Monday, February 6, 2017

Week 5

>Don't forget to bring back your bar of soap in a different form next week

If videos don't play, click left hand part of each video title
We did all three Philemon worksheets in class
=== Timelines cont

What an inspirational time it was as we all put our life timelines on the board. Here they are:
Last week:

This week:

timeline from other class

This week, the topic is "Worshipping and Singing in Community: Psalms,  Lament and Suffering" 
Here is a slightly different version of  part of this week's  in-class presentation, filmed for an online class. It's a  multipart  video (6 parts, but only a half-hour total! Watch it in order) by Dave Wainscott (and a few friends) on Psalms and Lament.  Watch carefully  after class if you need to review and take notes, as you will be responding in the forums.

Part 1 is below (We didn't do this in class)  Listen to the song which is part 1.  Open the lyrics here, and read  along as it plays.  In a way, treat it like other songs  (and Scriptures) we have used in this class: as a text which calls for context and  your Three Worlds skills of interpretation.  Do your best to discern  the main characters , genre, backstory, storyline etc.  (It's easier than Philemon!).  But also be prepared to process how it made you feel.
part 1:

part 2:
part 3:
part 4:
part 5:
part 6: Finish with this song, which Dave prepared you for in part 5:

Here are some notes on the above:

PSALMS are the Jewish prayer-book   that the early Christians used.  What's wonderful, refreshing, honest...and sometimes disturbing  (to us in the West) is that they cover the whole breadth of life and emotion.  They are all technically songs and prayers..  But note how some weave in and out from a person speaking to God, God speaking to a person, a person speaking to himself.  Somehow, Hebraically, holistically, it all counts as prayer.

...And as "song"  Note in your Bible that several psalms have inscriptions which give the name of the tune they are to be prayed/sung to.  Some seem hilarious, counterintuitive, and contradictory, but again not to a Hebrew mindset and worldview, with room for honesty, fuzzy sets and paradox:

Remember the Bono quote:

Click here for the audio (or watch here on Youtube) of this delightful statement by Bono:

"God is interested in truth, and only in truth. And that's why God is more interested in Rock & Roll music than Gospel... Many gospel musicians can't write about what's going on in their life, because it's not allowed .  they can't write about their doubt....If you can't write about what's really going on in the world and your life, because it's all happy-clappy... Is God interested in that? I mean, 'Please, don't patronize Me! I want to go the Nine-Inch-Nails gig, they're talking the truth!

From a 2003 discussion with New York Times, more audio here

"The Jewish disciples all worshipped Jesus, and some of those worshippers doubted."  (matthew 28:17)


There are several ways to categorize the psalms.

The first is the way the Bible itself does: Psalms is broken down into 5 "books"  Hmm, 5...does that sound familiar?  Name another book with 5 sections and suggest an answer for "Whats up with the number 5?"
Note the 5 sections are not comprised of different kinds/genres of psalms..but the styles and kinds are "randomnly"
represented throught the book..
kind of like life..

  Here is one way to categorize the styles and genres:

 Walter Brueggemann  suggests another helpful way to categorize the Psalms. 
o      Creation - in which we consider the world and our place in it
o      Torah - in which we consider the importance of God's revealed will
o      Wisdom - in which we consider the importance of living well
o      Narrative - in which we consider our past and its influence on our present
o      Psalms of Trust - in which we express our trust in God's care and goodness

q        Disorientation:
o      Lament - in which we/I express anger, frustration, confusion about God's (seeming?) absence
§       Communal
§       Individual
o      Penitential - in which we/I express regret and sorrow over wrongs we have done
§       Communal
§       Individual

q        Reorientation/New Oreientation
o      Thanksgiving - in which we thank God for what God has done for us/me
§       Communal
§       Individual
o      Hymns of Praise - in which we praise God for who God is
o      Zion Psalms- in which we praise God for our home
o      Royal Psalms - in which we consider the role of political leadership
o      Covenant Renewal - in which we renew our relationship with God
                                          -Bruggeman, source Click here.

 note how astonishinglyHONEST the prayer/worship book of the  Jews (and Christians) is!

We'll spend some time on the "three worlds" of Psalm 22, which Jesus quotes  honestly  on the cross:
Here (click title below) 's a sermon on Psalm 22, which is another amazing psalm to use in a worship setting...How often have you heard "My God, My God, Why have You forsaken me?"   Or "God, where were YOU when I needed you!!"

Yet how familiar is the very next psalm: 23.

Life is both Psalm 22 and 23...sometimes on the same day, in the same prayer.
If we think both/and...we think Hebrew.

