Greta Groundhog (Animal Pride Book 20)


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BBC America Mon. The Untouchables Sundance Mon. Sundance Mon. IFC Thur. IFC Fri. IFC Tues. BBC America Fri. Bravo Fri. Bravo Sat. Sundance Tues. IFC Wed. Sundance Sat. Godzilla, King of the Monsters! IFC Mon. IFC Sat. IFC Sun. Sundance Wed. Noon Sundance Wed. VH1 Thur. Noon IFC Wed. CMT Sun.

CMT Sat. CMT Mon. Noon CMT Sat. AMC Tues. Another 48 HRS. Encore Thur. Cinemax Sat. For those wanting to dip into Mr. Oh my, this is another one of those exceptional books that to describe well I simply have to use superlatives. You can pre-order it easily by using our order form link shown below. We breathe in the toxic air, take up habits and values and ways of being in the secularizing, modernist world without too much self-awareness that it could be otherwise.

Which is why books like this are so very important. And this one is happily not only insightful and important, but interesting and enjoyable and practical. He is looking not only at symptoms of our discontent but the ethos of the age. And, yes, he explains Charles Taylor.

His sense of place — and his invitation to us to deepen our own loyalties to our own places — is palpable. Lately, many Christian folks have shifted in how we talk about our work in the world and I think it is a good thing. Many are now talking about their efforts to love their neighbors well by describing commitments to the common good. We hear talk about civic virtue. These are all pretty nascent and it is encouraging to hear this kind of talk about social architecture and civil society and the common good. Jake is on the cutting edge of all this and his book will help us all.

The best of these efforts sound refreshingly neither old school left or right but something new, offering a counter-cultural witness, a city on a hill. It is indispensable for anyone wanting to think well about our time and place and what God is calling us to. And, yes, he uses Wendell Berry a lot. Keller notes, by the way, that when he entered evangelical and Reformed pastoral ministry nearly forty-five years ago the lines of debate in conservative churches were largely theological in nature.

He outlines in a sentence or two some of the issues that many argued about and I felt the knot in my stomach as I read but he observes that increasingly the fault lines between churches and the most vehement debates nowadays are about culture. And as our culture is weakening and fragmenting and the dissatisfaction with political leaders and churches and other formerly respected institutions wanes, we are increasingly moving towards very hard times.

I assume you know this. This has long been a classic conservative argument, that as society is unmoored from deeper roots by even well intended revolutionary goals, we lose tradition and values and end up with just atomistic individuals doing whatever pleases them. And voting for those who will help them keep their stuff. So, as Jake illustrates without pressing this exact point we need something more profound than a left wing critique or a historic conservative critique; both have true insights but neither are adequate.

We need some Berry-esque, neo-agrarian? On some pages of In Search of the Common Good Meador sounds pretty darn conservative and he is pretty traditionalist on matters of family and sexuality and on other pages he rails against unjust income disparities and institutional racism. In this, he might offend older conservative types, but he seems to have the church fathers and the best Christian scholars over his shoulder, so this is no facile jive. Indeed, he bolsters his critique of the economic gods of progress and growth by citing the likes of Augustine, Aquinas, and Calvin.

He does love Oscar Romero, and quotes him from time to time. He tells us, in other words, how we got ourselves into this mess. Like a serious doctor giving a diagnosis, nothing cheap will do. So he goes deep and gives us the bad news. Jake is young and idealistic and has a healthy small church and good friends who, together, are forging a new way of being faithful to God in their daily lives. I have rarely read a book that has such a delightful survey of deep philosophical currents and which is also so lovely in being down to earth.

He offers good practices to restore our sense of wonder, inviting us to regain a child-like appreciation of the joy of small things. Get this: in a way, our culture, especially since the Enlightenment and the start of the so-called modern age, has moved towards increasing fragmentation. We wear so many hats and can hardly imagine being whole, seamless.

