Thursday, September 17, 2009

What's the content?

I am in my third week of classes at Reformed Theological Seminary, currently sitting in Systematic Theology 1 class taught by John Frame...

I thought it might be cool to share with you what I am taking this Fall and a little comment on each class...I know, I know...exciting stuff. But I have found little points of connection in several of these classes that are helping me flesh out a theology of the arts.

As I mentioned above I am taking:

  • Systematic Theology 1 (ST1): God and Scripture with John Frame. If Reformed Theological Seminary, Orlando were the universe, John Frame would be the sun. His influence is extensive here at RTS and rightly so, his mind is massive. I am excited to be under his tutelage.
  • History of Philosophy and Christian Thought (HPCT) also with John Frame. Both ST1 and HPCT are requirements but they are causing me to remember the days of my philosophy courses 20 years ago and bringing me up to speed quickly.
  • Introduction to Pastoral and Theological Studies with Reggie Kidd. Another requirement, one that sets the tone "content wise" for pursuing a degree here. Dr Kidd is a unique individual who I am looking forward to getting to know and learning from. He has a sympathy for the creative. You'd know him from across the campus here as you see him in his bright white fedora.
  • The Parables Of Jesus with Simon Kistemaker. A wonderfully charming Dutchman who laughs at statements that he has probably been teaching for decades. Even at 79 he still is impassioned for the Bible. There have been sevreal moments already from the content of the class and readings where I have seen parallels with the arts...but more on that in another blog.
  • The Westminster Standards with John Muether. Mr Muether is the schools librarian and it so evident. He loves books. He begins each session with a reading from Calvin's Institutes (in honoring Calvin's life as he was born 500 years ago this year). I have enjoyed hearing about the history behind the ancient creeds (Apostle's, Nicean, Athanasian) as well as hearing about the way the Westminster Standards came to be.
  • The Message of Jonah with Mark Futato. I am taking as much Old Testement as I can while here because artists use the OT alot to make their case for the importnace of the arts in Christianity. Dr. Futato is the OT prof here and is incredibly capable and clear in his teaching. He has gotten me thnking about the possibility that Jonah may be fiction...or history...and either is ok. Don't worry he doesn't think all of Scripture is fiction just that Jonah could be in the same vein as Jesus' teach to understand the Kingdom and God's purposes in this world.
In all six classes there is alot of work of course, but I am loving it.

Kirk (and Sarah)

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

The long awaited new chapter...

I was never the best student, at least in my habits. I had always been in the top classes and shown a higher level of aptitude, but I was never excited about gracing the halls of school. This continued even in college where I almost failed out the fall semester of my sophomore year (my mother is at this very moment horrified I would say this you mom!). But I look on that time now and know my lack of energy for school was used by my Creator to reveal Himself to me. Because you see if I hadn't almost failed that sophomore year I maybe never would have returned to God from my prodigal ways. That failure was my pigsty:

But when he came to himself he said...'I will arise and go to my father...' St Luke
The feast and celebration prepared for me after that semester was my discovery of Philosophy and enjoyment in learning. I have always enjoyed learning since that time and over the years have desired to continue my studies through an advanced degree. I had even explored seminary when I first graduated college, but God lead me otherwise into ministry.

When I went to New York City and rediscovered my artistic roots again I found a worthy community to engage intellectually. I believe artists are some of the most thoughtful people around. They soak in many, many things, and think about them critically, because you see it fuels their creativity. If they didn't their art would become shallow and shrivel up.

After a few years engaged with the arts I began to see that there was a wonderful history of the church engaged with the arts...but that history was mostly outside the bounds of the protestant tradition, my tradition. Outside of Francis Schaeffer, name one protestant in the 20th century who engaged the arts thoughtfully and had as wide an appeal as Schaeffer did? Maybe Rookmaaker...but some of you are saying, "Who?" I've come to believe that the Arts, to most of the protestant tradiiton, is the "red-headed step child" of the family. We need to change that.
I want to change that. This is why I am going to school at Reformed Theological Seminary in Orlando for the next two years. I want to be a part of the generation that compiles a body of work about the arts for the protestant church that is Biblical, reasonable, and beautiful. I want to be able to say to that "red-head", 'Welcome back to the family!'Why do I want to do this? So that people, all people, can see how truly beautiful the Gospel is, and ultimately that carpenter from Nazaeth, who was himself an artist. Afterall, he's the one that told the story of the prodigal son.

Kirk (& Sarah)

PS. Many of the future blogs here will be about my experiences and thoughts from my Masters work. The 'Bird' of this blog, my wife, is not forgotten...she would be the first to say she's not the writer of this family...there will be updates about what she has been creating and crafting as well.


Monday, August 10, 2009

Tim Keller at our conference

On Wednesday, July 22, Rev. Tim Keller, of Redeemer Church in Manhattan, NYC, discussed The Gospel and The Poor: A Case for Compassion at Campus Crusade's U.S. Staff Conference. (The video below is about 18 minutes long.)