Here's a link with several of the stories and illustrations I talked about tonight Iike the speaker who said "I almost didn't come tonight",,


Click the title: 

"The Lord Be With You...Even When He’s Not!"


Jesus died naked..but not in Christian art and movies

I am not here to offend anyone unnecessarily.
But I believe Corrie Ten Boom was right and right on:

Jesus died naked.

Even the (very conservative)Dallas Theological commentaries assume this, so this is not just some "liberal" agenda:

"That Jesus died naked was part of the shame which He bore for our sins. " -link

Which means this picture
(found on a blog with no credit)
is likely wrong(Jesus looks too white).

...and largely right (What Jesus is wearing).

I answered a question about this a few years ago, I would write it a bit differently know, but here it is:

First of all, it is probable that (again, contrary to nearly all artwork and movies), Jesus hung on the cross absolutely naked. This was a typical way of crucifixion, to increase the shame factor. Romans might occasionally add a loincloth type of garment as a token concession and nod to Jewish sensitivity; but not very often, it would seem. Of course, once we get past the emotive and cultural shock of imagining Jesus naked, we realize that if He indeed die naked, the symbolism is profound and prophetic: In Scripture, Jesus is called the "Second Adam". As such, it would make sense that He died "naked and unashamed." We are also told that "cursed is he who dies on a tree." The nakedness was a sign and enfolding of shame and token of curse. And the wonderful story of Corrie ten Boom and family, told in the book and movie "The Hiding Place," relates. One of the turning points of her ability to endure the Ravensbruck concentration camp, particularly the shame of walking naked past the male guards, was her conviction that Jesus too was shamed and stripped naked before guards. "Finally, it dawned on me," she preached once," that this (shaming through nakedness) happened to Jesus too..., and Jesus is my example, and now it is happening to me, then I am simply doing what Jesus did." She concluded, "I know that Jesus gave me that thought and it gave me peace. It gave me comfort and I could bear the shame and cruel treatment." 


The most haunting, devastating, barely listenable (which is why I regularly listen to it, and use it as a call to prayer and honesty)song I know is by Michael Knott, madman-genius-Christian of the voluminous catalog...whether under his own name, Lifesavers Underground, LSU, Cush...
Here's the song:

you're sittin' there wondering why is it like this
and the whole world's crazy and the earth is sick
and someone's yelling from the bathroom door
the toilet's overflowing on the floor
and the one by the phone 
says i cannot hear
while the one by the jukebox spills his beer
and the man on the pinball hits sixteen mil
someone ducks behind the counter to pop a pill
and you reach in your pocket to see if there's more
and the biggest bill falls so you're left with four
and you're too gone to look but you still try
then you see it in the hand of a great big guy
who looks just like he'd kill you fast
and you think for a minute
you let it pass

and the stool falls over when you set back down
it bumps a mean pool shooter from across the town
he misses his shot - it's all on you
and with your last four bucks you know what you'll do
sorry man can i buy you a drink
and he shakes his head and says, make it a double

the next thing you know you wake up at home
and the little one there won't leave you alone
she's awake and hungry
she needs some potty help
and you remember what happened last time she tried it by herself
and your wife says hurry, we're late for church
and you can barely see
and your head still hurts
and the preacher starts preaching
and you feel remorse
he's got five little kids and a big divorce
and your wife looks down and says she don't know how
he's been her guiding light for ten years now
and his marriage is over, it's barely alive
and how in the world will ours ever survive?

The juxtaposing of "church"world and "real world" is too close for comfort...and offers little; as does a pastor's divorce. The sharing and prayer time after the stunned silence that song creates would inevitably be life-changing... BUT is this version ready for church? Note the slight (but HUGE) Lyrics change: 

"I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For":

"There has never been a more concise theology of redemption, atonement and the substitutionary death of Christ. No clearer proclamation of theGospel has ever sold so many copies...But he hasn't found what he is lookingfor. I remember speaking in Dublin and seeing this rather exuberant Christian atthe front of the hall. I began my address by asking had anyone found what they were looking for. "Amen brother. Yes Hallelujah!" I am not sure how my dearbrother came to earth as he discovered that for the next hour I was exposing that to have found what we are looking for has nothing to do with BiblicalChristianity...So my conclusion is that U2's I Still Haven't Found What I Am Looking For is probably the best hymn written in this century, it has the theology of the cross but is centred in the reality of a fallen humanity and i sabout striving towards a better man and a better world" (Rev Setve Stockman, read it

