Monday, 11 July 2011

Review: Understanding Jesus - Cultural Insights Into the Words and Deeds of Christ author Joe Amaral

Modern-day readers often bring their own presuppositions and assumptions to the reading of the Bible, not realizing how deeply their understanding of Christ's life and teachings is affected by a 21st-century worldview. 

In UNDERSTANDING JESUS, author Joe Amaral delves deep into Jewish history, societal mores, and cultural traditions, closing the gap created by geographical distance and over two thousand years of history. Using a chronological approach to the life of Christ, he guides the reader through significant events such as Jesus' birth, baptism, and crucifixion, pointing out illuminating details that that the Western mind would normally miss.

Amaral's premise is that to understand Jesus, we must understand the time and place in which he was born, the background from which he drew his illustrations, and the audience he spoke to. Throughout the book he explores specific terms, places, and events for their significance and shows how they add richness and meaning to the text. Topics include the connection between Jesus and John the Baptist, the annual Feasts and why they are important to modern Christianity, Jewish customs such as foot-washing, clean and unclean foods, paying tribute to political governments, and the significance of various miracles.

In UNDERSTANDING JESUS, Amaral draws back the curtain on a way of life that existed during the reign of the Caesars, and in doing so, reveals truths about the way we live more than two thousand years later, half a world away. [Goodreads]

Understanding Jesus: Cultural Insights Into the Words and Deeds of Christ
Canadian author Joe Amaral
publisher FaithWords Apr 7.11

How would we understand the words of Yeshua Jesus if we understood His culture? 
The impact of that culture on the meaning of what He said?
This is as fascinating and insightful a read from Canadian Joe Amaral as he is to hear in person.
I gained much by reading of what would have been commonly known phrases and idioms of speech from the time of Christ's teachings.   Excellent information on distinct cultural traditions and how they play into the meaning of scripture's metaphors.   Easy  to read, accessible and enjoyable all in one.

Highly recommended!

Thursday, 24 February 2011

Review: Stumbling into Mystery author Dan Wilt

Stumbling Into Mystery eBook
author Dan Wilt

I am seriously loving my Theology of Worship course.  So much so, I'm sharing a bit of it with you today. Brief excerpts from the text written by Dan Wilt, "Stumbing into Mystery."

"Shalom is entering the world through the Spirit of God, through the way opened by Christ, and we as his followers are participating in that bringing of wholeness to the world. Empowered by the Spirit of God, we bring peace to the situations that God has given us to influence. Peace of mind, peace of heart, peace of circumstance, peace of government, peace of society, peace of relationships – in all of these arenas we are Christ’s ambassadors." 

An awesome line of thinking to follow.

"As Christ’s ambassadors, every act of forgiveness, reconciliation and hope-giving is now a new creation act – an act of shalom-making, or peace-making. We anticipate the age to come every time we make a choice to act in love, in shalom peace, and not in hatred or bitterness. We welcome and exemplify the age to come every time we as a community gather around one of us who is weak and broken. We bear the age to come every time we participate in bringing beauty into the world, whether it be in a church building or on a pub stage. We participate in acts of the new creation to come when we pray for the sick, care for the poor, pick up the fallen, confront social powers that dehumanize people, and on and on and on." 

What amazing opportunities we have all around us to be bearer's of shalom - God's shalom.  Bringers of hope - the hope with roots.  Roots that go down deep into the soil of God's love.   Hope that inspirits. 

Practical encouragement to be more than audience.  Let's take every opportunity available to us today to BE who we're called and created to be. 

Blessings on your BEING and the DOING that will result...