An Open Notebook

ArchiveOctober 2018

A Short History of Prayer (Part 1)


I thought it might be pertinent and profitable to do a survey of a topic, rather than dive deeply into a section, pericope, or text of Scripture. This is not to say we won’t be using our Bibles, but we will be using them cover-to-cover, rather than scuba-diving into a specific section. And, I call this survey a ‘short history of prayer’ — meaning, the Christian history of prayer. This is not a...

An Exodus Poem


Penned years ago… Precious Savior, Lord divine,     who took on God and man entwined: Life for life is death to my death,    sin’s power no more, your glory no less. Still my magnet, my soul’s attraction,    you’re my sole hope and satisfaction, and have touched a nerve I’ve never known;     though it’s tough to listen to this silent phone. But your call is vivid and colors my day,    ...

Modifying Desires & The Image of God


Following Aristotle, one of the most important characteristics of a human being (compared to plants and animals) is our ability to modify our desires. We could say this was impressed upon us as part of the ‘image of God.’ While I’m unsure as to how this works in the divine economy (the Triune God surely doesn’t change, yet is not lifeless), one of the most important parts about us is this ability...

Jesus the Bartender: The Scandal of Cana


Framing the plain sense of the Wedding at Cana is easy enough; but, becomes more tricky to articulate as we proceed. We can all relate to the shame and humiliation of the bridegroom and his beloved bride—falling short at just the worst moment. But, there is more to the story than the emotional, heart-wrenching endurance of shame. And, to resolve this dilemma, Jesus takes upon himself an...

Sir Gawain & The Green Knight (Part 4)


Gawain calls upon God as his shield; and, unlike Samson, does not yield to her petition. Like no other but a wounded lover, she shoots poisonous barbs at him through the air of her speech. The lady demands Gawain tell her if he has a dearer lover, suspecting badly a more fonder woman holds his heart and attraction back bome or elsewhere. He tells her, however, ‘he has none and will have none,’...

Sir Gawain & The Green Knight (Part 3)


Three days pass since Christmas, and the King pulls Gawain aside, thanking him for the merryment which has accompanied his arrival. The King tells him to stay until New Year’s morning, where he’ll arise to meet his  fate. Again, another challenge is proposed, one where the king will trade Gawain everything he has gained at the end of the day for everything Gawain has gained. Gawain is to stay in...

Langton’s Chapters


Stephen Langton catches a lot of grief from modern readers, scholars and students alike, for their habitual discontent with his numerical system. Upon constructing his sequence of biblical chapters, the former Archbishop of Canterbury probably published these literary divisions between his tenure of 1207 and 1228 A.D–a twenty-one year window. To say his itemizing fails to live up to...

The Songs of Scripture


Song Of The Sea (Moses & Miriam) Song Of Moses Song Of Deborah Song Of Hannah Song Of The Bow Song Of Deliverance Song Of Asaph Isaiah’s Vineyard Song Isaiah’s Song Of Praise Hezekiah’s Prayer Jonah’s Prayer Song Of Two Princes Funeral Song for Tyre Habakkuk’s Song Incarnation Songs New Testament Hymns (Christ-Songs) The Songs of Revelation References: Exodus 15 (Miriam)Deuteronomy 32-33...

How Does a Poem ‘Mean’?


John Ciardi Miller Williams cites a passage of Dicken’s book ‘Hard Times,’ alluding to the character Mr. Gradgrind as an example of people who think facts should be hard and cold, and poetic inspection should be as simple as chemical analysis. Mr. Gradgrind gives a dictionary definition of a horse, akin to how advocates of the hard sciences often think  measurements and theories related to...

Sir Gawain & The Green Knight (Part 2)


As stated in the last post, I have been paraphrasing some of the medieval literature I have been recently reading (or rereading), and hope to continue on with the story at hand, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. We left off with a peculiar ending to the last segment, Sir Gawain cutting off the head of his challenger, only for the knight to ride off alive. The deal of the challenge, its...

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