Archive for the ‘Church’ Category

Constantine’s Bible

13 May, 2019

Constantine’s Bible: Politics & the Making of the New Testament – David L. Dungan

I enjoyed, and since less Greek grammar and more Byzantine politics, I pro’lly enjoyed more than Junia. LOL.

Lemme sum up… any errors in summing up, are my fault, sorry.

  • Jesus had followers, but since they thought he would return quickly, didn’t really write much down right away.
  • At this time, Greek philosophy demanded accuracy of who wrote what, and was the teacher’s teaching being faithfully taught.
  • There were many Christian scriptures floating around.
  • There was not a list of all of the New Testament books until ~300 years AFTER Jesus.  (I think I heard on a podcast, “The Table of Contents of your Bible, is not scripture.)
  • Eusebius ~325  list the  books that were “acknowledged as genuine by all”,
    • the Four Gospels
    • Acts of the Apostles
    • 13 Epistles of Paul
    • I John
    • I Peter
    • Revelation of John “if properly interpreted”
  • Eusebius lists the following as “disputed – though approved by many”
    • James
    • Jude
    • 2 & 3 John
    • 2 Peter
    • Hebrews
  • Constantine becomes Roman Emperor 312 – with the help of Christian God in a vision… and soon Christianity is the state sponsored religion, and Constantine assembles council to decide what it means to be Christian, and soon after there are less “other” Christian texts.



Junia – the first woman apostle

9 May, 2019

Junia – the first woman apostle, by Eldon Jay Epp.

In Roman’s 16, the Apostle Paul writes regarding Junia. Epp shows, through language study, grammar, other literature of the time that

  • There was a woman, named Junia
  • There is no evidence of Junia being used for a male during that time
  • there is plenty of evidence of Junia being used for female during that time
  • That she was an Apostle, not a term St Paul used lightly
  • She was a prominent Apostle

Never noticed this throw-away verse back when I was a kid, raised in a conservative “women should be silent in church” denomination. And, to be honest, wouldn’t have noticed it had I read the verse a few weeks ago.

Epp also points out that for first centuries of the Church theologians recognized Junia as female. But recently, some have said “Junia can’t be female, because Junia was an Apostle” or have said “Junia was a recognized HELPER of the Apostles”.

What to believe? … well, I don’t read New Testament Greek, so I may have to trust Professor Epp.

road trip & new song of the now

22 April, 2018

Drove to and fro Spokane this weekend. Mostly, MyBetterHalf drives, and thus has her phone to provide music. I drove the small car (MyBetterHalf left earlier with MrG and MsS) with MrC there, and drove solo back. The solo drive, is actually the first time I have driven across the state by myself. It was nice. I controlled the radio. I controlled the rest stops (staring at the Columbia before Vantage, two fruit stands, the Historic Thorp Mill, Blue Heron Park at Moses Lake) . A little R&R!!

speaking of radio, in the middle of the state. On the plus side, there weren’t too many commercials or dumb DJs trying to be funny. On the other hand, there was preaching, there was country music, there was Spanish radio, there was Spanish-preaching…. I heard a nice bit of a sermon, twice. Female pastor, “I was in the store with my young children and someone asked “are they all yours” and I thought “Who brings extra toddlers to the store??!!??”  Her sermon was about when we choose entertainment, we are choosing not something else, uh…more time spent with kids.  (Also, these days, everyone has their own entertainment, and don’t have a common time together – ESPN can vouch for that!)   Heard a sermon about Jonah: God still had a plan for Jonah, a plan delayed is not a plan denied. And talent isn’t most important, obedience is. Heard a Catholic apologist (weird, I thought only protestants did that), his interpretation of baptism of children – Baptism is the new circumcision and faith by one can bring gifts to another (ex: Centurian’s daughter healed).  Heard some NPR… segment about disabilities, and how a hundred years ago, many of us with bad vision would be disabled.


Songs I discovered

Sofi Tukker – Best Friend

Miranda Lambert – Mama’s Broken Heart.

…but Song-of-the-Now goes to one that i’ve known for a bit, and I liked, but it got upgraded to Song-of-the-Now because MrCuddles was enthusiastically and loudly singing the chorus:  Alice Merton “No Roots


Ezekiel 4

20 February, 2018

…so…I admit, I’m terrible, but just wondering … should a summary of Ezekiel 4

  • “My bad. You can use cow manure instead”
  • “I would do anything for God. But I won’t do that.”

