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Showing posts from December 13, 2020

Some Thoughts On John's Prologue (John 1:1-18)

 I have often seen this section of John 1 described as the "prologue" of this Gospel. I think it is because the divinity of Jesus, and the Incarnation--Jesus Christ becoming man--is so vital that we need to recognize it as a special thing. I agree with this decision, and I see no reason to go against what all other commentators seem to do. I will, however, extend my marking of the prologue through verse 18. The discussion of John the Baptist begins right after that, and so thematically it is slightly different. Please notice that this Gospel begins with, "In the beginning…" Genesis 1:1 at the very beginning of the Bible, begins with the same phrase. John wants us to know that Jesus was there at the creation of the universe. As we read along further, he also wants us to know that Jesus is going to re-create the world and us, if we will allow Him to do it. This is an interesting word choice, "Word." Suffice it to say that John's Greek speaking audience u

Do Your Thing, Chef Kings And Queens

 I have a new respect for chefs, and for those who know what they're doing in the kitchen. I had about a pound of eye of round beefsteak, cut into small fillets. With the lid open, "sauté" is your only option on an Instant Pot. I could be wrong, but I think that setting is much hotter than the 145° recommended for medium-rare steak. My fillets were only about an inch thick, and I would say that I cooked each one for about a minute on each side, and I did this twice. There was no pink anywhere, which in the end is fine, for I am not a chef. Food safety is more critical than food preference, for me right now. How do they do that, where the outside of a steak is charred, but the inside is pink, or even red? Anyway, I'm impressed. It tasted great, which I suppose is the point. I will keep trying to discover things, and to potentially make modifications to my setup, to expand my cooking options.

Mohler, le Carre, And The Evangelical Mind (Still A Scandal)

 I just read the transcript of what I think is a podcast by Al Mohler, the Baptist leader. Part IV was about John le Carre, who died a few days ago. The novelist and former spy wrote many celebrated stories, several of which I have begun reading. The New York Times noted that le Carre used "moral ambiguities" to push the story forward. Mohler became fixated on that, roughly interpreting that as "moral relativism". I know that Mohler is a culture warrior, maybe above all, but I do not find moral relativism in le Carre's protagonist George Smiley. Moral ambiguity does not equal moral relativism. What Smiley finds--and the reader is invited to contemplate--is moral inconsistency. I think it is brilliant of the author to invite us inside a story of good and evil, to consider that good and evil coexist within each of us. A John le Carre novel is about the struggle within, more than the struggle without. That's something in general that a Christian should be able

The Book Of Signs, And The Book Of Glory

Somewhere, I was taught to divide the Gospel of John into two parts: the book of signs, and the book of glory. Sometimes with very large books of the Bible, it is prudent to make a brief outline, with memorable headings. You won't capture everything that goes on in the text that way, but you can go back and do a more detailed outline after that. I was debating with myself pretty much for a week, regarding where the "book of glory" should start. I think it should start after verse 15 of John chapter 12. There we have the quotation of Zechariah 9:9, and the rising tension of the growing opposition to Jesus and his ministry. One reason to call the first part of the book "the book of signs" is that Jesus did miracles to announce the kingdom of God. His journey to Jerusalem, which will result in his death by crucifixion, is the beginning of the fulfillment of the kingdom of God. In this way, the signs pointed forward to the cross; afterward, they point backward, to t

Answer Me When I Call

 I won't say that I have been especially pious lately; it's been quite the opposite, frankly. And yet, it seems like God is very near. I don't know any better way to say it. I've been reading through the Gospel of John. [Aren't you always reading through the Gospel of John?--ed.] Point! No matter how sketchy things get, we need to be reminded and to remind ourselves that Jesus has not wavered. What he wills has not changed, and he has willed our salvation. It is a grace to us, simply to recognize this. It has never been a question of God's disposition toward us; the spiritual life is about our disposition toward Him.