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Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Week 6

Drops Like Stars part 2:

I get lost.

On drives, and walks.

My sense of direction sucks.
As does my direction of sense.

On the topic of direction..

I think spiritual direction might sometimes consists of literally losing/finding one's literal direction.

To be literally lost, and then literally found is a-mazing, ex-hilirating and re-demptive lost sheep and sons know from experience and Amazing Graceness.

Lost coins miss out on the feeling of being refound. 

I love Paul Hiebert's diagram  (below)  of our fair city, Fresno, in "Transforming Worldviews."
(full text here)
Like many cities of its era, Fresno was built around,  grew around ,  and oriented to, the railroad  tracks.
So downtown streets literally follow  and parallel  the tracks...which run northeast-southwest.. and are not tied/tethered to  a traditional (whose tradition was it, anyway?) north/south, west/east grid.

But the rest of the city follows a traditional north-south, west-east pattern.
There was less  attitude and latitude for straying from literal latitude  by the time the city expanded beyond downtown.

So, in some circles, we are famous/infamous for two things: introducing the credit card, and being laid out sideways.
Heading south on Blackstone (the main drag ....and many do drag there!..and north-south corridor) , one sees on the horizon, in fact as the horizon  But the building's corners are  perfectly angled to the tracks, and look sideways, disoriented, crooked ..and from a parallel universe and orientation.  But once the road hits downtown, it all evens out.  Which is odd.

Watch it all here:

  Read this and watch the movie excerpts, and respond to the questions at bottom  of page  (in red) by answering them back on Moodle.
Be sure your answers show you read and watched, and didn't just use posts by other students.


Even if you have never seen the Matrix films before, it is an adventure to watch Jesus/Bible connections.  Even people who who have seen the main (first) film in the trilogy, the idea that the Jesus story is there at all, is sometimes new news.

On one level, the story is about a group of people who realize the world is fake, a computer-generated simulation called the Matrix, and they have escaped it, and help others to escape to Zion (Bible language for heavenly
city).   Their leader is Neo, who has unique abilities to save them.  Besides the clue that Neo dies and resurrects, there are many other hints that it can also be a Christian allegory.

It seems clear, though, that Neo (Keanu Reeves) is a Christ figure.
And that he...and the others...all represent one main person in the Jesus/Bible story, but also two or more characters:
  • The name Neo  means "New," is an anagram  (rearrange the letters) for "One" (Messiah is "The One" in Hebrew) and "Eon" (Greek word in Bible for Kingdom Age").  Neo is also known as Thomas Andserson ("Thomas: is a "doubting Thomas" and "Anderson" literally means "Son of Man, " which is what Jesus calls himself.  So he is Christ, but also a disciple.
  • Morpheus is always saying about Neo that "He is The One."  That is exactly what John the Baptist said about Jesus, you'll remember.  Morpheus, in lesser ways, is also a Peter (leader of the disciples) figure.  Sometimes God the Father. Also Lazarus, who Jesus raised. from the dead
  • Trinity represents...well, the Holy Trinity, but also at times she is  The Holy Spirit, and sometimes the Marys.
  • "Cypher" is the devil (Note; Lu-Cyher) in a way, but also clearly Judas (he betrays Neo for money).

Tons of Jesus and Bible connections throughout the first movie.  Numbers are often symbolic. Note, here above  is the plaque on the wall that Neo walks by.  I bet you know what Bible verse to look up when you see it.

Agent Smith is a devil figure,  Look at his license plate.  You'll know to look up Isaiah 54:16, which says "I, the Lord, have created the smith for the day of destruction.: No accident.

 Watch the trailer:
Here below are some scenes from the first part of the first movie. Watch in order. They may seem confusing if you're new the the movie. That's OK; look for similarities to the Jesus story, particlulary how Jesus encounters his call and is baptized. Even look for a temptation/testation.   Think who the characters might represent:

Here is the final scene of the first film.  Neo has just died and resurrected.  Then he makes a phone call.   Compare what he says to "The Great Commission" in Matthew 28:18-20.  If you watch carefully you;'ll even see him ascend to the skies as Jesus did.

