Here are the next batch of band names from Luke (Five More moves on!)
This week, Bweinh.com looks at the next chapter of Luke, Luke 20.
Genesis: 1-4 | 5-9 | 10-14 | 15-18 | 19-22 | 23-26
27-29 | 30-32 | 33-36 | 37-39 | 40-43 | 44-46 | 47-50
Exodus: 1-4 | 5-8 | 9-11 | 12-14 | 15-18
19-22 | 23-26 | 27-30 | 31-34 | 35-40
Romans: Ch. 1 | Ch. 2 | Ch. 3 | Ch. 4 | Ch. 5 | Ch. 6 | Ch. 7 | Ch. 8 (I)
Ch. 8 (II) | Ch. 9 | Ch. 10 | Ch. 11 | Ch. 12 | Ch. 13 | Ch. 14 | Ch. 15-16
Luke: 1:1-38 | 1:39-2:40 | 2:41-3:38 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14-15 | 16-17 | 18 | 19
Authority, and how we respond to it, is the main theme of this chapter. After the Jews ask Jesus where He got his authority, He traps them by promising an answer if they can answer a question of His: “Where did John\’s authority come from?”
Ah, but they could not answer because, in reality, they had no interest in whether Jesus — or John — had real authority; they just cared about how long they could avoid submission to it while not angering the crowds who believed. There is the crux in life: if you believe in God, live out that belief. If you don\’t, say so.
But not us; like hypocrites, we stay in the miserable middle ground, claiming to still search for an answer, waiting for the weather to change, while our opportunity to obey, or identify with God, disappears.
These are a few different examples where Jesus was teaching the people and the religious teachers of the day threw Him questions to try to trip Him up and accuse Him of “crimes,” or perhaps make Him look foolish. It usually had the opposite effect.
SOMETHING YOU’D NEVER NOTICED BEFORE:
On at least one occasion, the chief priests and teachers of the law sent spies to ask Jesus one of their trick questions instead of doing it themselves (vv. 20-21). Good idea, guys! Make sure they preface the question with a compliment about His teaching to reel Him in. He\’ll never see through that one.
In verse 39, after the seven brothers question (which I think the Broadway musical was based on), “some” of the scribes answered and said, “Teacher, You have spoken well.” And it says they stopped asking questions after that. Could it be that those “some” were won over, not just tired of the game?
Jesus doesn’t just say that God is the God of the living — He says that, to Him, “all are alive.” What does this suggest about our conception of the afterlife?
Originally published November 5, 2007.
Q. How should a young Christian bachelor handle a romantic relationship?
A. Hiding in the alleyway to the heart of every desirable, virtuous Christian female I’ve ever pursued was the darkly-shrouded character of Joshua Harris, author of the equally praised and notorious I Kissed Dating Goodbye. In this alleyway I have put up some spirited and tremendous fights, but always seemed to fail, as Harris swung the proverbial tire iron against my mouth just as I uttered a final, desperate “Fascist!” I’d wake up out on the curb the following morning, blinking in the sunlight . . . bruised and battered. Throttled. The loser.
My foil, this Harris fellow. He always seemed to head me off in college, and as time went on, he even seemed to take preemptive steps to ensure my romantic failure. I decided to wait him out, for surely his influence would drop off, and I could mount new offensives on the hearts I treasured. This never happened. I thought these women were asking for the impossible; ironically over-romanticizing our interaction by never allowing for a medium ground. It was go big or go home with these chicks. Suddenly, parents were part of the quotient, friends had to be courted and won over with equal necessity. Anger.
The female I pursued with the greatest amount of energy in my career — Lady Jerusalem of my Crusades — was a devout follower of Harris’s philosophy. In desperation I waited for a time when a friend was working the register at the college bookstore, bought the book with a wink, snuck it back to the dorm and proceeded to read it furiously, not for edification, but as a coach who had miraculously come across his rival’s playbook. Finally, theology to pick apart, poor analogies to dismantle, and an infuriating condescension to inflate and act injured by.
