The simplest psalm (Psalm 117)

St. Athanasius said that the Psalter contains in itself a perfect summary of every other part of the Bible. I think we could also say: Psalm 117—the shortest and simplest of the Psalms—sums up the entirety of the Psalter, and so in some sense the entirety of the Bible.

Choosing leaders (Luke 6:12–16)

Luke, like Matthew and Mark, tells of Jesus’s selecting twelve of his disciples for a special roles in service-leadership. John doesn’t bother with the appointment of this dozen. (See Matthew 10:1–4; Mark 3:13–19.) Luke tells it a little differently than Matthew and Mark. Like Mark, he tells us that Jesus went up a mountain toContinue reading “Choosing leaders (Luke 6:12–16)”

Prayers for an election season (part 1 of 7)

Here in West Michigan (does this happen other places?) quite a few people are putting out signs like this instead of (or together with) conventional campaign signs. I like this one: “try praying.” The sign says “trypraying.org.” I know nothing about the org and so can say nothing about it, for good or for ill.Continue reading “Prayers for an election season (part 1 of 7)”

The wicked, God, and me (Psalm 5, day 1)

Psalm 5 sounds perennial themes. These themes recur throughout the Psalter, throughout the Bible, and throughout the life of the person who would follow God and live righteously: wicked people, God, and oneself. What happens if we try to take this psalm as a paradigm, a model, of how to relate these three constants? TheContinue reading “The wicked, God, and me (Psalm 5, day 1)”

Psalm 1 again: verses 1 through 3

Blessed is the man ESV retains the traditional masculine singular because unlike pluralized rewordings it preserves the possibility of figural reading as referring to Jesus Christ as the ideal human who fits the description given. And I guess somehow “Blessed is the human” or “the person” doesn’t quite have the same poetic resonance. Some ofContinue reading “Psalm 1 again: verses 1 through 3”

It’s not always about John Calvin; or, What’s God got to do, got to do with it?

There’s a lot of anti-Calvinism out there. I guess there’s also a lot of Calvinism. People love bashing predestination. Or other Calvinist expressions of the essential importance of the sovereignty of God. And other people like promoting those things. Closely related: there is much controversy over universalism—the idea that in the end, all will beContinue reading “It’s not always about John Calvin; or, What’s God got to do, got to do with it?”