Tag: bible

2016 REWIND: The Bible ‘Literally’

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A snarky take on biblical literalism

Snarky Faith 12/6/16

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As 2016 moves towards it’s end, we’re giving you the best of Snarky Faith this past year in a rewind episode…

A rundown of the pitfalls of reading the Bible literally. One-third of Americans, literally, take everything the Bible says at face value. The common phrase, “The Bible says it, I believe it, and that settles it!” only leads to bad scholarship and a warped worldview. Join us as we literally delve into the practice, consequences, and pitfalls of biblical literalism.

You should literally tune in to find out more…



 

The Bible ‘Literally’

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A snarky take on reading the Bible

Snarky Faith 8/23/16

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A rundown of the pitfalls of reading the Bible literally. One-third of Americans, literally, take everything the Bible says at face value. The common phrase, “The Bible says it, I believe it, and that settles it!” only leads to bad scholarship and a warped worldview. Join us as we literally delve into the practice and consequences of reading the Bible literally.

You should literally tune in to find out more…

Check out the #30SecondBible

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I was recently contacted about Jim Kast-Keat’s latest project: The #30SecondBible. When I first read the title, I laughed. How can someone summarize a book of the Bible in 30 seconds? Well, I was wrong.

Their website describes the project like this:

“The #30SecondBible series features dozens of voices reflecting on the Bible. From Genesis to Revelation, you will hear summaries of each book and reflections on the good news they contain. This is the Bible for busy people, thirty seconds at a time.”

These bite sized snippets are rich with insight and perspective. It’s been a joy to watch through them during this Lenten season. The different videos feature contributors from the likes of Rob Bell, Brian McLaren, Diana Butler Bass, Rev. John C. Dorhauer, Rev. Emily Scott, Doug Pagitt, Rev. Will Gafney, Ph.D., Kent Dobson, Mike McHargue, Rev. Jes Kast-Keat, Rev. John Russell Stanger, and more.

Here’s a taste of Leviticus in 30 seconds:

Do yourself a favor and check out this creative, rich and insightful project.

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youtube.com/c/ThirtySecondsOrLess

The Real Reason America is Becoming Like Sodom

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By: Robbie Shade

Guest post by Joel Varner //

Since gay marriage has become legal in America, I’ve been hearing the rise of a familiar saying: “America is becoming more and more like Sodom and Gomorrah.”  Whether from a pulpit, a megaphone, or a Facebook post, there is a growing sentiment that America is becoming more and more immoral, quickly bringing it under God’s judgment and wrath. And I agree.  America is becoming more and more immoral like Sodom and Gomorrah, but not for the same reasons as the people shouting into their Facebook posts.

So what were the real reasons God punished Sodom, and how is America becoming like it? Our introduction to the history of Sodom is so shocking that we can quickly jump to conclusions as to why it received God’s punishment.  God told Abraham that He was sending two angels to Sodom because “the outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is so great and their sin so grievous that I will go down and see if what they have done is as bad as the outcry that has reached me. If not, I will know” (Gen 18:20-21 NASB).  While God was looking to judge the sins of the city, He was also looking for a few good people to spare it from His wrath; “The LORD said, ‘If I find fifty righteous people in the city of Sodom, I will spare the whole place for their sake.’” (Gen 18:26 NASB)

But when the angels arrive at Lot’s house in Sodom, “all the men from every part of the city of Sodom–both young and old–surrounded the house. They called to Lot, ‘Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us so that we can have sex with them’” (Gen 19:4-5).  Then the angels blinded the mob, helped Lot and his family flee the city, and Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed with raining brimstone and fire.  From this initial reading, it’s easy to assume that Sodom was destroyed because the men there were inflamed with homosexual desires.

But the men (young and old) weren’t trying to engage in any sort of consensual homosexual sex; they were trying to forcibly rape these foreigners in their city.  Now raping anyone, man or women, is a terrible crime, but why did the men of Sodom want to rape these strangers? Was it because they couldn’t resist their homosexual urges? 

