Monday, May 24, 2010

Numbers 32 - Deuteronomy 6:25

We finally made it to Deuteronomy! I've never read Deuteronomy. Up until just now, in fact, I didn't even know how to spell it.

I've read the rest of the Torah - but this will be totally new for me. I'm excited! Sooo, let's get to it!

The skinny:

Chapter 32: The Reubenites and the Gadites take notice of the land to the east of the promised land (I thought that might have been the land they just plundered, but I'm not sure). They decide that they'd rather not venture into the promised land, but that this is close enough, right? At first Moses is super peeved and he reminds them of all that has brought them here - but then they suggest that they will build their cities and fortify them so that their women and children will be protected and then go and help the rest of the tribes fight off promise land's current inhabitants. This satisfies Moses and so they, along with a half tribe of Manasseh, do just that. Chapter 33: Moses records all the places that they lived during the 40 years - 40 in all plus one more - the plains of Moab by the Jordan across from Jericho - and it is this last spot that God instructs Moses to tell the Israelites that it is time to enter into the promised land. He tells Moses about the importance of killing off it's current inhabitants - that if they fail to do this, God will do to the Israelites what he plans to do with them. Chapter 34: God tells Moses where the Israelites need to set up boundaries in the land. He names the guys that will lead in the divying out - one man from each tribe. Chapter 35: The Levites don't get their own land. They get 48 towns in the midst of all the other tribes - pasturelands so that they might be shepherds in more than one way. 6 of these towns are "cities of refuge". If someone kills another person accidentally, they can flee to one of these cities and not be put to death by the guy whose job title is "Avenger of Blood". You might be able to guess what his job description entails. The last paragraph of the chapter warns the Israelites not to pollute the land with bloodshed - because the only thing that make atonement for bloodshed is the blood of the person who shed it. Chapter 36: Another question about Zelophehad's Daughters - what if they marry someone outside their clan - would the land be transferred to that tribe? God instructs them to solve the problem by marrying within their tribe and they do. DEUTERONOMY Chapter 1: Moses begins a recap as they prepare to enter the promised land. He starts at the appointment of the leaders/helpers to Moses. He talks about the spies being sent out and then Israel's rebellion and how that was a total bust. Chapter 2: More recapping. Life after the rebellion - the consequences and how the Israelites were instructed not to mess with Esau's and Lot's descendants. And also Heshbon (I'm not sure if they are Esau or Lot's descendants - I couldn't figure it out) but how Sihon, King of Heshbon was stubborn and wouldn't let the Israelites pass through - so then they had to destroy them - taking everything - including their women and children. Chapter 3: Moses recaps how they destroyed Og, King of Bashan, how they divided out the land and finally, reveals that he blames the Israelites for God not letting him into the promised land and that he begged God to let him in, but God wasn't having it - but Moses was allowed to look at it. Chapter 4: A sermon from Moses - warnings and blessings and mystery and worship. Then Moses sets aside 3 Cities of Refuge for the tribes that are going to live east of the promised land. Chapter 5: The reiteration of the 10 commandments and a final recap - ending with the Lord expressing his deep desire that his people would love and respect him so that they might prosper. Chapter 6: More sermonizing from Moses - Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. And when your children ask why we must follow these decrees explain to them that we were once slaves in Egypt and the Lord saved us and brought us to this place flowing with milk and honey.

A couple of things, notable or otherwise:

Just had this thought: This whole idea of women and children as spoils, it bothers me, of course. But, I was thinking, keeping Israel pure seemed to be kind of a big deal - you know, that's why you didn't marry outside of the community - or in some cases - even outside of your tribe. If the women and children of other nations were taken as plunder, well, how did that work, exactly? Did the women and girls become Israelites because they would eventually marry an Israelite man? But, then, what about the little boys? Are plundered people grafted into society or made to become slaves?

Next up, Chapter 6 - I really love the wording. We are our ancestors - we were brought out of slavery, God brought us into the promised land. It's beautiful. It makes me think of my own history and America's history and how truly interconnected it is.

