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Thursday, February 14, 2008

Passion is Good

That's what I take from the Song of Solomon. Notice the conspicuous absence of references to marital relationships. That doesn't mean they aren't there, although I think they aren't, but it definitely means the passage doesn't focus on it.

Solomon's Song of Songs.

Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth—
for your love is more delightful than wine.
Pleasing is the fragrance of your perfumes;
your name is like perfume poured out.
No wonder the maidens love you!

Take me away with you—let us hurry!
Let the king bring me into his chambers.

We rejoice and delight in you;
we will praise your love more than wine.

How right they are to adore you!
Dark am I, yet lovely,
O daughters of Jerusalem,
dark like the tents of Kedar,
like the tent curtains of Solomon.

Do not stare at me because I am dark,
because I am darkened by the sun.
My mother's sons were angry with me
and made me take care of the vineyards;
my own vineyard I have neglected.

Tell me, you whom I love, where you graze your flock
and where you rest your sheep at midday.
Why should I be like a veiled woman
beside the flocks of your friends?

If you do not know, most beautiful of women,
follow the tracks of the sheep
and graze your young goats
by the tents of the shepherds.

I liken you, my darling, to a mare
harnessed to one of the chariots of Pharaoh.
Your cheeks are beautiful with earrings,
your neck with strings of jewels.

We will make you earrings of gold,
studded with silver.

While the king was at his table,
my perfume spread its fragrance.
My lover is to me a sachet of myrrh
resting between my breasts.

My lover is to me a cluster of henna blossoms
from the vineyards of En Gedi.

How beautiful you are, my darling!
Oh, how beautiful!
Your eyes are doves.

How handsome you are, my lover!
Oh, how charming!
And our bed is verdant.

The beams of our house are cedars;
our rafters are firs.
Song of Solomon 1 In my younger days I had a Baptist friend suggest that this was about Jesus and the Church. The Church was the bride of Christ, and thus the whole passage is a metaphor about the relationship between the two.

There are several ways to make yourself chuckle about this reading. I note this bit from the woman (the Church?), "Dark am I, yet lovely, O daughters of Jerusalem, dark like the tents of Kedar, like the tent curtains of Solomon." So, the Church is a little brown sugar for Jesus, I guess.

Happy St. Valentine's Day.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

When Amnesty is Okay.

Amnesty is a general grant of pardon that comes from the government. Immunity is an exemption from prosecution for a particular party. Passing a law that pardons the phone companies from colluding with the Bush administration in the conduct of illegal, warrantless wiretaps is granting amnesty to those bad actors.

Democrats in the Senate, led by Chris Dodd tried to prevent this grant of amesty from being included in a Senate Bill, but "17 Democrats . . . joined 49 Republicans and one independent to reject an amendment offered by Sen. Chris Dodd, D-Conn., that would have stripped the immunity [sic] provision from the bill. Two-thirds of the Democratic caucus opposed immunity." San Fransisco Chronicle.

People violated our laws regulating immigration into this country. Other people allowed our government to spy on us in violation of the the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution. There are semi-legitimate justifications for both violations, but in both cases there is a legal way to do things and the violators, nonetheless, chose to use the illegal course. Every Republican Senator voted yesterday to protect the powerful.

It makes me want to throw up.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Christian America

I mostly think this map is cool because Christians (in yellow), which includes the Campbell-Stone movement from which my church emerged, have some counties. Maybe if God assigns delegates proportionally, the Christians will be relevant in determining whether the Baptists or the Catholics have the One True Faith.

Thanks to Matt for leading me to this map.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Sermon on the Mount, Eleventh

Our investigation into the sermon on the mount brings us to the discussion of judging others. Here is the next section as broken out by the New Internation Version:
"Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.

"Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother's eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, 'Let me take the speck out of your eye,' when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye.

"Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs. If you do, they may trample them under their feet, and then turn and tear you to pieces.
Matthew 7:1-6. This passage is yet another portion of the Sermon that is frequently mentioned, particularly by liberal Christians and non-Christians. This weekend we watched the movie Jesus Camp, a movie that explores the world of very judmental Christians, and the methods they employ to, depending on your prespective, teach/indoctrinate/train/brainwash their children.

So, it seems that teaching your children that other churches are dead, and that God only likes churches like yours, and proposing that anyone who disagrees with you about theology or politics is evil, runs afoul of Jesus' commandment here. But, what about more subtle judgments? Are we really not allowed to even consider whether the behavior of others is good or bad?

What about the last bit? It seems pretty, well, judgmental.