Volume VI, Number 1
In This Issue
The immigrant pietists I knew in the '30s and '40s had strong convictions about Bible prophecy as it focused on the Middle East. We heard that we were living in the "last days" and that Jesus could come back momentarily.
Today is my birthday. I'm in my room, munching on my birthday cookies, listening to a '50s song on the radio. I got a heavenly gift today: the first snowflakes of the year. Everything is perfect, almost everything. Deep in my heart there's a question that has been bothering me all day: will I be able to celebrate my birthday next year?
It was with sadness that we learned that Dr. Northrop Frye had died. Dr. Frye has given much to many by his deep insight into literature and the Bible. Two of Frye's last books were The Great Code, The Bible and Literature (1983) and Words With Power: Being a Second Study of "The Bible and Literature" (1990).
I love every portrait of Jesus, both the prophetic portraits in the Old Testament and the historical portraits in the New. I love him as a miracle-worker. I love him as a teacher. I love him as a familiar friend. I love him as a returning Saviour. But under present circumstances, I think I love him best as the burden-bearer.
This text from Numbers 21 presents us with a very strange story. It starts out normally enough for a tale of the people of Israel in the wilderness. Now, as they have before, the people again have become impatient and they speak against God and against Moses.
I think it would have made a difference if it had been said another way. Perhaps it was the passion behind the statement that fixed it in my mind, like a speck in my eye that hints at its presence by subtle irritation.
There are few passages in the Bible that have troubled the minds of Christian people as much as this one. The commentaries provide good peripheral information, but do not meet the problem head-on. I am not confident that what I have to say here will clear up all the difficulties, but I hope you will get some ideas that you can weigh and eventually accept or reject.
And when the Centurion, who stood there in front of Jesus, heard his cry and saw how he died, he said, "Surely this man was the Son of God!" Mark 15:39
God is Good. Do you know Willard Berggren? These words surround his comings and goings. He is called by God to be a pastor and a clear witness of the Father's love, salvation, and eternal life.
The French, we are told, celebrate Easter with an upending phrase, "L'amour de Dieu est folie!" — God's love is God's folly. If sung with a lilt, here is a line that could rescue us from the grave of dead assumptions.
The Governor's Dinner; Launching the Karl A. Olsson Chair of Religious Studies at North Park College; Sport Report