The story of the “Golden Calf” episode, offers three different answers to the question: Who brought Israel out of Egypt. And they are attributed to different people and recounted to us by different people! This opens lots of interesting possibilities for interplay of points of view. When there are “rough edges” like this in a text it is a critic’s job, any sort of critic worth their salt, to pick at them and hope to see more of how or why the text is constructed. That’s what I do here, encourage you to pick at the edges from a narrative, relational perspective, and to askRead More →

In some Bible passages, as atheists and others who want to avoid the claims of God are quick to point out, God sounds like a Dalek. Deut 7:2 is a typical case. When the LORD your God hands these nations over to you and you conquer them, you must completely destroy them. Make no treaties with them and show them no mercy. (NLT) Here God demands that Israel exterminate all the Canaanites. What’s going on? Is the God of the Bible (or at least the Old Testament a genocidal maniac? This is part one of a series, so it will only deal with part ofRead More →

Sunday School, and most of our quick summaries of the contents of the Bible present Exodus as telling the story of how God frees Israelite slaves from the powers of Egypt. But, a closer look at the book shows that’s just half the story! Here we’ll focus Exodus as a book in two halfs. Doing this will suggest even more sharply that this ancient collection of stories and laws poses a real challenge to us today!  Read More →

These two chapters, as well as some (now several millennia later) boring stuff about wells, contain some of the heights and depths of human experience. A birth to a childless couple, well well after normal childbearing years, and nasty vindictive selfishness. But also an outrageous demand from God, blind obedience and a few hints of something greater to come…Read More →