When God Tells You to Kill Your Neighbor

I’ve been spending a lot of time in the Torah — the five books of Moses — and the early history of Joshua through 2 Kings these last few weeks working on a lengthy piece on biblical sexual ethics. No need to thank me… 😉

Honestly, I love the Hebrew Bible. From top to bottom. It is a bloody, gory, incredibly grace-filled and very human story of a people’s encounter with God, their inability to be faithful to the God that calls them, the consequences they face in their faithlessness, and God’s never-ending pursuit of those same people — to rescue and redeem them in and (sometimes) from their faithlessness. It’s a staggering story, and it has formed me, really reached into my soul and rewritten the entire way I think about my life. Continue reading

Why I Am Not a Liberation Theologian

Not that anyone (at least anyone who knows me) has called me one. But it Liberation Theology is inescapable at seminaries today, and this is a decidedly mixed blessing.

I’ve never been a Liberation Theologian. What I’ve heard during (and since) my time at LSTC of and about Liberation Theology sounded an awful lot like the Marxism — particularly the kinds of Marxism coming out of the Third World — I encountered at San Francisco State University in the late 1980s. (In fact, all Social Justice talk sounds like that to me…) The big difference is that Liberation Theology is a lot less intellectually rigorous and a great deal more sentimental than proper Marxism. Continue reading

“Does Your Teacher Not Pay the Tax?”

I have been working through Oliver O’Donovan’s The Desire of the Nations: Rediscovering the Roots of Political Theology very slowly. It is a dense book, but a really enjoyable read. I love how he reads scripture and what he does with it in his narrative (giving me much to think about for my contemplated books on David, and Judges, and the church), and so I’m going to deal with this book a chapter at a time. (Unlike last time, when I did two chapters together, thinking that would work with this book.) Continue reading

Book Review: The Desire of the Nations (PART 1)

Jesus is Lord.

This is something we who are called to follow Jesus are also called to proclaim. But this isn’t a simple proclamation of faith — like the shahadah, in which Muslims proclaim the oneness of God and confess that Muhammad is the messenger of God, this is proclamation with political implications.

This is the idea Oliver O’Donvan is dealing with in The Desire of The Nations: Rediscovering the Roots of Political Theology (1996). This review covers the first two chapters, where O’Donovan tries to get past Enlightenment suspicion of theological and religious motives and meaning in political action, and then tries to figure out exactly where and how political authority emerges in the biblical history of Israel. Continue reading