Posted in Communication

The Church’s Digital Outreach

A recent Issues Etc podcast (“A Recent Barna Survey on Unchurched Adults, the Internet and the Pandemic”) in which host Todd Wilken interviews journalist Terry Mattingly, explores both the blessing and the curse of churches entering into digital evangelism because of the 2020+ COVID pandemic. In this interview Mattingly talks about the need for seminaries to train pastors in digital communication; the limits of the internet for sacramental churches; the increasing time burden of digital communication for local pastors and the need for the church to have digital communication specialists.

Posted in Culture, Mission

Transitions: Feeling like an alien

A friend of mine sent an article from the Irish Times entitled: “The returned missionaries: ‘I’m more African than I am Irish.’”The article describes the difficult transitions encountered by Roman Catholic missionaries who have lived most of their lives in other cultures and who now are returning to Ireland to integrate back into the culture they grew up in but which feels like an alien land to them.

I’ll admit I quickly scanned the article, but even so, I still found myself able to relate to some of the transition experiences they describe. Although I have not had to move to extremely different cultures in other countries, diverse “cultures” exist wherever people live together and develop patterns, traditions, and so on. In moving as many times as I have, I see cultural diversity even within the Canadian context and certainly between church and society.

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Posted in Books and Movies, Mission

Faith that Engages the Culture

I heard Dr. Alfonso Espinosa interviewed on Issues Etc as part of a series on his new book, Faith the Engages the Culture. This is the second book in what is to be a trilogy on the topic of Christian witnessing in the world.

I have not read this book but have his first book, Faith that Sees through the Culture. Concordia Publishing House (CPH) offers a free video course on this first book which establishes the perspective on how Christians need to look at the world they are in. This book establishes the foundation for stepping off into the second book.

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Posted in Discipleship

A faithful response to Sunday sports

How would you or your child respond to a soccer or baseball or hockey game scheduled on Sunday morning? The story below, although fictional, shows us the struggle, but also a faithful response arising from faithful parenting born of the Holy Spirit and the Word of God.

Across town, the Joneses were pulling into their garage. “Are you hungry?” Rebecca asked. “Yes,” Jeremy answered. “Not you,” Rebecca smirked, unbuckling her seatbelt. “The other redhead.”

Robbie was already out of the SUV, dropping his cleats by the door and making his way into the house. Rebecca frowned. Her son had been unusually quiet the entire ride home, especially considering the fact that it was his RBI and double play that had clinched tonight’s victory. He hadn’t said a single word on the drive out to his grandpa Evan’s house in the country, and once they had turned back toward home, he had spoken only when his dad had asked him questions about the game.

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Posted in Bible

The Title of 1 and 2 Samuel

Since Samuel is the first major character introduced in the book, his name was chosen as its title. Although the events of 2 Samuel all transpired after Samuel’s death and that book contains no mentions of his name, it also bears his name as its title. Why? Second Samuel is named after Samuel because 1 and 2 Samuel were originally one book. When the book’s length (especially in its Greek translation, the LXX) was too great for a single scroll, it was divided approximately in half; the second half did not receive a new name but was marked as part two.

In their ancient Greek translations, these books carry different titles: 1 and 2 Samuel are known there as “1 Kingdoms” and “2 Kingdoms,” continued by “3 Kingdoms” (= 1 Kings) and “4 Kingdoms” (= 2 Kings). This titling minimizes any difference between the four books that chronicle the course of the ancient Israelite monarchy from its beginning with Saul until its termination at the Babylonian exile.

From Hoffner, H. A., Jr. (2015). 1 & 2 Samuel. (H. W. House & W. Barrick, Eds.). Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.

Posted in Bible

First and Second Books in the Old Testament

Were the individual “books” of the Old Testament always distinct books or were they parts of a larger whole?

For example, 1 and 2 Samuel were once one book and were subdivided—initially only in the LXX, and subsequently in the Hebrew copies—because the text was too long to fit on a single scroll. However, there is no particular reason why a large Hebrew composition—one that may have spanned the entire history of the Israelites in their land—could not have existed on several scrolls.

These scroll-capacity-delimited “books” may have eventually received individual designations, such as Joshua, Judges, Samuel, and Kings. This same procedure was undoubtedly followed earlier in the designation of the individual “books” of Moses.

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