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Archive for October, 2007

For a man who occasionally becomes quite difficult to comprehend, Paul and his tradition have only the most modest tolerance for people who complicate straight-forward things.

Indeed, a case can be made that Paul’s impatience with what he calls ‘false doctrine’ is intensely pastoral. He considers that endless debate about minutiae and the reflective traditions that find it necessary to fill all silences with noisy speculation confuse people who would otherwise find obedience to the truth an uncomplicated reflex. When Paul is considered to be doctrinaire, he is more often than not exercising a pastoral instinct for simplicity. (more…)

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For a man who occasionally becomes quite difficult to comprehend, Paul and his tradition have only the most modest tolerance for people who complicate straight-forward things. (more…)

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Jeremiah comes down to us not only as the weeping prophet. He is also a most realistic seer.

The text allows us to intuit the presence of many prophetic good-timers, making their rounds in the streets of besieged Babylone and claiming against the evidence of the Babylonian troops just over the wall that Yahweh would never allow his prime time city to be destroyed. They proclaimed an imminent miracle, an inviolable city, and an unconditional divine choice. (more…)

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For ears like the one attached to both sides of this blogger’s head, ‘sound doctrine’ has an unpleasant ring.

The baggage is heavy. It seems the pious moniker of a narrow orthodoxy’s obsession with reigning in any inquisitive soul who might dare to follow the evidence where it leads. To a biblical scholar it hints at the wished-for sovereignty that is credited to more ‘systematic’ theologians over the messiness of the biblical text and its stubborn resistance to being reduced to, well, ‘doctrine’. Let alone sound doctrine, which suggests an even finer net. (more…)

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Twila Paris did not develop one of the most loyal fan bases in Christian music by blowing their ears off. If smoke is found on any stage on which Paris performs, it’s evidence of a short circuit rather than choreographed dry ice.

Ms. Paris is not spectacular. She is merely very, very good, song after song, one well-considered, hope-mongering tune after another. (more…)

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‘Where is Yahweh?’

It seems an obvious question to be heard on the lips of a people whose recent past Yahweh has permeated with redemptive actions on their behalf. When it is not heard, the prophet suggests, the silence is not only deafening but accusing as well. (more…)

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On balance, it’s probably a good thing that the Historical Guy who decided we should be clean shaven was handed that decision. Otherwise, he might have got himself up to some even more lethal project.

As things stand now, a man’s face is one of life’s great hostile environments, what with the scraping we do every morning and the stressing throughout the day. The surface of Mars beats us out only by a few toxic gases and we’re occasionally capable of giving even that one a run for its money. (more…)

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