The title of this blog, Threads from Henry’s Web, suggests that I’m the one producing the threads and hopefully drawing you in. But often the threads are leading me somewhere. Some things happened in just the last couple of weeks:
- A conversation with an author about a new book talking about those living on the fringe of society. (Yes, we’re going to publish it. Watch for announcements on Energion Publications news.)
- A book of poetry that evoked some startlingly strong and stark images for me (also to be published)
- Work on a web site for a local community ministry (Pensacola United Methodist Community Ministries), that involved a good conversation about what they hope to accomplish in the community here. Watch for some big and exciting changes in their web site!
- The video I’ll link below.
Think about it.
Others may not be what you imagine them to be.
I was stopped at a light and saw this church sign. Yep! I did! I grabbed my cell phone and took a picture. (It was a long red!)
It’s a particularly bad use of the slippery slope argument.
A free society depends on us permitting things that we do not promote. I permit people to utter nonsense, even in my presence. I do not promote their speech.
I’m guessing that this was intended to refer to same-sex marriage, as a warning that if we allow it, we must promote it. But permitting and promoting are not the same thing.
It is, of course, quite possible that we should neither permit nor promote some activities. Murder, for example. But permitting even murder would not be the same thing as promoting it.
I suppose it’s too much to expect the purveyors of church sign quotes to use the language with any skill. In fact, church signs are a very rich source of really bad quotes.
But this one just got on my nerves.
OK. I’m done.
Something happened on the way to Bible study, and we were unavailable. We apologize profoundly to anyone who showed up. We will resume next Monday night. We’ll announce the topic tomorrow.
Jody has already announced this, but our texts Monday night will be:
1 Kings 3:5-12
Opening question: What is THE treasure?
Or: is the kingdom seeking you or are you seeking the kingdom?
No, not the same question, but they may shed light on one another.
A Living Bible. Process theology affirms the lively inspiration of scripture. God was at work in the communities that shaped our written scriptures and in the various writers who penned the library of texts we call the Bible. Profoundly historical, biblical inspiration varies from verse to verse and chapter to chapter. Some biblical messages have universal applicability; others are time bound and, frankly, no longer relevant to our current scientific, ethical, and theological understandings
. (Process Theology: Embracing Adventure with God, 19)
This is from the material we will be discussing in The Way Sunday School class at First UMC Pensacola tomorrow.
We’ve completed our study of Ecclesiastes, and are moving to the opposite end of the theological spectrum with this new book. We’ll spend two weeks on this small book, and then we’ve decided to continue with a study of my book When People Speak for God.
One of the goals of this class is to look at a variety of viewponts, learn and evaluate.
Last night’s Bible study hangout was attended by five people, and I believe enjoyed by all concerned. We discussed the wheat and the weeds along with several other passages, including Psalm 139 (the whole Psalm, not the portions selected for the Lectionary). I’ll be posting our passages and the theme we’ll look for in them some time this afternoon.
I want to thank everyone who participated, and all those who have worked through technical difficulties. We’re still hearing from more people who want to join at some point, though we’d be happy to do this with just four or five people. There’s nothing formal about it. Just come prepared to discuss. There’s no presuppositions about beliefs either.
Tonight’s topic for our Bible study on Google Hangouts comes from the parable of the wheat and the weeds (Matt. 13:24-43). To me, this passage is as interesting for the other passages it evokes as it is for what it says. And like many parables, it seems to raise as many questions as it answers.
If I were to summarize the way I hear the parable myself, I’d say: Be patient with all the problems and questionable people because God will sort it all out in the end.
Thus it becomes another “Judge not” passage.
But this is where other passages start parading their way through my mind. There’s Matthew 7:1, yes, and oh so plain. But then there’s also Matthew 7:20, telling us we will know them by their fruit. Know who? Well, false prophets. Is it possible that any of the weeds could be false prophets?
Then there’s Hebrews 5:14, where we learn that mature people have learned to distinguish good from evil. Is this just good vs evil ideas or does it include false prophets, for example. And just how do we get from Matthew 7:1 to 1 Corinthians 5, in which certain people are given to Satan?
Logic I tervenes as well, as I judge each word I write in this post. Ah, but that’s just judging things, right? But I will invite my Google+ circles to our hangout, and not others, demonstrating that I have made judgments there as well.
Perhaps this whole issue of judgment isn’t as easy as we thought. Let’s discuss it tonight! I’ll post a link on my Google+ page and here on this blog.
PS: Remember to read the other lectionary texts as well. I think they speak to this issue in interesting ways.
Bob MacDonald sent me the following link: Growing Wheat. This provides some good background information on the parable. Remember, however, to consider the question in the light of all the passages and don’t be afraid to read more widely for context or for more parallels.
You can find information on the study here.