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Posts tagged "New Testament"


The Top Ten Reasons the Lectionary Sucks and Five Half-Assed Solutions

This one comes to us from Sarah Hinlicky Wilson: A lectionary is a collection of readings for Sunday worship, ordered according to the seasons of the church year. The version most widely used by mainline Protestants is the Revised Common Lectionary, though others such as the earlier Common Lectionary and the Roman Catholic Lectionary for […]

Law and Gospel in Luther and Paul

You may not have heard, but the 500th anniversary of the unofficial start of the Protestant Reformation happened recently. Praise of Luther and his theology took my Twitter feed by storm as every theology nerd weighed in on the merits of Luther and the significance of the Reformation. This post aims to assess one of Luther’s […]

Rick Moody on the Parable of the Hidden Treasure

From the fascinating little volume Joyful Noise: The New Testament Revisited, in which a wide array of American writers offer decidedly non-academic, gut-level interpretations of NT passages. It was edited by Rick Moody (author of The Ice Storm, Right Livelihoods, and most recently my personal fave, On Celestial Music) and Darcy Steinke (Jesus Saves, Suicide Blonde, Easter Everywhere), and published in 1997. This passage from Rick’s introduction stuck out:

51GvNP+0GZL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_My own interpretation of the parable of the hidden treasure (Mark 13:44) is, somewhat ironically, rigidly allegorical…: the treasure at the heart of this story is the message of the kingdom itself, and the fact of grace offered therein — grace in spite of the way you have lived your life, grace in spite of your crimes or your peccadilloes, grace in spite of your religion, grace in spite of mean birth of lofty one, grace in spite of your sexuality or the color of your skin or your creed or anything else, grace simply because grace is what God gives. That’s the message buried in the New Testament, as treasure is buried in a field, the message often overpowered by the fire and brimstone of evangelists going all the way back to the destruction of the temple in Jerusalem, through two long millenia of Swaggarts and Robertsons. The Kingdom of Heaven, as opposed to the kingdom of PACs, multinationals, gun lobbyists, tax-exempt charitable organizations, et al., is a place of grace, and this is born out, moreover by the fact that the protagonist of the parable of the hidden treasure is a reprobate. The treasure, after all, is in somebody else’s field when he finds it. The treasure belongs to somebody else. So what kind of guy is this, who has hidden the veritable kingdom of heaven so that he can come back later and swipe it?

He’s like all of us… This hit-and-run, morally dubious miscreant is myself.

Another Week Ends: Motivated Podcasts, Inverted Envy, Doofus Batman, Evensong Revelations, Rowling Rewards, Salinger Silence, Denny Lives Again, and Watterson’s Speech

1. “Want to Win a Political Debate? Try Making a Weaker Argument” reads a headline over at The Pacific Standard, and what follows is a helpful refresher on the overpowering role of self-image when it comes to argumentation. In very Haidt-esque fashion, and with the help of some fresh research, the article claims that the […]

PZ’s Podcast: A Heartache, A Shadow, A Lifetime

EPISODE 149 Exactly 45 years ago, I began formal academic study of the New Testament. It began at Chapel Hill, transferred to Cambridge, Mass; continued in Nottingham; and concluded (tho’ not quite) at Tuebingen. Looking back on it now, the whole thing was “A Heartache, A Shadow, A Lifetime” (Dave Mason). Tho’ I still have […]

The Virtues and Vices of N.T. Wright’s After You Believe

Apparently, the original title of N.T. Wright’s After You Believe was Virtue Reborn, changed for marketing purposes in the US. It’s difficult to understand this change, except perhaps that the American Church tends toward being sanctification-heavy, and purpose-driven, and the promise of a ‘Step 2’ to follow the ‘Step 1’ of belief must be attractive […]

PZ’s Podcast: Christian Meanings of “My Sharona”

A little change-up, just in time for the weekend, we bring you the must-hear companion piece to this past Monday’s ‘cast, “My Sharona,” in which our hero, um, explains himself. Together they represent something of a summation, or, as PZ puts it, This is Grace in Practice for 2011. EPISODE 55 The Four Theses I […]

Conference Preview: Gracious Apologetics: Building Bridges to the Human Heart Through Similar Interests

I personally was really hoping that the 4th Annual Mockingbird Conference would finally be all about end time prophecy, and my break out session was going to be entitled “Are You Rapture Ready?” Alas, that is not the case so instead I will be leading a session on apologetics. I am a firm believer in […]

David Brooks Gets Inside Your Head

The final post in our neuroscience extravaganza should come as no surprise: David Brooks’ editorial in yesterday’s NY Times, “The New Humanism.” Building on the comments he made in last week’s interview with The Daily Beast, Brooks synthesizes some of the recent neuroscience findings in a characteristically digestible way, offering us another preview of his […]

Another Week Ends: U-Bending Happiness, South Park Religion, Charlie Sheen, Louie CK, Friday Night Lights

1. From one of the December issues of The Economist, some interesting findings about “Age and Happiness”. The main discovery being the “U-Bend” – i.e. the finding that people are happiest in their youth and old age, and least happy in between. The most relevant section for us has to do with “the death ambition” […]

The Humbling of Oscar Wilde, Part 3

The follow is the third of four posts highlighting the deeply Christian thought of Oscar Wilde while serving time in Reading Gaol. Having been given a Greek New Testament for reading, Wilde thinks about the suffering of his life and the person of Christ in a fresh way. The passage below reflects a version of […]

“Wake me up inside…” (part 6): Karl Barth’s Doctrine of Reconciliation (iv.1.58) **final**

(iv.1.58.4 cont.) In a final turn, Barth deals with the dependence of the individual on community and the community on individuals; of the Christian on the Church and the Church on the Christian. For, “there cannot be one without the other”. The Holy Spirit assembles and sustains the Church, Christianity, not as a heap of […]