“I am a thing that thinks: that is, a thing that doubts, affirms, denies, understands a few things, is ignorant of many things, is willing, is unwilling, and also which imagines and has sensory perceptions…”—Descartes
The following text is what I have selected for my exegetical paper. We are to select a text that we can wrestle with until it blesses us. I have always been fascinated with the apparent gray areas of the Bible. Here, the midwives are told to kill, but instead they lie. Both of which we are instructed not to do. However, it appears that as a result of their lying, God blesses them. This occurs in several other places in the Bible. Thus in some situations, lying is necessary and even blessed by God? Some, however, would argue that lying is never okay. I hope to engage in this idea more fully, elaborating also on if/when it’s okay to lie (e.g., for the good).
Conversely, Corrie Ten Boom shares stories in which she has told the truth in situations that her truth could have brought harm to others (i.e., she was honest when asked if she was hiding Jews in her home). However, her honesty was actually thought to have been a lie when the Nazi’s could not find her hidden Jews.
Peter Rollins offers commentary on this topic as well.
Ideally, I would like to have this 10-12 pager done by Sunday evening, but it’s due Tuesday. It’s also worth 50% of our grade. We shall see.
Now there arouse a new king over Egypt, who did not know Joseph. And he said to his people, “Look, the people of the children of Israel are more and mightier than we; come, let us deal shrewdly with them, lest they multiply, and it happen, in the event of war, that they also join our enemies and fight against us, and so go up out of the land.” Therefore they set taskmasters over them to afflict them with their burdens. And they built for Pharaoh supply cities, Pithom and Raamses. But the more they afflicted them, the more they multiplied and grew. And they were in dread of the children of Israel. So the Egyptians made the children of Israel serve with rigor. And they made their lives bitter with hard bondage—in mortar, in brick, and in all manner of service in the field. All their service in which they made them serve was with rigor.
Then the king of Egypt spoke to the Hebrew midwives, of whom the name of one was Shiphrah and the name of the other was Puah; and he said, “When you do the duties of a midwife for the Hebrew women, and see them on the birthstools, if it is a son, then you shall kill him; but if it is a daughter, then she shall live.” But the midwives feared God, and did not do as the king of Egypt commanded them, but saved the male children alive. So the king of Egypt called for the midwives and said to them, “Why have you done this thing, and saved the male children alive?”
And the midwives said to Pharaoh, “Because the Hebrew women are not like the Egyptian women; for they are lively and give birth before the midwives come to them.”
Therefore God dealt well with the midwives, and the people multiplied and grew very mighty. And so it was, because the midwives feared God, that He provided households for them.
So Pharaoh commanded all his people, saying, “Every son who is born you shall cast into the river and every daughter you shall save alive.”
I came across the Rabbit Room earlier today when looking for a specific story I had read elsewhere, and wanted to share with a friend. Before closing out of the tab, I decided to take a look around on the site. Google has out done itself—I love stumbling across a great website. Check it out. Be sure to read the “about” page first before going visiting the homepage.
The Rabbit Room is a place for stories. For artists who believe in the power of old tales, tales as old as the earth itself, who find hope in them and beauty in the shadows and in the light and in the source of the light.
“If the God you believe in as an idea doesn’t start showing up in what happens to you in your own life, you have as much cause for concern as if the God you don’t believe in as an idea does start showing up.
It is absolutely crucial, therefore, to keep in constant touch with what is going on in your own life’s story and to pay close attention to what is going on in the stories of others’ lives. If God is not present in those stories, then you might as well give up the whole business.”
—Frederick Buechner, “Stories” in Whistling in the Dark
This is what we’re currently discussing in my theology class. In following are a few quotes that resonated with me:
"Christian poets must bring the Spirit into flesh just as the incarnation is Spirit becoming flesh. And this is what poets can do for theologians. In fact, theologians need poetry just as much as Christ needed to speak in parables." —Jill Peláez Baumgaertner
"The poet who is working with religious subject matter has a big job—nothing less than revitalizing the language so that it expresses truth…" — Jill Peláez Baumgaertner
"People come to church to hear potent, truth-telling language. In a world full of talk that manipulates, trivializes, and generally evades truth. They come to have the Word of God wash over them in a way that makes them whole." —Kathleen Norris
"It is one thing to claim that God can and does bring good out of evil, that sin and death are constrained by diving providence to serve God’s transcendent purpose; it is quite another thing to imagine that in the eschaton we will look back on some event of mindless cruelty in history and say: ‘Now, in the total scheme of things, I can see why that had to happen.’…Disentangling beauty from sentimentality is unlikely to be accomplished until it is recognized that evil (as with God’s saving grace) cannot be accommodated within systems that seek to ‘make sense’ of all things within closed cosmological and metaphysical systems."
—Jeremy Begbie, “Sentimentality and the Arts” in The Beauty of God: Theology and the Arts, 60.
"When God becomes man in Jesus of Nazareth, he not only enters the finitude of man, but in his death on the cross also enters into the situation of man’s godforsakenness. In Jesus he does not die the natural death of a finite being, but the violent death of the criminal on the cross, the death of complete abandonment by God. The suffering in the passion of Jesus is abandonment, rejection by God, his Father. God does not become a religion, so that man participates in him by corresponding religious thoughts and feelings. God does not become a law, so that man participates in him through obedience to a law. God does not become an ideal, so that man achieves community with him through constant striving. He humbles himself and takes upon himself the eternal death of the godless and the godforsaken, so that all the godless and godforsaken can experience communion with him… The incarnate God is present, and can be experienced, in the humanity of every man, and in full human corporeality."
"But when Christian theologians do not accept what Jesus suffered from God, they are like Job’s friends, not like Job himself. The contradiction between the Sonship of God and forsakenness by God is a contradiction that cannot be resolved, either by reducing the divine Sonship or by failing to take the forsakenness seriously… God-forsakenness is the final experience of God endured by the crucified Jesus on Golgotha, because to the very end he knew that he was God’s Son. God’s silence, the hiding of his face, the eclipse of God, the dark night of the soul, the death of God, hell: these are the metaphors for this inconceivable fact that have come down to us in the traditions of Christian experiences of God. They are attempts to describe an abyss, as sinking into nothingness; yet they are only approximations to Jesus’ final experience of God on the cross, his Job-like experience. This uniqueness of what may have taken place between Jesus and his God on Golgotha is therefore something we do well to accept and respect his secret, while we ourselves hold fast to the paradox that Jesus died the death of God’s Son in God-forsakenness."
Dinner: grilled bbq chicken, corn on the cob, broccoli and cauliflower
Agnes Obel @ the Fremont Abbey tonight!
We slept in this morning, unintentionally. So we’ll see how much we actually get accomplished before the show tonight. But, we started the morning with our favorite song from Foster the People, so it’s going to be a good day.
“I think something interesting happens to language when you break it up so that the words stand alone, one after the other, and you have a moment of waiting for the next word and anticipating what it will be….it’s as if this language is like little drops of words that fall…”—Brian Eno on spoken word