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Sunday August 21, 2022
Colorado Republican Representative Lauren Boebert wants the U.S. to have a “biblical citizenship” test. Was she serious? On video clips, she sounds as if it was just a casual aside.
Serious or not, it may be the stupidest idea that the U.S.’s Christian Right has come up with yet.
The first casualty would be Donald Trump. The 9th Commandment forbids lying; Trump broke it 30,573 times during his presidency!
Beyond that, though, what constitutes biblical literacy? Is it enough to know the Ten Commandments, a few choice quotations from Jesus, and the 23rd Psalm?
Or should biblical literacy mean that you can open the Bible to any page, any verse, and know how it relates to the book’s larger themes?
Categories: Sharp Edges
Tags: Bible, Boebert, citizenship, tests
Thursday July 7, 2022
Every storyteller runs into difficulties. A retired Ontario minister told me his favourite children’s story disaster. He started, like me, with a question: “What is furry and runs up and down trees?”
He tried again: “What hides nuts for winter?”
Still no answer.
Somewhat desperately: “What has a big bushy tail and beady eyes?”
Finally one girl held up her hand. “I know the answer is always supposed to be Jesus,” she said. “But it sure sounds like a squirrel to me.”
Categories: Soft Edges
Tags: Bible, storytelling, worship, meaningless words
Sunday May 23, 2021
I wonder if any country on earth has seen more consistent violence than Palestine/Israel. Or is it just that we know more about the endless conflicts there, thanks to the books of Joshua, Judges, Samuel, and Kings in the Bible?
Wars against the Philistines, the Canaanites, the Perizzites, the Moabites … In one appalling passage, God commands genocide against the Amalekites – men, women, children, livestock, even pets.
Also wars between the sons of Jacob. One act of revenge so totally exterminated the tribe of Benjamin that the other tribes had to volunteer some of their own members to recreate Benjamin for posterity.
In Jesus’ time, the region was an irritating pimple on Rome’s backside. Other conquered nations accepted the inevitable, got on with business, and profited from the Pax Romana. But Rome had to constantly crush Hebrew rebellions. Protestant Bibles conveniently leave out the grisly saga of the Maccabees, but tourists line up to visit the final defeat at Masada.
Tags: Bible, Israel, Palestine, Gaza
In the Okanagan Valley, summer winds are predictable. The south wind blows up the valley. The north wind blows down the valley -- “up” and “down” depending on how you orient a map, because a lake surface has no up or down.
In spring and fall, we also have west winds, which ride over the Coast Mountains and gather speed as they whoosh down the slopes to the lake.
They hit the lake like a physical punch. The lake reels. Its surface darkens. Waves form, long lines of foaming combers, marching in formation across the lake.
I’ve often wondered what’s happening at the front of the gust, at its intersection with the existing airflow.
Tags: Bible, Jesus, winds, Nicodemus, Okanagan
In the Bible, I find only two instances of come-hell-or-high-water friendships.
David and Jonathan were more than buddies. Jonathan risked the royal wrath of his father King Saul by befriending David.
Ruth and Naomi seem also to have been more than mother and daughter-in-law. Ruth could have abandoned Naomi and returned to her own people. But the two stuck together, and eventually Ruth became David’s great-grandmother.
The other instances commonly cited aren’t as clearly “friendships of the good.” Elijah and Elisha were mentor and pupil. Moses and Aaron, Mary and Elizabeth, Abraham and Lot, all had family ties.
Paul built friendships with his missionary companions Barnabas, Timothy, and Mark. But he also quarrelled and split angrily with them.
King Herod valued his conversations with John the Baptist. But it’s hard to call it friendship when one of you is chained to the wall.
Tags: Bible, Friendship, Aristotle