Who Am I?
Well, my name is Derek Zaglul Rishmawy. I’m a new Ph.D. student at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School attempting to study Systematic Theology. I’m the happy husband of the lovely McKenna. I’m also a former college pastor, which means I still think ministry thoughts and care too much about pop culture things. Beyond that I am an admitted cliche: glasses, too many books, coffee, craft beer, facial hair, and a blog that takes too much of my time. I’m a staff writer for Christ and Pop Culture, contributor for The Gospel Coalition, and sometimes sites like Mere Orthodoxy & Christianity Today let me say things. I also co-host a podcast called Mere Fidelity.
Most importantly, Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so. I’ve been taught that since I was a kid. I think it’s going to take the rest of my life to figure out what that means.
The title is an indicator of both my spiritual reality and theological outlook. Also, of the fact that I add “ish” to the end of a lot of words–more than I should really. The spiritual reality is that, while I’ve been saved in Christ through that ridiculous Gospel of grace and am even now being indwelled by the Holy Spirit of God, I am still in serious need of reformation–I am a work in progress. Much grace has been given–more will be needed. This is evident in my writing.
Theologically I’ve become increasingly rooted in the Reformed tradition. I was drawn to this little patch of Christian thought by a few guys: Kevin Vanhoozer, Alvin Plantinga, Tim Keller, and N.T. Wright. They introduced me to their buddy, John Calvin. We’ve been friends ever since. This hasn’t always been the case, though, which means I’m still fairly new to this wing of things. I am not knee-jerk Reformed, nor an expert in the tradition. Consider me an increasingly avid novice. Still, I know that the Christian tradition is a broad and deep one so I try to read outside of what I’ve come to think of as my theological home.
C.S. Lewis has a wonderful passage in Mere Christianity about this. He talks about ‘Mere Christianity’ of the sort he is writing about as a hallway that leads into many doors, the doors of actual church communions and traditions. It’s in the rooms where real Christianity happens. I’ve recently found my room to be the Reformation tradition, and, for the time, a Presbyterian Church. I do so because I believe both in its adherence to central Orthodox tenets as well as a growing appreciation for its distinctives. Still, I hope to take the attitude Lewis speaks of when he writes:
When you have reached your own room, be kind to those who have chosen different doors and to those who are still in the hall. If they are wrong they need your prayers all the more; and if they are your enemies, then you are under orders to pray for them. That is one of the rooms common to the whole house.
In that spirit, (and hopefully in the Spirit), I’d like this blog to embody some of the best features of the tradition (commitment to the Scriptures, the Gospel, scholarship, and fidelity to historic orthodoxy), while avoiding some of the pitfalls (theological pride, over-fondness for polemics, stuffiness.) One of my Methodist buddies calls me his “friendly Calvinist” friend. I’ll try to live up that. Even though, for the record, I prefer ‘Reformed.’
Now, as for the blog itself, I don’t know what to say beyond the fact that it’s a blog. You will find bloggish things here. Beyond that it is my blog. This means it will primarily consist in my various explorations, meditations, proclamations, observations, and yes, at times, exhortations on myriad subjects. Given my interests, these might include things like: Jesus, cultural commentary, the Gospel, biblical studies, systematic theology, philosophy, music, books, other blogs, and so forth.
One particular conviction I have is that doctrine matters; the drama of everyday life is the stuff of doctrine. It is only in knowing that Jesus Christ, the eternal Son, has humbled himself and died for my sins and the sins of my wife and (future) children that I am motivated to humble myself and “die” for their sakes in the way I treat them in my day-to-day life. It is only because I know that in Jesus Christ, God has, at far greater cost, forgiven me my sins that I can forgive my mother, my father, my husband or wife and not let bitterness poison our relationship. It is only because I know that God himself has come to dwell within me through the Holy Spirit, that I have the strength and confidence to go to my job and live a life of Christian witness before the watching world. Basically, it is only because of the great doctrines of the faith such as Trinity and Atonement that I can truly live in the midst of my “real life.” Given this, I hope that any explorations of Christian doctrine or scripture that I engage in here will not be purely academic, or speculative, but rather, have a spiritual and practical end-goal.
I am also somewhat of a natural resourcer. By that I mean that if I can get you to read or hear something that’s been of benefit to me, I will pass it on. So, I will often be linking other sites, books, and possibly sermons for you to enjoy.
Finally, Reformedish is my own personal blog. The views expressed here by me or by an affiliate do not necessarily reflect the opinions and views of the company I work for, my church, or the events and programs I’m involved in. Please don’t blame them for my silliness.