President Obama’s speech in Newtown on December 17 included this pivotal question: “Are we prepared to say that such violence visited on our children year after year after year is somehow the price of our freedom?” The president is bristling here at the way our political discourse reflexively leaps to claims about individual rights and freedoms.
My church's adult Sunday school class ended up doing a six-week study of one of John Ortberg’s inspirational and easy-to-read books. A member of the class loved the book and wanted to share and teach it—and who can argue with six weeks off as a teacher?
Before that, we’d been through many of N.T. Wright’s “For Everyone” study guides, and we'd organized a successful unit on Islam and Christianity, taught well by an instructor from our county college. We’ve read Adam Hamilton; we've added online conversation to our Lenten study. Now what?
People often assume—wrongly—that the Bible presents a single view of God and the world. In Understanding Wisdom Literature, David Penchansky shows how the Hebrew Bible’s wisdom books, Proverbs, Job and Ecclesiastes, speak differently from covenant-centered writings such as Genesis, Deuteronomy and Isaiah.
The interface of Jewish and Christian theology has always been vexing. Partly this is because of the intrinsically incommensurate realities of the two faiths. And partly it has been because of Christian interpreters' uncritical practice of supersessionism, which has been combined with political power that is used in controlling and abusive ways.
Since starting seminary I've had the opportunity to read
through the Old Testament with a thoroughness I haven't used since my
evangelical youth group days. While building biblical literacy is something
evangelicals do very well, reading the Old Testament now reminds me how my context
shaped how I read the Bible. And it all had to do with sex.
The other night, while doing my bathtub reading of scholarly journals, I came across two references to one subject. Taken together they almost roused me from the torpor induced by the whirlpool. Not quite. But later, when I recollected that emotionless time in tranquillity, I woke up to the import of my reading.
In the film The Reader, Kate Winslet, playing an SS guard accused of great brutality, says to her meaning-seeking erstwhile partner, “Nothing comes out of the camps.” He wants to have a relationship that can restore their former joy, but in her emptiness she resists.