Monthly Archives: January 2014

On studying the Old Testament…

I despair of so much of contemporary evangelical Old Testament scholarship.  It is too often tired, insipid, lame and predictable.  It feels like it rides the text for as long as it stays in safe pasture, but gets off as soon as the unruly steed heads out for the wilder places.  It flattens out the fizz, tames the troublesome and reasons away the reckless.  I feel cheated.

The source of my ire is an article in “Presence, Power and Promise” called “Bezalel and Ohaliab: Spirit and Creativity”.  There is so much to be said in this Exodus story about art, about culture, about the relationship between human creation and the original creative act, when is art spiritual and when is it not, how do we create in the world of the second commandment (commandment 1b if you are using the Catholic numbering system). I want to make connections with Mozart and U2 and Rembrandt and Dylan.  I remember I wanted to read this at the funeral of great grandfather – a loveable rogue who survived the second world and who loved to paint (including a very passable copy of Rembrandt’s self portrait).   I want to know where the Spirit leads me in the art form to which I have been led – preaching. Continue reading

Where Barbara Has Been Preaching

The last part of Barbara Brown Taylor’s marvellous book on preaching (the first part is really about vocation) is a selection of her sermons.

These are:

One step at a time – Mark 3:38-39 – It takes a lot of courage to be a human being

The Fourth Watch – Mark 6:48-50 – a discussion of Mark’s shorter story

I am who I am – John 8:25 – Talks about her own conversion experience, the world was different

The Tenth Leper – Luke 17 – The awkward man who came into the Church – we know where the nine are

Do Love – Luke 10:36-37

The opposite of rich – Mark 10:22-23 – The rich young man

The One to Watch – Mark 12:41-42 – On the widow’s mite

Knowing Glances – Matthew 25:37-38 – The parable of the sheep and the goats

The Voice Of The Shepherd – John 10:25-27

The Lost and Found Department – Luke 15:4-5

None of Us Is Home Yet – Matthew 6:26

The Prodigal Father – Luke 15:11-12

Surviving Eden – Genesis 3:6 – We got out of Eden, another story about Adam and Eve, making the most of the life that we have




December 8, 2013 – transcript is here.

Talks about the burdens that we carry.  How we expect the worst because then we will be ready for it when it happens.

Jesus said that he would take our burdens away, he said that his yoke was light, he said “My peace I give to you” – and no one next to him said “What are you talking about, you are just as wound up as the rest of us.”

Asked Dallas Willard if he could choose one word to describe Jesus, what would it be and he said “relaxed”.

Talks about God in his dwelling place, in his temple, and rest being the same thing as engagement.  Sabbath is a reminder that we are living in someone else’s house, that God is taking control.

Talks about from Hebrews making every effort to enter sabbath rest and how this requires intention and time apart.

Talks about rituals that remind us of the goodness of God.

I have a friend who believes science disproves faith

John Ortberg 5th January 2014.  Transcript is here.

Another very erudite and researched talk which makes me want to be more disciplined with my reading.

Begins with Materialism vs Religion

“Since men have been able to think, two views have been held.  First, there is what is called the materialist view.  People who take that view thank that matter and space just happen to exist, and always have existed, nobody knows why, and that the matter, behaving in certain fixed ways, has just happened, by a sort of fluke, to produce creatures like ourselves who are able to think…

“The other view is the religious view.  According to it, what is behind the universe is more like a mind than it is like anything else we know.  That is to say, it is conscious, and has purposes, and prefers one thing to another.” C.S. Lewis.

What Lewis then points out is that it is wrong to think that one of these views is new and another is old.

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