Thinking Out Loud

July 20, 2016

Wednesday Link List

Evangelism - Moorland College promo image

The theme of the above picture is Evangelism, and was featured on Twitter in promotion of a September conference at Moorlands College in the UK.  The artist is Annaliese Stoney

I enjoyed putting this week’s list together and hope you enjoy it also. Please take some time to look over this week’s stories and opinion pieces.

Vegangelical

July 13, 2016

Wednesday Link List

Ken Ham watches from the sidelines as kids take a selfie with Bill Nye the Science Guy at the Ark Encounter.

Ken Ham watches from the sidelines as kids take a selfie with Bill Nye the Science Guy at the Ark Encounter. Nye said,“On a hopeful note, the parking lots were largely empty, and the ark building is unfinished. We can hope it will close soon.” More on his visit at Religion News Service.

Welcome to link list #316. As in John 3:16.

They do things like this where we live.

They do things like this where we live.

July 6, 2016

Wednesday Link List

Taste and See t-shirt

Welcome to link list #315. I don’t know why I’ve been more conscious of the numbers lately. Perhaps it’s a case of, “Have I really been doing this that long?”

We also had a weekend link list on Saturday. Probably our best. If you missed it, click this link. I think the news-writing and blog-creating machinery in the U.S. wasn’t fully cranked up after the July 4th break, so the weekend list is really worth reading.

  • We’ve seen a variety of depictions of the life of Jesus in film, but this time around it’s coming to virtual reality. “The 90-minute film will be available on all major mobile and premium VR platforms including Google Cardboard, Samsung Gear, Oculus Rift, PlayStation VR and the HTC Vive, according to the companies. Pricing has not yet been set.” More info at Variety.
  • Not only were New Testament Christians never called to “execute” gays, but the actually were never told to kill anyone.
  • Here I Am To Lead Worship: So what happens when you really, really like the song but the ministry stream it flows from is considered a bit iffy by people in your congregation? This response appeared in May, but is worth studying. Priority one should be to minimize distractions.
  • After seeing the admission price, our family won’t be going to Ken Ham’s Noah’s Ark Experience anytime soon. A writer looks at some issues appearing in a Yahoo News story about the opening.
  • Leadership Lessons: The childhood notion that bigger is better can creep into our thinking when it comes to our ministry life.
  • Life Lessons: It’s important to deal with conflict as quickly as possible.
  • Have problems maintaining a Bible reading and study routine? Maybe you should blame neural plasticity.
  • Several months ago we wrote about the bizarre world of domestic discipline, which occurs in some Christian marriages.  It turns up again as a reader reaches out for advice.
  • Provocative Header of the Week: A UK Christian website asks, Can You Wear a Bikini to Church? It’s an illustrated article, too. (Have you got you yet?) And a metaphor breaks out.
  • Carnival Cruises looks to group sales — including church and religious groups — for its future growth. (I got an idea: A 1 Corinthians 13 themed cruise called The Love Boat.)
  • A seasonal ministry statement worth repeating: “Camp is holy ground. Camp is the church outside of the building. Camp is kids from different congregations and cities coming together to worship and serve, to learn and love. It should not be a peripheral ministry, but one central to who and what the church claims to be. Camp is the body of Christ.” …
  • …However; while the kids are at camp or at VBS, do you want them to learn a new sport, or do arts-and-crafts, or would you rather they learned about community organization and civil rights
  • If there’s a millennial in your house, they might be suffering from Obsessive Comparison Disease.
  • As part of proposed anti-terrorism measures, Russia wants to ban religious gatherings in homes.
  • I think there’s some typos in a key paragraph, but I did resonate with this article about the “cult of positivity” and you will, too if you know people who are positive all the time.
  • Five paragraphs is all that was needed: A writer asks, “Does my pastor’s education matter?
  • With British Prime Minister David Cameron stepping down in the wake of the Brexit fiasco, there’s one thing he wants to be remembered for (and readers here will likely not agree that it was a great accomplishment.)
  • We thought it might be good to have a link item about God. (Just for something radical.) “…[W]e don’t want to make the mistake of choosing God’s immanence over His transcendence. Both are a part of His revealed nature.” When God is too close or too far
  • Oh, my!
  • Gospel music superstar Shirley Caesar was honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
  • Jumping on the Trend Wagon: Editors of Canada’s national Evangelical magazine, Faith Today, decided to go with a coloring-book themed cover this month.
  • Finally, Christian group infiltrated Toronto’s Gay Pride parade, but we’re not sure about the rather deceptive method they employed.

