Religion

What Place Has History in the O.T. – Tracking the Debate Through Time

More notes from my O.T. History Class. This was a short outline for a presentation. This was the rough draft for my final project.

In 1651 Thomas Hobbes, in chapter 33 of Leviathan, marshaled a battery of passages such as Deut 34:6 (“no man knoweth of his sepulchre to this day,” implying an author living long after Moses’ death); Gen 12:6 (“and the Canaanite was then in the land,” implying an author living in a time when the Canaanite was no longer in the land); and Num 21:14 (referring to a previous book of Moses’ deeds), and concluded that none of these could be by Moses.

Hobbes thus begins by establishing that we cannot infallibly know another’s personal word to be divine revelation:

When God speaketh to man, it must be either immediately or by mediation of another man, to whom He had formerly spoken by Himself immediately. How God speaketh to a man immediately may be understood by those well enough to whom He hath so spoken; but how the same should be understood by another is hard, if not impossible, to know. For if a man pretend to me that God hath spoken to him supernaturally, and immediately, and I make doubt of it, I cannot easily perceive what argument he can produce to oblige me to believe it.

To Hobbes, it is manifest that none can know they are God’s word (though all true Christians believe it) but those to whom God Himself hath revealed it supernaturally. And therefore The question truly stated is: by what authority they are made law?

There is an enormous amount of biblical scholarship in this third part. However, once Hobbes’s initial argument is accepted (that no-one can know for sure anyone else’s divine revelation) his conclusion (the religious power is subordinate to the civil) follows from his logic. The very extensive discussions of the chapter were probably necessary for its time. The need (as Hobbes saw it) for the civil sovereign to be supreme arose partly from the many sects that arose around the civil war, and to quash the Pope of Rome’s challenge, to which Hobbes devotes an extensive section.

Hans W. Frei:

Long before the thought of ‘history of salvation’ became apart of historiography or theological inquiry the idea by those like Augustine was that the real world was formed by the sequences of biblical stories this covered creation to the final consumption that was to come, this included 1) man’s natural environment and 2) man’s secondary environment which is provided by himself (history or culture)

Three elements to traditional realistic interpretation of biblical stories:

Read Literal:

“The true historical reference of a story was a direct and natural concomitant of its making literal sense”

An event at this level in regards to being evidence has the best chance of becoming a reliable historical report

In a single world of one temporal sequence, there must in principle be one cumulative story to depict it

“the several biblical stories narrating sequential segments in time must fit together into one narrative.”

He sees figuration and typology as a natural extension of literal interpretation:

“Figuration was at once a literary and historical procedure, an interpretation of stories and their meanings by weaving them together into a common narrative referring to a single history and its patterns of meaning”

Must in principle embrace the experience of any present age or reader:

It is the reader’s duty to fit themselves into that world and they do this through figural interpretation

“He was to to see his disposition, his actions, and passions, the shape of his own life as well as that of his era’s events as figures of that storied world.”

His point was that such experiences, events, concepts were all ranged figurally into the smaller as well as the overarching story.  Biblical interpretation becomes an imperative need, but its direction was that of incorporating extra-biblical thought, experience, and reality into one real world detailed and made accessible by the biblical story – not the reverse.

Johannes Cocceius and Johann Albrecht Bengel:

“Tried to locate the events of their day vis a vis the narrative framework of biblical story and history, and to locate by means of biblical sayings the present stage of the actual events we experience and predict future stages as well as the end of actual history”

This was a sign of the breaking of literal meaning of the biblical narratives and the reference to actual events.  The narratives no longer provided an access to the events, they could now only verify them.

“Not only did an enormous amount of inquiry into factual truth (or falsity) of the biblical stories develop, but an intense concentration as well on their meaning and religious significance, whether factual or of some other sort”

Question becomes, Do the stories and whatever concepts may be drawn from them describe what we apprehended as the real world? Do they fit a more general framework of meaning than that of a single story?

Figural Reading:

1) Verbal or literal sense was now equated with the single meaning of statements, a logical and grammatical rule prevalent everywhere so that figural reading of the Bible seemed a senseless exception to it

2) The very attempt to read unity out of (or into) the Bible now appeared different from, if not incompatible with, the self-confinement of literal reading to specific texts

-no longer a persuasive instrument for unifying the canon

Realistic Reading:

– consists of matching the written description against the reconstruction of the probable historical sequence to which it referred.

