I'm least satisfied with D/D'.  I think that that there is an inclusio is undeniable (with the repetition of "horns" and "exult/exalt"), and I'm fairly convinced of the overall chiastic structure, but I think it probably needs some tweaking.


A. My heart exults in the LORD;
my horn is exalted in the LORD.

        B. My mouth derides my enemies, because I rejoice in your salvation.
        There is none holy like the LORD: for there is none besides you; there is no rock like our God.

              C. Talk no more so very proudly,
              let not arrogance come from your mouth;

                  D. for the LORD is a God of knowledge, 
                  and by him actions are weighed.

                       E. The bows of the mighty are broken,
                       but the feeble bind on strength.

                            F. Those who were full have hired themselves out for bread,
                            but those who were hungry have ceased to hunger.

                                 G. The barren has borne seven,
                                 but she who has many children is forlorn.

                                      H. The LORD kills and brings to life;
                                      he brings down to Sheol and raises up.

                                G’. The LORD makes poor and makes rich;
                                he brings low and he exalts.


                            F’. He raises up the poor from the dust;
                            he lifts the needy from the ash heap to make them sit with princes and inherit a seat of honor.

                       E’. For the pillars of the earth are the LORD's,
                       and on them he has set the world.  

                  D’. He will guard the feet of his faithful ones,

             C’. but the wicked shall be cut off in darkness,
             for not by might shall a man prevail.

        B’. The adversaries of the LORD shall be broken to pieces;
        against them he will thunder in heaven.

A’. The LORD will judge the ends of the earth;
he will give strength to his king and exalt the horn of his anointed (messiah).”
 
 
This is the contents of a handout I used to introduce a study on I Samuel.  The contents mostly consist of notes and elaborations on the Introduction to Peter Leithart's A Son to Me.

Three elements of reading:
  • Historical - what happened
  • Literary - how it is presented
  • Theological - significance
However, there is one big story, and so these things actually unite that story into a cohesive whole rather than functioning as separate strata.

This also helps us know how to think about our own lives and experiences.  It helps us make connections between our lives and the world of the Bible by seeing that there is just one world, and we are part of it.  Thus we should learn from the Bible how to link up our world and our lives with the world of Scripture and the way it presents that world (i.e. learn to self-consciously inhabit the universe of Biblical symbolism).  Too often we read the Bible and ask “How does this relate to me?” when we should be asking, “How am I related to this?”  The Bible is about the one world that we all inhabit, and thus we must learn to find our place in the world the Bible presents to us, and begin to think about our world in the way the Bible thinks about it.
Danger of facile connections?  It is possible to oversimplify, but the problem is not with making connections, it is with making them poorly and in un-Biblical ways.


Christological Reading
We cannot ignore what we know.  We must be careful and intentional about what we import into a text, however, it is not illegitimate to read older portions of Scripture in light of newer ones.  Any Israelite reading Samuel would have had reason to re-consider and possibly re-interpret Exodus in light of it.  Similarly, we should engage in a two-way process of trying to imagine how the text would have struck an original audience, as well as how we might now understand it in light of further words from God.

Always keep in mind that the Bible is one story told by God.  Just as it is not illegitimate to go back and re-read Harry Potter with the end in mind and note foreshadowings (premised on the fact that the whole series is written by one author), so it is not wrong to read I Samuel in light of Ezekiel/ Matthew/ Luke-Acts/ the Pauline epistles.  The danger comes when we don’t read both ways.  It is possible that we are misunderstanding Luke/Acts because we aren’t well versed in I Samuel, but likewise, it is possible to read I Samuel as a rather boring or irrelevant historical artifact because we are not bringing an understanding of Matthew to it which would show it to be profound foreshadowing.


A Note on History
There is no such thing as “objective history.”  History is a way of recounting events, and there are an infinite number of ways to recount any historical events.  History is always interpretation.  This doesn’t mean that there aren’t more and less accurate ways to tell history.  There is a benchmark of events that happened, but doing history means deciding which of those are important, which to emphasize, how to relate them, what the causal relationships are, etc.  (Example: witnesses of an accident.)  This means that all history is interpretation.  ALWAYS.  So the Bible never provides “straight history” (nor does any other book).  However, the Bible is more sophisticated than many contemporary thinkers because it is self-aware.  It knows that it is performing the task of interpretation and thus uses history combined with literary structure, verbal ques, etc.  to make theological points from accurate history.  Would that more moderns would do this.