I Found Jesus t-shirt

July 2, 2016

Weekend Link List

Manners without Borders from This Is Indexed dotcom

Wednesday List Lynx - The lynx is considered a national animal in Macedonia where it is featured on the five denar coin

Weekend List Lynx – The lynx is considered a national animal in Macedonia where it is featured on the five denar coin

I wanted to call this “Long Weekend Link List” but there was a built-in ambiguity. Is it referring to the long weekend, or the production of a long list? Covering both meanings would be ideal, but that would involve actually providing a long list… 

…Our image above is titled “Manners Without Borders” and is from This Is Indexed. Click to read at source.

  • Always remember the Prime Directive; and the presumed values and ethics behind it. NASA certainly did, and in 2014 awarded $1.1 million to The Center for Theological Inquiry, an organization “rooted in Christian theology. So why is an atheist organization just noticing?
  • Essay of the Month: When we started making changes to worship, we didn’t stop at one or two, the revisions have been sweeping, to the point where nobody sings anymore.
  • The New York Times looks at the very unique situation with Canada’s warm welcome of Syrian refugees.
  • Church Websites (1): A look at why they are so very important.
  • Church Websites (2): A look at where the process often breaks down.
  • In a somewhat downsized event, member stores and suppliers in the Christian Bookseller’s Association met for their annual convention a few days ago in Cincinnati.
  • The Ontario Court of Appeal upheld a previous ruling by the law society in that province, denying accreditation of the law school at Trinity Western University.
  • Tim Challies is doing a major reading challenge that would see him finishing 104 books by year-end. The year is now half over. You can join in for the last six months of 2016 as well, in reader categories labeled light, avid, committed and obsessed.  (He also receives hundreds of review books a year, but I happen to know book shelves aren’t a problem since he lives near an IKEA.)
  • The headline congratulates Matt Maher on winning BMI’s Songwriter of the Year award (presumably in a Christian/Gospel category) and goes on to discuss his career. But in a couple of places, there are brief mentions that Maher’s award was a tie with Chris Tomlin
  • …Video of the Weekend: ♫ Ryan Stevenson’s In The Eye of the Storm has been out a few months, but is tracking high at Praise Charts. (Reminds me of Josh Garrels.)
  • Putting something in “scare quotes” (see what I did there?) can change the meaning. Be sure to also check out the parable at the end.
  • We’re ending with a double link to the same site and reproducing the second link in full here, meaning this might be a “long” weekend link list after all, since it’s a long list. What got our attention first, was Rob Jacob’s idea of Purpose Driven as a platform. (I might have used the word network, since “church network” is a thing, but I know some are already rebelling against that phrase.) …
  • …But then a few days later Rob presented some insights he gained from the conference, and since we didn’t get to be there, we decided to steal some (or all) of them. But you can still send him some link love by clicking through for the full article.

25 Leadership Thoughts from the Purpose Driven Conference

  1. Three things build trust in a leader. Compassion, Competency, and Consistency
  2. If you depend on Man you get what Man can give. If you depend on God, you get what God can give.
  3. The creators of culture are entertainment, sports, and business. It should be the church
  4. Never confuse prominence with significance
  5. Nobody likes big churches except pastors
  6. Don’t ask God to use you greatly if you are not willing to be hurt greatly.
  7. If you don’t take risks, you don’t need faith.
  8. What is it in your ministry and life that cannot be explained other than for the supernatural power of God?
  9. We should imitate the faith of others, not their style
  10. To be a leader, you must have a message worth remembering, a lifestyle worth living, and a faith worth imitating
  11. Bigger churches are not better. Small churches are not better. Better is better.
  12. The greatest barrier to God’s work in me and through me is myself
  13. It’s not what you achieve but who you become–who you become like
  14. Spiritual growth is habitual. We grow by developing good habits
  15. After asking IF your church should change, ask if you’re the right leader who should be leading the change
  16. He has not called us to be original. He has called us to be effective. Sometimes imitation beats innovation
  17. It’s easier to slow down a race horse than speed up a turtle. I hire race horses on my staff.
  18. Never fight a battle that you won’t gain anything by winning
  19. Leader…when you define the vision you are choosing in effect who will leave the church.
  20. My goal in coming into a new leadership was not to be efficient but to be transformative
  21. Pastor, when bringing renewal to the church, start with your dreams and not your problems
  22. One of the secrets to success is to outlast your critics!
  23. It takes unselfish people to grow a large church—love compels us to grow.
  24. You have to build trust to earn the credibility to share the truth.
  25. If you don’t measure it you can’t manage it.