On an entirely different note, Sadie, Jermaine and I looked up the history of cheesecake the other day and it turns out that the dish is ANCIENT. It was invented before Jesus walked on earth . . . so we got to thinking, how would ancient people make cheesecake? The answer? Milk and honey!!! Proof that God loves cheesecake.

Reading for next time: Deuteronomy 7-22.

And that is all. :)

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Numbers 21:1-31:54

Oh goodness. I'm straight forcing myself to write this. I don't want my next entry to be 7 months from now.

But, what's making it even more difficult: Jermaine is editing my resume. Out loud. And I can't concentrate on my blog. But I can't tell him to pipe down because he's being so AWESOME and I'm incredibly grateful.

But, SIGH. I'm not so good with distractions. Especially when they're amazingly helpful husbands.

Oops. He just figured me out. It's quiet now, but I feel bad. :P Good thing he's the easygoing sort!

Okay, let's get down to business.

Skinny vanilla scripture, double whip:

Chapter 21: the Israelites are wandering in the desert still (it does seem like it's been 40 years, doesn't it?). They try to cross Negev, but king Arad is not having it. So, they speak to God and God commands them to shut the place down, and they do. That's the first paragraph. Second paragraph, they're back to their old complaining ways and, as you may have guessed, people start dying (venomous snakes this time). Moses has pity on them and pleads with God, who has him concoct this bronze snake that they can look at and then they will live. Next there's a scene about a well - which God provides before they ask. And, then, the whole rest of the chapter is similar to the first paragraph. Only this time they defeat Sihon and Og. Chapter 22: Balak and Balaam - one of my favorite! It includes a talking donkey! If you haven't read it, you should. The ass is awesome. Chapters 23-24: Balak wants Balaam to curse Israel (he's evidently a prophet). Balaam talks to God and realizes that Israel is blessed - so he blesses them some more - 4 oracles all together. Chapter 25: the men of Israel are being "seduced" by the women of Moab and in the process they end up worshiping Baal of Peor (a Moabite God?). And THEN, this Israelite guy brings a Midianite woman - and they start doing it right in front of the Tent of Meeting! Aaron's grandson freaks out and drives a spear through them both. God is thankful, saying basically that if Phinehas had not done that, their deaths would have been worse (the wrath of God worse). Randomly, at the end, the author's like, bytheway, the names of those two, that did that horrible thing, are Zimri son of Salu and Cozbi, the daughter of a Midianite leader. Not sure if that was out of respect for them or to out their families. Chapter 26: The Lord commands Moses to take a second census - because all the doubters are dead. Chapter 27: A man named Zelophehad dies and all that remains in his family are his daughters. Women didn't own property back in the day so they go up to Moses and ask if they can keep their father's land in their name. Moses talks to God and God replies that what they are saying is right. God decrees what to do in other random circumstances such as these. Also, Moses suggests to God that he find a successor to replace Moses. God appoints Joshua. Chapters 28-29: All about offerings, Sabbath and days of feasting, I suppose it's a reminder for once they get to the promised land. Chapter 30: A random excerpt about women's vows to God that I believe was very progressive for the time. Chapter 31: Vengeance on the Midianites - and it is not pretty. There is dividing of the spoils - and the spoils include women who are virgins (which raises the question, how did they know?). Also, they kill Balaam. And that's messed up because he totally blessed them!

Yeah, man. That was intense. Okay. Away we go!

Chapters 21 and 31: The whole destroying other peoples and taking plunder bothers me (of course). I think it's supposed to. It's unsettling, to say the least. I could look it up and probably find a very good reason - as I'm sure I have at some point in the past - something about God working in such a time as that (in their culture and still managing to be way progressive). But, I'm trying to not do the scholarly thing - plus - whatever reason I found in the past has faded so much from my memory that it doesn't help right now - so who's to say it'll help later? Bottom line, this is hard stuff.

Chapter 22: I love talking animals! And I totally think it could be a real live possibility. Also, my friend, Nate, wrote a great song entitled, "Balaam's Ass". It's quite good.

