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Thursday, October 21, 2010

Day 51 (Old Words; New Meaning)

[Reaction to One Year Bible's June 3-5 readings]

First, reading in order you go from Luke to John then back to Luke, because the author of Luke wrote Acts. It is kind of wild to see the difference in style, and frankly theology. More on that as we go.

For today, Peter was telling the disciples that they had to replace Judas. Why? Here's what Peter says:
For," said Peter, "it is written in the book of Psalms,
" 'May his place be deserted;
let there be no one to dwell in it,' and,
" 'May another take his place of leadership.'
So, the question is, did Peter believe that in writing those words in the book of Psalms, the author intended to be talking about whether the Apostles should replace Judas? OR (and yes, this is a case where the second choice is the only reasonable choice) was he referring to the old words as a way to make his point, basically arguing by analogy?

I've done this. In considering the dilemma of starting a new church I've referred to our time wandering in the wilderness. I've speculated that perhaps we need to just cast our nets to the other side of the boat. But that doesn't mean if we change something with our evangelsim and it works that I believe the cited story foretold our sucessful bring-a-friend-Sunday initiative. More of this here. Again, I believe Peter is likening Jesus to David's vision. I don't think Peter is suggesting the David "knew" that Jesus was coming.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Day 50 (Endings)

[Reaction to One Year Bible's May 31 - June 2 readings]

There were a couple of big endings in this day's readings. First, Psalm 119 concluded. According to Bible Gateway, the verses in each stanza start with the same letter that is indicated at the head of the stanza. It is a very long psalm that has many different expressions of love for the law.

Second, I finished the Gospel of John, and thus the Gospels. The last two chapters of John describe many more activities of Jesus after the resurrection. I noticed some curious about Mark and John. Neither has an explicit birth story or an explicit ascension story. Weird.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Day 49 (Conflict & Reflection)

[Reaction to One Year Bible's May 28-30 readings]

David ended up leading a life of conflict. He started out as a rural shepherd, but soon became the target of Israel's corrupt King Saul. Although he never stopped loving Saul, he ultimately replaced him as king. Today's reading follows the peak of David's rule. He has been betrayed by one of his son's, Absalom, and finds himself once again attacking those he loves. Perhaps the weight of this causes David to accept the accusation from one of Saul's family here. Notice where David experiences his lament.

I see similar overtones in Jesus' last hours. His exchange with Pilate seems to contain a resignation not unlike David's. Link.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Day 48(David's Fall)

[Reaction to the One Year Bible's May 26-27 readings]

David's fall from grace involved some very heinous conduct. While Saul seemed to struggle with obedience his whole life, David generally did what God required. What is more, he united Israel and then started expanding its borders. Nonetheless, like men of power that we all have read about, it appears his libido got the best of him when "[o]ne evening [he] got up from his bed and walked around on the roof of the palace. From the roof he saw a woman bathing. The woman was very beautiful," and David had to have her. 2 Sam. 11:2. So, not only does he sleep with another man's wife, he sends that man to die in battle so he can have the woman to himself. Then, his prophet Nathan tells this story:
The LORD sent Nathan to David. When he came to him, he said, "There were two men in a certain town, one rich and the other poor. The rich man had a very large number of sheep and cattle, but the poor man had nothing except one little ewe lamb he had bought. He raised it, and it grew up with him and his children. It shared his food, drank from his cup and even slept in his arms. It was like a daughter to him.

"Now a traveler came to the rich man, but the rich man refrained from taking one of his own sheep or cattle to prepare a meal for the traveler who had come to him. Instead, he took the ewe lamb that belonged to the poor man and prepared it for the one who had come to him."

David burned with anger against the man and said to Nathan, "As surely as the LORD lives, the man who did this deserves to die! He must pay for that lamb four times over, because he did such a thing and had no pity."
Of course, it turns out that *snap* the man is David! I didn't remember the little parable. Here is the full story.

Day 47 (Did David Heart Jonathan?)

[Reaction to One Year Bible's May 22-24 readings]

I am a strong advocate for gay rights. I think Christianity's lessons of love and acceptance trump rules from Leviticus & the Epistles--most of which we don't follow anyway--in deciding whether to accept the love between two people.

I was thus interested to read about Jonathan and David's relationship. There are those that speculate that Jonathan and David had a romantic relationship. There is some language in First and Second Samuel to support this. For example, "And Jonathan made a covenant with David because he loved him as himself. Jonathan took off the robe he was wearing and gave it to David, along with his tunic, and even his sword, his bow and his belt." 1 Sam. 18:3-4; Jonathan said to David, "Go in peace, for we have sworn friendship with each other in the name of the LORD, saying, 'The LORD is witness between you and me, and between your descendants and my descendants forever.'" 1 Sam. 20:42. And after Jonathan is killed in battle, David's mournful cry includes this line, "I grieve for you, Jonathan my brother; you were very dear to me. Your love for me was wonderful, more wonderful than that of women." 2 Sam. 1:26. Here is more context.

So, here's the thing. I don't know. The way I read these stories is that they were very close, like brothers--beyond friends. What do others think?

Day 46 (Power Struggle)

[Reaction to the One Year Bible's May 19-21 readings]

I need to do some catching up here, so I apologize for no links. I'm going from memory from my lunchtime reading. In 1 Samuel, we read about the death of Samuel, but he seems to have long since fallen to a second class leader. By the time of his death it is between Saul and David. The difference between them is not actually that clear. I guess David has not yet sinned against God, but he mostly seems like a better warrior. Also, he has twice passed on opportunities to kill Saul.

In John, Jesus continues to openly spar with "the Jews," which I take to be church leaders. It occurs to me that if you were alive during the time of these events, it would be very difficult to know who to follow.

You can find the readings by linking to the picture of the One Year Bible on the right.