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Archives for December, 2010

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 […]

professor layton and the unwound future

I don’t have much to say about Professor Layton and the Unwound Future. It’s a Professor Layton game, and while that’s a good thing, it’s also a known quantity at this point. We learn a bit about Layton’s past here; he turns out not to be particularly socially adept or comfortable around women, as one […]

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 7

A third chapter of moralization, and one of my favorites. It starts off in top form, enough so that I’ll quote all of Matthew 7:1-5 to you: Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to […]

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 […]

ben’s rhetorical questions

(And now, a temporary break from Bible commentary to our traditional fare of video game related navel gazing!) So: Ben wrote this thing. Which I feel like responding to, and I can’t very well do that on his blog! Therefore: Yes, we absolutely should experiment more with rhetoric. Forget “we”: I should experiment more with […]

gospel morality: matthew 5

This is where we really start seeing moral pronouncements laid down. First, a sequence of “Blessed are the X: for they shall Y” lines, where X is generally something that’s good (or, at least, causes your life to be difficult), and where Y is a reward for that. In general, I support the X’s (sometimes […]

gospel morality: matthew 3-4

Repenting your sins is all well and good; I can’t get behind the naked threats in Matthew 3, though. Take Matthew 3:12, “Whose fan is in his hand, and he will throughly purge his floor, and gather his wheat into the garner; but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.” Even if you […]

gospel morality: matthew 2

The heros of this section: the three wise men, a.k.a. the three Magi. I enjoyed listening to Amahl and the Night Visitors when I was growing up, glad to see them make their appearance here. (The night visitors, that is, not Amahl.) Though I feel strangely conflicted about the gifts that they’re bringing. They’re giving […]

gospel morality: matthew 1

The New Testament opens with a genealogy: 42 generations leading from Abraham to Jesus. To which my initial reaction was a bit of bemused snark: I thought the whole point was that Jesus was the son of God, so why recite that list? But I actually felt a little bad after thinking that, because the […]

gospel morality: introduction

I’ve decided to start a series of blog posts where I read through the gospels (i.e. the first four books of the New Testament of the Christian Bible), with an eye towards trying to figure out what I think of the morality therein. To be completely honest, I have very little idea why I’m doing […]