The past several Thursday nights we have been having discussion on Zoom about the various contents of "How (Not) To Read the Bible" - and we had a discussion onthe topic of world religions and the claims of Christianity. A friend of mine who isn't a Christian once said Christianity feels like it is a "My God can beat up your God" against other world faiths. Understandably so, as there are very direct claims that are made that Jesus is the one way of salvation and the path to God.
If you would like to join us on a Zoom chat for discussion on difficult Bible topics, the next one is:
Thursday, December 2 at 6 PM Pacific Time. We will be discussing the topic of violence in the Bible. It is chapters 16-18 of "How (Not) To Read the Bible" The Zoom link will be:
Meeting ID: 814 6213 3370
If you want to leave comments about this topic and I will be checking daily to interact, go to the:
I have had a lot of great interaction doing book clubs with a couple of churches going through How (Not) To Read The Bible online. We are going to be doing another one on Facebook live at 6 PM Pacific Time for six weeks on Thursday nights beginning on October 14.
Here is the event link to the first week - https://www.facebook.com/events/258415152845306
I will be going on live for some interaction about big questions such as:
- What do we make of the strange Bible verses about not eating shrimp or planting certain crops side by side or not wearing polyester blends?
- What about the Bible verses that seem to indicate God was OK with slavery?
- What about the Bible verses which are mocked as being anti-science with there being a “talking snake” or a “rib-woman” in the creation story?
- Does the Bible promote misogny?
If you can’t be there live at 6 PM Pacific time for discussion as we walk through the 6 sections of the book's contents – please leave comments and any questions on Facebook. I will be going on daily and responding to everything. Positive, negative, critiques and questions.
Zondervan Publishing is putting promos up about this 6 week book club that you may be seeing on my Page.
For those interested in the study helps for the How (Not) To Read the Bible book - I apologize for the delay. Over the summer, Zondervan Publishing has filmed six teaching sessions which will be released with a formal study book for the six videos. This video curriculum and study book will be coming out in January 2022. It will be for classes or small groups to use.
However, what will be free here on this web site are the teaching slides, set-up animated videos and two pdf study guides (for adults and for youth). if you are leading groups or teaching this. It's been a really intense last sixth months for me - my younger bother unexpectedly died. As a local church (as many of you know) its been the craziness of relaunching so many things. So I do apologize for the delays in getting these finished and posted here. If you sign up for the email updates I will send out an email the moment they are done and ready. Thank you for your interest in seeing people understand the Bible better and by doing so, understand how much God loves them and how to live the lives He wants us to.
The How (Not) To Read the Bible book came out in December and it's been super encouraging to see it being read and used in churches. The good and bad news was that the book sold out the first printing fairly quickly but then it was well over a month before the book got back in print and available again. It is now back on all the usual places you can get books.
I wrote the book with it divided into 6 clean sections so it could be used in a 6-week sermon series, or in a youth or young adult group or class. I am almost done with what will be free downloadable pdf study guides for youth and for adults - making two versions. I also will have PowerPoint and Keynote slides for teaching that will be free and downloadable and you can edit or add your church's information on it. Zondervan had 6 really great animated videos made which is 90 second set-up videos to promote a teaching series or use as set ups for the weeks of going through the book.
Study and teaching helps available by end of July
With all these study helps, I greatly apologize for the delays in getting them ready to have available. The plan now is that they will be available sometime soon here on this web site. If you sign up for the email updates (sign ups are on the home page here on the right), I will be emailing everyone on the list when they are done.
I know that groups have been using the book for book clubs and teaching already. I have dropped into a few of them and its been so fun interacting with those going through the book. If there are churches or groups that are using the book for a series or study, and if you wanted to have me pop in for a meeting, schedule-permitting I certainly can try to join you. Email me firstname.lastname@example.org if that was something you'd find helpful.
I will be starting a 6-week online summer book club going through the book section by.section on Facebook. I will be sharing how that will happen soon if you wanted to interact on that live and then in comments.
