i wonder…

I wonder if Psalm 80 wasn’t a favourite of the particularly zealous 1st century Jews who would have been pleased to see the Romans overthrown by a long hoped-for military Messiah? ((Not all 1st century Jews were militant – i.e. Hillel)) I can imagine this Psalm being sung in the Synagogues of the day… and I can imagine John the Baptist – and later, Jesus – countering their use of Psalm 80 with his own use of Isaiah 5! ((See Matthew 3 and Luke 3))

I also wonder if Psalm 91 was another favourite? I can imagine it being sung – and expounded – in Synagogues. ((or perhaps more whispered in less public gatherings?)) Surely the revolt against Rome would be God-sanctioned and God-sheltered! I can imagine Jesus being tempted in the desert ((Scorcese’s ‘The Last Temptation of Christ’ has a brilliant scene along these lines)) by this kind of ‘firm belief’ ((reference to Jars of Clay lyric from ‘Oh My God’; ‘You take away my firm belief, and graft my soul upon your grief.’)), and countering it with the Torah. His messianic path was one that led not to a violent take-over, but to the Cross.

musical bodies

The following is not intended as a theistic proof, but it is yet another of countless points of ‘resonance’ with belief in a Creator.

I was just thinking last night about how deeply human or ‘anthropocentric’ music is. Whilst we can anthropomorphise and talk about the ‘song’ of the bluebird, or the rhythm of the cicadas or crickets, these animals are not truly doing ‘music’. It is a human activity. Continue reading “musical bodies”

cash for repentance

metanoia (Grk μετανοια) means literally “after-thought” or a change of mind or repentance.

Two songs from Johnny Cash’s album, American IV, contrast a repentant person with an unrepentant person.  The contrast is striking – between the person who ‘hangs his head’ (eventually in prayerful repentance in the last verse) and the person who ‘damns’ everyone (or more particularly, their eyes!). Continue reading “cash for repentance”

caption fail

One tiny detail, easily missed amidst a decently interesting article about Peter Hitchens’ return to Christian faith and finding peace with his atheist brother, the infamous Christopher Hitchens, is this mistaken caption to a nice little Hitchens-brothers photo, which claims that the rather Christopher-ish looking man on the left is Peter. :)

form & fill

Just before the 6 creation days in Genesis 1, the earth is described as ‘tohu va vohu’ (formless and void; or wild and waste; or chaotic and empty).  It has no shape (un-formed) and has no stuff (un-filled).

The 6 days of creation (the ‘hexameron’) divide into 2 sets.  The first set of 3 days is a ‘forming’ set, and the second set of 3 days is a ‘filling’ set.  What was un-formed is formed, and what was un-filled is filled. Continue reading “form & fill”


Christmas season.  The real doctrine that the Christmas season emphasises is the doctrine of the Incarnation.  I’ve enjoyed reading C.S. Lewis’ ‘little book’ Miracles, written back in 1947.  His chapter, ‘The Grand Miracle’ has some delicious passages on the Incarnation (my annoying notes in brackets). Continue reading “incarnation”