Author Archive

Passing the Mantle

July 29, 2010
Passing the Mantle

OT SS Lesson #29 The prophet Elisha is introduced for the first time in 1 Kings 19.  Elijah has recently had his encounter with the 400 prophets of Baal and the still small voice of God on Mt. Horeb.  On his way from the mountain to the wilderness of Damascus Elijah finds Elisha plowing in a field.  He […]

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The Divided Kingdom Today

July 15, 2010
The Divided Kingdom Today

OT SS Lesson #27 “Take an old piece of clothing,” our Sunday School lesson advises, “or a piece of paper that is cut in the shape of a piece of clothing and tear it into 12 pieces. Explain that toward the end of Solomon’s life, the prophet Ahijah prophesied that Jeroboam, one of Solomon’s 12 superintendents […]

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The Question Solomon Couldn’t Answer

July 10, 2010
The Question Solomon Couldn’t Answer

OT SS Lesson #26 Our Sunday School lesson this week attempts to deal with the conundrum with which we are faced when considering that Israel’s King Solomon, who was a paragon of wisdom having received this gift from the Lord, could make the decidedly unwise decision of marrying foreign wives and following them into idolatry. The […]

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Approaches to Psalms

July 1, 2010

OT SS Lesson #25 The Book of Psalms is one of the most beautiful and meaningful books of the Bible, and it is agonizing to realize that our Sunday School schedule only allows one lesson to cover the entire oeuvre.  In this post, I’d like to outline several possible ways to approach a one-hour lesson on […]

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King David and the Doctrine of Blood Atonement

June 24, 2010
King David and the Doctrine of Blood Atonement

OT SS Lesson #24 The following statement was made by the LDS Church last Wednesday in conjunction with the execution of Ronnie Lee Gardner by firing squad in Utah.  I see this as a misunderstanding or a misrepresentation of what was taught in the past regarding the doctrine. Mormon Church Statement on Blood Atonement In the mid-19th […]

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Homosociality and the Friendship Between David and Jonathan

June 17, 2010
Homosociality and the Friendship Between David and Jonathan

OT SS Lesson #23 The story of David and Jonathan is one of the most inspiring examples of true friendship anywhere.  Our LDS SS manual firmly places this lesson within the mainstream view of Biblical exegesis, presenting the two as strong personal and platonic friends.  As I studied the covenant made between these young men in 1 […]

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You Can’t Ride Two Donkeys With One Ass: Saul and Spiritual Rebirth

June 10, 2010
You Can’t Ride Two Donkeys With One Ass: Saul and Spiritual Rebirth

OT SS Lesson #22 Ever since I was introduced to the word “liminal,” I have claimed it as my own. This word describes a threshold or a transitional position — a balancing point between two states of being. For many years I have felt poised on the threshold between two totally different ways of viewing […]

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Patriarchal Hierarchy and the Kingship Model

June 3, 2010
Patriarchal Hierarchy and the Kingship Model

OT SS Lesson #21 When we lived in Saudi Arabia a few years ago, I obtained a faculty position in the fairly newly-formed department of Health and P.E. at a university which was strictly segregated by gender.  The women’s side of the university operated independently, with our own female custodians, technical staff, professors and administration, […]

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A Closer Look at that Virtuous Woman

May 27, 2010
A Closer Look at that Virtuous Woman

OT SS Lesson #20 Sometimes I wonder how women in the Judeo-Christian tradition got stuck with the gender role identifications they have. The Old Testament doesn’t include many detailed descriptions of women, but when they do appear, they are not what you’d think. To prove my point, I’m going to investigate two women featured in […]

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Feminist Musings on the Story of Jepthah

May 20, 2010
Feminist Musings on the Story of Jepthah

OT SS Lesson #19 You are going to talk about the Biblical Judges in this week’s Sunday School class, and the lesson’s got it pretty well covered (including a discussion of the Judge/Prophetess/Mother in Israel: Deborah, yay!) You’ll have to let me know how your respective teachers covered her.  But some of the Judges are peripheral […]