Religious PostcardsWell, we don’t want to shortchange those of you who read to the bottom for the weird and humorous — like the postcard at right — so…

If you see an advertisement below this space, we didn’t put it there, and don’t know who it’s for (but feel free to tell us).

June 29, 2016

Wednesday Link List

Attendance and Offering Register

Welcome to #314. If I’d named these consistently in the early years, I think we’d be well over 450 by now. I’m not sure, but I think the above image comes from an anon Twitter account; check out Lloyd Legalist

…Lots of Bible and parenting links this week…

Very tiny Wednesday List Lynx

Very tiny Wednesday List Lynx, but a very big list.

…As they say on Christian radio, if each one reading this clicks only six links, we can end this pledge drive a day early.

  • Church and Technology: Some churches have an online presence, but they’re not really present online.
  • Interview of the Week: A look at the relationship between form and content in our modern Bibles. Sample: “The danger of a cross reference system is that it becomes a kind of an out-of-context, distraction system that tells us this is serious study of the Bible when actually it can easily become a superficial kind of study of the Bible, unless I stop to do the due diligence making sure every reference that I am looking up is read in its own context, which, of course, is a time commitment.” IVP author Glenn Paauw on Bible clutter.
  • Essay of the Week: Perhaps related to the above, four modern ‘versions’ of the Bible that the author feels are destroying the Bible reading experience.
  • And sticking to our theme, a pastor explains why he’s returning to using a physical copy of the Bible.
  • A British education inspection agency appears to be backing away from a plan to expand its coverage to inspecting Sunday Schools, possibly because of the cost involve in training inspectors in the nuances of each religion
  • …but required attendance at chapel services or worship assemblies is still under the microscope.
  • Provocative Title of the Week: Christians Can No Longer Be Pharmacists. (But it might be prophetic.) 
  • Is America still the Christian nation it once was? Possibly the answer is yes, but non-Christians are more visible; more vocal.
  • Potential liabilities in homeschooling: The kids often have a limited anatomical knowledge or awareness of the facts of human reproduction.
  • With a local connection to the Windy City suburb of Hinsdale, Chicago Magazine unravels the story of — and lawsuit surrounding — Bill Gothard.
  • The church in Latin America provides a backdrop for seeing the nuanced differences between a heresy and a cult.
  • Apologetics apologetic: 5 reasons to learn how to defend your faith
  • …Related:
    6 reasons to reject miracle claims; and
    18 historical reasons to infer the miracle of the resurrection.
  • It’s a sad irony that regions of the U.S. which pride themselves on tolerance are actually the most intolerant of Christianity
  • Quotation of the Week: “The child… is a ‘viper in a diaper.'” More fully, “The image of the child as viper is intended to invoke the Calvinist doctrine of total depravity in relation to children. It is meant to transform the way we think about children’s so-called ‘innocence’ or ‘purity’ and consequently transform the way we think about raising and disciplining children.” A review of the teachings of Voddie Baucham.
  • The Trinity is useless. Yes. The article really says that. Scot McKnight looks at both viewpoints in a 2014 Zondervan book on the trinity. “The engrained idea is that the Eastern church fathers (Cappadocians) had a ‘good’ perspective on the Trinity because they began with a plurality of persons (Father, Son, Spirit) and only then attempted to think the unity of God.  But the Western church fathers (see Augustine, the supposed father of all modern theological ills) began with the unity of God’s being and then only thought about the plurality of persons at the end.” And then it gets more interesting.
  • Parenting Place (1): With our penchant for status updates involving our children, there’s a sense in which today every kid is a preacher’s kid.
  • Parenting Place (2): When a teen messes up “we immediately assume that the his parents must have failed him in some way. His parents must not have brought enough discipline into his life. His parents must not have prayed for him enough, read him the Bible enough, sent him to VBS enough. If his parents had done the right thing, the child wouldn’t be plunging headlong into sin.”
