I’m A Viking! (Sorta...

For my birthday in August Pam bought me one of those DNA tests where you can learn about your heritage by mailing in some spit. I’m not sure she’s as interested in my heritage as wondering, after 37 years of marriage, if there is some genetic mutation that would explain me to her. I have a friend who sent in some spit and found out he’s part Neanderthal. No joke. I told him that he could have just asked...

Blaming Foreigners is not ...

It was the foreigners, they said. They’re to blame. At the time of Jesus the Jews had been blaming foreigners for their own idolatry, and they had been doing it for over four hundred years. So long that it was just accepted wisdom. It’s a familiar narrative, derived for the most part from the Chronicler’s account of Israelite history, supported by the books of Ezra and Nehemiah. Solomon’s Wives This...

Getting Past Perfect

A couple of years ago I surprised Pam by taking her to one of those do-it-yourself painting studios. This particular session was “Paint Your Pet” I had emailed them a couple of pictures of our beagle Kobi, which they sketched in pencil on a canvas. The instructors showed us how to mix the acrylic paints to achieve the colors we wanted, and we began painting his portrait, using the pictures as guides....

Good and Evil and the Untr...

In Matthew 13 Jesus tells a parable about a man with a wheat field. During the night, some guy with a really, really bad attitude snuck in and sowed some weeds among the wheat. Which is interesting because weeds are the kind of things that don’t need sowing. They just appear. But these aren’t ordinary weeds, they are weeds that look so similar to a young wheat plant as to be indistinguishable to the...

Our Treatment of Outsiders...

“Remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt,” the Israelites were enjoined. “Therefore the LORD your God commanded you to keep the sabbath day.” (Deuteronomy 5:15) Thus Moses instructed the people of Israel. Remember. Remember what it was like to be a slave. Remember when every day was the same—rise, make bricks all day, go to sleep at night, rinse and repeat, day after day after day. Monday is...

If Jesus Gives Eternal Lif...

What do you mean when you say you are a Christian? In a Christian-majority country like ours, people mean different things when they claim the Christian label. At the lowest, most basic level, you claim being a Christian because you aren’t Muslim, Jewish or Hindu. But it also means that you aren’t an atheist. You believe in the existence of God, and that belief tends to take the form that Christians...

A True Patriot–and C...

I’m from Maryland. There, I’ve said it. There used to be a time when I wouldn’t have said that. I would tell people I’m from Alabama, because that’s where I was born. But saying you’re from some place means more than just you were born there. It indicates heritage, culture, and roots, none of which are really a part of me with regards to the state of my birth. I was born in Alabama, but only lived there...
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