Chapter 31 (again): At first, I was really bothered by the fact that the Israelites killed Balaam. I realized, though, how unique this story is. In chapter 22, we're introduced to this random non-Israelite prophet. And this guy, at God's prompting, saves Israel from being cursed. And then, a couple chapters later - they destroy him and the rest of the Midianites. It's all messed up! The Israelites messed up! But, it's another example of the fact that God didn't pick the them for the piety. And it begs the question, if how did the narrator find out about this guy, Balaam, in the first place? Because, generations later, when this story was being retold, there's definitely room for regret. All these stories of the Israelites acting badly - it's pretty cool that they made it in Bible, no?

That's it, me'thinks. Thanks for reading!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Numbers 15:1 - 20:29

9/27/09?? (Apparently. I totally forgot I wrote this!)

Wow. Has it really been more than 2 weeks since I last blogged? It doesn't seem that long ago. I guess time flies when you're a procrastinator.

It's pretty obvious to me that I should be doing my homework right now instead of blogging. At least I have a solid reason. I don't want to.

Both weeks have been really really good to me. Thank God! I was due. Not due in an "I am owed" sort of way, but due in a "good grief, quit your bellyaching" [as my mom would say] kind of way.

Oh, oh! I got to see the President 2 Thursdays ago! That's him - on the jumbotron and at the podium [the tiny blip of black and white]. Hand's down, best part of my month. The whole day was freaking awesome. We woke up and left before the sun came up - the whole morning was given up to waiting, and hanging out with good friends. His speech was inspiring and meaningful and [a little] lacking in substance. He spoke about health care. I'm intrigued - but I wish he would have delved deeper. I want to believe in universal health care - I truly do. One of my best friends has cystic fibrosis. She once exclaimed in an extremely matter of fact way that she simply could not allow herself to be hospitalized that year. Her reasoning: it just costs too much money. But, I have another friend whose boyfriend is a doctor. She says that he is against the President's plan because if it came into existence, his office would lose massive amounts of money. And he'd have to lay off nurses and other employees - and that's not going to help the economy.

Personally, I don't have insurance. There is no reasonable way we can afford to get it right now. With Jermaine's unemployment we "make too much" to qualify for government assistance. Sadie has it - but not us. If we got sick we would be up the proverbial creek.

Honestly, universal health care, if done correctly, makes a whole lot of sense to me. And I've been dreaming of it ever since I became a sociology major - before President Obama was even elected. I know that a lot of my close friends adamantly disagree with me - and I understand where they are coming from. But I've lived below the poverty line for the past 10 years. I've waited for hours at health departments surrounded by people far worse off than myself. I've studied poverty in school for the past 3 years. I know 2 things for sure. #1 - The current system ISN'T working. #2 - Poor people AREN'T lazy. I think that some sort of change is necessary. But I don't feel like I know what I'm talking about enough to completely agree with the President. I admire his courage, though.

Oh goodness me. You didn't come here to learn about my politics [or lack thereof]. What's this blog about? Oh, yes. Something about the Bible . . .

The Skinnay:

