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About jonbirch

animator, illustrator, character designer, graphic designer. music producer/recording musician. co-owner of PROOST. proost.co.uk
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28 Responses to 930

  1. Changingworship says:

    And with that in mind, I’m off to preach. I hope they’ve all seen this before they set off so that they know and are ready for me.

  2. Graham says:

    Hey Changingworship- that’s me- not you. I’m off to lead worship and I’ve got the correct interpretation today: ‘straight from God’s brain to my mouth’….

  3. Catriona says:

    lol. Gimme the gift! (not)

  4. Caroline says:

    The problem with finding the one true interpretation is the discomfort of having to wear blinkers for ever after.

  5. subo says:

    if this teaching’s true, Tyndale died in vain

  6. Mike says:

    Sola Scriptura ;)

  7. dgs says:

    Isn’t that the point of a harmony? It solves apparent difficulties?

    I mean, I guess you could put theologians into two broad categories – those that assume the scriptures are without error, and those that treat them like any other literature. I’m sure some might be inbetween, but those that assume inerrancy may judge the quality of their approach, not just by logic and principle, but by how many apparent difficulties their harmony resolves.

    I guess if you think the scriptures are errant, then you don’t have to ‘solve’ apparent contradictions or errors, you just assume they are so.

    I am no friend of some of the tortured logic that some theologians invoke to make their perspectives work. I am also not put off by many bible difficulties even while I hold an inspired view of scripture.

    Again, Jon, while I appreciate your lampooning those who think theirs is the only way, but what I miss is the lampooning of the opposite perspective, which is that you can’t really understand what scripture’s intent or meaning is, reducing Christian spirituality to pure subjectivity.

    There is an inbetween position, which maintains that people of reason can eliminate unreasonable and entirely subjective approaches, and agree on the ‘essentials’ while allowing liberty in the nonessentials.

  8. Wulf says:

    Judging by the cover they at least managed to (quite miraculously) agree on the same bible translation. Now imagine one reading KJV and the other one the Message ;-)

  9. mark king says:

    I wonder if god loved us humans before we learned to read and write? markk

  10. jonbirch says:

    dgs… i think relationship with those who think differently is more important than relationship with those who think the same in many ways. i think as humans we need that challenge to our ego, our piety and our sureness, to become more loving, caring and empathetic to our neighbours.
    harmony is made up of different notes eg. a ‘c’ an ‘e’ and a ‘g’ to make the chord of ‘c’. all ‘c’s’ would simply be a unison, which can be nice but over time nowhere near as complex and interesting.
    harmony does work together though… difference combined to make something sweet. that’s good. as a musician i also find beauty in discord too. but i do like a nice harmonic resolution. :-)

    wulf… that is purely down to my artistic laziness in not wanting to draw another bible. :-) you make a good point.

    mark… or when we were still fish. ;-)

  11. Caroline TOO says:

    *** irony warning in this comment ***

    silly Mark King! :-) (#10)

    how could God ever love us until we achieve an inerrant view of
    what’s true about Her?

    it’s quite clear that there are three steps towards earning God’s
    love… and the key one is believing all the details…

    possible, I guess, if you can’t read but it really makes it
    difficult, ‘cos if you can’t read how do you know the right words to
    use to express your belief? :-?

    and if you don’t use the right words, that must show that you’re
    outside the walls of love….

    ***

    … but then as I get irritated with the guys who give us ‘chapter
    and verse’ on exactly what is to be believed…

    irritatingly, God smiles and reminds me that (s)He loves them
    and would I mind not laying the irony on with a trowel…

    harrumph, think I better go and worship….

  12. Si Hollett says:

    If this was aimed at me, then that solves the long-standing problem of the authorship of the book of Hebrews…

    But I was born 1900 years after the book was written, so it’s not my interpretation!

    I didn’t give my interpretation – I tried to show what God was thinking and wanting to say through his word in Gen 22, by what he says in other places, explaining the thing and such like.

    Liberal mush theology sounds humble but it’s not – it’s saying “I’m bigger than God”. Submitting to God’s word is humility (I’m not trying to ironically boast in my humility – there’s times when I don’t submit to God’s word). It’s not humble to be hesitant where God has been clear and plain.

    If you reject what God has been clear and plain about himself, then you aren’t worshipping God – you’re worshipping an idol.

    I find the irony of “there’s not just one way” being forced on people like it is the one and only way just plain hypocritical.

    I like it how the second guy in the cartoon has a big smile on his face, having understood something about God and his love, rather than deciding to sit in the dark and refusing to come into the light of understanding, because they means they would be blinkered and only able to see the Truth and the Light. So they sit in the dark and see nothing as it’s all blurry and indistinct.

  13. Si Hollett says:

    Oh, and damn skippy it’s a miracle – understanding is the Spirit of God acting and applying the Word of Christ, to the glory of the Father.