We feel like different people at work and church and home; some days it feels like we should just drop out and watch Netflix. Many of us hardly even know our neighbors. Our suburban ennui is felt even in small towns and rural spaces and it is palpable. Our very streets and housing designs and habits of commuting and such preclude a holy life of simple service to neighbors.

What in the world does the common good look like in a cul de sac? Some of all this exhausting trouble is caused by the over specialization that leads to abstraction, living in our heads, failing to engage the real world around us, as Matthew Crawford writes. To wit: Jake points us in new ways to get, literally, more down to Earth. We can fight incoherence and alienation and abstraction by slowing down.

Alan probes our fast-pace habits through the lens of Taylor, but Jake takes us back a bit further, looking at how our utter individualism, enshrined in some of our American civic documents and our revivalist religions, drove capitalism and disruption and abstraction. It is very good writing; I was engaged from the beginning. They emerge from our age, but they become problems, or obstacles, then, that keep us from experiencing authentic community.

The chapters are on the loss of meaning, the loss of wonder and the loss of good work. I have to say I cried through some of this — in part because I was so glad to hear these words so plainly put, translating my own decades of reading about the roots of Western culture and the idols of our age. I was strongly moved by this, being reminding of very important concerns. He names these losses in the modern age and it is good to hear, painful and tragic as it may be. I love how he cites an indie-rock singer songwriter on one page and John Keats on another.

And he nicely retells a scene or two from a Wendell Berry novel. What fun! This is a short book, so the second half is not even pages, but in it he invites us to quite a lot. It is one of the finest explorations of faith and work in the modern work-world that I have read.

Hollywod Age Gap

He shows how an increasing facelessness and inhumanity surrounds us — shades of Jacque Ellul, again, and his critique of how we overvalue and overdo technique and speed and efficiency. That Meador says we should be thoughtful and intentional about what kind of businesses we support is precious. As you know, it is our opinion that this generally precludes working with Amazon, faceless and greedy as they are. In any event, this chapter is provocative and wise and influenced by the right sorts of cares and concerns. He is asking hard questions about what a Christian commonwealth might be like and how Christian societies might emerge.

This will, necessarily, involve repentance and sacrifice. Some of this chapter is just sensible stuff — distinguishing between political doctrine and policy, for instance. I suppose this is partially because he is so rooted in a Christian democratic appeal that is in part-pre-modern, taking hints for contemporary citizenship through a lens of Augustine and Aquinas, Luther and Calvin.

I know he studies the likes of Abraham Kuyper. And did I mention he likes Wendell Berry? Meador cares about place and beauty and integrity and family and order and competency and joy and sacraments and grace and kindness and, well, who can support a leader who despises these deeply Christian values? Again, his vision of citizenship is not left-leaning or liberationist but is gracious and humane, maybe the sort of stuff one might catch at the Front Porch Republic.

He tends to talk about covenants, not contracts; the common good, not individual rights; like the Bible, when talking about politics, he talks more about public justice than individual freedom. He is interested in nurturing among us a long-haul sort of discipleship that creates good neighbors and good citizens. They will care about peacefulness and neighborliness and solidarity. Yes he reminds us when considering politics we have to think of policy. But policy proposals are often ambiguous, proximate; good people can disagree. Indeed, it may be that heaven is very much like Narnia, a world restored, a garden healed, a renewed creation.

I am so glad he does some direct exegesis of the mistranslated and misinterpreted 2 Peter , for instance insisting that God is not going to destroy the world. This is new creation theology and visionary hope that thrills me. I hope it thrills you. I love how it ends with his own love of the stories of The Hobbit.

It reminds us that the road runs right to our very door, and that road might take us anywhere and toward anything. It reminds us that God stands over and above his creation calling us further up and further in. The road will lead to a cross. But only things that die can be resurrected. And so as sure as the road leads us to the cross, in leads us to the eternal city, to the home of a king, to the desire of all nations, to the joy of every longing heart. That is the sort of Tolkien-esque, virtuous, costly, hopeful, adventure a deep Kingdom vision that serves the common good might evoke.