Chapter 15 - A word about offerings - when you get to the promised land and when the nation unintentionally sins. Also - defiant sinning punishable by death [complete with a real live example - a man gathering wood on the Sabbath is stoned to death]. Small PS. God commands the Israelites to put tassels on the corner of their garments as a tangible reminder of who they are and to whom they belong. Chapter 16 - Yikes! Korah, Dathan, and Abiram raise up a Levite rebellion against Moses. They, of course, die. Or rather, the earth swallows them up. Moses is very angry with them - but at the same time he seems to have pity on their followers - pleading with God not to kill everyone for the sins of these guys. God does kill their 250 followers. Finally Moses and Aaron scramble to make atonement for their sins so that more people won't die. Chapter 17 - To further drive the point home that God decides who is in charge, God has the tribes line up 12 staffs - one for each tribe. Aaron's staff sprouted, blossomed and produced almonds. I'm not sure I understand the significance of the nuts. At the very end of the chapter the Israelites lose it - exclaiming that they are all going to die. Which, in all fairness, is very true. Chapter 18 - This seems like a really good time to go over the priestly Levite duties. And so God does. Chapter 19 - God commands the Israelites to sacrifice a red heifer without defect. I'm not sure exactly why - I think it has something to do with cleansing. There is a lot of talk of clean and unclean. Chapter 20 - Aw, man. This one always gets to me. The Israelites are complaining that they have no water and that they are going to die, blah, blah, blah. Moses and Aaron plead with God and God tells them to use their staff and speak to a rock to get water. They screw up big time - taking the credit for getting the rock to bring forth water. As punishment, God tells them that Moses is not going to make it into the promised land [eventually, he tells Aaron the same]. Very sad stuff. Next the scene switches, Moses is trying to talk the leaders of Edom into letting them pass. Edom flat out refuses. The chapter wraps up with the death of Aaron, followed by a period of mourning.

Is it just me or does this blog already seem way too long? Oh well. What can I say, except, "Thank you very much!" if you are still reading this far in. :)

Okay, let's get to the good stuff to grow on . . .

4/8/10 (!)

Ha. This is so interesting! I mean, considering, here we are, 6 1/2 months later with the new health care reform and all.

At first, I was just going to keep the skinny and scrap the rest - I thought'd it be outdated, but - wow - it's actually quite timely. :)

Ah, but enough politics, for rizl. Feel free to comment about healthcare, though! I don't think my views have changed enough to warrant a whole other section (and this blog is going to be loooong enough without it).

Let's get back to that good stuff to grow on . . .

Chapter 15: I feel like the tassels on the garments are significant in some way, but I'm not sure how. If you know - please enlighten us (JM??).

Can we take a moment to talk about the guy who got stoned to death for working? Really? That's just nuts.

I've been reading Rest by Keri Wyatt Kent (review coming soon on my other blog!) and it's all about the Sabbath - the day's importance to our soul (although, I'm pretty sure she wouldn't advocate stoning). I've been really focused lately attempting to have a time to be productive and a time to rest and sort of sifting through what that looks like in my life.

So, I when I reread this passage the other night, these verses in chapter 15 popped out at me.

Then my mind wandered to Jesus - the Sabbath breaker he was - and for the first time I really feel for the those high up churchy guys (the pharisees, sadducees, etc) - I mean, COME ON, if the penalty for working on the Sabbath was stoning, I'd be concerned, too!

I'm going on way too long about one little part, so I'm going to move on now. But, I think I sort of get why the penalty was so severe. Sort of.

Chapter 16 - 17: Uhmm, yeah. This is hard for me to read. But not exactly in the way you might think. These passages are like proof positive that God has specific tasks for each of us. There's definitely a part of me that is afraid that what I want to do with my life (aka: be a pastor) and what God wants me to do will not line up. Even though I KNOW that God's plan is infinitely better than anything I could ever dream of, and the fact that I have these desires inside of me could very well be an indication that God is on board, aand when these dreams came about I had a very strong sense that it was God leading me toward them - these fears still haunt me. Because, really, I think one of the worst things a person can do is be an unauthorized pastor. You're just asking for trouble.

Chapter 18: There's a line in verse 19, "Whatever is set aside from the holy offerings the Israelites present to the Lord I give to you and your sons and daughters as your regular share. It is an everlasting covenant of salt before the Lord for both you and your offspring." I've added the emphasis here, because, I don't know exactly what it means. Anybody?

Chapter 20: Miriam dies at the beginning of the chapter. :( Aaron dies at the ends. ): And when he dies, everybody mourns for 30 days.

Yeah. That bugs me (that he gets more mourning time (or any at all)). But you probably knew that already.

OKAY. It's time to wrap this up! :) One last little blurb. So, as you started to see (from the beginning of this blog), morale was low last semester. Spiritually, mentally, physically and emotionally - I was kind of a wreck. I had essentially entered into a season of wilderness (to use some Christianese).