When it was finally fully read (much to the jealousy of my uncracked textbooks), I sat back and realized what was so wrong with the book, where its flaw was most exaggerated.
The book was not written for Americans. It’s written, rather, for some romanticized Victorian-era youth, ripped straight from the pages of Pride and Prejudice. I was infuriated. A little research revealed my suspicions that Harris was homeschooled (as was I; stand by).
I prepared my verbal counter-offensive, deciding that the best way to slip past Harris in the alleyway was to complement him to a degree while roundly dismissing him. I looked to President Hoover for guidance, memorizing his dismissal of prohibition: “Our country has deliberately undertaken a great social and economic experiment, noble in motive and far-reaching in purpose.” Yes, that’s the ticket, I told myself. Americans don’t court, we date. And if we were to attempt a comprehensively Biblical approach to love, we’d do neither, leaving the decision entirely to our parents.
So I played the role of a Benedict Arnold, betraying my homeschooled tribe. I told the object of my desires how flawed his worldview had to be, having been so isolated for so long. I told her I had suffered the same fate, but was smarter than the average bear and came through unscathed. She seemed to be listening anew. I went for the kill, tearing homeschooling a new one, while loving all it had done for me.
Did I feel dirty? Absolutely.
Did I feel bad? Not even a little bit.
It’s a good premise, I assured her, noble and just — just not achievable. I’d love to convince your parents first, but I don’t even know if I want to convince them — eyes sheepishly on the carpet, with a hushed whisper — without knowing if I like you enough. What do you say we catch some mini-golf and a movie this weekend?
I mean, if you had camels, I’d water them for you, but since you don’t, how about we get a couple of slices?
We’re Americans, for the love of Mike — Christian Americans, 8 days a week; but Americans, still. Let’s do it our way. Let’s rebel against this rebellion!
Of course I never offered, and don’t still, any clear response to Harris and his followers, other than the status quo highlighted with Christian integrity. But at the time I was able to offer up a dazzling array of one-liners that kept the defense guessing with every snap.
And while I am, of course, unmarried and hopeless, with zero prospects, I hold it as a point of personal pride (an eternal ego ember, no matter how immature I may have been) that I was able to waltz into that alleyway, after so many repeat beatings, feed Joshy a corner of that proverbial dumpster, then take his recently brain-soiled apostle to see a movie — stealing a kiss during the lull in the story and the climax of our relationship.
Popcorn, Josh. She tasted like hot, buttered popcorn.
Originally published May 1, 2007!
|In this corner, arguing against fighting in hockey, is Mike!||And in this corner, arguing for fighting in hockey, is Dave!|
Hey, I have an idea.
You know hockey? That sport with the small base of rabid fans?
What a sport it is! Such speed, as players fly down the ice; such grace, as the best players weave in and out and around defenders on their way to the net; such precision, as the best shooters pick their spot and put it in the one area the goalie can’t reach; such power, as the best shooters wind up for 100 MPH slapshots that nearly tear the back of the net.
Which brings me to my idea. Let’s clog the ice with goons!
Let’s take that sport, with such a unique combination of athleticism and grace, and let’s make sure every team has at least one guy whose job it is to go out and fight the other team’s one guy. Let’s make sure that the fast, exciting guys (many of whom are from another culture) cower in fear that they might get knocked in the head while Western fans nod appreciatively at the Russian getting his due at long last! Let’s be sure that head shots stay legal and that at least once every game there is a fight with at least one player caught in the flattering “jersey-stuck-over-my-face” pose!
Why would anyone want to watch Sergei Federov or Simon Gagne or Sidney Crosby or Daniel Briere, with their crisp passing and deadly accurate shooting, when we could watch Todd Fedoruk or Colton Orr mangle each other for a while?
Further, let’s make fighting part of an “unwritten code” so that it’s cloaked in romanticism! A near-apocalypse would happen if a dozen (coincidentally?) mostly black NBA players cleared the benches and brawled; lengthy suspensions would result and white America would cluck their tongues at how bad the NBA’s getting. But if we have a “code” for mostly white players to live by, with consequences like getting your teeth knocked out, then suddenly it’s quaint! We can say it’s just part of the game, always has been, and always should be. Hey — Hammurabi had a code! So should we.
