Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Week 5: Quiz, Rabbi, Psalms in Community, Philemon

Don't forget to bring  a stack of magazines  that you don't need...bring them tonight for our project next week..

Quiz tonight will look just like this.
The read symbols constitute the main quiz, which is not open notes.  
The black symbols are the extra credit quiz, which IS open notes.
Mix and match..
 More detail  and where to find answers on main quiz, see Week 1 post, for detail /answers on extra credit quiz, see Week 3 Post.

a) Chiasm: Greek word for letter 'X.'  A literary device that follows an 'X' or ABBA pattern or reversal; mirror image.  Example: "the first shall be last, the last shall be first"
b). Subversion of Empire: The story of Jesus offers a counter-story to the dominant story/worldview of his day
c)The Three Worlds:  Litereary (created by the text), Historical (behind the text). Conetmporary (in front of the text)
d).Intercalation  (Sandwiching); a literary technique in which one story/narrative is inserted into the middle of another story/narrative.  Example.  The temple tantrum is inserted in the middle of the fig tree episode in Mark 11.
e). Intertextuality (Hyperlinking): cross-referencing, secripture quoting  or referencing another scripture.    Example: Jesus quotes Isaih 56: "My house will be a house of prayer for all nations."
f) Parallelism: a word, phrase, or idea is intentionally repeated throughout a text.  Example: the five teaching blocks of Matthew.
g). Centered Set: Though it has a boundary, it is defined by direction of   persons relative to the center (towards/ away)
h).Inclusio: a literary device inw hich a word, phrase, or idea is included at the beginning and ened ofa  text (and sometimes in the middle).  Example: the "with you"s of Matthew 1:23 , 18:20 and 28:20
i). Bounded set: Defined by boundaries, who is in or out

>>a)Fuzzy set: where the boundaries are not clear
>>b)Synonymous parallelism: says same thing different way.
          Example, Luke 6:27-28:
        "Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you
bless those who bless you, pray for those who abuse you"
>>c) Hubs:
Just like on the internet, or any network, there are hubs/connectors/spokes in biblical connections/relationships
>>d)Anithetical parallelism: second line sets up contrast with first.  Example:
    Matt 7:17-18 "Every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit...
A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit."
>>e)Prophecy:"what God is saying in the moment, often about justice. Not just

fore-telling (predicting the future) but forth-telling  (telling forth truth). often having multiple applications and fulfillments, to different "contemporary worlds" and across time.

>>f)Kingdom of God: The rule and reign of Jesus; more Person and Presence than place; not just "then and there," but 'here and now" ...the "age to come" invades "this age"
>>g)step parallelism second line picks up thought/word from first and builds on it, takes it further.
Example, Luke 9:48:
"Whoever welcomes this child in my name welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me (and whoever welcomes the one who sent me...)

>>h)Hemistiche:biblical verses of two or more parallel hemistiches will very often omit a word, a term or an idea already found in a previous hemistich (less common is the omission of content in the first hemistich).  The reader is of course supposed to fill in the blank on her own.
>>i)6 Degrees of separation: as in the "Kevin Bacon" analogy, science suggests everybody/everything is more interconnected than we realize.

Hopefully, we;ll have some video posted on this very page   of Rabbi Adam Bernay from his visit tonight, but  for now, here is some info:
his congregation, his music,  his   radio show ...and  FREE BOOK DOWNLOAD.

Rabbi Adam appears in the second video below.  Both videos truly deal with our theme of community guidelines.
(especially this first one, one Matthew 18: 1-20,which we showed last week.)   You'll see that these three staffers of our local Mennonite-Brethren related radio station needed me to run an intervention just so they could all get along:

Rabbi Adam will likely talk about 4 levels of Bible Study from a  Jewish rabbinic perspective:

  • 1)"pashat" "simple":  plain, obvious, literal meaning
  • 2)"remez"  "hint" :  implied, intuitive meaning
  • 3)drash     "search":  Context is Everything, what comes before/after the passage
  • 4)sod        "hidden": secret, few find it


  • how does this dovetail, compare with the "Three Worlds" model?
  • Does #4 worry you ? Does it sound gnostic? the rabbi seemed to be content that only a few experts can ever get to this level)
 Here is more detail on these four.
2)There are two rabbinic ways of reading a text:

  • Hagakah:  "path"          commandments,      prescriptive      ethical/moral      
  • Hagadah:  "narrative"  not commandments,  descriptive         devotional/inspirational

  • How does this relate to any devotional reading you do?
  • Which of the two do you prefer?
More detail on this, see pp.19 and 234 of your "Three Worlds" textbook.

 video of Rabbi Adam visiting another class of mine/..explaining the prayer shawl.