– not only about history but also about specific historical sequences, so that they were not concerned with the unity of the canon

18th Century England:

– Relationship between revelation and theology and the problems in this concept are key

1) Rationality or credibility of the very idea of historical revelation

“Or is what is called revelation nothing more than a specific instantiation of what God had made known everywhere and all along, concerning truth and human happiness?”

“appeal to ‘mystery’ of revelation anything other than an admission that the idea itself is unintelligible, a token of that unwarranted intrusion of imagination or, worse yet, sheer ignorant superstition into matters religious which the new intellectual rigor must repel?”

2) How likely is it that such a thing has taken place?

“How authoritative, in short, how well attested are biblical accounts, especially those of miracles, since the natural presumption in a ‘scientific age’ is obviously against them?”

Debate was:

1) General credibility of miracles in a physical and historical world which was increasingly believed to be governed in accordance with natural law, conceived either prescriptively or descriptively

2) Credibility of the specific miracle accounts of the Bible, especially the NT including the claims to the fulfillment of prophecy

The plausibility of miracles both positive and negative was argued through external and independent evidence (i.e. geological evidence to explain a catastrophe over a large part of the earth for the Flood

18th Century Germany:

How and with the aid of what authority one settles the principles of biblical interpretation?

Reformation focused questions on authority and unity, Protestant questions on the detailing of the principles of textual interpretation

“The consequence of unity and universality in method of interpretation ensured unity of textual meaning also.”

The belief of a layered text such as literal, typological, spiritual, etc. was gone

Late 18th century with the help of Deism things changed,

“From now on, the harmony of historical fact, literal sense, and religious truth will at best have to be demonstrated; at worst, some explanation of the religious truth of the fact-like description will have to be given in the face of a negative verdict on its factual accuracy or veracity”

Unlike the external argument of the English the Germans was almost exclusively internal, they took a literary-historical approach

In his The Concept of Biblical Theology, Barr devotes a chapter to ‘story’ in which he notes that from the 1960s onwards he and others and others stressed the importance of story as a category in Old Testament studies. Story in this context is deliberately set against history, partly as a reaction to the emphasis on the acts of God in the Biblical Theology Movement (BTM). Story embraces material that is historical as well as that which includes myth and legend, and above all divine speech. Story focuses attention on the beginning, the progression and the culmination as more important than the historical realities behind the text. Barr notes that G. Ernest Wright and others in the BTM had already indicated the importance of story in biblical theology but he asserts that they made little of the actual story character of the Bible so that story functioned in their works more as an idea

Barr continues to see great value in approaching the Bible as story, as long as we don’t set this against historical criticism.

“That the story is a totality and to be read as such would seem to agree with the ‘holistic’ emphasis of many literary and canonical tendencies of today. But the fact that it is a totality does not mean that it has to be swallowed whole, uncritically.”

Barr,  defends taking the whole of the Bible as story. Making Genesis the starting point enables us to avoid past mistakes such as isolating the exodus from its broader narrative context. A story approach also connects with current understands of communal and personal identity.

Childs is less positive towards story and biblical theology than Barr. He discusses narrative under literary approaches to biblical theology. His major concern with narrative is that,

“The threat lies in divorcing the Bible when seen as literature from its theological reality to which scripture bears witness.”

Barr, by comparison, finds a story approach to the Bible helpful theologically in that it alerts us to the Bible as the raw data of theological reflection.

Brevard Childs levels this criticism against narrative approaches to biblical theology. In his Biblical Theology Childs includes narrative theology under ‘Literary Approaches to Biblical Theology. Referring to Barr and Frei, he says that

“initially the appeal to the subject matter of the Bible as ‘story’ served to shift the focus away from the perplexing problems of historical referentiality . . .”

Later he criticises this narrative approach because it also sidesteps theological issues: ‘many modern “narrative theologies” seek to avoid all dogmatic issues in the study of the Bible and seek ‘to render reality’ only by means of retelling the story.’  The problem can be seen, notes Childs, by the fact that liberals and conservatives agree on the centrality of narrative, but disagree on the nature of the Biblical story. Again he notes that ‘it has become increasingly evident that narrative theology, as often practised can also propagate a fully secular, non-theological reading of the Bible. The threat lies in divorcing the Bible when seen as literature from its theological reality to which scripture bears witness.

