In his contribution to The Future of Hope, John Milbank offers a description of postmodernity and suggests ways for the church to respond. Postmodernism may be a thing of the past; we’re supposed to be in post-postmodernity nowadays. Still, much of what Milbank describes is still with us, and some of it is more intensely with us than when Milbank wrote. In the “postmodern times in which we live, there is no longer any easy distinction to be made between… Read more

The Third Word assumes that we carry the Lord’s name. What it prohibits is bearing, carrying, or lifting that name “in vain” or “emptily.” The word can mean “false,” and bearing the name “falsely” is one of the sins that the Lord prohibits here. That does involve speech. This phrasing is used in various places in the Old Testament to describe false oaths. When we swear in the name of the Lord, we call the Lord as a witness to… Read more

Yahweh’s name resembles a human name. But there is a significant difference. Yahweh identifies and names Himself. He didn’t leave Abraham to figure out His name; when Moses asked “What shall I say to Israel when they ask who sent me,” Yahweh answered by giving His name. We don’t formulate our own names. We are given names. We have surnames that come from our parents, and their parents before them, and their parents on back to the first time someone… Read more

What is a name? A name is a label. It allows us to identify people. That is Sam, that is Sam, Jr; that is Samantha; that is Peter. But a name is more than a label that enables us to identify and distinguish one person from another. It also provides a way to address and communicate with a person. If you see your friend walking on the other side of the road, you call his name to get his attention…. Read more

At First Things, Jozef Andrew Kosc describes the continuation of Catholic Christendom in Poland. Poland is “an unabashedly Catholic society is fully integrated into a modern European polity and economy. This society represents an integral and democratic Catholicism, one that has resisted the anti-culture of postmodernism and neoliberal cosmopolitanism. Americans might describe it as a national Benedict Option—though the Poles would reject Rod Dreher’s term, since most have little conception of the aggressive secular liberalism that exists across the rest… Read more

My son Christian interviewed Incredibles 2 editor Stephen Schaeffer. It gives a detailed look at the nitty details of making an animated feature. For me, the most interesting parts were about the design of the Pixar studio building: “The Pixar building was designed by Steve Jobs, who wanted to build a workspace that would promote ‘accidental’ encounters between coworkers (according to Walter Isaacson’s biography of Jobs). The hope was that these unplanned meetings would result in an explosion of creativity…. Read more

The Third Word (Exodus 20:7) prohibits Israel and the church from bearing (nasa’) the Name of Yahweh lightly. What might it mean to “bear” the name? The verb is used some thirty times in Exodus, with a remarkable range of meanings. Exodus 6:8: Yahweh nasa’ to give the land to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. “Bear” means “swear,” and that seems to be part of the significance in the Third Word. As Patrick Miller points out (Ten Commandments, 65), Deuteronomy 6:13… Read more

Thomas Renz (Rhetorical Function of the Book of Ezekiel) argues that “The first twenty-four chapters of the book present a loosely structured movement in cycles with ever greater involvement of the readers.” Each cycle is “marked by a narrative portion which includes either a date (1:1-3) or a notice about elders approaching the prophet (14:1) or both (8:1; 20:1). No notice about elders who approach the prophet and, apart from 24:1 . . . no date formula occurs anywhere else in… Read more

Recent commentators on Leviticus have emphasized the “mixed” character of the blasphemer in chapter 24. He’s the son of an Israelite mother and an Egyptian father. While acknowledging the importance of that feature of the story, Leigh Trevaskis thinks that the emphasis should be placed on the location of the incident. The camp is the “land” of Israel in the wilderness, a holy place where Yahweh dwells among His well-organized people. The Egyptian-Israelite commits blasphemy in the camp, among the… Read more

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