This righteous concern for the rhythms of creation and common good is growing among us, and realizing the obstacles and challenges and Biblical guidance is urgent. Whether you are younger older, evangelical or more mainline, a quieter type or a missional activist, I think In Search of the Common Good: Christian Fidelity in a Fractured World by Jake Meador will be a great companion on your journey.

Order it today. I want to say a lot about it, but know some of you will tune out. On steroids. Where he meets the pagan slave woman, Iris. What a story, laden with scholarly footnotes and even Bible references who knew the list of names in Romans 16 could be so informative and yield such an interesting story!

I might add there are several fun books that do this sort of thing, but not many. Besides this page-turning fictional device in Romans Disarmed that is just one chapter in a book that weighs in at just under pages , there are so many fascinating and important historical details, including first-century urban archeological, linguistic, political, and theological matters that are above my pay-grade to comment critically upon. Whenever I read a Biblical commentary and the writer asserts that a Greek word really means this or ought best to be translated like that, I have to choose to appreciate their scholarship and trust their instincts or not.

From the famous conflict between the Judeans and the Gentiles in the Roman house churches to the equally famous vile spectacles of the likes of the Nero and Caligula, Keesmaat and Walsh have done their scholarly work and brought it alive in astonishing, colorful, detail. If you like this sort of historical background stuff, you will be riveted by all they explain. I might as well just say it.

Groundhog Hunts of 2019 with the 17 HMR

Will they appreciate how much social location matters? Will they know why they draw so much on Elsa Tamez and her book Amnesty of Grace exploring justification by faith through the lens of suffering and repression in Latin America? This book will upset some people. It is relentless in bearing witness to what they themselves experience as they grapple, as a married couple, parents, homemakers, pastors, preachers, scholars, permaculture farmers, citizens, and leaders of faith communities mostly among college students in Toronto although also in more conventional Anglican parishes where they have ministered to and become friends with marginalized folks, those cast aside by other churches and the mainstream culture.

From LGTBQ students and friends to urban homeless folks to First Nations people seeking reparations from stolen land and treaties broken, Brian and Sylvia care for their land, their place, and those whom God has given them; their taking Pauline mandates to welcome all, to serve the stranger, to be inclusive and caring to outsiders, has become a huge part of their lifestyle and is a lens through which they do life. They are able to see the subversive teaching in the Bible and let it be said: they know and love their Bibles much better than most and especially of the Apostle Paul, because they themselves spend time with the marginalized and oppressed.

And, boy, do they ever see these themes in Pauline writings! Like the Old Testament prophets so beloved by Paul, they are nearly crass in their punchy denunciation of idols old and new. Few contemporary political movements and leaders are left unscathed in this broadside, so my fear is that our customers especially those on the political right will be offended. I hope as Brian and Sylvia do, I know such readers hang in there with their arguments about how the epistle of Romans can help us live in a more Christ-like way. Or is it the other way around? They rightly in my view think our imaginations have largely been captured by the ethos of technology and progress and greed and hubris and that our own government and media are seducing us into acceptance and complicity in grave injustices.

By the way, as an aside: did you know that James K. One can see their common concerns about not weaponizing the language of worldview and realizing that our faith is embodied, not abstract, lived out in but not of the surrounding culture and its deformed and deforming ethos. Nobody, though, has put this stuff in conversation with so close a reading of the Apostle Paul. Romans Disarmed is a major, major contribution to a distinctively Christian social-political vision and a major, major contribution to Pauline scholarship. It is a must read for anybody who cares about the New Testament.

Idols, you know, are good things that become ultimate things; things we trust for communal salvation and that we start to serve and even become like. Almost a decade ago, Brian teamed up with beloved environmental studies professor and creation-care advocate at Hope College, Stephen Bouma-Prediger to write a book that, again, forms a nearly essential backdrop to the work he and Sylvia have done in Romans Disarmed. Broadly researched and splendidly written, this book is essential reading for anyone who wants truly to comprehend and mend our culture!

