Let My People Go! January 3, 2011Posted by Matt in beebe, Bible.
Tags: arkansas, Biblical plagues, birds falling from the sky, dead fish in the Arkansas River, retribution theology
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Okay, now some of my Arkansas friends are going to have to answer about this: What is going on over there?
Obviously something has happened to cause this catastrophe, so by throwing in a little retribution theology, the answer seems quite clear: Biblical plagues. Like those that struck Egypt centuries ago, God has apparently become fed up with the people of the Natural State and is throwing down some divine vengeance from above.
What do you think? Does Governor Mike Beebe have someone incarcerated or enslaved and God has hardened his heart? Will the Little Red River actually live up to its name and turn to blood? What will be next? Pestilence? Frogs? Hail? Darkness? The Angel of Death?
I just hope he doesn’t take it out on the Razorbacks tomorrow night…
Biblical Pickup Lines August 18, 2010Posted by Matt in Bible, books.
Tags: Bible, David Plotz, Good Book, pickup lines
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I have just finished reading Good Book, a recent writing by David Plotz in which he, as a somewhat observant Jew, decides to read the Jewish Bible (Old Testament) for the first time. Along the way he makes notes divided out by book and chapter that describe his thoughts and feelings about the written words. It is funny, irreverent look at scripture and a enjoyable read, though I probably still liked AJ Jacobs’ similar book, The Year of Living Biblically, more.
The appendix in the back of the book contains several lists that Plotz put together that I thought were pretty good, so I wanted to share one of them with you.
The Bible’s Twelve Best Pickup Lines
1. “Oh, give me of the kisses of your mouth, for your love is more delightful than wine” (Song of Songs 1:2)
2. “Lie with me” – Potiphar’s wife to her slave, Joseph (Genesis 39:7)
3. “Praised be the Lord, the God of Israel, who sent you this day to meet me! And blessed your prudence.” – David to his future wife, Abigail (1 Samuel 25:32-33)
4. “What is your wish? It shall be granted you. And what is your request? Even to half the kingdom, it shall be fulfilled.” – King Ahasuerus to Esther (Esther 6:6)
5. “There are sixty queens and eighty concubines, and damsels without number. Only one is my dove, my perfect one.” (Song of Songs 6:8-9)
6. “I saw that your time for love had arrived. So I spread My robe over you.” (Ezekiel 16:8)
7. “let my beloved come to his garden and enjoy its luscious fruits.” (Song of Songs 4:16)
8. “Many women have done well, but you surpass them all.” – husband to wife (Proverbs 31:29)
9. “Here let me sleep with you,” says Judah. “What will you pay for sleeping with me?” says Tamar, his daughter-in-law (Genesis 38:16)
10. “Come over here and partake of the meal, and dip your morsel in the vinegar.” – Boaz to Ruth (Ruth 2:14)
11. “Your breasts are like two fawns, twins of a gazelle, browsing among the lilies” (Song of Songs 4:5)
12. “Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us, that we may be intimate with them.” – the townspeople of Sodom to Lot (Genesis 19:5)
A Different Kind of Study January 6, 2010Posted by Matt in Bible.
Tags: Bible study, Jesus, Q
I’m not someone who cares much for your everyday Bible study books or classes. They just don’t appeal to me. For the most part, I’ve rejected the same old views on things that I’ve heard my entire life and decided to instead take a different path, one that employs a variety of sources to build a new theological framework. So I’m thinking of taking a new approach to Bible study in the coming year.
Last month I wrote a series of blog entries about the nativity myth, questioning whether or not the birth of Jesus actually happened as it is described in the different gospel accounts. The response was immediate and expected and I have no desire to rehash the arguments from either side, but the series, coupled with a few books I have recently read, caused me to start to wonder how notions of myth could play into future Bible studies.
I’m sure this has been done by someone in the past, but I wonder how difficult it would be to reconstruct how the early Christians would have read the books of the Bible, to look at the books in the order they were actually written.
A large number of Biblical scholars ascribe to the Q theory, that a document existed prior to the writing of the Gospel accounts that contained the sayings of Jesus. The theory is that Matthew and Luke used this writing and the gospel of Mark to compile their own accounts. This document has not been found so there is no concrete way to know exactly which passages may have been a part of it, but one can begin with the sayings of Jesus in the study. Following that come the letters commonly attributed to Paul and the other epistles and then later the Gospels. I know that this is a very rough sketch, but please bear with me.
By looking at these works in some sort of order, I wonder if one can disseminate the the story itself grew. It’s quite an ambitious project and I’m just beginning to roll it around in my head, but it is very intriguing. What do you think?
Taking Back the Bible? October 13, 2009Posted by Matt in Bible, politics.
Tags: Conservapedia, Conservative Bible Project, insanity, liberal bias
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I first saw this on Stephen Colbert’s show the other day and it was so preposterous that I just had to share it with you.
Conservapedia (the conservative-bias alternative to Wikipedia’s supposed liberal bias) has a new endeavor on their site – the Conservative Bible Project. According to the site, “Liberal bias has become the single biggest distortion in modern Bible translations.” Seriously. I am not making this up.
The site lists ten guidelines which they say are lacking from any current translation of the word of God.
1. Frameword Against Liberal Bias – providing a strong framework that enables a thought-for-thought translation without corruption by liberal bias.
2. Not Emasculated – avoiding unisex, “gender inclusive” language and other modern emasculation of Christianity (because we all know God is a man, right?)