  • Parenting Place (3): In light of Orland, some little league coaches could use some editing when it comes to encouraging the girls to get a hit.
  • Know the warning signs: 12 indicators your church may be in trouble.
  • Perhaps it’s the writer in me, but I never tire of stories about Garrison Keillor, who claims the radio thing was a “42-year detour” in his journey. He says that this week he’s passing the torch
  • …Here’s an article by Keillor which I also bookmarked for this week. Living efficiently because life is short.
  • Roger Olson suspends writing at Patheos: “I have said all I have to say and am simply repeating myself or saying things that do not need to be said.”
  • Senior Master Sgt. Oscar Rodrigue, a 33-year military veteran was forcibly removed from a retirement ceremony because the commanding officer of the squadron,”did not want Mr. Rodriguez to participate as a speaker because, historically, Mr. Rodriguez’s flag-folding speeches make reference to ‘God.’” (Well, we can’t have that sort of thing, can we?)
  • Things I Didn’t Know: A former Mormon addresses LDS teaching that Christ’s atonement for sins occurred not on the cross, but in the Garden of Gethsemane.
  • Hashtag of the Week: #IfTrumpWereEvangelical.
  • Not a positive book review: Warren Throckmorton looks at the latest from Eric Metaxas.
  • Better Book Review: RNS interview with David Dark on Life’s Too Short to Pretend You’re Not Religious.
  • Where the Treasure is Buried: A free download of 135 sample pages of the new NIV Lifehacks Bible
  • …Even better, 229 sample pages (including all of Genesis and Matthew) of the new NIV Cultural Backgrounds Bible.
  • Canada Corner: Christian broadcasting giant Crossroads Christian Communications has announced Context TV’s Lorna Dueck will replace John Hull as CEO. Not stated is whether she will keep her Context office in the CBC headquarters in Toronto. See also this announcement. Lorna is a former host of Crossroads’ 100 Huntley Street program from 1994 to 2002.
  • Related: A blogger gushes about all of Tim Challies’ accomplishments, but then criticizes TC’s rejection of dispensationalism. But buried in the introduction was this invective: “I have rarely met a Canadian pastor who has the necessary hermeneutical, exegetical and theological training to adequately sort through matters of theological systems.” Yikes! He just trashed them all!
  • Satisfaction guaranteed or money refunded: The 90 day tithing test of God’s faithfulness is up at Perry Noble’s Church. “About 440 Christians joined NewSpring’s most recent challenge. Of the more than 7,000 participants over the past four years, fewer than 20—that’s a fraction of 1 percent—have asked for their money back.”
  • Though two of the six men charged still face their day in court, four men were found not guilty on criminal charges after disrupting a Joel Osteen church service.
  • Christian music duo Leeland is now part of the Bethel Worship family, and is releasing its first album in five years
  • …and Housefires, the band that brought us the song “Good Good Father” is releasing their third album on August 12th.
  • So has anyone out there in link land watched Greenleaf?
  • Finally, we really hate it when you’re enjoying the concert, when unexpectedly, someone comes out to do a talk.

 

Everyone I Don't Like is Hitler

 

June 22, 2016

Wednesday Link List

Trump w Falwell Jr

Well, today’s magic word is “crop” which means what should have happened to this photo before it got circulated. But no, Liberty University’s Jerry Falwell, Jr. went ahead carelessly with this photo of himself next to Donald Trump who is standing nearby a Playboy magazine cover. (I’ve highlighted it in case you miss it.) Warren Throckmorton said, “One might think this was an Onion story…” No, sadly it was true. Skye Jethani noted, “Republicans and evangelical leaders don’t realize they’re losing an entire generation permanently by backing Trump;” adding, “We’re watching the realignment of political loyalties before our eyes. It’s an opportunity for Christians to rethink faith/politics.”

How about we clear our heads with some youth ministry nostalgia:

Paul Mickelson Album Cover

Apparently the organ music has a shrinking effect on the teens, not unlike Raquel Welch et al in the 1966 movie The Fantastic Voyage. Yes, this album is on the Word label, the same people who now bring you For King & Country, Francesca Battistelli, Big Daddy Weave, Point of Grace and Natalie Grant.


Welcome to Wednesday Link List #313. Fasten your seat belts.