Here below are some scenes from the end of the third film, ":Matrix Revolutions,"  Here watch for Christus Victor.    Clue: Neo goes to die in enemy territory.
 Watch for lots of crosses (kudos if you find a snake tattoo that turns into a cross."  Fascinating whose voice speaks when Neo dies, and what he says "It is done"  (Jesus said this when he died).  Note that at the same time Neo is dying, in another realm he is duking it out with the devil and demons (This is kind of what the early church taught about Jesus death.  Look for a cross over Neo's head at 1:26 in the first clip:


Here's some video on Christian connections. Watch, and if interested, more parts on YouTube: Here is a link to some resources on The Matrix to pursue the Christian connections.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

week 5

As you came in, you all wrote this sentence in your non-dominant writing hand.  In the second installment (next week) of "Drops Like Stars, " you'll know why we did this....and why you did your soap art..

Ariana texted hers in (see above), and Micah's is below:

  • The Rob Bell "Drops Like Stars" video on creativity and suffering  below. We watched through the 27 min.  mak  Will continue next class.  You'll need the  simple outline of this (the 6 arts of suffering). for Week 6 Moodle.

    1. The Art of Disruption
    2. The Art of H..............
    3. The Art of E..........
    4. The Art of P............, which is not the same thing as ownership.
    5. The Art of "F..............
    Look also for these  themes in tonight's segment:
    -a Prodigal Son  paradox
    -content and context
    -the liminality  (see "Radical Loving Care," pp. 82ff) of the hospital hallway
    -removal of "insulators" (inclusios
    -removing the boundary (or "box") of a bounded set.]
    - college application essay (read it here)
     We finished our timelines:
    This week, the topic is "Worshipping and Singing in Community: Psalms  and Suffering"


    PSALMS are the Jewish prayer-book   that the early Christians used.  What's wonderful, refreshing, honest...and sometimes disturbing  (to us in the West) is that they cover the whole breadth of life and emotion.  They are all technically songs and prayers..  But note how some weave in and out from a person speaking to God, God speaking to a person, a person speaking to himself.  Somehow, Hebraically, holistically, it all counts as prayer.

    ...And as "song"  Note in your Bible that several psalms have inscriptions which give the name of the tune they are to be prayed/sung to.  Some seem hilarious, counterintuitive, and contradictory, but again not to a Hebrew mindset and worldview, with room for honesty, fuzzy sets and paradox:

    • Psalms  (click) with the line "Destroy my enemies", "break their teeth!!" ... To be sung to the tune of "Do Not Destroy"  !!  (Psalm 58:6)
    • Psalm 22, a depressing ditty about someone in the throes of rejection despair and death.  To be sung to the tune of "Doe in the Morning"   ??
    In this video..which we watched in class, and you will write on in Forum 2. (see also the new book by Sweet and Viola), Sweet makes the case that"the greatest song ever sung" was Psalm 22.....and the singer was Jesus:  (
    The Greatest Song Ever Sung from Marble Collegiate Church on Vimeo.

    Discussion of the video:


    Can you name contemporary songs where the music doesn't seem to fit the lyric?  Down lyrics to upbeat music?  Vice Versa?  How might that  be healing/helpful/Hebrew/holy?  and not Hellenistic?

    Remember the Bono quote:

    Click here for the audio (or watch here on Youtube) of this delightful statement by Bono:

    "God is interested in truth, and only in truth. And that's why God is more interested in Rock & Roll music than Gospel... Many gospel musicians can't write about what's going on in their life, because it's not allowed .  they can't write about their doubt....If you can't write about what's really going on in the world and your life, because it's all happy-clappy... Is God interested in that? I mean, 'Please, don't patronize Me! I want to go the Nine-Inch-Nails gig, they're talking the truth!

    From a 2003 discussion with New York Times, more audio here

    "The Jewish disciples all worshipped Jesus, and some of those worshippers doubted."  (matthew 28:17)

    This week, the topic is "Worshipping and Singing in Community: Psalms,  Lament and Suffering" 
    Here is a slightly different version of  part of this week's  in-class presentation, filmed for an online class. It's a  multipart  video (6 parts, but only a half-hour total! Watch it in order) by Dave Wainscott (and a few friends) on Psalms and Lament.  Watch carefully  after class if you need to review and take notes, as you will be responding in the forums.