Beyond Homelessness is admitted a big and sprawling book, but it is a wonderful and significant companion to Romans Disarmed. It remains the best book on the subject, and the one the engages the Bible the most! Home-breaking, Homelessness, and Home-making in Romans? You have got to read it to believe it! It really should be pondered. Wright and whose work is sometimes cited by him as influential in his own thinking is, within the more scholarly world, a major conversation partner and professional colleague with many other renowned scholars.

She has chapters in many books, including one in the British festschrift for N. Sigh — I know. Why, Fortress, why? Brian has one in that collection as well. Her preaching is often imaginative and poetic and she laces her Biblical exegesis with stories of planting environmentally helpful shrubs around their watershed and their solar panels and their eating habits, but she has earned the right to be taken very seriously by the guild of Biblical scholars. She is remarkably gifted and has studied long and hard to be able to see the inter-connections between different parts of the Biblical story, how New Testament writers draw on the Hebrew Bible.

There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus! This is not a house of condemnation! Slavery is never the last word in this story. Liberation is always at hand. Homecoming remains available. The promise is not nullified and cannot be nullified even by our home-breaking ways. And then a paragraph about being called out of slavery and being crowned in glory, etc.

Of course, this language echoes the exodus from Egypt.

Contexts for Criticism

When a Judean talks about being set free from slavery, the exodus is the memory being evoked. When a Judean says that we have not received a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, the story of fearful Israel in the wilderness longing to return to Egypt resonates through these words. When a Judean talks about being led by the Spirit, a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night is the unmistakable reference.

When a Judean speaks of receiving a spirit of adoption, wherein their slave status is overturned through covenant promise, then the nation-constituting exodus is undoubtedly ringing in the background. When a Judean refers to the Spirit bearing witness with our spirits that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs of God, their language of inheritance reaches back to Moses leading the children of God toward their inheritance.

Oh my, this line of thought goes on for a page more, and it is wonderfully inspiring. It brings a lot of insight about how these texts might have been heard and, in doing so, help us get their import and impact for our own faith communities. Leaving aside the question of whether it is wise to appropriate secular ad campaigns for evangelistic purposes, the point Brian and Sylvia are making is helpful.

Brian and Sylvia help us by introducing us and unpacking what might have been assumed and understood on the streets of first century Rome. So, this is a really useful book, functioning as a socio-cultural Biblical study with a good eye for the original social context. And it insists — as most Bible commentators would, but few really do much with — that this pastoral letter from the great apostle to the Christ-followers of Rome has great application for our discipleship, congregational life, and spirituality today.

Where they really are fresh and provocative is how they insist Paul was knowingly and the hearers were knowingly aware of a subversive rhetoric against the powers and values of the Empire, and how that may be a key for understanding the power of the gospel for us today. We are welcoming and non-violent as Christ was and as the Kingdom should and will be.

First, Brian and Sylvia teach us although they are not the first, but they are among the most vivid and clear and compelling about it that our social location matters if we are going to see and interpret the Bible well. After energetically describing a joyful moment one night on the dance floor at Sanctuary in downtown Toronto, they tell how the mood changes as they needed to embrace some hurting brothers as some harsh songs brought prophetic denunciation of injustice perpetrated against First Nations peoples.

Their empathy is palpable and they remind us of how this is, if you will, a hermeneutical key:. Without standing in such places, we will miss the power of this epistle both in its ancient context and in a contemporary setting. I think they are right. It is right there in the text! They say this specifically and directly and their own personal stories have illuminated their work as Biblical scholars. This becomes evident in the first two pages that had me wiping tears away from my cheeks as they told us about the joys and sorrows of the ragamuffin folk that make up the Sanctuary Community in downtown Toronto to whom the book is dedicated.

