There are many ideas about the purpose and function of the ephod's urim and thummim, but the Bible says little. The urim are mentioned a grand total of four times in the Five Books of Moses and only three more times elsewhere.
Gladwell adopts the story for the title and introduction to his latest book, which is about how such lopsided conflicts can produce surprising results. He brings to his account of this familiar story new research to suggest that the conventional interpretations miss the point. Unfortunately it his account which misses the point.
Jews tend to be nervous about the numbers of Jews in the world, with a demographic anxiety that has become a major cottage industry.
God makes a home for the lonely. It is a place where he can work in us; it is a place that can be very beneficial to us. It is not a place to avoid for you are not ever alone. God will never forsake you, but he will transform you.
As people of faith, we sometimes don't take time to prepare ourselves for what is ahead. With so many things vying for our time and attention, it is difficult to educate ourselves about all facets of critical matters.
For millennia, many readers of the Bible (including me) have experienced the moments when the Voice pronounces a new Name to Moses as among the moment...
As climate change comes crashing down upon us, we will face many hard choices between saving species and saving individual animals. Should we follow Noah's lead?
One of the most disturbing commonalities is the capacity of small group leaders to ignore what's going on in and among the group in real-time, instead tending exclusively to what they believe is the subject at hand (usually bible study). In so doing, they grossly limit the power of the group to make operative Christ's work in their midst.
Listen to sermons throughout religious America and you are likely to hear variations on the lofty principle featured in both the Old and New Testaments: "Love your neighbor as yourself." But as we well know talk can be cheap.
What would it be like to "recalculate" what you're owed, cutting that amount by half?
In the midst of the post-flood re-creation stories in this week's Torah reading, we find two different responses to the tragedy of the world's destruction.
Tight finances and challenging personal situations have sent many of us to the sweets and chocolate shelves for comfort. This was true as well during the Colonial Period when pastoral habits and ministrations included drinking chocolate.
Twenty first century readers of the Scriptures are likely uncomfortable with the book of Lamentations and its stories of weeping, groaning, and grieving. But, the act of lamenting is not unique to biblical Israelites.
As humdrum as it may sound, what led me out of my rebellious period was simply the nagging sense that there had to be more to life than what I was experiencing -- there had to be more to who I was than what this world was telling me.
The economy doesn't actually have needs, desires or preferences - we do. If our elected representatives, now working on the economy's behalf, want to screw us, we at least deserve dinner first. Something a little nicer than you can purchase with food stamps.
Our task is to find new words, new vessels for that old wine of deep spiritual awareness, words that can awaken minds formed in our scientific age and help us to transform our ways of living while there is still time.