  14. JF says:

    It sure beats me why God did not foresee all the argument and confusion that would result from launching his bestseller in the bronze age? After 4.55 billion years (or 6,000 years if you believe the bible) of the earth’s existence, what difference would a few more hundred years have made? Better surely to release the good news NOW and in a number of key world languages?

  15. markk says:

    >
    L L

    or maybe we’ve got legs so that we can walk the walk as well as talk the talk :)
    markk

  16. rebecca says:

    JF (#15) — why NOW? Why not another 2000 years from now? Is there something special about the current time?

    (I’m playing devil’s advocate. I know what point you’re trying to make).

  17. JF says:

    Rebecca. If anything, your question underlines my point. 2000 years from now is probably unnecessarily late, however. Projections differ, but we can say that in 100 years from now, an extremely high proportion of the population will speak one of about 4-5 major languages and will be able to participate in instant electronic communication. If God wanted to offer mankind such an important message that could make the difference between individuals’ eternal suffering and their eternal salvation, I think it is nothing less than perverse to have done so through a book which apparently contradicts itself and is clearly open to as many interpretations as there are readers… and has been subject to numerous wilful and/or unwitting edits and amendments over the centuries. It is absurd to say “no-one comes to the Father but through me” but then put ‘true understanding’ of the bible in the hands of the few who can indulge themselves in a theology / bible college education. The perversion is compounded by the fact that those who have gained this ‘insider knowledge’ and therefore feel they “know best” in relation to god’s word are often intolerably boorish misanthropes and therefore poor ambassadors for the very message they aim to explain.

    But if it HAD to be 2000 years ago, at least god could have revealed his word to the Chinese, whose society was literate at that time. Going through the semi-literate peoples of the bronze age desert was always likely to cause problems later.

  18. jonbirch says:

    jf… “…4.55 billion years (or 6,000 years if you believe the bible” is to be read that way. :-) sorry, could’t resist. but you of course make a good point.

  19. jonbirch says:

    haha! it may have caused problems through the chinese too i suppose.
    the scribes were pretty jolly literate and not in the desert at the point of writing, but probably in babylon. i do find your general point to be well made though. these are handed down stories of history, myth, poetry and song. wisdom is to be found in the bible. propaganda (in both good and bad ways) is to be found there. in fact all human behaviour, good and bad, is exposed in the bible’s pages whether deliberately in the text or unwittingly through the worldview of the authors. that’s what makes the bible so rich to me.
    when it comes to living my life, i am looking for that essential part of christ. the bit that loves the outsider, cares for the down trodden and wants what is good for people. so i want to love the maker and my neighbour. which, maybe is why, i don’t mind and often enjoy looking at other things without feeling that my faith is being undermined. does that make sense?

  20. dgsinclair says:

    JON #11:

    Not sure if you understood – by ‘harmony’ I meant it in the theological sense – not harmony between peoples, but harmony between passages. Google ‘gospel harmonies’ for example.

  21. jonbirch says:

    dgsinclair… a-ha! too many years of music theory i’m afraid! :lol:

  22. Pat says:

    jon @ 21: yes – perfectly :-D

  23. Wulf says:

    Thanks for this cartoon Jon. i used it in one of my latest posts: broening.net/?p=669

  24. rebecca says:

    This is rather late in the day but I definitely want to respond to JF (#19). Last Sunday the lectionary reading was the rich man and Lazarus (Luke 16 vv 19-31), and the preacher didn’t preach on it directly at all. I’m not surprised — he probably has as much trouble as I have with any story in which somebody is tortured. But that’s not the point here; Abraham tells the rich man that his brothers don’t need Lazarus to warn them because: “They have Moses and the Prophets; let them listen to them.” Should we be surprised if the brothers (and indeed, the man who has died) didn’t receive the message from the prophets? Probably not, given JF’s point about the lack of clarity of the Bible’s message.

    But what Abraham could have said, and this would appear to be the point of the parable, is that everybody has some sort of an innate sense of justice — it could be called conscience, common human decency, morality… and this should have been enough to convince the rich man that it was wrong to disregard the needs of a poor person in his midst.

    (BTW, if anyone is thinking that the authenticity of this parable is suspect, because it is the only one in which Jesus gives a character a name, again that’s not the point here).

    So the next question is, where does this innate sense of justice come from? CS Lewis (in Mere Christianity) regarded it as evidence for the existence of God. It looks horribly clichéd to write “Richard Dawkins can eat his heart out”…

  25. Mike McQuaid says:

    Another good one Jon, this is something I’m definitely guilty of and maybe was in the long discussion with DGS :) Thanks for a little bit of accountability in the morning!

  26. jonbirch says:

    mike. :-)

    rebecca. “where does this innate sense of justice come from?” i’m with cs lewis on this one. philosophical/theological debates could go on forever on that one i guess. but i’m totally happy to go with lewis.

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