In the face of suffering, sickness, and death, it’s natural to look for a cause. Why is this happening to us? We want to figure out who or what is responsible so that we can understand how to make things right. We are not unique in this regard. Humans, from the dawn of their existence, have sought to make sense of the world and do whatever they could to control it. But is this how the world works?
Christianity did not spread because of its message; it spread because of what Christians did.
An old girlfriend once told me that the groom was just “a prop” at the wedding. In the nativity story, Joseph comes across as a prop. Yet, there is much more to his story if we look carefully at the text.
How could anyone defend a religion that would sanction the Crusades? How could Christians engage in such activities? Did the Crusades permanently damage Christian witness in the Middle East? As with most things in the Middle East, it’s complicated.
Why take a Biblical study trip to Israel? Because context matters.
Join me next June to experience the Land of the Bible. It will forever change how you read the Text.
If you were asked to summarize the Good News of Jesus in one word, what would it be? For me, I think “love” would be at the top of my list. Words like victory, resurrection, and restoration would also be pretty high on the list.
The early church summarized the Gospel message with a much different word: suffering.
The amazing message Jesus has for the Samaritan woman is “I already know who you are…and I still want that drink!” That is the Gospel of Jesus in a nutshell. As God’s people, we are called to live out the Gospel in the same way.
The river of bad blood between Jews and Samaritans ran wide and deep. Yet, there was one event that was the straw that broke the camel’s back.
So what caused the bad blood between the Jews and Samaritans? Who’s to blame?
As with most things in Israel, it’s complicated.
If you read the Bible—especially the New Testament—it’s pretty easy to come away with a bad impression of Samaritans. In fact, most of us would probably rank the Samaritans just slightly better than the Pharisees when it comes “disliked” groups of people in the Gospels.
Yet, are these portrayals accurate? The short answer is, not exactly.