Saturday, September 30, 2017

Reading the Bible in 90 Days

I've added a new page to the blog. It is called "Daily Bible Readings" and you will find it right under the orange header with the other pages of this blog.
If we follow the readings as listed, we will read the entire Bible in 90 days. If we start tomorrow, October 1, we will read the entire Bible by year's end. The list balances readings from the Old and New Testaments. This will allow us to keep both Testaments in mind. The list also evenly distributes readings from the Psalms and Proverbs. This will allow us to appreciate them better than if we consecutively read the chapters in either book.

Friday, September 29, 2017

Ussher: Moses from His Birth to the Plagues of Egypt

     1619 BC: Levi dies in Egypt aged 137 (Ex. 6:16). Levi had a son named Kohath born in Canaan and daughter named Jochebed born in Egypt. Kohath had a son named Amram who later married his aunt Jochebed. Amram and Jochebed had three children: Moses, Aaron, and Miriam (P151).
     1577 BC: Following Manetho, Ussher believed that Ramses began his 66-year reign at this time and that he was the Pharaoh who did not know Joseph (Exodus 1:8). Fearing their growing numbers and vitality, Ramses subjects the Israelites to forced labor and uses them to build cities he names after himself (Ex. 1:8, 14; Acts 7:18-19) (P159).

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Context: Meaningless Technology, Silence of God, yet Hope

Not until just recently, with the exponential growth of the internet, did we get a rigorously Global Technological System (GTS). Too bad.
This GTS presents us—Christians, churches, but everyone else as well—with severe problems on two levels. The first level is that of usefulness—till now, the defining virtue of technology. The GTS, however, has reached that stage of growth where it is no longer useful. Now, the GTS as a whole is fatally parasitical. It is terminally sucking the vitality out of global societies, cultures, human beings, and ecosystems. It is also worse than useless because it is collapsing and will cause unimaginable destruction and death as it does.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Ussher: Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, and Job (1821-1635 BC)

     This essay is the fourth summary of Annals of the World (1658) by James Ussher. It takes us from Abraham’s death (Genesis 27) to the death of Joseph (Genesis 50, the end of the book). It also makes brief mention of the time of Job. I wrote and share it with you so that we might both benefit from a careful reading of the historical and chronological data given to us in the Bible. It will help us to better understand the biblical point of view and to witness with greater clarity to Jesus in our day.

Ussher’s Third Age: The Call of Abraham to the Exodus (1921-1491 BC)
     1821 BC: Death of Abraham, aged 175, 100 years after he left Haran. Jacob is 15 years old (Gen. 25:7, 10; cf. Heb. 11:9) (P101).
     1817 BC: Death of Eber, 430 years after the birth of his son Peleg (Gen. 11:17). As a descendent of Eber, Abraham was called the Hebrew (Gen. 14:13). Later all the descendants of Jacob would be called by the same name (Gen. 40:15) (P102).
     1796 BC: Esau, aged 40, marries two Hittite women (Gen. 26:34-35; cf. Gen. 27:46, 28:8) (P105).
     1773 BC: Death of Ishmael aged 137 (Gen. 25:17) (P108).

Which Would We Prefer: Good News, Bad News, or No News?

As Christians and churches, we rightly confess that Yahweh’s steadfast love for us endures forever. We rightly affirm that Abba is for us, Jesus is with us, and the Holy Spirit is in us. Jesus himself tells us, “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened for you” (Matthew 7:7, New American Standard Version, here and following). He assures us,Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him, and he with Me” (Revelation 3:20). Good news!
Yes, God is love. Sometimes, though, we experience God’s love as wrath. That’s right: God’s wrath is always an expression of God’s love. We might define God’s loving wrath and wrathful loving as God’s rejection of our rejection of him.

Monday, September 25, 2017

How Puerto Rico Foreshadows the Near Future of the GTS

Hurricane Maria struck Puerto Rico on Wednesday, September 20. The consequences were varied and catastrophic. One painful result: the island’s electrical system is down. Estimates for the time needed to rebuild it vary from six months to a year.
Perhaps those estimates are optimistic. The government of Puerto Rico was forced to declare itself bankrupt last May. Already in financial straits, it will find the money needed to extensively rebuild infrastructure difficult to raise. Perhaps it never will be rebuilt.
No electricity. That means a sudden collapse of the Global Technological System (GTS) in Puerto Rico. How will people eat? Drink potable water? How will they treat their sewage? Dispose of their garbage? Stay cool or get warm? Cook? Earn money at businesses without electricity? Put gasoline in their cars without electricity? Recharge their cell phones and computers? How will hospitals continue to care for the sick? What about diabetics and others who are dependent on refrigerated medications?

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Ussher’s Annals: The Story of Abraham from Call to Death (1921-1821 BC)

     This essay is the third in an ongoing summary of Annals of the World (1658) by James Ussher. I wrote and share it with you so that we might both benefit from a careful reading of the historical and chronological data given to us in the Bible. It will help us to better understand the biblical point of view and to witness with greater clarity to Jesus in our day.

