Community of Readers's picture

Episode #40: Coward or hero?

Jeremiah is a man plagued by failure. As a prophet for Judah, living through her darkest hour, he does little to stem the tide of demise. So what of the visionary or the dreamer? Will this sobering tale of mediocrity compel us to bury our heads in the sand or put our hearts on the line?


Monkey's picture

The MonkeyBar Challenge Week 40

Hi everyone,

Another major prophet gets properly underway this week. But don't worry - he's easier to read than the last one! Just hold on tight and keep on swinging!

1 Oct: Jer 2:31 – 4:9; Psalm 115:12 – 18; Phip 2:12 – 2:30
2 Oct: Jer 4:10 – 5:31; Psalm 116:1 – 11; Phip 3:1 – 4:1
3 Oct: Jer 6:1 – 7:29; Proverbs 24:5 – 14; Phip 4:2 – 4:23
4 Oct: Jer 7:30 – 9:16; Psalm 116:12 – 19; Col 1:1 – 1:23
5 Oct: Jer 9:17 – 11:17; Psalm 117:1 – 2; Col 1:24 – 2:5
6 Oct: Jer 11:18 – 13:27; Psalm 118:1 – 16; Col 2:6 – 2:23
7 Oct: Jer 14:1 – 15:21; Proverbs 24:15 – 22; Col 3:1 – 4:1

Enjoy!
Monkey


Life United - Philippians

Having not written anything on the Bible since graduating eight years ago with a degree in it, I was really questioning why I’d agreed to this. After locating mine and actually having to wipe dust off, I felt a familiar sense of trepidation as I turned to Philippians. My usual experience of the Bible is to start reading, quickly become irritated, confused or frustrated with questions of application, modern Christian living, an inconsistent view of God and not having a clue what to make of any of it – then shoving it straight back on the shelf until I can brave it again. Hence the dust.

But I was ready for another go. So thinking as positively as I could, I read all the way through Philippians. Twice.

Then ensued a morning of tearful frustration as my mind was drowning in ideas about loss and gain and Timothy and Epaphroditus, in racing and straining and what does any of this mean to my little life at home looking after my kids? And does this letter written to people hundreds of years ago in a completely different culture by a man who knows nothing about my life have anything to say to me? And if not, why am I reading it? Why on earth am I trying to write anything about it?

The Bible went on the shelf. I went to bed. But on waking up the next day one word was sticking in my mind; floating around my brain: "unity."


Matt Valler's picture

The Power of the Cross - Galatians

Preface

It was 10 years ago, almost to the day. I was sat in a theology lecture at the start of a course which was to reshape my faith forever. A passing remark from the lecturer, thrown into the conversation like a proverb plucked from a hard-learned memory, has stuck with me. When Paul narrates his story to the Galatians, he says that after his dramatic conversion he took himself off to the Arabian Desert and waited fourteen years before discussing his gospel with the other apostles. ‘You’ll encounter new ideas here’, said my lecturer. ‘Don’t rush to share them, but take your time; fourteen years if you need to. There’s no shame in waiting, but there definitely is wisdom.’

I say this because, other than issues of sexuality, it seems to me that the doctrine of the atonement is the most contentious issue in the (broadly) evangelical church today, certainly here in the UK.


Community of Readers's picture

Episode #39: Healing the hate

Nahum dances on Assyria's grave. Obadiah spits across the fence at Edom. Two prophets, each responding to rage, illuminate the shadowy places of our souls, especially those where bitterness lays its poisonous spawn. What should we do in the face of a world torn apart by conflict and scarred by its wounds? Can a third prophet, Zephaniah, help us?


Monkey's picture

The MonkeyBar Challenge Week 39

Hi everyone,

Just four days to go and the giant beast that is Isaiah will be slain!! Well - you'll have finished reading it anyway. And what an achievement that will be!

You get to knock off a prophet per day for a couple before we begin the fantastic epic that is Jeremiah.

24 Sep: isa 57:14 – 59:21; Psalm 111:1 – 10; Eph 3:1 – 3:21
25 Sep: Isa 60:1 – 62:12; Proverbs 23:19 – 28; Eph 4:1 – 4:16
26 Sep: Isa 63:1 – 65:16; Psalm 112:1 – 10; Eph 4:17 – 5:7
27 Sep: Isa 65:17 – 66:24; Psalm 113:1 – 9; Eph 5:8 – 5:33
28 Sep: Nahum 1:1 – 3:19; Psalm 114:1 – 8; Eph 6:1 – 6:24
29 Sep: Zeph 1:1 – 3:20; Proverbs 23:29 – 24:4; Phip 1:1 – 1:26
30 Sep: Jer 1:1 – 2:30; Psalm 115:1 – 11; Phip 1:27 – 2:11

Enjoy!
Monkey


Community of Readers's picture

Episode #38: A dream worth living

With the Israelite community resettled in their homeland, the prophets of Isaiah grappled with life after Exile. Their earlier promises had not come true. Why not? And what could they do about it? As we relive this ancient prophecy we ask deep questions of justice, identity and our future together.


Monkey's picture

The MonkeyBar Challenge Week 38

Hi everyone,

We're still in Isaiah, but the end is in sight! Keep going - and check out the video blogs if you're struggling to make sense of it. In the New Testament we changing a letter a week as we storm through the Epistles.

17 Sep: Isa 41:1 – 42:25; Proverbs 22:28 – 23:9; Gal 3:10 – 3:25
18 Sep: Isa 43:1 – 44:23; Psalm 108:1 – 5; Gal 3:26 – 4:20
19 Sep: Isa 44:24 – 46:13; Psalm 108:6 – 13; Gal 4:21 – 5:6
20 Sep: Isa 47:1 – 49:7; Psalm 109:1 – 20; Gal 5:7 – 5:26
21 Sep: Isa 49:8 – 51:16; Proverbs 23:10 – 18; Gal 6:1 – 6:18
22 Sep: Isa 51:17 – 54:17; Psalm 109:21 – 31; Eph 1:1 – 1:23
23 Sep: Isa 55:1 – 57:13; Psalm 110:1 – 7; Eph 2:1 – 2:22

Enjoy!
Monkey


Community of Readers's picture

Episode #37: The dark days are over

With the holy city of Jerusalem destroyed and the Temple gone the community in exile began to dream. The 'Isaiah' of its middle chapters is a feat of bold imagination. But do we miss the significance of their words because we know how the story played out? And what would have happened if this prophecy had not been birthed?


Monkey's picture

The MonkeyBar Challenge Week 37

Hi everyone,

Hope you're enjoying the readings - particularly if you've just joined for The MonkeyBar Challenge: Prophets! For those of you reading the New Testament, we're at that stage in the year where we really start to whizz through the smaller letters. So, hold onto your hats!

10 Sep: Isa 24:1 – 26:21; Psalm 106:32 – 39; 2 Cor 11:16 – 11:33
11 Sep: Isa 27:1 – 28:29; Psalm 106:40 – 48; 2 Cor 12:1 – 12:10
12 Sep: Isa 29:1 – 30:18; Psalm 107:1 – 9; 2 Cor 12:11 – 12:21
13 Sep: Isa 30:19 – 32:20; Proverbs 22:17 – 27; 2 Cor 13:1 – 13:14
14 Sep: Isa 33:1 – 35:10; Psalm 107:10 – 22; Gal 1:1 – 1:24
15 Sep: Isa 35:1 – 37:38; Psalm 107:23 – 32; Gal 2:1 – 2:10
16 Sep: Isa 38:1 – 40:31; Psalm 107:33 – 43; Gal 2:11 – 3:9

Enjoy!
Monkey