The flat out contradictions in Scripture make Bible readers jumpy.Conservatives seek to defend the “integrity” of Scripture by denying that there is any (even the slightest) disagreement, those on the other side delight in the “proof” that the Bible is merely a collection of venerable ancient texts of no relevance today. Both responses are dead wrong! Contradictions in Scripture are real guides to how we should read. In Proverbs they reminded us how proverbs work, and how we have to select when to apply which proverb. In other places they are often reminders of the humanity of Scripture, that we have the thoughts of particularRead More →

In this podcast we’ll begin to grapple with a complicated idea, but quite simply begin to discover how to become (more) ideal readers. We’ll be looking at Eph 4 , and you will also need a bookmark in Ps 68 . This is a podcast in two parts (otherwise I’d have to change the name to 10 minute Bible, so do listen to tomorrow’s episode after today’s 😉  Read More →

Like Esther, Daniel is set in a foreign court and telling to the trials and triumphs of exiled Judeans and is packed with humour at the expense of the imperial overlords. In this podcast I’m following an article by Hector Avalos from CBQ and focusing on the repeated lists of Dan 3. For his comparison text Avalos went to the early English Piers Ploughman but I’ll refer to “How the Whale got his throat” from the Just So Stories by Rudyard Kipling (for obvious reasons 😉   Avalos, Hector I. “The comedic function of the enumerations of officials and instruments in Daniel 3.” Catholic BiblicalRead More →

Gender is not (only) a Feminist issue! I ended my double post Proverbs as a gendered text and Proverbs as a gendered text: Proverbs 31:10ff. with the question of where reading such (strongly) male texts left women readers. Sadly it has had little response, (though thank you Judy 🙂 So I’ll end this podcast with a reverse of the question with which I ended the one on Pr 31, and suggest there are parts of the Bible that heterosexual men can only read with the help of a little creative gender bending. Let’s see what you make of my (literal) reading of Song 2:1ff.?!Read More →

The poem in Prov 31:10ff. has been read in various ways, by men and by women, as an oppressive and as a liberating text. I will suggest two clues to making sense of the poem. The first is to read it in the context of the book of Proverbs (and not as an isolated poem), and the second is to read it precisely as a gendered text. This podcast was provoked by reading a short piece on this text by Ann Wansborough produced back in 1992 for the Uniting Church in Australia’s “Commission on Women and Men”. (Thank you Judy 🙂 BTW since Proverbs is aRead More →

While it is quite clear that Proverbs is a gendered text, the way it speaks of women is interesting. For a text coming from an ancient patriarchal society human women who serve as aspirational models are a surprise. No doubt any real Feminist would instantly switch into “pedestal” mode, but I think it’s worth pausing and noticing what’s going on, and maybe as I’ll suggest in a follow-up podcast finding inspiration for contemporary spiritualities…  Read More →

If you ever want to provoke laughter in church in the 21st century, just read a chunk of the Song of Songs, of course it works better if you get a couple to read to each other! The imagery is just so strange to our culture that almost any passage will achieve laughter in moments. But this does not mean that the book is intended to be funny. So my difficult problem in this podcast is to try to convince you that there is humour, as well as poetry and sex, in this very best Song. It won’t be easy or quick, indeed this isRead More →

Never one reluctant to ask for more, David Ker has rightly pointed out that I did not explain how/why Ecclesiastes 10:5-15 is (and was meant to be) funny. So here goes… 1 If I had the hubris I’d title this podcast: “An artist’s reply to just criticism”, but that would be most unfair to poor David 😉 Oh, don’t worry, this won’t be a dull dissection or a boring breakdown, I’ll just show you how several of the signs of humour are present, and in doing so hopefully reveal (without analysing to death) the humour in this passage! So, here’s the audio: Humour in theRead More →