A hermeneutic walks into a bar …

The story is just stupid, OK? First off, gorillas can’t talk. Duh. So, like, what? You actually believe in talking gorillas? That makes you a moron. You and everybody else who tells this story. And everybody who listens to it. You’re all morons. Plus, do you realize how terrifying this would be? How dangerous? A [Read More...]

Someday we’ll find it, the rainbow connection

Russell Crowe as Noah, Earl of Locksley

I’ve mentioned before that I love the story of Rainbow Crow, the beautiful Lenape tale of how the crow got its black feathers and hoarse, croaking caw. It’s a terrific story. But I do not want to see “Rainbow Crow: The Movie.” The story is perfect as it is — as a story that can [Read More...]

‘Making the text say things that it never meant’

One of my pet-peeve misconceptions is the notion that an illiterately literal reading of Genesis 1-11 is somehow an expression of “conservative” theology. It isn’t. Of course this “literal” belief in the six-day creation of a young earth isn’t liberal theology either. It’s just bad theology. Not orthodox, not conservative or liberal, just wrong — [Read More...]

The righteous man and the wicked city: ‘Abraham Pleads for Sodom’

The New International Version of the Bible adds these little section headings at the start of each chapter or pericope. At the start of Genesis 19, for example, it adds the heading “Sodom and Gomorrah Destroyed.” That’s a familiar story, even for people who haven’t read the Bible. The names of those cities endure as [Read More...]

A request re: Tubal-cain, the Iron Age and transparent aluminum

So the other day I tripped over Tubal-cain and wound up wishing I’d paid more attention in my biblical studies classes and/or done more of the reading for my history classes. Let me explain where this is going, then ask for your help in pointing me toward where I might learn more to sort this [Read More...]

A Southern Baptist in exile in the Bible belt

Both Alvin McEwen and Rachel Held Evans point us to Joan Garrett’s insightful, empathetic portrait of a Red Bank, Tenn., family: “A tempest in my soul: A son’s secret brings a Southern Baptist minister to his knees.” This is beautiful storytelling and impressive reporting. It is, in other words, what good journalism looks like. Kudos [Read More...]

‘Bible Believers’ who do not know, or care, what the Bible says


Joe Jervis relays a Twitter exchange between Anderson Cooper and some other Joe:   For those who can’t read that image, the guy tells Cooper that “Jesus calls homosexuality sin and calls them [sic] to repent.” Cooper replies, “actually, Joe, factually speaking, Jesus never mentioned anything about gays.” It’s disappointing that some folks who want [Read More...]

Omphalos theory fan fiction

The “Omphalos hypothesis” discussed in the previous post is horrifying as theology. The idea that the Creator is also the Great Deceiver suggests some rather appalling aspects of the character of God. But it does make for fertile ground for some potentially fascinating, or at least amusing, storytelling. Think again of that 28,000-year-old Australian rock [Read More...]