Dated book covers

Elaine Moore’s book covers look rather dated don’t you think? Do a Google search and you’ll also find other gems by her published by Troll such as, Beware The Haunted Toilet, Substitute Teacher from Mars, and There’s a Mastodon in My Living Room. But there’s something eerily prophetic about the two we’ve chosen to show here, right? Maybe not. Maybe this equally dates the books. Increasingly, in light of today’s gender issues and bathroom wars, what’s pictured is probably becoming routine.

June 15, 2016

Wednesday Link List

Praying for Hearing


The Force Church


Door Knockers Please Note

Do not pet the list lynx.

Do not pet the list lynx.

Isaac the Intern was supposed to write the introduction this week, but spent the time hanging out behind the office petting the list lynx.

Larry the Cucumber Identity Crisis


So Glad I Grew Up

June 11, 2016

When King Saul Went AWOL

What Christianity 201 readers won’t know when this posts at 5:30 PM (EST) today, is that the whole thing started with a scrap of paper. It was a page from my mother’s church bulletin. There was no date on the section which had been ripped out, just a selection of verses.

It was the second part of verse 22 (below) that got to me. I mentioned it to a couple of family members. One person said it best, “I’ve never heard that verse preached on.” Yet, when I started running the rabbit trail online and with commentaries I own, all the following happened!
1 Samuel 10 22

NIV 1 Samuel 10:17 Samuel summoned the people of Israel to the Lord at Mizpah 18 and said to them, “This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: ‘I brought Israel up out of Egypt, and I delivered you from the power of Egypt and all the kingdoms that oppressed you.’ 19 But you have now rejected your God, who saves you out of all your disasters and calamities. And you have said, ‘No, appoint a king over us.’ So now present yourselves before the Lord by your tribes and clans.”

20 When Samuel had all Israel come forward by tribes, the tribe of Benjamin was taken by lot. 21 Then he brought forward the tribe of Benjamin, clan by clan, and Matri’s clan was taken. Finally Saul son of Kish was taken. But when they looked for him, he was not to be found. 22 So they inquired further of the Lord, “Has the man come here yet?”

And the Lord said, “Yes, he has hidden himself among the supplies.”

23 They ran and brought him out, and as he stood among the people he was a head taller than any of the others. 24 Samuel said to all the people, “Do you see the man the Lord has chosen? There is no one like him among all the people.”

Then the people shouted, “Long live the king!”

The entire narrative in 1 Samuel 10 contains a number of things that would, each on their own, make for interesting study today. But the second half of verse 22 had somehow eluded me until this week.

Therefore they inquired further of the Lord, “Has the man come here yet?” So the Lord said, “Behold, he is hiding himself by the baggage.” (NASB)

Israel is about to get the king they’ve always wanted. The surrounding nations had kings, but they had the King of Kings. Unfortunately, that wouldn’t stand up to federal peer pressure. In our world, Saul would make for good optics on the international circuit. The story begins in chapter 9 where we learn,

9:2 Kish had a son named Saul, as handsome a young man as could be found anywhere in Israel, and he was a head taller than anyone else.

But there was more to it:

9:17 When Samuel caught sight of Saul, the Lord said to him, “This is the man I spoke to you about; he will govern my people.”

In chapter 10, Saul is formally anointed king, and then there’s an interesting contact with a group of prophets which, as I said, will have to wait for another day. To get us to today’s key verse, here’s a transitional section which appears in The Voice Bible:

Why is Saul chosen as the first king? He is from the tiny tribe of Benjamin, so he seems to be outside the mainstream of political power. But he is a handsome and tall young man, meaning he is appealing in appearance and able to inspire confidence in warriors. At this first appearance, it even seems as if his inner qualities might match his outer qualities—God transforms him and gives him the power to prophesy—but as the story goes on, his insecurities and his jealousy of David are his undoing. (emphasis added)

So Saul, what are you doing in the baggage caravan?

