Friday, January 15, 2010


Luke 19v 1-10
He entered Jericho and was passing through. And there was a man called by the name of Zaccheus; he was a chief tax collector and he was rich. Zaccheus was trying to see who Jesus was, and was unable because of the crowd, for he was small in stature. So he ran on ahead and climbed up into a sycamore tree in order to see Him, for He was about to pass through that way. When Jesus came to the place, He looked up and said to him, "Zaccheus, hurry and come down, for today I must stay at your house." And he hurried and came down and received Him gladly. When they saw it, they all began to grumble, saying, "He has gone to be the guest of a man who is a sinner." Zaccheus stopped and said to the Lord, "Behold, Lord, half of my possessions I will give to the poor, and if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I will give back four times as much." And Jesus said to him, "Today salvation has come to this house, because he, too, is a son of Abraham. For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost."
I've heard a number of sermons that touch on the subject of Zaccheus, and most of them point out that he was (as far as the Jews were concerned) in the pay of the evil Empire and therefore a sinner.

What never occurred to me before was that at no point in the story does Zaccheus quit his job. Salvation comes to his house, yet he remains in the pay of the evil Empire.

What does this tell us about the way we relate to certain employers or occupations?

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Ezekiel 20:25

Ezekiel 20:25 (New American Standard Bible)
I also gave them statutes that were not good and ordinances by which they could not live
Eh? What's going on here? This is one of those 'thus sayth the Lord' passages. So here it appears that God himself is saying that he gave the Israelites laws that were 'not good' and impossible to live by...?

Can God give bad laws? More importantly, did God give bad laws, and if so, which of the 613 laws are the bad ones?

And all this is just the run up to verse 26 that implies that one of the bad laws involved human infant sacrifice:
I let them become defiled through their gifts — the sacrifice of every firstborn — that I might fill them with horror so they would know that I am the LORD.
So many questions here...???

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Between two stools

I seem to have fallen between two stools...

I've been reading a lot of stuff recently that critically examines the Bible. This has brought me to the point of questioning my own long-held beliefs on the bible itself. OK, I haven't subscribed to the 'infallible' opinion for a very long time, possibly never, but I have still believed that the book contained the Word of God, even if not every word in there was inspired. But when viewed from a critical perspective, it certainly appears that the many books of the Bible (specifically the New Testament) do not speak with a common voice.

The writer of the gospel of Luke would appear to disagree with the writer of the gospel of Mark. Not just on minor details, but on the very essence of what Jesus was about and who he was. And then the writer of John comes along and changes everything. Not only is his interpretation of the events different from the other three, he has different events totally.

And how can we deal with the issues surrounding the epistles? The evidence seems reasonably compelling that Paul did not write several of them, whoever wrote the letters allegedly by Peter lived far too late to actually be Peter, and so on. Its enough to make you fall off the stool of belief altogether...


The Christian life works. Worship works (as I've said before). Healing happens. It still seems like God reaches through to touch us... but who is this God? If most of what we know comes from an unreliable and biased book, and only a little comes from experience, can we really say we know God?

I want to know the God who is there. The problem is, I'm becoming more convinced that he is not the God described in the bible - for the bible itself does not describe one God. It gives various people's perspectives on what they believed their God was like at various points through history. But hidden somewhere behind this is the real God, its just really hard to see him! [See also my old post called "Old maps"]