This past winter, I designed a new course entitled Learning the Art of Midrash (biblical interpretation) Using the Gospel of John. I’m a recent convert to the power of that Gospel (previously it never made much sense to me), and I wanted to use the many stories in John (none of which are literally true) to teach people how to use midrash to dig into a story and find the underlying truth often hidden in the details.… Read more >
For years, I refused to read any of John’s writings. I thought the Gospel of John was a bunch of mumbo jumbo and the Book of Revelation was full of craziness. Thanks to the Reverend Ken Wyant’s Bible study at Irvine United Congregational Church, I changed my opinion about the Gospel of John—but I still want to ban Revelation.… Read more >
King David has long been one of my Biblical heroes—or so I thought. The story of David versus Goliath is a powerful metaphor for facing life’s challenges. The little guy takes on the big and the powerful—and wins.
I always envisioned the great King David as the prototype for who and what the Messiah should be: a powerful leader, admired by all, who would lead the chosen people to achieve the highest standards.… Read more >
In a previous blog post entitled “Mother Teresa and Doubting Thomas,” my editor included a painting by Caravaggio of Doubting Thomas sticking his fingers deep into the chest wound of the “resurrected” Jesus (also shown here). When my editor first showed me the picture, I thought that it seemed a little morbid, but when I looked again, I saw an opportunity for a blog post.… Read more >
Has your family ever had a rift that prevented members from loving each other? As a retired psychotherapist, I am always surprised at how many families have had or still have interfamily conflicts. Family rifts are more common than one might think. Fact is, it seems to be the rare family that doesn’t have conflict in its history.… Read more >
Our weekly Bible study group is currently reading the Gospel of Luke, written around the turn of the first century CE. Luke is religious history (accuracy isn’t important) about the pre-Jesus, told through the metaphor of resurrection. Our group has studied Jesus’s birth, his youth, and his baptism, and now we’re studying his early ministry.… Read more >
The title of this blog is confusing at first, so let’s start with the fact that the Lord’s Prayer appears in only two places in the Bible. The first and more familiar version is in Matthew, written between 85 to 95 CE: “Our Father who art in Heaven, hallowed be Thy name.… Read more >
The festival of Epiphany, derived from a Greek word that means “an appearance or manifestation,” always falls on January 6 in the church’s liturgical calendar. Epiphany is the occasion when Followers remember the story of the wise men who supposedly came from afar to recognize Jesus as the King of kings.… Read more >
In honor of my recent trip to Hawaiʻi, I am including the rest of the prodigal son parable, told in Hawaiian Pidgin.
Last week I shared the first part of the story, where the father unconditionally accepts, forgives, and cares for his errant son. This is a story about agape love, which is what followers of Jesus are expected to practice on a daily basis with our fellow human beings.… Read more >
My wife and I lived in Hawaiʻi for twenty years. Below, I’ve included the parable of the prodigal son written in Hawaiian Pidgin, a local lingo spoken by those who were born and raised in Hawaiʻi. It’s spoken quickly and is difficult to understand unless you’re a kamaaina (local). I’ll share the part about the other brother next time—that story is not so nice!… Read more >