James Barr notes a shift in the paradigm of Biblical theology that moves from ‘revelation in history’ as the primary category to a ‘literary mode of reading.’ Story is then qualified in a literary way: narrative is a literary structure that creates a symbolic world. Or to put it another way, story is qualified in a linguistic way: the Bible offers a merely linguistically constructed narrative world. In this paradigm the historical and theological dimensions of the Biblical story are muted at best.

N.T. Wright:

In fact, the theological authority of the biblical story is tied up with its overarching narrative form. He offers a rich metaphor to explicate this authority. Imagine that a Shakespearian play is discovered for the first time but most of the fifth act is missing. The decision to stage the play is made. The first four acts and the remnant of the fifth act are given to well-trained and experienced Shakespearian actors who immerse themselves both in the first part of the play and in the culture and time of Shakespeare. They are told to work out the concluding fifth act for themselves.

This conclusion must be both consistent and innovative. It must be consistent with the first part of the play. The actors must immerse themselves in full sympathy in the unfinished drama. The first four acts would contain its own cumulative forward movement that would demand that the play be concluded in a way consistent and fitting with that impetus. Yet an appropriate conclusion would not mean a simple repetition or imitation of the earlier acts. The actors would carry forward the logic of the play in a creative improvisation. Such an improvisation would be an authentic conclusion if it were coherent with the earlier acts.

This metaphor provides a specific analogy for how the biblical story might function authoritatively to shape the life of the believing community. Wright sees the biblical story as consisting of four acts – creation, fall, Israel, Jesus – plus the first scene of the fifth act that narrates the beginning of the church’s mission. Furthermore this fifth act offers hints at how the play is to end. Thus the church’s life is lived out consistent with the forward impetus of the first acts and moving toward and anticipating the intended conclusion. The first scene of act five, the church’s story, begins to draw out and implement the significance of the first four acts, especially act four. The church continues today to do the same in fresh and creative ways in new cultural situations. This requires a patient examination and thorough immersion in what act four is all about, how act four is to be understood in light of acts one through three, and how the first scene of act five faithfully carries forward act four.

Theological interpretation will be as important as the literary or historical. Theology is concerned with claims about God embodied in a worldview – whether there is a God, his relation to the world, and whether or not he is acting to set the world right. The theological beliefs of the Biblical authors and its modern interpreters will be essential to Biblical scholarship: ‘ .  . . ‘theology’ highlights what we might call the god-dimension of a worldview. . . . As such it is a non- negotiable part of the study of literature and history, and hence of New Testament studies.’

The recovery of the Bible as one controlling story is important for Wright because that story provides the true worldview context for Biblical scholarship, allowing all dimensions of the Biblical text—theological, literary, and historical—to find full expression.

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Exodus 34 – Review from O.T. Theology Class

These were some interesting tidbits I pulled from a study on Exodus 34. Thought I would share.

Stuart, Douglas K. Exodus. The New American commentary, v. 2. Nashville, Tenn: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 2006.

34:1 – Moses supplying the tablets provides some assumptions 1) all new covenants would require human initiation “chisel out” in the imperative form could refer to Israel having to start the process of restoration. 2) By having Israel supply the tablets it is a physical reminder to them that it wont be so easy.

34;2 – The command of first thing in the morning refers to the belief that what one person does first thing in the morning is the most important.

34:3 – When the NIV refers to “in front of the mountain” should be translated as toward/in the vicinity of the mountain.”

34:4 How did the words get on the tablets? 1 Kings 5:18 suggests that even much later the Israelites were not skilled or renowned stone cutters.  However, the text makes no mention of this.

34:5 – Moses is able to perceive that a real personal being had come to him and not just in a concept, or a feeling.  As before he employed a cloud as the visible portion of his manifestation.  Yahweh’s self proclamation allows for Moses to know that Yahweh would be with him and Israel when they left Mt. Sinai.

34:6 – This delayed response  (the fulfillment of the promise made by God in 33:19 has been delayed until now) is one of the techniques of Moses’ narrative style.  Hebrew word hesed translated as love by the NIV connotes a long term, reliable loyalty of one member of a covenant relationship to another.

34:7 – God lets Israel know that they can not think that they would not be punished because He already punished an earlier generation.

34:29 – God’s presence was obviously there if Moses’ face was obviously reflecting it.  This shows that God had not withdrawn himself from Israel as He was still with Israel’s mediator.  W.H Propp argued that Moses’ face was disfigured and although it didn’t hurt Moses it was not pleasant to look at.  Another link has been placed in a link between the words ‘horns’ and ‘rays’ giving an allusion to the idolatry of the golden bull in Ch. 32.