>>The Psalms were the basic ""literary world"  worship and prayer book
for the "historical world"  Jews....and the early Christian church..
..so why don't we follow it in our "contemporary world?"   Maybe it's too honest.... and "spiritual." 

There are several ways to categorize, organize and group the psalms. 
You may have noticed they are broken into 5 "books."  The 5 is probably intentional...for the same reason we found 5 teachings in Mathew: it's the number of Torah/Pentateuch/Moses.

There are  different ways to categorize the "types" of psalms

Here is one way (thus the diagram): 

These four categories sound pretty distinct, and they are...but sometimes they overlap and Venn in surprising ways.  One psalm might visit most of these types, even switching midsentence.
How do they overlap, relate for you?  I put them in a traditional order, but could they work in the opposite order (say, if you were having a bad day?).  Where would you place them in the diagram?
--You may still be having trouble forgiving Walter Brueggemann for writing that book you had to read for last class (:..

But the same guy suggests another helpful way to categorize the Psalms:
q        Orientation:
o      Creation - in which we consider the world and our place in it
o      Torah - in which we consider the importance of God's revealed will
o      Wisdom - in which we consider the importance of living well
o      Narrative - in which we consider our past and its influence on our present
o      Psalms of Trust - in which we express our trust in God's care and goodness

q        Disorientation:
o      Lament - in which we/I express anger, frustration, confusion about God's (seeming?) absence
§       Communal
§       Individual
o      Penitential - in which we/I express regret and sorrow over wrongs we have done
§       Communal
§       Individual

q        Reorientation
o      Thanksgiving - in which we thank God for what God has done for us/me
§       Communal
§       Individual
o      Hymns of Praise - in which we praise God for who God is
o      Zion Psalms - in which we praise God for our home
o      Royal Psalms - in which we consider the role of political leadership
o      Covenant Renewal - in which we renew our relationship with God
(Click here for more)

We noted how astonishingly HONEST the prayer/worship book of the Jews (and Christians) is!

When we talk about the psalms of lament, psalms of imprecation, and psalms of disorientation being just as integral a part of biblical "worship" as the more "obvious," upbeat and "worshipful" psalms,
these comments from Bono of U2 comes to mind. He makes a good point:

Why are believers often so afraid of/threatened by the "honest and full truth," when the Scripture,
and the biblical "historical world," is not?

(By the way, Tim Neufeld teaches a whole FPU class on the Christian implications of U2;
you should also be aware of The Rev. Beth Maynard's blog)

Remember the video,"Everything is Spiritual"? (excerpt below)..

,,in a Hebrew/Jewish worldview, where everything is spiritual, it is not contradictory to be angry in one verse, and worshipful the next...as Kraybill says in your BIB 300 book, "The Upside Down Kingdom,"..
and how about this:

God in the Bathroom?The ancient Hebrew language didn’t have a world for “spirituality.” Apparently that category didn’t exist in ancient Hebrew thought because they believed that all of life had the potential to be “spiritual.” This is very different from our dualistic worldview that separates the world into two categories: the spiritual (sacred) and the material (secular). In this worldview, God inhabits the spiritual realm, but he leaves the material realm to us. In order for a dualist to experience God’s presence, he has to transcend the secular realm and tap into the sacred where he will find God. The Hebrew worldview rejects this dualism. Lawrence Kushner puts it this way:
Judaism sees only one world, which is material and spiritual at the same time. The material world is always potentially spiritual. All things– including and especially, such apparently non-spiritual things and grossly material things as garbage, sweat, dirt, and bushes–are not impediments to but dimensions of spirituality.
That means it’s possible to encounter God’s presence anywhere, including the bathroom. Here’s a prayer taken from the Babylonian Talmud that was meant to be prayed while the pray-er was relieving himself:
"Blessed is he who has formed man in wisdom in wisdom and created in him many orifices and cavities. Is is fully know before the Throne of Thy glory that if one of them should be improperly opened or one of them closed it would be impossible for a man to stand before Thee."
If this prayer makes you uncomfortable because you think the bathroom is off limits to God, then you are a dualist.-by Wade Hodges

Here's a sermon I once did on Psalm 22, which is another amazing psalm to use in a worship setting...How often have you heard "My God, My God, Why have You forsaken me?" in a church song?.

But that sentence is not just what Jesus said on the cross, he was quoting  (hyperlinking, intertexting) from the prayer book of the psalms.

 One excerpt:

I’ve got nothing left to give,” the professor said.