Things are looking up! And they have been since about Christmas. Our life situation hasn't changed all that much (well, in some ways it has, but it hadn't during the time that I felt I was leaving the proverbially wilderness).

I won't bore you with the details, I just wanted to thank you for being with me during that time in my life. And to let you know that I am doing better. :)

Thank you for reading this ridiculously long blog!! Good. Night.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Numbers 9:1 - 14:45

I went looking for a map of the Exodus. It was very hard to pick. But then I found this. It is beautiful and old and the geography is wrong. But I like it. So, I'll look for a more accurate one tomorrow [or the next time I post - see note at the very bottom!]


It's been a while. Sorry about that. 19 credit hours this semester. Blah.

I'm sooo stressed out. Trying not to drown in schoolwork. Worried about money. Attempting not to fall too far behind in the everyday chores like helping Sadie with her homework, laundry and sleep. Not to mention the dreaded to-do list that includes a parking ticket appeal and CSE paperwork, among other things.

Forgive me for being so transparent. I think it's my nature. And I cringe every time someone asks me "how it's going". I loathe giving the pat, "Great! How are you?" but I doubt they truly have time to care. Also, [and hypocritically] usually when someone tells me how they're honestly doing, I think they're just whining.

On a random note, I took the Myers-Briggs personality test earlier today. I'm an ENFP. A Champion Idealist. Jermaine is an INFJ. A Counselor Idealist. We're both rare but Jermaine is more rare. That's not really surprising. Heh, it's also not surprising that we're both idealists. :)

Okay. Yeah. That had nothing to do with the Bible. I just wanted to share. Thank you for letting me share.

The Skinny:

Chapter 9 - God reminds the Israelites to celebrate [and remember!] the Passover. They ask what to do about unclean people and God instructs them to let everyone [clean, unclean and foreigners alike] participate [I don't know all the technicalities behind the meaning of this gesture, but I get the feeling that it was kind of a big deal]. The last part of the chapter describes how he dwelt with his people, in the form of a cloud [during the day] and fire [during the night]. He showed them where he wanted them to go by actually removing his presence and going somewhere else [they were to follow]. Chapter 10 - Aw, MAN, the two silver trumpets. This is so bad-ass! And so Chronicles of Narnia! I just love it [if you couldn't tell]. The second part of the chapter records the first time the cloud of God actually lifts from their tabernacle and the order in which the tribes follow. In the last part of the chapter we get a little glimpse of a story - Moses pleading with his brother-in-law, Hobab, to stay with the Israelites because Hobab knows the desert. He finally agrees. Chapter 11 - Yikes. This one's a doosy. The people are complaining about their hardships. So God, in anger, sends a fire to burn up the outskirts of the camp. And Moses complains to God, saying that this whole thing [leading the people of Israel] is just too much for him. God has him call 70 elders and God puts the Spirit into them and they prophesy [and it looks like there might have been some sort of scribal error - either they prophesied and "did not do so again" [11:25b] or "continued to do so" as described by the footnote]. The fire doesn't stop the people from complaining. This time it's about food. They are sick of Manna. They want meat. So, God gives them quail, but with a fatal catch. "While the meat was still in their teeth [11:33] God strikes down all who eat the quail with a severe plague. Chapter 12 - Miriam AND Aaron start speaking out against Moses because his wife is a Cushite. God is not happy with them and strikes Miriam with a bad case of leprosy. Moses pleads with God to heal her, but God insists she endure the punishment for a week. Chapter 13 - 12 leaders are picked to go explore the promised land. They go. And it's beautiful. But it's inhabitants scare these explorers. And all but two [Joshua and Caleb] "spread among the Israelites a bad report about the land" [13:32]. Joshua and Caleb seem to grasp how dangerous this bad report could be and beg them to stop. Chapter 14 - Sigh. Too late. God is REALLY mad. He wants to kill them all. Moses talks him out of it [!], saying that it would give God a bad rep in Egypt. Interesting note: Moses asks God to forgive them. And God does. Plan B includes making them wander the desert for 40 years. Until all people 20+ who failed to trust God's plan are dead. With the added detail that the children of the Israelites, whom the griping people said would be taken as plunder, will be able to enter Canaan. Shortly after that, some of the people take back what they said and decide to go up to the land anyway. Moses tells them they're crazy, and that the Lord will not be with them. But they don't listen. Yeah, you can probably guess what happens to them. It's not pretty.