34:30 – Hebrew verb qrn is not well understood, so there is an argument between the translation of ‘rays,’  ‘horns,’ or ‘radiant.’  The people understood that Moses had been with and was accepted by the God they needed to fear.  This answered their question as to where Moses went in verse 1.

34:31 – Moses ‘spoke to them’ indicates that he told Aaron and the others where he had been.  Aaron is mentioned and comes to Moses as well as the other leaders of the people indicates that they are confirming Moses leadership over them.

34:33-35 – There is no connection between the veil on Moses’ face and the veil of the Tabernacle.  The veil of the Tabernacle blocks out all visibility whereas Moses could see out and the veil lowered the intensity of his encounter with God.

The Akedah – Comparison Between NRSV and Genesis Rabbah

Here are some notes from my Old Testament Theology class last year. I found the words of the Genesis Rabbah to be very compelling and at times it allowed for some great discussion on translating text. Enjoy.

The chapter begins with ‘and it came to pass’ where the NRSV simply begins at ‘after these things’.  The JPS ads in ‘some time afterward.’  The ‘things’ are misgivings or second thoughts of Abraham (LV:IV)  It would be these thoughts that would bring Abraham to his limit.

Verse one has two key words ‘try’ and test’.  The words ‘banner’ and ‘test’ have the same consonants and ‘truth’ and ‘validate’ accompany this.  God’s test for Abraham was one of justice and was not off the cuff.  The author is going to focus on what man does as his centre point for the exegesis.

Psalm 11:5 states that God tests the righteous and in Deut. 6:16 says that no one is to test the Lord.  The conclusion made is that the testing of Abraham represents Israel and because of this places Israel in its own history as strong and holy based upon the conclusions made of Abraham.

Verse two shares a linking between the Moriah and the Temple (LV:VII:2).  ‘Moriah and ‘awe’ share the same consonants and Moriah can be explained as the place where awe enters the world (i.e. The Temple) There is also a strong linking between the binding and the consecration with the temple. The NRSV says that God will show Abraham the mountain whereas in this text Abraham will be told which mountain to go to (LV:VII:4).  The conversation between God and Abraham provides a stronger active God figure in the lives of his people.

Why does Abraham saddle his own ass in verse three when he has two servants with him?  The answer provided is that love disrupts the natural order (LV:VIII).  This idea can be connected back to verse one as it relates back to Abraham as being strong, humble and worthy of this test.

Verse four has Abraham ‘lifting his eyes up’ instead of ‘looking up’  as well as in verse 13 (NRSV).  The strong imagery found in three days deals with the fulfillment of prophecy in the scriptures and the redemption of Israel.

Gen. 22:6 “So they went both of them together,”  It sounds very much like they both knew what was to happen. They went together up the hill in knowledge and acceptance (LVI:III:3) Verse five also states that both will come back down from worshipping.

Verse 6 and 8 have ‘walked on together’ as the ending to the conversation.  Again, an illusion to the idea that both Issac and Abraham know what is to happen.

Verse 1 and 11 have Abraham answering God’s call in the same way, “Here I am”.  This is interesting because one is before the test and the other is after.  It shows that Abraham’s trust in God doesn’t falter.

Why is the name “the Lord will provide” in the future tense in verse 14?  The author places the future tense in conjunction with the future history of the Temple.

Verses 17 and 18 give a double blessing to both the father and the son.  The use of indeed bless is the Hebrew verb written twice and this is what indicates the double blessing.  There is a switch from multiply in this text and numerous in the NRSV.

Verse Genesis Rabbah NRSV/JPS
1 And it cam to pass… (add)
2  (Genesis Rabbah has this as verse three at some points?) Take I Pray you… I shall tell you Take your son …I shall show you
3 And…saddled his ass…and arose and went to… God had told him So…saddled his donkey…set out…God shown
4 Lifted his eyes Looked up
5 come again to you We will come back to you
6 So they went both of them together walked on together
8 God will provide himself the lamb God himself will provide
9 God had told him God had shown
10 slay his son kill his son
12 Seeing you have not Since you have not
13 Lifted his eyes Looked up
14 Called the name of the place called that place
16 done this thing done this
17 multiply your descendants offspring as numerous
18 earth bless themselves earth gain blessing
19 dwelt at lived at
20 And it cam to pass… (add) Behold (add) Now…
22