God actually explains Sodom’s sin to the Israelites. As the nation of Israel grew, God warned them that they were becoming more and more like their “sister” Sodom…and even worse.  In Ezekiel 16:48-50, God tells the Israelites, “As surely as I live, declares the Sovereign LORD, your sister Sodom and her daughters never did what you and your daughters have done. Now this was the sin of your sister Sodom: She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy. They were haughty and did detestable things before me. Therefore, I did away with them as you have seen.”

It appears that the men of Sodom wanted to rape the strangers not because they couldn’t resist their homosexual urges, but rather because the strangers were…foreigners.  When Lot tries to protect the visiting angels in his home, the mob replies, “Get out of our way. This fellow came here as a foreigner, and now he wants to play the judge! We’ll treat you worse than them” (Gen 19:9).  The mob’s contempt for Lot is because he is a foreigner to their city, and they even threaten to harm him worse than the two foreigners he’s hiding in his house. 

Raping foreigners was an act of extreme violence in a culture where it was the victims who were punished for being raped by being shamed, beaten, whipped, imprisoned, and kicked out from other cities.  Rape was ultimately a slow death sentence to the victims, and a message to the other nations.  The message the people of Sodom seem to be making is: “This is our city and our wealth.  You poor, needy, foreigners aren’t welcome here.  And we’ll rape you if you try to come and take anything that is ours.”  This sin was detestable to God, and He made Sodom and Gomorrah an example of His wrath.

So when I hear people saying that America is becoming like Sodom and Gomorrah, I completely agree.  But I find it very ironic that the people usually saying this are pointing to the sin of homosexuality in America…all the while actively lobbying for legislation that refuses healthcare for the sick, resources for the poor, and aid to foreigners.

But what I am saying is that God did not destroy Sodom simply because of homosexuality.  God punished Sodom and Gomorrah as a warning to nations that are “arrogant, overfed and unconcerned” and “do not help the poor and needy”…and even resort to the immorality and perversion of rape to oppress those in need (Jude 1:7). 

Now I’m sure that there were gay people in Sodom and Gomorrah (just as there has been in every nation for all of history), but God never once says that He punished Sodom for the personal sins of the few. He does, however, declare His judgment on the public sins of the nation.

So, may America stop becoming more and more immoral like Sodom and Gomorrah.   May we not be quick to “look at the speck of sawdust in our brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in our own eye” (Matthew 7:3).  And may God find righteous people in our nation who obey God’s commands to “administer true justice; show mercy and compassion to one another. Do not oppress the widow, the fatherless, the foreigner, or the poor.” (Zechariah 7:9-10).


Joel Varner has served in ministry for the past 15 years. He is a pastor in Albany, Oregon equipping and training missional community leaders. Joel works with his wife Brenna, of 13 years, and their two daughters. You can find him on Facebook.

#TrumpBible Brilliance

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Most times the internet is a vast wasteland of selfies, memes and adorable kitten pictures, but there are those special moments in time when everything converges into something spectacular. Thank you internet for birthing the #TrumpBible hashtag. It’s an amazing and evolving bit of social genius.

All of this stemmed from Donald Trump side stepping a question about the Bible in an interview last week. When asked what his favorite Bible verse was, he declined, saying “I wouldn’t want to get into it. Because to me, that’s very personal…the Bible means a lot to me, but I don’t want to get into specifics.”

In response to his dodgery, the internet has come to the rescue, which is how the #TrumpBible was born. I’m always up for some good snark, and the idea of re-imaging the Bible according to the Don, is brilliant. So far on Twitter, there are over 10,000 tweets…err verses and counting. #TrumpBible is a prime example of the internet getting it right.

Here are a few brilliant examples:

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Find more #TrumpBible brilliance click here and head on over to Twitter.