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....

A New Year, a New Beginning

  I have a friend who is suffering. Here is the prayer I wrote and prayed for her today: I pray she will awaken and say today, “This sorrow is a little less acute, the spiny edges of it have worn down a bit, and I know a new thing. I can feel something as I see a beauty that God is holding up in His hands as a peace offering to me, a beauty that has been unnoticed, now just at my elbow, waiting for me to turn and to...

The Sodom book: Archaeology or Junk?

Come on, admit it. You’re afraid that a new book on an archaeological discovery that validates the Bible is going to be some kind of pseudo-science junk, right? So read these endorsements (click on the link below):   Discovering the City of Sodom Release