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Odds ‘n’ ends to catch up


I’m*gasp* getting a bit behind in posting.  Work has picked up lately, and I’m having ideas for posts that take longer than the initial reactions to readings generally do.  Striving to keep the chronological nature of the current system, this means I can’t post small reactions on items that I happen to read later than an item that requires a bit of thinking and tweaking. 

So, I’m *double gasp* going to break the chronological system just this once (although no promises that it won’t happen again), to cover some readings that happen to come after Ezekiel 38-39, from which I’m jumping on another tangential, navel-gazing question tomorrow, in order to keep from creating a lag in posting that haunts me forever.  These passages, without disrespecting God’s word in any way, elicit less from me in terms of reaction; I think it best to handle them collectively here.


Ezekiel 32 | Zeke returns to the theme of Egypt’s coming punishment, identifying both Egypt’s role as sometime foe of Israel’s armies as well as the temptation Egypt posed for those seeking to evade God’s punishment.  The lesson: don’t be a stumbling block.


Jeremiah 52:28-30 | It seems that each time Israel sins, more people are taken into exile.  Instead of seeing this as God getting angrier and angrier (which could very well be the case), I see a pattern of healing.  In response to greater sin, God pulls a greater number of people into exile as punishment, chastisement, and purification.  This means that more and more people are being exposed to God’s restorative process.  The dynamic reminds me of the transition between Romans 5 and 6.  As sin abounds (I paraphrase), grace increases all the more.  This doesn’t mean, however, that we should sin more so that there will be more grace. 


Psalm 137 | Verse 3 of this Psalm rues the fact that the Israelites in exile are being forced to perform their religious songs (perhaps Psalms, which would make this a Psalm about Psalms; how meta) as a form of entertainment to the Babylonians.  The fact that this is a bad thing is because it takes something which is holy (as in, set apart) and purposeful and makes it vague, cultural, and entertaining.  TS Eliot* equated faith with culture, that culture is just faith manifested.  The Babylonians thus profane one by ignoring the other. 

My wife has a hard time conceiving of ‘cultural Christians,’ or people who are ‘born into the faith’ without ever believing anything because of it.  She was blessed to be raised in a family where faith was explicit and mindful, so she doesn’t understand why someone would go to church and learn Bible stories just to go through the motions or partake in community life.  This lack of understanding on her part reflects a truth that culture and faith are linked in a way that makes one hard to comprehend without the other. 

It’s like the nonsense of someone saying he’s ‘half-Jewish and half-Catholic’ just because his mom is an ethnic Jew and his dad is an ethnic Italian (or Latino, or Irishman…).  So, what, half of him believes that Christ is the son of God and the other half doesn’t? 

1 Chron 4:24-5:26; 6:3, 49, 4-15 | This actually combines some of today’s and tomorrow’s reading, so if you read this today (9.1), then you’re seeing into the future!!!  Oooohhhh….  Ezra decided this would be a good time to note the descendent geneology of Simeon, Reuben, Gad, and the half-tribe of Manasseh and to make some edits/amendments to his corresponding geneology of Levi.  Fair enough.

Ok, this ended up being longer than it was supposed to.  Oh, well.  Tomorrow, the glorious (?) debut of Gog and Magog, from Ezekiel 38-39, which I really read yesterday.  Don’t think too hard about it, or you might damage the space-time continuum.**


* TS Eliot, Christianity and Culture

** For all your space-time continuum needs, be sure to visit

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