Cocktail Party Effect and Jr. High Students Part 2

Introductory Research

“One of the most striking facts about our ears is that we have two of them—

and yet we hear one acoustic world; only one voice per speaker”(Cherry, 1953 pp. 975-979 & Arons, 1992)

Much of the early work in this area can be traced to problems faced by air traffic controllers in the early 1950’s. At that time, controllers received messages from pilots over loudspeakers in the control tower. Hearing the intermixed voices of many pilots over a single loudspeaker made the controller ’s task very difficult.

This concerns the problem of following only one conversation while many other conversations are going on around us. Cherry studied “shadowing tasks to study this problem, which involve playing two different auditory messages to a participant’s left and right ears and instructing them to attend to only one. The participant must then shadow this attended message” (Arons, 1992)

Cherry found that very little information about the unattended message was obtained by his participants: “physical characteristics were detected but semantic characteristics were not. Cherry therefore concluded that unattended auditory information receives very little processing and that we use physical differences between messages to select which one we attend to”(Arons, 1992).

Jr. High Research

In my two years working with jr. high students I have been able to make some correlations between the separation of two voices in the cocktail party effect and the technological savvy of this age group. Instead of being able to pull out different conversations they can multi-task among technological devices. The ability to text message and keep up a conversation, or listen to a lesson. Even though they are focused on a cell phone they are still able to pull out the importance of the conversation going on around them. I have seen that they are able to switch between devices easily because they are different means. Just as Cherry pointed out that different tones are easier to switch between so to are the different functions and screens that the jr. high students transfer between each and every day. Foehr’s 2006 thesis, Media multitasking among American youth: Prevalence, pairings and predictors, explores trends in the relatively newly researched phenomenon of media multitasking among American youth. The premise of the study described here is that the way young people use media is changing dramatically. New technologies, such as the computer and handheld devices (e.g., personal data assistants, or PDAs), appear to foster the behavior pattern of constantly switching between such activities as instant messaging (IM), emailing, playing a video game, ordering a book online, or watching the news on television. The phenomenon of engaging in more than one media activity at a time “is a common occurrence” (Foehr, 2006a); in 2005, a Kaiser Family Foundation (Foehr, 2006a) report showed an increase in media multitasking: 26% of media time is spent on multiple media, up from 16% of media time in 1999.

Switching attention from one task to another, the toggling action, occurs right behind the forehead called Brodmann’s Area 10 in the brain’s anterior prefrontal cortex, “’The most anterior part allows you to leave something when it’s incomplete and return to the same place and continue from there.’ This gives us a ‘form of multitasking,’ he says, though it’s actually sequential processing. Because the prefrontal cortex is one of the last regions of the brain to mature and one of the first to decline with aging, young children do not multitask well, and neither do most adults over 60” (Wallis, 2006).

Even Thor Owns an iPod

This is a comic I purchased recently and I find it completely erroneous. This is Thor an Asgardian God of Thunder listening to an iPod. Yes, they are everywhere evidently. However the message the illustrator, Marko Djurdjevic portrays is epic. We have here the image of a god that is leaving his people, leaving the world he knows and entering into a new one. However, this is not what Paul has in mind. God doesnʼt leave us in our suffering. God joins us in our suffering, he yells right beside us as it is evident by his actions on the cross. Our sufferings bring us solidarity with Christ. To be in Christ, then, is to possess what is often spoke of as full salvation: everything necessary to our past, present, future and eternal welfare has been secured for us by the action of God in Christ and is stored up in Christ for us to share and enjoy. But, it is not only benefits and blessings that are in Christ; we are in Him ourselves.

Jurgen Moltmann and many others that continued his theological thoughts within the Emergent Church have adapted what they call a hope filled eschatology. Meaning it was good news when Jesus came the first time, and it will be good news when he comes again. Moltmann echos Paulʼs hope in his greeting when he wrote about Auschwitz.

“…Like the cross of Christ, even Auschwitz is in God himself. Even Auschwitz is taken up into the grief of the father, the surrender of the Son and the power of the Spirit… As Paul says in 1 Cor. 15, only with the resurrection of the dead, the murdered and the gassed, only with the healing of those in despair who bear lifelong wounds, only with the abolition of all rule and authority, only with the annihilation of death will the Son hand over the kingdom to the father. Then God will turn his sorrow into eternal joy… God in Auschwitz and Auschwitz in the crucified God – that is the basis for a real hope which both embraces and overcomes the world, and the ground for a love which is stronger than death and can sustain death.”

