Monday Monday tekel upharsin

If you wrote something that was half in poetry and half in prose, you’d probably have a good reason why you made that choice. You’d mean it to mean something. The same was probably true for whoever wrote the book of Joel, but what that choice meant for them is, to us, a bit of a mystery. (Plus: Suggestions wanted for a First Testament iTunes playlist.) [Read more…]

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Concordance-ism backfires for anti-gay preacher

Concordance-ism doesn’t ask us to read the Bible. It asks us to “look up” things in the Bible — to consult the Bible without reading it. I would say this is a terrible, terrible way to read the Bible, but, again, it’s NOT reading. And it often winds up being terribly misleading. [Read more…]

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‘Moral tribalism’ and translating the d-word

Haidt’s use of that word “righteous” is primarily, almost entirely, negative, implying a kind of self-righteousness or a sense of self-justification. This is righteousness as rectitude, as uprightness, or moral purity and correctness. It is righteousness as the acquisitive and proprietary possession of truth. This form of righteousness is not a virtue, but it’s what American Christians have learned from their American Bibles. [Read more…]

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Makin’ sure your soul’s all right

Christianity Today interviews Nate Parker about his film “The Birth of a Nation,” which is, among other things, one of the most Bible-saturated movies of all time. Plus: Donald Trump’s ever-shifting history on Iraq; 23 years of tax returns; and the Train Job in India. [Read more…]

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And if you float you burn

“This is a round up,” featuring two very different analyses of two very different candidates’ economic proposals; the perversity of pretending children are adults; folklore as memory and history; and North Carolina’s admission that it seeks to disenfranchise black citizens. [Read more…]

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Rekindled with fire from above

“Is not this the fast that I choose: to loose the bonds of injustice, to undo the thongs of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke? Is it not to share your bread with the hungry, and bring the homeless poor into your house; when you see the naked, to cover them, and not to hide yourself from your own kin?” [Read more…]

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‘You will find out on that day …’: False prophets and lost endings

The Republican National Convention opened yesterday in Cleveland with a horrifying “benediction” from prosperity-gospel huckster Mark Burns. Burns has me thinking again of Zedekiah son of Chenaanah, the ridiculous court prophet-for-hire from the Bible. But as always when dealing with this story, I wind up getting frustrated and sidetracked by it’s missing ending. [Read more…]

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The Psalms and the word of God

Psalm 104 is a beautiful, moving, heartfelt hymn of praise — just so long as it isn’t the product of “plenary verbal inspiration.” If we read that Psalm assuming that every particular word of it was chosen and determined by God — by the very same God who is the apparent subject of all that praise and adoration — then it just becomes something weird and kind of creepy. [Read more…]

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