How Many Times Do I Have to Ask?


Communities and individuals always overestimate their own importance and abilities. This illusion is reinforced by the self-serving narratives we create to bolster confidence in ourselves and in our institutions. Nations, religions, ideologies, communities, families—everyone—down to the last individual, is compromised by this dangerous lie. Jonah disobeyed the word of the Lord, yet, when questioned about his identity, he boasted, “I am a Hebrew, and I fear the Lord God of heaven who made the sea and the dry land.” (1:9) Soon after, Jonah (who supposedly feared the Lord) had to be forced to obey the same, against his will. Did God listen to Jonah’s prayer, or simply endure it? Did Jonah repent—literally, did he choose to “turn” and go in the correct direction—or was God forced to turn him around?

The story of Jonah follows the storyline of the Bible: the word of the Lord is for all nations and acts on everyone’s behalf, despite ourselves. No one is exceptional. No one is good. In fact, in God’s eyes, we all look the same, no matter who we are, where we are from or how we see ourselves. Is Jonah different than the Ninevites? Perhaps, in this way alone: God did not need to force the Ninevites to obey his word, and he only had to ask them once.

Richard and Fr. Marc discuss Jonah 3.


Episode 217 Jonah 3; Subscribe:; “Smooth Lovin” Kevin MacLeod ( ( Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http:// creativecommons .org/ licenses /by/3.0/

The Syrian Desert


Fr. Paul discusses the importance of the geography of the Syrian Desert as the setting for the Scriptural story. (Episode 5)


From this week’s show:

The Word is in Control


Students of the Bible typically overstate the importance of Jonah’s prayer from the belly of the whale, assuming that he was vomited onto the dry land because of repentance; but a closer look at the text of the prayer tells a different story. Was Jonah vomited up because of a profound conversion from disobedience, or is something else going on? The answer to this question is only apparent when we read the Bible as literature, allowing the storyline—not our assumptions about piety—to control how we hear the words of the prophet. In Jonah, it is the Word of the Lord, not the prophet, that is in control. From the very beginning—with or without his prayers—Jonah’s destination was never in question.

Richard and Fr. Marc discuss Jonah 2.


Episode 216 Jonah 2; Subscribe:; “Hot Pursuit” Kevin MacLeod ( ( Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http:// creativecommons .org/ licenses /by/3.0/

Genesis 1-11


Fr. Paul reviews critical aspects of Genesis 1-11 and how this section of the Bible “controls” the broader scriptural story. (Episode 4)


Remedial Prophecy


“Obey everything [your teachers] teach you, but do not do as they do, for they do not practice what they teach.” (Matthew 23:3) Like the warning, “do not judge,” (Matthew 7) this beautiful admonition is often abused to lessen the burden of our accountability as disciples. We do not want to be corrected, so we say “who are you to judge?” Likewise, we do not like the pressure a teacher places on us, so we complain about the teacher’s example, “why should I listen to someone who can’t follow their own advice?” But for those who submit to the biblical God, both questions are wicked and betray a latent disrespect for the Lord’s authority. The admonition, “do not judge,” is not for everyone. It’s for you. So too, the instruction relayed by a teacher and the pressure placed on you, are a gift, to you. The teacher is just the courier. If a letter from Almighty God, “Dear you, you may not become a mailman,” is carried to you by a mailman, would you tell God, but he’s a mailman? Yes, you would, and that’s your problem. You could learn a thing or two from the gentile sailors in Jonah.

Richard and Fr. Marc discuss Jonah 1:11-17.


Episode 215 Jonah 1:11-17; Subscribe:; “Samba Isobel” Kevin MacLeod ( ( Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http:// creativecommons .org/ licenses /by/3.0/

Saved Under the Regime


Beginning with Exodus and Esther, Fr. Paul analyzes terminology and narrative structure to explain the biblical contrast drawn between slavery to human masters and slavery to the good and beneficent master. (Episode 3)


The Sword of the Spirit

When faced with a conflict between two parties, our natural tendency is to assume that there is a right side and a wrong side. Why? Because we fancy ourselves to be right, or we imagine that we can become right, and thus fail to see what is obvious in Scripture: beginning with ourselves, in the presence of the Lord, all parties are wrong. In the story of Jonah, the prophet was sent to “Nineveh the great city” in order to “cry against it,” because “their wickedness” had caught the attention of the Lord. In any other literary genre, the one sent to confront Nineveh would be understood as the protagonist—but not in the Bible. In Jonah, as throughout the biblical canon, the prophet is able to expose the sins of others because he himself is exposed by the teaching, so that, as Paul says, “no human being might boast in the presence of God.” (1 Corinthians 1:29)

Richard and Fr. Marc discuss Jonah 1:1-10.


Episode 214 Jonah 1:1-10; Subscribe:; “Backbay Lounge” Kevin MacLeod ( ( Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http:// creativecommons .org/ licenses /by/3.0/

Biblos Geneseos

In this week’s episode, Fr. Paul discusses Biblos Geneseos in the Gospel of Matthew and in the greater context of Scripture. (Episode 2)


Arise, O God, Judge the Earth

Psalm 82

1 God has taken his place in the divine council; in the midst of the gods he holds judgment:
2 “How long will you judge unjustly and show partiality to the wicked?
3 Give justice to the weak and the fatherless; maintain the right of the afflicted and the destitute.
4 Rescue the weak and the needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked.”
5 They have neither knowledge nor understanding, they walk about in darkness; all the foundations of the earth are shaken.
6 I say, “You are gods, sons of the Most High, all of you;
7 nevertheless, you shall die like men, and fall like any prince.”

8 Arise, O God, judge the earth; for to thee belong all the nations!

Richard and Fr. Marc conclude their discussion of Mark with a review of chapter 16:14-30.


Episode 213 Mark 16:14-30; Subscribe:; “RetroFuture Clean” Kevin MacLeod ( ( Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http:// creativecommons .org/ licenses /by/3.0/

The Rise of Scripture

In the first episode of our new show, “Tarazi Tuesdays,” we are re-broadcasting a lecture presented by Fr. Paul on January 12, 2018. The talk was given during a book signing at St. George Antiochian Orthodox Church in Phoenix, Arizona. The content makes for an excellent introduction to the series. Enjoy!  (Episode 1)


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