How does Typology Work?
Analogy – typology connects events, persons, places, etc. by means of analogy either to identify them as having similar narrative/redemptive functions, or to contrast their narrative/redemptive functions.  
Different Levels:
  • Macro/universal – unclean beasts/seas are associated with gentiles, trees represent men, thorns represent evil men, sun/moon/stars stand in for rulers, 7 is the number of completeness/rest, water is associated with cleansing/purging, smoke represents prayers, dust/ground is associated with man (for you are dust and to dust you shall return...”), the tabernacle and temple are symbolic models of the universe and also of a man (or is it vice versa?).
  • Micro – particular phrases or events link one character and another, or one episode and another.  Joseph is twice thrown into a pit only to be raised up to rule which foreshadows Jesus’ resurrection.  Saul’s battle with the Ammonites is described in language that repeatedly echoes that of Gideon’s battle with the Midianites.  Acts 1.21 uses the language of “going out and coming in” of Jesus which is reminiscent of language used about David (and Paul), Mary’s Song (the Magnificat) deliberately echoes the language of Hannah’s song (1 Samuel 2).
  • We tend to ignore these things because in English we don’t mean anything by them.  We indicate significance by variation and unusual vocabulary.  Hebrew indicates significance by pun and repeated vocabulary as do many languages with more limited, less eclectic vocabularies.
  • Structure also becomes important.  The Psalms use parallelism to note emphasis/contrast/etc.  But so do the narrative texts.  They also use chiasms (A,B,C,C’,B’A’), inclusios (A, B, A’) etc.  Some of these function subliminally at an oral level.  Some were put there for later students of the text
Reading the Bible
Texts function on multiple levels.  They do lots of things at once, just like music.  We don’t have to catch all of those all at once (indeed we can’t), but we should be open to them.  Looking at a text from a different perspective, hearing it at a different stage of life, meditating on it in relation to another text—all of these may yield fruitful and legitimate insights.  This is not relativism with regard to Scripture.  We are not saying that the Scripture has no fixed meaning.  It is relativism of a sort with regard to ourselves.   It is admitting that we are subjects, and we always see through lenses that are shaped by our own presuppositions and are suitable to our own finite limitedness.  What this means is that there is always more to learn from Scripture.  It is a text spoken by the infinite to the finite, and thus contains more than we can ever take in all at once.  So while we can exclude certain readings as sub- or anti-Christian, we can never deny that there is more to be gleaned.


Typological Reading
Typological reading is just reading the Bible narratively and as a self-referential whole.  In other words, it is a Christian way of reading Scripture.  We believe Scripture’s self-attestation to be all God-breathed, and we believe that Scripture tells the story of what God is doing, so we believe that Scripture coheres and that David has something to do with Jesus.  The question is what?  And typological reading helps us answer that question.  It helps us draw the links according to an objective standard, Scripture itself.  Nevertheless, there is a subjective element, because we, the subjects, are the ones doing the reading and making the connections.   So, our challenge will be to read well and to be faithful to the text.  And in my experience the one key to that above all else is not a particular hermeneutical key, interpretive philosophy, or end times dating scheme.  It is familiarity with Scripture.  Yes, a good theological framework helps.  Understanding something of covenant theology makes sorting things out easier and clearer.  But there is no substitute for sticking your nose in the Bible.  You can’t catch analogy and self-reference without knowing the thing referenced.  The Bible is full of inside jokes.  Just like you sort of have to know the corpus of SNL to get a joke about “living in a van down by the river,” or you have to know something about the life of Caesar to appreciate a reference to the line “et tu Brute?” so you must know the Bible to know it’s self-interpreting, self-referential character.  Further, it is helpful to become familiar with the way the Bible uses symbols to indicate this self-referential character... but more on that later.


