May 2008
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Choosing life

By pastorbromleigh | April 9, 2008

Week 11, Day 2

Deuteronomy 30, 31, 32

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By pastorbromleigh | April 9, 2008

Week 11, Day 1

Deuteronomy 27, 28, 29

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Time off for the newlyweds

By pastorbromleigh | April 9, 2008

Week 10, Day 7

Deuteronomy 24, 25, 26

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Holy Moley

By pastorbromleigh | April 9, 2008

Because it is good to fall off the face of the earth… that’s what I did.  Well, I’ve been reading and not blogging for, I am ashamed to admit, way too many weeks now.  It was Lent and then Easter and then we were on vacation and then my childcare was sick and then I was sick and then….  Well, I’m awfully far behind. 

 So, as with the last time this happened, I’m going to post the readings I missed blogging about and then try to get back on track.

 If I had readers, they may well be gone now.  But maybe they will return one day…

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Sex and Religion

By pastorbromleigh | March 8, 2008

Week 10, Day 6

Deuteronomy 21, 22, 23; Psalm 51

It’s been said that the two things that ought never be discussed in polite company are politics and religion.  Others might amend the list to include sex.  All three, whenever they come up in conversation, usually inspire heated debate, at the very least.

Now, as religious folks, we certainly think it’s more than fitting to talk about our faith, and, we could well argue, our faith often affects how we think, talk and act in regard to politics and sex.

Our chapters for today suggest much the same thing.  Some of you may know that my main theological interests lie in “theological anthropology” — how we understand who the human person is in relation to God — and, in particular, how human sexuality fits into our sense of humanity as created in the image of God.  Read the rest of this entry »

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Prophets, Accidents, & Just War Theory

By pastorbromleigh | March 8, 2008

Week 10, Day 5

Deuteronomy 18, 19, 20

I dropped my infant daughter today.  She’s fine, but it was among the more frightening moments of my life (and, without a doubt, hers).  I slipped on our steps, and fell on the carpeted landing.  I only dropped her once I had landed, so she didn’t have far to go… but, oh, did she howl.  It was an accident, of course, but so, so fearsome.  Bewildered and sad and hurting, she looked at me with that terrible look of betrayal children give their parents when they don’t immediately take away the hurt (or cause it, by dropping them).

At any rate, one of the first things I uttered in the seconds following this terrible mess was the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  I don’t know if it was a prayer for help or an exclamation of surprise or if it counts as somehow taking the Lord’s name in vain.  I’m going to go for the former, so that I don’t throw breaking a commandment into the already substantial guilt I’m feeling today.

Chapter 18 warns about prophets taking the Lord’s name in vain in a different sort of way.  Prophets are only supposed to speak words that God has commanded them… anything else, and it’s death to them.  I think this is interesting.  Though, of course, we can’t usually just lift biblical verses out of context as “instructive” for our life today, I sort of love how the people are reminded that to speak for God, particularly without direct instruction, is “presumptuous.” (18:22)  Moreover, I am moved by Moses’ reassurance that, if the prophet does not speak for God, the people should not “be frightened by it.”  Read the rest of this entry »

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Unclench your fists; hold out your hands

By pastorbromleigh | March 7, 2008

Week 10, Day 4

Deuteronomy 15, 16, 17

Our wedding was, if I do say so myself, one of the better weddings ever.  Oh, sure, it was hot and sweaty.  And long.  I told our pastor to preach a full sermon.  And then there was lots of music and a few hymns and other stuff.  Those who thought only Catholics could have long weddings were in for quite a surprise.

But it was fabulous, because it was pretty much the best worship service I have ever planned — with my favorite preachers and readers and musicians and people.  Also, my dress was beautiful.  That is beside the point, maybe. And, of course, I was married at its conclusion, so that was awesome.

Cynthia, the preacher, titled her sermon Unclench your fists; hold out your hands, a phrase she borrowed from the reading by Madeline L’Engle we used.  The theological bent was that, in order to have right relationships in marriage — and throughout human life — we need to open our hands and our hearts, let go of our grumbling and fear and accept the risks of sharing our lives with others.  For, though there is risk, there is also great joy in this sharing. Read the rest of this entry »

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By pastorbromleigh | March 7, 2008

Week 10, Day 3

Deuteronomy 12, 13, 14; Psalm 50

There’s been a debate raging in contemporary Christianity over the last number of years about how, in what way, Christians are supposed to engage the broader culture.  Do we accept the culture whole-heartedly and allow it to dictate how we order our lives?  Almost no one explicitly believes this is the best option, but many of us certainly live that way — allowing the market or the media or “the culture” or some such to dictate how we ought to order our lives and our values.  At my old church, Christians knew they were supposed to be in worship on Sundays, but when soccer season started, they allowed AYSO and the Park District to decide how they should allocate their time on the sabbath.

Another way to is engage the culture around us, and to offer critique and considered response on that engagement.  I see a lot of movies and I listen to a lot of music — some of which is Gospel and some of which is decidedly not — but I try to reflect on how and where the breaks come.  With art, in particular, it is important to look for creativity throughout the world and to value it as a sign of God’s co-creating with us. Read the rest of this entry »

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What does the Lord require of you? Only this…

By pastorbromleigh | March 6, 2008

Week 10, Day 2

Deuteronomy 9, 10, 11

What does the Lord require of you?  Many of us are familiar with the verse from the prophet Micah: to seek justice, love kindness, and walk humbly with our God.  Here in Deuteronomy, Moses offers a slightly longer list.

Only to fear the Lord your God, to walk in all his ways, to love him, to serve the Lord your God with all your soul, and to keep the commandments of the Lord your God and his decrees that I am commanding you today, for your own well-being.  (10:12-13)

That’s a slightly longer list.  And we can imagine that it would be hard for the Israelites to fulfill all the commandments.  Indeed, this is why Christians rely so heavily on God’s grace.  But Moses won’t leave them alone with no tools, no help.  Read the rest of this entry »

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A few little things

By pastorbromleigh | March 6, 2008

Week 10, Day 1

Deuteronomy 6, 7, 8

I love that Kalas is guiding us through these days and weeks of Scripture reading.  I do not know if I would have the discipline without his guidance… but sometimes his divisions are so terrible!  No, not really, it is just that on a day like today, the three little chapters we are to read are so very rich!  There is so much to comment on, so much to say!

Perhaps, though, this is not Kalas’s fault, but rather a result of the Bible being such an incredibly rich set of texts!

Here’s Kalas’s opening reflection:

It could well be argued that Deuteronomy 6 is the most important chapter of the Old Testament because of the Shema, verse 4:  “Hear, O Israel: The Lord is our God, the Lord alone.”

So, the most important chapter in the OT.  After the Shema is the first half of what Jesus called “the sum of the law and the prophets”: You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might.

I particularly appreciate the call to recite this to your children — to keep it fresh.  The act of teaching keeps knowledge fresh.  This is why Josh (6th grade math teacher) can recite his times tables waaay faster than me, though I was no slouch at math in my day.  Read the rest of this entry »

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