    Part 1 is below  Listen to the song which is part 1.  Open the lyrics here, and read  along as it plays.  In a way, treat it like other songs  (and Scriptures) we have used in this class: as a text which calls for context and  your Three Worlds skills of interpretation.  Do your best to discern  the main characters , genre, backstory, storyline etc.  (It's easier than Philemon!).  But also be prepared to process how it made you feel.
    part 1:

    part 2:
    part 3:
    part 4:
    part 5:
    part 6: Finish with this song,  "maranatha"which Dave prepared you for in part 5, and which you'll need for Forum 1:

    There are several ways to categorize the psalms.

    The first is the way the Bible itself does: Psalms is broken down into 5 "books"  Hmm, 5...does that sound familiar?  Name another book with 5 sections and suggest an answer for "Whats up with the number 5?"
    Note the 5 sections are not comprised of different kinds/genres of psalms..but the styles and kinds are "randomnly"
    represented throught the book..
    kind of like life..

      Here is one way to categorize the styles and genres:

     note how astonishingly HONEST the prayer/worship book of the Jews (and Christians) is!

    We'll spend some time on the "three worlds" of Psalm 22, which Jesus quotes  honestly  on the cross:
    Here (click title below) 's a sermon on Psalm 22, which is another amazing psalm to use in a worship setting...How often have you heard "My God, My God, Why have You forsaken me?"   Or "God, where were YOU when I needed you!!"

    Yet how familiar is the very next psalm: 23.

    Life is both Psalm 22 and 23...sometimes on the same day, in the same prayer.
    If we think both/and...we think Hebrew/EAST

    Here's a link with several of the stories and illustrations I talked about tonight Iike the speaker who said "I almost didn't come tonight",,


    Click the title: 

    "The Lord Be With You...Even When He’s Not!"


    Jesus died naked..but not in Christian art and movies

    I am not here to offend anyone unnecessarily.
    But I believe Corrie Ten Boom was right and right on:

    Jesus died naked.

    Even the (very conservative)Dallas Theological commentaries assume this, so this is not just some "liberal" agenda:

    "That Jesus died naked was part of the shame which He bore for our sins. " -link

    Which means this picture
    (found on a blog with no credit)
    is likely wrong(Jesus looks too white).

    ...and largely right (What Jesus is wearing).

    I answered a question about this a few years ago, I would write it a bit differently know, but here it is:

    First of all, it is probable that (again, contrary to nearly all artwork and movies), Jesus hung on the cross absolutely naked. This was a typical way of crucifixion, to increase the shame factor. Romans might occasionally add a loincloth type of garment as a token concession and nod to Jewish sensitivity; but not very often, it would seem. Of course, once we get past the emotive and cultural shock of imagining Jesus naked, we realize that if He indeed die naked, the symbolism is profound and prophetic: In Scripture, Jesus is called the "Second Adam". As such, it would make sense that He died "naked and unashamed." We are also told that "cursed is he who dies on a tree." The nakedness was a sign and enfolding of shame and token of curse. And the wonderful story of Corrie ten Boom and family, told in the book and movie "The Hiding Place," relates. One of the turning points of her ability to endure the Ravensbruck concentration camp, particularly the shame of walking naked past the male guards, was her conviction that Jesus too was shamed and stripped naked before guards. "Finally, it dawned on me," she preached once," that this (shaming through nakedness) happened to Jesus too..., and Jesus is my example, and now it is happening to me, then I am simply doing what Jesus did." She concluded, "I know that Jesus gave me that thought and it gave me peace. It gave me comfort and I could bear the shame and cruel treatment." 

    Many artists who are Christians would serve as anointed bridgebuiders for honest worship gatherings...if churches would allow them: Bruce Cockburn ("Whatever was God thinking of?" is honesty not blasphemy, but simply honesty (T Bone Burnett, Alice Cooper (actually admitting sexual and demonic temptation.)

