Matt Valler's picture

Paul, power and weakness (2 Corinthians)

I was at Greenbelt festival last weekend, in the Jesus Arms (the pub) listening to an open conversation between five innovative Christian writers/thinkers. One of them was saying how he thought the Apostle Paul never really quite got over the Pharisee or the Roman citizen bit of his complex identity - a right to power that underwrote his view of the world. When Jesus went to Jerusalem and was brought before the authorities he was silent. But when Paul went to Jerusalem and was hauled before the authorities he put up quite the speech; he always knew he could end up in Rome where his rights would be protected.

Another replied with a 'Hmmm, you should read 2 Corinthians. Because this is where Paul becomes weak and all of that pretence is undone.'

Which interested me because I'd just read 2 Corinthians and concluded exactly the opposite.


Community of Readers's picture

Episode #36: Fresh dreams

Isaiah, prophet in the court of the king, starts the journey that bears his name. But it is a rollercoaster ride that takes us across two centuries of turmoil, well beyond the prophet himself into a strange new world where God must be rethought and faith reimagined. As we dive into Isaiah's murky waters we take a look at the man who shaped a nation.


Monkey's picture

The MonkeyBar Challenge Week 36

Hi everyone,

We're right on into Isaiah this week. Don't get too bogged down in it - just read! Think how swell you'll feel when you've done it!

3 Sep: Isa 3:1 – 5:7; Psalm 105:12 – 22; 2 Cor 6:3 – 7:1
4 Sep: Isa 5:8 – 8:10; Psalm 105:23 – 36; 2 Cor 7:2 – 7:16
5 Sep: isa 8:11 – 10:19; Proverbs 21:27 – 22:6; 2 Cor 8:1 – 8:15
6 Sep: Isa 10:20 – 13:22; Psalm 105:37 – 45; 2 Cor 8:16 – 9:5
7 Sep: Isa 14:1 – 16:14; Psalm 106:1 – 15; 2 Cor 9:6 – 9:15
8 Sep: Isa 17:1 – 19:25; Psalm 106:16 – 31; 2 Cor 10:1 – 10:18
9 Sep: Isa 20:1 – 23:18; Proverbs 22:7 – 16; 2 Cor 11:1 – 11:15

Enjoy!
Monkey


Community of Readers's picture

Episode #35: The still small roar

The prophet Micah is known for his simple triad: justice, mercy and humility. But is that really at the heart of his words? What about the dreams of greatness and the promise of national glory? What about the power of judgement and the holy city? And how would Jesus read Micah?


Monkey's picture

The MonkeyBar Challenge Week 35

Hi everyone,

Just four days left till The MonkeyBar Challenge: Prophets begins. Spread the word!

27 Aug: 2 Chr 29:1 – 31:1; Psalm 103:13 – 22; 2 Cor 1:12 – 1:22
28 Aug: 2 Chr 31:2 – 33:20; Proverbs 21:5 – 16; 2 Cor 1:23 – 2:11
29 Aug: 2 Chr 33:21 – 35:19; Psalm 104:1 – 18; 2 Cor 2:12 – 3:6
30 Aug: 2 Chr 35:20 – 36:23; Psalm 104:19 – 30; 2 Cor 3:7 – 3:18
31 Aug: Micah 1:1 – 4:13; Psalm 104:31 – 35; 2 Cor 4:1 – 4:18
1 Sep: Micah 5:1 – 7:20; Proverbs 21:17 – 26; 2 Cor 5:1 – 5:10
2 Sep: Isa 1:1 – 2:22; Psalm 105:1 – 11; 2 Cor 5:11 – 6:2

Have a great week,
Monkey


Community of Readers's picture

Episode #34: The way we tell it

Chronicles and Kings are histories told from different points of view. And they throw up some tricky questions. So how can we find a path to navigate through the disagreements? And how will that help us write our history. Because we way we remember our past will shape our future.