The world is charged with the grandeur of God.
It will flame out, like shining from shook foil;
It gathers to a greatness, like the ooze of oil
Crushed. Why do men then now not reck his rod?
Generations have trod, have trod, have trod;
And all is seared with trade; bleared, smeared with toil;
And wears man's smudge and shares man's smell: the soil
Is bare now, nor can foot feel, being shod.

And for all this, nature is never spent;
There lives the dearest freshness deep down things;
And though the last lights off the black West went
Oh, morning, at the brown brink eastward, springs --
Because the Holy Ghost over the bent
World broods with warm breast and with ah! bright wings.

--Gerard Manley Hopkins

 
 
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To contemplate nature, then, is in Blake's phrase to cleanse the "doors of our perception," both on the physical and on the spiritual level, and thereby to discern the energies or logoi of God in everything that he has made.  It is to discover, not so much through our discursive reason as through our spiritual intellect, that the whole universe is a cosmic Burning Bush, filled with the divine Fire yet not consumed.  

--Bp. Kallistos Ware, The Orthodox Way, 118.



"A new heaven and a new earth": man is not saved from his body but in it; not saved from the material world but with it.  Because man is microcosm and mediator of the creation, his own salvation involves also the reconciliation and transfiguration of the whole animate and inanimate creation around him--its deliverance "from the bondage of corruption" and entry "into the glorious liberty of the children of God" (Rom. 8.21).  In the "new earth" of the Age to come there  is surely a place not only for man but for the animals: in and through man, they too will share in immortality, and so will rocks, trees and plants, fire and water." 

 --Ibid. 136-137.



This resurrection kingdom , in which we shall by God's mercy dwell with our soul and body reunited, i in the third place a kingdom which shall have "no end."  Its eternity and infinity are beyond the scope of our fallen imagination, but of two things at any rate we may be sure.  First, perfection is not uniform but diversified.  Secondly, perfection is not static but dynamic.

First, eternity signifies an inexhaustible variety.  If it is true of our experience in this life that holiness is not monotonous but always different, must this not be true also, and to an incomparably higher degree, of the future life?  God promises to us: "To him that overcomes I will give... a white stone, and on the stone a new name written, which no man knows except the one who receives it" (Rev. 2.17).  Even in the Age to come, the inner meaning of my unique personhood will continue to be be eternally a secret between God and me.  In God's kingdom each is one with all the others, yet each is distinctively himself, bearing the same delineaments as he had in this life, yet with these characteristics healed, renewed and glorified.  In the words of St. Isaias of Sketis: 


'The Lord in his mercy grants rest to each according to his works--to the great according to his greatness and to the little according to his littleness; for he said, 'In my Father's house are many mansions' (John 14.2).  Though the kingdom is one, yet in the one kingdom each finds his own special place and his own special work.'

Secondly, eternity signifies unending progress, a never-ceasing advance.  As J.R.R. Tokien has said, 'Roads go ever ever on.'  This is true of the spiritual Way, not only in the present life, but also in the Age to come.  We move constantly onwards.  And it is forward that we go, not back.  The Age to come is not simply a return to the beginning, a restoration of the original state of perfection in Paradise, but it is a fresh departure.  There is to be a new heaven and a new earth; and the last things will be greater than the first.  

'Here below,' says Newman, 'to live is to change, and to be perfect is to have changed often.'  But is this the case only here below?  St. Gregory of Nyssa believed that even in heaven perfection is growth.  In a fine paradox he says that the essence of perfection consists precisely in never becoming perfect, but in always reaching forward to some higher perfection that lies beyond.  Because God is infinite, this constant 'reaching forward' or epekstasis, as the Greek Fathers termed it, proves limitless.  The soul possesses God, and yet still seeks him; her joy is full, and yet she grows always more intense.  God grows ever nearer to us, yet he still remains the Other; we behold him face to face, yet we still continue to advance further and further into the divine mystery.  Although strangers no longer, we do not cease to be pilgrims.  We go forward "from glory to glory (2 Cor. 3.18), and then to a glory that is greater still.  Never, in all eternity, shall we reach a point where we have accomplished all that there is to do, or discovered all that there is to know.  'Not only in this present age but also in the Age to come,' says St. Irenaeus, "God will always have something more to teach man, and man will always have something more to learn from God.'" 