Several years ago some other pastors and I had responsibility for a pastors retreat. We decided to bring in a deep, profound, distinguished man of God; a professor renowned in the field of spiritual formation.

We were busy pastors, some of us bordering on burnout; we badly needed retreat…and training in the meat spiritual formation .

So there was indeed a huge hunger and holy hush in the room, when after weeks of waiting, the respected PhD, whom we were thrilled had said “yes” to flying out the 3,000 miles from his seminary to enlighten our relatively small but serious group, opened his mouth that first night.

Bibles and notebooks in hand , we leaned forward to receive what the master would say; what gleanings the guru had studied and prayed hard to impart.

His opening line broke the silence, the mood, and all the “rules” of grad-school-level spiritual formation 701:

“I have nothing to give.”

“Excuse me?,” I am sure we all collectively thought.

He continued, oblivious to our headscratching; indeed not even acknowledging the question marks hanging over us.

I almost didn’t come. I almost cancelled, but I figured this retreat was booked, and I had better keep my commitment.

You see, the other day, I woke up to my wife saying ‘I’m leaving you.’

And she did.

I was so distraught that all I could do was immediately, and in a daze, drive the thousand miles to my best friend’s house.

When his wife answered the door, she could only manage: ‘How did you know?’

‘Know what?, I asked.

‘He just killed himself!’

I could only jump shellshocked into my car, drive all those miles back home..

..To find my house had been struck by lightning and burned to the ground.”

The question marks over our heads were gone.

He matter-of-factly concluded:

So all I could do is keep my commitment and make this retreat where you want me to teach you spiritual formation. I’m sorry if I’ve made the wrong choice in coming; if I’m wasting your valuable time and money. I am here to teach spiritual formation, and maybe I can do that…

The only problem is I’m not sure I have anything left to give.

That was the most profound lesson and lecture in spiritual formation that I have ever received.

As you can tell, I remember every word of that opening lecture.

whole sermon:

"The Lord Be With You...Even When He’s Not!"



PHILEMON:  If you have to miss tonight, be sure to get the notes from someone, as we did the two Philemon homework sheets in class, and anyone who did them got full credit.

Also, be sure to check the  tabs marked  "Philemon" and "three worlds" for tons of help on Philemon paper



Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Week 4: Matthew 18/Building Communitas

It can be tough for us to upgrade/shift/convert our thinking to a Kingdom worldview, or even moving from one testament to the other:


QUICK word association:
what come to mind when I say the following words?

  1. apocalyptic
  2. city
  3. 666
  4. committee
  5. heaven
  6. mark of the beast
  7. greatness
  8. binding and loosing
  9. prophecy
  10. end times
  11. economic
  12. Philemon  
We'll come back to that list later.
Tonight, we'll start with 
  -Matthew 18, then
  -the  Bueggeman book you just finished reading,
      then pick up tonight's biblical theme, and then conclude  with
-Three Worlds symbols and
 - an intro to Philemon

Finishing up last week, Matthew 18, which we didn't have time for:

Tell a few stories about your "One Great Person" worksheets and videos.
Two of my greats are Wayne from Delano and Dack from "Dallas" !  Take home lesson: don't betray a friend for (literally) a million dollars!

(story here)
Last week's topic is "Greatness, Leadership, Power."
The symbol for last week suggests that a biblical model/worldview often looks like the CEO/top-down model turned downside up..

Jesus came to serve.
             The last shall be first.
                         That's who is great in the Kingdom  economy:
                                    The one who serves
                                               The one who has splagchizomai..

Jesus said in it yet another chiasm:
But those who exalt            themselves will be               humbled, 
and those who humble     themselves will be                exalted
(Matt 23:12)
Tonight we meet a couple of great contemporary servant-leaders:

like this little sphepherdette/llamaherder I filmed in Peru.  She was leading a huge flock...just one tiny girl, with a sheepdog...and amazingly, leading effectively from _________________!" (See  from 1:30 to the end,   and freeze frame 2:05-2:09 if you didn't spot her).   If you didn't fill in the blank, see  Isaiah 30:21.  What a great leader!)

(rest of that story here)

and like this guy with "splangizomai" glasses:

Then of course, we'll look at Jesus' approach to greatness, leadership,  and power .
Then we apply some "Three Worlds" theory to Matthew 18 and the topic of "Who is great?"