Also, another funny of the chapter, there’s a hippy bread company, that sells bread based on “wheat, barley, beans, small peas, and millet seeds” like it’s a good thing. And, it’s kinda a punishment food, if I’m reading the scripture correctly.

today’s sermon

7 January, 2018

today’s sermon…I dunno…all over the place… Text was something in Acts, where Paul wanted to go somewhere, but Spirit (and Roman Law) led him somewhere else. Preacher said:  “Sometimes God says ‘no’, sometimes God says ‘yes’, wisdom is knowing the difference.”

Preacher mentioned Calvin, and how God initiated the process with each of us… (forgot the verse on that)… anywho…

I miss Pastor S, she would take a section, and just study it (maps, background, history), instead of trying to make a point by jumping all over the place find a scripture here and there. (And now I feel a bit guilty for making fun of her by saying “soon she’ll do a quick eight week study of Jude”.)

Bible class radio theater

1 October, 2017

Been awhile since I taught Bible class…

Today’s text was on the Isrealites crossing through the Red Sea. MsSqueaky and her BFF-K, were narrators. MrCuddles and his BFF-A were on sound effects.

We performed for parents and the older kids class.


13 April, 2017

the evening of Wednesday, April 5th

  • MrCuddles demonstrated his kung-fu and broke a board with a kick for me
  • MrGrunty and I played catch while talking about if Mr Westbrook would get the tripple-double record for the season  (he did!!!)
  • MsSqueaky and I went shopping for her very own pocket knife. The BoyScouts issue all third graders a knife, GirlScouts…knives aren’t priority. Took her to sporting goods store. The big and scary looking / military style / hunting style she didn’t want. She ended up with a small SwissArmy knife. The guy at the store was very kind, “take your time, not every knife is for every person, get one that is right for you.”

the evening of Thursday, April 6th… me and the childrens spent a bit of time drawing together at the dinner table.

the morning of Tuesday, April 11th

  •  MsSqueaky first words in the morning “Papa are you feeling better? Is your headache gone?”  (Previous night I fell asleep way early with a bad headache.)
  • MrGrunty was first one awake, and was reading. He seems to have found a good book, and is doing more reading without us asking him to. Then when he saw me, his first words were “can I give Sophie a treat?”  Awww…he’s getting more familiar and liking our pets more.  Why I remember, when he was a toddler, and Sophie was AFRAID of kids (MsS would grab for her) Sophie-kitty and MrG surprised each other in the hallway, and had a little stand off, neither sure how to react. Sophie then got brave and advanced. MrG fell on his butt. Sophie sauntered past, sashaying her big fluffy tail.
  • MrCuddles was asking what college he would need to go to to be a “fire fighter, police officer and construction worker.”  I encouraged him to start with an EMT training.

Morning of Wednesday, April 12th, on ride to school MrG asked who was going to be in the family book club. We all said “yes” and he was happy that we would participate. I pointed out that we had already read a book as a family, “Ivan” and “HarryPotter” the fourth graders said.  “And ‘Goodnight Moon’, I added. They laughed.

<sadness warning>

Wednesday evening, fears from a ominous & vague post on TheFacebook confirmed, an ex-co-worker had committed suicide. We worked together in the kitchen for a few years, he was surly, and loyal to his friends, loved to shock people with his jokes, loved the SuperSonics and heavy metal. I hope and pray, that after “Guido” insulted St. Peter for an hour, then told St. Peter a bunch of offensive jokes for an hour, that Guido was allowed into heaven, so he could finally play with his daughter who was born asleep less than a year ago. I still don’t know what to say. We weren’t close, even back when we worked together. I’m more sad than I would have thought. Sometimes demons win and humans lose. Sometimes it’s not fair. And it’s scary, I have had a pretty good life, how would I react to depression, death of a child, war, debilitating disease, death of a loved one… I dunno.  Sometimes people do stupid things. Rest in peace, Guido.


Matthew 5

23 February, 2017

The text was Matthew 5:38-48.

Ways to resist, without being evil.

When “turn the other cheek”, back then, you would backhand a social inferior as a rebuke. When turning the other cheek, you are telling them, we are equals, if you want to hit me, hit me with your fist. I demand the same respect as you.

When “give them your second cloak” in Roman society, nudity was a shame for those that saw it, not for the naked.


Affirming Life Sermon

9 February, 2017

…recently, my BFF-CC gave a sermon on Jesus turning water into wine.

She sent me a draft, and of course I gave my opinions, because I’m an argumentative brat.

