Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Conrad Gempf

I'm very much on to other things of late, thus no blogging. I tried to blog and post a comment at Deinde, again to no avail. (Ouch!) Good to see Danny and co. blogging though, as many others are on a summer hiatus. How I wish Tilling and Crossley would focus more on biblical studies than current events and theology (yawn).

I wanted to post on current MidEast events but I've done enough of that with my segment on Land in NT theology. One hopes and prays that Israel's actions (while incredibly unhealthy to say the bare minimum, and yes I do think much much more could be said in that direction) will give moderates reason to challenge extremists/terrorists in their respective nations--at least with those like Hezbollah, whose actions led to escalation that the majority do not want. That is not an endorsemnt of Israel's actions, mind you.

One of the relatively unknown biblioblogs (I think) is Not Quite Art, Not Quite Living. Conrad Gempf is NT lecturer at London School of Theology and runs an interesting blog with a fair bit of diverse material. (Good link to a "Brazilian footballer name manufacturer" for instance.) Here's an excerpt, a post on Mark 6:14ff:

The Gospel reading for this coming Sunday is Mark 6:14-29. The story about how Herod was tricked into beheading John the Baptist should frighten the daylights out of anyone who thinks of themselves as good and honourable and religious.

Take verse 20. Herod (this is Herod Antipas, son of Herod the Great, by the way) had a great respect for God and his prophet and enjoyed listening to the word of God through John. Sure, he kept him in prison -- today we might call it protective custody: he kept him safe. That way, he could listen to the word of God at his leisure and convenience. Hearing the messages, he was perplexed: what could it mean? He pondered and never acted. Know anybody like that? Aren't you and I a bit like that?

Or take the whole party thing in vv. 21-26. Here is a generous man who gives banquets, who, when pleased, wants to reward others -- who, in other words, places quality of experience above quantity of possessions. And, moreover, a man of his word. He's offered a blank check to his wife's daughter and will not refuse to honour his word when the request is not to his liking.

Simply listening to word, holding it captive and being generous and having integrity toward your family and friends isn't going to cut it. We need to hear and obey God and rearrange our priorities around him. Herod Antipas was a good guy who tried his best to be good and religious given his circumstances. That meant his circumstances were his god. Too often today Christians think along those same lines. God in my circumstances -- kept safe in the prison of my palace to listen to when time and circumstances permit.


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