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Posts tagged "New Testament"


Rick Moody on the Parable of the Hidden Treasure

From the fascinating little volume Joyful Noise: The New Testament Revisited, in which a wide array of American writers offer decidedly non-academic, gut-level interpretations of NT passages. It was edited by Rick Moody (author of The Ice Storm, Right Livelihoods, and most recently my personal fave, On Celestial Music) and Darcy Steinke (Jesus Saves, Suicide Blonde, Easter Everywhere), and published in 1997. This passage from Rick’s introduction stuck out:

51GvNP+0GZL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_My own interpretation of the parable of the hidden treasure (Mark 13:44) is, somewhat ironically, rigidly allegorical…: the treasure at the heart of this story is the message of the kingdom itself, and the fact of grace offered therein — grace in spite of the way you have lived your life, grace in spite of your crimes or your peccadilloes, grace in spite of your religion, grace in spite of mean birth of lofty one, grace in spite of your sexuality or the color of your skin or your creed or anything else, grace simply because grace is what God gives. That’s the message buried in the New Testament, as treasure is buried in a field, the message often overpowered by the fire and brimstone of evangelists going all the way back to the destruction of the temple in Jerusalem, through two long millenia of Swaggarts and Robertsons. The Kingdom of Heaven, as opposed to the kingdom of PACs, multinationals, gun lobbyists, tax-exempt charitable organizations, et al., is a place of grace, and this is born out, moreover by the fact that the protagonist of the parable of the hidden treasure is a reprobate. The treasure, after all, is in somebody else’s field when he finds it. The treasure belongs to somebody else. So what kind of guy is this, who has hidden the veritable kingdom of heaven so that he can come back later and swipe it?

He’s like all of us… This hit-and-run, morally dubious miscreant is myself.

Another Week Ends: Motivated Podcasts, Inverted Envy, Doofus Batman, Evensong Revelations, Rowling Rewards, Salinger Silence, Denny Lives Again, and Watterson’s Speech

Another Week Ends: Motivated Podcasts, Inverted Envy, Doofus Batman, Evensong Revelations, Rowling Rewards, Salinger Silence, Denny Lives Again, and Watterson’s Speech

1. “Want to Win a Political Debate? Try Making a Weaker Argument” reads a headline over at The Pacific Standard, and what follows is a helpful refresher on the overpowering role of self-image when it comes to argumentation. In very Haidt-esque fashion, and with the help of some fresh research, the article claims that the strongest arguments for a particular position are the ones most likely to trigger a defensive response from those who disagree. The implications for those engaged in any kind of religious or theological dialogue should be self-evident. As we all know, social psychology of this kind…

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PZ’s Podcast: A Heartache, A Shadow, A Lifetime

PZ’s Podcast: A Heartache, A Shadow, A Lifetime

EPISODE 149

Exactly 45 years ago, I began formal academic study of the New Testament. It began at Chapel Hill, transferred to Cambridge, Mass; continued in Nottingham; and concluded (tho’ not quite) at Tuebingen.

Looking back on it now, the whole thing was “A Heartache, A Shadow, A Lifetime” (Dave Mason). Tho’ I still have hope.

The hope lies in the inexhaustible life and wisdom of Jesus. That’s a well that seems to never run dry, or at least it hasn’t for me.

This podcast remembers a long line of impressive scholarly mentors, a longer line of students and teachers who were “working something…

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The Virtues and Vices of N.T. Wright’s After You Believe

The Virtues and Vices of N.T. Wright’s After You Believe

Apparently, the original title of N.T. Wright’s After You Believe was Virtue Reborn, changed for marketing purposes in the US. It’s difficult to understand this change, except perhaps that the American Church tends toward being sanctification-heavy, and purpose-driven, and the promise of a ‘Step 2’ to follow the ‘Step 1’ of belief must be attractive to us. A danger here is that the US marketing pressures almost presupposes a tendency of this audience to misinterpret as a how-to; this is to a degree how it’s being sold. But, with that out of the way, we’ll consider the book (hopefully) on…

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PZ’s Podcast: Christian Meanings of “My Sharona”

PZ’s Podcast: Christian Meanings of “My Sharona”

A little change-up, just in time for the weekend, we bring you the must-hear companion piece to this past Monday’s ‘cast, “My Sharona,” in which our hero, um, explains himself. Together they represent something of a summation, or, as PZ puts it, This is Grace in Practice for 2011.

EPISODE 55

The Four Theses I wrote for “My Sharona”, which is Episode 54 of PZ’s Podcast, express some convictions I have about reality. I expressed these convictions in a way that is somewhat new, or at least new for me.