What would hockey be without the fighting? Speed, agility, grace, precision, drama? Who would ever watch that?
I am here to defend the use of Goons in hockey. If you don’t know what a Goon is, let me explain. He’s the guy who lumbers off the bench and pulverizes the opponent who dares to initiate, or even attempt to initiate, some type of painful contact with a hockey team’s “skilled” players. A skilled player, of course, has a Russian, Swedish or Finnish name and the same size uniform and skates as the Goon wore in Pee Wee hockey.
I know that the usual tack would be for me to cite the Code, that unwritten (yet often written about) set of laws that serve as the rules of engagement for Goons. I would explain to you that skilled players are valuable assets who need protection and explain how deterrence necessitates fisticuffs — like a safety leveling a wide receiver who catches a pass across the middle, you do it so they think twice the next time they think about doing something they shouldn’t.
But I’m going in a different direction — economic concern. For the Goons.
Here’s the question to consider — what else can these guys do for a living? These are not, as one athlete has said, “the brightest tools in the shed.” These people have struggled to learn human speech and have even found a meaningful way to contribute to society that (usually) doesn’t involve violent crime. Why turn them out?
And Goons are entertaining! During a tense playoff game several years ago between the Flyers and Devils, noted Goon Claude Lemieux (my spell check offers lummox here) was trash talking Flyers captain Eric Desjardins. After a particular rush ended with a Desjardins shot rather than a pass, Lemieux taunted him with the remark, “You always think about yourself first! What does that ‘C’ on your shirt stand for? SELFISH?” And then we have Bernie “Boom-Boom” Geoffrion’s now-famous words of wisdom to his MontrÃ©al teammates before a big game: “Three things we must do tonight, and that is shoot and pass.”
Where else can the world use men like this? Burger King? Wal*Mart? Sure, but these places seem to have enough imbeciles already, and if they were also huge and muscular, I couldn’t make fun of them anymore. We need to keep fighting in the NHL — to keep Goons employed and off the streets.
“Too many people want to have written.” — T. Pratchett
…can be found here.
It\’s funny because it\’s true. Anyone who has listened to Tony Campolo or Jim Wallis has left either disappointed and angry with every Christian they know (themselves included) or wondering what the heck just hit them. Sometimes both.
I study revivalistic worship at Drew University. Revivalists are accused (and not without some merit) of perfecting a certain recipe for worship:
1. Scare people with the torments of hell that await them.
2. Offer Jesus as an antidote to those torments of hell.
3. Watch as the converts roll in.
This way of preaching works. It did for Charles Finney 200 years ago and it does for many preachers today. Many people are converted by this type of preaching.
The only problem with this recipe is that it rarely produces mature Christians. Certainly, it gets more people to “sign their name on the dotted line” for Jesus, and whether this truly makes them Christian or not I do not presume to say. But it demonstrably fails to produce mature Christians.
People who experience worship in this way generally fall into one of two categories. They see the paramount importance of the decision for Christ, and so either they decide that there\’s no need to go much deeper, since the important stuff is done; or they come down the aisle again and again, always anxious, never sure that the last time really “took.” Such Christians never know the joy God designed for us to know in Christ.
Campolo and Wallis and their ilk might not like this assessment, but I think of them as being a lot like those revivalists. They use the same recipe as above; only step one is different. Rather than scaring us with the torments of hell, these prophets scare us in other ways: “The poor are dying, you know.” Campolo once famously said, “I have three things I\’d like to say today. First, while you were sleeping last night, 30,000 kids died of starvation or diseases caused by malnutrition. Second, most of you don\’t give a s***. What\’s worse is that you\’re more upset by the fact I said s*** than the fact that 30,000 kids died last night.”
Just like a revivalist scares his audience and offers an antidote, so speakers like this scare their audience and offer the antidote as a more socially-oriented form of Christianity.