Wow. I guess we're back to long skinnies. You may have already figured this out about me, but I think it's worth noting anyway: I don't often to stick to a system. I don't understand why or how my last couple posts have had such short skinnies. Or why the preceding ones were so long. I'm not sure if it's me or the chapters [although I have a hunch that it might be me]. When I was a little girl [maybe 11 or 12] I got so fed up with the predictability of my parents I remember standing in front of my bathroom mirror and vowing never to have a boring, predictable schedule when I became an adult. Heh, the irony is that I've spent much of my adult life searching for some sort of order in the chaos that is my life.

Anyhoo. Back to the Bible. Yeehaw!

Chapter 9 - I love that God mandates feasting. And remembering. And that includes everyone. So freaking awesome.

Chapter 11 - Can I just ask the obvious question? Does it not seem like they would get the picture? "Hmm. When we have faith God provides in amazing ways. When we complain, he kills us. Maybe we shouldn't complain."

I have wrestled with this a lot. I want not to judge them. I want to be humble enough to admit that in the exact same situation I could very well be one of the complainers. But, gosh, when I read it, I just feel like screaming, "Come ON, people! Get a grip."

Additionally, I think it's interesting that when Moses complained, God very often helped him. I think maybe we're supposed to see the difference in the two ways of approaching difficult stuff. One leads to death [maybe not literally, but in a round about way, I've heard it said that all sin leads to death] and one leads to God's mercy. The main difference I can see: the people were complaining to each other. Moses was complaining to God.

Chapter 12 - Can we talk about this? Why doesn't Aaron get afflicted with leprosy? He was talking against Moses too!

I was really questioning this passage. It made me sad. But then I thought of something [or read something a long time ago and just remembered it]. The fact that she was punished could actually speak volumes about how much authority she must have had; the leaders being the ones who most often bare the brunt of the responsibility. Now, of course, we know Aaron was a crucial leader. But, I think, this passage may be an indication that Miriam played a big leadership role, too.

Chapters 13 and 14 - Just like the Titanic and Romeo and Juliet, every time I read this passage I hope they change the ending.

I love Moses' relationship with God. And I love that Moses trusts God enough to engage in this dialogue. It's a very beautiful thing.

Oh, man. Those crazy Israelites. Going up to Canaan after they spoke out against God and lost his favor in their endeavor. Now that sounds like something I would do.

Two final notes:

1. I have reverted back to my non-scholarly ways. I think it's better this way. Let me know what you think! Ooh, and please note: I didn't look up anything for this post. And so, a lot of it is speculation and pondering. Again, going back to the point of this blog - to get through it and to do it together - feel free to add any insight you may have.

2. This might be it for a while. I may have to put this blog on hold - not sure how long. Er, I have to focus on school. I'm hoping that once I get used to being back, it'll be easier to post more often. Please be patient with me while I work it all out. Love!

Oooh - one more thing - I almost forgot to mention - the next reading is Numbers 15:1 - 20:29. :)

Thursday, August 27, 2009

National pimp your husband day

Yeah. Okay, that's not a real day. But it should be!

[Side note: I went through this phase where I would dissect funny phrases - for example: This is funny because by "pimp" I mean I'm trying to help him get a job -- BUT the type of job implied is inappropriate, and inappropriate things are funny]

[Other Side Note: Normally, copying and pasting from Red Bubble is a horrible and plageristic idea, but in this case I'm showcasing the designer and I, also, live with him, so it's okay]

Forgive me for not blogging Numbers again today. Feeling a little under the weather. And I have to work in the morning. And the other day, I tried to stay up late and blog [and I did] - but then I overslept and ended up being an hour late to my cleaning gig. :( My friend, whom I clean for, was SUPER nice about it. But, still, I felt bad.