Secondly, our knowledge of the Bible itself in its narrative flow, its major themes, its socio-political setting and the interconnection of texts and themes is immensely important. Too few of us really understand the key moments of the Biblical history of redemption. Serious Bible scholars may agree on the importance of background and context, but my sense is that so much of the way Keesmaat and Walsh connect various themes, Older and Newer Testaments and the socio-economic stuff is exceptionally illuminating, bringing fresh and solid insight into what was going on in that context.

T Wright has done this for us a bit; our old friend the late, great Kenneth Bailey did so in remarkable ways. Some scholars I trust have expressed concern that some have overstated the anti-Empire themes in the New Testament. Similarly, my Dutch Calvinist mentor Peter J. Who knew then that stewardship was more than giving money to the church, but the primal call of humans to care for creation?

That salvation in the Bible often include inheritance of land, and that land reform and social justice are often talking about in the Bible. Thanks be to God. Shane Claiborne is mostly right, then, when he says that Brian and Sylvia are two of his favorite Bible scholars. This new book is perfect for scholars and new Bible readers alike, and for everyone in between. And they constantly shift between way back then and today, talking about what it must have been like for Christ-followers in Rome to welcome those of different eating habits and positions of power in the city and those with different degrees of loyalty or disdain for the Empire itself to break bread together and then they reflect on what it is like for most of us in our own congregations as we try to be friendly to guests or talk well among ourselves over matters of importance.

The shift from the era of Paul and Caesar to your church and Trump moves quickly and it is stimulating and provoking, to say the least. On the other hand, it could be a godsend of Biblical insight to stimulate those who are put off by the sometimes abstract and nearly pointless detail of some Bible commentaries. Romans Disarmed is, as the subtitle shouts, both a serious bit of Biblical scholarship and a charter for a counter-imperial Christian community. From a Trump official saying last summer that we have to obey them because of Romans 13 oh, what a misreading!

Not at all. Those who assume it is primarily a magisterial theological outpouring will be challenged to think about Romans in this new perspective, but it is quite compelling, I think. Just because it is long? By taking the letter and its anti-Imperial tone and its socio-political and economic context seriously, it allows us to de-escalate some of the peculiar debates about it, and how it tends to be used these days to close down conversation or flog people with. Is this merely a new kind of weaponizing of Romans, using it for a far left, counter-Imperial, anti-American narrative, beating up Republicans and those living for the American Dream?


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Because they are pushing back on behalf of those who have been hurt, badly hurt, by toxic religion often based on what they believe are mis-readings and certainly mishandling of Romans, they can be strident. In some ways, they are trying to help those who are leaving the evangelical world because of the way the Christian right has been so ugly, helping them see a new way to be Christian and a new way to read and love the Bible again.

I get that. But, happily, they are often quite clear about inviting authentic diversity and being welcoming to all regardless of politics or point of view. Since they are allies and advocates for the dispossessed and marginalized, it is a live question about how — in a communal conversation or small group Bible study, say — we keep it safe for LGBTQ brothers and sisters, for instance, if someone in the group is bombastic and unkind? They tell of one such encounter and how they handled it might surprise you. And — of course! What in the world might it have been like for slaves and masters, Jews and Gentiles, sexually abused women and children and their perpetrators to hear the great apostle tell people they are one, to welcome all?

This is explosive, painful, hard, breathtaking stuff. That few commentaries on this book of the Bible explore with much depth or passion this extraordinary re-making of social relationships then and there not to mention here and now is almost professional malpractice among the theologians and Bible teachers. I heard NT Wright talk about how many classes on Romans just peter out before they get to the upshot of it all in the last few chapters, just skipping that as not particularly urgent. In his newer perspective, and in Romans Disarmed, it surely is the point, how the gospel of grace forms a new egalitarian community that can serve as a count-weighted witness to the violence of the powers that be.