1 Cor. 15 from The Message says this,

“If corpses canʼt be raised, then Christ wasnʼt, because he was indeed dead. And if Christ werenʼt raised, then all youʼre doing is wandering about in the dark, as lost as ever. Itʼs even worse for those who died hoping in Christ and resurrection, because theyʼre already in their graves. If all we get out out of Christ is a little inspiration for a few short years, weʼre a pretty sorry lot. But, the truth is that Christ has been raised up, the first in a long legacy of those who are going to leave the cemeteries.”

The hope of the resurrection sees a future for those who have past, and those that are living in the present can gain courage for the future. It is because of this abundant hope of overcoming death, our little hope for the future, better times can strength, and do not fall victim to doubt and cynicism. In the midst of a culture filled with anxiety and doubt, we hope and do not give ourselves up to despair.

Notes From the Field – Part 1d

Session 4 – Tom Davis

  • Children’s HopeChest
  • Author of Fields of the Fatherless and Red Letters
  • James 1:27
    • 27Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.
      • God has a heart and a passion for the poor
      • There are over 200 verses about the “fatherless”
      • If this is such a predominant characteristic in God, than why do we as little Christ’s struggle with such awkwardness in the presence of the fatherless
  • Those in the church spend a lot of time talking about what we are saved from, but what about doing what we are saved for
  • We see our lives through various lenses
    • These are our experiences
    • What are God’s lenses?
      • Does God like what he sees when he “wakes” up every morning?
  • For instance, there is only a five dollar difference between life and death when it comes to maleria
  • Amos Chapter Five talks about what has gone wrong in the world
    • Amos 5:21-24
      • 21 “I hate, I despise your feasts, and I take no delight in your solemn assemblies. 22 Even though you offer me your burnt offerings and grain offerings, I will not accept them; and the peace offerings of your fattened animals, I will not look upon them. 23Take away from me the noise of your songs; to the melody of your harps I will not listen. 24But let justice roll down  like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.
        • God wants Justice and Fairness in the world
  • “One of the easiest places to hide from God is in religion”
    • We become luke-warm, comfortable, forgettable Christians
    • It becomes all about me, and not about God and His will
    • God is to be given the best, not the easiest
  • Edmond Burke quote – In the book Red Letters
    • “the definition of evil in the world is when good men and women see injustice and do nothing.”
  • Luke 10:25
    • The Parable of the Good Samaritan

25 And behold, a lawyer stood up to put him to the test, saying, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” 26He said to him, “What is written in the Law? How do you read it?” 27And he answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.” 28And he said to him, “You have answered correctly; do this, and you will live.” 29But he, desiring to justify himself, said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” 30Jesus replied, “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he fell among robbers, who stripped him and beat him and departed, leaving him half dead. 31Now by chance a priest was going down that road, and when he saw him he passed by on the other side. 32So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. 33But a Samaritan, as he journeyed, came to where he was, and when he saw him, he had compassion. 34He went to him and bound up his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he set him on his own animal and brought him to an inn and took care of him. 35And the next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper, saying, ‘Take care of him, and whatever more you spend, I will repay you when I come back.’ 36Which of these three, do you think, proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell among the robbers?” 37He said, “The one who showed him mercy.” And Jesus said to him, “You go, and do likewise.”

