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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 […]

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 […]

the rational optimist

I just finished reading The Rational Optimist, by Matt Ridley, and I’m finding it both interesting and interestingly unsettling. Its subtitle is “How Prosperity Evolves”, and it’s a look back at various aspects of human development from an optimistic libertarian point of view. Basically, his thesis is that new ideas lead to new niches for […]

random links: june 30, 2010

Drowning Doesn’t Look Like Drowning. Scary; I’m very glad Miranda is now a competent swimmer. Epic Wimbledon reporting; start at around 4:05pm or so. (Via @dan_schmidt.) Memory hierarchies and algorithm analysis. (Via @mfeathers.) Interesting point of view on hyperlinks and footnotes. (Via @scottros.) For all of you Plato fans out there: (Via here and now.) […]

random links: may 10, 2010

The Internet Archive has made a million books available for free to those who are blind or otherwise print-impaired. A delightful Bob-omb Battlefield performance. A city of staples. (Via @rands.) I love this attitude towards reuse. (Via @markhneedham.) “Games are too hard, they’re too long, and they provide way too much stuff.” (Via @ncroal.) CSS […]

electronic book formats

I was quite late to the music download party, but my experiences on that front have been good; that, combined with my desire to not run out of wall space in my house, suggests that I should start buying books electronically as well. My initial hardware device for this will be an iPad, but I’m […]

random links: april 25, 2010

Daniel Floyd and James Portnow on Video Games and Moral Choices. Ryan from 37 Signals on applying Christopher Alexander to everyday work. Seth Godin’s April Linchpin session. A cat and an iPad. Which I find totally fascinating in a non-cat-youtube-video way. (Via @Laralyn.) I am a biotic god! (Via @truffle.) Amazing clouds. (Via @marick; also, […]

christopher alexander’s fort mason bench

One of the surprises I encountered when reading The Nature of Order was that Christopher Alexander designed a bench at Fort Mason. (He talks about the process of its construction in the third volume of Nature of Order.) So when Agile Open California returned to Fort Mason last year, I made a point to duck […]

habitable software

There’s been lots of discussion recently about the fact that certain computing platforms are less open than some people would prefer, with many people being up in arms about this fact. Once, I would have been one of those people; these days, I’m not (though seeing the reduction in openness does make me sad), and […]

madeline l’engle

At some point this winter, an urge to reread Madeline L’Engle‘s A Wrinkle in Time came over me. I had read it many times when I was younger, along with the next two volumes in that series, so it’s not surprising that I had that urge; I like to revisit old friends periodically. In general […]