July 16, 2019

One must always be very careful not to over-generalize any statement about the Bible. When anyone begins a comment with the well-worn phrase, “the Bible says,” I have learned to duck! I know I am about to be hit between the eyes with a phrase designed to put me in my place, assign me to the deepest reaches of Hell, and win the argument for the speaker. This game is “Bible quotes beat all,” and may be played by any… Read more

July 15, 2019

Julia Rosen is a science reporter for the Los Angeles Times, with a PhD in Geology; she is based in Portland, OR. She wrote an important piece on Friday, July 12, 2019 concerning the vexed question of why so few persons actually discuss the issue of climate change, either with their friends or their families. The article is titled: “Why has climate change become a taboo subject?” with the subtitle: “Here are ways to end the silence and effect a… Read more

July 11, 2019

Now here is a text really to sink your teeth into! It raises all manner of fraught questions about God, about human beings, and about the relationships between them. In short, it is a kind of microcosm of the most basic issues that the Hebrew Bible addresses. Those of you out there who continue to foment that foolishness that the Hebrew Bible is all about “God’s wrath” needs to have this grand text tattooed on your forehead, backwards, so that… Read more

July 4, 2019

(I am immensely grateful to Van Harvey, a former professor of theology at my school, Perkins School of Theology, for his succinct and probing analysis of this contested issue in his still valuable A Handbook of Theological Terms, 1964). No self-respecting theologian, whether professional or not, can forever avoid the question of theodicy. The word itself is formed from two Greek words meaning “God” and “justice”. Hence, the issue refers to the attempt to justify the goodness of God in… Read more

July 3, 2019

As I have stated before in these columns, I was not raised in the church, though I did go a time or two after moving to Phoenix in 1953 from a very cold Indiana. My parents went quite regularly before we moved, but after attending only a few Sundays a Disciples of Christ congregation, my father, who was a heavy smoker, became enraged when the minister of the church in his sermon equated smoking with suicide. We left that day… Read more

July 1, 2019

Along with some 16,000,000 of my fellow citizens, I watched the recent first round of Democratic debates among the invited 20 candidates seeking the nomination of their party to run against President Trump in the 2020 election next November. 10 of the contestants appeared each night and were asked questions by five commentators, all of who were connected with one or other of the networks of NBC. Since each evening was limited to 2 hours, it was rather easy to… Read more

June 27, 2019

I doubt any biblical text could be more relevant in this particular time in history than this scorcher from Amos. Of course, Amos is hardly a shy retiring violet when it comes to boldness and irritation for his hearers, but this small prose section in the midst of his scathing oracles is especially memorable, and especially uncomfortable for its targets. The text is directly about the muddled question of the separation of church and state, an issue that zombie-like cannot… Read more

June 25, 2019

As a male in the culture, now 73 years old, I am horrified, embarrassed, appalled, and disgusted by the rampant and rank misogyny that I witness all around me—and, if I am honest, within me. Just this week, one more woman has come forward in public, announcing that she was attacked by President Trump some years ago in a dressing room in a department store. Just like numerous other women who have stepped forward to accuse the current commander-in-chief of… Read more

June 25, 2019

Last week I lamented about the lack of literary skill on display in the two books of Kings, so heavily influenced as they are by the ideological straight jacket of the Deuteronomic “historian.” I place the word “historian” in quotation marks advisedly, for to use such a word in the context of such obvious ideological biases is to stretch its usual meanings to the breaking point. This fierce editor was in effect not writing history so much as a record… Read more

June 24, 2019

Recently, my wife Diana and I returned to Grinnell College for her 50th college reunion. I had had my 50th last year, so two trips to Iowa in two years was a special treat for us. Diana was deeply involved in the planning of her reunion and did a superb job of making the time very satisfying and great fun. In addition, she served on a panel with four other alums, reflecting on lives of social justice, and the ways… Read more

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