Category Archives: deuteronomy/deuteronomism

Perpetual Poverty?

“…you always have the poor…”

(Mark 14:7; Matt 26:11; John 12:8)

The two most recent entries in this blog have examined how people have used poor biblical interpretation of, admittedly, difficult texts to justify and undergird racism and misogyny. This entry turns attention to the ways in which some have perverted a saying of Jesus – who elsewhere called the poor blessed and equated how one treats the poor with Continue reading Perpetual Poverty?

Grace: Transactional or Transformational?

Exod 2:24; Judg 2:16; Luke 17:12-19

This time of year means preparation for facing first year students. Most have never engaged in rigorous academic study of the Bible. They come to seminary as I came to my undergraduate religion major, innocently expecting that the Bible says what they have always thought it said and that serious study of it will only confirm what they Continue reading Grace: Transactional or Transformational?

Q&A: Intergenerational Guilt

Exod 20:5-6; Deut 5:9-10

A reader and long-time friend emailed me this week with a question concerning the statement in the Decalog that God “visits the iniquities of the fathers on the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate [God]” (Exod 20:5; Deut 5:9; my translation; cf. also Exod 34:6-7; Deut 7:9-10; Jer 32:18; and Ps 105:8=1 Chron 16:15).  On its face, this Continue reading Q&A: Intergenerational Guilt

Poor Happens

And His disciples asked Him, saying, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he should be born blind?” (John 9:2 NAS)

Poverty is not (proof of) sin.  Poverty is not a character flaw.  Poverty happens to people.

John’s Gospel records an episode in Jesus’ ministry in which his disciples revealed their sadly respectable conventionality.  Two prominent strands of theological tradition running throughout the Old Testament converged in their question concerning the identity of the sinner responsible for an unfortunate man’s blindness.

Continue reading Poor Happens