As we study, apply as many literary world symbols as you can

A video on that chapter featuring Keltic Ken: 


  • -This is the 4th of 5 teaching blocks in a parallelism.  Importance?
  • In a chiasm,  this block is  related to the second.  How so?
  • -Do you catch any chiasm?  (see below)
  • -the 2 or 3 language hyprelinks to Deuteronomy 17:, 6, 15
  • -There is a hyprelinked account in Matthew 16, there only Peter receives power to bind and loose, here all the disciples do
  • -The parable hyperlinks to Luke 15, but with a different context/TTP
  • Structurally, the last section of chapter 17 is connected
  • Two inclusios place thios section in the middle of a unit about taxes/rights  and children.  Implications---

If you have your computer tonight, Scriblink some diagrams with me:

Of Historical World note:

    • What did you learn about a millstone from tonight's video clip?:

    • Rob Bell's discussion of the Bible and binding and loosing
    must be
    read, wrestled and reckoned with..
    It's the "YOKE" chapter of "Velvet Elvis"..
    Thanks to Zondervan, a free online read, pages 40-69


    Page 22 of Syllabus,Matthew 18 Outline
    (by Greg Camp/Laura Roberts):

    Question #1: Who is Greatest?

    2-17 Responses (each are counter proposals):

    2-10 Response #1: Children
    2-4 Counter Proposal: Accept children
    5-9 Threat: If cause scandal
    10 Show of force: Angels protect

    12-14 Response #2: Sheep
    12-14 Counter Proposal: Search for the 1 of 100 who is lost

    15-17 Response #3Brother who sins (counter proposal)
    15a Hypothetical situation: If sin
    15-17 Answer: Attempt to get brother to be reconciled
    17b If fail: Put him out and start over

    18-20 Statement: What you bind or loose

    21-22 Question #2How far do we go in forgiveness?

    23-35 Response #1Parable of the forgiving king/unforgiving servant
    ----------------Read verses 15-17 and then ask yourself:
    "What did it mean in their historical world to treat  people like"tax collectors and sinners?"
    Two answers

    1)Don't allow them in your bounded set.

    2)How did Jesus treat  tax collectors and sinners? In a centered set way. Tony Jones writes: 

    but because anyone, including Trucker Frank, can speak freely in this  church, my seminary-trained eyes were opened to find a truth in the Bible that had previously eluded me.”...That truth emerged in a discussion of Matthew 18's "treat the unrepentant brother like a tax collector or sinner.":
    "And how did Jesus treat tax collectors and pagans?" Frank asked aloud, pausing, "as of for a punchline he'd been waiting all his life to deliver,"....., "He welcomed them!""

    More on Trucker Frank here; he can interrupt my sermons anytime..

    NOTE: don't forget how bug CHIASMS can get.. see Genesis 6:


    Click links on "literary world" discussion of the passage:

    We might see the whole unit as a chiasm with inclusio.  See below (copied from here):
    Jesus foretells His death: Matthew 17:22-23
    A. Jesus speaks of giving freely/sacrificing self: Matthew 17:24-27
    B. Little children are the essence of the kingdom: Matthew 18:1-7
    C. Sacrifice the body for the sake of the kingdom: Matthew 18:8-9
    D. Do not despise what God values: Matthew 18:10-14
    E. Entreating a brother about sin or offense: Matthew 18:15-17
    >>F.Agreement between Heaven and Earth:   Matthew 18:18-20
    E. Entreating a brother about sin or offense: Matthew 18:21-35
    D. Do not despise what God values: Matthew 19:1-9
    C. Sacrifice the body for the sake of the kingdom: Matthew 19:10-12
    B. Little children are the essence of the kingdom: Matthew 19:13-15
    A. Jesus speaks of giving freely/sacrificing self: Matthew 19:16-20:16
    Jesus foretells His death: Matthew 20:17-19


    The Brueggeman book  focuses on Isaiah and contemporary urban problems (Much of the book is a free online read here, and here is an audio of a related sermon Bruegemann preached at Mars Hill Church (pastored by Rob Bell)

    • Is the city good, evil, or neutral?
    • Think of TV shows, songs, movies, locations with the word "city"?  Themes?
    • What is a "principality"? (in geography.politics? in the Bible?)  A "polis"?  "Empire"? Is the city a bounded or centered set?  See this short video:
    • :

    story behind the pic
    • What was the first city in the Bible?
    • Where do believers wind up, in the Book of Revelation?
    • Does the city cast its shadow (influence) on us, or vice versa?

    Interesting links:

    >>Did you catch the inclusio  Brueggeman highlighted in the book of Isaiah (pp 33-34 and77- 78)? Implications?

