The Rains

Sous la pluie: La mère et les enfants by Théophile Alexandre Steinlen

I want to share what happened to me a few weeks ago. Here in northern California, we’ve had an extremely wet winter; storms have been “on” more than they’ve been “off.” In an evening of respite, while expectant clouds painted the night sky, I visited the old town grocery store to fetch my daily bread. As I passed by, I noticed what appeared to be a homeless man shuffling through shopping carts by the entrance. If he was homeless, I mused, he might appreciate a meal. It was too late for the store to serve anything warm, so I fetched … Continue reading “The Rains”

Cross-Generational relationships

So Elijah went from there and found Elisha son of Shaphat. He was plowing with twelve yoke of oxen, and he himself was driving the twelfth pair. Elijah went up to him and threw his cloak around him. Elisha then left his oxen and ran after Elijah. “Let me kiss my father and mother goodbye,” he said, “and then I will come with you.” “Go back,” Elijah replied. “What have I done to you?” So Elisha left him and went back. He took his yoke of oxen and slaughtered them. He burned the plowing equipment to cook the meat and … Continue reading “Cross-Generational relationships”

Rules for Me, Not for Thee

The Bible talks a great deal about brothers and neighbors. We must love our neighbor as ourselves, reconcile with our brother before we present our offerings to God, and not bear false witness against our neighbor. I wish now to discuss protocol towards those who are not our brothers or neighbors. Just as the Good Samaritan was a neighbor, the Pharisee and Levite were not. The world is full of people who cannot care for us, for whom we cannot set aside time. More specifically, though, I’d like to check our stance towards unbelievers, predominantly through the lens of the … Continue reading “Rules for Me, Not for Thee”

Wrestling with 2 Samuel Chapter 21

Several months ago I was speaking with someone (whom I can’t seem to remember!) about difficult passages in scripture. One passage that stuck out as something to spend more time wrestling with was the story in 2 Samuel 21 where David hands over the sons of Saul whom the Gibeonites kill. In this article I do not intend to write a definitive answer to those who wrestle with this passage; rather I wanted to present some thoughts I have had through both reading and conversation with the passage. Now there was a famine in the days of David for three … Continue reading “Wrestling with 2 Samuel Chapter 21”

Unity: God or the Church?

Unity in the church is a very important notion, especially now. It’s the champion concept of nondenominational churches, and particularly applicable to the fragmented sects of Protestantism. Even so, I consider it one of the most misused and abused concepts in the faith. I’d like to bring one case in point to the forefront. I cannot know for certain the deepest meanings of the words of Jesus in John 17, but brash interpretations by many warrant confrontation. Jesus says in John 17:11 “[T]hat they may be one, even as we are one.” “Ah,” says the common reader, “He must be … Continue reading “Unity: God or the Church?”

Word and Bread and Flesh and Blood

Introduction The Bread of Life Discourse is one of Jesus’ most famous sermons. In John 6, Jesus teaches that He is the bread who comes down from heaven (John 6:33); that He will give us His flesh to eat (John 6:51); and that, unless we “eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood,” we have no life in us (John 6:53). Despite its notorious obscurity, and despite countless quarrels over its proper interpretation, the categories for understanding Christ’s words are plainly supplied by His invocation of Isaiah 54:13: that “they will all be taught of God” … Continue reading “Word and Bread and Flesh and Blood”

A History of Interpreting Genesis 6:1-4 (Part II)

נָשִׁ֔ים מִכֹּ֖ל אֲשֶׁ֥ר בָּחָֽרוּ׃ וַיֹּ֣אמֶר יְהֹוָ֗ה לֹֽא־יָד֨וֹן רוּחִ֤י בָֽאָדָם֙ לְעֹלָ֔ם בְּשַׁגַּ֖ם ה֣וּא בָשָׂ֑ר וְהָי֣וּ יָמָ֔יו מֵאָ֥ה וְעֶשְׂרִ֖ים שָׁנָֽה׃ הַנְּפִלִ֞ים הָי֣וּ בָאָ֘רֶץ֮ בַּיָּמִ֣ים הָהֵם֒ וְגַ֣ם אַֽחֲרֵי־כֵ֗ן אֲשֶׁ֨ר יָבֹ֜אוּ בְּנֵ֤י הָֽאֱלֹהִים֙ אֶל־בְּנ֣וֹת הָֽאָדָ֔ם וְיָלְד֖וּ לָהֶ֑ם הֵ֧מָּה הַגִּבֹּרִ֛ים אֲשֶׁ֥ר מֵעוֹלָ֖ם אַנְשֵׁ֥י הַשֵּֽׁם׃ Genesis 6:1-4 The Scholastics The euhemeristic stance of the church fathers prevailed in the medieval Latin West, where BW was virtually lost. [1] Even so, Franklin Harkins has shown that “Watchers traditions… found their way into a number of significant medieval scholastic texts,” often only to refute the angelic reading. [2] In the Glossa ordinaria (1080-1130), the great compendium of patristic … Continue reading “A History of Interpreting Genesis 6:1-4 (Part II)”

Anti-Gossip

Gossip is one of those sins that is remarkably evasive and, in my experience, seldom taken seriously. Gossip is difficult to describe and easy to categorize away, making it easier and easier for Christians to fall into the habit of gossip. For instance, most would agree that you are not gossiping when you discuss the weakest points of a candidate with other interviewers in a hiring process. In fact, addressing the weak points can help determine if the role is good for the candidate and open up areas for further improvement. On the other side, it is fairly obvious one … Continue reading “Anti-Gossip”