Archive for April 8th, 2008

Fishing Boat on the Sea of Galilee

His disciples asked him what this parable meant. He said, “The knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of God has been given to you, but to others I speak in parables, so that,”

‘though seeing, they may not see; though hearing, they may not understand.’

Jesus as Rabbi:
Part 1: What is a Rabbi?
Part 2: Was Jesus a Rabbi?
Part 3: Jesus’ Miracles
Part 4: Jesus and other Rabbis
Part 5: Jesus and the Pharisees
Part 6: Bringing up Disciples
Part 7: Jesus’ Yoke

I took a hiatus from this series for Holy Week along with an uptick in my personal calendar, but I am trying to pick up where I left off.

Rabbinic Teaching Methods

In second-temple rabbinical thought, there existed two primary modes of teaching – hagadah (knowing/devotion/meditation on scripture) and halakah (doing the Word, walking in the Way). We in the Christian tradition would probably classify hagadah as “knowing the Word” (orthodoxy) and halakah as “doing the Word” (orthopraxy). R. Abraham Heschel, considered by many to be the most respected Jewish rabbi of the 20th century, says of these two:

Halakah without hagadah is fanatacism,
Hagadah without halakah is irrelevant

In other words, to do the Word without faith or proper understanding of it is to be a blind follower, and to have faith and understanding in the Word without fully living it out is irrelevant.

Additionally, halakah has subset which stands apart, called parable – a concept with which we are very familiar.

It was also taught in rabbinic literature that the best teaching of talmidim is done in equal parts of hagadah, halakah and parable. Interestingly, if one takes Jesus’ teachings from the gospel and divide them up, you will find that the ratio of hagadah:halakah:parable is almost exactly 1:1:1!

Read the rest of this entry »

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Is it proper to make a comparative apology? If so, then I must repent of any accusations of hyper-fundie-ness, bitterness, or anger that I have made about Ken or Ingrid. I’ve found someone who makes them look like Joel Osteen on uppers.

A few days ago, a commenter on my last post noted that the discerners “are now equating rudeness, mean-spiritedness, and nastiness with … godliness!” I sent him a note to ask where specifically the text (that he quoted as proof) came from. Hang on to this link if you ever need to induce vomiting.

I popped over there and asked a quick question. I got a response from the blog author. I say “response” purposefully, because it wasn’t anywhere close to an answer. But that’s OK.

The statement that “inspired” this post, though, was buried in that response (emphasis mine):

If a person is a student of the Bible he will readily find that the Bible is for the most part a negative book, of wrath, judgment, and condemnation.

What a sad existence. If that’s Christianity, include me out.

What am I saying? He probably already has.

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In a recent post by Ken Silva about Richard Abanes, a supporter of Rick Warren, Ken decides to go after the man’s cd collection. Since Silva put a copyright on the blog, I won’t quote it. But apparently, Abanes listens to Rascal Flatts, Jimmy Wayne, Tim McGraw, and Green Day.

Ken enlightens us by telling us that any true Christian would have received the secret Gnostic knowledge that he has and that secular music is obviously a bad thing for any and all Christians to listen to.

Before I invite Ken to my home to review my cd collection, I thought I should probably review my book collection as well. I have Fox Trot, a comic series, which is obviously of the devil because it references dancing. I have Calvin and Hobbes, which is ok in regards to Calvin, however, Hobbes is right out. I also have some “Learn to Play” guitar book, which I will be throwing out, since I might learn some of that new hip  praise and worship music.

In reality, file name of Ken’s article pretty much say it all. It’s “”.


Here is a portion of Ken’s thoughts on secular music. According to Chris L, I’m allowed to quote the site:

And here is what the watchful eyes of a pastor would notice in this example of Mr. Abanes’ choices of music. No matter what the reason, by his own admission, Mr. Abanes does not listen to “a lot of Christian music at all.” However, as for “secular music,” he tells us there are “many” artists that he listens to on a “regular basis,” and “almost every day.” The questions that I as a pastor would hope Rick Warren will soon be asking Mr. Abanes in his office are: So, now can you see who is helping to shape much of your world-view? Richard, why would you, as a prominent Christian, even want to listen to so many non-Christian influences “on a regular basis?” And, just what would the more mature Christian possibly find in common with worldly artists? (see–2 Corinthians 6:15)

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Cross-dressing WatchdawgWith the exception of one of our local news stations, which tends to be pretty friendly to the Christian churches in the area, I always dread it when the word “Christian” shows up in a pre-ad bumper for the evening news. It is like a clue that you’re going to experience something excruciatingly stupid that has happened in the name of Christ.

For example (not verbatim):

Next up, what is going on at a Wisconsin elementary school that has Christians up in arms? Join us after the break…

Let me guess:

The school isn’t teaching young-earth creation in science class? No, that would be old news.

Harry Potter added to the approved reading list for Reading Counts? No.

Athiest teacher decides to prostelytize? No.

None of these.

It seems that the school in question, Pineview Elementary in Reedsburg WI, has a school tradition called ‘wacky week’. Last Friday, as part of the WW tradition, students were encouraged to dress up like AARP members or as members of the opposite sex.

Cross-dressing?!? Oh my.

And just to make the story completely, 100% pathetic, the Christians in question were talk-show folks at VCY America. (You can read more here.)

Attention WhoreThere is certainly something to be said for (to excuse some cliche’s) ‘choosing your battles’ or ’selecting the hill you want to die on’. Sadly, too many Christians are simply attention whores who want to die on every hill available, making a mockery out of the entire church in the process. Certainly the church will never win a popularity contest with the world, but there is a distinct difference between ‘taking up your cross’ and leading with your chin. Jesus called us to do the former rather than the latter.

As I took in this particular news story, I was reminded of a comment Rich Mullins frequently made, paraphrasing J.D. Salinger:

A fool will die nobly for any cause; a wise man will live humbly for one.

Sadly, though, the discernmentalist playbook is pretty thin, and any suggestion that Wacky Week should have been left alone will be met with sharp knives, prattling on about slippery slopes, and self-righteous indignation.

At what point do we allow non-Christians to not have to live as Christians? Sadly, I suspect that answering this question will attract far littler digital ink than will the sanctimonious blether on the use of the phrase ‘attention whore’…

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It started with this.emergentfriend2.jpg





And then this was quickly added.20070126-discernment.jpg




And now ;ately, I’ve noticed on blogs that are proud of not being friends with individuals due to a particular belief or worldview have proudly displayed this little symbol:emergentfriend1.jpg





Now it hardly seems fair that only one end of this particular family feud gets to define themselves by unfriendliness so I worked up this little symbol:not-a-friend-of-not-friends.jpg







And of course, I wouldn’t want to be accused of being unfriendly by those who define themselves by their unfriendliness, so I factored their needs into this:not-a-friend-of-not-a-friend-of-not-a-friend.jpg








Of course by this point, discerning what’s at the heart of this cycle of unfriendliness is starting to get a bit difficult (thus the symbol imitates the reality).  And so I had to come up with something else to reflect the continuing cycle of unfriendliness.  So I came up with this:
























And in what has become a nuclear proliferation of unfriendliness its time to construct an unfriendly bomb that can consume the world 43 times over with its antagonism payload.


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