  • This he might do, because he either had, or at least would be thought to have, a modest sense of his own unworthiness, which was a likely way to commend him to the people.(Matthew Poole commentary)
  • … Saul hid himself, hoping that if he was not found they would proceed to another choice, so free from ambition was he, and such was his modesty; nor does this seem to be affected and dissembled, but real; though afterwards, when he was settled in the kingdom, he did not care to part with it, and sought to kill David, whom he looked upon as his rival… (John Gill commentary)
  • …he understood, by what Samuel had said, that the people had sinned in asking for a king. (Matthew Henry)
  • …Because the affairs of Israel were at the time in a bad position [militarily]; the Philistines were strong, the Ammonites threatening; he must be bold indeed who will set sail in a storm (Matthew Henry)

At Chandler Vinson’s blog A Trivial Devotion, a longer explanation which includes consultation with some very detailed writers. This is an exhaustive study of this verse, and I commend the research here to you. You may not finish reading all of this, but it gives insights into one of the Hebrew Bible’s most interesting characters:

Saul’s hiding place is a good one as the Israelites cannot find him without divine intervention.

A more pertinent question than where Saul is hiding is why the nation’s potential leader is lurking among its supplies. Some have speculated that with time to contemplate this life changing event, the future king is getting cold feet. Timidity would be a natural response to such responsibility. A Targum reference claims that Saul slips out for prayer and Bible Study. Most, however, interpret Saul’s absence in one of two polarizing ways: commendable modesty or a flaw in character.

Some have viewed Saul’s action as evidence that he possesses the necessary modesty to be Israel’s king (I Samuel 9:21). Prominent rabbis Rashi (1040-1105) and Radaq (1160-1235) support this theory. Saul’s absence is not necessarily incriminating as David, Israel’s model king and Saul’s successor, will also initially be absent when being chosen (I Samuel 16:10-12). Even so, given the tragic way Saul’s life will unfold, it is difficult for many to see his truancy as a sign of the king’s goodness.

Many have viewed Saul’s concealment as unwillingness to lead. From this perspective, it is Saul’s personal baggage that leads the leader into the nation’s baggage. Reluctant to take the position, Saul’s physical position screams, “Not me!”

If this is the case, Richard D. Phillips (b. 1960) understands Saul’s trepidation:

The context strongly suggests fear instead of humility as the reason that Saul hid himself. And who can blame him, since he was being called to step into God’s place! Perhaps Saul could see that God was angry and that his selection was God’s judgment on the nation. Given the difficulty of the task, we can hardly blame him for trying to get away. Nonetheless, Saul’s selfish neglect of duty foreshadows a pattern that will be repeated during his kingship. The people of Israel had desired a king who would give them the leadership edge enjoyed by the worldly nations, no longer willing to rely simply on God’s saving power. Here, then, is the kind of self-serving cowardice that they will have to get used to under human kings! (Phillips, 1 Samuel (Reformed Expository Commentary),163)

Robert Alter (b. 1935) critiques:

This detail is virtually a parody of the recurring motif of the prophet-leader’s unwillingness to accept his mission. Saul the diffident farm boy had expressed a sense of unworthiness for the high office Samuel conferred on him. Now, confronted by the assembled tribes and “trapped” by the process of lot drawing, he tries to flee the onus of kingship, farcically hiding in the baggage. (Alter, The David Story: A Translation with Commentary of 1 and 2 Samuel, 48)

From this perspective, Saul lacks true humility which would include depending on God. This stance is supported as fear fits the paranoia that will characterize Saul’s life. Though his action is highly irregular, it is typical of Saul.

Robert D. Bergen (b. 1954) explains that this inauspicious start is fitting:

Saul’s actions, however off, were consistent with the portrayal of Saul to this point; previously the king-designate had shut out both his servant (I Samuel 9:27) and his uncle (I Samuel 10:16) from any knowledge of his destiny. Saul’s vacancy at his own coronation suitably foreshadows a reign that would vacate responsibilities associated with the exercise of godly rule and perhaps suggest the lack of wisdom of those who preferred such a king to Yahweh. At the same time, divine assistance in the search for Saul reinforced the conclusion that Saul was indeed the Lord’s answer to Israel’s demand for a king “like the other nations.” (Bergen, , 2 Samuel (New American Commentary), 132)

Clinical psychologist David A. Stoop (b. 1937) concurs, characterizing:

Saul’s fearful posture toward life is…seen in his response to being publicly anointed as king. He simply wants to avoid the whole process. The way he attempts to avoid being anointed king in front of all Israel is to hide. (Stoop, What’s He So Angry About?, 80)

Whatever his motives for hiding, when discovered, Saul assumes the crown. Saul’s reluctance is completely ignored and the people accept him as king (I Samuel 10:23-24). On cue, they chant, “Long live the king!” (I Samuel 10:24, NASB).

