The old Sunday School lesson says that Jonah was swallowed by a whale and spit out three days later to preach God’s message to Nineveh. So the story goes anyway. While the original text does not require the specific word whale be used, Jonah 1:17 does give that account. Historically, the event would have taken place during the reign Jeroboam II around 793 – 753 BC. The context is one of Jonah being commanded by God to go and preach to Nineveh which he didn’t want to do because of his personal and national animosities to the Assyrians. Nineveh was their capital city. Jonah rebelled and went in the opposite direction by sea. God intervened and the men of the ship threw Jonah overboard into the ocean which is where the oversize critter showed up for lunch. It was during his time in the big tuna that Jonah himself repented and thus God caused the fish to vomit Jonah up onto dry land giving the prophet a second chance at obedience. Jonah did obey this time and the text tells us that after his preaching to Nineveh the city repented and accepted God’s grace. Nice story. But did it actually happen and so what? (more…)
Everybody has an opinion. But how do we prove our point? When it comes to Jesus, people usually bring Him into a discussion when they believe He can lend added weight to their argument. Socially and politically speaking, conservatives will bring Jesus up regarding a pro-life position and liberals will enter the Jesus card to support their call to feed the poor and take care of the down and out. Good Samaritan type talk. But what about the passages where Jesus doesn’t always say what we want Him to say? Do we really believe Jesus when He talks about issues that we’re not quite sure about or maybe even just don’t agree with?
What about the times where Jesus spoke in reference to Old Testament accounts as if they were really true? Stories like Jonah and the big fish that are often placed alongside cute little kid myths of the tooth fairy and Santa Claus. (more…)
Here I go again. It was 6:45 last night and I “just had” to check online to see who was leading the pack in the second caucus of the 2016 race. There’s nothing wrong with having an interest in politics or even entering the political ring. The problem for me though is that sometimes it just gets too tempting. I want to raise the black flag and dive into the fight with such intensity that I forget my focus on the real and eternal answers.
While I tend to lean toward a more conservative Republican bent, the fact of the matter is that neither major political party has it all right. They both have some huge things going for them but neither one really possess a corner on the market of truth. (more…)
I love this picture that Deb took of the boys when they were younger back in Nor Cal. This was our first camping trip at 8,000 feet in the Yosemite National Park area. Now John is headed back to Ozark Christian College for his 4th semester and David is just a few weeks out from graduating from USMC Boot Camp. Several years ago a couple of strangers told me as I was graduating with my MA that I needed to treasure the time with my kids as they would grow up before I knew it. My how they were right. My two daughters are still at home in High School but I know those days are numbered as well. In fact, all of our days are numbered. From time to time I’m taken back to the wise words in the Bible where the psalmist prayed that God would “teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom.” Indeed we only have so much time on this good green earth that God created and it’s up to us to make the most out of the days we have been given. There are just three more days in 2015. What are you going to do with them? 2016 is right around the corner. How are you going to make the New Year count?
Solidarity is what she opened her discussion with. Shortly after the December 2nd mass shooting in San Bernardino by a Muslim husband and wife, Wheaton College Professor, Larycia Hawkins, set out to demonstrate solidarity with her Muslim neighbors by wearing a hijab. She cleared the actions with Wheaton, which is a major Christian liberal arts university, and all appeared to be fine. While my idea of solidarity promotion wouldn’t include the wearing of a hijab any more than suggesting that a Muslim cleric wear a Catholic Priest’s collar, I understand the desire to do something to foster a spirit of peace. I agree that stereo typing all Muslims as terrorist is something that we must fight. Days later though Professor Hawkins was suspended by the university. As some raced to condemn the institution and point to the public wearing of the Islamic female head covering as their reason, the real issue was much deeper and I completely agree with Wheaton’s decision. (more…)