An Open Notebook

ArchiveSeptember 2018

The Gifts of Leviticus


In Leviticus, one was required to give unblemished sheep to the Lord, the first of your flock (Lev. 4:32). Only domesticated animals, ones you’d raised, put money, time, effort, investment, could be dedicated to the Lord (Lev. 1:2). And thus, we have a principle, that your best should go to the Lord, things to which you’ve committed energy. Sacrifice that isn’t costly, isn’t sacrifice. We are to...

Jesus’s Temple Cleansing


Politics and ethics are locked within an endless battle. Our politics conflict with our ethics, and our ethics with our politics. Politics, of course, are simply ‘policies,’ how we interact with people. Ethics, are ideals, principles, and goals. The ultimate Christian ethic, of course, is the greatest command, to love the Lord with all your heart, soul, and strength...

Swimming Angels


In the song, ‘Our Last Night‘ by Better Than Ezra, Kevin Griffin sings about a woman who seems to have taught him to view the world not just scientifically, by definition, but visual-poetically. He asks the rhetorical question, “Wasn’t it you who told me the sun would always chase the day? — Wasn’t it you who told me?” Angels fly in the air tonight Saying...

Counting Crows, ‘When I Dream of Michelangelo’


An Inquiry into the Theological Anthropology of Adam Duritz: Adam Duritz, a songwriter of Jewish heritage from San Francisco, suddenly entered the public scene early in the 1990’s, having started a band named Counting Crows. After publishing their first album, August and Everything After, Duritz’s alternative, folk-rock band rose from the ashes of previous popular music (at least in...

Judges as a Joke


Somewhere between the quarry of myth (the family history) and the stories of judges is the ‘joke’ which the reader is supposed to participate in, whether you accept or reject the exact spin of the underlying assertions. It is a political-theological-ethical game, with all three simultaneously intertwined, a language which uses the ‘vocabulary’ of genesis, the ‘grammar’ of family history, to...

Gideon, Shadow of Abraham


Gideon has been painted by the author as the shadow of Abraham; the evidence for such is fairly clear once strung together. His major life-events are viewed in prominently in light of how they compare to Abraham. And, if Gideon was portrayed in the shadow of Abraham, there is, of course, and increased probability that Jephthah, the next judge, is also to be compared to the penultimate...

Lost Horizons


Lost Horizons, by the Gin Blossoms, describes how desperately people desire change. The song begins with a description how ordinary work and play lulls people into a pattern of sin: The last horizons I can see Are filled with bars and factories And in them all we fight to stay awake…  Then, after painting this melodramatic scene, the chorus dreams of elixirs and magic...

Desire in Three Worldviews


Christianity has always made the claim ‘God is love’ (1 John 4:8), and a hermeneutic of love (Jesus’s way of reading the law). Love seems to be desire refined, reformed, and covenanted. Eastern religions have a tendency to suppress human passions, the act of becoming passive, aloof and removed from the world being the name of the game. Naturalism and secularism have a tendency...

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