For this commandment which I command you this day is not too hard for you, neither is it far off. It is not in heaven, that you should say, “Who will go up for us to heaven, and bring it to us, that we may hear it and do it?” Neither is it beyond the sea, that you should say, “Who will go over the sea for us, and bring it to us, that we may hear it and do it?” But the word is very near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart, so that you can do it. (Deut 30:11-14 RSV)
This summer, I have been blogging about the harm done by propagating misinterpretations of scripture. In most cases, the scripture passages in question have at least been tricky enough to open the door for such misinterpretation – although not enough to excuse it. Recent events at Charlottesville, just a few miles to the west of my Continue reading Plain Language is Difficult to Misinterpret, but Easy to Ignore
For a couple of weeks now, I have been preoccupied with the perception that the public discourse influences even believers toward stridency, rigidity, and lack of compassion. Oddly, at the same time, I have been hearing again and again in my mind’s ear the lyrics of a children’s hymn I learned to sing in Vacation Bible School: “Jesus loves the little Continue reading America First or Not my Problem
For God is not a God of confusion but of peace. (1 Cor 14:33 RSV)
Last week’s blog included the sentence: “Let the cacophony begin.” It has.
I have not intended to focus this blog on politics, but, like Moses’ experience with the burning bush, the current din of confusion in the political realm beckons me to turn aside to listen. When I do, I hear that a significant component of the confusion involves the mistaken identification of national interests in self-protection with Christian motivations. Continue reading Confusion: Rights or Love
And God said to Noah, “The end of all flesh is coming before me because the earth is full of violence (hamas) because of them. Now I am about to destroy them along with the earth. (Gen 6:13, my trans.)
The Priestly authors of portions of the Genesis narratives of the beginnings of the human race did not clearly elucidate their understanding of humanity’s responsibility for “subduing” the earth, but they did include statements that rule out any notion that this responsibility could include exploitation. In the Genesis 1 creation account, for example, Continue reading Hamas!
Political rhetoric this election cycle has called attention to the undercurrent of exclusionary sentiment flowing throughout the U.S. population. Events abroad surrounding the Syrian refugee crisis attest to the universal character of this sentiment. Everyone, even believers, it seems, wants to exclude someone from access to something and somewhere.
Continue reading Eager to Exclude
Christmas disturbs me this year. Usually, I hear in the Christmas story the announcement that the prophetic insight encapsulated in the phrase “Immanu-el (Hebrew, “God is with us”; Isa 7:14; Matt 1:23) has found ultimate expression in the birth of a child. Christmas usually reminds me that God wants communion with human beings, created in God’s image, to such a degree that God was willing come to us as an infant child. Christmas usually reminds me that we do not have to speculate about the character of the God, mysterious and majestic, who created the universe. Instead, God so desires to reveal
Continue reading Christmas Prophecy