Monkey's picture

The MonkeyBar Challenge Week 34

Hi everyone,

Tell your friends: The MonkeyBar Challenge: Prophets kicks off in precisely 10 days time. It's for people who have started reading the Bible in a year and given up, either this year or before. Loads of people say to me 'Hey Monkey, I wanna do the whole Bible but every time I start I just give up around March - somewhere in Leviticus!!' Well this is my answer: just start somewhere else. The MonkeyBar Challenge: Prophets picks up from Micah on 31 Aug and then continues with Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel plus some others. You can read the New Testament passages as well, or just concentrate on sticking out the Old.

So... got stuck with reading? This is for you!!

20 Aug: 2 Chr 10:1 – 12:16; Proverbs 20:15 – 24; 1 Cor 14:1 – 14:19
21 Aug: 2 Chr 13:1 – 15:19; Psalm 101:1 – 8; 1 Cor 14:20 – 14:40
22 Aug: 2 Chr 16:1 – 18:27; Psalm 102:1 – 11; 1 Cor 15:1 – 15:34
23 Aug: 2 Chr 18:28 – 21:3; Psalm 102:12 – 17; 1 Cor 15:35 – 15:49
24 Aug: 2 Chr 21:4 – 23:21; Proverbs 20:25 – 21:4; 1 Cor 15:50 – 16:4
25 Aug: 2 Chr 24:1 – 25:28; Psalm 102:18 – 28; 1 Cor 16:5 – 16:24
26 Aug: 2 Chr 26:1 – 28:27; Psalm 103:1 – 12; 2 Cor 1:1 – 1:11

Meanwhile, enjoy this!
Monkey


Matt Valler's picture

Wisdom for the age (1 Corinthians)

Britain is broken, according to its Prime Minister. And after the riots that engulfed parts of London and elsewhere this week, he looks to be petty much right. For all its knowledge and power, my divided country feels in desperate need of some wisdom.

The church at Corinth was divided. According to Chapter 4, there were different sects within the church that followed different men, much as people of that time would follow a local ‘sophist’ – a supposed wise-man. Under the patronage of a rich person, a sophist would stick around a city for a while and teach their wisdom to whomever their host would call. It seems that Apollos, Paul, Cephas (Peter) and Christ were viewed this way.

So Paul’s letter is written in part to set them straight. Not only to tell them that Christ is more than just another name on a list of wise-men. But also to challenge the divisive nature of these petty factions, and of that wisdom itself.


Community of Readers's picture

Episode #33: Spiritually sexual

The Song of Songs is powerful love-poetry. Right at the heart of the Bible is an ode to sexual love, laced with deeply erotic imagery. How can this poem help a faith that has struggled with sex? Should it make us think differently about our sexuality, and our spirituality?


Monkey's picture

The MonkeyBar Challenge Week 33

Hi everyone,

It's the start of Rung 9 this week!! And there's a bit more of the random chop-and-change in the Old Testament. We pick up 2 Chronicles and then hop out to Song of Songs again.

13 Aug: Ecc 7:1 – 9:12; Psalm 95:1 – 11; 1 Cor 7:36 – 8:13
14 Aug: Ecc 9:13 – 12:14; Psalm 96:1 – 13; 1 Cor 9:1 – 9:18
15 Aug: 2 Chr 2:1 – 5:1; Psalm 97:1 – 12; 1 Cor 9:19 – 10:13
16 Aug: 2 Chr 5:2 – 7:10; Proverbs 20:5 – 14; 1 Cor 10:14 – 11:1
17 Aug: 2 Chr 7:11 – 9:31; Psalm 98:1 – 9; 1 Cor 11:2 – 11:34
18 Aug: Sgs 1:1 – 4:16; Psalm 99:1 – 9; 1 Cor 12:1 – 12:26
19 Aug: Sgs 5:1 – 8:14; Psalm 100:1 – 5; 1 Cor 12:27 – 13:13

Keep up the good reading!
Monkey