Paul in 2 Corinthians informs readers that his escape from Damascus was an escape from the governor under King Aretas.
Luke in Acts informs readers that Paul’s escape from Damascus was an escape from Jews hiding in ambush at the city gates.
Pervo exposes the nonsense of Luke’s narrative and suggests why he chose to re-write 2 Corinthians the way he did. Continue reading “Paul’s basket escape from Damascus: the nonsense of the Acts narrative”
It’s happening at last. Iraqis are finally coming together to form a united front for American values like liberty, the right to bear arms, to rid their country of foreign influence, and terrorists too, at last.
From The Associated Press comes the report: Six Iraqi insurgent groups announce formation of a “political council” to liberate Iraq
updated 10.20 am
Continuing notes from one Marlene Winell‘s Leaving the Fold. Previous posts are archived here.
This is a tough one to write about because I’m not sure I’ve really come to terms with the extent of my own past denials.
Winell does quote a lengthy letter from an MK (missionary kid) and I’ll repeat a small section that does remind me of one of my past parenting moments:
As I got older, true to the family pattern, I was hard on my little brother. He went to Mom and said that I hated him. Mom said, “No, he doesn’t hate you,” and dismissed it, even though that is what I had said. (p.125)
The above letter goes on to describe the son’s attempts to discuss family issues with a mother who finds it too difficult or painful to admit reality — who avoids it and only speaks of things getting better all the time. Continue reading “Dysfunctional fundamentalist families (9): Fantasy and Denial”
The Gospel of Mark contains a story about the call of Levi, a tax collector, to follow Jesus as one of his disciples, but then mystifies readers by not listing this person in the ranks of the famous Twelve. The reason this omission is so mystifying is that the call of Levi is described in a way that sounds every bit as if the reader is meant to see his calling on the same level of distinctiveness as the calling of the very leaders of the Twelve, Peter, James and John.
But to me the mystery is clarified when we interpret the two callings through the same frameworks we use to generally interpret Mark’s other double-up stories. Continue reading “The Call of Levi not to be one of the Twelve”
(updated 3:20 pm)
I’ve posted repeatedly reasons for believing the Gospel of Mark was an attack on that school of Christianity that claimed to trace its roots to the Twelve Apostles, and this post is a continuation of that theme although with a couple of new explorations into the interpretation of the gospel.
I’ve relied heavily in the past on the parable of the sower, following Tolbert’s Sowing the Gospel in this. But there is another prominent parable or maxim presented before this one and it is on that one, the sayings about the new cloth being sown into an old garment and new wine being poured into old wineskins, that is the fulcrum of my interpretation of Mark in the following snippet. Continue reading “The Twelve Apostles Among the Old Wineskins?”
Australian journalist Leigh Sales won the 2007 George Munster Award for Independent Journalism as a result of her book Detainee 002: the case of David Hicks.
In her speech in acknowledging this Award she expressed some bemusement at being accused of being in effect too fair or aggravatingly fair. That piqued my interest enough to fast track this book to the top of my “to read” list. (Leigh Sales speech is available on podcast here.)
Fair it is regarding the facts of the history of David Hicks and the history and nature of the legal issues surrounding his trial. The aggravation to my mind comes from Leigh Sales implication that a “pragmatic” approach, the approach she clearly favours, is the only truly humane and caring position for David Hicks as a person. Continue reading “Detainee 002: the case of David Hicks / Leigh Sales”
Continuing notes from one Marlene Winell‘s Leaving the Fold. Although Family Background is the focus of this series of blog notes it is only one of 15 chapters in this book. Previous posts are archived here.
Consider the spiritual family model upheld by many Christian fundamentalists:
- God is the Father
- Jesus is the Son
- The Church is the Bride
- Christians are the children of the Father, and see themselves as brothers and sisters
Winell is not the only one to find it curious, even disturbing, that there is no Mother in this model. Continue reading “Dysfunctional fundamentalist families (8): contradictions”
Language has been manipulated by leaders since 9/11 to instill a state of fear and war in our minds. A new book by academic Mary Zournazi, Keywords to War: reviving language in an age of terror, discusses many of the words manipulated today for this intent. In the process she looks at how the same words have reflected different cultural values since their inception. I outline here her discussion of the history of the word “faith”. Zournazi compares today’s manipulation of the word with reference to Simone Weil‘s criticism of how the word’s use and meaning in the Nazi era. Continue reading “Faith : a keyword to war (or peace)”
Another MHR (“most highly recommended”) Podcast of a Late Night Live (LNL) program on ABC Radio National (only available online another few weeks).
Dr Marc Sageman, an expert on terrorism and counter-terrorism, uses historical analogies to argue that Islamic jihadism does have a limited shelf life. He believes that the zeal of jihadism is self-terminating and that eventually its followers will reject violence as a means of expressing discontent. Given this scenario, do we have our counter-terrorism strategy right? — blurb on the LNL Leaderless Jihad program website.
Additional links to Marc Sageman’s works: Continue reading “Leaderless Jihad”
(updated 6:50 am)
If Mark wanted to show that the Twelve were not reliable witnesses and that they collectively withered and died at the Passion of Jesus, he had a problem with Judas. (For background discussion to this see my earlier post.)
Judas (always labeled “one of the twelve” as if that association alone were enough to taint his reputation) worked well enough to stage a betrayal scene. But the betrayal also created a problem. Continue reading “Mark’s Judas problem: binding the kiss and the sword”
I found Liverani’s comparative analysis of the Babylonian and Hebrew myths interesting enough to share here. He dismisses earlier attempts to force relationships between the former with the Genesis account as failures because they attempt to impute themes and meanings where they do not really exist.
Liverani does see a structural relationship between the two myths, however, and when that structure is understood then not only points of comparison stand out, but also an explanation for their differences becomes apparent. Continue reading “Comparing the myths of Adapa and Adam, prototypes of priest and humankind”
I used to think that the best thing I could possibly do to get along with my spouse was to stay close to, even closer to, um, someone else!
Having a God who fills all our emotional needs can be great when it comes to our relationships with others. We can all claim the status of being “children” and focus on our own personal relationship with our heavenly Parent — and pray for one another, and our growing children. Easy. Or if we don’t like it sounding easy we could rather pray with sweat and tears and great agony of love for others. Make ourselves as saintly as possible.
But then when we return to our families we can feel closer to God than to them. Continue reading “Dysfunctional fundamentalist families (7): avoidance of responsibility”
(the full series is archived in the “RELIGION:Book reviews:Winell” category in the right column)
A dedicated religious life can be so busy (part of the problem but that’s another topic) that I used to draw up a priority list to help me keep my energies “correctly focussed” at all times. At the top of the list was always “God” or words similar to what that idea meant.
Continue reading “Dysfunctional fundamentalist families (6): ever-present higher purpose”