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Archive for September, 2014

Life with people often seems like a storm of chaos, intending to damage.

We are violent. If we cannot imagine striking out with our fists, then we destroy with a word, a sneer, the quick and lethal rolling of two eyes. With our need to voice disagreement with anything and anyone, as though the world waited breathlessly to know what I think about things that hardly matter. (more…)

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The faint heart is often insomniac. What is it about the 3:00 a.m. hour, so full of worries, fears, and untimely wakefulness? As though on schedule, eyes open and the faint heart races. Life’s shadows loom taller and more menacing than usual. Improbable fears seem perfectly plausible. Things that will shrink into proportion in the light of day take the shape of lethal threats and impassable walls. The sixty-first psalm relieves us of at least one of our disabling fears: that we cannot pray because our heart is faint. (more…)

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A studied self-interest and the concern for community pervade the realism of the biblical Proverbs.

The wisdom of this anthology is neither romantic nor sentimental. The student applies himself to knowledge because there is a career to forge, a life to plan, a community to construct. Distractions abound, blind alleys lie to the right and left. The environment demands a certain steely, interested resolve. (more…)

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Bon appétit!, we say, and we tuck excitedly into the feast. Eyes bigger than stomach. So many dishes, so little time.

Where power is in play and self-restraint is absent, the banquet becomes a feast of death.

When you sit down to eat with a ruler, observe carefully what is before you, and put a knife to your throat if you have a big appetite. Do not desire the ruler’s delicacies, for they are deceptive food. (Proverbs 23:1–3 NRSV)

The Bible carves out a celebrated space for feasting. The biblical witness is no killjoy. It knows how to fast, when things come down to that, but it enjoys a good meal when they don’t. (more…)

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