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Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Week 2: 2nd read of Philemon/ 4 more signs/ Set Theory/Guidelines for Community: Temple Tantrum intro/10 Commandments/Sermon on the Mount

Devotions by Joseph and Ashley:

Dan Nainan:

Philemon and Onesimus as literal brothers

So glad Tim Gombis (fantastic writer)  posted this series on Philemon.  Most folks have never even heard the interpretation that Philemon and Onesimus are literal bothers, even though   "this is the most natural reading"  (Gonbis):



video: Impersonation of me by Pastor D.J. Criner (who looks just like me..but more handsome)

Sometimes in a Bible class, I will leave the room for five minutes,
and challenge the students to practice presenting anything they've learned.
It's totally up to them: they can tea- teach it, one person can present etc.

Sometimes I am even brave/dumb enough to say they can choose someone to impersonate (roast/toast( me and my style.

I should have known that with  the delightful and daring Pastor D.J. Criner (of Saint Rest Baptist Church) in class, that  the class would choose him for that impersonation option (:

It was caught on video ...
I guess I say ":awesome" a lot.

Be sure to catch his whiteboard artwork of me. as well:

New signs tonight:
  • Inclusio
  • Recurrence
  • Bounded Set
  • Centered Set
  • Fuzzy Set

Inclusio:  a literary world technique.
Something is repeated at beginning and end of a text or book to give you a clue as to main theme.

 a literary device in which a word, phrase, or idea is included at the beginning and ened of a  text (and sometimes in the middle).  Example: the "with you"s of Matthew 1:23 , 18:20 and 28:20

Len Sweet is on to something, suggesting a Bible-wide inclusio. How wide and big can these things get? Wouldn't this cue us and clue us in to the heart message of the whole Book?
Check it out!

Ever notice Matthew starts with "His name will be called Emmanuel, which means 'God with us.'
And ends...very last sentence...with "I will be with you."?

No accident.
And neither is the midpoint and message of the gospel: "I will be with you" (18:20).
In Jesus, God is with us.
Jesus is the With-Us God.

Inclusio with chiasm, baby.

You knew God was with us in Christ.. But now you see it as you look at Matthew structurally..


a word, phrase, or idea is intentionally repeated throughout a text.  Example: the five teaching blocks of Matthew.

Jesus is the new Moses."

Matthew could have said that,   or even said that five times..but instead he embedded thematically five times in the literary structure/fabric of his book;

It is no accident that 5 times Matthew offers an almost identical sentence to close off his five teaching blocks..

                        "When Jesus had finished saying these things, he moved on..."
..shows up in

  1. 7:28
  2. 11:1
  3. 13:53
  4. 19:1
  5. 26:1

See  page 269  of your Hauer/Young textbook (the three paragraphs underneath the "Higher Righteousness" section)  for more on this..
There is huge  signficance of five teaching blocks in Matthew, how they are identified, and what they likely symbolize.

Why 5?

JJewish people reading Matthew would say
"Oh, I get it.  Matthew is trying to tell us  (5 times, no less( that Jesus is the New Moses (or the fulfillment of Moses)!" 
Why? The answer has to to with the obvious intentionality of the5 "teaching blocks" in Matthew..Five being a hugely significant  number for's the number of books in the Torah, AKA the Five Books of Moses, AKA The  Pentateuch "(Five Books in One.") .  Moses=5ness.

More "New Moses" symbolism in Matthew:

Set theory




    We introduced the third (and final) "set" of "set theory:

    -When does a mountain begin?
    -Is it about predestination or free will?
    -Faith or science?

    These can be the border can be fuzzy...Thus :
    "Fuzzy sets"

    Here below is some help on Fuzzy Sets. These readings will help:

  • COMMUNITY THEME #2: Guidelines for Community:

    A $100 bet


    Which list of the Ten Commandments is the "real" list??

    We joked you could win $100 by saying, :Let me read you a list of the Ten Commandments, the only list the Bible explicity calls the Ten Commandments.  Tell if this is the list.  A hundred bucks says I'm right.  Then read them the Ten Commandments from Exodus 34!!:

                          Exodus 20                                                                     Exodus 34: Note: this list, NOT THE 
                                                                                                           OTHER, is the one that says "THESE ARE    
                                                                                                            THE TEN COMMANDMENTS"                                                          