    >>"The city is organized to abandon...so that people do not count..the city becomes an empty form, filled with nonpersons, long since forsaken" (p, 7).  Is this your experience?  Check this hilarious/tragic example of how any city/system becomes uncaring:

    Sex and Drugs in Church: Peterson on Why the System Can't Care


    NEXT:  To intro tonight's biblical theme,we'll  we'll do is watch this video, with no introduction, and no context:

    How did that video subvert your expectations re: what the Book of Revelation is about?
    Why did the speaker wait until halfway through the serrmon to even reveal what his Scripture was?
    What do you learn here about subversion of empire?
    In light of our discussion on Bruggeman book earlier tonight, what do you learn about cities?

    Definition here
    Short application to church here.
    Video below


    Wayne Grudem’s definition:
    prophecy is the reception and subsequent transmission of spontaneous, divinely originating revelation...often, WHAT IS GOD SAYING SPONTANEOUSLY IN THE MOMENT..

    It is helpful to think of prophecy as:

    a).not just
    fore-telling (predicting the future)


    forth-telling  (telling forth truth)

    b)often having multiple applications and fulfillments, to different "contemporary worlds" and across time.
    We'll  used this diagram to illustrate:

    -Who wasI mmanuel?
    -Who does "out of Egypt, I have called my son" refer to ?

    Subversion of empire:

    How are all these videos examples of subversion?


    The Greek spelling, "Nerōn Kaisar", transliterates into Aramaic as "נרון קסר", nrwn qsr. The Aramaic spelling is attested in a scroll from Murabba'at dated to "the second year of emperor Nero." [34] Adding the corresponding values yields 666, as shown:
    Resh (ר) Samech (ס) Qof (ק) Noon (נ) Vav (ו) Resh (ר) Noon (נ) Sum
    200 60 100 50 6 200 50 666Link

    It's an "elevated righteousness" that seems to be called for.  Your text (p, 269) uses the phrase "higher righteousness," but I prefer the "elevated phrase" because
    a)The U2 connection (:
    b)"elevation" is a classic Jewish form of prayer"

    ...For the chasid, prayer is not something one recites, it is rather an exercise that one performs, or an
    experience that one enters into.... There is no room for inhibition...singing and dancing are essential means by which ...he expresses his emotional cleaving to God….but
    that desire for God has to be so overwhelming that any extraneous thoughts are excluded…If distractions are erotic in nature…and (one) faces up to the predominance of the sexual urge at both conscious and subconscious levels, and
    its capacity to intrude even during prayer...then he has learned to take measures…Chasidism dealt with this by introducing the doctrine of the "elevation of strange
    thoughts." This...technique not of sublimation, but of thought conversion, whereby the beauty or desirability of the woman is latched upon and used not as a sexual but rather as a mental and spiritual stimulus.... taught to "elevate" these thoughts by substituting the beauty of God for the
    physical beauty that is currently bewitching us. (The pray-er) has learned to immediately contrast the pale reflection of beauty that humans are endowed with, on the one hand, and the supreme Divine source of authentic and enduring beauty,
    on the other…-
    "Blessed are You: A Comprehensive Guide to Jewish Prayer," by Rabbi Jeffrey Cohen, copyright 1993. , link

    More on U2 and Elevation here
    But it can get tricky living the elevated life, building fences around Law...If not prayerful/careful, one can become legalistic...Ever noticed the CHIASM Jesus uses to comment on the litmus test for law-keeping, the SABBATH?  "The Sabbath was made for humans,
                                       not humans for the Sabbath" (Mark 2:27)...

    I'll never forget taking the elevator from our towering Jerusalem hotel room down to the lobby for breakfast one Saturday.

    Not only could I not push the lobby button,

    but the elevator stopped automatically on every floor.
    I wondered if I would make it down for lunch.

    When I ordered, I realized that the waitress was not writing down any orders;
    even the most complicated ones.

    Writing was "work" on the sabbath,
    as was pushing elevator buttons.
    Thus, the "sabbath elevator"
    Let's return (in an iclusio) to these word associations from the top of class.  How do you associate/define these words differently now?

    1. apocalyptic
    2. city
    3. 666
    4. committee
    5. heaven
    6. mark of the beast
    7. greatness
    8. binding and loosing
    9. prophecy
    10. end times
    11. economic
    12. Philemon  

  • ----------------------------------------------------------------- 

    1)Philemon paper:
    a)Remember: No more homework outside of class (until the paper is due) as the two Philemon worksheets we'll do in class next time.  This gives you time to read and reread Philemon.
    b)Huge help: See the new tab at top:

    c)See the new tab at top:


    2)Quiz next week (all answers on Week 1 post):

    >>Extra credit quiz also next week, all answers on last week's post (The extra credit quiz is open notes):