A Weblog Dedicated to the Discussion of the Christian Faith and 21st Century Life

A Weblog Dedicated to the Discussion of the Christian Faith and 21st Century Life
I do not seek to understand that I may believe, but I believe in order to understand. For this also I believe, –that unless I believed, I should not understand.-- St. Anselm of Canterbury (1033-1109)

Monday, November 30, 2015

A God That Must Tell the Truth: A Lectionary Reflection on Malachi 3:1-4

Malachi 3:1-4

At the heart of the church community is truth-telling, and it must be so because our God is a God who tells the truth, even when the truth is not good news. The problem with humanity is that we can bristle at the difficult words, the unpopular words, even when such words are true. We don't like being told that we have missed the truth, that our ways are not true. We must not think truth-telling is always easy. Those called to speak the truth experience a torture in their souls. In his book, Leaves from the Notebook of a Tamed Cynic, Reinhold Niebuhr says that it can be difficult for pastors to speak the truth to their congregations, not because they are afraid to speak, but because it can be difficult to speak the difficult and truthful word to people they have come to love.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Scriptures and Prayer for the First Sunday of Advent

Old Testament: Jeremiah 33:14-16

Epistle: 1 Thessalonians 3:9-13

Gospel: Luke 21:25-36
O God of all the prophets, you herald the coming of the Son of Man by wondrous signs in the heavens and on the earth. Guard our hearts from despair so that we, in the company of the faithful and by the power of your Holy Spirit, may be found ready to raise our heads at the coming near of our redemption, the day of Jesus Christ. Amen.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

What Was on the Menu at the First Thanksgiving?

from the National Geographic Channel:
The feast, held in 1621 at the Plymouth Plantation in Massachusetts, was very different from the Thanksgiving dinner that we enjoy today. It went on for three whole days, and the colonists and their Native guests probably didn't sit at a table or use forks. Staples of modern Thanksgiving-- like pumpkin pie and cranberry sauce-- weren't even served.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

My AAR/SBL Reading List for 2016

I purchased several books at the American Academy of Religion and the Society for Biblical Literature Conferences that just ended. Every year I purchase books--for a bibliophile like me it's impossible to just look.

In any case, here is what I purchased and plan to read in 2016:

James D.G. Dunn, Neither Jew nor Greek: A contested Identity. Christianity in the Making, Volume 3. I have yet to read Jimmy's first two volumes in the series, but I plan to plow through all three books this summer.

Kyle Greenwood, Scripture and Cosmology: Reading the Bible Between the Ancient World and Modern Science.

Stanley Hauerwas, The Work of Theology.

Keith E. Johnson, Rethinking the Trinity & Religious Pluralism: An Augustinian Assessment.

Roger E. Olson, Counterfeit Christianity: The Persistence of Errors in the Church.

David E. Wilhite, The Gospel According to Heretics: Discovering Orthodoxy through Early Christological Conflicts.

Kermit Zarley, Solving the Samaritan Riddle: Peter's Kingdom Keys Explain Early Spirit Baptism.

What books are you planning to read in 2016 on ANY topic? All of us have different interests, to be sure. Feel free to post them in the comments.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Biblical War Texts Today

This is a guest post from my friend and fellow blogger, Ted Gossard, who blogs at Jesus Community:
The psalms were written in a different era and chapter in the Story of God. Part and parcel to that time, many of the men of God's people had to train for battle and at times participate in it. It was both a necessary act of living in a territorial, violent world, and part of God's judgment on certain peoples and individuals according to the Old Testament/Hebrew text. So we find in a number of the psalms ascriptions to this, and elsewhere in scripture, in the Pentateuch (Genesis through Deuteronomy), Joshua, 1 and 2 Samuel, etc.

Fast forward to today and we see no such texts in the New Testament, not in the gospels, Acts, or the letters. What we do find in the Revelation is arguably apocalyptic, and not at all to be pressed in the literal way in which they sometimes are (as in, for example, The Left Behind series).

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Scriptures and Prayer for Christ the King Sunday

Old Testament: 2 Samuel 23:1-7

Epistle: Revelation 1:4-8

Gospel: John 18:33-37
Most High God, majestic and almighty, our beginning and our end: rule in our hearts and guide us to be faithful in our daily actions, worshiping the one who comes as Savior and Sovereign, and who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God. Amen.