Thank you for your interest in the topics of the book as I believe they are super critical and I want to be able to support and encourage the important issue of how to make sense of the pro-violence, pro-slavery, anti-women, anti-science, anti-shrimp and other crazy sounding things in the Bible. My hope is if we grasp how to respond to these from propoerly understanding the Bible, then other difficult things will also then be able to be understood. If there is someone who can't afford the $11.99 on amazon for the book, I will personally buy one for you. I have given out all the ones I got originally, but I don't want to see anyone not be able to learn these things if they want to as it is so important.
I wish more and more church leaders were like John Dickson.
He is someone who is wicked smart and has his Masters degree in Theology and a PhD. But what I find the most refreshing is that he never forgets what it is like looking into the church and "Christianity" from the outside.
He is from Australia and we have some things in common as we both were in bands (he is a singer and I am a drummer) but we also had an elderly person who was our main influence in becoming a Christian. I got to meet the woman who was that for him when I spoke in Australia at an event once. But John is passionate about seeing the local church train people in theology - not just for head knowledge or to use to fight battles with other Christians. But learning theology to be able to share about Jesus in intelligent, kind, winsome ways with those who aren't Christian and asking questions.
In this podcast John makes a challenge to read at least 100 pages of the Bible in 2021. So we talked about what happens when you do read it and see talking snakes, slavery, a lot of violence and even unicorns. He also included a little bit of my drumming in the podcast from when I was in a band way back with my brother and my buddy Mark Frauenfelder from Boing Boing.
I received a box of copies of a book I wrote that comes out next month “How (Not) To Read The Bible: Making Sense of the Anti-women, Anti-science, Pro-violence, Pro-slavery and Other Crazy Sounding Parts of Scripture”. It’s an experience when you finally see the actual book you’ve worked on and it is now printed and you get copies before it is released. More about the book is here.
I really hope it is a helpful book for building confidence in the Bible. I am personally buying a case or two to give away to anyone who lets me know they want one and can’t afford it and wants to read it. I believe it’s such an urgent topic for today and I want anyone who does want one to be able to read this. So contact me and let me know.
It comes out in December and starting in January after the holidays, I will be posting some articles and free study guides for the book on this web site. I also will be positing some interviews with friends who did endorsements for the book about Bible verses they find the strangest and most diffuclt to understand.
I’m staring at these books that I pulled out of the box and I do like the bowling pin and book visual combo. All books look good with a bowling pin next to it.
I recently bought a new Ludwig Classic Maple Vintage Black Oyster Pearl drum kit. Becky has allowed me to turn part of our living room into a music area. I now never want to leave this room.
I know they are just drums, but they look like a beautiful art installation. Ludwig designed some sweet looking vintage chrome hardware with 1940's-50's looking chrome automobile-like features.
Behind the drums, I hung up some signed photos of big band jazz drummers Gene Krupa and Buddy Rich who have been such major influences. And I put up a large Sun Studio photo where rockabilly was pretty much birthed from and many amazing blues and roots artists recorded there. I will also be adding a Danny Seraphine item as he was/is another incredible drummer that I idolized growing up and is a living drum legend. He was the original drummer in the first version of the jazz-rock band Chicago before they later changed and became a ballad band. I know this is drum talk, so maybe not interesting to non-drummers…..
Thank you Becky, for letting me set these up in the living room. I am going to call in sick today as I just want to stay home and just look at the drums.
A few notes for drummers:
It's all Zildjian cymbals and I have a DW 9000 double-kick pedal I am learning to use. I have Low Boy Custom Beaters for the bass pedals.
Taught today that “do not judge” does not mean to never judge as so often believed. There is a wrong way and a right way to judge and who we are and aren’t to judge. So much damage had happened from incorrect judging but at the same time so much damage happens when we don’t judge correctly when we need to.
Had wonderful discussions after each gathering about how this applies to political views, progressive Christianity and theological drifts and personal things we have blinds spots we need help with from others. It shows the importance and need for local church community who knows Scripture.
In a studio in Berkeley recording the audio book for a book coming out in December.
Every single morning I now have these friends to greet me and spend time with as I start reading through the New Testament. They will be companions for the next 3 months and look forward to seeing them and spending time with them each morning.