Sexism in the Bible: Rape, Part One

This post is part of an ongoing series. The series is introduced here.

One of the most difficult things for the raging mob to understand about the Old Testament law is that the majority of it falls under the heading of case law, much like the vast majority of American law. Under case law, a judge or jury weighs evidence and circumstance in a given case to decide to what extent the law has been broken and what punishment, if any, should be handed down. Continue reading “Sexism in the Bible: Rape, Part One”

Catechetical Spin

The Heidelberg Catechism begins in such a different way than Westminster, which is probably far more familiar to most. The Westminster Catechism opens with this question:

Q1: What is the chief end of man?

A: Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him for ever.

It’s a grand question with a grand answer. It reminds me of high-vaulted cathedrals and fiery preachers. It’s a sweeping, cosmic thought. It starts with our ultimate goal and ties it to ultimate reality. I love it, I really do.

Continue reading “Catechetical Spin”

Your Smart Phone Is Evil, And So Are You

It seems that anyone wishing to write a piece urging people to consider what smart tech is doing to their heads is branded as a Luddite, or at least gets tagged as having Luddite sympathies. So before you grab your L-shaped stencil and your scarlet thread, let me clarify. I don’t think smart technology is evil; I do, however, think we need to consider carefully its effect on our lives, perhaps in a way that has not often been done. Continue reading “Your Smart Phone Is Evil, And So Are You”

Ontological Vroom

Elizabeth Malbon, in her book Hearing Mark, gives this insightful gem:

Perhaps Greek philosophers worried about the essence of God, but Jewish and Jewish-Christian storytellers focused on the activity of God and God in Christ. In the biblical tradition not only have the people of God imagined their relationship with God as a story, but also individual members continue to experience their own lives as stories. Perhaps this is why it is so easy for us to get caught up in the story Mark’s Gospel tells.

Continue reading “Ontological Vroom”

Not Ashamed

Let’s say that my parents, my siblings, and I are at an event where I am to be the speaker for the evening. After being introduced, I ascend to the podium and say, “Before I begin this evening, I’d like to thank my family for being here.” Unless I’m speaking at an event for families, this probably isn’t necessary, but it would be a kind gesture, wouldn’t it?

But let’s say I don’t do that. Instead, I walk up to the podium and say, “Before I begin this evening, I’d like to thank my siblings for being here,” or “Before I begin this evening, I’d like to thank my father and my sister Laura for being here,” without mentioning either my mother or other siblings. This would probably no longer be regarded as a kind gesture, at least not by those who know I have two parents and three siblings in the audience. Now the statement seems cruel, designed to hurt the family members left out. It would be better for me not to say anything at all about my family, or to generally thank them without naming them all, than it would be to name two and not the others.

This was my contention with the movie Wildflower, a low-budget Christian film about a girl struggling with mental illness who witnesses a crime. The movie was good in so many ways– good use of motif and imagery, good cast, great perspective on mental illness, good plot– nevertheless, the film failed in one respect. It was distinctly “Christian” and never mentioned the person or work of Jesus Christ.

There were two church event scenes in Wildflower, four overtly religious conversations, and one prayer. And Jesus was not mentioned in any of them, overtly or covertly. God was mentioned a lot. So were concepts like hope and faith. But not Jesus.

I’m not saying that Jesus has to be mentioned in order for a film to be Christian. I’m not saying that God has to be mentioned for a film to be Christian. But to quote Scripture, mention God, and show snippets of one sermon, one Bible study, one prayer, and a few “Christian” conversations without Christ? It seems that this is either a deliberate oversight on the part of the production team in an attempt to be more relatable to the non-Christian world or evidence that the writers and producers of the film themselves don’t know that Jesus is the very soul and center of our faith. In either case, this film showcases Christianity without Christ, a Christianity of which I want no part.

I’m not saying the movie was wholly bad. It challenged me on several levels. I recommend that you watch it. Watch it, and pray that God will raise up producers who are not ashamed of the explicit message of the cross.