The Prince of Peace— Part Four

Wendell Berry reminds us that the Gospels ask us many embarrassing questions not the least of which is, 'If we had lived in the time of Jesus and heard the teaching found in the Gospels, would we have become one of his followers?' Wendell says the way to decide whether you'd pass this test or not is imagine you were walking past the court house one day and heard someone unknown, say named Joe Green, sharing verbatim what you hear in Mt. 5-7, with the proviso that you had never heard this … [Read more...]

The Prince of Peace– Part Three

In talking about the reason Christians have so flagrantly ignored the demands of the Sermon on the Mount, Wendell Berry puts his finger on one of the keys when he says "They have justified their disobedience on the grounds of the impracticality of obedience, though we have little proof of the practicality of disobedience...The implication invariably has been that for a few feckless worshippers of God to obey Christ's commandments may be all right,but in practical matters such as war and … [Read more...]

The Prince of Peace— Part Two

One of the usual ploys used to domesticate the teachings of Jesus about non-violence is to point to a couple of texts which might suggest Jesus was perhaps not quite as much like Gandhi (or vice versa) as many have believed. Wendell Berry in his recent book Blessed are the Peacemakers deals succinctly with these texts, and in devastating fashion. He refers to "the two passages that loose interpreters might interpret as justifying war: Matthew 10.34-37 and Luke 22.35-38". He then retorts-- "In … [Read more...]

The Prince of Peace— Part One

I've been blessed to live in the same state with a very great writer,poet environmentalist, pacifist, Christian farmer named Wendell Berry. Wendell has a wonderful little book which came out in 2005 entitled Blessed are the Peacemakers which I had occasion to read recently. In style it is much like the writings of Fred Buechner. It involves only 23 pages from Berry, and then a quotation of selections from the Sermon on the Mount. Berry freely admits that besides Jesus, he has other … [Read more...]

A Cautionary Word to Pastors about Internet Resources

Whether you call such a person a guide or a guru, it has become increasingly and painfully clear to me that pastors need some personal guidance about the use of online resources for preparing sermons, Bible studies, etc.The first point I would stress is that there is a reason a lot of the resources online that have to do with the Bible are free. There is some truth to the old dictum 'you get what you pay for'. Some of the resources are simply junk, some are so badly out of date and out of … [Read more...]

Jim Bakker is Back— And Doesn’t know Beans about the Apocalypse

If you are old enough to remember Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker and the Praise the Loot (err.... Lord) Club, and the Jessica Hahn scandal, all courtesy of a little place just south of my home in Charlotte N.C. then you may remember that the Bakkers could rightly be called world-class prosperity Gospel scam artists. And guess what----- their back, and selling survival kits for the Apocalypse. Here is the link to the … [Read more...]

The Bible and its Difficulties— Part One

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The Changing Face of Employment in Biblical Studies

I was having lunch with my friend Jerry Sumney in Lexington. He's a very fine NT scholar at Lexington Theological Seminary, which in essence has stopped having regular semester on campus classes. It does online classes, and has intensives in January and in the summer. It does not take a seer to see that in the next ten or so years many seminaries are likely to go this route, or to simply shut down. The decline of so many churches, many of them mainline churches, but also various of the more … [Read more...]

Old Hobbits Die Hard— The Hobbit III– The Battle of Five Armies those of us who read the Hobbit B.C., (by which I mean Before Computers, Before Cellphones), before the digital age, back when books were books and kindle was what you did to a campfire, there is something more than mildly unsettling about seeing a 3D version (real 3D, high frame rate, no less) of this children's story. What would Tolkien (who was anti-industrial revolution never mind anti-technology) say, especially about a slender book made … [Read more...]