Feel free to discuss the seminar after you've watched the video.
Download Tim Keller's outline and handout entitled, The Gospel and the Poor

For more information on Here's Life (a ministry of Campus Crusade for Christ), visit and/or

Thursday, March 19, 2009

The influence of culture...

I started watching the TV SciFi channel's retelling of the classic 70's show, Battlestar Galactica, when it first came out as a 2 part mini-series years ago. I noticed right off that it was going to cause a ripple because of how well the story was told...content, writing, acting, cinematography, etc. It had a style and attitude that refreshed the way to tell a good yarn.

I came across this article through a Facebook friend. This isn't just an example of how much TV can influence the current culture, but also of how important creative, compelling...dare I say it, beautiful pieces of art/work can influence the very conversations happening in the halls of leadership.

Kirk and Sarah

PS. It's important that we are involved in culture because of this example!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Happy St Patty's Day

Just wanted to share a moment from our day yesterday as we celebrated St Patrick's Day. You have to celebrate the Irish's biggest day in the USA when you are married to a woman with the maiden name of Kennedy. It's almost sacrilegious if you don't. So in the spirit of the one who brought the story of Jesus to the Emerald Isle. Slainte!!!

Kirk and Sarah

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

IAM Encounter & Podcast...

Hey all,

Sarah and I are in The Big Apple for International Arts Movement's 2009 Encounter. It is the annual conference where artists and creative catalysts gather to talk about issues surrounding art, faith, and what it means to be fully human. This years encounter is full of solid presenters who all desire to see their fellow human beings grow. The underlying spirit of these encounters has always been the biblical principle of loving your neighbor as yourself. And this year it is no less true.

For this years Encounter Sarah has done most of the print work used during the conference including the Encounter program (more on this later).

This week I was interviewed as part of the IAM podcasts concerning my involvement in IAM related to what kind of world that ought to exist....or ought to be. You can find that here.

Please pray for all attendees safety and that their pilgrimages toward truth, goodness, and beauty would lead them to the true source of truth, goodness, and beauty.

Kirk and Sarah
(pic below: at the IAM space on 39th Street Manhattan)

Thursday, February 5, 2009

What I just finished reading...

For the ten years I lived in NYC, from 1998 to 2007 I attended and was a member of Redeemer Presbyterian Church. Since my adolescence I had gone to a church associated with the Presbyterian Church in America, or PCA, and therefore sought out Redeemer (which is a part of the PCA) when I started going to NYC.

I relished the opportunity to do this when I first visited the city to minister there for a student summer project in the summer of 1995. From the late 1980's I had heard about Redeemer and the PCA's first excursion into planting a church in "The Big Apple". I also began to hear about the teaching skill of the head pastor, Tim Keller and the phenomenal influence he and Redeemer were having on New Yorkers. It wasn't that I was just hearing about people becoming Christians and growing in their faith, but also how the higher ideas, and the proud skepticisms of NYC's intelligentsia were finding a gracious and reasonable challenger in the person of Tim Keller.

This was extremely compelling and important to me as I had just exited college (1990) where I had plumbed the depths of higher philosophy, and started to minister in Western Massachusetts...a region of the country not known for its adoration of Chirstianty, but for a similar skepticism found in the streets of Manhattan.

So you can imiagine how quickly I desired to darken Redeemer's door when I first arrived in NYC for the Summer in the City project with Campus Crusade for Christ in 1995.

I was not disappointed.

I never missed a Sunday to hear how Tim would "apply the Bible to the current culture". Which is how a childhood aquaintance summarized Tim Kellers teaching to me one time...I remember thinking "that's exactly how to describe Tim Keller's teaching."

What does this have to do with what I read? Well, Tim recently released his second book, The Prodigal God. This book is a wonderful example of what years of contemplation and teaching can do to how and what you say about a classic passage in the Bible. It's like seeing the story of the Prodigal Son for the first time...again...and it is kicking my butt. Keller completely disarms any conceptions you may have had regarding the parable of The Prodigal Son.

My favorite line actually comes from, of all places the acknowledgments where Keller gives essentially a summary of what every real follower of the Nazarene ought to aspire too...." to be theologically sound, completely orthodox, and yet unfailingly gracious...", would that I could say I am in that place.

I truly believe that this book will find its place among the classics of Christian literature...The Confessions of St Augustine, Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress, Chesterton's Orthodoxy, Lewis's Mere Christianty. As I write this I wonder at my audacity, but I have no other category in which to place this book, it's that good.

So if you haven't purchased a copy buy one and 5 others to give to your friends, whether believing or not.

Kirk...and Sarah

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Look what I can do!!!

So I was starting to look through our pics from the summer and came across this moment that I videoed. I had forgotten how funny this was. The woman that is the star of the video is my brothers mother-in-law, the one my nieces and nephew call "Grandma Jane". She's always been a good sport, and not without a little sense of humor too. Enjoy!

Kirk & Sarah