New Intro to Lamentations & Menu Organization

I have reorganized the menus (drop down menus at the top of the site) to try and make them more useful and accessible. You will find “Ruth and Its Targum” and “Lamentations and Its Targum” with submenus. Clicking on any of the titles will take you a page of material or posts. For example, clicking on “Lamentations and Its Targum” will take you to the landing page with general information about the Book of Lamentations […]

Dragon Illustration in a 14thC Ruth Text

Noodling around on the British Museum catalogue of illuminated manuscripts I came cross this curious dragon drawn in a 14th century Machzor next to the opening of the Book of Ruth. From the site: Title Biblical readings from a festival prayer book (mahzor): Song of Songs, Ruth, Ecclesiastes, Lamentations Origin Germany Date 1309 Language Hebrew Script Ashkenazi square script, punctuated; Ashkenazi semi-cursive script, unpunctuated Scribe Solomon ben Jehiel Artists Decoration probably by the scribe. Update: […]

Permission to Lament

Shortly after Mack died our good friend and colleague Gary Knoppers gave me Nicholas Wolterstorff’s Lament for a Son. Gary included a brief note, offering his condolences and sharing that NW had been one of his “main profs” at Calvin and that Eric, the son who had died in a tragic accident, had been his friend and housemate. Gary died shortly before Christmas, taken far too early by cancer, but leaving an incredible legacy of […]

The Divine Perspective: Open Theism and Human Will

[TLDR: Open theism is appealing, but, like Reformed theology today, it insists on looking at things from a human rather than divine perspective of history.] Ages ago, so long ago, in fact, that I do not remember the time or the day or even the year, I realized that I could not hold to a strict belief that God had ordained, structured, determined, and ordered, every final detail of history. Whether one calls it Calvinism, […]

Lest we return…

History does provide distance, but it does not erase the reality of what happened. Nor can changes in ideology or a desire for it to have been different. Yes, it is the nature of humans to harm one another, to be self-centered, and this leads to everything from petty grasping to the wars and atrocities that have never ended. It is human nature, but it is not human destiny. We must not forget and that […]

Creedal Confusion

I receive the daily devotionals from Richard Rohr and his “Center for Action and Contemplation.” I know many friends and a few family members who are appreciative of RR and his group’s work but I find it often very frustrating. I often agree with about 80% or more of what he writes. What often frustrates me is not not the 20% where I do not agree, but how arguments are set up and presented. Too […]

Why did the Son of God Suffer?

“The Son of God suffered unto the death, not that men might not suffer, but that their sufferings might be like His.” George MacDonald, Unspoken Sermons. First Series. As cited in CS Lewis, The Problem of Pain, (New York: Macmillan, 1947), p. vi. Cited by CS Lewis in the frontispiece of The Problem of Pain. I am not sure what I make of the statement. Humanity had already been suffering for millennia by the time Jesus came, so is GM saying that by coming Jesus took […]

Christian Comedy? Prophetic?

I have been a stand up comedy fan for years. One of my first albums was a Bill Cosby and eventually I discovered Mike Warnke, a Christian comedian. Not the best choices, in retrospect. If you have been following the news at all you know about Cosby, but Warnke too was discredited, decades ago. Christian comedy may seem like an oxymoron, yet there are some very humorous folks out there and often with poignant observations. This […]

“Not sorrowing as those without hope…”

Grant, O Lord, to all who are bereaved the spirit of faith and courage, that they may have strength to meet the days to come with steadfastness and patience; not sorrowing as those without hope, but in thankful remembrance of your great goodness, and in the joyful expectation of eternal life with those they love. And this we ask in the Name of Jesus Christ our Savior. Amen.  Book of Common Prayer, p. 505.   

Talking About Death

Specifically, how do we talk about it when someone has died? This article was posted on Facebook by my friend Fr. Jody Howard. “People don’t pass away” by Peter W. Marty on Christian Century. The site has apparently been recycling this story periodically since it was published in 2017. It is well meaning. I passed on the chocolate dessert tray in the restaurant last night, tempting as it was. I dread passing through the TSA screening lines at […]