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Spirituality

Ode to Curiosity

Curiosity has a bad reputation. It is certainly not one of the generally accepted Christian virtues, and that is a shame. Curiosity takes us deeper in our faith and in life. Long live curiosity, and God bless the curious!

The Utmost of Oswald Chambers

At a recent church board meeting, our head elder, Paul Dybdahl, opened with the shortest devotional ever. Picking up Oswald Chambers’ My Utmost for His Highest, he read the first line of the day’s entry: “Prayer does not fit us for the greater works; prayer is the greater work”[1] That’s all. That was enough to send me rummaging through my shelves to find my copy of the book. It appears on every list of spiritual classics for a reason. I knew I had it somewhere, but I had not given it more than a cursory glance.

How My Mind Has Changed and Remained the Same with Regard to Biblical Interpretation

For some time, the Society of Biblical Literature has included a section at its annual sessions in which an older member reflects on how her or his thinking has evolved over the years under the title "How My Mind has Changed and Remained the Same." Now that I am officially eligible to retire (although I do not intend to do so anytime soon), I have been emboldened to use this genre to express some thoughts on biblical interpretation.

Margaret’s Gospel

Saliva bubbles collected in the corners of her mouth. Suddenly, in a meteoric flash, death snatched her away. In an instant, her rotund, 98 year-old body surrounded by a loving family crumbling in tears and grief was all that was left. I, a volunteer chaplain, struggled to find words of comfort and hope. Amazed by family and love, I had my own thoughts of life’s heartless cycle and questions of nagging doubt.

Out of the Beaks of Birds

“And every creature which is in heaven and on the earth and under the earth and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, I heard saying: ‘Blessing and honor and glory and power be to Him who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb, forever and ever!’” Revelation 5:13

I'm Sorry for How the Church has Sidelined Women

I've been a church kid since the day I was born, deeply steeped in the culture of this community of people who follow Jesus. My belt is well-notched with church services, church camps, pathfinder retreats, week-of-prayer alter calls, Bible studies, church volunteer roles, and years of Christian education.

As I reflect on all those years and all the associated people who have shaped my life, I am surprised at one thing. As a Christian who grew up in the Adventist church, my life has been shaped, more than anything else, by women.

Quiet Place, Quiet Space: Standing in the Tragic Gap

Parker Palmer uses the phrase “standing in the tragic gap” to describe the tension one feels between what is and what could be. The tragic gap is the uncomfortable spot where one sidesteps quick decisions, hasty analysis, and automatic labeling. When standing in the tragic gap, one can simply be. Breathe quietly. Take time. Stay away from swift labeling of ideas into realistic or idealistic categories that ignore the useful spectrum of perspectives between them. This is the tragic gap.

An Agenda for a New Kind of Literary Study of the Bible

The literary study of the Bible may for some seem to be what philosophers would call a category error. The Bible, according to this common though imprecise understanding, is a set of religious texts. Its purpose is to convey a vision of how God created the world, of his designs for the historical destiny of humankind, including a special account of his covenanted people, and to set forth in forceful terms the moral and ritual obligations that the readers of these texts through the generations are expected to fulfill. What, then, could all this have to do with literature?

A Matter of Integrity

Ken Curtis preaches on the matter of integrity:

Genesis One in Historical-Critical Perspective

The "historical-critical" method of Bible study, used properly, can be a valid and powerful tool for Seventh-day Adventists. How might the use of the "historical critical" method of Bible study affect the interpretation of Genesis 1, a chapter of great interest to Seventh-day Adventists? What follows is an example of the application of the method to Genesis 1.

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