Of course Campolo is right. We should not forget this. The fact of hunger, the fact of poverty ”” and not the mere facts but the human faces behind them ”” are vital to God. Wrestling with questions like these is foundational to our Christian identity. We simply cannot be content while such problems exist in the world.
Yet there is something about their technique, borrowed as it is, that produces the same results as those old revivalists. They tend to produce progressive Christians overwhelmed with social problems, who operate from a place of anxiety, even anger, and rarely know the deep joy of Christ.
Speaking as a somewhat progressive (somewhat conservative) Christian, I would love to see the church proclaim a different message. God is doing something in the world: bringing in His Kingdom, begun and incarnated in Jesus. We are privileged to be a part of it. Inasmuch as we do take part in it, we will know the joy of Christ and touch the world with his love. Inasmuch as we do not take part in it, we cheat ourselves. But we do not have to be scared that God\’s work somehow depends on our whipping ourselves into spiritual shape ”” if we fail God, he yet remains faithful.
In short, I would love to see Christianity proclaimed as a life to be lived, progressively discovered, with many layers. The Christian life is so beautiful, so profound, so challenging, such an adventure. Almost every day I find something new I am holding back and I have the joy of turning it over to God, or trying to. I am grateful and content with what God has wrought in me so far, and grateful and content that my future is in his hands and that he will do more with me in ten years than I can imagine now. That is the Christianity I love, not a series of terrifying decisions where I live in constant alarm over the state of my soul or the state of inner-city Philadelphia.
I do not have to be bullied into walking down an aisle of conversion. I do not have to be bullied into walking into a “bad” neighborhood and sharing Jesus\’ love in an incarnational way. Preachers do themselves a disservice by bullying their congregations. We live in an angry, drab, gray world where people are imprisoned by their ways of living and don\’t even know it. What is needed in such a world is not more bullying, but beauty. What is needed are preachers who can speak transparently, who recognize the Kingdom has its own beauty that can speak to this world if we will but let it.
This and every Monday, the Bweinh!tributors, having convened in secret for hours of reasoned debate and consideration, will issue a brief and binding ruling on an issue of great societal import.
This week’s question — At what age should a child be permitted to pursue a romantic relationship?
The council was unable to reach a majority ruling on this issue.
Kaitlin offers this opinion, joined by David and Erin:
No earlier than 16, and even that is probably too young. High schoolers are not at the stage of cognitive development that would allow them to make beneficial decisions in such a volatile area of their lives; even college students, more often than not, can’t approach relationships wisely.
Djere offers this opinion, joined by Kaitlin:
Upon being graduated from college. Because you’re going to feel pretty silly wasting all those perfectly good tears on fling after pointless fling, high schoolers…
Steve offers this opinion, joined by Josh:
Write all the notes you want from seventh grade on, but you ain’t touchin’ each other till at least age 17.
Tom offers this opinion, joined by Djere:
16 for boys. A girl should never ‘pursue’ a romantic relationship.
MC-B offers this opinion, joined by Connie:
18 with parent’s permission, independence without it. One needs to get his/her own house in order before messing around in anyone else’s.
Mike offers this opinion:
Any age — because you need to learn how to get hurt and bounce back.
Chloe offers this opinion:
30 — that’s when they start dying, which means that’s when they start making responsible decisions.
Job played no part in the determination of this issue.
Next time: Where and when would be your first destination in a time machine?
A man died and went to heaven. As he entered through the pearly gates, he saw a huge wall of clocks behind St. Peter. “What are all those clocks?,” he asked.
“Oh, those are lie clocks,” said St. Peter. “You see, every person has a lie clock, and every time you lie, the hands on your clock move.”
“Wow,” the man said. “So whose clock is that up there?”
“That\’s Billy Graham\’s. The hands have only moved a few times, showing that he told only about 5 lies in his whole life.”
“Incredible!,” said the man. “Whose is that one?”
St. Peter answered, “Oh, that’s Abraham Lincoln\’s. The hands moved twice, telling us that Abe told only two lies in his entire life.”
