[ Content | Sidebar ]

Archives for Books

time to read

As is doubtless clear from this blog, for the last several years most of my time interacting with art has been spent with video games. And that’s been wonderful, no question. What is less clear from this blog, however, is the extent to which that wasn’t always the case: while I’ve played video games regularly […]

national coming out day

This month’s theme seems to be “blog about David’s sexuality”; one of my coworkers recently reminded me that National Coming Out Day is today, so let’s just make that theme still more explicit. Because it’s kind of amazing (embarrassing, really) that I’ve written more than 1100 posts on this blog, and this is the first […]

bye-bye, breakfast

A few years ago, I was spurred by the book Good Calories, Bad Calories to worry less about fat and to cut down on some of my carb excesses. And, in general, I was happy enough with the results, but it hadn’t had a huge impact on my life after the first year or so. […]

notes on books

Some tangentially related notes on recent experiences reading books: When I was thinking about getting an iPad, I wondered what format I should buy books in. I was thinking the contenders were Amazon’s proprietary format versus ePub books (sadly largely with encryption in both cases); but when I actually got the iPad, I discovered that […]

on snark

Meandering on from the discussion on forms of responses from a couple of months ago: my tolerance for snark has gone down markedly over the last few years. And it’s not just snark: it’s responses that, in whatever fashion, have as their substance “you are wrong, I am right, and I am going to focus […]

alexandrian minecraft

When I first started playing Minecraft, I spent most of my time, well, mining. Or at least underground: I’d obsessively dig stairs going straight through the rock in one direction or another, I’d occasionally hollow out a blocky room whenever I needed a space for a chest or a crafting table, and every once in […]

gospel morality: looking back at matthew

And now I’ve come to the end of Matthew. (Phew!) Many thanks to those of you who have read this far and commented, especially to Roger for his many insights. (And I apologize if I mischaracterize his point of view below.) I came in expecting to dislike a lot of what I read, and I […]

gospel morality: matthew 27-28

I’m a bit confused by the parts involving Pontius Pilate. Some of that is simple ignorance: I understand that the Jewish priests don’t like Jesus, but I don’t understand why the Roman governor should care. And the part with the crowd clamoring for Pilate to free Barabbas doesn’t ring true to me. (E.g. the crowd […]

gospel morality: matthew 26

A fascinating chapter, because of the humanity that pervades it. The chief priests are the bad guys, but while I don’t defend their actions, I can see where they’re coming from: Jesus was really laying into them a few chapters ago. And Jesus knows what’s coming, so he doesn’t turn away the “very precious ointment” […]

gospel morality: matthew 24-25

Matthew 24 is one long, misguided prophecy of Jesus’s return: you have to believe, don’t be led astray by rumors or false prophets or doubts, and while we don’t know exactly when God is going to come and take away the just, nonetheless “Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all […]

gospel morality: matthew 21-23

Matthew 21 starts with the bit about the ass and the colt, and then moves on to casting the moneychangers out of the temple (“My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves”, from Matthew 21:13), and Jesus’s withering a fig tree (Matthew 21:18-22). The former […]

gospel morality: matthew 20

I wasn’t aware of the parable that takes up the first half of chapter 20, but now I’m fascinated by it. It presents a group of laborers who worked for different amounts of time, but all got paid the same; the longer-working laborers complained, but got the following response, from Matthew 20:13-15: Friend, I do […]

gospel morality: matthew 18-19

The endgame may be approaching, but we take another break from that here and return to our moralizing. Which starts off in a rather charming fashion, extolling the virtues of children! (A much more pleasant idea than staining them with original sin…) I wish the strongest statements weren’t in support only of “these little ones […]

gospel morality: matthew 16-17

The tone deepens here. We start with themes we’ve seen before, with others who are engaging him but don’t want to believe. His response is to look around: “O ye hypocrites, ye can discern the face of the sky; but can ye not discern the signs of the times?” (from Matthew 16:3). But note the […]

gospel morality: matthew 15

We start off with a defense against narrow rules: in Matthew 15:2, the scribes and Pharisees ask “Why do thy disciples transgress the tradition of the elders? for they wash not their hands when they eat bread.” And Jesus’s answer is Matthew 15:11, “Not that which goeth into the mouth defileth a man; but that […]

gospel morality: matthew 13-14

Next, we come to a chapter full of parables. Which I was expecting to like, because I’m quite fond of stories these days; but these parables, not so much. Instead, they’re just different variants of “here are the good guys, here are the bad guys”, and while I find that less distasteful in parable form […]

gospel morality: matthew 12

We start with a discussion of what is permissible on the sabbath and what isn’t. Which, if I’m in a good mood, I’m happy to take as a caution against uncritically using rigid laws to prevent you from doing good; e.g. Matthew 12:11, “And he said unto them, What man shall there be among you, […]

gospel morality: matthew 10-11

Here, Jesus shows the virtues of delegation; I can certainly get behind that. I can also get behind limiting that delegation to a small group that you know well, and accepting that you don’t have sufficient resources to be able to help everybody. I’m not so thrilled with the “my way or the highway” (actually, […]

gospel morality: matthew 8-9

And now we take a break from the context-free sermonizing, and turn to narrative. Specifically, about Jesus curing people right and left; hard not to like that! And, consistent with what we’ve seen earlier, he doesn’t want word getting around about his actions. (Though, as you might expect, it didn’t really work out that way…) […]

gospel morality: matthew 6

Another chapter of moralizing, and again I have mixed feelings. I like the message about not doing good deeds for the purpose of being seen: but, to me, the message of “And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the […]