NASA/courtesy of nasaimages.org “I am making everything new” what a wonderful promise! Not just a repair or clean up, but a renewed creation. Back in Genesis, the new line that started with Seth instead of Cain (the murderer) failed, after the flood Noah who was “a righteous man, blameless in his generation; and walked with God” (Gen 6:9) promptly became the first drunk, even Abraham – the father of faith – showed his lack of faith a few verses after responding to God’s call. Clean up jobs don’t work, they just sweep human sinfulness under the carpet. As Jesus’ parable (Mat 12:43ff. Luke 11:24ff.) showsRead More →

Photo: Child Soldiers in the DRC With this reading, skipping all the confusing stuff about the seven seals and the seven bowls, and most of the material about the false bride (the whore of Babylon), we come straight to the end of the beginning in chapter 19. We’ve returned to the throne room in heaven, now in victory! Westerners, especially those of us born after the end of the second world war (which means most listeners to this podcast 😉 have difficulty really understanding this joy in heaven, most of our battles are such trivial ones. But live for a while with people far away,Read More →

If you’ve been wonderoing when all the visions in Revelation begin, wonder no more. Today’s reading is full of visions. A throne in heaven: for God alone rules heaven and earth. One sitting on it: God is not named, for that would be too familiar in this dangerous vision, dangerous because humans are unholy and God is holy. Then v.3 is a reminder not to take this vision as visual, it’s a word picture Many of us approach John’s visions wanting to know more than John tells us, either about what heaven is like or about God’s timetable for the future. So people dig intoRead More →

Dream car by U-g-g-B-o-y-(-Photograph-World-Sense-) Most listeners to this podcast, judging by the website stats, come from comfortable Western countries. If this is you (and it is ME) then most of what is said to the first six churches does not closely fit us, though it more often gives us goals to aim for. Laodicea by contrast does fit, neither hot nor cold – isn’t moderation one of our chief virtues, especially in Church (even more than our society more widely where often excess reigns). We are also (on a global scale if not as individuals 😉 rich and successful. Of course if we look beyondRead More →

Picture by Torley This reading introduces the book and Revelation needs introducing because it is a difficult book. Among its oddities are the rhetorical flourishes (present elsewhere in the Bible but very strongly featured here), the use of picture language (which interestingly often cannot actually be pictured), vivid visions and a strong interest in the future/eternity. Listening to John’s word pictures makes clear that these aren’t really pictures that John draws, the “word pictures” signal other things, so white as wool, white as snow – signals purity. However, it also does clever stuff called intertextuality – John sets up echoes with other Scriptures that oughtRead More →

The book calls itself the apokalupsis of Jesus Christ – the revelation the disclosure of hidden things – so like parts of Daniel it will show us glimpses “behind the scenes” of the world letting us see a bit of what Christ is doing off stage. This means (paradoxically) that this book requires us to learn a bit about the setting and people for whom John is writing – it may be even more important for such a book than for one that tells the action on-stage 😉 John is a prisoner, “for the word of God and the testimony of Jesus”, in PATMOS, aRead More →

James is a difficult book to read, though in this podcast I’ll suggest that things we learn reading the Old Testament can help us. I’ll also try to explain how understanding where James is coming from can help, that is a bit of cultural understanding will make clearer how his mind works, and so his book. But if I tell you more you won’t listen to the podcast 😉 [PS: sorry, this podcast is longer than it should be, but it does introduce how to read James, and begins to address the “famous” faith and works dispute among early Christian leaders!] I chose the pictureRead More →