What Should a Male Feminist Think of Our Messy Bible?


run-down-Bible

This is part of our series on Male Feminist Theology.

First, I have to say up front: this has been the hardest post of this series (so far).  Today we’ll talk about the theology of the Bible, in the next post we’ll talk about the actual content of the Bible. But first, let’s get the big picture again (because it’s been a while). 

There’s no such thing as a “neutral” theology. All articulations of theology are more sensitive to certain assumptions and concerns than others. What we historically conceive of as “regular ol’ theology” is, historically speaking, White Western Male Theology.

This series is an attempt to sketch a theology attuned to the heart of God towards our sisters all over the world who suffer more than any other single group. Women are (and always have been) by far the most abused, oppressed, poverty-stricken, and marginalized people globally. Therefore, I think there is a need for theology that speaks to this and frankly, our classical Western theology has come up short.

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The Word of God is not written in ink [QUOTE]


“We receive God’s promises only when they are confirmed by the blood of Christ … we hear God speaking to us only when we see Christ offering himself as a pledge in what is said to us. If we could only get it into our heads that the Word of God we read is written not so much with ink as with the blood of the Son of God.”

–John Calvin, Commentary on Hebrews

(from Martha L. Moore-Keish’s excellent book, Do This in Remembrance of Me)

#Marginalia Weekly Round-Up #5 [3/24-30/14]


Marginalia is a section of this blog dedicated to (mostly) short reflections, meditations, questions, and difficulties I have while going through my Bible reading plan. I’m still trying to figure out the best pace at which to post these, so be patient with me. To aid in helping people engage with these posts, every weekend I post a round-up of all of Marginalia posts that appeared during that week. This list is in biblical canonical order.

Genesis

History, Theology, & Wrestling with God | Genesis 32.24-32

When morning came, it was Leah | Genesis 33.10

How Christians can read Old Testament horror  | Genesis 34.25-31

Exodus

God’s Sovereignty, Moses’ Will | Exodus 3.4

Our infinitely compassionate (and delegating) God | Exodus 3.7-8

The Proof that God’s Right? When He Is.  | Exodus 3.11-12

Who God is When We’ve Forgotten Who He is | Exodus 3.13-15

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#Marginalia Weekly Round-Up #4 [3/17-23/14]


Marginalia is a section of this blog dedicated to (mostly) short reflections, meditations, questions, and difficulties I have while going through my Bible reading plan. I’m still trying to figure out the best pace at which to post these, so be patient with me. To aid in helping people engage with these posts, every weekend I post a round-up of all of Marginalia posts that appeared during that week. This list is in biblical canonical order.

Genesis

Responding to the Covenant | Genesis 17:10

God & Sarah: one of the most beautiful verses in the Bible | Genesis 21.1

The Echoes of History &  Abraham| Genesis 24.22-23

And the story moves from Abraham to Isaac… | selections from Genesis 26

God’s Camp is Our Camp | Genesis 32:1

Wrestling with God: History & Theology | Genesis 32.24-32

Responding to the Covenant | Genesis 35.9-13

Exodus

Moses the Levite? | Exodus 2:12

Moses the Shepherd | Exodus 3.1

A quick note on why everything you think about angels might be wrong | Exodus 3.2

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#Marginalia Weekly Round-Up #3 [3/8-16/14]


Marginalia is a section of this blog dedicated to (mostly) short reflections, meditations, questions, and difficulties I have while going through my Bible reading plan. I generally post between 1 to 3 of these per day, which can be difficult to keep up with. To aid in helping people engage with these posts, every weekend I post a round-up of all of Marginalia posts that appeared during that week. This list is in biblical canonical order.

Pastors, Purification, & Their People | Nehemiah 12:30

There is an order to pastoring. We’d do well to heed it.

Covenantal Confusion (on my part) | Genesis 6:18

Noah Covenant “versus” Abraham Covenant. Go!

The Saving Call of Christ: you’re already saved | Matthew 9.13

Be who you are.

The God of Chance & Randomness | Genesis 13.14-18

God gave his people some glorious sloppy seconds.

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#Marginalia Weekly Round-Up #2 [3/3-7/14]


Marginalia is a section of this blog dedicated to (mostly) short reflections, meditations, questions, and difficulties I have while going through my Bible reading plan. I generally post between 1 to 3 of these per day, which can be difficult to keep up with. To aid in helping people engage with these posts, every weekend I post a round-up of all of Marginalia posts that appeared during that week. This list is in biblical canonical order.

Haha. Such a great narrative turn. | Genesis 6.5-8

Haha.

Weirdest. Love story. Ever. | Genesis 29.10-12

The OT has some great stories to tell great truths. It’s love stories, however…

You marry a family | Genesis 29.13-14

In which the father of the bride says Adam’s marital vows to the future son-in-law.

Politics & Tithe | Ezra 8.35-36

Some interesting church/state arrangements here

The Economics of the Soul | Nehemiah 13:19-21

How capitalism can kill our souls.

