C.S. Lewis, Harry Potter and the Transforming Power of Evil (Beware of Spoilers!)

There has been a continuing theme in fiction that when we make evil choices, it changes our person, our being, who we are.

One example can be seen in C.S. Lewis’ Chronicles of Narnia, specifically in Voyage of the Dawn Treader.  The story chronicles the kids’ adventures while aboard a ship, the Dawn Treader.  The ship lands on an island, and as the rest of the children are working, a character named Eustace sneaks away in order to avoid work.  He comes upon a dragon who is guarding its treasure, while in the midst of dying.  After the dragon dies, Eustace explores the dragon’s treasure, eventually stealing for himself a bracelet which he puts on. Afterwords, Eustace falls asleep. Continue reading

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Bart Ehrman Is At It Again! Are There Forgeries in the New Testament?

I recently picked up a “Collector’s Edition” of U.S. News & World Report titled “The Real Jesus”. The articles cover a number of interesting subjects, including Christmas, Jesus’ trial, archaeological discoveries, and Mary and Martha. Towards the end of the magazine is an excerpt from Bart Ehrman’s book Jesus Interrupted: Revealing the Hidden Contradictions in the Bible (and Why We Don’t Know About Them). I haven’t read the whole book, but the excerpt is about forgeries in the New Testament world. Ehrman gives some background on forgeries and some reasons why they happened. Then on page 80 of the magazine, he makes this statement:

“From a historical perspective, there is no reason to doubt that some forgeries very well could have made it into the canon. Continue reading

The Lord’s Prayer Through the Eyes of the Promise (Part 2)

Read Part 1 of our discussion of the Lord’s Prayer here.

 

Forgive Us Our Debts As We Forgive Our Debtors-What stands out about this request is the reciprocal nature of it.  “Forgive us…as we forgive others…”  It is reminiscent of scenes from the Old Testament where God gives the people a command, for instance, to be kind to strangers, because they once were strangers in Egypt.  “Have mercy on slaves, remembering that you were once slaves in Egypt”.  This happens numerous times in the Old Testament.  We ought to be kind to those in chains because we were once in chains.  We ought to be kind to strangers because we have been strangers.  And we ought to forgive others because we ourselves stand in need of forgiveness.

Lead Us Not Into Temptation, But Deliver Us From Evil-Once again, one cannot help but think of the people of Israel in the Wilderness.  “Have you led us out here to die???” the people asked Moses.  Being seemingly trapped by the Red Sea, mountains and Pharoah’s army, the people complain that God & Moses led them out in the wilderness to die.  We understand mentally that God doesn’t tempt us.  And yet, doesn’t it seem like he leads us into evil sometimes?  Of course, he never does, but it feels that way sometimes.  And so in this line of the prayer, we learn to pray our feelings.  We can be honest in prayer, and pray for God to not lead us into temptation, even if we know he never will, because sometimes it feels like he does.

For Yours is the Kingdom, the Power and the Glory Forever, Amen-We are reminded of the only way any of this prayer can come to pass.  God is the Creator.  His kingdom, power and glory are eternal.  That is the context of our prayer, and that is the force behind it.  Our only hop eis the Kingdom, Power and Glory of God reigning in our world and lives.

The Lord’s Prayer Through the Eyes of the Promise (Part 1)

What would it look like to read the Lord’s Prayer in light of the whole Story of Scripture?  In this post and the next, we will look at the Lord’s Prayer phrase by phrase with this goal.

Our Father in Heaven–In this phrase we see that God is our Father.  God created us all.  What an amazing privilege that we can have an intimate relationship with God–that he calls himself our Father.  At the same time, though, he is “in Heaven.”  This is also emphasized in the fact that God is Creator.  God created us, so he is Father and we can have a relationship with him.  God’s being Creator also means he is over and above us, though.  Nearness and farness, immanence and transcendence, all there in the Creation story, reflected in this first phrase of the Lord’s Prayer.

Hallowed Be Your Name–What does “Hallowed” mean, anyway? It means “holy”, which itself means “to be set apart”.  In what way is God’s Name “set apart”?  When we think of God’s Name, our minds should immediately go back to the story of Moses at the burning bush.  It is in this story that God reveals his Name to be “I am that I am”.  God is the God who is. God lives and moves and exists.  We think of the story of Elijah and the prophets of Baal, where Baal never answers his prophets, and God does.  We think of course of Jesus’ resurrection.  God’s Name is hallowed because God is the only God who actually is, who actually lives and moves and acts in the world and in our lives.

Your Kingdom Come, Your Will Be Done On Earth As In Heaven–God’s Kingdom was something that Jews of the Old Testament looked forward to.  It wasn’t here yet.  Living after the Messiah, though, we are to follow his example to expect the Kingdom of God to start effecting this world.  Why?  Because Jesus is already king, and his kingdom has already been inaugurated.  If we actually live in God’s kingdom, our world cannot help but be effected by that.

Give Us Today Our Daily Bread–When we think of God giving us our daily bread, again, our minds should be reminded of Israel wandering in the desert.  God sent manna to the people, but they could only take what they needed for that day–their daily bread.  This is a prayer for God to give us what we need to sustain us each day.  Parts of the early church linked this phrase with Communion with the understanding that what we actually need every day to sustain us is Jesus himself.

We will continue our study in the next post…