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Circumcision Rock & Roll

May 13, 2010
Circumcision Rock & Roll

OT SS Lesson #18 The advantage of blogging the SS lessons instead of teaching them is that I get to cover the chapters that are totally skipped by correlation. (This one [Joshua 5] probably for good reason, but it deserves a mention SOMEWHERE.) Everyone knows that good Jews are circumcised. God instituted the covenant with Abraham, and faithful Jews […]

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The Angel and the Ass

May 6, 2010
The Angel and the Ass

OT SS Lesson #16 The story of Balak and Balaam is a study in the marvelous complexity and richness of Biblical literature.  The pericope includes five narrative sections, four poetic prophecies, and a fable (the tale of the angel and the ass).  It also includes commentaries found elsewhere in the scriptures. When teaching this lesson […]

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Limiting Revelation: The LDS Concept of Stewardship

April 28, 2010
Limiting Revelation: The LDS Concept of Stewardship

OT SS Lesson #15 A scripture in the Doctrine & Covenants encourages us to “be anxiously engaged in a good cause, and do many things of [our] own free will, and bring to pass much righteousness.”  But I’ve noticed that there is a concept that is widespread in the LDS Church which tends to limit our engagement in good causes and even, […]

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The God of the OT vs. the Golden Calf

April 8, 2010
The God of the OT vs. the Golden Calf

OT SS Lesson #14 Sometimes I have a hard time with the Jehovah of the Old Testament. I’m not always sure how much of the anger, retribution, and striking people dead for their sins came from Him, or from the interpretation of His will by the designated prophet. Take the Golden Calf story in Exodus 32, […]

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The Seder, Social Justice, and Leroy Jessop

April 1, 2010
The Seder, Social Justice, and Leroy Jessop

OT SS Lesson #13 At a Passover Seder this week, President Barack Obama’s message to American Jews focused on social justice. Obama said that the message of the Exodus teaches of oppression to be fought and freedom to be won, and that we all have a responsibility to fight against suffering and discrimination wherever we find […]

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What Dreams May Come

March 24, 2010
What Dreams May Come

OT SS Lesson #12 Whether dreams come from the unconscious mind or directly from God, they are valuable sources of revelation. Dreams can tell us important things about ourselves and our relationships that may remain veiled deep in the psyche if we are unskilled at interpreting the symbolic language from which they present. The great […]

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The Virgin and the Whore: Thinking Beyond Joseph and Potiphar’s Wife

March 10, 2010
The Virgin and the Whore: Thinking Beyond Joseph and Potiphar’s Wife

OT SS Lesson #11 Lesson 11 in the Old Testament manual employs several stories from Genesis 34-39 to develop the theme of sexual morality. Joseph’s actions embody the “Lord’s standards” for morality and are contrasted with the actions of Shechem, Reuben, and Judah. You may notice that the featured characters in the lesson are all male. […]

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Jacob’s Ladder: More on Faith vs. Works

March 3, 2010
Jacob’s Ladder: More on Faith vs. Works

OT SS Lesson #10 Though it’s only an “additional teaching idea” in Lesson 10, Jacob’s ladder has captured my imagination due to some conversations I’ve recently had with Christian evangelicals. Jacob’s Dream woodcut, Lubeck Bible 1494 The theme of the ladder to heaven is often used by the Early Church Fathers. Their interpretations of Jacob’s […]

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Putting an Edge on Abraham

February 24, 2010
Putting an Edge on Abraham

OT SS Lesson #9 This story is so very, very familiar to us that I think it’s important to look at it with a fresh perspective.  So in this post I am including some pieces from media and the arts that force us to think about Genesis 22.  I promise you in advance that some of […]

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Where the Lord Annihilates all the Gays

February 17, 2010
Where the Lord Annihilates all the Gays

OT SS Lesson #8 “The Genesis passage is very clear, that the sin of Sodom that brought on the destruction of the city was indeed linked to homosexuality.” (R. Albert Mohler Jr., president of the Southern Baptist Seminary) “Saying that the last recorded acts of the Sodomites — the demands for same-gender sex — are proof […]

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