Magic, Religion and the Kingdom of God


This week I’m preaching on Paul and Barnabas in Cyprus and the encounter with Bar Jesus the magician.

The Magicians of Acts

There are three encounters with magicians in the book of Acts. All are highly conflictive. It is also interesting to note that all three magicians are Jewish. This is noteworthy because magic is something that was forbidden in the Mosaic law which locates the Christian Apostles on the side of Moses in opposing these magicians, something obviously important for a new religious tradition claiming to be the authentic heir of the old.

Looking Out from The Empirical Box

The topic of magic and religion is an interesting one. As I work through T.M. Luhrmann’s book “When God Talks Back” what interests me is how she approaches evaluating the Vineyard churches she is studying. She has to fit what she is encountering into a framework and the…

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WHERE THE HOMELESS SHOULD GO: Tiny Houses, Church Sites, and Civil Obligation


The Literary Table

tiny house low res (1).jpg

For the last three days I have been in Seattle Washington exploring with a group of scholars, civil leaders, and non-profit agency workers and volunteers ways to solve homelessness.  I thought I would take a few minutes to write about homelessness where I live in Savannah.

Savannah Georgia has a dramatically large homeless population compared to its population.   According to annual counts by the homeless authority, the number of homeless in Savannah has risen every year for the last three years, most recently up to more than 4600 homeless residents.  There are a number of factors that lead to the rise of homelessness — many of which are systematic and reflect our preferences for single family housing options, tourist occupants, and our disdain for public programs that seek to mitigate the underlying issues leading to homelessness.

One of the more visible projects that has emerged in recent years is…

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December 9, 1864 – Ebenezer Creek Massacre


Legal Legacy

On this day in history, the African Americans who helped push Sherman’s army through the swamp territory during his famous March to the Sea were betrayed at Ebenezer Creek, only some twenty miles from the city of Savannah, Georgia.

One of Sherman’s brigadier generals, the ironically named Jefferson C. Davis, commanded Sherman’s Fourteenth Corps. In spite of the fact that black refugees who joined the march were supplying a great deal of the labor for making the sandy roads passable for the army, Davis wasn’t fond of them. He saw them as exacerbating the food shortage problem, and slowing down the march. He was also an unrepentant supporter of slavery.

Union Army Fourteenth Corps Commander Jefferson C. Davis Union Army Fourteenth Corps Commander Jefferson C. Davis

As the troops approached Ebenezer Creek, Davis issued instructions that the black refugees remain behind until the Army had crossed the pontoon bridge. As soon as the Army and their workers were…

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A circle with the center everywhere


A Dialogue on Infinity

A collection of quotes:

Hermes Trismegistus, “thrice-great Hermes” “God is an infinite sphere, the center of which is everywhere, the circumference nowhere.” Book of the 24 Philosophers.

Alain of Lille “God is an intelligible sphere, whose center is everywhere, and whose circumference is nowhere.”

Pascal: “The whole visible world is only an imperceptible atom in the ample bosom of nature. No idea approaches it. We may enlarge our conceptions beyond all imaginable space; we only produce atoms in comparison with the reality of things. It is an infinite sphere, the center of which is everywhere, the circumference nowhere. In short, it is the greatest sensible mark of the almighty power of God that imagination loses itself in that thought.”

Also apparently, “Let him contemplate all nature in its awful and finished magnificence; let him observe that splendid luminary, set forth as an eternal lamp to enlighten the universe; let him…

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Poetic Letter. The quest path


Joëlle Jean-Baptiste – Author

The quest path. Poetic Letter.

The quest path

I will leave my beloved city,

Houses and roofs torn to rip,

Prisoner of the bloodthirsty barbarians,

Desperate, flee in this clear night of pain,

Together, we will leave this gulf,

With our powerful eternal love,

I would write the suffering endured,

To punish those who terrified us,

Long time, fighting without counting,

Caregiver my body trembling and wobbly,

Sometimes martyr or great warrior,

Witness of my monstrous battles,

Follow me, shocked victims,

Behind us our fate crumpled,

Here is the path of our happiness,

Let’s run to our good quest.

Joëlle Jean-Baptiste – Author

Poetic Letter. Inspiration about series. Thanks for your fidelity.

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