Have you ever visited a church that did things differently? I recently found myself in such a situation. Hymnals, unaccompanied piano, and, for me, a bit of discomfort. First of all, I didn’t really know how to use a hymnal. Who knew you skipped to the next line rather than moving sequentially down the page? As uncomfortable as this was for me, I’m sure the hymnal enthusiast would be equally disquieted by the contemporary worship service I am accustomed to. But, it’s just a matter of preference, right? Or, is it?
I recently had good friend move as far away as he could without leaving the country. I live in Spokane, Washington, the upper left corner of the United States. My friend moved to North Carolina, the lower(ish) right corner of the United States. Needless to say, I was bummed. Why? Because there is so much distance between us. It’s hard for me to understand his context, and I’m worried we will lose touch. Continue reading “A LONG TIME AGO…IN THE ANCIENT NEAR EAST: A LOOK AT HISTORICAL CONTEXT”
Literary context is one of those important principles that can be applied not only in a Biblical exposition setting, but also in an every day reading the Bible setting. It’s really pretty straightforward and does not require any special knowledge or training. It’s as simple as being mindful of just a few things as you read scripture. Oh, and if you haven’t read my intro. on context, check it out here. Continue reading “DON’T FORGET TO CHECK ABOVE AND BELOW: A LOOK AT LITERARY CONTEXT”
Think of the word tract. What does it mean? You have absolutely no way of knowing what I might be referring to when I use this single word. I could be referring to a tract of land, a digestive tract, or a small piece of religiously motivated literature commonly distributed on street corners. Continue reading “YOU TOOK THAT OUT OF CONTEXT!”
What comes to mind when you hear the word sacrifice? Its original meaning is steeped with mystery and thoughts of animals, altars and temples. Contemporarily, this term has come simply to mean giving something up for some greater purpose. Diets, exercise, less alcohol, working longer hours. We make sacrifices in order to be healthy or to provide for our families. Sometimes we sacrifice things we like because it seems to be the right thing to do. We think to ourselves, If we are giving up something that will yield a positive result, it is a worthy sacrifice or good trade. In fact, the very definition of a sacrifice, in this context, is the act of giving up something valued for something considered more important or worthy. If we are giving up some delightful food in order to shed pounds and increase our lifespan, this is a worthy sacrifice, right? If the end goal in actuality does exceed the immediate pleasure or reward, it would only seem logical to pursue that course of action. But is that all there is to sacrifice? A simple equation in which we measure the outcome of an action? If the reward is greater than the temporal pleasure, we pursue the reward? Continue reading “WHY WE SACRIFICE”