--Ibid, 137-138

 
 
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It's the evening of the second day of my juice fast.  It really hasn't been too bad.  This morning was a little rough with some headaches and general fatigue, but by afternoon, and especially after I worked out I felt pretty good.  It is amazing the way even a short break from food will make you crave almost anything as if it were the most delicious food on earth.  I've allowed myself a bit of wine in the evening since it is fruit juice and I'm not doing this primarily for any supposed detox effects, but rather primarily for weight loss.  That's been nice.  

One thing I have learned: be sparing with beets.  They are really strong and overwhelming, and they tend to make your juice taste a little like dirt in my opinion.  I've also come to the conclusion that it's better to mix things up and only use the recipes you find online as a loose guide.  Yes it's best to get lots of greens and keep the fruits for the morning.  But it's better to drink some fruit juice that you enjoy in the evening than break your fast because you can't bear the thought of another spinach, broccoli, cabbage, and celery juice.  That said, here are a few of the recipes I've enjoyed most.

  • 2 apples
  • 1 wedge red cabbage
  • 2 large carrots
  • 1 thumb sized piece of ginger (or just a little under a tablespoon minced)
  • 6 leaves of swiss chard or kale
  • 1/4 lemon

Another good one for breakfast that is simple is:

  • 3 carrots
  • 2 apples
  • 1" or 1 Tblspn minced ginger
  • You can throw in other mild stuff like some celery to fill this one out a little

Finally my favorite so far:
  • 1 orange
  • 1 grapefruit
  • 1 pear
  • 1 apple
  • 1 sweet potato/yam
  • 4-6 celery stalks
  • 6-8 strawberries

 
 
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I'm reposting this from here.

As the semester came to a close this afternoon, I tried to figure out what to do with myself and all this new-found free time. I decided to take a break from reading and instead, started listening to an audio CD I rented from the library of Karl Barth in conversation with students when he gave his Warfield Lectures at Princeton Theological Seminary on May 2nd, 1962. I thought this particular exchange was rather wonderful:

Student: "What one thing, sir, would you tell a young pastor today if you were asked, is necessary in this day and age to pastor a Church?"

Barth: "Ah, so big a question! That is the whole question of theology, you see! I should say, I hope that during your studies you have visited yourself earnestly with the message of the Old Testament and of the New Testament. And not only of this message but also of the Object and the Subject of this message. And I would ask you, are you trained to visit not only yourself now, but a congregation with what you have learned out of the Bible and of church history and dogmatics and so on? Having to say something, having to say that thing. And then the other question: are you willing now to deal with humanity as it is? Humanity in this twentieth century with all its passions, sufferings, errors, and so on? Do you like them, these people? Not only the good Christians, but do you like people as they are? People in their weakness? Do you like them, do you love them? And are you willing to tell them the message that God is not against them, but for them? That's the one real thing in pastoral service and that is the question for you. If you go into ministry to do that work, pray earnestly. You'll do difficult work but beautiful work.

But if I had to begin anew for myself as a young pastor, I would tell myself every morning, well, here I am; a very poor creature, but by God's grace I have heard something. I will need forgiveness of my sins everyday. And I will pray, God, that you will give me the light, this light shining in the Bible and this light shining into the world in which humanity is living today. And then do my duty."  --Karl Barth

 
 
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Tomorrow, 2/12/2012 I'm starting a juice fast that will go through lunch Saturday 2/11/2012 (the wife and I have our Valentine's date that night).  I bought a Hamilton Beach Big Mouth Pro Juice Extractor (kind of a cheapy, but I couldn't/didn't want to throw too much money into it until I'd had some experience) and a lot of fruits and veggies.  I made up and froze most of my juices for tomorrow this evening and sampled each one.  My least favorite is the mid-day one I made which is heavy on beets, but all of them were pretty good.  We'll see how it goes and I may journal here a bit.  A lot of people say you shouldn't store or freeze the juices, but you can't be a perfectionist about this stuff.  I have a job and a family.  I'm sure it will be fine.