    1. I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. You shall have no other gods before me.
    1. Thou shalt worship no idol. (For the Lord is a jealous god).  Smash all idols,
    2. You shall not make for yourself a graven image. You shall not bow down to them or serve them.
    2. Thou shalt make thee no molten gods.
    3. You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain. 3. The feast of unleavened bread shalt thou keep in the month when the ear is on the corn.
    4. Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.
    4. All the first-born are mine.
    5. Honor your father and your mother.
    5. Six days shalt thou work, but on the seventh thou shalt rest.
    6. You shall not kill.
    6. Thou shalt observe the feast of weeks, even of the first fruits of the wheat harvest, and the feast of ingathering at the year's end.
    7. You shall not commit adultery.
    7. Thou shalt not offer the blood of my sacrifice with leavened bread.
    8. You shall not steal.
    8. The fat of my feast shall not remain all night until the morning.
    9. You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.
    9. The first of the first fruits of thy ground thou shalt bring unto the house of the Lord thy God.
    10. You shall not covet.
    10. Thou shalt not boil a kid in its mother's milk.

    These look only loosely related to the list we've all heard from Exodus 2O

    Here's  Colbert (interviewing a congressman about the Ten Commandments), which

    turns out to have several helpful serious points about the "literary world" of   the  topic Here it is:
    Mon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
    and the "question of the day"..

    Off the top of your head, list words and ideas that come to mind when you think of the story of the giving of the Ten Commandments on Mt Sinai.
    Then scroll down for the question..

    Was "wedding" on your list?
                                            .....or "love"?

    What does all this have to do with a wedding?


    T Ray VanderLaan video  on Mount Sinai   we watched  is  not online but  on this DVD.

    IT  dealt with the many"historical world"hyperlinks from Ten Commandments to wedding.

    Too bad  the video is not  online, but most of the study guide IS..

    see pp.197-251  here
    Waffly wedded wife: More wedding outtakes:

    ften when I officiate weddings, and the groom is nervous, I try to lighten the mood. I pull out my little black book in front of all the groomsmen and fake a shocking, "Oh my goodness, I accidentally brought my funeral book by mistake!! But I'll just read from it anyway..i mean it's the same idea. Is that OK?" Then there is a laugh of relief when they realize I'm kidding!

    But at Margaret and Paul's wedding.....

    for the first time, I couldn'tfind my wedding book right away, so i did actually bring the funeral book instead. It didn't really matter, as after doing years of weddings I don't need the book, I just use it to stick little sticky notes in for the sermon, prompts, names etc....oh, and to look pastoral and cool.

    So I just crossed out the big title "FUNERAL" on the spine with a black marker, so folks wouldn't see it while I was up front (:

    Then for a laugh and a few pics, after the service, I rubbed off the ink so you could read it.


    BTW: Note an inclusio in that the first and last teachings happen on a mountain..hmmmm

    SERMON ON THE MOUNT, Mathew chapter  5 


    • Who was the sermon addressed to?
    • Why did he teach on a MOUNTAIN?
    • Why did Jesus sit down to teach?

    When we read the "beatitudes," the first section of the Sermon on the Mount: -- do you catch any inclusio(Note the first and last beatitudes (only) of chapter 5 end
    with a promise of the kingdom of heaven, implying that the other promises in between "being filled," "inherit the earth," "be comforted" all have to do with Kingdom

    --and if Jesus is a NEW MOSES of sorts, then we should look at
    Discussion on how Jesus was interpreting/reinterpreting the law of Moses/Torah(Matt 5:17-48).
    Some would suggest that he is using the rabbi's technique of "Building a fence around the TORAH."
    For example, if you are tempted to overeat, one strategy would be to build a literal fence around the refrigerator...or the equivalent: don't keep snacks around.


    Some wonder of this is what Jesus is doing here.  See:
    Jesus' Antitheses - Could they be his attempt to build a fence around the Torah?

    One can see how this could turn to legalism...and when do you stop building fences? See:

    A Fence Around the Law

    Greg Camp and Laura Roberts write:

    In each of the five examples, Jesus begins by citing an existing commandment. His following statement may be translated as either "And I say to you... " or as "But I say to you ...” The first option shows Jesus' comments to be in keeping with the commandments, therefore his words will be an expansion or commentary on the law. This is good, standard rabbinic technique. He is offering his authoritative interpretation, or amplification, to God's torah, as rabbis would do after reading the torah aloud in the synagogue. The second translation puts Jesus in tension with the law, or at least with the contemporary interpretations that were being offered. Jesus is being established as an authoritative teacher who stands in the same rabbinic tradition of other rabbis, but is being portrayed as qualitatively superior to their legal reasoning.
    After citing a law Jesus then proceeds to amplify, or "build a hedge" around the law. This was a common practice of commenting on how to put a law into practice or on how to take steps to avoid breaking the law. The idea was that if you built a safe wall of auxiliary laws around the central law, then you would have ample warning before you ever came close to breaking the central law. A modern example might be that if you were trying to diet you would need to exercise more and eat less. In order to make sure that that happened you might dispose of all fats and sweets in the house so as not to be tempted. Additionally, you might begin to carry other types of snacks or drink with you so as to have a substitute if temptation came around, and so forth. In the first example of not killing, Jesus builds a hedge that involves not being angry and not using certain types of language about others. One of the difficulties is that it becomes very difficult not to break his hedges. This might drive his hearers to believe that he is a hyper-Pharisee. Some interpreters have wanted to argue that Jesus does this in order to drive us to grace—except grace is never mentioned in this context. This is a wrong-headed approach to get out of the clear message that Jesus is proclaiming: you must have a transformed life. By building his hedges, Jesus is really getting to the heart of what the law was about. In the first example, the intent is not just to get people not to kill each other (though that is a good thing to avoid), rather it is there to promote a different attitude about how to live together. Taken together, the 10 Words (Commandments) and the other laws which follow in Exodus-Numbers paint a picture of a people who will look out for one another rather than just avoiding doing injury to one another. This becomes clear in Jesus’ solution at the end of the first example. The solution is not to throw  yourself on grace or to become paralyzed by fear, but to seek right relations with the other person. There seems to be an implicit acknowledgment that problems will arise. The solution is to seek the best for the other person and for the relationship. This is the heart of the law.  The problem with the law is that it can only keep you from sin, but it cannot make you do good.  The rabbi Hillel said “what is hateful to you, do not do to others.”  In 7:12, Jesus provides his own interpretation “In everything do to others as you would have them do to you.”  He changes the saying from refraining from sin, to actively doing good.  The thesis statement in 5:20 is “unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” This then is how to exceed, or go beyond the law.  In each of the five examples, the way to exceed the law is to make the relationship right.
    Instead of drawing a new line in the sand that you are not supposed to cross before you are considered guilty, Jesus, confirms that the center is "love your neighbor" and then just draws an arrow (vector) and tells you to go do it. There is never a point at which you are able to finally fulfill the commandment to love. You can never say that you have loved enough. In the gospel of Matthew, the supreme example of this is Jesus' own life and death. His obedience and love knew no boundaries.  --by Greg Camp and Laura Roberts

    Ted Grimsrud, in  your "God's Healing Strategy"  book suggests:
     "A better way [as opposed to legalistically legislating morality] to approach [the commandments] would be to ask first, 'What does this commandment teach us about God?'...Hence, the point of the commandments is not establishing absolute, impersonal, even coercive rules which must never be violated.  The point rather is that a loving God desires ongoing relationships of care and respect....Paul's interpretation of the Law in Romans 13 makes clear the deepest meaning of the law not as rule-following, but as being open to God's love and finding ways to express that love towards others: 'The commandments..are summed up in this word, Love your neighbor as yourself.'"  (pp. 33-34)
    On building a fence, see page 201 of Hauer and Young

    ne can see how this could turn to legalism...and when do you stop building fences? See:
    A Fence Around the Law
    on the 6 antitheses of the Sermon on The Mount, remember my Paraguay stories?

     "Ever committed adultery, John?"
    OK,  below is the backstory of the "LAUGHING BRIDE," which illustrates "building a fence around the Torah":

    How do you name the difference in the shift of the 6 antitheses?  What does it feel like Jesus is doing?  He's making the law______:

    • harder?
    • easier?


    Week 3                                                                                                                                                                 
    Topics:  Living in Community: Leadership, Power & Authority

    Preparation Reading:
    Hauer & Young ch 5 “The Nation Israel"
     Joshua, Judges, 1st & 2nd Samuel, 1st & 2nd Kings (entire)
    1 Samuel 8 - 18
    Deuteronomy 17:14-20
    2 Samuel 5 – 7, 11 – 12, 22
    2 Kings 14 – 17
    Hauer & Young ch 12, “Mark: The Secret Revealed through Suffering” (pp. 243-245 only)
    Hauer & Young ch 12, “Mark” (pp. 256-257 only)
    Mark 9: 33 – 10:45
    Matthew 18
    Kraybill chs 10-12 (review)
    Chapman, Part One: ch. 7, “The Layers of Meaning in Radical Loving Care”
    Chapman, Part One: ch. 8, “Presence and Affirmation”
    Chapman, Part One: ch. 9, “The Not-So-Surprising Outcomes of the Healing Hospital”
    Grimsrud, ch. 4, “Kingship and the Need for Prophets”

    Preparation Assignments:
    1) One Great Person worksheet (attached to this syllabus) and response essay.

    2) Hauer & Young ch 5 Questions for Discussion and Reflection (p. 123): answer #3a-d

    Online Moodle Instruction (3 hours during the week after the face-to-face session):

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