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    Fresh Perspectives on Women of the Bible: Tamar by Barbara Haesecke

    One Sunday our pastor challenged us to “be willing to move toward the messy” to become the kind of people Jesus wants us to be. I immediately thought of Tamar. Her Genesis  38 story is tucked away in the middle of Joseph’s compelling tale, and many routinely skip over her to continue his amazing technicolor dreamcoat saga. But more than an interruption, her story teaches us valuable lessons even though it competes for the messiest story in the Bible. She’s the woman who dressed up as a prostitute and seduced her father-in-law just so she could have a baby.  But is that all there is to her story?  The more…

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    Papers Relating to Women I Heard at ETS

    I spent the past week with a bunch of my theological colleagues at the annual meeting of the Evangelical Theological Society. Everybody who belongs to the ETS annually signs a statement affirming their belief in the inerrancy of Scripture. And at the national conference, presenters read papers, which they often publish afterward.  And I heard some interesting content. Here’s a sampling of some stuff to know:  Was it really all about the alcohol? My student Dani (she has guest-posted here in the past) presented for the first time. Her topic was the woman (named Abigail) whom Jonathan Edwards publicly excommunicated. This woman's name has been known for only the past…

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    Repentance = Reparations: Time Does Not Heal All Sin

    Come back in time with me to first-century Jericho. Jesus has just entered the town, and there’s this short guy named Zach trying to see him through the crowd. Zach is a tax collector—and not just any tax collector. He’s the chief, and he’s rich. And he got that wealth via corruption.   Now imagine you’re one of the people this mob boss ripped off. It happened twenty years ago. And let’s assume that it went like this: you once owned property inherited from your parents. And they got it from their parents. Every good childhood memory you have rests on that precious property.   But one day Zach sent a…

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    Four Reminders for Christians re. the Would-Be Justice and Justice

    1.     Truth is relevant.  A prominent Christian said this week that whether or not a pro-life nominee for the highest court of justice in the USA attempted to rape someone is “not relevant.” But let us be clear: whether the nominee attempted rape is indeed relevant. And the question of relevancy is not just a political issue; it is a moral issue. Let me begin by saying we do not know if the candidate is being falsely accused for political purposes. If he is innocent, he must be vindicated, and those who accuse him must face grave consequences for bearing false witness, a great evil.   But if the nominee actually did what he is…

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    Somebody, Turn on the Lights

    “The people walking in darkness see a bright light; light shines on those who live in a land of deep darkness.” Isaiah 9:2 NET I rarely see bright-eyed children in Christmas dresses and or plaid vests singing, “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel” in a Sunday school program. The somber tone hardly seems appropriate for the joy of a children's Christmas pageant. This advent hymn focuses on a somber, troubled world waiting for the Messiah. Advent used to have little meaning for me, as a child. Instead, I looked forward to spreading buttercream frosting on Christmas cookies, singing “Silver Bells,” decorating a fragrant Douglas fir and opening crimson foil-wrapped gifts. But red foil…

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    Where is our Hope?

    Injustice. Anger. Murder. Mourning. (Repeat.) It seems the newsfeeds do not change—same story, just different day and different city. Additional protests lead to counter protests: #BlackLivesMatter, #WhiteLivesMatter, #AllLivesMatter. Confusion and anger fuels more anger. I read and watch social media posts and videos from various viewpoints. It disappoints me that many posts are full of blame, anger, should-haves, and could-haves. And so the cycle continues… Injustice. Anger. Murder. Mourning. (Repeat) Blame and anger are normal stages in the grief process. But it seems many people stay in those stages and never move forward. Why? They want justice. They want vengeance. Many simply want change, change for the better. And so…

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    Human Trafficking: You Can Help

    Today I'm happy to introduce a terrific guest blogger—my friend Kim Jones, who has a passion for the issue of human trafficking. Human trafficking is one the biggest human rights issues of our day. More than 20 million people are currently enslaved. This is more than at the time of transatlantic slave trade. Women, men, girls, and boys are bought and sold throughout our world. Individuals are trafficked for forced labor, domestic work, and for sexual exploitation. Those who have been trafficked for labor or domestic work many times suffer sexual exploitation by their employers. Those at risk of trafficking are typically at the margins of society with little hope.…

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    Child Marriage and the Christian

    About one in every three girls worldwide becomes a bride before the end of her seventeenth year, and one girl in nine marries before age fifteen.[1] Many countries have passed laws outlawing child marriages, but often communities ignore the law. Child marriages disrupt education, limit girls’ economic potential, and correlate with high levels of sexual abuse and violence. Early marriage is also associated with increased rates of maternal and infant mortality. All of this perpetuates the cycle of poverty, reinforcing it, and making it hard to escape, and ultimately contributing to regional instability. And that’s where we come in. Christians can do much to change attitudes and practices at a…

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    An Open Letter to the New York Times Editorial Board: Maybe There Is a “Why” for ISIS and Evil?

    From “The Fundamental Horror of ISIS” 10-2-14:  "Comparisons are meaningless at this level of evil, as are attempts to explain the horror by delving into the psychology or rationale of the perpetrators…as Roger Cohen, the New York Times columnist, wrote in a recent piece about ISIS, there is no “why” in the heart of darkness." (“Yet, in the end, there is no why to the barbarism of ISIS. There is no why in Raqqa. Evil may adduce reasons; they fall short.”–Cohen)—New York Times Editorial Board    Dear Editorial Board,   I commend your tacit admission that none of the usual subjects can explain the YouTubed beheadings, the systematic rape of…

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    Stepping from the Shadows

    His dark shadow looms in the distance—heart pounding with trepidation and grief. He saw in the sacred pages that something like this would happen. So he made the proper plans. Now he must step from the shadows, stand, and speak. His simple but significant act is recorded in all four of the gospels. Yet somehow we often overlook him during Passion Week. Joseph of Arimathea spent much of his discipleship in secret. He enters the cross scene at the last second, securing the Savior’s body just as the Sabbath descends upon Jerusalem. His final act fulfills prophesy and finishes the sovereign plot. It’s easy to rush over this part of…