ReMEMbering Psalm 119:97–104

Oh, how I love your law!It is my meditation all day long.Your commandment makes me wiser than my enemies,for it is always with me.I have more understanding than all my teachers,for your decrees are my meditation.I understand more than the aged,for I keep your precepts.I hold back my feet from every evil way,in order toContinue reading “ReMEMbering Psalm 119:97–104”

Are you calling Trump a fascist?

Jason Stanley, a Yale University philosophy professor, published How Fascism Works: The Politics of Us and Them in 2018. The paperback was released this May with a new preface summing up developments since 2018. In short: the fascist talk in the US and elsewhere is being concretized in fascist policies, and democratic institutions are beingContinue reading “Are you calling Trump a fascist?”

Ngram Viewer and the human condition

Whoa, the Google Ngram Viewer databases have been updated! They now incorporate usages right up through 2019. When did that happen? As I recall, the English-language database recently stopped somewhere in the aughts. Or maybe the last update was through 2015. The previous database segment for English appears to be 2012–2015. Never used the NgramContinue reading “Ngram Viewer and the human condition”

A day of freedom

  TO MY FACEBOOK FRIENDS,to childhood friends,   sharers of mixed memories      of coming of age in Old Virginia,to new friends who connected recently,   because our ideas interest each other,to family members, close and distant,   those I share life with,      and the distant cousins we never see,to my formal teachers over the years,   saints and quasi-parents in my esteem,to the other peopleContinue reading “A day of freedom”

Knowing oneself, knowing others (Psalm 139)

Psalm 119, section He, highlights knowledge of God and knowledge of self. In Psalm 139, this question of knowledge of self is paramount: Who knows the truth about me, the truth inside me? Do I know it myself? Do you know the truth inside me? Inside yourself? Does anyone? Am I in a position toContinue reading “Knowing oneself, knowing others (Psalm 139)”

I have a friend who loves making the Bible strange

I have a friend who loves making the Bible strange.He finds the quirky places,reads them out,wide-eyed,astonished,and scans your face,looking for you to be astonished too. He finds places that don’t line upwith what they always said in church.And if you have been thinkingthat these texts are comfortable,that they line up perfectly—then look again: are youContinue reading “I have a friend who loves making the Bible strange”

Praying Psalm 118: Who is the cornerstone?

“The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone.” What stone is this? Who is the cornerstone? The key, perhaps, in praying the Psalms is to know who is speaking. This is the question of “person.” Who is this “I”? Already in the text of the Psalm the I is complex. The I isContinue reading “Praying Psalm 118: Who is the cornerstone?”

Going to heaven? Why the heck not?

Here’s another paradox of “biblical” Christian theology. “But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.” (1 Corinthians 2:9) What could be clearer? The apostle tells us that no one has imagined, noContinue reading “Going to heaven? Why the heck not?”