Archive for January, 2013

Random Miscellany, pt. 35

Monday, January 28th, 2013

1) It’s been a while. Sorry. I haven’t really been updating much about myself. Mainly because the update is that not much has happened. Apply, wait, sometimes talk to someone, wait, etc.

2) As mentioned a few posts before I did a guest preaching spot, for Doug at ND, which you can hear here. Offer is generally open for preaching fill-ins in the Sydney area.

3) On preaching, I’m getting better at the no-notes approach, and so I’ll probably stick to it forever. I think I felt it when I went to the car, and actually felt really ok not bringing any material, my only Bible being logos on my phone.

4) Men’s tennis is generally more enjoyable to watch than women’s.

5) T20 just doesn’t do it for me.

*Face-slap*

Wednesday, January 16th, 2013

This whole David Marr inspired beat-up about the religious discrimination thing in the federal government’s planned update to the anti-discrimination bill is getting friggin’ ridiculous.

By framing the debate as a kind of anti-social exclusivism, and by using the term ‘sinners’, a lot of injustice has been done to a sector that actually does a lot of good. Unfortunately, and perhaps for this purpose, all it’s done is to reinforce the stereotype of the Church raging against the fading of the light. The ACL would do well to actively NOT play to type, to issue media releases that deliberately subvert the vocab. Except that they don’t. Anyway, the news cycle up at Fairfax seems to be using whatever Jim Wallace actually said (which I believe is simply a reiteration of the status quo, rather than what their select quotes and framing might suggest) to try to dredge it back up, but I guess by now we’re hoping people just shut up. We do, however, need to change the way people actually see what’s going on. Like this use of ‘sinners’, which is simply provocative.

Lk 11:14-54

Thursday, January 3rd, 2013

Some thoughts as I prep a guest sermon.

As large as the section is, it’s not as disparate as the sub-heading titles most translations give. In fact, I think the whole lot holds together fairly well. The theme as a whole of the unit is alluded to in Luke’s introduction of the narrative. The occasion is the exorcism of a mute demon, which evokes three responses: amazement (fairly usual), “by Beelzebul …” etc.etc., and the call for a sign. Essentially, it’s about responding to Jesus (many things are however), but the slant here is on the dangers of responding negatively. The sum of that comes in the eye-lamp-light part – be careful lest the light in you be darkness. That, though, needs some explaining.

The problem for Jesus is that he’s surrounded by a bunch of people who just won’t repent, hear the Word and keep it, or otherwise believe that the Kingdom of God has come. So first off, he deals with the objection about him and Beelzebul, first with logic, then with a “Hey, it’s the Kingdom of God”, then with a warning about the need for permanent change in life to prevent undoing of demon exorcism. Then, what may be described as an over-enthusiastic fangirl makes a blessing remark that clearly shows that she hasn’t understood or been listening to what Jesus has just said, hence his response. Then Jesus deals with the demand for a sign, first by condemning people for their lack of repentance compared to some Gentile characters in the Scriptures. Then we get the whole light show. I didn’t used to understand this, but I’ve figured it out now. Firstly, he uses the figure of speech to point to the self-evident nature of his works. Second, he moves to the whole eye thing. As noted in Green and others, it’s not about light entering the eye, but the eye as a barometer of one’s inner ‘seeing’ light or lack thereof. For whatever reason (like, lack of modern medical knowledge), the ancients thought light came out of the eye and came back in. Thus, Jesus links one’s eyes, and hence, faculty of perception, with one’s ‘inner light’. Then he warns about whether what you think is light is in fact darkness. In other words, whether you think you can see, but are in fact blind (thanks John 9).

Thus, what ties this unit together is the inability of people to see or understand what’s going on in front of them, i.e., that the Kingdom of God has come upon them in Jesus.

The following part of Jesus and the woe-ing of the Pharisees and the lawyers simply demonstrates further Jesus previous point. Their inner ‘darkness-that-they-think-is-light’ is blinding them to the truth of Jesus. In the Pharisees’ case, what they think is their light – their commitment to purity and zealous following of the law – is in fact darkness because they ignore their greed, the love of God, and are ironically pictured as unclean tombs. So also the lawyers. They love their knowledge of the Torah, but don’t actually help people keep the law, think the only good prophet is a dead prophet, and in fact hinder people’s knowledge (there may well be some quiet reference to the law, prophets, and writings, but I’m not putting anything on that. Just a “hmm, I wonder”.)