At any rate, this volume helps us see the need for and helps us become equipped to form this kind of inclusive and just community despite our huge differences. This is part of the agenda of Romans Disarmed and what allows the well-informed authors to unpack this so fruitfully for us. One of the ways they enact this exact sort of hospitable discourse is by using a device they featured creatively in Colossians Remixed.

Just when some of their teaching is getting heavy and their Bible interpretation seems a bit speculative, in comes another voice, in italics, an interlocutor. This new conversation partner is skeptical enough, but seems to be on board more with their claims, asking wise and good questions, seeking clarification of their exegesis and theological views and telling stories from his own life about the difficulties of applying this kind of anti-imperial lifestyle. This dialogue partner, even though pushing back against some of their statements, is sincere and eager to learn and grow into deeper more relevant fidelity to the gospel.

In doing so they model the kind of robust conversations that are needed within our faith communities and they anticipate the kinds of questions many readers will have while reading Romans Disarmed. It makes the book more interesting and more useful for us all. I suspect that as you are reading Romans Disarmed you are going to want to have some conversations about a lot of different things and How the Body of Christ Talks just might be tool that will save you a lot of grief, guiding you towards being communities of missional conversation and prophetic dialogue.

Oh yes, this is rich, thoughtful, good stuff and would make a great companion volume to read alongside Romans Disarmed. Smith assures us that practices of conversation — especially while eating together — can be transformational within local congregations, and this resonates with the sort of body life that is described in Romans Disarmed. Much depends on how you eat, with whom you eat, and what you eat. Eating is, of course, foundational to all of life. And where there is food, there are questions of justice, inclusion, and equality, and, most importantly, of identity.

The whole anti-imperial agenda of this letter, together with its commitment to the formation of an alternative home at the heart of the empire, hangs on what happens when Jesus followers gather for the family dinner. But they also are clear that following nearly every other major, well-informed Bible scholar when Paul uses the word righteousness, he means very much something like what we today might call social justice; as N. This is not liberal social gospel rhetoric, but the best, most faithful rendering of what the Bible itself really says. Which maybe starts with hospitality, being welcoming and listening well, especially to the marginalized and hurting.

I have a hunch that even if you find them, as I do, a bit strident at times, you will like them a lot.

Harold and Maude

They know a lot about philosophy, about church history, about contemporary political issues, about rock music, about urban architecture, and contemporary social science, and, yep, they grow food and love to bake bread and do many, essential home-making arts. They know their Bibles and they love Jesus. Their organic farm community that practices regenerative agriculture is called Russet House Farm. The story of their acquiring stewardship of it is itself nearly a miracle; they do educational events and offer hospitality and welcome.

Check them out. I think that the disagreements that this book itself will engender will, if faced in the proper spirit, in the context of the welcoming grace of the gospel itself, mirror some of the difficulties of this new Christian communities forming in and around the Roman Empire in the first century. Just think of Galatians or 1 Corinthians or what are sometimes called pastoral letters.

Romans, Keesmaat and Walsh insist, is one of these, writ large. It is not primarily or firstly if at all an abstract theological treatise and they explain well why they believe that. The history of assuming and privileging this kind of de-contextualized doctrinal reading is itself part of our problem in blunting the revolutionary socio-economics and political resistance which is nearly overt and surely implicit in this pastoral letter from the hand of Paul.

The Paul who would eventually come to Rome and visit all those people he mentions by name in this letter — rich and poor, slave and free, men and women, Judean and Gentile — and end up in jail, killed for sedition against the Empire. There are some very interesting chapters in there from important Pauline scholars.

These essays and sample sermons illustrated generously how many different views there are about the heart of Romans, how to read it, and how sermons proclaim its grace and grit to us for our daily discipleship. It is eating in a way that is unfaithful to your place. They are joyful and good folks but about this they are deadly serious.

They end the book with a beautiful sort of litany of how Paul called this community to ways that were counter to the values and practices and ways of living in the Rome Empire and counter to our own culture as well. Can we envision a world where the voices of the suffering allowed to subvert the ideology of militarism and consumption that dominates our imaginations?