Pastoring the Sabbath | Nehemiah 13:22

Here’s one pastoral task we often miss.

Esther is no Sunday School role-model | Esther 2.8-9

Turn on some slow jams and read this. Also be sure to catch the comments.

Esther & Political Advocacy by God’s People| Esther 4.3,8 [DOUBLE-HEADER]

This is why I started this series. Read this, and then read the comments. My mind was blown. Hopefully yours will be as well.

The Holy Spirit exorcizes, no matter who you are | Matthew 12:24-28

It seems the Holy Spirit shows no favoritism.

Love your neighbor…even other denominations | Matthew 22:34-40

Bet you never caught the context of this key verse….

Paul’s ministry thesis & maybe Theophilus’ identity? | Acts 28.23-31

We get a little deep into some reader-response literary criticism and biblical studies.

Preaching the Gospel to Christians | Romans 1:14-16

The Gospel. Is. Everything.

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See other Marginalia here. Read more about the series here.

#Marginalia Weekly Round-Up #1 [2/24-28/14]


Marginalia is a section of this blog dedicated to (mostly) short reflections, meditations, questions, and difficulties I have while going through my Bible reading plan. I generally post between 1 to 3 of these per day, which can be difficult to keep up with. To aid in helping people engage with these posts, every weekend I post a round-up of all of Marginalia posts that appeared during that week. This list is in biblical canonical order.

Death & Life; Names & Vows | Genesis 3.20-21

Adam names Eve only after the Fall. Why?

Noah, Prophecy, & the Comfort of the Earth | Genesis 5.28-29

Noah’s name is interestingly prophetic…

Abraham’s son Ishmael was part of Covenant! | Genesis 17.23-27

This blew my mind. I’m still trying to work through the implications.

Abraham almost loses his son & he worships?! | Genesis 22.13-14

This is why Abraham was the Father of our faith. I couldn’t do it.

Insecurity Leads to Fasting? | Ezra 8:21-23

On sin and spiritual discipline.

Male Headship & Societal Injustice | Esther 1:17-22

A longer one (also part of our Women in the Church series). Some lessons for our Complementarian friends from the book of Esther.

Universal Intimacy: The Beautiful Transition | Matthew 11:25-39

This is what Christian Universalism looks like.

What Draws Out Jesus’ Compassion? | Matthew 15.32

It might not be what you think.

Women at the Cross | Matthew 27:55-54

The Gospels really make an effort to highlight the women. Why?

Who Sent Whom? | Acts 13.2-4

Beautiful words about God’s work through us.

The Good News changes, the Good News gifts | Acts 20.32

The proclamation has got a lot to it.

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See other Marginalia here. Read more about the series here.

Introducing Marginalia: a new part of this blog


schrott-bibles-paul-coffee

I’ll be honest. It’s been years since I’ve been able to find a way to regularly read the Bible that sticks and works for me. To be frank, readings plans usually don’t work for me because I get bored. Depending on the plan, you’re either stuck in the same book for long stretches of time or you’re jumping around so much that you lose the sense of the whole.
This year, I think I’ve started a regimen that is clicking: the M’Cheyne Bible reading plan. At any given time, I’m going through four completely different part of Scripture and for me, this is keeping me really engaged. As I’ve gone on through the plan these past couple of months, I started highlighting and writing up little notes on random verses here and there. Lots of themAnd I’d like to share them with you.

So today, I’m introducing a new little part of this blog called Marginalia, where I’ll be posting these short little meditations on Scripture as I go through this plan.
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The Best Bible Resource I’ve Ever Read [casual fri]


To do this Bible Class that has consumed the past few months of my life (and this blog–I swear I’ll stop talking about it soon), I had to read a lot of stuff, including these (as well as their New testament counterparts). I checked out stuff from the Philadelphia library, and watched a bunch of lectures from iTunesU (especially these). I looked through commentaries and websites and articles and handbooks and sermons.

In other words, I at least glanced over a lot.

But there was one resource that I found more helpful, clear, and amazing than any other Bible resource I’ve ever found. No exaggeration. No hyperbole. I’m serious.

It’s a pair of textbooks (one on the Old Testament, one on the New, one combined with both) written by a theologian I had never heard of before. his name is John Drane (here’s his painfully poor-designed website as well). Yes, textbooks. And I read most of the Old Testament one and all of the New Testament one.

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Using the Bible to Meet with God


Last week, I asked a bunch of you how you go about using the Bible and the study of its contents to actually nourish your soul and meet with God. I got some great responses both here and on Facebook. This week, I wanted to put up how I ended up approaching this during the class I taught at my church. It’s super short, not very deep, and much more can/should/will be said. For what it is, I hope it’s genuinely helpful and speaks to how we might meet God through the Scriptures.

How do we move from the Facts of the Bible to the God of the Bible? From knowing the Bible, to knowing the Person? From Scripture being informational to formational?

The Meeting Place of God

As I said in the first class I taught, the Bible is not the passive “Revelation of God”. It is the place through which the Holy Spirit actively “reveals God” to us. When it comes to the Bible, we should start thinking more in verbs, not nouns. The Bible is “simply” a meeting place for God and his people, where he might meet them as he desires, by His Spirit.

