Fresh Light on Paul— Two Resources

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Of the making of books about Paul there is no end, but that doesn't mean there don't continue to be valuable ones produced. In fact, I am planning on doing a second updated version of my own Paul Quest book with a collaborator before long, but for now, I have two books to suggest to you which are both entry level texts on Paul, surveying his life, letters, and his thought. Both are beautifully illustrated and with useful maps. One is a little under 300 pages and one is right at 400 pages. The … [Read more...]

The Bible and its Difficulties– Part Two

Here is the second in the series of videos I did with Dr. Michael Halcomb, my former doctoral student. This one is on the Bible and History.http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=QRhqfNB9ies … [Read more...]

The Prince of Peace– Part Six

Today, on the British calendar, is Boxing Day. No it's not about hitting people while wearing gloves and confined to a ring. It's about boxing up some of the Christmas stuff and giving it to the less fortunate. In his discussion of Jesus' saying 'I've come that you might have life, and have it abundantly' Wendell Berry warns us that Jesus is not advocating avarice. "In an age of materialist science, economics,art, and politics, we ought not to be much shocked by the appearance of materialist … [Read more...]

The Prince of Peace– Part Five

'What should I give him, poor as I am, If I was a shepherd, I would give a lamb...'Well here's a thought on Christmas day, why not give him your obedience to his teachings? I doubt there are many things that would please Jesus, young or as an adult, more than the gift of his followers' obedience. We need to resist the tendency to trivialize, rationalize, domesticate or otherwise water down the teachings of Jesus. As Wendell Berry insists "Reductive religion is just as objectionable as … [Read more...]

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

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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

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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...]


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