Daily Archives: 9 Jun 2017

Reza Aslan’s CNN Religion Special…

Exudes condescension and reminds one of the attitude of someone visiting a carnival sideshow.  Azlan’s unfounded sense of superiority undermines what could have been a meaningful special.  (Originally posted 10 March, 2017).

UPDATE–  CNN has dropped Aslan’s series.  Today.

The Bee Stings the UMC

According to sources, every United Methodist congregation in America joined together to hold a nationwide “going out of orthodoxy” blowout sale on the churches’ lawns this past weekend.

The sale provided the churches with an opportunity to rid themselves of dusty, unused orthodox beliefs that had been lying around the buildings collecting dust for several decades.

“Everything must go! Bibles, hymnals, sound doctrine—make an offer!” Reverend Brittany Greyson in San Francisco was heard yelling at a crowd of people picking through the vestiges of the church’s past. “Nothing is off limits!”

“Theology, Bibles, orthodox beliefs—if you don’t buy them, we’re tossing them at the end of the day! We’ll cut a deal if you buy multiples!”

According to shoppers, one man got a “killer deal,” purchasing the church’s belief in the inspiration of Scripture and a toaster for just $3.50, while other attendees of the sale picked up knick-knacks like the church’s reverence for God and commitment to traditional Christian values for mere pennies.

Now that’s funny.

Deepen Your Understanding of the Bible

The ‘Person in the Pew’ commentary series is the only series of Commentaries written by a single person on the entire Bible and aimed at layfolk in modern history.


The books are all available in PDF format from the author for $199 by clicking my PayPal Link.  It’s a good commentary. But don’t take my word for it:


The commentary on the Bible by Jim West, a theologian who is lecturer in Biblical and Reformation Studies at Ming Hua Theological College in Hong Kong and is also Pastor of a Baptist Church in Petros, Tennessee, explains every chapter from Genesis to Revelation to “the person in the pew”: the ordinary member of a church, who, when reading the Bible, encounters a desperately foreign culture and therefore needs some guidance to understand it.

West’s approach is straightforward: he offers the Bible in a translation (American Standard Version) and interrupts the narrative every now and then to explain a couple of verses. His comments are aimed “at English speaking and reading members of the community of faith”: in other words, he makes the ancient texts accessible for believers.

As a pastor, West has an additional task: he needs to present the text in such a way that the faithful can use the Bible as a guideline. As I said, West’s approach is straightforward. The fact that he succeeds is encouraging for everyone who thinks that the study of ancient texts is meaningful.

I am no theologian and cannot judge the theological merits, but I can say that it is a pleasant read. I am currently reading a text I know quite well, Daniel, and West has pointed out many aspects I had not recognized before. The PDFs of West’s Commentary for the Person in the Pew are on my tablet, allowing me to go through the entire Bible when my train is delayed or has been cancelled. Given the quality of Dutch public transport I expect to have renewed my encounter with the Bible within a few months. – Jona Lendering