holidays and theology

one of my favorite things is an unexpected holiday. and, i sometimes have quite a few of these, because i almost always forget when we have a monday off. there’s nothing that feels better than to realize on sunday, after you have been stressing out over whatever work and reading you have to do, that your worries and fears are unfounded because you actually don’t have class on monday!

now, tomorrow is not a monday, but it is sort of an unexpected holiday, because i just remembered that my knowledge class (phil 184) is cancelled for tomorrow. it’s even in the syllabus. so that makes me happy.

i had bible study tonight at bv’s apartment. it brought up a lot of good questions which hopefully i’ll have time to ponder about over the next week. the focus of the study was the early life of jacob. the stories are simple, and maybe a little quirky, unless you look deeper. if you look deeper, you find yourself in a whole mess of questions. at the very least you’ll notice some definitely personal traits of god. for instance (and this is all in Genesis 27 or thereabouts) i wonder about rebekah and jacob. rebekah heard from god that jacob would rule over esau (=get the birthright/blessing). so why did rebekah and jacob resort to deception to actually get jacob the blessing? if you say that this was the method god chose to give jacob the blessing, you have to ask yourself: is god the cause of deception? i’m not sure i want to say that. and jacob comes off as such a jerk–demanding esau’s birthright for a simple bowl of stew. some possible words of jesus come to mind about feeding the hungry out of love. so–jacob is downright mean (and sure esau takes the bait and is diminished in spirit, displaying his true character, but this does not necessarily excuse jacob), isaac is downright disobedient of god’s supposed wish (that jacob receive the blessing) in desiring to give the blessing to esau, rebekah is deceptively crafty, and esau is whiny and ‘godless’ (hebrews 12). first of all, it amazes me that god would pick such a nice group of people to establish his invasion into the world. but, i guess the new testament puts this into a better perspective: (my paraphrase) ‘do you think that esau and jacob had done anything good or bad in the womb? but before they were born god chose jacob, to demonstrate his election, not by works, but by grace’. so, of course jacob didn’t deserve to be put over esau any more than he was a good person (smart and crafty, but certainly with an eye only for himself). ah, but grace (understood retroactively here) changes everything, and makes clear why god would seem to bless jacob for deception–he’s not blessing jacob for the deception, and the blessings are not the result of jacob’s deception or craftiness–but instead they are simply the result of god’s undeserved favor. and now i suppose the point should be obvious as should be the reason the author of hebrews chose this old testament passage to talk about.

this blog business is taking up too much time, certainly. but perhaps it will be useful to myself and/or others.

oh, and if you’re wondering what the funny characters are at the top, they read va suran tela — ‘almost there’ (lit. i’m almost there — it’s illegal not to have a verb in a sentence in enaselvai).

and with that i am out for the night, possibly to play guitar or read or watch a movie to celebrate my freedom tomorrow morning.

countdown to london trip: T-8 days.

virtual disc on spin: kid a, radiohead

Author: Jonathan Lipps

Jonathan is a Director of Open Source at Sauce Labs, leading a team of open source developers to improve the web and mobile testing ecosystem. Apart from being the project lead of Appium, he has worked as a programmer in tech startups for over a decade, but is also passionate about academic discussion. Jonathan has master's degrees in philosophy and linguistics, from Stanford and Oxford respectively. Living in Vancouver BC, he's an avid rock climber, yogi, musician, and writer on topics he considers vital, like the relationship of technology to what it means to be human. Visit jonathanlipps.com for more.

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