That’s not what’s happening this trip.
We are staying at The Great Wolf Lodge in Traverse City, MI. It’s like an eight year old’s version of Vegas – no clocks, tons of external stimulation, lots of opportunities to spend money, and a sensory overload. We’ve got water parks, arcades, tons of junk food, and everything our kids could want. The upside is we’re spending time with great friends (hello, Hoyts and Aylworths!), great family (Joe and Rhi!) and each other. We’re exhausted and enjoying the non-relaxing time away from East Lansing.
That said, I’m still reading…just not at the same pace. The posts will come at odd times but they will come. Here’s day 12!
- Today’s reading kick off with the best story from Numbers: Balaam, the donkey, and the angel. If you can’t teach a Sunday School lesson from this book, then there isn’t much hope for you. A talking donkey? The donkey with more sense than the prophet? I love this passage.
- There are a few instances in scripture when the names of principle characters are so similar that it becomes quite confusing – Balaam and Balak, Elijah and Elisha, even Peter and Paul. I know, I know, the names are different and I should be able to tell the difference. I’m trying to see this through the eyes of my six and eight year olds. The Bible is already a pretty confusing. Try listening to difficult passages with similar sounding names and you just space out. I’m not advocating we change the names, just that we’d have some sensitivity when people say they are confused by the Bible. That’s a very legitimate statement for them to make. As a pastor, I already overemphasize the denominational business we celebrate at The Peoples Church – the nuanced theological distinctions that separate Methodists from Presbyterians, Congregationalists from Baptists. By throwing in muddled source material as the foundation for these theological ramblings, we seem to create an even more spiritually and biblical-ly illiterate congregation. I’m not saying, I’m just saying.
- Numbers 25 – That got out of hand rather quickly, I’d say? My goodness that was brutal. A spear through the belly of the man and the woman? And then, the greatest downplay of a statement in Numbers 25:9 “Nevertheless, those that died by the plague were 24,000.” These are the types of passages people read and say, “I’m done,” when it comes to reading scripture. How can you not? I know there is some rhetorical hyperbole going on here but still. The blood, death, and suffering is overwhelming! G—and K–, how are you getting through this stuff?
- Number 26 – You have this brutally violent passage in chapter 25 and then switch to a census in chapter 26? Kind of a let down. Not that I like the violence but it seems like the census is a bit of filler.
- I’ve always been a fan of Joshua. I like seeing him receive some recognition in chapter 27.
- Serious observation – Numbers 28 describes the differences between daily offerings, Sabbath offerings, and monthly offerings. What do those look like in our lives? What things do we give monthly vs. daily?
- Gender roles in the ancient world are always a bit prickly to our modern ears. The idea that vows made by men are so different from those made by women (numbers 30) speaks to the role of girls, women, wives, and mothers in the biblical world. Do we just read past these passages and say, “Different place, different times” or do we try and rationalize these verses in some other way? I don’t advocate the outright rejection of concepts, values, and passages we might disagree with on the surface. In our multi-denominational situation at The Peoples Church we struggle with the same notion of acceptance, inclusion, and exclusivity – if we are four denominations simultaneously, then how do we reconcile doctrines between the denoms that seem to contradict one another (infant baptism seems to be the easiest example I can think of)?
- The Midianites are really taking it on the chin in Numbers.
- The pacifist in me takes issue with all the war, genocide, and outright despicable behavior encountered in these parts of the OT. I’m ending today on a sour note. Here’s hoping tomorrow picks up a bit. Maybe?