    The most haunting, devastating, barely listenable (which is why I regularly listen to it, and use it as a call to prayer and honesty)song I know is by Michael Knott, madman-genius-Christian of the voluminous catalog...whether under his own name, Lifesavers Underground, LSU, Cush...
    Here's the song:

    you're sittin' there wondering why is it like this
    and the whole world's crazy and the earth is sick
    and someone's yelling from the bathroom door
    the toilet's overflowing on the floor
    and the one by the phone 
    says i cannot hear
    while the one by the jukebox spills his beer
    and the man on the pinball hits sixteen mil
    someone ducks behind the counter to pop a pill
    and you reach in your pocket to see if there's more
    and the biggest bill falls so you're left with four
    and you're too gone to look but you still try
    then you see it in the hand of a great big guy
    who looks just like he'd kill you fast
    and you think for a minute
    you let it pass

    and the stool falls over when you set back down
    it bumps a mean pool shooter from across the town
    he misses his shot - it's all on you
    and with your last four bucks you know what you'll do
    sorry man can i buy you a drink
    and he shakes his head and says, make it a double

    the next thing you know you wake up at home
    and the little one there won't leave you alone
    she's awake and hungry
    she needs some potty help
    and you remember what happened last time she tried it by herself
    and your wife says hurry, we're late for church
    and you can barely see
    and your head still hurts
    and the preacher starts preaching
    and you feel remorse
    he's got five little kids and a big divorce
    and your wife looks down and says she don't know how
    he's been her guiding light for ten years now
    and his marriage is over, it's barely alive
    and how in the world will ours ever survive?


    The juxtaposing of "church"world and "real world" is too close for comfort...and offers little; as does a pastor's divorce. The sharing and prayer time after the stunned silence that song creates would inevitably be life-changing... BUT is this version ready for church? Note the slight (but HUGE) Lyrics change:

    "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For":

    "There has never been a more concise theology of redemption, atonement and the substitutionary death of Christ. No clearer proclamation of theGospel has ever sold so many copies...But he hasn't found what he is lookingfor. I remember speaking in Dublin and seeing this rather exuberant Christian atthe front of the hall. I began my address by asking had anyone found what they were looking for. "Amen brother. Yes Hallelujah!" I am not sure how my dearbrother came to earth as he discovered that for the next hour I was exposing that to have found what we are looking for has nothing to do with BiblicalChristianity...So my conclusion is that U2's I Still Haven't Found What I Am Looking For is probably the best hymn written in this century, it has the theology of the cross but is centred in the reality of a fallen humanity and i sabout striving towards a better man and a better world" (Rev Setve Stockman, read it

    So why do Christians feel they have to change the lyric to sing it in church?:

     think Bono said it best, when he exclaimed,“You broke the bonds and you loosed the chainscarried the cross of my shame, of my shame.You know I believe it.“But I still haven’t found what I’m looking for.”
    Said what best Mike? He didn’t say anything!I mean, that doesn’t make any sense does it?Jesus is what we’re looking for. Right?
    Well, yes.
    I remember a particular chapel service at my Christian high school,when a worship band came and sang this song.It was terribly cool at that time to sing a U2 song for worship too,but when it came time to sing the refrain after that verse,they cleverly changed the lyrics to,“and now I have found, what I’m looking for!”It was quite a moment too. Hands going up all over the place,people shouting, flags waving, it was totally amazing.And I remember pumping my fist, and thinking, “yeah! That’s right.What does Bono know? How could he talk about Jesus and thensay that he still hasn’t found what he’s looking for?Not me! I’ve found what I’m looking for! I’m not still searching,I’m not still looking….right?
    Well, yes and no.
    Ten years ago I thought U2 was trying to say that Jesus wasn’t really the answer.Now, I’m starting to see that they just understood something that I didn’t.You see, I think Bono was simply reiterating something that theologians havebeen writing about for centuries. He wasn’t making blasphemous statementsas much as he was poeticizing what is commonly referred to as,“the already and the not yet.”And you know, I’d say it might just be the most difficult truth that a Christianwill ever have to wrestle with.The fact that we already have what we’re looking for,and in the same moment, haven’t yet received it,isn’t so easily reconciled as one would hope.   link

    Once, church, we did complaints/laments colored markers on posterboard.
    Photos here, click twice to read and weep...and laugh!:

    But most of us do it less officially, and more often, prayer, even if unarticulated/wordless.

