I probably shouldn’t tamper with the wording of a song for the title of this post. Cee Lo Green has sparked
a lot of controversy with his New Year’s Eve rendition of John Lennon’s
“Imagine,” in which he changed “no religion, too” to “all religion’s
This past Sunday in my Sunday school class, we reached Romans 9.
I was struck recently for the first time by the possibility that Paul’s
use of texts in this section might be profoundly and perhaps
The title of this post is intentionally provocative. It reverses the
similarity that some conservative religious believers (and some atheists) will at times use polemically, claiming that liberal believers are, for all practical purposes, no different from atheists.
commenter on a recent post mentioned the experience of highlighting
substantial parts of a work by Nietzsche while working on an essay.
Years later, he found the text and tried reading those parts he hadn’t
highlighted, to see what was in the sections that he didn’t find significant at the time. He then went on to ask if a similar experiment has ever been done with the Bible.
I heard from a relative today a story about a younger child in our
family who asked her parent if God has hair. The parent had at least
enough theological sophistication to recognize that it is inappropriate
to say “yes” in response to such a question, and so answered “No.”
The child looked puzzled, and said “So God is bald, then?”
The two possible meanings of the title of this post are intentional.
It seems to me that the same tactics that Christians who believe in the
Bible’s inerrancy use to deal with evidence to the contrary are the
tactics being used to defend the inerrancy of Sarah Palin (and other politicians – Palin just provides one obvious recent example).
As I have been going through Romans once again with my Sunday school
class, it has increasingly become evident to me how hard it is – and at
the same time how important it is – to realize that this isn’t a
I was really struck by a phrase in Chet Raymo's blog post "A Saturday Reprise." He begins by quoting Bilhah in The Red Tent
who responds to Zilpah's expression of fear at leaving a place where
customs and gods are known and moving to the unknown by saying "Every
place has its holy names, its trees and high places. There will be gods
where we go."
A recent comment suggested that language in the Bible such as
storehouses of snow, the dome over the earth, the earth's immovable
character, and so on, might all be metaphorical. After all, we use such
language metaphorically today.
But our use of it is a hangover from a bygone era when that language was presumed to be literal.