So why do Christians feel they have to change the lyric to sing it in church?:

 think Bono said it best, when he exclaimed,“You broke the bonds and you loosed the chainscarried the cross of my shame, of my shame.You know I believe it.“But I still haven’t found what I’m looking for.”
Said what best Mike? He didn’t say anything!I mean, that doesn’t make any sense does it?Jesus is what we’re looking for. Right?
Well, yes.
I remember a particular chapel service at my Christian high school,when a worship band came and sang this song.It was terribly cool at that time to sing a U2 song for worship too,but when it came time to sing the refrain after that verse,they cleverly changed the lyrics to,“and now I have found, what I’m looking for!”It was quite a moment too. Hands going up all over the place,people shouting, flags waving, it was totally amazing.And I remember pumping my fist, and thinking, “yeah! That’s right.What does Bono know? How could he talk about Jesus and thensay that he still hasn’t found what he’s looking for?Not me! I’ve found what I’m looking for! I’m not still searching,I’m not still looking….right?
Well, yes and no.
Ten years ago I thought U2 was trying to say that Jesus wasn’t really the answer.Now, I’m starting to see that they just understood something that I didn’t.You see, I think Bono was simply reiterating something that theologians havebeen writing about for centuries. He wasn’t making blasphemous statementsas much as he was poeticizing what is commonly referred to as,“the already and the not yet.”And you know, I’d say it might just be the most difficult truth that a Christianwill ever have to wrestle with.The fact that we already have what we’re looking for,and in the same moment, haven’t yet received it,isn’t so easily reconciled as one would hope.   link

Once, church, we did complaints/laments colored markers on posterboard.
Photos here, click twice to read and weep...and laugh!:

But most of us do it less officially, and more often, prayer, even if unarticulated/wordless.

Complaints/laments/questions have to surface somewhere.  So we might as well be honest andelevate them. pray them post them, sing them....prophetically write them on subway walls or church halls.

 movement, let along the psalms of lament,

suggests that an outlet must be found, and can be not only threrapeutic/healing, but evangelistic/missional.

N.T. Wright on Psalms: "some people are so wicked that we simply must wish judgment upon them" We also did this, after a reading of Psalm 22..

We watched this, it's on Moodle:

Sermon preached on Sunday, February 6th, by Dr. Leonard Sweet at the Marble Collegiate Church in New York City. 

Pastor D.J. Criner
Sometimes in a Bible class, I will leave the room for five minutes,
and challenge the students to practice presenting anything they've learned.
It's totally up to them: they can teach it, one person can present etc.

Sometimes I am even brave/dumb enough to say they can choose someone to impersonate (roast/toast) me and my style.

Alex did a great job tonight!
Remember I told you that one night
 the delightful and daring Pastor D.J. Criner (North Fresno Campus Pastor, and Pastor of Saint Rest Baptist Church)  the was chosen for that impersonation option (:

It was caught on video ...
I guess I say ":awesome" a lot.

Monday, January 30, 2017

Week 4

Remember this sign that I had you research in class to discover what it was?
It's the soreq that was posted outside the Jewish temple.
Read the two links below to learn what it was and to learn what it says. This will help you in your Moodle assignment on the Temple Tantrum.
  • Song as Text
  • Moodle results: TV post/Peter Popoff
  • Timelines and Testations
  • Temple Tantrum
  • Review, View, Preview
  • Philemon
  • Song as Text: "Sleep Like a Baby"

Note: if videos don't play on this page, click the very left-hand side of the video title'

Peter Popoff. Great discussion on this, as followup to your TV assignment:


What an inspirational time it was as we all put our life timelines on the board. Here they are:

timelines from other classes

(found this online)
It has been hugely productive, revelational and (even) fun to, as part of a class that several others and I teach, have students plot out (on the whiteboard) their timeline.

As Pastor/Trucker Franks suggests below, sometimes it's "more about the journey than the destination."  See also  "What if Torah/ מלכות השמים, is more 'journey  than 'doctrine'?"

We then take time to interweave/intertext our personal timelines with the timeline/trajectory of Jesus' life in Matthew's gospel (the thrust of the class).

Especially helpful is the suggestion by Donald Kraybill ("The Upside Down Kingdom") and Ray Van Der Laan (  video)  that throughout  his earthly life, Jesus was revisited by remixes of the original three temptations ("testations" ) of the devil"in chapter 4.