The man thought to himself. “Where\’s Hillary Clinton\’s clock?”
“Oh — her clock stays in Jesus\’ office. He uses it as a ceiling fan.”
This article is (for now) the last in a Bweinh! series on inspiring songs or songwriters. You can access the first eleven soundtrack entries here!
“I\’m not crying…it\’s just been raining…on my face…”
If I were to identify the two most common reactions to the music and lyrics of Flight of the Conchords, the guitar-toting duo from New Zealand, they would be as follows:
“Bwa ha ha ha ha ha ha!”
Maybe it\’s my penchant for asinine humor, but I do confess to being a fan of Flight of the Conchords. Bret McKenzie and Jemaine Clement, the deadpan, pop-like, folk-ish, odd comedy couple whose self-entitled HBO show (chock full of their multi-genrÃ©d, life-explaining music) has landed them in the spotlight, can just tell a ridiculous story well — and to music!
The show\’s plot inevitably winds around a few of their nonsensical songs, often half-spoken and half-sung. From “Albie the Racist Dragon” to “The Humans are Dead” to “Rhymenocerous vs. Hip-Hop-apotamus,” Flight of the Conchords\’ clever rhymes and rhythms, quick lyrics, and acoustic charm are hard to beat. YouTube can be thanked for a great deal of their fame, with many episodes and concert excerpts available for our listening pleasure (and laughs).
No, they are definitely not among the ranks of the CCM-worthy, so let that be a caveat to the new, more tender listener. But to intelligent audiences who get tired of having to act intelligent, I would say: check them out. Seriously, where else can you hear a rap entitled, “Frodo, Don\’t Wear the Ring”?
|In this corner, arguing for the superiority of prose, is Chloe!||And in this corner, fighting on the side of poetry, is Erin!|
“I was delayed that afternoon because I had brushed the teeth of a pretty animal that I’m patiently taming. It’s a chameleon. This endearing animal smoked, as usual, some cigarettes, then I left.
I met her on the stairs. “I’m mauving,” she told me, while I myself crystal at full sky I at her look that river towards me.
Then it locks and, maÃ®tresse! You pitcherpin so that at nice vase I sit down if the paths tombs.”
Go ahead. Tell me what that means.
. . .
Yep. I don\’t know, either. That\’s because it\’s poetry, which was never meant to be understood by anyone but the Opium Club.
Think of all your favorite authors when you were little, all the people you learned to read from. Tell me, how many of them were poets? I\’ll wager not a lot, because kids can\’t learn to read on poetry. Why? Because it doesn\’t make sense! And when it does make sense, it\’s talking about feelings or nature or other things that are really, really boring to read about, and have no impact on society whatsoever.
Prose, on the other hand, is not only much easier to understand, but it\’s also really exciting! Are you a science fiction fan? A mystery reader? Narrative and memoir? Do you like straight-up non-fiction about humor, politics, history, or theology? Prose has it all!
And by the way, feel free to show me what Mere Christianity and The Chronicles of Narnia would look like in poetry. I would guess that not too many people would read those versions. They wouldn\’t get them, because the author would play around with the words, try to say things in new ways without actually saying them, using things like metaphor and alliteration that tie up your tongue and muddle your brain. Also, they\’d throw in archaic words and references to heathen gods we\’ve never heard of because we\’re good people.
With prose, on the other hand, we can learn about all sorts of different subjects, and authors can communicate important ideas and cultural phenomena. Sound boring? This is exactly what Lewis did with Narnia and Pratchett does with his Discworld series. One draws you into a new and exciting world, while the other keeps you on the floor laughing! When was the last time poetry had you on the floor laughing?
Poetry is nice, I\’m sure, for those ten people in the United States who get it. For the rest of us, though, prose is the more interesting, accessible way to go.
I was in third grade when I discovered poetry. It was during “reading” class, and I had just discovered the amazing talent of tuning people out. We had 20 minutes of silent reading time, to be followed by the rest of our regular class time. Halfway through silent reading, I came across the word “fuchsia,” and I stopped.
