Signs of a Delusional Mind
These are the chronicles of the esoteric . . .
This space is one where I'll be working out my theology. I find that writing is the best way to do that because it forces you to think things through more thoroughly—you need to take each thread where it leads so it makes at least some modicum of sense.
So here on this blog I invite you to journey with me as I pursue a theology grounded in an accurate biblical interpretation that intimately intersects with culture, identity, and the Jewish–Christian kinship.
Have fun! And I hope we can all learn something.
THURSDAY JUNE 3 2021
hell 101, part 2: gehenna and apocalypse
In our English Bibles, Gehenna is usually translated as 'hell.' Such a translation feeds our theological concepts of hell as a (spiritual) place where the wicked go to be tortured for eternity.
In reality, Gehenna was an actual place—ge Hinnom, the valley of Hinnom—and was located just south of the city of Jerusalem. The valley was used in the days of the prophets as a place where people would make child sacrifices to other gods, such as Moloch and Baal. King Josiah ended these human sacrifices (2 Kings 23) which left the valley a wasteland and it was used instead as the city dump. The fires there would burn continually while the ... ⟹
THURSDAY MAY 27 2021
hell 101, part 1: the intro
In Christian tradition, hell has become understood to be a place of eternal and conscious torment—a place where the souls of wicked and unrighteous people end up after they’ve died and where they will be punished for all eternity.
However, if we take a look at the overview of what the Bible teaches us about hell, we’ll see that there is no such place in a biblical theology—the Scriptures actually do not teach us that there is a place where souls will be tormented by punishment for ever.
Before we jump in and draw the overview, there is an important understanding we need to have when we approach the Bible—especially the ... ⟹
THURSDAY MAY 6 2021
the baptism of rabbi jesus
The most surprising conversation I witnessed as a university theology student was in my last year of school. It was between a fellow student—a pastor—and our professor, and it reached a back-and-forth which had our professor flaberggasted.
I forget what exactly started it, but the pastor insisted Jesus was not a Jew. Our professor—teaching on Jews and Christians amidst Greco-Roman society—countered that of course Jesus was a Jew.
It was a bit surreal to me—as well, it seemed, for most others in the class. But his sentiment is shared by many. Lots of Christians have a blindness, an ignorance toward the cultural context of the text—though thankfully this ... ⟹
THURSDAY April 15 2021
the importance of context: romans 13
Let's take a quick look at Romans for an example of how understanding the context of a biblical passage can change its theology.
In 49CE, Emperor Claudius kicked all the Jews out of Rome. After he died, the following emperor, Nero, rescinded the ban and welcomed Jews back into the capital. But those Jews entered a religious environment now dominated by Gentiles.
These Gentile believers became arrogant, reluctant to share leadership with the incoming Jewish believers. They began mistreating their Jewish believing brothers and sisters—excluding them, ignoring them, persecuting them, etc.
Paul hears about this discord and he writes a letter to essentially scold the Gentile believers—this is the book of Romans ... ⟹
MONDAY April 5 2021
good friday/easter reflections on context, part 3
He is risen!
And really that's the reason any of this matters.
Multiple attempts around the time of Jesus were made to claim the messianic throne—Josephus, the Jewish historian, counted five major messianic movements between 40BCE and 73CE. The Jewish climate at the time of Jesus' birth was one of political and social turmoil.
But with each Jewish movement and their self-proclaimed messiah, the heavy hand of Rome fell. And with each defeat of the insurgent groups there remained scattered and dejected followers—and silence.
The Jesus Movement did not stop after their leader was crucified like a criminal insurrectionist. No, instead the movement did the opposite of disperse and melt away into ... ⟹