So, nothing but a short pimping blog tonight.

This blog was inspired by Mr. Rob Bell [shocking, right?]. I was at Borders Books today, and I began to read through Drops Like Stars. I got to page 43. That's not important but I wanted to share.

He tells a story of an AWESOME college essay submitted to NYU by this guy named Hugh Gallagher. Bell says that we call people who do things like this the type to "think outside the box". But there's a problem, because simply by using that phrase we are admitting that the box is still the main frame of reference. Bell says that folks like Gallagher stand out because they change the question.

They ask,"There's a box?"

I've been reading about all kinds of people who asked this question in order to get a job in these troubled times. This article by is supercalafragalistic and very helpful.

Jamie Varon, founder of Shatterbxox Media, tried and applied to Twitter but was found wanting. So, she created Within 24 hours of the website's debut, Twitter was on the phone.

Ahem, SO, this is my attempt to question the Great Big Box and perhaps help my humble husband get a job. I must add, though, he is one of the great "There's a box?" askers. If you attended our wedding [or saw the pictures], you already know that.

Hmm. Where should I start? Incredible aspiring graphic designer? Check [here and here]. Talented and hilarious writer? Check [here]. Ridiculously gifted musician? CHECK [he is no longer with the band, but you can go here to get a feel for what he does].

The term "artsy" doesn't even begin to describe him. And, he may be one of the funniest guys I've ever met in my life. Oh! And as if all that wasn't enough, he's building a computer from scratch [and blogging about it here]!

One more thing. We're both sick right now. And I must say, he's taking far better care of me than I am of him. He would get mad props anyway because I am a great big baby when I'm ill - but put up with me and a bad head cold - that's a God thing right there.

Okay, I lied - four more things. He just started two volunteer gigs with Cedar Ridge [our church] - the first helping CRCC build a better website and the second with all things Middle School [ooh - he's got some serious experience in this area because he and his cousin Dwayne [the one with the awesome dreads from the last blog] led CounterCulture - the youth group at Wheaton Woods Baptist Church for 2 years]. To top it all off, he does a mean dramatic reading.

Also, he's an educated fool. With an Associates degree from Montgomery college, he moonlights as a full time IT student at the University of Phoenix.

He's really good at helping me carry out my crazy plans. We put on a week of 24-7 prayer together at WWBC. He became the only non-student member of the organization I founded at MC to help raise awareness and help the victims of the genocide in Darfur. And he graciously lets me decorate the apartment however I want no matter how much he dislikes it [as long as I don't mind that he dislikes it].

He's one peaceful, nurturing funky dude who knows how to par-tay [except he doesn't like the taste of alcohol - but he makes a topnotch DD]. I'm hard-pressed to think of one person who doesn't like him.

Oh, and of course, you can follow him on Twitter. Like I said, he's a very funny guy.

He got laid off last April. It's been an exciting and scary ride. He's amazing - full of hope and faith in God. I'm, er, learning. Struggling. Wrestling. But, when it's all said and done, I think this could be the beginning of something beautiful.

Once again, thank you for reading my blog. And, just so you know, - and this not a bribe - but, if you help get Jermaine a job, there's a good chance I'll feel a strong desire to bake you brownies. And kiss you. Unless you don't want me to. Then I won't. Because that would be weird.

Just joshing. G'night. ;)

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

The art of the sermon

No Bible blog tonight. I'm beat.

I've been wanting to share these videos for a while now. Zach Lind, drummer for Jimmy Eat World, interviews Rob Bell. As this is the third time I've posted a Rob Bell video, you may be starting to get tired of him. I'm not, so, sorry. ;)

Rob Bell Interview, Part 2 from Zach Lind on Vimeo.

The video is broken into three parts. This is the 2nd one, it's the last one I watched. I don't know why I watched them out of order, but I don't think you necessarily need to watch them in order [although, it is one long interview, chopped up into 3 10-20 minutes sound bites, so you may disagree]. If you can't bring yourself to watch the 2nd before the first, then you can go here and watch them in order.