Who invented a word like “fuchsia?” I knew it was a color, but what did it mean? I put down my book, picked up my pencil and paper, and proceeded to sit through the rest of silent reading and the first fifteen minutes of class writing about what I thought fuchsia could be. And that was my first poem.
Why tell you this? Because I think that poetry is about something deeper than the conveying of information: it\’s about the beauty inherent in everything that there is to convey. Even tragedy or atrocity point to what could be beautiful and no longer is.
Poetry isn\’t necessarily about an argument, or a description, or a collection of thought; and that is why it is wonderful. Taking words that would not normally complement each other, kneading them into submission (but never entirely!), and hoping that what you come up with will catch someone\’s soul besides your own — that is one way to look at poetry.
In more formal verse, the challenge is to go beyond the rules — of expression, depth, etc. — while obeying the rules of form and meter. Such a collision of goals results in poetry that constantly seems like it is trammeling up a few drops of what really is inside of what we can perceive, like oxygen inside a beaker. We can\’t really see the gas, but the form of the glass contains it just long enough for us to get a sense of what it\’s like.
Prose, while able to accomplish more in the areas of formal cataloguing of knowledge, information, and advertisement, can claim no advantage over poetry in storytelling, social commentary, persuasion, or celebration. Many of the greatest contributions to literature (Homer, Virgil, Dante, Chaucer, and Shakespeare, to name just a few) contain what? That\’s right, poetry — because it expresses beauty, emotion, and that tugging behind your navel that means that something important is going on.
And just look at the tomes of prose in the world — anything from tax law to textbooks, poorly written novels to theological treatises — where do we draw the line on what gets published? What is quality? What communicates well? Poetry must work much harder to prove its worth, and the poet to prove her or his gift.
What we have to decide is what is more important to us: the dry, systemic, and categorical communication of human experience in truth that is prose, or the vibrant, painful, beautiful communication that is poetry.
“I have great faith in fools; self-confidence, my friends call it.” — E. A. Poe
If you picked “Homosexuality is especially evil,” WHICH NO ONE DID, you’re a winner!!
Yes or no, Turkey?!
Â©1984-2008 Chick Publications, Inc. Reprinted without permission as fair use (parody).
I read an article once, in a motivational booklet our company circulated each month, in which a boy was beaten up by a bully at his bus stop. The next day, the boy got to the bus stop early, and waited. As the bully approached, the boy set his books down, assumed a fighting stance, and said, “Let\’s go!” The bully, confused, asked, “What are you talking about?”
“We\’re going to fight again,” the boy said. “Today, tomorrow, every day until I beat you.”
The bully shook his head and walked away, mumbling, “I can\’t. I hurt my arm yesterday when we fought.”
And that is why you show up in life.
You never know what will happen tomorrow. Yesterday is dead and gone. Did you lose then? So what? That doesn\’t mean you’ll lose today. Some days, all you have to do is show up. In sports, it\’s called a forfeit, or a walkover. The person, or team, which was so unbeatable yesterday, may not even be able to perform today.
I know some of you are hockey fans, many of the Philadelphia Flyers, so you know just what I mean. The Flyers got off to a great start in their opening round series, going up 3-1 in games. Then what happened? The sleeping giant awoke in Washington, and the Capitals dominated for two straight games. They shut the Flyers down in Washington in game 5 (3-2), then came to Philly and shut them down again (4-2) to tie the series at 3 apiece.
Their superior skating and playmaking, and the explosive offense of Ovechkin, Backstrom and Semin simply overpowered the Flyers for two straight games — and game 7 was back on their home ice. No one would have blamed the Flyers for not showing up Tuesday in Washington.
A funny thing happened, though. When you play two straight nights, and three times in four nights, people become fatigued — and as Vince Lombardi was fond of saying, “Fatigue makes cowards of us all.” So what happened? Washington didn\’t show up. They had nothing left in the tank. After spending 2 straight games checking the Flyers into oblivion, dominating the boards and winning every loose puck, the Capitals had nothing left to give. And the Flyers won the game and the series.
And that is why you show up.