Category: Interpreting the Bible


“End-Timey” stuff in The Shack Bible

Dear ShackBible readers, You may have noticed that The Shack Bible approaches “end-times” stuff a little differently than what some of us are used to.  For an example, look at my paraphrase of Matthew 24 and compare it to what you hear on Christian radio.  Anyway, The Shack itself doesn’t really address this topic.  But there is a coherent vision of God behind it all, and I have tried to take that way of thinking and use it to approach the various biblical texts that talk about this kind of thing. Just in case this sort of thing is interesting...


The Next Big Thing Blog Hop

Ten Interview Questions for “The Next Big Thing”: What is the working title of your book? The Shack Bible Where did the idea come from for the book?  I actually had the idea a couple years before I’d ever heard of “The Shack.”  I’ve spent the last decade being spiritually revolutionized by some of the ancient theologians (Athanasius, Irenaeus, Gregory of Nyssa) plus some newer ones (Barth, Torrance, Kruger, Moltmann).  My studies were giving me a new (non-Augustinian) lens through which to hear Scripture, and I loved what I heard!  I started writing down what I was hearing the Bible...


The Proverbs 31 Woman

You know Proverbs 31? That chapter of the Bible that depresses every woman you know?  Jewish people have a much better way of thinking about this, and they probably understand it better than us anyway… Proverbs 31 is not a list that defines how a “biblical woman” behaves.  It is a song of praise from a husband to a wife, praise and honor for all that she does.  For real.  Go to an orthodox Jewish household for dinner and listen to what the husband sings to his wife at the beginning of dinner.  It is praise for the “woman of...


Is God a biblical woman?

I have been reading my friend Rachel Held Evans‘ new book, A Year of Biblical Womanhood (and I’m enjoying the heck out of it, I might add), and I’m thinking about the origin of all the Bible has to say about “womanhood.”   Regardless of how many (or how few) cultural barnacles have been attached, the Bible’s concerns for womanhood ultimately spring from the inner nature of the Triune God, that feisty group of misfits many of us have come to know as Papa, Jesus & Sarayu.  Whatever it means to be Homo Sapiens with more ovaries than testicles, it springs...

Shacking up with mutuality 1

Shacking up with mutuality

This post is part of the Week of Mutuality synchroblog #mutuality2012 My vision of God used to be something like: God, the elderly white guy on the throne. Jesus, his trusty sidekick or assistant or secretary or something. The point is, it was always quite clear which one was “in charge.”  This was always emphasized to me as being very important—knowing who was in charge and who wasn’t.  Because ultimately, humans are made in the image of God, and “being-in-charge” is super-important to God (so much so that those who don’t like it get eternally barbecued), so when I dominate...

ShackBible blasphemy 7

ShackBible blasphemy

I’ve been accused of a lot of things (and many of those accusations were quite deserved), but I think this is the first accusation of blasphemy: No details were given, but I wanted to open this up for further conversation, since blasphemy is a big deal, and it’s not something I want to be doing.


St. Paul, Bible Butcher?

Originally published on the Trinity and Humanity blog I used to think Saint Paul was a really bad interpreter of the Old Testament.  Because whenever he uses Old Testament passages to make a point in his writings, he totally butchers it.  He does everything we’re taught NOT to do. Let’s take Romans 15 as one example, where Paul is making an argument that Papa cares about Gentiles (non-Jews).  He supports this with some Old Testament passages: For I tell you that Christ has become a servant of the Jews on behalf of God’s truth, so that the promises made to...

“Slavemaster Hunger” in Leading the Church 5

“Slavemaster Hunger” in Leading the Church

Pastor John Piper recently gave a talk about how “God has given Christianity a masculine feel.”  John’s a good guy, but I think he misses the mark on this one.  Below is a bit where I have a little fun with the text of John’s talk in order to suggest that his reasoning could be better. But  just to be 100% clear, what is said below is not what John Piper said, and I am not accusing him of endorsing slavery.  I am accusing him of bad hermeneutics. ——————————————- God revealed Himself in the Bible pervasively as slavemaster.  The Second...

Epiphany for a gentile 3

Epiphany for a gentile

(Okay, so this isn’t exactly Shack-oriented, but I wanted to share this post about Epiphany that I wrote for the Trinity and Humanity blog today.  Enjoy!). Imagine you are a member of an ancient tribe.  The earth is chock-full of gods, but the one who lives in your area is the one who affects your life.  You have carefully groomed this deity with gifts and flattery (a.k.a., “worship”), so that he will think positively of you and grant you occasional favors.  If you have been really diligent in your flattery, you can have some reasonable expectation that your god will...