Welcome to the Heretic’s Guide to the Bible!

Thanks for taking a chance on this new project with me. Whether you’re a seasoned preacher or a Bible newbie, taking on scripture can be tougher than gnawing through week-old bagels (dontcha hate when you get those poppy seeds stuck in your teeth??). If I’m being honest with you, it freaks me out a little bit too, but I also think it’s an important thing to try. There are tons of reasons we don’t pick up our Bibles. The stories are boring. They don’t make sense. They seem to lack … [Read more...]

You Are Included! (Heretic’s Guide Bible Bonus)

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Apologies for my silence over the past week, but a dear friend, and the wife of my Homebrewed CultureCast podcast cohost, died this past week. Special thanks go out to my friend and colleague, David Ackerman, for stepping up and offering a study for us to engage this week. Thanks David! And be sure to check out the links below to his book on often-overlooked Bible passages, "Beyond the Lectionary." “You Are Included!” A Heretic’s Guide to the Bible Bonus Readings from Beyond the … [Read more...]

Would Jesus Take a Selfie? (Heretic’s Guide for Sun, Dec 8, 2013)

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Bible Cliff’s Notes (My dog ate my Bible!) First Reading Isaiah 11:1-10 The prophet offers a vision of hope to the people of Israel, who are under siege by the Assyrian army. In his future vision, humanity and the rest of creation are all woven together into a single tapestry of creation. There is a new order established, a promise of new growth and of stability and peace. Psalm Psalm 72:1-7, 18-19 A prayer for the welfare of the people’s king (not sure which one based on the … [Read more...]

An Important Announcement

Dear Heretics Guide Friends: First, let me thank you for taking part in this study with me. Some of you have been on board for nine months, since we birthed this bad boy. I hope you have enjoyed the journey and have been enriched by the content. Along those lines, I'm sad to announce I'll be discontinuing the blog at the end of this month. Demands on my time with other writing and work commitments simply have forced me to reassess my schedule for the coming year, and it was clear that … [Read more...]

The Messiness of Togetherness (Sun, Dec 1, 2013)

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Bible Cliff’s Notes (My dog ate my Bible!) First Reading Isaiah 2:1-5 Perhaps the most beautiful text in Isaiah, in which the prophet describes how those who seek the wisdom of God will turn their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. It is a vision of unifying, reconciling piece among all nations. Psalm Psalm 122 Jerusalem is described as a city on a hill to which the 12 tribes of Israel make pilgrimage. It reinforces the idea that this is a holy site and that … [Read more...]

It’s Not What It Looks Like! (Heretic’s Guide for Sun, Nov 24, 2013)

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Bible Cliff’s Notes (My dog ate my Bible!) First Reading Jeremiah 23:1-6 The prophet, speaking for God, condemns the failure of previous Jewish leaders to protect their people from outside forces, while also offering a promise to reconcile those exiled together, once again. Psalm Psalm 46 A song of the power of God to preserve the City of David (Zion), and also to end all war and conflict for all times, in every corner of the earth. It is a call to hope and faith even when present … [Read more...]

What’s Old is New…and Then Old Again (Sun. Nov 18, 2013)

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Bible Cliff’s Notes (My dog ate my Bible!) First Reading Isaiah 65:17-25 The prophet envisions a new heaven and earth, in which life in Jerusalem will be long, prosperous and no longer in service to occupying powers. There will be unprecedented peace, down to the wild animals who will lie together. The only one out of luck is the serpent, who has to eat dust. Poor guy. Isaiah 12 A prayer of praise and thanks to God, who is the people’s strength and salvation. God forgives, gets over … [Read more...]

The Faith Needed to Fail (Study for Sun, Nov 8, 2013)

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Bible Cliff’s Notes (My dog ate my Bible!) First Reading Haggai 1:15b-2:9 Haggai is trying to rally the Jewish faithful to restore the temple to its former glory. At the moment they are very discouraged by the fact that it is sitting in utter ruin from the previous siege. The prophet assures them that prosperity and honor will return to them as a people soon enough, and he reminds them that the state of the Temple is symbolic of their relationship with God. and Job 19:23-27a Job is … [Read more...]

Show Your Cheeks for Jesus (Heretic’s Guide for Sun, Nov 1, 2013)

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Bible Cliff’s Notes (My dog ate my Bible!) First Reading Daniel 7:1-3, 15-18 Daniel has a dream of four beasts rising from the ocean. His dream interpreter explains to him that these beasts represent four kings who will rule over the land. But also that the one true king (God) will prevail over all earthly authority. Psalm Psalm 149 A curious song of praise that also serves as a rallying cry to battle for the people of Israel. First, it calls them to joyful praise of God and every … [Read more...]

Being Bad at Doing Good

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Bible Cliff’s Notes (My dog ate my Bible!) First Reading Joel 2:23-32 Respite from the droughts and plagues of locusts has finally arrived. Rains have returned and the earth is yielding food in abundance. Time of judgment is over and God's people are now entering a time of restoration and of plenty. and Jeremiah 14:7-10, 19-22 Jeremiah is doing two things in this text. First, he offers a prayer of confession for the sinfulness of the people of Israel. He speaks on their behalf to … [Read more...]

The Meaning of Life: The Hippo and the Crocodile (BONUS CONTENT)

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My sincerest apologies to David Ackerman for posting this late. Although he got it to me on time, I am posting it after the Sunday it was intended for. David, the next time we are together, I am indebted to you for one swift kick in the ass.  Please take the time to read David's fantastic commentary, and to check out his book, "Beyond the Lectionary." “The Meaning of Life: The Hippo and the Crocodile” A Heretic’s Guide to the Bible Bonus Readings from Beyond the Lectionary by David … [Read more...]