    Complaints/laments/questions have to surface somewhere.  So we might as well be honest andelevate them. pray them post them, sing them....prophetically write them on subway walls or church halls.

    movement, let along the psalms of lament,

    suggests that an outlet must be found, and can be not only threrapeutic/healing, but evangelistic/missional.

    SO It hit me last night, as Rabbi Adam was talking about the Jewish homesickness for the temple,
    that no non-Jewish person can know what that feels like.
    As he was speaking to our class, I quickly found and projected  this photo  of some of us in front  of the Temple Mount, and it nearly brought him to tears.


    The rabbi has not yet been to Israel.
    (but Israel has been to the rabbi).

    He misses a place he's never been.

    With one exception, I  can only miss places I have been.

    He misses a place he's never been.

    With one exception, I  can only miss places I have been.

    But that toll booth complex no longer exists.
    It was torn down, and the whole toll system discontinued years ago.

    Which means, on a visit the spot where they were, I once felt I had to reach down and actually feel the pavement where so much of my life once happened.

    No words for what I felt.
    Not even a song of complaint.

     - הקרן למורשת הכותל המערבWestern Wall Live Cam 

    UNTIL we interpret all of a scripture as in large part as a lament/grief that the temple..or something/somebody?Somebody is no longer there/here....we miss the point



    N.T. Wright on Psalms: "some people are so wicked that we simply must wish judgment upon them"

    Excerpt here

    Interview in Christianity Today:

    How does Jesus' entrance into human history affect how we read the Psalms?
    Since Jesus was raised from the dead, the first Christians understood that he was the expected Messiah. So their approach to the Psalms had to be reconceived. We have to assume that as good Jews, the first Christians were praying the Psalms day by day, but now with this wholly new and unexpected focus.
    It was actually quite disorienting. Instead of the temple, Jesus is the place where God has decided to dwell on the earth. And since the Spirit has been poured out upon the church, somehow God's presence is everywhere, rather than concentrated in one place. The Psalter needed to be re-read from top to bottom and radically refocused around Jesus and the Spirit. This made the first Christians newly aware of Jesus' personal presence in their worship and prayer.
    Much of the Psalms, especially the songs of lament, can be unnerving. What should we make of these raw, brutal pleas? Can we pray, with Psalm 139, that God would "slay the wicked"?
    Almost all human beings find themselves overcome, from time to time, by extreme anger and hatred. It is not that these emotions should determine how we live. But we must have a way of saying, "Yes, that is actually where I am right now." And the safest and best place to do this is in the presence of God. The Psalms offer us a way of worshiping God amid any and all emotional states.
    Also, the Psalms promote a hyperideal hope for the world. They help us see that God wants a world in which there will be no evil. If there is injustice, if the poor are being oppressed, then it is right to pray that God will rid the world of that. Part of our reaction to the so-called "cursing Psalms" is that we think the modern world basically has the problem of evil solved. The Psalms bring us up short and say, "No, evil is real, and some people are so wicked that we simply must wish judgment upon them.  more


    As Chesterton had it:
              "Every knock on the door of a brothel is a knock on God's door."

     Could it be that every
                  "Oh My God!"
                                is ultimately (also?)  a prayer?:
      ---From Christianity Today:

    Christians usually respond that God had to turn his back on Jesus because Jesus took on the sin of the whole world, and God can't look upon sin, so he turned away. We hear this in sermons and worship songs. "The Father turns his face away." "God can't stand sin, so he turned his back on Jesus."

    On one level this provides a tidy theological answer. But at a more visceral, emotional level, it's still unsatisfying. In our own families, when a child has erred, we might get mad at them. But would we forsake them? Abandon them? Kill them? There was a case last year of parents with a very strict form of discipline. They thought their daughter was "rebellious," so they starved her and beat her. They locked their daughter out of the house in the middle of winter. She froze to death. We call that child abuse.

