Category Archives: Further In and Higher Up

Jesus Is the Elephant and King!

By Layton Friesen

There is an old story about a king, watching his blind servants gathering around an elephant trying to figure out what this object is. Each blind servant gets hold of one part of the elephant. One grabs the tail and thinks the elephant is a ropey thing. Another grabs the leg and claims he’s found a tree trunk. Another touches the side of the elephant and declares it’s a flat wall.

This story has become a modern-day legend often used to show how all of us only have a part of the truth. All religions are like these blind servants, we are told, holding their elephant-y body part, loudly proclaiming their view as the whole truth. The lesson we are taught is that what we think true is only a body part—a tail, but certainly not an elephant. Continue reading Jesus Is the Elephant and King!

Be Forgiven, You Vanquished, Conquered Warrior

by Layton Friesen

What exactly is God’s problem with us?

When you look at our cure, you have to conclude we have a major sickness. In the story of the unforgiving servant (Matthew 18:21–35), the King, representing God, forgives the servant 10,000 talents of debt. A day-labourer, I am told, might pay that in 20 years, if he spent money on nothing else. Jesus is using exaggerated figures to make a point: God has given you a mind-blowing forgiveness, now go and forgive your fellow servant likewise. Continue reading Be Forgiven, You Vanquished, Conquered Warrior

The Limits of Bible Background

by Layton Friesen

A Bible study leader will often say “in order to understand this verse I need to tell you about the background to this passage.” The leader then describes pagan religion in Ephesus, or farming practices in Palestine, or shame and honour in the Roman empire, and everyone comes to a better understanding of the passage. This is important. If I am reading the apostle John as if he were some white guy sitting in a cubicle in Saskatoon, I am going to seriously misunderstand his gospel. Continue reading The Limits of Bible Background

A Cornered Cat or Hungry for Honey?

by Layton Friesen

Christians have a complicated relationship with the law of Moses.
As far as we can tell, Jesus and Paul kept Moses’ law faithfully all their lives. For them this was part of how they lived their Christian lives. But in passages like 1 Cor. 15:56 and Rom. 7:5 the law is described as arousing sinfulness, goading it in almost demonic fashion. Continue reading A Cornered Cat or Hungry for Honey?