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Posts tagged "Hermeneutics"

It's Gospel Law the Way Down

It’s Gospel Law the Way Down

I woke up yesterday morning feeling like I had time traveled 10 years back into the wonderful world of mockingbird.blogspot.com. Back then, a group of us were invited by David Zahl to start up a blog dedicated to the exposition of justification by faith alone as understood through the hermeneutical lens of the distinction between law and Gospel. This was not our first attempt at blogging, but it was different in that, as I wrote in a 2008 post, “Can’t See the Forest for the Blogs,”

Most theological blogs that I’ve found, like many political ones, are so rife with acrimony…

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Disembodied Truth Part I: Biblical Science, Creationism, Truth in Love, and Dover Beach

Disembodied Truth Part I: Biblical Science, Creationism, Truth in Love, and Dover Beach

I want to think for a second about the ways we tend to process language in different places. At our conference last weekend, Nadia Bolz-Weber spoke eloquently about how a sermon is a local event, preached to a specific people at a specific time in the contexts of the larger worship service, the community’s makeup, the identity of the pastor, and so on.

To use just one of these vectors, community makeup, a sermon on the prodigal son parable could differ by audience. To an audience of religious burnouts who have committed the obvious sins over and over, a focus on…

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The Logic of Grace and the Exclusivity of Meaning

The Logic of Grace and the Exclusivity of Meaning

I was a bit surprised, reading Bulfinch’s Mythology yesterday, to discover an interesting ‘allegorizing’ move in the Greek myth of a river-god, Achelous, losing his horn. Hercules and Achelous, the story goes, were wrestling for the right to wed Dejanira, a beautiful woman. Achelous transforms into various creatures, including a snake, in his attempt to best Hercules, and Hercules subdues them all. Finally, Achelous transforms into his last remaining form, a bull, and Hercules rips off one of his horns, which becomes ‘Cornucopia’, the horn of plenty. Then things get interesting – as Bulfinch notes,

The ancients were fond of finding a…

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Theology Thursday: The Law of 'I' and the Grace of God

Theology Thursday: The Law of ‘I’ and the Grace of God

René Descartes has been called the first modern philosopher, a turning-point in how we think of ourselves and our world. His famous principle was “I think, therefore I am.” He wanted to find a sure foundation for all available human knowledge. Anxious to please the Jesuit academy he admired, he even proved God – all based on the reality of thinking, the idea that one cannot even doubt without proving, thereby, the reality of the person doubting. The mind is always true and, as a foundation and criterion for truth, is transcendent.

We’ve inherited his legacy, of course. As a child, I…

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Another Week Ends: Secular Apocalypse, Holy Spirit Hits SEGA, Melville's Bible, More A-Rod, Increasing Positivity, and Insights from The Canyons

Another Week Ends: Secular Apocalypse, Holy Spirit Hits SEGA, Melville’s Bible, More A-Rod, Increasing Positivity, and Insights from The Canyons

1. First off, an excellent essay on Apocalypticism over at The Chronicle looks at the psychology behind end-times expectations and fascinations. There’s something endearing about a professed “secularist” having both a real understanding of Christianity and a penchant for pointing out how secular humanists fall prey to the same end-of-history temptations as Christians do (read: William Miller, Family Radio):

I find it harder to mock false prophets, because of the very real fear (of death, nothingness, irrelevance) to which their prophecies speak, and because I’m not at all convinced that secular culture is above their form of self-flattery. We’re living through…

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Science Is Not the Enemy (But with Friends Like These...)

Science Is Not the Enemy (But with Friends Like These…)

The New Republic recently posted some pretty provocative thoughts on (capital-s) Science – you know, the discipline that’s been martyred and victimized in the contemporary era like none other (?). Not that adjudicating on the territory of different fields of study is particularly fun or interesting, but there are definitely some nuggets in this piece, and also some coals – brownies n’ frownies, as one of my Bible study leaders from college put it.

The author, Steven Pinker, thinks that science shouldn’t be maligned or dismissed by the political left (for environmental/human rights atrocities made possible by Science) or by the right (for…

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Spoiler Alert! Reading the Gospels from Back to Front

Spoiler Alert! Reading the Gospels from Back to Front

I can’t tell you how many times in the past couple of months I’ve been in a conversation with friends talking about The Wire when the threat of a “spoiler alert” intrusively rears its head. This happens mostly out of necessity; I have previously learned of the death of a much-beloved character when my friend inadvertently let out an ill-timed sigh of nostalgia.

But despite this obsession over spoilers, it seems that new research suggests that spoilers might actually make the viewing/reading experience better, rather than worse. Rather than spoiling the ending, knowing what will happen actually builds interest and anticipation…

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