23 August 2013
Rachel Held Evans: A Year of Biblical Womanhood
Thomas Nelson, 2012. Available as a Kindle book.
SEASONS also read Evans's Evolving in Monkey Town: How a Girl Who Knew All the Answers Learned to Ask the Questions. Evans is a clever, well-read, witty author. She has a particular interest in confronting injustice and, particularly, the injustices of sexism. She is both firm and funny but she's sometimes a bit "snarky." One minute I want to throw her book across the room but the next I'm highlighting a perfectly turned phrase: "...be careful of challenging another woman's choices, for you never know when she may be sitting at the feet of God." p. 37 "...for all its glory and grandeur, the Bible contains a darkness... sometimes taking the Bible seriously means confronting the parts we don't like or understand..." p. 62 , 66 "The divine resides in all of us, but it is our choice to magnify it or diminish it, to ignore it, or to surrender to its lead." p. 73 "...most of the Bible's instructions regarding modesty find their context in warnings about materialism, not sexuality..." p. 128 "Women should not have to pry equality from the grip of Christian men. It should be surrendered willingly, with the humility and love of Jesus, or else we miss the once radical teaching that slaves and masters, parents and children, husbands and wives, rich and poor, healthy and sick, should 'submit to one another' Ephesians 5:21" p. 219 "We all go to the text looking for something, and we all have a tendency to find it. So the question we have to ask ourselves is this: Are we reading with the prejudice of love or are we reading with the prejudices of judgment and power, self-interest and greed?" p. 296
Rachel Held Evans is not afraid to ask the most controversial questions and I often read her blog. The most current one is on Responding to Homophobia in the Christian Community.
I missed the SEASONS in both June and July so I'm eager for a time to visit with my friends and to share our gleanings from
Lauren F. Winner's Mudhouse Sabbath: An Invitation to a Life of Spiritual Discipline. I very much enjoyed reading this book. Winner beautifully expresses many things that I think. She has an interesting history as a Jewish woman who converted to Christianity in her late twenties. Two of her books Girl Meets God and Faith Interrupted tell part of her story. Her perspective melds well with my own since I am a lover of Hebrew scripture. I am a seeker of "rhythms and routines" that draw "the sacred down into the everyday."."Practice is to Judaism what belief is to Christianity....Your faith might come and go, but your practice ought no to waver.... the repeating of the practice is the best way to ensure that a doubter's faith returns." Introduction. Chapter 5 p. 53 of her book is titled "tefillah prayer" and is the best short lesson on prayer that I have ever read which is saying a lot since my personal collection devotes three linear feet of shelf space to the subject. "Jewish prayer is essentially book prayer, liturgical prayer. Jews say the same set prayers, at the same fixed hours, over and over, every day. There is, to be sure, room for spontaneous prayer... but those spontaneous prayers are to liturgy what grace notes are to the musical score: They decorate, but never drown out, the central theme." "words that praise God even on the mornings when I wonder if God exists at all." Winner's sections on Sabbath, on grief, and on hospitality are instructive and life-giving. "Judaism connects physical acts to spiritual practice without somehow suggesting that the spirit is superior to the body." p. 69 I plan to get to know this author much better. http://laurenwinner.net/
We're probably going to select our next books and I'll be seconding the nomination for a novel:
John Green's The Fault in Our Stars.
22 August 2013
Ellis offers three ways to read this section of Johannine text:
- as an example of the genre of farewell discourse by a dying rabbi. “Little children” v. 13:33 is the form of address for such a discourse as is the questions and answer structure,
- as a treatise on the gap created by Jesus’ departure and the unexpected delay of his return and its effect on John’s original readers in the late first century community undergoing persecution, i.e. Bultmann's historical-critical exegesis, and
- as a text that is structured by the rules of parallelism.
"I will make a covenant of peace with them; it will be a perpetual covenant. I will establish them, increase their numbers, and place my sanctuary among them forever. My dwelling place will be with them forever and then the nations will know I am with them. I will be their God and they will become my people." Jesus makes similar statements about prayer i J T
"I will make a covenant of peace with them; it will be a perpetual covenant. I will establish them, increase their numbers, and place my sanctuary among them forever. My dwelling place will be with them forever and then the nations will know I am with them. I will be their God and they will become my people."
Jesus makes similar statements about prayer in the synoptic gospels and elsewhere in the gospel of John:
John 15:7, 16 and John 16:23-24
Traditional Hebrew prayer begins: ‘Baruch atai Adonai…” Blessed be our God. It is offered to the Creator/Ruler of the Universe.
I post it now only because it's part of a series.
It's a holiday weekend and with so many people out of town, I will once again be teaching the Open Door Class at Southwest Central Church of Christ. We've been studying the gospel of John making use of a book by Peter Ellis, The Genius of John, A Compositional-Critical Commentary on the Fourth Gospel, 1984.
We'll be discussing John 4:46-54, the second sign: Jesus heals the nobleman's son.
In Dr. Ellis' chiasmic scheme, the corresponding text is John 9:1 - 10:21: Jesus heals the man born blind.
As we have been learning the fourth gospel is a highly structured, non-chronological book. It may be divided into two major sections: The Book of Signs (1:19 - 12:50) and The Book of Glory. The gospel presents 7 Signs, 7 "I AM" statements, 7 discourses, and 7 misunderstood symbols.
There are 7 Signs (each corresponding to an "I AM" Statement. A sign is a bit different from a miracle in that it's purpose is to reveal, to make manifest Jesus' glory/deity and it results in belief. All commentaries agree on 6 signs but there is debate about the 7th:
- turns water into wine at Cana I AM the true vine
- heals the nobleman's son in Cana I AM the way, the truth, the life
- heals paralytic at pool of Bethesda I AM the door to the sheepfold
- feeds the 5,000 I AM the bread of life
- heals the man, blind since birth I AM the light of the world
- raises Lazarus in Bethany I AM the Resurrection and the Life
Ignoring these textual debates, it is safe to say that chapters 2-4 are marked as a unit by the Inclusio of "signs" and the location in Cana of Galilee. The section marks the responses to Jesus in Cana of Galilee, in Jerusalem, in Samaria, and again in Cana and Capernaum in Galilee. Key concepts are signs, seeing, and believing.
- John 1 The Baptist's testimony, trans-Jordan, water, purification, Spirit, Pharisees
- John 1:35 "come and see" "follow me"
- John 2 the wedding feast at Cana of Galilee, water, purification, wine, "the last is better than the first," the first sign to "manifest his glory," disciples believe
- John 2:13 Jerusalem, Temple, What sign? authority, believed, testimony not needed
- John 3 Discourse with Nicodemus, water, Spirit, Jesus testifies to himself, came from God, 3:19 echoes prologue.
- John 3:22 Judea, baptizing, water, purification, the Baptist testified, "comes from heaven"
- John 4 leaves Judea (because the Pharisees see baptizing more than the Baptist), to Samaria, discourse with woman at the well, living water, spirit & truth, woman says "come and see," believed and asked to stay
- John 4:46 back in Cana, a Royal Officer asks Jesus to "come and heal," Jesus will not go with him but he speaks life for the child. Jesus physical presence is not required for the miracle; his spoken word is sufficient. That identifies him as the creating Logos. The officer and his household believe.