In the belly of the fish

I request the consent of the chamber to revise and extend my previous post. 1. The whale was in Pinocchio In discussing the book of Jonah, I try to avoid the notorious bit with the really big fish. That's what the story says — "fish," not "whale." If you're not familiar with that bit, here [Read More...]

The sign of Jonah

Andrew C. writes with a good question: How do you explain the seemingly barbaric actions of God in the Old Testament? God outright ordered genocides, wars and brutal punishments upon his own followers. Not just a good question, but a canonical one. A question asked, in fact, by many people right there in the Hebrew [Read More...]

Vampires & crosses

It's a well-established fact that vampires can't abide crosses. There seems to be some confusion, however, as to why this is so. I should note here, before we go on, that I believe in vampire stories. I don't mean that I believe these stories are "literally" true — they're not that kind of story. But [Read More...]

The Long March of the Koalas

It has been brought to my attention that Ken Ham, the man behind the Creation Museum and Answers in Genesis, is originally from Australia and not the United States. So when I wrote last week of America as "the land of P.T. Barnum and Ken Ham" the general point about hucksterism here in the U.S. [Read More...]

WYLIE (Why Young Life Is Evil)

I haven't yet read Jeff Sharlet's book, The Family, but I've been reading every interview with him that I can find. You may be familiar with Sharlet from his blog, The Revealer, and from an earlier project he's long been associated with, Killing the Buddha. Now that his book is finally out in paperback, I'll [Read More...]


If you've ever spent any time as part of a religious community or congregation, then you can appreciate the wisdom of Paul's advice in Romans 14. All of us have issues, hang-ups, hobby horses and bug bears, and for some people these can be particularly intense. Growing up among the fundies, I learned that there [Read More...]

The Abominable Shellfish

Why some Christians hate gays but love bacon The third book of the Bible, Leviticus, has some wonderful passages. The Jubilee laws outlined in chapter 25, for example, provide an inspiring vision of liberty and justice for all. The 10th verse of this chapter even supplied the inscription for the Liberty Bell: "proclaim liberty throughout [Read More...]

Roy Moore and Nehushtan

I haven't said much here about now-former judge Roy Moore, the Alabama chief justice who was removed from office this week. The man's demagoguery has been so blatant I figured I'd let his media mongering and foolishness speak for themselves. But I was reminded of Moore this morning in church by the Old Testament reading. [Read More...]