After scripture scholar Phyllis Trible lectured on the story in Judges 19 about a woman who was gang-raped, murdered and dismembered, a woman came up to Trible weeping, saying that she too had been raped, and didn’t know the Bible contained "her" story. Rather than being offended by its inclusion, the woman felt blessed by it. “You never throw away any part of the Bible,” says Trible. “You never know when . . . it will relate to a reader.”
The hidden Jesus: After the end of the Japanese occupation of Burma in 1945, the minority population of Christians feared for their lives in the face of some Buddhist mobs. Myanmar theologian Anna May Chain said that during this time her family was taken in by friendly Muslims—the males were hidden in a mosque and the females were led from one safe house to another. Later they were sheltered in a prison where Buddhists jeopardized their own well-being by bringing them food, medicine and clothes. They finally found refuge in a convent run by Catholics, then considered “outsiders” by Protestants. At this very vulnerable time in the life of her family, said Chain, Muslims, Buddhists and Catholics were like Jesus to them, offering hospitality and charity (address at the World Council of Churches Ninth Assembly).
Dr. Spin: A seminary class was debating whether the Garden of Eden story (Gen. 2-3) reinforces or resists the oppression of women when one student interjected: “It’s all just spin anyway. You can spin the text any way you want.” But Professor Jacqueline Lapsley, ruminating on the unlikely story about Balaam and his donkey (Num. 22-24), says two principles of biblical interpretation can guard against spin: our interpretation shouldn’t reinforce our own self-interest, and it should serve the larger purposes of God, that is, God’s love “for Israel, for the church and for the whole world” (Interpretation, January).
Military action against Iran is unwarranted and unwise: one, a nuclear threat is not imminent. Two, the U.S. and Israel’s military superiority should discourage Iran from aggressive action. Three, the destruction of Iran’s nuclear facilities would be difficult: they are widely dispersed, with many in underground bunkers. Four, Iran has the means with which to retalliate. Five, Iran could embargo its oil and plunge the world into deep depression. Finally, military action would strengthen hardline Islamists (Richard Falk, the Nation, Feb. 13).
Reallivepreacher: "The lion's roar came out of the age of enlightenment. It was the roar of freedom. It was the roar of truth. It was the roar of the victor standing over the body of his vanquished foe. It was an angry roar, and the lion had good reason to be angry."