DMin, Leadership and Global Perspectives: Crafting Ministry in an Interconnected World

Observations of Theology

Written by: on February 6, 2015

Observations of Theology Only

February 5, 15

I really don’ t need to start with any order in the books I have read but clearly the lady from London in Spirit in the Cities really got my attention. She observes culture in a way to me that is demeaning and uppity. I lived in the places she has observed and it’s a real trip to hear how a person observes it as a writer. That’s why real research is in the field not from a commuter bus. Number one black people and Mexican people in Los Angeles are not as poor as she depicts them. They are really middle class and have more status than what she observes from her bus. And many of them are not struggling and trying to get a job at USC. Many of them have their own businesses and are not rich but not poor either. I feel Sheila Briggs reason but she has no clue about Los Angeles at all. And I love that I got to read that so I could know how people from other countries come here and evaluate things they see. What is really happening in Los Angeles cant be seen from a bus. Just like if I go to London and live I would never really get the way people live unless I have lived there for a good amount of time. L. A. is a monster with many tails and dimensions and you cant make a good observations going in it on a bus and leaving it on a bus or Metro Link! Done with that!

In The Bible Justice and Public Theology by David J. Neville I was drawn to Justice and Gender. I did not realize how women looked at things from the Bible. I don’t agree with a lot of things I read but I did take note of them because the foundation laid was educational. But I don’t believe God got is wrong when he spoke to his Apostles and Prophet. I was taught at Azusa Pacific University not say he or him in the scripture but to say humanity. And I believe what that means but that is not what the Bible says and God is specific with details about the rest of the Bible so why not when he uses “He.” But I have learned from the eye of a feminist theologian, “The root experience of feminism realizes that culture ‘common sense’, dominant perspectives, scientific theories and historical knowledge are androcentric- that is, male biased – and therefore not objective accounts of reality but ideological mystification of domination and subordination.”[1] I don’t believe that at all. I would never try to dominate my wife in anything. My wife has helped me more than I would have helped myself. I would never try to dominate her I do what God called me to do, protect her and love her. This chick is off the charts to me. But its cool because I realize what feminist think and how they view men. But at the same time I don’t think she has done good research either because to me she is way too hostile when men who are not threatened by feminism would love dialogue!

What I read was educational to me but im really not with authors who are so educated they can change scripture to measure up to their theology I find that as heresy and not scripture based. And if I get real educated like them I will defend the scriptures like they have been written whether I am hated or loved! Contextualization never means reinterpreting scripture! Wow should they go back to school??


[1]             David J. Neville. The Bible, Justice and Public Theology (Oregon: Sheffield Phoenix Press, 2014), 135.

About the Author


Travis Biglow

Pastor of Victory Empowerment Center. Regional Chaplain High Desert Regional Center Graduates Azusa Pacific University. Licensed General Contractor B. I am the married with one daughter, two grandsons and one step son.

10 responses to “Observations of Theology”

  1. mm Nick Martineau says:

    Love you Travis…and thankful for your perspective. I really appreciated hearing your thoughts about LA. I have often found the 30,000 foot view to be helpful but you reminded me that we can’t neglect the close personal view too. We need to get off the bus and make relationships…

  2. Jon Spellman says:

    Travis, it sounds like you are an advocate for a more ethnographic (like Sarah Pink) style of research than an observational one? You come to know people by living with and among them, not from a safe distance, behind glass… I agree. I think this incarnational approach is more consistent with what Jesus exemplified for us. He emptied himself of his eternity and stepped into human flesh…

    Thanks man!

  3. mm Brian Yost says:

    Thanks for your perspective. As I read about L.A., I was hoping you would give us your response. The view from a bus or train can make for good writing, but generally is more fiction than fact. I grew up in the Flint area, and when I was a kid many churches moved out of the city into the suburbs. Over the past 10-20 years many of these suburban churches began developing ministries to “reach” the city. Very few of these ministries have been effective. I think part of the ineffectiveness of these ministries relates to what you mentioned. Those from the outside try to make judgment calls without having a clue. They assume that everyone is poor, uneducated, has alcohol or drug dependencies, and needs to be ministered to. What they fail to see is that there are often great churches led by godly leaders working in neighborhoods full of hard-working people who are doing a much better job of addressing the real needs of the community than an outsider ever could.

  4. mm Dave Young says:

    I appreciate that you touched on a hugely significant issue that always gets raised was we look at theology. That is “Scripture”.
    It does seem that people can use theology, various hermeneutical approaches to theology to simply say almost anything with the ‘authority of that theology’. The problem is it might become void of biblical authority depending on what you think of the bible in the first place.

  5. Dawnel Volzke says:


    I love your passion and observations with this week’s reading. It is too easy for someone to ride on a bus through a new city and make assumptions based on first impressions. When we make judgements about people from brief interactions, we can’t possibly understand how to adequately minister to them.

    I also believe that many women are able to separate historic cultural ideals from Biblical truths, and therefore do not view theology through the same lens as some feminists. Like your relationship with your wife, my husband has never tried to dominate me. We have a partnership, and he respects my autonomy.

  6. Phillip Struckmeyer says:

    Travis unplugged! No holding back on this post. Love your LA perspective and push back. I didn’t read the feminist chapter so much so can’t speak to that hermeneutic lense but like David’s reply on being careful about not using contextual theology to shape scripture, yet understanding how it can better interface with different cultural contexts. Thanks for your honesty and reaction.

  7. mm Mary Pandiani says:

    Your observation of Briggs is fascinating to me as I didn’t find her “uppity” at all, more of realizing how much she had assumed yet did not know until she took the bus/train. I thought her words were a bit of confession of her arrogance. Yet, now in reading your response, I can see that there were still assumptions being made by her that did not necessarily reflect the reality of another’s experience in LA. I’m reminded of how valuable other voices are in our lives to help us see another perspective. It also makes me want to always be open to other voices, not necessarily that I will agree or change my own thought as a result, but that it will humble me in my assumptions and presuppositions.

    • Dawnel Volzke says:


      Great thoughts. The more we are open to listening to other’s views and to recognizing that our assumptions could be incorrect, the more likely we are to see a more truthful picture.

      • Jon spellman says:

        It’s interesting to me that for the author, a train and bus ride represented gritty ethnography. For Travis, you’d need to sit down at the table in the homes if the families, sleep on their couches, visit their markets, attend their schools before ethnography could even start! Perspective is EVERYTHING.

  8. Travis Biglow says:

    Los Angeles is a monster. You have to know how to live there. It is still filled with wonderful people and the Holy Spirit is there. “The city of Angels” not true! lol the city of anything you want to do!

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