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What a Covenant...Wait! What is a covenant?

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What a fellowship, what a joy divine! Leaning on the Everlasting Arms! What a blessedness, what a peace is mine,  Leaning on the Everlasting Arms!   First verse of the hymn, What a Fellowship
In the last post, I laid out one understanding of a narrative arc in scripture going from creation to crisis to community to Christ to church to culmination.  And like all human understandings there are pros and cons to this idea.  One drawback is that it does not emphasize enough the word, covenant.  Our modern day understanding of covenant tends to conflate or confuse it with contract.  While culturally there are similarities, I think within Scripture the two are  not synonymous.  A contract has a legal aspect and well-defined consequences for breaking the contract.  If I decide to jump ship from Verizon and go to AT&T, there is a well-defined financial consequence for that choice.  We are bound by contracts from the places we live to the credit cards we carry to even our jobs.  So, it makes…

The Rest of the Story

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Have you ever wondered if there is any connection between Genesis and Revelation?  Are there threads that run from verse to verse; book to book; from beginning to end?  To be sure, we need to be careful with this.  When these are offered as authoritative, my way or the highway, this is the ONLY way possible, I start to nervously twitch.  When such suggestions are just that, proposals to discuss and debate, then I am more than glad to join in the conversation.
The fancy word for finding common thread is a meta-narrative; that is big story.  I am compelled by Brian McLaren who has written on this topic.  Yet, I also want to add to his understanding and ideas.  I think the big narrative of scripture is creation to crisis to community to Christ to church to culmination.  Six movements, like a symphony, that are tied thematically and rhythmically together.  You don't move linearly from one to the next, but there are riffs and melodies that get integrally interwoven together.   
Script…

One MORE way to Read Scripture

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In my last post, I offered six ways of reading Scripture.  We explored Scripture as a chain link; Scripture as concentric circles; Scripture as moral/ethical truths; Scripture as conversation; Scripture as embodied truth (emotional connection); and Scripture as story.  As the class that explored these ways was talking, we found another way to read Scripture which is as Stained Glass.  This makes sense.  Originally Stained glass told the scripture stories through imagines.  When the Bible was read in Latin, a language the common person did not understand, the windows brought the stories to life in living color.  The windows were a way of communicating the faith.

To think about reading Scripture as Stained Glass awakens our imaginations.  When you look at stained glass there are many different levels.  You can look at the individual colors in each pane, each of which will communicate a truth. You can look at the ways the colors come together, culminate together to create a beautiful im…

How do YOU read Scripture

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All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness,  2 Timothy 3:16

How do you read Scripture?  If you are like the majority of faithful, church-going, hymn-singing, blog reading people...the most honest answer to that questions is, "Not very often."  At least, not very often outside of Sunday morning.  Well over half of people surveyed by the Pew Form a few years ago admitted that they don't read Scripture outside of church.  Let's face it, that makes some sense.  The Bible might not be nearly as compelling as the latest novel from your favorite author.  Not to mention the print is a bit on the tiny side, the pages a bit on a thin side, and a little to much emphasis on, "So and so begat so and so who begat so and so..."  And you thought Harlequin romance novels were only interested in sex.  Seriously, that is a lot of begating!
Each of us brings a perspective to Scripture.  At the church I serve, I …

At the Intersection

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This week we celebrated Labor Day, a tradition that goes back more than 100 years. (Click here to read more about the history of this day.)  Work holds an interesting place in our lives today.  A generation ago, work was interwoven into your identity.  You were a doctor or lawyer or pastor.  Your job said a great deal about yourself.  Work offered you a pay check and, hopefully, a pathway to retirement.  But today, that story feels like a fairy tale of an age gone by.  Many today work without benefits.  Many today work for wages that cannot sustain the costs of housing, food, and raising a child.  What is the place of work?
For those of us in the Protestant tradition, work has an interesting place.  Some Protestant theology suggests that if you are successful at work, it is a sign of God's blessing or providence.  That theology, now often called Prosperity Gospel, is no longer preached in many mainline churches.  Yet the ripple effects are still felt; and waves of such understand…