When we meet God in Scripture, its the convergence of four things: Us and our faith, God and His Spirit.
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MUST-READ: “Why I Will Not Divorce the Bible” by Jared Byas


My fellow former-Westminsterian (and co-author of a book I plugged a few weeks ago), Jared Byas, just posted an incredible blog post on his blog, Seeking the Good & Claiming it for the Kingdom. The post is called “Why I Will Not Divorce the Bible” and he articulates in such clear prose and winsome graciousness many of the thoughts and perspectives I have when engaging the Bible and then turning to engage the world around me.

Byas writes about how Evangelicals and theological “progressives” both end up devaluing the Bible and not truly respecting it or being “married” to it. He does a great job of exposing the reductionism of both sides as they use various techniques to keep the Bible at arm’s length so they don’t really have to deal with it as it is. (I’ve written similarly before.)
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The Best Wedding Scripture Reading Ever (Marriage Blessings, Andrew & Laura!)


One of my dearest friends got married two weeks ago. He had originally asked me to do this Scripture Reading at the wedding. But unfortunately, the drive from Philly to Newark, Ohio is a long one, and many variables can make for much delay, and indeed, this is what happened. Anyway, to add to the pain of this loss, this particular set of Scriptures that I was going to have the honor of reading just happens to be the best set of Scripture readings I’ve ever encountered for a wedding. No Song of Solomon or 1 Corinthians 13 here; just a proper and exegetically sound exploration of the sweeping story of God’s relationship with his own Bride, the Church. Therefore, I felt compelled to share these verses with you today.

Andrew and Laura, I pray that this feeble attempt at publicly participating in the celebration of your union communicates the love and grace of our Lord to your hearts.  May it bless you.

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Of Liturgy, Communion, and Relationship [a liturgy]


[This weekend, I had the privilege of helping lead the prayers and liturgy at my church. I thought I would post my manuscript up for all to read and take part in as well. I hope this blesses you to read as it blessed me to write.]

Greeting and Preparation

Leader: The Lord be with you.
People: And also with you.

Hello, my name is Paul, and welcome to Liberti: South Philly. We are a community of people–people with struggles, doubts, addictions, and frustrations–who are still in the process of figuring out what it means to believe in this God we believe in, and relate to Him and others in a way that reflects that belief. This may be your first time here or your hundredth, but either way we want to welcome you all and we hope that your time here today is meaningful.

The part of the Christian faith we will be talking about today is that of community and relationships. Most likely all of us in here have our own sets of insecurities, uncertainties, and baggage concerning this topic. Our relationships seem to be the area that can frustrate us like no other; the area that it appears no amount of mere intellectual knowledge can change. It is often the source of our greatest joys, our deepest sorrows, and our most profound change.

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Some Protestant Leftovers on Scripture & Inerrancy


The other day I posted an article on how Roman Catholics look at Scripture. When I originally wrote it, it was far too long to post online in its entirety. Therefore, I cut out some chunks, that I’d like to post now. They are mainly on how I believe the current landscape is in typical Evangelicalism in America. I know I’m using broad strokes to talk about these things, but I assure you, this mindset is still very strong, especially in the South. Here it is:

Oh, the Bible. It’s the lifeblood of the Church. It’s our backbone. Why? Well, the logic goes like this: there’s a God who’s so far beyond our understanding that we can know nothing of Him unless He reveals it to us. That’s what Christian believe the Bible is–the revelation of God. This may sound fairly simple–and it is, in one sense–but in some areas, this truth of Scripture sometimes brings more confusion and disagreement than clarity and insight. Because, let’s face it, it’s difficult to grasp that the God that is SOOOO beyond our understanding revealed himself through–of all mediums–a book? And what’s more: this book? It’s tough to read many (most?) parts of the Bible and think “this is the revelation of GOD.”

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Catholics on Scripture and Inerrancy


Oh, the Bible. It’s the lifeblood of the Church. It’s our backbone. But there’s so much we don’t get, and the culture both within and without the Protestant Church hasn’t helped. In its response to the Enlightenment, Evangelicals adopted the ground rules and assumptions that undergird modernism, namely, that Truth must be something that has a one-to-one correlation to things in created reality (as opposed to Ultimate Reality–God Himself), therefore making science and history the only vehicles for this Truth. This has caused so many problems with the rest of the world when talking about a little doctrine: Inerrancy which means, at its simplest level, that the Bible contains no “errors”. What does that mean?

Catholics can help us answer this. I fear that Evangelicalism is becoming increasingly irrelevant to the current discussion on nearly every front because of these improper assumptions about Scripture.   Catholics, though, were having these discussions in the Middle Ages! They have largely already dealt with the things that we Protestant are only now encountering issues with. This gave them a foundation that let them maintain intellectual and biblical credibility in light of the Enlightenment and now modernism. Here’s what they say about Scripture in the Catholic Catechism:

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