26 February 2010

Feb 26

Super quick post today, because it's movie night with friends. =)

Reference links:
Old Testament

Oooh, big list of things the Israelites were not allowed to do. A lot of it repeats what we have heard already. But there are some interesting bits. I like this one:
When you harvest the crops of your land, do not harvest the grain along the edges of your fields, and do not pick up what the harvesters drop. It is the same with your grape crop -- do not strip every last bunch of grapes from the vines, and do not pick up the grapes that fall to the ground. Lave them for the poor and foreigners living among you.
Leaving parts of the harvest for the poor is one good side effect of this command. Another one, perhaps the more important one, is the effect it has on the attitude of the farmer. It encourages an attitude of not squeezing every drop out of their resources. It encourages an attitude of not going for profit maximization. Economic reasoning, without the wisdom of compassion, leads to corruption and, eventually, failure. (Like with today's economic crisis. Wait, I'm still not talking about modern issues on this blog.)

Another interesting injunction that could conceivably be used to reflect upon modern matters that I am not discussing is
Do not make your hired workers wait until the next day to receive their pay. 
We also learn in today's reading that God does not like mixing things. The Israelites shall not mate different kinds of animals, plant multiple kinds of seeds in a field, or wear clothing woven from different kinds of thread.

Apparently, dishonoring parents is a capital offense. As are various sexual practices. One sexual practice that leads to banishment, but not death, is having sex with a woman during her period.
If a man has sexual relations with a woman during her menstrual period, both of them must be cut off from the community, for together they have exposed the source of her blood flow.
This seems inconsistent with Leviticus 15:24 which says,
If a man has sexual intercourse with her and her blood touches him, her menstrual impurity will be transmitted to him. He will remain unclean for seven days, and any bed on which he lies will be unclean.
Maybe the banishment is temporary? Maybe it is permanent but, by the way, the man is unclean for a week?

New Testament

I mentioned the other day that Jesus should not lose his temper at the Pharisees. I still think that. However, they must have been annoying to deal with.
When the Pharisees heard that Jesus had arrived, they came and started to argue with him. Testing him, they demanded that he show them a miraculous sign from heaven to prove his authority.
Now, I do think it was reasonable to not believe Jesus' claims unless he backed them up. That said, who would want to bother showing such a thing to people who came by specifically to argue?

Today's reading also shows just how stupid the disciples could be. Ignore, for a moment, that the disciples are supposed to be hard of heart. Ignore that they do not understand Jesus' true nature. Today's reading shows them to be just plain stupid.
But the disciples had forgotten to bring any food. They had only one loaf of bread with them in the boat. As they were crossing the lake, Jesus warned them, "Watch out! Beware of the yeast of the Pharisees and of Herod."

At this they began to argue with each other because they hadn't brought any bread. Jesus knew what they were saying, so he said, "Why are you arguing about having no bread? Don't you know or understand even yet? Are your hearts too hard to take it in? 'You have eyes -- can't you see? You have ears -- can't you hear?' Don't you remember anything at all? When I fed the 5,000 with five loaves of bread, how many baskets of leftovers did you pick up afterward?"

"Twelve," they said.

"Don't you understand yet?" he asked them.
If nothing else, Jesus has demonstrated that he can perform miracles with food. To not remember that is not hard heartedness. It's just plain dumb.

Peter declares Jesus to be the Messiah. Jesus starts talking about his upcoming death. Peter reprimands him for this. Jesus tells Peter, "Get away from me, Satan!" Again, I think Jesus overreacts here. So far, Jesus really does not come across as a particularly even headed.

Psalms and Proverbs

Another psalm filled with praise. Also, accepting discipline is good, ignoring it is will cause you to be bad.