Can we imagine a world where those of us with privilege sacrifice that privilege in order to enter into the suffering of others, of creation, of God? It is clear that Paul could envision such a world, and this is a world that we want to live in, too. That is the kind of hope that Paul calls us to. If we truly walk with the oppressed and allow ourselves to be led by those who mourn, perhaps we will find ourselves, with Iris and Nereus, not only imagining the new creation but living in such a way that others too will recognize it when it arrives.

There is another teaching device used, an imaginative practice that was, in fact, used in first century rabbinic circles, a poetic and application-oriented modernized paraphrase of the Older Testament texts.

More than a bookstore

Not to mention the non-Jewish Gentiles grafted into the story of Israel. So church leaders would do these preaching performances called targums. Walsh excels at doing them for us. Pages of Romans Disarmed is one such imaginative, improvisational re-telling of Romans 12 and 13 that serves as an update of much of what they are saying Romans is saying to us today. It is worth the price of the book to read and re-read aloud in your own community, perhaps this modern, creative, re-telling. I mean that. Early on they have a great one re-telling the first part of Romans 1 and nearer the end, a vivid one about inspired by the end of Romans 1.

These targums are brilliant. When rabbis would stand up to read the Torah to Diaspora synagogue congregations throughout the Roman Empire, they would have to translate because Hebrew had already been lost for so many Judeans. But they never translated straight. They did not understand meaning to be conveyed through exact and literal translation that is a modern notion of translation. No, that would have been too reductionistic for them. Rather, they believed that the Torah was a living word, still speaking into every new situation.

So their translations were also interpretations of the ancient text, an updating of the text, an attempt to allow the Torah to speak anew and fresh to a covenant people from their homeland, living as strangers in a foreign land. Are we not in a decidedly analogous situation? We have an ancient text that we have been struggling to understand, sometimes trying to free if from the shackles of dogmatic interpretation, and we desperately want to hear this text speak a word of liberation into our own lives.

Such a fresh hearing of this text requires an exercise in interpretive imagination. So we turn again to the genre of targum. Remember that a targum is invariably longer than the original text. It has to be, because I need to explicate a lot of what would have been implicit in the original writing. What might have been easily grasped by the first hearers if often lost on a later audience.

And a targum also needs to bring the ancient text into conversation and perhaps conflict with later historical, cultural, political, and economic realities. Moreover, this particular targum, coming three-quarters of the way through a sixteen-chapter epistle, also needs to spend some time hearing what Paul is saying in light of all that has come before. They reject the popular notion that Romans is somehow an abstract systematic theology, neither a simplistic Romans Road to soul salvation nor a treatise on Calvinistic or other kinds of intellectual dogma. As originally written and heard, it can be heard a manifesto for staying alive — both in the sense of not being deadened by the swirling seductions in our own fake Empires — and for keeping the true Biblical faith alive, becoming more authentic Christ followers of the sort that populated the counter-cultural, anti-imperial communities that transformed the Roman Empire.

But it does invite us into an adventure of hearing this letter as part of a story, a controversial, dangerous, adventuresome, almost revolutionary story. They talk about food and music and politics and violence and home-making and sexuality and worship and lament and joy and grace and worldviews.

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All in a commentary on a book of the Bible that some people think is metaphysical, theological, and beyond their ken. Again I say, wow. That will take you to our secure order form page; just enter your info and tell us what you want. Here is an interesting interview with him about the founding of CPJ decades ago and his views about the relationship of faith and citizenship.

There are no poetic targums, but there are some citations of Abraham Kuyper…. This is a book he told me years ago that he wanted to write and we are thrilled to announce that it just came out. Skillen — in a way that is more foundational and less vivid about social issues than Brian and Sylvia — is, nonetheless, a public intellectual doing some sort of public theology, if you will. Switch to the mobile version of this page. Pittsburgh City Paper.

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