Ussher’s Third Age: The Call of Abraham to the Exodus (1921-1491 BC)
     1921 BC: Yhwh calls Abram to leave his old way of living and promises that he will bless Abram and the nations through Abram (Gen. 12:1-2, Acts 7:4). From the day that Abram, Sarai, and Lot leave Haran, Abram and his descendants spend a total of 430 years as strangers and pilgrims in foreign lands (Ex. 12:40-41, Gal. 3:7). They leave on 15 Abib (which, in 1921BC, was Wednesday, May 4). His descendants would leave Egypt on that same day 430 years later.
     Abram is 75 years old when he leaves Haran. He stops first at Shechem at the Oak of Morah (Gen. 12:4-6; cf. Gen. 35:4, Jos. 24:25-26, Jud 9:6). He moves on to Luz (later known as Bethel) (Gen. 28:19) and then continues  southward toward Egypt (Gen. 12:7-9) (Paragraph [P]72).

Friday, September 22, 2017

Biblical Narrative and Geological Theories: Rightly Understanding and Relating Both Using the Paradoxical Logic of Chalcedon

The biblical witnesses state that God created the heavens and the earth around 4000 BC. In contrast, astronomers, geologists, and other scientists believe that the earth came into existence about 4.5 billion years ago. The question for us, as Christians and churches, is how to rightly understand the biblical narrative, geological theories, and their proper relationship.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Ussher's Second Age: The Flood to the Call of Abraham (2348-1921 BC)

     This again is a summary of Annals of the World (1654) by James Ussher. I wrote and share it with you so that we might both benefit from a careful reading of the historical and chronological data given to us in the Bible. It will help us to better understand the biblical point of view and to witness with greater clarity to Jesus in our day.
     2348 BC: Friday, October 23: the first day of the world after the Flood. Noah is 601 years old. The Earth has dried and Noah removes the covering over the Ark (Gen. 8:13) (Paragraph [P]40).
     Thursday, December 18: Yhwh calls Noah, his family, and all the animals with him to leave the Ark (Gen. 8:14, 15, 19) (P41).

Competing Sources of Truth: The Bible and the Grand Narrative of Olympianity

In an essay entitled, “TV: The Bible of Olympianity” (April 28, 2015), I argued that we get our Grand Narrative, the story embodying our worldview as a civilization, from corporate media especially TV. This is particularly embarrassing for us as Christians and churches since we should be structuring our personalities and churches in terms of the biblical witness to Jesus Christ rather than in terms of the painfully Olympian gods of modern media.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Ussher's First Age: Creation to Flood (4004-2348 BC)


1. First Age: 4004-2348 BC (Creation to Flood)
2. Second Age: 2348-1921 BC (Flood to Call of Abraham)
3. Third Age: 1921-1491 BC (The Call of Abraham to the Exodus)
4. Fourth Age: 1491-1012 BC (The Exodus to the Foundation of the First Temple)
5. Fifth Age: 1012-588 BC (Foundation of the First Temple to Its Destruction)
6. Sixth Age: 588-4 BC (Destruction of the First Temple to the Birth of Jesus Christ)
7. Seventh Age: 4 BC-AD 70 (Birth of Jesus Christ to the Destruction of the Third Temple) (2)

The Importance of James Ussher’s Biblical Chronology (1658) Today

James Ussher (January 4, 1581-March 21, 1656) is best remembered for his monumental Annals of the World (published in 1658). In that book he concludes his careful attempt to determine the date of the creation of the world based on all the relevant information given in the Bible. He then continues his biblical chronology with the dates of all significant biblical events from creation, through the life of Jesus Christ, to the life of the early Church. Ussher was a master of biblical Hebrew and knew his Bible and ancient history thoroughly. Consequently, he was able to write a biblical chronology that we may still use to strengthen the clarity of our witness to Jesus Christ.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Are Hurricanes Meaningful?

Usually hurricanes just come and go. As Ecclesiastes says, “For everything there is a season, and a time for every purpose under heaven” (3:1, New Revised Standard Version, here and following). For the Atlantic Ocean, hurricane season starts each year on June 1 and ends on November 30.
The number of hurricanes, and their relative strength, vary randomly from season to season. Ecclesiastes has some perhaps surprising words to say about that as well: Again I saw that under the sun the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, nor bread to the wise, nor riches to the intelligent, nor favor to the skillful; but time and chance happen to them all. For no one can anticipate the time of disaster. Like fish taken in a cruel net, and like birds caught in a snare, so mortals are snared at a time of calamity, when it suddenly falls upon them (9:11-12).
Time and chance happen. Hurricanes are like that as well. But are there times when they are more than that?

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Be Strong and Courageous

No one shall be able to stand against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will not fail you or forsake you. Be strong and courageous; for you shall put this people in possession of the land that I swore to their ancestors to give them. Only be strong and very courageous, being careful to act in accordance with all the law that my servant Moses commanded you; do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, so that you may be successful wherever you go. This book of the law shall not depart out of your mouth; you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to act in accordance with all that is written in it. For then you shall make your way prosperous, and then you shall be successful. I hereby command you: Be strong and courageous; do not be frightened or dismayed, for [Yahweh] your God is with you wherever you go” (Joshua 1:5-9, New Revised Standard Version, here and following).