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The Book of Ruth as “The Book of Naomi”

Ruth is one of my favorite books, but I have a serious problem with it. The problem is the name. Now, I know that the Jews also called the book “Ruth” and that I should respect that, but honestly I just can’t bring myself to do it. The...
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An Unwelcomed Gift

Consequences, pain, suffering and loss are unwelcomed gifts from a loving creator to wayward creatures. Only discomfiture drives change. Only a sense of dissatisfaction with the world causes one to look up from his or her preoccupation with it, to consider what lies beyond it. Those who strive...
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The Idolatry of the Modern Mind

When I was a child, I spent a lot of time irritating my teachers. I had the tendency to say, “What does that mean?” and “What am I supposed to do with that?” or “Why does this matter?” I was more practical back then than I am now...
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Nazarenes, Rednecks, and Other Well-meaning Slurs

I love puzzles, always have. Growing up, I saw puzzles of all kinds as a natural exercise of my desire to be a detective someday, tracing out subtle clues to help me zero in on bad guys. Becoming a biblical scholar, then, has always seemed right on target...
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Confessions of a Middle Aged Professor, Part 2

In my last post, I took an honest look at my early years as a biblical studies professor. I considered a handful of things I could have done better as I was developing as a biblical theologian and scholar and attempting to minister in a highly cultured context...
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Confessions of a Middle Aged Professor, Part 1

In studies of cross-cultural communication, I have never ceased to be amazed at the potential for a disconnect even between those raised together. The unique struggles between nature & nurture, between innate personality & individual experience causes people to assess shared events differently, fostering frequent misunderstanding of each...
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Wisdom, Folly & “Blaming the Victim”

I recently saw a picture of young woman from India holding up a sign that read “Don’t ask your daughters not to go out, Ask your SONS to BEHAVE.” (sic) I am well aware of the plight of women in the cultures of India. I have been traveling...
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Some Lessons Can Only Be Learned IN the Fiery Furnace

In a recent set of posts on Hebrews 11:3, I was pretty brutal on Word Faith teachers… what some call Hyper-faith teachers, or the Name-it-Claim-it bunch. They teach that God HAS promised you a rose garden, and, if you aren’t living in it, that’s your fault; if you...
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