The events of 2 Samuel 11-12 depicting the encounter between David and Bathsheba and its fallout mark “the great turning point of the whole David story.” According to its traditional superscription, Psalm 51 was composed by David following his dramatic confrontation with the prophet Nathan. This great penitential psalm has rightly occupied a cherished place in the life of worship and prayer of the Christian church through the ages. In many traditions, it is corporately read or sung on Ash Wednesday. Reflecting upon the psalm leads Robert Barron to observe the somewhat counter-intuitive connection between saint and sinner in the Christian faith: Continue reading On Saints and Sinners
In his continuing commentary on the story of David dancing before the ark of the covenant in 2 Samuel 6, Robert Barron observes that there is another aspect of the passage that is puzzling to modern readers. Namely, how on earth could anyone dance before the law? (We must remember that the tablets of the Ten Commandments were housed within the ark.) Barron observes, “it would be difficult to imagine anyone dancing with joy before the tax code or the latest motor vehicle statutes, or even before the U.S. Constitution.” However, David and the people of Israel dance with all their might before the law! Continue reading What Does Sinai Have to Do With Augusta?
I have been following the Brazos Theological Commentary on the Bible series with great interest since the publication of its first volume over ten years ago. The central premise of the series is that “the Nicene tradition, in all of its diversity and controversy, provides the proper basis for the interpretation of the Bible as Christian scripture.” Continue reading The Dance Goes On
On Saturday, my family laid to rest my wife’s grandmother. On Sunday morning, Christians throughout the world gathered to celebrate the resurrection. I missed both gatherings. Continue reading The Lord of the Dance
In recent weeks, as I’ve been preparing my paper for the upcoming “Participating in God’s Mission” conference, I have re-immersed myself in the writings of the German pastor and theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer. The other day I came across a passage that caught my attention on account of both its humorous and its prophetic character. Continue reading Renewing the Church Starts with Learning to Love It
“The church makes disciples in order to form a company of faith, a theater of martyrdom” (218). Kevin Vanhoozer elucidates this claim in the concluding chapter of his recent book Faith Speaking Understanding: Performing the Drama of Doctrine (Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 2014). The chapter sparked some thoughtful discussion in my systematic theology class this past week. During the discussion it occurred to me that we privileged Western Christians are sometimes enamored with overly romantic conceptions of martyrdom. Continue reading Martyrdom and the “No” of Faith