Anywho…wonderful things from her sermon that I hadn’t thought of:

  • I should be more like Mary… “do this” and then walk away, let them protest, but totally expect to have the task done.
  • I liked the servants fighting over who has to take the wash water to the wine steward to taste, the way she presented it, (did they draw straws? send the new guy?) was humorous.
  •  The little things matter. She wrote: “Christ is right there inside the small, unimportant, easy to miss affirmation of life.” Letting some poor schmuck have a nice wedding. That matters. (Not sure I even thought of that before. Jesus likes quality wine.) Yeah, Jesus wanted somebody to have a nice party. How cool is that? Take a break, celebrate with friends and family. Take a moment to enjoy the normal parts of a normal life. The wedding at Cana is about helping someone have a nice wedding. Saving someone from embarrassment.



Hebrews 12

13 January, 2017

My brother, who’s a preacher, (hey, every family has one!), asked me for some inspiration stories about running because he’ll soon be preaching on Hebrews 12.

As usual, I wasn’t much help…


I got no inspirational stories aboot running races.

Running sucks.

The only reason people do it, is because they can’t catch a ball, so they can’t participate in a real sport.

Or, we run to get away from predators.

You know which animal predators that humans can out run… well… snakes,…uh…spiders… raccoons… you get my point. Alpha predators remind us where we belong on the food chain. As dinner.

You hear about the two friends hiking, they see a big, mean, hungry grizzly. One friend starts to run. One friend says, “You’re crazy! You can’t outrun a grizzly.” The other yells back, “I just have to outrun you!”

Running sucks.

You ever notice, after the race, you are basically right back where you started?

Why run?

To beat your own time? Don’t worry, Father Time will beat you.

Why run?

For fleeting glory? Every weekend, millions of Americans do some sort of race, and pay lots of money for shirts, prizes, entertainment (because there has to be some sort of payout!) …and most people can only name one or two famous athletes (usually because they are embroiled in a cheating scandal.)

Why run?

To feel good? No, that’s the drugs your brain makes because your body is so very uncomfortable. That’s hurt until it feels good mentality. That’s what mystics do when they flog themselves. What did Jesus say about people who draw attention to their fasting [suffering]?

Why run?
Health? Running is one of the worst exercises for your feet, knees.

Running sucks.

What, you still want inspiration? How about the story of when your daughter first started walking. You were so proud. She, was so very full of joy. It was so difficult, and one day, she could do it. The world had so many more possibilities. She was so happy. She could take steps. Her parents seemed to be happy. But. Movement. Freedom. Challenge accepted & conquered! One step. Another step. Still standing. one step two step. Still standing. She wanted to move faster. This was great. StepStep, so fast, almost falling but step-step-step-step little legs moving little feet. Just like falling, but, because her feet could move fast, because she was running, she never hit the ground. Running is a controlled fall, she discovered. And she laughed and ran and ran and laughed, and didn’t want to stop. Ever.

We humans are a strange species. We compete over anything. But mostly, we compete with ourselves. We compete with that guy in the mirror, who’s like, “look, there are plenty of things going on right now, get organized, and then get a fresh start, and you can go running tomorrow.”

We compete with that guy in our heads who is always there reminding us, “your friends will still like you no matter what your time is for this race, they’re good people”  that guy who later reminds you “dude, you gave up easy. Can’t you push yourself? What’s your problem? Lack of character, that’s it! Soon, your friends will find out that you are undeserving.”

We compete against the laws of physics. Your tendons have a certain strength, (and it gets a little less every day after 40, amirite?), and there is nothing you can do to stop the relentless march of time, which crushes all things, which destroys all things, which forgets all things. We humans have imagination. What if? we wonder, and we plan, and we hope, and we strive to beat physics, to do what is not possible, to grasp for a moment the hint of a taste of the immortal. And we’ve seen it in others. And we want a piece of it ourselves. Some get it a time or two. Most never do, because gravity, it will bring you down.

Years ago I did a marathon. Once. Learned my lesson. It sucked. About 18 miles in, I bargained with my body, please let me finish, and I promise never again. And, up the hill, allegedly there were hula dancers to encourage us. Yes, thank goodness for hula dancers. Something to get my mind off the…WHAT???!!!??? FAT OLD MEN with grass skirts and coconut bras playing ukulele!!! I hated Portland, so, very, much. Kept going. Few miles left, I got passed by an old guy, passed by a dude running the race in a suit, a pregnant lady w/ a stroller went past. And there, ahead, in the middle of the road, was a young girl, waving, telling the runners “good job”, she gave me a hi-five and I started to cry. I hoped that one day I would have a daughter as awesome as that girl.  (Spoiler alert: I do.)

I have no regrets. It was a voluntary project, that I had to plan for, to work at, that needed dedication to finish. And it still sucked.
Remember what the USMC says: “Pain is just weakness leaving your body.”