    Is that what God did to Jesus? Left him on the cross to die?

    This also raises the theological problem of the broken Trinity. Christians are Trinitarian; we believe that God is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, eternally united in purpose and divine love. But does the Father break fellowship with the Son on the cross? Are they pitted against each other?

    Cross-Cultural Perspectives

    We in the West live in a predominantly guilt-based culture; we tend to think in terms of guilt and punishment. When someone is guilty, they must be punished. So if Jesus took on our guilt and sin, the punishment is death. God's justice must be satisfied, so Jesus must be executed. It's disturbing, but that's how we understand the story.

    But much of the world, including the ancient biblical world, thinks less in terms of guilt and more in terms of shame and honor. A few years ago I read the book The Bookseller of Kabul, about life in Afghanistan. And some of the most disturbing parts were the descriptions of honor killings. A woman somehow brings shame to a family, and she is killed to take away the shame and to restore honor. It doesn't matter if she committed adultery or was raped. It doesn't matter if she was the perpetrator or the victim. If she has been made impure, the impurity must be removed to restore family honor. And in many cases, a father will kill his daughter. Or a woman's brothers will kill her. It will be described as an accident, but everybody knows what happened.

    So modern objections to Christianity say that this is the essence of Christian teaching on the Cross. God's son has been made impure, tainted by the sin of the world. So God restores his honor by killing his son. This puts us Christians in a bind. If we defend this theology of the Cross, then it seems like our Christianity does the same thing as honor killings in Afghanistan. And we lose our basis for saying that those honor killings are wrong, because our God does the same thing. Does he?...
    ...I find it interesting that Matthew and Mark tell us that some of the hearers misheard Jesus.  That opens up the possibility that the same has been true for others, and for us. Have we misunderstood this cry from the cross? The crucifixion narratives do not explicitly tell us what Jesus' cry meant. Both Matthew and Mark record the cry, but neither unpacks the meaning. They just let it stand. Neither actually says that God turned his face away, turned his back on Jesus, or abandoned him. That's an assumption that we bring to the text. It doesn't come from the passage itself

    .Here's the key biblical insight that changed everything for me in how I read this passage. It's a simple historical fact about how Israelites cited their Scriptures. They didn't identify passages by chapter numbers or verse numbers. Verse numbers weren't invented yet. Their Scriptures did not have little numbers in the text. So how they referenced a passage was to quote it, especially the first line. So the book of Genesis, in Hebrew, is not called Genesis. It's called, "In the beginning." Exodus is "Names." We similarly evoke a larger body of work with just a line of allusion: "A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away." or "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times."
    That's why Jesus often says, "It is written" or "You have heard it said." He doesn't say, "Deuteronomy 8:3 says this." No, he says, "It is written, 'Man does not live by bread alone.' " That's just the way they did it.

    So when Jesus says, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" he's saying, "Psalm 22." He expected his hearers to catch the literary allusion. And his hearers should have thought of the whole thing, not just the first verse:  "I am … scorned by everyone, despised by the people. All who see me mock me; they hurl insults, shaking their heads. … I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint. My heart has turned to wax. … My mouth is dried up … my tongue sticks to the roof of my mouth; you lay me in the dust of death. … All my bones are on display; people stare and gloat over me. They divide my clothes among them and cast lots for my garment."

    Is Jesus saying "I have been forsaken by God"? No. He's declaring, "Psalm 22! Pay attention! This psalm, this messianic psalm, applies to me! Do you see it? Do you see the uncanny way that my death is fulfilling this psalm?"
    Jesus has done this before. At the beginning of his ministry, in Luke 4, he read the scroll of Isaiah in the synagogue, saying, "The spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor." Then to make things completely clear, he said, "Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing."
    That's what Jesus is saying on the cross. When he says, "My God, my God," he's saying, "Psalm 22. Today Psalm 22 is fulfilled in your hearing. I am the embodiment of this psalm. I am its fulfillment."\

    A Psalm of Lament and Vindication

    Psalm 22 is one of many psalms that fit a particular lyrical pattern. We call them the psalms of lament. They usually begin with a complaint to God, rehearsing the wrongs and injustices that have been experienced by the psalmist. Psalm 5: "Listen to my words, Lord. Consider my lament." Psalm 10: "Why, Lord, do you stand far off? Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble?" Psalm 13:  "How long, Lord? Will you forget me forever?" Psalm 74: "O God, why have you rejected us forever?"

