Tag: exegesis

The Atheist and the Acorn

 

This starts with a joke. Not a particularly good one, but perhaps the novelty will save the humor. It’s been a long time since I’ve heard it told.

An atheist is arguing with a priest as they walk through a grove of trees. “How can you believe in a God who created such a disordered universe? Look at these mighty oak trees. See the tiny acorns they produce. And yet the massive pumpkin grows on a feeble vine. If I had designed the world that situation would be corrected, let me tell you.”

Church Lady, Traffic Cop, Spark Epic Prooftexting Battle After Blizzard

 

Sunday, Jan. 20, Grover Heights — The parishioners of St. John’s faced mass impoundment of their cars Sunday morning for parking them after the village snowplow had cleared the surrounding streets, but before the snow-clearing parking ban had officially expired. Feisty church lady, Cheryl Knapp, began a heated argument with Marl Burlon, the traffic cop on duty, once she realized his intention was to ticket, then tow, parishioners’ cars for “obstructing a snowplow” that had already been through.

Knapp cited 1 Corinthians 10:23, “‘I have the right to do anything,’ you say — but not everything is beneficial. ‘I have the right to do anything’ — but not everything is constructive,” conceding that the village was within its rights to tow the alleged offending cars. But, she added, “Where is the benefit in ticketing cars for obstructing a plow they are not, in fact, obstructing, since the plow has already cleared the streets where St. John’s parishioners park?” Burlon countered that the village of Grover Heights benefits from ticket revenue, and that it’s not constructive for supposedly law-abiding citizens like churchgoers to be seen flouting even the letter of the law. “When a scoffer is punished, the simple become wise,” he quoted, adding, “Render unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s — including lawfully-impounded cars.”

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Yaakov works seven years for Leah, and then seven more years for Rachel. Why does he have to work seven for both of them? I would suggest that the Torah gives us a hint – that when it says that the seven years “seemed unto him but single days”, and then again, “Jacob said unto […]

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Now the first came forth red, all over like a hairy garment; and they named him Esau. Afterward his brother came forth with his hand holding on to Esau’s heel, so his name was called Jacob (Gen. 25:25-6) The Torah is telling us something very important here. Esau is defined by his appearance – because […]

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And [Esau] said: ‘… he hath supplanted me these two times: he took away my birthright [bechor]; and, behold, now he hath taken away my blessing.’ What is this “birthright” that Esau is talking about? The Torah tells us that Yaakov bought the birthright from Esau for a bowl of food, and that Esau spurned […]

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A separate comment on the perils of working with translated text (and the long-term ramifications) made me recall this very interesting excerpt from Jonathan Sachs: One passage … shows how differences in interpretation can lead to, or flow from, profound differences in culture. Ironically, the subject concerned – abortion – remains deeply contentious to this day. […]

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When Rivkah (Rebecca) introduces herself to Avraham’s servant, the text contains a very strange artifact, which I highlight. And she said unto him: ‘I am the daughter of Bethuel the son of Milcah, whom she bore unto Nahor.’ And she said unto him: ‘We have both straw and provender enough, and room to lodge in.’ […]

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When I cannot sleep, I take it as a sign. The below is the result.  Most people think that they talk to G-d. But when people say that G-d talks back to them, we instinctively recoil. As Hermione Granger puts it: “Even in the wizarding world, hearing voices isn’t a good sign.” Preview Open

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From the first time Avraham speaks to G-d, he is insistent that he needs children to carry on his legacy. G-d assures him that he will, indeed, have children – but Avraham continues to push, asking for proof and guarantees. In parallel, Avraham does not prioritize his wife. When the family leaves to go to […]

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The land itself was at the heart of the ancient world. At the crossroads of three continents, Israel was the inevitable waystation for land traffic between Europe, Africa and Asia. Traders were a continuous feature, coming and going with their goods, cultures, and languages.   Though in one sense merely one organ among many, the […]

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[CaptainPower asked, so the following is excerpted from my book.] “Classical” ideas of humility dovetail with Christian piety; suggesting we should reduce our goals and aim for less ambitious lives. This idea of humility implies treating ourselves as small and unimportant. Preview Open

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I am thrilled!!!! The official distributor’s website is here. The author’s website (where you can get autographed versions) is here, and it includes excerpts that you can read to decide whether you want to read more or not. It should be on Amazon (both Kindle and hard formats) within a week or two. Preview Open

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