Kraybill provocatively proffers the following taxonomy of the temptations; suggesting that any later temptation Jesus faced (or we face) is at heart in one of these three spheres:

1=  Bread into stones: Economic 

2=Jump from temple and test God:Religious 

 3=Own all kingdoms: Political

So, it may be useful to plot out various temptations along your life timeline, and ask which of Jesus' temptation are each is  tied to.

SO..if every temptation can be filed under one of the three categories:

Economic    Religious   Political..


How might virtually all temptations (the three Jesus faced, or others you could name) be fundamentally economic?  Kraybill, you'll remember, calls the bread temptation "economic," but how might any/all others temptations trace to this root/'garbage"?
HINT: We noted that he term economics comes from the Ancient Greekοἰκονομία (oikonomia, "management of a household, administration") from οἶκος (oikos, "house") + νόμος (nomos, "custom" or "law"), hence "rules of the house(hold)".[1]   



Sonya Wainscott's Fundraiser : Healing From Cancer

My wife Sonya's fundraiser page is here


We only had time for the first version of this U2 song.

We will do the second version nect week (Alternative Version).  Fantastic job trying to interpret what it was about.  If you missed class, try it. Read the lyrics, and play the music, to the first version (not the alternative one which we'll do next time. Use some Three Worlds skills to interpret it. Here are some of your thoughts during class:
"Sleep Like A Baby Tonight"
Morning, your toast, your tea and sugar
Read about the politician’s lover
Go through the day like knife through butter
Why don’t you
You dress in the colors of forgiveness
Your eyes as red as Christmas
Purple robes are folded on the kitchen chair
You’re gonna sleep like a baby tonight
In your dreams, everything is alright
Tomorrow dawns like someone else’s suicide
You’re gonna sleep like a baby tonight
It’s a dirty business, dreaming
Where there is silence and not screaming
Where there’s no daylight, there’s no healing
You’re gonna sleep like a baby tonight
In your dreams, everything is alright
Tomorrow dawns like a suicide
But you’re gonna sleep like a baby tonight
Hope is where the door is
When the church is where the war is
Where no one can feel no one else’s pain
You’re gonna sleep like a baby tonight
In your dreams, everything is alright
Tomorrow dawns like a suicide
But you’re gonna sleep like a baby tonight
Sleep like a baby tonight
Like a bird, your dreams take a flight
Like St. Francis covered in light
You’re gonna sleep like a baby tonight



Song 2

Sleep Like A Baby Tonight" version 2 (Alternate Perspective Mix) 
In the morning when you wake up
You won’t have much
But you’ll have enough
When you are weakest
I’ll be strong enough for you

Yeah, the ones where you are fearless
Can’t break what’s broken
You are tearless
Steal back your innocence
That’s what they stole from you

You’re gonna sleep like a baby tonight
Not everything can be so black and white
There are demons in the broad daylight
But you can sleep like a baby tonight

Where you stand right now
Just stop
Don’t think or look down at the drop
The people staring from the street
Don’t know what you’ve got

You’re gonna sleep like a baby tonight
No, not everything can be so black and white
There are demons in the broad daylight
But you can sleep like a baby tonight

Hope is where the door is
When home is where the war is
Where nobody can feel no one else’s pain

You’re gonna sleep like a baby tonight
Not everything can be so black and so white
There are demons in the broad daylight
You’ve got to sleep like a baby tonight
Sleep like a baby tonight
Where you stand
Where you fall is where I kneel
To take your heart back to where you can feel
Like a child, a child


Temple tantrum

In Matthew 21, Jesus angrily came into the temple and overturned the tables of the moneychangers.  Most people assume he was angry at their overcharging, but your moodle forum this week will make the case that reading this text in context as an apple, and through the Three Worlds, will suggest his anger was for a different reason.  Usually I have another class interrupt class unannounced, yell angrily and overturn a table to illustrate how surprising and subversive this act was.  Here is a video we watched in class of one of these events that you may not be able to rewatch on facebook due to privacy serttings:

It would as surprising as going to the drive-thru and finding David Letterman working there.  We watched the Taco Bell video in class, but not the McDonald's one, which is here:


NT Wright on the temple:
Jesus as New Temple:

Three thought experiments.
  • -Think if I offered you a drivers license, claiming  i had authority to issue it
  • -Think if someone destroyed all bank records and evidence of any debt you have owe
  • -Think  what would happen if you pointed at something, hoping your dog would look at it.
If I talk to your name sign, it's not really you.
What do you remember about signs and signposts?

Remember, part of your prep reading for next week is Psalm 22.

 We will talk about  PSALM 22 in class next week..AND you may choose it as an alternate text for your signature.. you may do it instead of Philemon!