Category: Biblical Studies

Does archaeology show the Bible is true? Seven facts

I’m sure you will have read, and heard it said, that archaeology confirms the accuracy of the Bible. But you may also have heard from sceptics that the Bible isn’t historically accurate. So which is true? This is a complex matter with a wide variety of conclusions among the experts. I have tried to investigate … Continue reading Does archaeology show the Bible is true? Seven facts

Paul and Women #5 – Females Over-Against Males – 1 Timothy 2

This series explores Paul's vision for how women fit into the announcement that Jesus is Lord. It argues that Paul was an egalitarian, believing that women should be included (without distinction) in leadership roles within the church and home. Paul did not believe that women were "the same" as men, but that they equally offer gifts to the community as leaders, teachers, pastors, bishops, etc. This series will demonstrate why Paul was pro-women.

Join the Paulcast Revolution: Give Via Patreon

Also, this episode is the launch of the Paulcast Patreon online tip-jar (think Kickstarter for ongoing content creators). In order to make this show sustainable, I (Kurt) need like-minded folks to come alongside it as financial partners. For as little as $3 per month, you can make a tangible difference in this shows sustainability and quality!

http://patreon.com/kurtwillems

Episode Sponsors

This episode is sponsored by Fresno Pacific Biblical Seminary. They are excited to announce the launch of the new Master of Arts in Ministry, Leadership and Culture. This online program, designed for practicing pastors and ministry entrepreneurs, will help you understand and integrate sub-cultures, theology, and leadership into practice. Guest faculty like Bruxy CaveyGreg Boyd and Brian Zahnd model practical integration of Anabaptist theology and 21st century kingdom work. Learn more at fpu.edu/paulcast

*Show sponsors do not endorse every word or idea discussed on The Paulcast.

Ignored, Dismissed, Insulted

 
Jesus left that place and went away to the district of Tyre and Sidon. Just then a Canaanite woman from that region came out and started shouting, “Have mercy on me, Lord, Son of David; my daughter is tormented by a demon.” But he did not answer her at all. And his disciples came and urged him, saying, “Send her away, for she keeps shouting after us.” He answered, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”  But she came and knelt before him, saying, “Lord, help me.” He answered, “It is not fair to take the children’s food and throw it to the dogs.” She said, “Yes, Lord, yet even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters’ table.” Then Jesus answered her, “Woman, great is your faith! Let it be done for you as you wish.” And her daughter was healed instantly.  Matthew 15:21-28, NRSV 
 
(I preached on this passage yesterday in church and continued learning about the passage during and after our service.)
A man approached me after church while I was tucking my sermon notes back into a folder. 
“There were three words you used that really struck me," he said,  "Can you remind me what they were?” 
I looked at him, a solid man, my height and balding, a good ten years older, perhaps.  He was one of the few in the congregation I didn’t know well and while I spoke he had alternated between lowering his head, eyes fix on a spot on the carpet in front of him, and looking at me with grave concern.  It was easy for the anxious, insecure preacher in me to imagine him disagreeing with the entirety of the sermon or, more simply, disapproving of a woman in the pulpit. 
“You said three things that happened to the woman,” he said, “real succinct.” 
Lowering his reading glasses from where they were perched on top of his head, he peered over my shoulder while I rifled through my notes looking for the line I guessed he had in mind.  Finding it in my bare bones notes I pointed and he nodded and read aloud, “Ignored, dismissed, and insulted.  That’s really all there is, isn’t it?” 
At first I thought he was referring to my sparse notes, then I realized he meant that the woman in the passage pretty much experienced the sum of what we humans can do to each other. 
“Thanks,” he said, raising his reading glasses again and shaking his head as he walked away. 
// 
I started the sermon portion of the service by reading the passage three times, pausing for a brief silence between each reading.  “Try listening with your eyes closed,” I said.  “All you have to do is pay attention.” 
After the reading, I invited the congregation to share their impressions of the passage – what did they notice, who did they relate to, and what were they curious about?  Every time I start a sermon this way, the congregation identifies almost every single one of the relevant issues in the text, often outlining the relevant points of my sermon for me with hardly any effort at all.  I guess maybe that speaks to the power of crowd-sourcing, but I also take it as a sign that people are much more capable of reading the bible than they think and that every good reading of a passage begins with a lot of questions and a little confusion. 
During our discussion, one man in the back mentioned how struck he was by Jesus’ response to the situation – that Jesus seemed to allow the situation to unfold in front of him and waited before making a definitive judgment. 
This is one of the things I would identify as a positive later in the sermon too – Jesus listened to the woman despite seeming to be pretty clear about wanting nothing to do with her.  Because Jesus listens, the Canaanite woman is able to insert a new perspective into the conversation, one that makes room for Jesus to recognize and respond to her faith. 
// 
I thought about all of this as my husband drove us home with the kids squabbling in the back of the van and my head pounding from sinus pressure.  “Ignored, dismissed, insulted.”  I thought about the Canaanite woman’s vision, the way she shifted the conversation away from the position of those at or beneath the table to the meal itself which was so abundant it couldn’t help but overflow beyond the table’s borders. 
Riding home I thought about the people in our world who possess a greater vision, those who are willing to push against status quo and shift the level of conversation into a wider more productive space.  These people are, most often, outsiders, people who for one reason or another have been relegated to the outskirts of society.  But their exclusion, painful as it is, often comes with the gift of perspective – positioned on the outside looking in, they often see beyond what is to the possibilities of what might be.  Lacking the benefits of insider status, outsiders like the Canaanite woman are often willing to risk more in order to attain a more inclusive vision and they’re not the only ones to benefit from it. 
People like that are often ignored, often dismissed, often insulted.  But I wonder what it would be like if we were to be a bit more like Jesus; if we were to pause a little more and listen more often to an outsider perspective, if we were to refrain from ignoring, dismissing and insulting. 
When Jesus listens to the Canaanite woman he discovers ‘great faith’ in a place where no one would have thought to look.  I hope I can learn to listen more to people with outside perspectives and I also hope I’ll continue to push beyond the risks to share what vision I’ve been given.  At times like this, when people are so divided and arguing over a place at the table, we need a broader vision more than ever. 

