings from Luther, Calvin, Teresa of Avila, Pascal, Herbert, Baxter, Thérèse de Lisieux, Bonhoeffer, C. S. Lewis, Rollins, and others.
Healing through Symbol and Story – Dr. Walter Thiessen
This was one of the most challenging classes as Dr. Walter walked us through inner healing and narrative therapy concepts. Having experienced both freedom and pain through inner healing programs, I was a bit apprehensive about the material… Dr. Walter quickly disarmed me through his love and grace for people. His clinical background coupled with making room for God to work allowed him to lead us all through the sometimes murky waters of inner healing.
Jesus and a More Christ-like God – Dr. Brad Jersak
Drawing off Dr. Brad’s recent book (A More Christlike God), this class took a deep dive into the self-revelation of God through Jesus as seen from below (biblical studies) and above (systematic theology). With a focus on Jesus and the Kingdom of God, I have to admit this was the class I loved the most – it was also taught during the second week, meaning that I had my feet under me and was engaging more. Hopefully I didn’t overwhelm my fellow class members with all my questions… :/ Dr. Brad, by the way, is currently a Reader in an Eastern Orthodox monastery in B.C., Canada – which is really, really cool as I have had a longstanding flirtation with the Eastern Orthodox church for many years.
The culture of SSU was really cool. It is a small university with only 50-60~ undergrad students who live in a communal type setting with students and teacher eating and working together. The university also actively encourages questions with no topic off-limits – even topics that would typically be considered off-limits in other Christian universities (not to mention churches). At first this openness threw me as I’m used to being careful about who I talk too about certain topics. Yet after two-weeks this openness grew on me and I started joining in on some of the conversation. 🙂
Well…that’s all for now. I’ll try to post a more touristy post later on with some pictures of the area. Until then, be blessed.
Tomorrow is the big day. After years of dreaming and months of work, I will be attending my first Master’s level class at St. Stephen’s University (SSU) in St. Stephen, Canada.
Yep, I am in Canada for the next two weeks attending classes. *much happiness!*
I arrived in St. Stephen’s early this morning at 2 am and crashed. After a few hours of sleep, I rolled out of bed and wondered into St. Croix Vineyard Church. The two pastors of the church are also professors at SSU: Dr. Peter Fitch and Dr. Walter Thiessen.
What’s cool at St. Croix is that they have an early morning Celtic liturgy service followed by a more typically Vineyard style service. I was unable to attend the Celtic service this morning due to my late arrival – but I will do so much week!!! 😀
I would ask for prayer as my allergies are going crazy. Part of it is the cats at my place of lodging; part of it is being in a different part of the country. Regardless, I really would like to be able to think and not have a foggy allergy brain. =/
hmm….what else can I say? Not much is happening at the moment… hopefully I will have some time to post while I’m here. If not, I’ll try to catch you all up afterwards.