Jacob and Grounding (Part 4)

Having resolved matters with Laban in the land of Gilead, Jacob continued on his way toward the Jordan River. He is no longer running from anything; to the contrary, he is returning to his homeland and directly seeking out communications with his brother Esau. His location, in light of later biblical narratives, is significant. This […]

Jacob and Grounding (Part 3)

When Jacob and his uncle Laban had their final encounter, the location would not have been lost on the minds of an ancient Hebrew audience. They met up in the land of Gilead. Laban, feeling betrayed by Jacob for taking his daughters away without notice, was justifiably angry. With his relatives, Laban crossed the desert […]

Jacob and Grounding (Part 2)

The friction that built up between Jacob and Esau represents the sibling rivalry that we see scattered throughout the book of Genesis. Many religious people today interpret these rivalry texts as an explanation for ongoing tensions in the Middle East as if descendant people groups are fated to clash with each other for all times. […]

Jacob and Grounding (Part 1)

This new series will tie together a number of themes from the previous four series which alternated back and forth from Hebrew to Christian scriptures. The main theme in this series is grounding. Just as loose electricity needs to get grounded out in order to prevent any harm, so it is with conflicts that sustain […]

Clashes in the Book of Acts (Part 5)

This final entry in our series on social clashes in Acts comes at a time when American politics is full of clash-drama. In the case of Trump and the mainstream media, for example, we can observe Trump’s explicit promotion of a clash as a way to garner more power through a ‘divide-and-conquer’ strategy. Peter and […]

Clashes in the Book of Acts (Part 4)

As our series on the Jewish-Gentile conflict in Acts enters the new year, we are now ready to study the climax of the Jerusalem Council story. This summit meeting, happening around 50 AD, nicely illustrates how a positive outcome to a resolution process often stems from good process choices made by the main stakeholders. Before […]

Clashes in the Book of Acts (Part 3)

We now turn to the city of Antioch as we track Jewish-Gentile clashes in the Book of Acts. But before we delve into the relevant texts, I want to point out that ancient Antioch is where present day Antakya is in Turkey, situated about 60 miles west of Aleppo, Syria. Due to the influx of […]

Clashes in the Book of Acts (Part 2)

Examining the clashes between social groups in the Book of Acts certainly resonates with the frequent episodes of racial tensions we hear about in today’s news. In both settings we can track the way clashes have an element of intense emotion. They also include an ideation or cognitive element, but for now we can note […]

Clashes in the Book of Acts (Part 1)

The Book of Acts is itself a case study in social clashes that resulted in varying degrees of resolution. This new series will primarily look at conflicts that were internal to the new emerging church. Certainly there are many narratives where missionary efforts led to major clashes with local residents who represented the interests of […]

Joseph and Pain (Part 5)

We finally reach the climax of the Joseph story when family pain and shame, both of which had been repressed for years, pushed forth in a way that brought true healing and reconciliation. In this final segment to the series, I want to highlight how more interactions were still needed to resolve a problem that […]