3. Not Dumbed Down – not dumbing down the reading level or diluting the intellectual force and logic of Christianity; the NIV is written at only the 7th grade level
4. Utilize Powerful Conservative Terms – using powerul new conservative terms as they develop; defective translations use the word “comrade” three times as often as “volunteer”; similarly, updating words which have a change in meaning, such as “word”, “peace”, and “miracle.”
5. Combat Harmful Addiction – combating addiction by using modern terms for it, such as “gamble” rather than “cast lots”; using modern political terms such as “register” rather than “enroll” for the census.
6. Accept the Logic of Hell – applying logic with its full force and effect, as in not denying or downplaying the very existence of Hell or the Devil (yeah, because those of us who don’t buy into hell must be “illogical.”)
7. Express Free Market Parables – explaining the numerous economic parables with their full free market meaning
8. Exclude Later-Inserted Liberal Passages – excluding liberal passages that are not authentic, such as the adulteress story (“Let he who is without sin cast the first stone” yeah, Jesus would NEVER say that)
9. Credit Open-Mindedness of Disciples – crediting open-mindedness, often found in youngsters like the eyewitnesses Mark and John, the authors of two of the Gospels
10. Prefer Conciseness over Liberal Wordiness – preferring conciseness of the liberal style of high word-to-substance ration; avoid compound negatives and unnecessary ambiguities; prefer concise, consistent use of the word “Lord” rather than “Jehovah” or “Yahweh” or “Lord God.”
Yep, let the insanity continue…
A Troubling Question May 7, 2008Posted by Matt in Bible, god, Jesus.
Tags: god, hell, Jesus, prayer, question
Should Christians pray for Jesus to return?
I can’t remember if this came up in a worship service or in Bible class, but someone recently made the statement that they always do pray for Him to come back soon and relieve us of pain and suffering and loss. Now, I’ve heard this type of thing before throughout my life and have never given it much thought, but, on that day, I started to really ponder over the ramifications of that request to God. That led to my next question:
What about everyone else?
With the exception of a few nutcases like myself, I think it is safe to say that the large majority of those involved with our chosen denomination believe firmly in an eternal hell. Though their ideas of this underworld may vary, anywhere from eternality outside of the presence of God to a Dantean plane of everlasting torture, the basic beliefs that it is real, it is eternal, and it is bad remain in place.
So, by using a bit of logic, if you pray for Jesus to come back and save you and others like you, then, by corollary, you pray for God to send the vast majority of humanity to a never-ending time of unspeakable horrors.
Does this strike anybody else as extremely self-serving? We want our mansion, robe, and crown, and we want it now, please. And give our deep regards to those untold billions of souls who either didn’t believe or had the misfortune of being born in a land where they never had the chance to.
We can then cheerily sing that horrible lyric, “Many will meet their doom,” from the hymn Jesus Is Coming Soon, without batting an eye, for our destiny of eternal comfort is guaranteed.
Does anybody else find this attitude bothersome?
Confronting the Gospel – pt.1 April 22, 2008Posted by Matt in Bible, god.
Tags: Bible, god, gospel
To begin this latest discussion, I would like for you to answer a question:
What is the purpose of the Gospel?
Perhaps He Is Not So Wrong After All… March 18, 2008Posted by Matt in Bible, Obama, politics.
Tags: Barack Obama, god, Jeremiah Wright, terrorism
Lately there has been quite a media firestorm surrounding the words of Barack Obama’s pastor, Jeremiah Wright, but something about it is really bothering me. I was considering these words that have been printed and heard over and over again for the last few days:
“We bombed Hiroshima, we bombed Nagasaki, and we nuked far more than the thousands in New York, and we never batted an eye,” Wright says. “We have supported state terrorism against the Palestinians and black South Africans, and now we are indignant because the stuff we have done overseas is brought right back in our own front yards.”
So, I was thinking about this and comparing them with the words of Jesus, “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?” (Matt. 7:3)
I’m not saying that everything the reverend says is absolute truth (those of you who know me know I would never say that about anything), but perhaps he is on to something. Maybe instead of looking at the evil of terrorism and attributing it to some freak phenomena without cause, we should start by taking a long look at ourselves as a nation. When we tear down the walls of American exceptionalism and throw out the idea of our nation always being right on all matters and stop bowing down to the golden calf of nationalism, things may start to look a bit different.
Monday Morning Pop Quiz March 9, 2008Posted by Matt in Bible, Monday Morning pop quiz.
Tags: quiz, theology, worldview
Didn’t you hate these things when you were in school? After two full days of doing everything within your power to not think about anything educational, you have to start off the week with one of these? Well, given the popularity of the last quiz I posted, I wanted to do another and see how your results come out. I’ll let you know mine sometime this afternoon.
h/t Liberal Jesus
A Quote on Hermeneutics March 6, 2008Posted by Matt in Bible, postmodernism.
Tags: Bible, Brian McLaren, hermeneutics, interpretation, postmodern christian
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“Our interpretations reveal less about God or the Bible than they do about ourselves. They reveal what we want to defend, what we want to attack, what we want to ignore, what we’re unwilling to question…”
– Brian McLaren (A New Kind of Christian)
Reading the Bible March 5, 2008Posted by Matt in Bible.
Tags: Bible, hermeneutics, quiz
My friend Scott posted this last week and I thought it was so interesting that I wanted to lay it out there and see what my readers thought of it. This quiz on Biblical hermeneutics is pretty telling and it may even bring about a short series of posts. Put your score in the comments below and later I’ll tell you how I scored.