    This is a common pattern in the Psalms. This opening lament usually goes on for a stanza or two. But then the psalm pivots. The psalmist remembers the works of God, and the psalm concludes on a note of hope. Old Testament scholar Walter Brueggemann says that these psalms were Israel's way of ordering their grief and making sense of their sorrow. Today, we'd call it "processing." They would recount their troubles, but by the end of the psalm, they declared their confidence in God.
    That's what's happening in Psalm 22. It starts out with the psalmist feeling forsaken and abandoned. "Why have you forsaken me? … I cry out by day, but you do not answer." But he's not literally forsaken, any more than the other psalms mean that God was literally forgetting the psalmist forever. It's expressing how the psalmist felt at the time.

    But that's not the end of the story. Like the other psalms of lament, there's a pivot point. Several, in fact. Verse 9: "Yet you brought me out of the womb … from my mother's womb you have been my God." Verse 19: "But you, Lord, do not be far from me. You are my strength; come quickly to help me." The psalm is not a psalm of forsakenness. It starts out that way, but it shifts to confidence in God's deliverance. Verse 22: "I will declare your name to my people; in the assembly I will praise you." And here's the key verse, verse 24: "For he has not despised or scorned the suffering of the afflicted one; he has not hidden his face from him but has listened to his cry for help."

    Here is a direct refutation of the notion that the Father turned his face away from the Son. But the refutation is not as important as the pivot. Jesus is declaring: Right now, you are witnessing Psalm 22. I seem forsaken right now, but my death is not the end of the story. God has not despised my suffering. I will be vindicated. The Lord has heard my cry. Because death is not the end. Verse 30–31: "Future generations will be told about the Lord. They will proclaim his righteousness, declaring to a people yet unborn: He has done it!"

    Jesus is not saying that God has forsaken him. He's declaring the opposite. He's saying that God is with him, even in this time of seeming abandonment, and that God will vindicate him by raising him from the dead.
    The closest modern analogy I can come up with might be something like this. Imagine that later on this election year, this summer, the President is on the campaign trail. And despite his security, an assassin gets in and shoots him. As the President falls to the ground, he says, "  dream." And then he dies.
    Now imagine everybody saying, "Hmmm, his last words were 'I still have a dream.' I wonder what that means. What was his dream? Was he napping on the campaign bus? What was it about?" No, we'd all recognize that he was making an allusion to Martin Luther King Jr.'s speech. He'd be saying that this dream is still alive, that it did not stop with MLK's death, and it would not stop with his.
    It's the same way with "My God, my God" on the cross. It's a biblical allusion, and the point of Psalm 22 is not about being forsaken. After all, David wrote Psalm 22. Was David saying that God had forsaken him forever? No. The literary genre of the psalm of lament shows that David was saying that he felt like God had forsaken him
    . That the odds were against him. That things looked really bad right then. But that was not the end of the story. David still had confidence that God would hear his cry. God did not abandon David. And God did not abandon Jesus. The clearest evidence of that, besides the rest of Psalm 22, is Jesus' final words on the cross, "Father, into your hands I commit my spirit." The Father had not forsaken him. God was still his Father. Jesus was still his Son  -Link, full article\==


    Pastor D.J. Criner
    Sometimes in a Bible class, I will leave the room for five minutes,
    and challenge the students to practice presenting anything they've learned.
    It's totally up to them: they can tea- teach it, one person can present etc.

    Sometimes I am even brave/dumb enough to say they can choose someone to impersonate (roast/toast( me and my style.

    I should have known that with  the delightful and daring Pastor D.J. Criner (of Saint Rest Baptist Church) in class, that  the class would choose him for that impersonation option (:

    It was caught on video ...
    I guess I say ":awesome" a lot.


    Look at tonight';s impersonator!

    and part of what she taught us: