Category Archives: Uncategorized

Seeing Only What We Expect to See

Luke 24:13-35

According to the Revised Common Lectionary, the Gospel reading for this Sunday, April 30, 2017, is the story of the encounter between two of Jesus’ disciples and the risen Lord on the road to Emmaus, some seven miles outside Jerusalem. Only Luke tells this story, suggesting that he gathered it along with other information during his own research (cf. Continue reading Seeing Only What We Expect to See

Spring Break

I will be taking a break from blogging for a couple of weeks to tend to some pressing professional and personal concerns.  Look for something new the week of March 20.

Until then, keep following Jesus.

Go to Shiloh (Jer 7:12)

“Do not trust deceptive words, saying ‘The temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord are these [stones]’.”  Jer 7:4, my translation

Sometime in the outgoing seventh century BCE, God sent Jeremiah to the temple in Jerusalem to warn the Judeans that, unless they changed their behavior, God would unleash the Babylonians to conquer. The venue for Jeremiah’s message proved to be as significant as the words themselves. Early in the sermon Jeremiah apparently quoted a Continue reading Go to Shiloh (Jer 7:12)

The Series Continues with “Angels We Have Heard on High”

As Ellen explains:

“On the fourth day of Christmas, my family sang to theee… Continue reading The Series Continues with “Angels We Have Heard on High”

Twelve “Moments Musicaux” for Christmas

My (professional singer) daughter was home this past weekend armed with the intention of reviving (and recording) a family Christmas tradition.  With her permission, I will sharing twelve Moments Musicaux over the next several days in the place of a standard blog entry. (The description of this blog includes music, after all).  You will hear and see my wife, Continue reading Twelve “Moments Musicaux” for Christmas

Thanksgiving Break

The end of the semester rushes up to meet me; the annual meeting of the Society of Biblical Literature with its editorial board meetings and panel presentations begins at the end of this week; Thanksgiving will be waiting as soon as I return.  You will forgive me, I trust, if I take a couple of weeks off from blogging.

Instead, I have just posted in the “Sermons and Lectures” section recordings of the first two of five sessions I led in October on the topic of “Israel’s Ancestral Narratives” at First Presbyterian Church here in Richmond.  Have a listen. I will post sessions three through five next week.

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone!  If you will be travelling, please take extra precautions on the highways.  Rest well before setting out, stop frequently to refresh, and drive defensively.

“Like a Thief in the Night” 1 Thess 5:2

1 Thess 5:2

“The sky is falling! The sky is falling!” – Chicken Little

Paul wrote his first letter to the church in Thessalonica, which scholars date to the early 50’s CE making it probably the oldest document in the New Testament, largely to send greetings and encouragement, but also to assuage a fear that had arisen in the church.  The New Testament provides ample evidence that the early church eagerly anticipated the Continue reading “Like a Thief in the Night” 1 Thess 5:2

Sticks and Stones

We teach children the adage, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me,” to equip them against hateful and harmful things that people say. The saying means to remind people – the adults passing it on and the children learning it – that what people say about us does not necessarily have anything to do with who we actually are. Continue reading Sticks and Stones

Because he could

Gen 32:28

Translating from one language to another always involves imprecision and a degree of informed speculation.  Such is especially the case with dead languages since the translator cannot have access to a native speaker for advice.  One passage in Genesis has long intrigued me because the almost universally accepted translation does not seem to fit the Continue reading Because he could

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?