    • We already know the answer to obtaining eternal life (v.25)
      • 25 And behold, a lawyer stood up to put him to the test, saying, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?”
    • However, he tries to justify himself (v.29)
      • 29But he, desiring to justify himself, said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”
      • The great BUT statements of our lives (But, I…)
      • This parable is Jesus telling us how to live heaven on earth. In essence he is telling us that we are “Sons and Daughters of God”
        • Our goal is to change all of eternity b/c of our actions
          • B/c of the parable we are capable of using our influence, integrity and experiences as Sons and Daughters to create such change
          • We are children of royalty
  • In order to reflect a loving God we need to love others
  • In the parable “The Priest and Worship Leader” (Levite) pass by the Samaritan
    • What is Jesus trying to tell us about church leadership?
    • What does this say about being people of influence?
  • Mark Chapter One
    • Jesus is deeply moved by compassion
  • When we read nothing but the Red Letters of the Bible, we are witnessing great compassion at work
  • God is able to see that there is more wrong in the world than what our eyes will allow
    • When we show up somewhere, we are no longer alone b/c of the compassion of God
  • 70% of Russian orphans kicked out of the orphanages when they turn 16-17 end up in prostitution (females)
  • God is able to become a “father to the fatherless” through his people
  • Psalm 68 – Father to the Fatherless
    • 4Sing to God sing praises to his name; lift up a song to him who rides through the deserts; his name is the LORD exult before him! 5 Father of the fatherless and protector of widows is God in his holy habitation. 6God settles the solitary in a home; he leads out the prisoners to prosperity, but the rebellious dwell in a parched land. 7O God, when you went out before your people,when you marched through the wilderness, Selah
      • If God cares that much, shouldn’t we
  • We were created to live out crazy adventures
    • Jesus was a revolutionary Messiah – should we not try to be agents of change for our own earthly revolutions?
  • Jesus loved the poor so much he hid himself among them.
    • We should strive to do just that, Love Jesus so much that we hide in Him

Religion Saves, But The Book Hurts.

I have read three books in the last three weeks. The first two by Tony Jones was fantastic, the third by Mark Driscoll made my heart sink a little. I will say upfront I have read Vintage Jesus and Church as well as Death By Love in that order and most recently Religion Saves and Nine Other Misconceptions. Even though I enjoy reading books with ideas that I don’t always agree with, this is the first time in a long time I wanted to put the book down on the bookshelf and leave it there. However, I finished it and realize that yes I very much disliked the content and writing style, and tone of the book, I realize that it will be a best read for someone out there. I will refrain from making statements about Mark Driscol as a person as best I can, as I do not personally know him.

I bought the book not realizing that this was a regurgitated sermon series and if I had known that upfront I probably would have just watched the podcast. I knew upfront that there would be some bashing of the Emergent Church, or where the majority of his beef is located with Emergent Village. I was curious as to what he would say, but where he lost me was on the chapter about Humour.

Now being a speaker myself and knowing how sensitive and important my words are to the individuals around me I was really hurt by his words in this chapter. I was hurt for all the people that have felt hurt from what he decribes as humour.

My favorite targets tend to be action-figure-loving single guys who play World of Warcraft at their mom’s house while downloading porn and blogging about how the world should be, in between long sessions of sleep in their Star Wars sheets. Vegans are also funny because they get upset every time I promote bacon, and they often tell me that I will die if I eat bacon, to which I reply “Yes, praise God, I will die and go to heaven… full of bacon.”

I have a couple of problems with that. First, he knows his words are hurtful, yet it does not seem to matter. My question is this;

How do the people that are in his congregation, in the Seattle area, or reading his material world-wide?

If my pastor got up and just let loose on who I am as an individual while trying to express the way to live a life that is in line or even imitating Christ, I think I would be re-evaluating where I was going to church. I do agree that there is indeed humour in the words of God, both in the Old and New Testament, however knowing exactly the context of these words is next to impossible as translation occurs. I don’t think this kind of humour is not what Jesus did. Blatantly hurting individuals does not seem to be the style of the God I know.

He goes through ways that he sees the Bible as being a comedy of sorts, but I struggle to agree with him in the ways he finds certain Biblical accounts humorous.

I will give him credit though as he does tackle some very FAQ’s that are relevant to the everyday church goer. Such as, Is birth control ok? He also does a great job at outlining the very ominous questions surrounding predestination.

In regards to the emergent question, Driscoll attempts to show the reader the different types of leaders within the emergent movement. Rob Bell, Tony Jones, Doug Pagitt and Brian McLaren are the leaders that take the brunt of Driscoll’s dislike. He attacks everything from the gay perspective, Nooma videos, the question of sin and even the cult possibility of Emergent Village. He calls this Emergent Liberalism and he really sees no use for them within Christian circles. However, to me when these Emergent Liberals can ask themselves questions like; If we were wrong about slavery and civil rights, what is it in today’s society that we are blinded to?

I have to say I really disliked many opinions that were raised in this book, but I also realize that some people that are important to me may agree with them. That’s ok! I can live with that, something I learned from Tony Jones, being a Christian shouldn’t cause me to shut out other ideals or theologies, I should be able to flourish through the discussions they may raise.