What to do when the Bible offends your cultural sensitivities

Excerpted from a sermon by Tim Keller.

1) Consider the possibility that the Bible text doesn’t teach what you think it teaches.

As a young man, Keller was upset by the way the Patriarchs in the book of Genesis treated women, with the particular regard to the customs of polygamy and paying of bride-price. And then he read The Art of Biblical Narrative by Robert Alter, an expert in ancient Jewish literature. In this book, Alter points out that there were two widespread institutions in the middle-eastern cultures of that time, namely polygamy and primogeniture. When you read Genesis, in every generation, polygamy wreaks havoc. Similarly, in every generation, God favours the younger son over the older (Abel, not Cain; Jacob, not Esau, etc). God was not-so-subtly subverting culture. Therefore,the Bible is doing quite the opposite of upholding these institutions. Continue reading

Peter, Peter

Peter is my favourite apostle, for the simple fact that he’s the one I can most easily identify with. Throughout the Gospels he says and does regrettable things; when the Holy Spirit gets a hold of him, he’s utterly transformed from Simon (shaky) to Peter (rock). Continue reading

10 words I’ve learned in the last 10 weeks

Way back when I was in primary school, I’d learn new words that I’d subsequently use in writing compositions. We actually got marks for the number of big words we used, and so the tendency was to stuff in as many as possible. Nowadays, I’ve no outlet for any of the big words I learn—none that is, except this blog. Here goes:

  1. Hendiadys
  2. Syzygy (One episode of X-Files is titled Syzygy)
  3. Bathetic
  4. Venal
  5. Apophthegm
  6. Parlous
  7. Aposiopesis
  8. Anodyne
  9. Paraleipsis
  10. Apophasis

I am greatly satisfied to see red squiggly spell-checker  lines under #s 1, 2, 5, 7, 9 and 10!


Review of ‘The almost true story of Ryan Fisher’ (a novel)

The almost true story of Ryan Fisher: cover
The almost true story of Ryan Fisher: cover

I have previously blogged about some spiritually and intellectually engaging books. To soften my image, I blogged about a DVD series. Now, to further soften my image, I’m reviewing a work of fiction, The almost true story of Ryan Fisher by Rob Stennett.

Here’s a quick summary from Amazon.com:

Meet Ryan Fisher. He’s young, energetic, and needs an edge in the real estate market. He’s found the perfect niche: Christians. His business doubles when he advertises in the Christian business directory, and he begins to think he could really cash in by planting a church. But when the church takes off, Ryan is in over his head. Continue reading