One new man

A student suggests a creation image in John 9 - the clay and spittle on the blind man’s eyes recall the dust-and-breath of Genesis 2. Further, she suggests a connection with the land-sea imagery of the OT: Spittle and clay join Jew and Gentile in one new man, a man reborn by Jesus, a man who . . . . Continue Reading »

Jesus’ silence

During his trial, Jesus is frequently, remarkably silent. This is particularly striking in John, where Jesus has been identified as the eternal Word of the Father. But when Jew and Gentile combine to put the Word of the Father in the dock, the Word says nothing. Is there here perhaps an . . . . Continue Reading »

Sermon notes, Third Sunday of Lent

INTRODUCTION Scripture demands that we honor our fathers and mothers, the past of our family. But families only exist because of a break with the past. To form a family, a man and woman leave their families and cleave to one another to form a new family for the future. Families have to work out . . . . Continue Reading »

Exodus to light

John 9 tells an exodus story: The man born blind crosses through water, from darkness to light. Perhaps this is also a Jordan crossing, because as soon as he passes through the water he is involved in warfare with the Jews. But there’s another liminal moment in the story: Having crossed . . . . Continue Reading »

Infant baptism

The man born blind in John 9 is reborn by clay, spittle, and a bath in Siloam. He is so transformed that people don’t know if he’s the same man (v. 9). At this point, he barely knows who Jesus is. Pressured by the Pharisees, he confesses Jesus as a prophet (v. 17), but he doesn’t . . . . Continue Reading »

Exhortation, Second Sunday of Lent

Churches, families, and nations have memories, just as much as individuals. But while individual memory tends to be more or less automatic unless there is some physiological problem, group memories need to be cultivated. Over the course of generations, groups don’t maintain their memory . . . . Continue Reading »

Urban Goggles

This paper is an exploration of the modern urban situation, how it differs from the older cities, and the challenges modern urban/suburban civilization poses for Christianity. All of America, ERH claims, is urbanized by industry, which removes the barriers between city and country. The contrast of . . . . Continue Reading »

Vapourous idols

According to our translations, the OT describes idols as “vain” (eg, Isaiah 57:13), but the word used is the same as the word in Ecclesiastes - and is better translated as “vaporous.” The point is not simply that idols are worthless, but that they are ephemeral. Idols may . . . . Continue Reading »

Baptizing cities

In his study of Judaic Baptism, James W. Dale quotes Jewish War , 3.7, where Josephus speaks of a city being, in Dale’s translation, “overmersed” ( epibaptizo ). Dale comments, “It is intolerable to suppose that a city is figured, through the departure of an individual [in . . . . Continue Reading »