Despite his awkward discovery, Saul’s impressive stature makes an even more immediate first impression. The only descriptor mentioned is that he stands a head taller than any of his peers: Saul is tall (I Samuel 9:2, 10:23). This detail adds to the story’s humor as the nation’s tallest man is theoretically the most difficult to hide, comparable to 7’6″ Yao Ming attempting to hide in a Chinese national assembly. Aside from Saul, impressive height is a quality reserved for non-covenant people and Saul’s more ideal successor, David, will not share this trait (I Samuel 16:7). In picking Saul, the Israelites receive what they ask for – a king like all the nations (I Samuel 8:5) and his selection foreshadows the typical lack of godly commitment exhibited by most of Israel’s monarchs.

What motivates Saul’s hiding, modesty or timidity? Who is he hiding from? If Saul does not want the position, why does he attend the convention at all? Why would God select a king that did not want the responsibility? Have you ever known anyone to turn down a promotion? Have you ever gotten a position that you didn’t want? Would you follow a leader who did not want her position? Would you want to be a monarch? Are you currently hiding from anything?

Whatever Saul’s reasons, his concealment has a significant consequence: it provides another opportunity for God to demonstrate divine involvement in his selection. It is God, not the Israelites, who finds Saul (I Samuel 10:22). Despite one of the implicit desires in asking for a monarch being independence, once again, the Israelites are reliant upon God. And they have enough access to God to use divine assistance to find the ruler they have chosen instead of God.

Eugene H. Peterson (b. 1932) comments:

Once chosen, Saul is nowhere to be found! He has gone into hiding. Did that last sermon by Samuel put the fear of God in him? Did he have a premonition that despite all the signs of God’s Spirit in his choosing, the kingship was flawed from the start by the people’s God-rejecting ambitions, and it was going to be a rocky road ahead? The story does not provide us with Saul’s motives for hiding. What it makes quite clear, though, is that this whole king business was going to be a mixed bag, involving both God’s mercy and God’s judgment…And here is a telling detail: They are now forced to pray to God to help them find the king they have just chosen with God’s help, but against God’s will (I Samuel 10:22). God graciously condescends to do for them what they cannot do for themselves. (Peterson, First and Second Samuel (Westminster Bible Companion), 66)

If the Israelites are close enough to God to find the concealed candidate, why do they seek a king? Is your trust in God’s leadership or in human rulers? …

…so all this we get from one verse! But what an interesting study of the reluctant leader who becomes Israel’s first king.

 

 

June 8, 2016

Wednesday Link List

When Theologians Go on Holiday

When Theologians Go on Holiday

Apparently Curious George is an equal opportunity monkey, having previously covered Christmas, Thanksgiving, and Hanukah, unlike those Berenstain Bears who I think are Baptist. More about the Ramadan book at this link.

Apparently Curious George is an equal opportunity monkey, having previously covered Christmas, Thanksgiving, and Hanukah, unlike those Berenstain Bears who I think are Baptist. More about the Ramadan book at this link.

The Wednesday List Lynx has some company this week. [Photo: National Geographic]

The Wednesday List Lynx has some company this week. [Photo: National Geographic]

Welcome to Link List #311.

Leonard Sweet wondered if perhaps this was the wrong place to situate the band?

Leonard Sweet wondered if perhaps this was the wrong place to situate the band?

I couldn't run the link to this lengthy look at Rob Bell's life and new book without including the accompanying picture

I couldn’t run the link to this lengthy look at Rob Bell’s life and new book without including the accompanying picture.

June 1, 2016

Wednesday Link List

Footprints Revisited

Wednesday List Lynx (even though it might look like your neighbor's tabby on a dark night.)

Wednesday List Lynx (even though it might look like your neighbor’s tabby on a dark night.)

Welcome to list #310. While some of you were off for a long weekend, we had some great topics going here, and in addition to the link list, I hope you’ll click back to see what gets done the rest of the week here at Thinking Out Loud.

The comic Bizarro had a number of Bible premises last week, but maybe for all the wrong reasons. (The term myth is central.) Nonetheless, this one is my favorite:

Bizarro - Adam and Eve

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