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An intriguing quote from a book I am editing:

Paul J. Griffiths, in his book, Christianity Through Non-Christian Eyes, quoted a famous story by Buddha about the monk who uses a raft to cross the river. Having crossed the river, the monk says:

2 Kings 5:10-15: Wade in the water

Elisha sent out a messenger to him to tell him, “Go and bathe in the Jordan seven times, and your skin will get better and you will be ritually pure.”
Naaman was angry and walked away, saying “I thought he was definitely going to come out and stand here and call on the name of the LORD his god and wave his hands over me and gather up the disease.
Aren’t the rivers of Damascus, the Abana and the Pharpar, better than all the waters of Israel? Can’t I just bathe in them and be cleaned?” And he stormed off angry again.

Rob Bell and talking at cross purposes

This got too long for Twitter. And yeah, it’s another pointless post about Rob Bell, but I think I’m touching on something here I haven’t heard from anyone else.

Rob Hay points out the Evangelical Alliance official response to Love Wins. This raises lots of interesting thoughts for me. First, I didn’t realise that the EA were in the book review business, or otherwise I would have sent them a few. Second, they’ve clearly learnt a little bit from their treatment of Steve Chalke but not very much. Third, I didn’t realise that this book was so significant that it needed an official response. Heck, I didn’t realise that a similar, but theologically more rigorous, treatment of the same themes would not need an official response - which makes me wonder if they’re just going for the low-hanging fruit.

Or perhaps this is just another example of what is going on with the Rob Bell stuff: people completely talking past each other. Read more about Rob Bell and talking at cross purposes

1 Ki 8:33-43: Change is the only constant

This a long passage and I’m already way behind, so here’s someone else’s translation instead:

“The time will come when your people Israel are defeated by an enemy because they sinned against you. If they come back to you, renew their allegiance to you, and pray for your help in this temple,
then listen from heaven, forgive the sin of your people Israel, and bring them back to the land you gave to their ancestors.

2 Samuel 7:22-24: For yourself

I am woefully behind in my Lent Challenge posts, but let’s keep going:

“So you are great, my LORD, because there is none like you, and there is no god except you - this is what we have heard!
And who is like your people Israel? - the only nation of its kind on the earth - because God went out and redeemed (for Himself) a people to establish his name (for Himself).
You did (for yourself) great and awesome things for the land in the sight of your people which you redeemed (for yourself) from out of the Egyptian nation and its gods.

Not many of you should presume to have opinions

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John Dyer, over at Christianity Today’s blog web-only article, has a problem with bloggers. (Here’s a link to his blog.) The problem he has with bloggers is that they have no restraint, that they are incapable of reflective self-criticism, and that social media does not allow for any kind of discussion:

1 Samuel 8:6-9: God as Jewish mother

What they said seemed wrong to Samuel; they’d said “Give us a king to call the shots for us.”
So the LORD said to Samuel, “Take in what the people are saying and give them what they want - it isn’t you that they’ve rejected, they have rejected me as king over them.
Just like every single thing that they have done, from the moment that I brought them out of Egypt until this very day, they have forsaken me and served other gods - just like they’re now doing to you.

Ruth 2:10-12: We've heard this story before

And Ruth prostrated herself on the ground and said to him, “Why have I found favour in your eyes, and why are you taking such notice of me, even though I am a foreigner?”

Boaz answered him, “I’ve heard time and time again about all that you have done for your mother-in-law after the death of your husband, and how you left your father and mother and your native land and went to a people that you did not know.

May the LORD repay you for your work! And may you be rewarded with full payment from the LORD God of Israel, to whom you have come to take refuge under His wings!”

Joshua 6:17,21: Genocide

Well, my plan was to do Joshua 8:33-35, which is a nice happy passage, but that felt like cheating. There are gory bits in the Bible too, and a fair study has to at least have a crack at dealing with them. So here we go:

“The city has to be blotted out, it and all that is in it, and set aside for the LORD - apart from Rahab the prostitute, and everyone who lives in her house, because she hid the messengers that we sent.”