The Hard Words (Like Water on Stone)

I'm preaching on a difficult passage of scripture this Sunday, one I would not have chosen.  This rough poem arrived mid-week as I found myself wrestling the text.  Frustrated, I stopped to reflect on what I was doing and found myself invited  to let the word do its work in me.  Sometimes we have to trust that the hard things also might bear fruit if we are willing to be present and vulnerable with them.  * I have to give credit to the show 30 Rock for the term 'mind vice.'

Kate Wallace Nunneley on The Junia Project, Women, & Mic Drops

This is an interview with Kate Wallace Nunneley, Co-Founder of The Junia Project and part of a church planting team in Bakersfield, CA. A committed Christian and millennial feminist, Kate enjoys writing and speaking on the intersection of politics, religion, and gender. She holds a Master of Science from London School of Economics and a Bachelor of Arts from Azusa Pacific University, and is currently studying to get her Masters of Divinity at Azusa Pacific Seminary.

Join the Paulcast Revolution: Give Via Patreon

Also, this episode is the launch of the Paulcast Patreon online tip-jar (think Kickstarter for ongoing content creators). In order to make this show sustainable, I (Kurt) need like-minded folks to come alongside it as financial partners. For as little as $3 per month, you can make a tangible difference in this shows sustainability and quality!

http://patreon.com/kurtwillems

Episode Sponsors

This episode is sponsored by Fresno Pacific Biblical Seminary. They are excited to announce the launch of the new Master of Arts in Ministry, Leadership and Culture. This online program, designed for practicing pastors and ministry entrepreneurs, will help you understand and integrate sub-cultures, theology, and leadership into practice. Guest faculty like Bruxy CaveyGreg Boyd and Brian Zahnd model practical integration of Anabaptist theology and 21st century kingdom work. Learn more at fpu.edu/paulcast

*Show sponsors do not endorse every word or idea discussed on The Paulcast.

Paul and Women #4 – A Scribe Added It! (Interpolation) – 1 Cor. 14.34-35

This is the second of two episodes in this series that will deal with 1 Corinthians 14.34-45.

This series explores Paul's vision for how women fit into the announcement that Jesus is Lord. It argues that Paul was an egalitarian, believing that women should be included (without distinction) in leadership roles within the church and home. Paul did not believe that women were "the same" as men, but that they equally offer gifts to the community as leaders, teachers, pastors, bishops, etc. This series will demonstrate why Paul was pro-women.

Join the Paulcast Revolution: Give Via Patreon

Also, this episode is the launch of the Paulcast Patreon online tip-jar (think Kickstarter for ongoing content creators). In order to make this show sustainable, I (Kurt) need like-minded folks to come alongside it as financial partners. For as little as $3 per month, you can make a tangible difference in this shows sustainability and quality!

http://patreon.com/kurtwillems

Episode Sponsors

This episode is sponsored by Fresno Pacific Biblical Seminary. They are excited to announce the launch of the new Master of Arts in Ministry, Leadership and Culture. This online program, designed for practicing pastors and ministry entrepreneurs, will help you understand and integrate sub-cultures, theology, and leadership into practice. Guest faculty like Bruxy CaveyGreg Boyd and Brian Zahnd model practical integration of Anabaptist theology and 21st century kingdom work. Learn more at fpu.edu/paulcast

*Show sponsors do not endorse every word or idea discussed on The Paulcast.

Alice Connor on the Fierce Women in Paul & Scripture

This is an interview with new author, Alice Connor. Her book, Fierce: Women of the Bible and Their Stories of Violence, Mercy, Bravery, Wisdom, Sex, and Salvation, seeks to excavate the neglected stories of women in biblical tradition. 

Walter Brueggemann says that... "The “old, old story” concerns “All the king’s men” or “All the president’s men.” The “new, new song” is about all the women who belong to the coming realm of liberty and justice. Alice Connor is a skillful artist who knows how to transpose old, old stories into new, new songs. In her lively imagination the old old stories do not stay old. They are powerfully and accessibly new and contemporary for our time and place. Connor knows that “feminism” is about power. She shows how these ancient stories are filled with powerful futures."

We chat about Paul's church ladies and other biblical themes, as well as the journey from idea to book.

Catch up with Alice at her website: Fierce Ass Women.

Join the Paulcast Revolution: Give Via Patreon

Also, this episode is produced with the help of patrons who contribute to my online tip-jar (think Kickstarter for ongoing content creators). In order to make this show sustainable, I (Kurt) need like-minded folks to come alongside it as financial partners. For as little as $3 per month, you can make a tangible difference in this shows sustainability and quality!

http://patreon.com/kurtwillems

Episode Sponsors

This episode is sponsored by Fresno Pacific Biblical Seminary. They are excited to announce the launch of the new Master of Arts in Ministry, Leadership and Culture. This online program, designed for practicing pastors and ministry entrepreneurs, will help you understand and integrate sub-cultures, theology, and leadership into practice. Guest faculty like Bruxy CaveyGreg Boyd and Brian Zahnd model practical integration of Anabaptist theology and 21st century kingdom work. Learn more at fpu.edu/paulcast

*Show sponsors do not endorse every word or idea discussed on The Paulcast.

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