Ooh, I remember now why I watched them the way I did! The last one is titled, "Zach asks Rob about his current topics of interest. Rob regrets something he said." I watched it first because I wanted to see what he regretted. At the end of that video he says something to the effect of, "Ooh, I wish I hadn't used the phrase "chopping the balls off the sermon". I thought it was strange because I didn't hear him say he was chopping the balls off of a sermon. And I thought I would have noticed that. After that, I started at the beginning, watching #1, and finally, I finished off with #2. Oddly enough, it is this video, #2, where he uses that salty phrase. Alas.

I really liked listening to the dialogue between the two guys. And the sermon as performance art [which they talk about late in this video], I love that. I love grenades in that setting [you may have to watch the video to make sense of these sentences]. I hope and pray I get to do that someday. Along with that, I pray for a dose of humility - and for God's will. This desire I feel to teach and preach and play with sermons, I think it's a God thing. But I pray to pray for God's will, even if it is not what I want.

Anyhow, enjoy! And thank you for reading my blog!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Numbers 4:1 - 8:26

Good gracious, I'm sleepy. But a promise is a promise. So let's get down with our bad selves.

Chapter 4 - God goes more in depth regarding the Levite clans and what they're supposed to carry. The Kohathites get the most holy things. The Gershonites "carry the burdens" - the curtain, the actual Tent of Meeting and the outer covering. The Merarites carry the frames, the crossbars, the pots and bases, and finally, the surrounding posts. Chapter 5 - We start out with some instructions on purity - specifically, who should be removed from the camp so that it will not be defiled. Next - a little excerpt on when to make restitution for wrongs. And finally, a detailed test to figure out whether or not a woman has been unfaithful to her husband [in the absence of evidence]. It involves drinking bitter water. Essentially if the woman is innocent, the cursed water won't harm her. If she's guilty, her abdomen will swell and she will become barren. Chapter 6 - The Nazirite! If an Israelite wants to make a special vow of separation to the Lord, he or she is not to drink wine or eat ANY part of a grape for the duration of the vow. Also, he or she is not to cut his [or her] hair [during that time]. The chapter ends with a priestly blessing for the Israelites. Chapter 7 - The 12 tribes bring their offerings to the Tabernacle. Chapter 8 - Aaron sets up the lamps and God tells Moses how to set the Levites apart.

I think I like more detailed version better than the bite-sized Skinny I did in my last blog. And 6 pages seems just right. Mhmm. :)

Things that got my goat

I wonder if the Gershonites or the Merarites were ever jealous of the Kohathites for getting to carry the most holy things. And, I wonder if the other Israelites ever resented the Levites for being set apart by God. Ooooor, I wonder if the Levites ever felt like they got the shaft because they didn't get to own land. Also, they didn't exactly get to pick their occupation. But, then again, I don't suppose many people got to pick the profession back in those days.

As you can probably imagine, I raised an eyebrow or two while reading about the test for an unfaithful wife. A couple of things to note: this was a way of protecting the woman - a man couldn't just decide that his wife had cheated and demand that she pay. And, apparently, tests similar in nature were common back then - and this one was incredibly more kind than the others.

I'd like to think if I lived while all of this was going down I would have attempted to become a Nazirite. I think it's really cool that women were allowed in on this special vow. Fun facts: Rastafarians take Nazarine vows - thus, the dreadlocks - that way they can grow their hair long without scissors, brushes, etc. I think the Bible describes Samson [a Nazirite we read about later] as having dreadlocks. The picture at the top is of my cousin-in-law and roommate, Dwayne - he has some really awesome dreads! Um, it's too late to get permission to use that photo, so I'm just going to throw it up there and ask in the morning. If you're reading this, and there's no picture at the top, you know he's a stingy jerk. Just sayin' . . . :P

Holy scmoly. I'm done! Purty cool. Off to bed - early morning!

Tomorrow we'll cover: Numbers 9:1 -14:45.