Competence: Mary and Martha

COMPETENCE AND THE PSYCHOLOGY OF MEASUREMENT IN THE STORY OF MARY AND MARTHA Copyright  Latayne C. Scott   The issue of competence is one that plagues Christians; and the knotty problem of what is proper for a Christian to measure and assess troubles us too.   First of all, when we think about the psychology of measurement, we know that the Bible teaches that not all measuring is wrong.  Jesus said that we should judge, but do so with a right judgement.   We know of other examples of measuring, such as counting the cost of discipleship.  Jesus said that before a man builds a tower or goes to war, he must make sure that he has the resources to finish or to win.  Jesus assessed His own situation:  He knew that being equal with God wasn’t...

Does God Change His Mind?

DOES GOD CHANGE HIS MIND? Exodus 32:14, in speaking of how God did not bring about disaster to the people of Israel says that He “changed His mind” (NAS).  The King James Version says He “repented,” while the NIV says He “relented.” A similar situation is found in Isaiah 38 (parallel passage found in 2 Kings 20) where God announced through Isaiah that Hezekiah’s illness was fatal, but after the king prayed and wept God had Isaiah announce that he would live 15 years longer. What happened?  Did God lie?   Did He change His mind? I Samuel 15:29 says, “He who is the glory of Israel does not lie or change His mind, for He is not a man, that He should change His mind” (NIV.)  This passage states that lying and changing one’s mind are two...

The Blackened State

TThe Blackened State When I read a book, I often wonder what first sparked the author’s imagination to begin reading that book. Often it is to illustrate a moral dilemma, as you see in the writings of Jodi Picault. Others write books about their own lives; sometimes, I think, to sort out their feelings and perhaps thereby to help others in similar situations. With a pure nonfiction, like a Bible study, it’s often hard to ferret out the book’s beginnings in the mind of the author. All physical books begin with an idea in an author’s mind, a representation that grows and usually changes during the writing process. With a book like The Parables of Jesus, an inductive Bible study, there’s little that’s personal in its pages. I do mention that I’d loved...

The Splintered Tree

The Splintered Tree Years ago, after a storm in the mountains, I walked through the damp, needle-strewn soil and saw the damage that had been exacted by the lightning the night before. I saw a tree blasted apart and immediately thought of an aspect of my life.   I’d invested years of my life in a relationship. I wasn’t perfect in it, but I was sacrificial. Not everyone you love loves you back. Not everyone you bless wants to bless you.   But as sudden as that crack of light last night, I knew it was over. The Lord had spoken. I was relieved, I admit that. But I was left feeling like the tree, wrenched apart. I knew it couldn’t be put back together. Sometimes in the life of a Christian, there is a John Mark with whom you can be reconciled, and...

Raw Beginnings in the Gospel of Mark

The Raw Beginnings in the Gospel of Mark   Though I’ve read through the Gospel of Mark at least 40 times (and in three languages), this time reading the first two chapters struck me in a new way, with its rawness, its almost-violent use of language.   There are no angels singing and people adoring at a nativity. Mark starts out in a wilderness, with a herald living on a siege diet of what’s at hand, not going to the people but straight-talking to them as they come in droves from their comfortable cities to see him.   Don’t get too relaxed, he tells them. Change up your minds (meta—as in metamorphosis –of your thinking processes.) In exchange, you get washed clean of the past – but this is not about the past, but rather the future....

About Those Pink Hats– A Christian Woman’s Reaction

After I saw all those pink hats, and found out what they meant, I did what I never thought I’d do. I decided– and announced publicly– that I was going to start wearing a head covering while praying or speaking publicly at church. From most ancient of times, a headcovering has been highly symbolic. For Christian women, it is a symbol of submission to the ultimate authority of God. For all my years as a Christian I have tried to exemplify by my respect and silence in church worship that I acknowledge that authority and that of my husband and church leaders. However, the symbolism of a woman’s head covering has been perverted by those who wear deliberate rebellion–the sign of ones own genitals on their heads....