Now I would like to take these convictions and express them in somewhat…

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Conference Preview: Gracious Apologetics: Building Bridges to the Human Heart Through Similar Interests

Conference Preview: Gracious Apologetics: Building Bridges to the Human Heart Through Similar Interests

I personally was really hoping that the 4th Annual Mockingbird Conference would finally be all about end time prophecy, and my break out session was going to be entitled “Are You Rapture Ready?” Alas, that is not the case so instead I will be leading a session on apologetics. I am a firm believer in the apologetic task; however this session will not be a fact seminar where one is given a bunch of proofs for Jesus’ resurrection, and the validity of the New Testament (although believe me the facts and the evidence exist).Instead this session on apologetics will…

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David Brooks Gets Inside Your Head

David Brooks Gets Inside Your Head

The final post in our neuroscience extravaganza should come as no surprise: David Brooks’ editorial in yesterday’s NY Times, “The New Humanism.” Building on the comments he made in last week’s interview with The Daily Beast, Brooks synthesizes some of the recent neuroscience findings in a characteristically digestible way, offering us another preview of his new book, which came out yesterday. Not much to add here, and less to subtract – I’ve reposted almost all of it – suffice it to say, you have to go out of your way not to be struck by how much Brooks’ insights jive…

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Another Week Ends: U-Bending Happiness, South Park Religion, Charlie Sheen, Louie CK, Friday Night Lights

Another Week Ends: U-Bending Happiness, South Park Religion, Charlie Sheen, Louie CK, Friday Night Lights

1. From one of the December issues of The Economist, some interesting findings about “Age and Happiness”. The main discovery being the “U-Bend” – i.e. the finding that people are happiest in their youth and old age, and least happy in between. The most relevant section for us has to do with “the death ambition” (ht VH):

Maybe people come to accept their strengths and weaknesses [as they grow older], give up hoping to become chief executive or have a picture shown in the Royal Academy, and learn to be satisfied as assistant branch manager, with their watercolour…

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The Humbling of Oscar Wilde, Part 3

The Humbling of Oscar Wilde, Part 3

The follow is the third of four posts highlighting the deeply Christian thought of Oscar Wilde while serving time in Reading Gaol. Having been given a Greek New Testament for reading, Wilde thinks about the suffering of his life and the person of Christ in a fresh way. The passage below reflects a version of the theology of the cross as applied to suffering and sin. Ultimately, Wilde sees God’s redemptive work through such suffering. It is a lengthy quote, but worth reading in its entirety. (See also Part 1 and Part 2.)

But it is when he [Jesus] deals with…

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“Wake me up inside…” (part 6): Karl Barth’s Doctrine of Reconciliation (iv.1.58) **final**

“Wake me up inside…” (part 6): Karl Barth’s Doctrine of Reconciliation (iv.1.58) **final**

(iv.1.58.4 cont.) In a final turn, Barth deals with the dependence of the individual on community and the community on individuals; of the Christian on the Church and the Church on the Christian. For, “there cannot be one without the other”. The Holy Spirit assembles and sustains the Church, Christianity, not as a heap of individuals functioning autonomously, but as a collective of confessing persons proclaiming the same truths each cognizant of their individual calls; this is the delicate tension between the “objective ascription” and the “subjective appropriation” of salvation. “Salvation is ascribed to the individual in…

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“Wake me up inside…” (part 5a): Karl Barth’s Doctrine of Reconciliation (iv.1.58)

“Wake me up inside…” (part 5a): Karl Barth’s Doctrine of Reconciliation (iv.1.58)

iv.1.58.4 Barth works out the threefold form of the Christological aspect of the doctrine of the reconciliation*. In and by Jesus, humanity is confronted with God. In Jesus, God—by becoming man—actively intervenes and takes up His cause—the covenant—“with and against and for man”. Jesus “is the authentic revealer of God as Himself God”. By Jesus one understands the Godhead because Jesus defines it and it does not define Jesus. “[Jesus] is God as he takes part in the event which constitutes the divine being” and He does this by becoming man. In this becoming…

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Luther didn’t start the fire: Peter Waldo (1170-1184)

Luther didn’t start the fire: Peter Waldo (1170-1184)

From here: Some men’s personal lives are eclipsed by the movements they start. Peter Waldo was such a man. He appears on the scene of history in 1170 in Lyons as a successful businessman who, touched to his core by a traveling minstrel’s religious ballad, gave away his money to live in poverty as a preacher of the Gospel. Having persuaded a sympathetic priest to translate large sections of the New Testament from Latin into the regional language, Provençal, Peter wandered through Lyons, bringing the message of Christ to anyone who would…

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