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Showing posts from February, 2013

To love ourselves?

Jesus says that we should "love our neighbors as ourselves" (Mk 12:31//). This assumes that we, in fact, do love ourselves.
I'm reading Dr. Townsend's Loving People. I deeply respect his field of study and his capacity to explain his field so well. In his book he says of this Bible verse:
"Love requires a subject and an object, and they are different from one another. We can no more love ourselves than we can tell our car to fill itself up with gas from the trunk. Sometimes people understand Jesus' words to 'love your neighbor as yourself' as teaching self-love. Actually, it makes more sense that it teaches that we are to love our neighbor as we would want to be loved--again, a relational meaning" (22-23).

Dr. Townsend's saying that you can't hug yourself. Love doesn't exist without another human. He has apparently used Jesus's other statement about treating others as we'd want to be treated (Matt 7:12) and used it to interp…

Humans, Sex, and Our Options

In all the homosexuality debate that rages throughout America, very few people ever mention two crucial texts in the discussion. Two texts that come from Jesus are hardly ever mentioned. This is a big deal. If we’re Christians, it should matter to us what Jesus says, right?
I’m not about to offer a detailed exegesis of these texts. I just want to highlight a few things.
First, Jesus, along with every other Jewish author of which we have evidence, believed that in most cases (not all), humans were to be married. And marriage was between men and women. This sentiment appears in all the Synoptics, but let’s use Matthew’s version. Except in the rarest of cases, Jewish men had the authority to divorce women. Moreover, they could do so for a whole host of reasons. Jesus disagreed with their practice.
He answered, “Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, 'Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his w…

Benefits of Lent

For centuries, revolving around the Exodus event, Jews have followed a prescribed religious calendar called a lectionary. The earliest Jewish Christians kept the idea of a lectionary, but because of Jesus, they changed the calendar. The life, teachings, death, and resurrection of Jesus now formed the framework of their year. According to the lectionary, time isn’t measured according to the length of the solar calendar (Romans) nor the Exodus (Jews); it is measured according to the life of Jesus. This allows a Christian to re-live the narrative of Christ-event every year.

Lent is a time of spiritual preparation. Lent is a season of 40 days (excluding Sundays) developed to prepare for the holiest season of the church calendar: Resurrection Sunday and the six weeks of Easter Season (in Northumbrian Old English, the month of April was named after the goddess, Eostre, hence our word, “Easter”). Ash Wednesday (Feb 13) is the first day of Lent. Because Lent typically involves various kinds …

If you're in a storm . . .

In one story Jesus calms the storm (Mark 4); in the other story he lets the wind do what it wants (Matt 14). In one story Jesus is in a calm sleep while the disciples panic in fear; in the other story Jesus is confident, walking on the water like he’s taking a stroll on a summer’s day, while the disciples panic in fear.


There are times when Jesus “wakes up” from his slumber with us and says confidently, “That’s enough! Calm down. Stop worrying all the time! Stop panicking. I haven’t left you. I’m not asleep. Stop worshiping your problems.”

Yet, there are times when when Jesus never seems to acknowledge that we’re in a storm. Prayers go unanswered; people around you can’t offer any comfort. Of course, when the storm is finally over in your life and you look back, you realize that you were never in real danger. There are times when I don’t acknowledge my children’s fears because I know that their fear is short-term and that no real danger is imminent.
Still, there are other times in li…

Trouble with Loving God

Jesus said that the greatest commandment (= our purpose in life) is to love God with everything we have and our neighbor as much as we love ourselves (Mk 12:28-31).
I know this sounds shallow and immature, but here it goes:
The greatest stymie to me loving God with all my heart, mind, strength, and soul is the fact that I can’t see God.
I can see “my neighbor” just fine. I can see my enemy even more clearly. So, when Jesus tells me to love my neighbors and my enemies (Mk 12:31; Matt 5:44), I can work on that faster than loving God. I can understand frailty and brokenness. It’s easier to work on loving them, I must admit, because I can see them.  So much of what I know to be true in this life is based on haptic experience.
I’m aware that there are countless facts of the universe that are very real even though no one can see them: laws of mathematics, laws of logic, the Law of Morality, consciousness/soul, aesthetic value, the whole host of scientific laws and the scientific method its…