Have you ever opened the Old Testament and just wondered what in the world was going on? If so, you’re not alone. Context is extremely important in understanding the Old Testament. Although it takes years to master this formidable narrative with all of its diverse literature and intricacies, there are some basic facts that can vastly ease the difficulty of reading the Old Testament. Continue reading “THE OLD TESTAMENT IN CONTEXT: A SNAPSHOT OF ANCIENT HISTORY”
You have probably heard the frequently posed question regarding “cherry picking” passages from the Old Testament in order to reinforce Christian morality. The Atheist poses this question rhetorically, attempting to illustrate a contradiction, while many Christians may genuinely struggle to understand which OT passages are in fact applicable. Do you eat shellfish? Do you wear mixed clothing (meaning clothing made from more than one fiber)? Yes, I do eat shellfish, and yes, I do wear mixed clothing, and here’s why. Continue reading “You have tattoos? And you eat shellfish?!”
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”
The sun beats fiercely down in Castile in August and at siesta time every road is deserted: not a man, not even a dog. I am wrong, however. In the distance a dark blob shows up against the light which is so brilliant that every speck of dust is separately visible. A friar. A pilgrim perhaps? His brown habit which is all in rags sweeps the dust, the Franciscan hood is well down over his eyes. Not that he is afraid of being blinded by the dazzling light — the brilliance of his interior vision is more intense than any sunlight — but he despises the world which he treads beneath his bare feet. Vagabond that he is, he has never consented to travel otherwise than as the very poor do, begging his bread; he has been all over Spain and Italy with his regular, measured tread. Moreover, he asks for alms but seldom: with a hunch of bread every three days, he has as much as he wants. “It’s a matter of habit,” he says. Witnesses affirm that he has sometimes remained a whole week forgetting to take any earthly nourishment. 1
I had to think about how to frame this without coming across as pretentious. I don’t know if it’s really possible, so I’m just going to say it anyway and hope you perceive my intentions correctly. I have been growing increasingly concerned with regurgitated, derivative Christian literature that’s being mass produced. I think this is particularly true amongst evangelicals, of which I would consider myself. By derivative, I simply mean imitative; imitative to the extent that I think we, collectively, should reject it. Disapprove by refusing to purchase another catchy but ultimately empty book. Here for a moment, then gone. Trending momentarily, but ultimately unmemorable. I’ve read entire books only to reflect that I couldn’t recall a single coherent theme or progression. Many of these titles are simply collections of anecdotes and lack spiritual depth.