Open Hearts in Bethlehem

I am extremely grateful to IVP for sending me a review copy of Open Hearts in Bethlehem: A Christmas Drama. Ever since I read his Poet and Peasant and Through Peasant Eyes: A Literary-Cultural Approach to the Parables in Luke, I have had an enormous appreciation for Kenneth Bailey’s scholarship on the cultural background to [Read More…]

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Look for the Surprise

Aric Clark has a very useful post about approaching ancient literature – in particular the Bible. Things we read there may tend to startle, surprise, or shock us, or disappoint us, or seem like nothing out of the ordinary. It is important to look into the context, to really grasp it. What seems disappointingly conservative [Read More…]

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The Next Lost Cause?

The title and focus of this post is inspired by an article in Patrol magazine by David Sessions. Young people even among Evangelicals have shifted away from the assumptions of many of their parents regarding things like gay marriage. And young-earth creationism, however popular it may seem in some circles now, is unlikely to survive [Read More…]

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Misunderstandings across Time, Space, and Culture

I love the above explanation of the origins and customs of Christmas, offered by someone from another world and time, in one of the Doctor Who Christmas specials. It is a nice satirical way to make an important point, namely that we often misunderstand the past, and the customs of other cultures even in the [Read More…]

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The New Mindset List

The “Mindset List” for freshmen starting college or university this year (2012, and thus set to graduate as the class of 2016) has been posted (HT Inside Higher Ed). That’s the list of things which have always or never been the case for these students, and which those of us significantly older than them may find [Read More…]

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Rick Warren Responds

In a comment on my blog post about his recent tweet, Rev. Rick Warren has taken the time to leave a comment, clarifying his meaning. Here is what he wrote: TWITTER'S limit on words allows no context for statements. A lack of contxt causes misinterpretation. So when you tweet what’s on your mind, people preassume [Read More…]

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Religion, Reform, and Retention

On Facebook, Karl Giberson shared a link to a blog post with statistics about retention in religious and areligious groups, i.e. their effectiveness in passing on their worldview and communal identity to their children. Here is the relevant chart: There is a lot that is interesting and potentially worth talking about. I suspect that for [Read More…]

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Why There Are No Guns In The Bible

Today in my Sunday school class, in mentioning the depiction in Nehemiah of armed Israelites wielding both weapons and tools, inadvertently said “guns” instead of “swords.” This led to an important observation: if the Bible were not a collection of texts constrained by the knowledge available to its authors, but included revelation of information not [Read More…]

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Jezebel in Thyatira: Join Our Sunday School Class to Learn the Deep Teachings of Satan!

Today in my Sunday school class we continued our study of Revelation. In looking at the message for the church in Thyatira, we considered the figure of Jezebel, and why the author of Revelation might have labeled a certain prophetess in that church by the name of the famous/infamous Phoenician princess by that name, whose [Read More…]

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Doctor Who: The Macra Terror

The lost Doctor Who episode “The Macra Terror” features that classic sci-fi trope, which had already appeared in Doctor Who prior to this, of a society that seems too perfect, and which in fact conceals a dark secret, as well as inevitably using mind control to keep people content. The scenario will likely also bring [Read More…]

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Save the Mandaean Refugees Petition

Wisam Breegi, a Mandaean whom I know, forwarded me a link to a petition, asking the United States government to do more to ensure that Mandaean refugees from Iraq can resettle here, and do so in such a way as to help preserve this unique culture and its heritage. Please consider signing the petition. Here’s [Read More…]

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