Friday, May 15, 2009

Ritz revelation

On Wednesday Tom and I drove over to Findlay, Ohio and attended Ritz Lectures at the beautiful facilities of Winebrenner Seminary. The speaker was Dr. James Resseguie, speaking on the topic of 'Revelation as Story.' It was based on his newly released book "The Revelation of John: A Narrative Commentary." The talk was broken into four parts: A New Exodus, Church and In-Between Times, Helping and Hindering Characters, and Turning the World Right Side Up. It was a most excellent time. I could do this stuff everyday. It started about 9 am and ended around 3:30 pm.

I think one of the things I liked best was that it was simply about the Bible (specifically the book of Revelation). I am tired of hearing about different ways to "do church," or church leadership strategies, or things along those lines. Give me Jesus, you know. It was beautifully done in this lecture. It was also interesting in that Dr. Resseguie is not exactly the most "dynamic" of speakers. Basically he just stood behind this huge pulpit and read from his manuscript. At first I thought there was no way I would stay awake the entire day. But it just goes to show that delivery methods are vastly over-rated. The substance of his lecture kept everyone's attention just fine. And the only powerpoint slides he used were various paintings and works of art he used to describe events in Revelation. It was cool. Good stuff.

We also had a great discussion at lunch. It was Tom and I, plus our table mates Josh and Jayme (sp?). They are both students at WTS. In fact, now several days later, I am having serious withdrawels from discussions like this. I probably shouldn't say anymore about that right now.

I might also add that daughter Carrie did a splendid job of planning this event, and taking care of things while we were there. I was a pretty proud pappa. Winebrenner is lucky to have her on staff. The flowers really did add a nice touch too. :)

I took a few pages of notes, but most of what he talked about is in his book. Plus I can't really read my scribbles very well in many places. Here's a few things I wrote down:
  • Revelation is the 5th Gospel (to Dr. R).
  • Notice the difference between what John "sees" and what he "hears." Seeing is often the inner reality, and hearing the outer; or, the hearing interprets what he sees.
  • Try to read Revelation fresh, as though you know nothing about it. Allow John to tell his story, rather than those who have tried to make it something else.
  • From chapters 11 & 12... "The role of the church"...
  • The spiritual home of the church is the desert or wilderness.
  • The woman is the image of the church in the in-between times.
  • ***The wilderness is not to be avoided, but where the church is nourished, and learns to be dependant upon God.
  • Community formation takes place in the wilderness - we are dependant on each other and God.
  • 1260 days=42 months=3 1/2 years. This is a broken seven. Seven=perfection; 3 1/2 is completeness interrupted. It represents the in-between times; the time between Jesus' first and second coming; the period of divine nourishment; the wilderness time; a time of God's protection for us and a time when evil does not have the upper hand despite appearances.
  • The image of the church in ch. 12 is that of a church vulnerable but protected by God.
  • He calls ch. 11 the most difficult but also most important chapter in Revelation.
  • Verses 1-2= the church as vulnerable yet protected; verses 3-11= the church as witnesses in the world.
  • V.1-2= The measured temple is image of church as spiritually protected community. The unmeasured area is image of church as a vulnerable community.
  • V. 3-11= The church is invincible, yet conquered; powerful, yet trampled upon; attacked, yet saved. Describes the counter-intuitive ways of the messianic "fixing-up" of the world.
  • Next section...
  • Evil's strong suit is its deception. It appears Messianic.
  • 666 - the number of the person. Could be humanity in general; a specific person; someone w/a specific personage.
  • 6 represents imperfection striving to be like God. The sixth is one less than the ultimate. Anticipating the end, but failing to reach it, incomplete.
  • 6 signals incompleteness, represents imperfection, striving for perfection, or humanity elevating itself to godlike status. Humanity seeking to be like God.
  • 666 is alternative description of hybrid nature of the beast.
  • Last section...
  • The seals, trumpets, bowls, etc. are human attempts... Everything turned upside down needs turned rightside up by a Messianic Repair. Ch. 17-22 is the repair area.
  • It is NOT about a mere "restoration," but a whole NEW creation.
Eh... there's some more. I'm not sure how accurate all my notes are. And I left out some of the best stuff. Just some ramblings.


Tammie said...

Thanks for writing about this! I saw the information about it, but it would be quite a trip for me to make it out there. I had Dr. R. in one of the last seminary classes I took. Brilliant man. Made me look at the gospels in a totally different way ...

And, yes, Winebrenner is blessed to have Carrie there!

Randy McRoberts said...

Thanks for the info. I just ordered the book.

dan horwedel said...

You are welcome. Glad you found it useful.