Why Didn’t Jesus Miraculously Rescue Himself from the Cross? [Questions That Haunt]

As we approach Ash Wednesday and Lent next week, we’ve got a crucifixion question from Awadhesh Kumar Singh,

Why could Jesus not show the miracle of being saved from being crucified? Surely, he expected to be saved, as his last words show: “God, God, why have you forsaken me?”

Please give a crack at an answer, and I’ll post my response on Friday. You can see the entire series here.

The Queer Subtext in Biblical Epic Movies

They’re holding women, but their minds are on each other.

I always thought that the male characters in The Ten Commandments seemed more interested in each other than they did in the beautiful women in flowly clothes who parade around them. Richard Lindsay confirms my suspicions:

Some of the queer subtext of biblical epics comes not from the sexual desirability of the main characters, but from the films’ aesthetic of camp. Camp, a sensibility of theatricality taken to extremes—sometimes knowingly, sometimes unknowingly—has long been a reading strategy of queer audiences. It takes an audience with an eye for the decadent and a gift for seeing double meaning to understand the subversive possibilities of a film like DeMille’s The Ten Commandments of 1959.

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Does It Matter If the Bible Stories Really Happened?

Krista Dalton has a great reflection on what she’s learned from Jews about the historicity of our sacred text:

Krista Dalton

I remember early on in my academic career when I was startled by a revelatory statement. I was sitting in my advisor’s office, attempting to understand Jewish interpretations of the Exodus, naively wondering how the historicity of the event would alter participation in the Passover ritual.

Suddenly realizing my error, my advisor interjected, “You know, most Jews don’t believe the Exodus literally happened, in the very least, not the way the biblical text recounts.”

I’m not sure why I was so surprised by that statement. In my own academic work, I knew scholars doubted the historicity of the Exodus account. Yet, to think Jewish participants were conscious of this, when many of my own Christian peers rejected the notion, was shocking to me.

My advisor explained, “Jews know this didn’t happen, but they just don’t want to hear about it on Passover.”

This conversation led me on a journey in pursuit of the answer to the question: “If one is not remembering a literal fact, what is one remembering?” I thought of my own Christian tradition, particularly the memory-ritual of communion, and found myself mimicking my advisor’s words, “I know not everything happened as the gospels recount, but I just don’t want to hear about it when I partake of the bread and the wine.”

Read the rest: Lessons from the Seder: The Belief of Memory in the Communion Story « Krista Dalton @KristaNDalton.

More Evangelical Islamophobia

I asked Bishop Solomon (Lutheran) about the threatened Bible burning. He wasn’t concerned.

Last September, Brian McLaren called on evangelicals to choose whether or not they would continue with their Islamophobia. In a post that garnered nearly 9,000 comments, he cited emails and articles meant to gin up evangelicals in their fear of Muslims.

So it was interesting to me, as I round out my week in a majority Muslim country, to read this headline, screaming out from the front page of the American evangelical rag, The Christian Post:

Malaysia ‘Bible-Burning Festival’ Over Use of ‘Allah’ Threatens Country’s Stability

Here’s what’s interesting: unlike the reporter of this article, I’ve spent the last week in Malaysia. Indeed, I’ve spent it with Christian pastors of many stripes, with the Lutheran bishop and the Methodist district superintendent, and at the leading Malaysian seminary.

And no one is the least bit interested in the Bible burning.

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