Third Time’s Not a Charm

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We Christians assume that God’s love is unconditional and that it is never too late to change our ways. Although comforting, this idea contradicts the story of the Bible. Yes, it’s true, God is patient. In fact, he is so patient in the Bible that by the time you get to the New Testament, his patience is running out. In each of his letters, St. Paul repeats a stern warning: you were given an opportunity to repent and you failed. You are now on your second chance. Be wary: the Lord is coming soon for the third and final time, and it will not be a charm. Richard and Fr. Marc conclude their reading of 2 Corinthians.

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(Episode 141; 2 Corinthians 13); Subscribe: http://feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature; “Drankin Song” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http:// creativecommons .org/ licenses /by/3.0/)

It’s Not a Two-way Street

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In broken families, parents complain that their children “owe” them and children delude themselves that their parents “need” them. From each perspective, the relationship devolves into extortion. A broken parent shames their child because they want repayment, “after everything [they] did for them.” In stark contrast, St. Paul shames his children, not to extract worldly honor or repayment for himself, but to pressure them to become providers for the sake of others, canceling out a child’s sense of entitlement and self-importance. True parents, St. Paul explains, do not need anything from their children, except that they do the commandments of God. Richard and Fr. Marc review 2 Corinthians 12:14-21.

Listen: https://tracking.feedpress.it/link/15937/4801042/marcboulos-20160922063421-9789.mp3

(Episode 140; 2 Corinthians 12:14-21); Subscribe: http://feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature; “Zig Zag” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http:// creativecommons .org/ licenses /by/3.0/)

Silence is Not Golden

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What good would it be if a man were to ascend to the highest heaven and return with nothing to say? Would you be impressed by him? Would you brag about him to others? If so, what would you say? If this man has nothing to say about his so-called revelation, what is there to brag about? I know how some of you will answer. You will talk about his feelings and the life-changing wonder of having such an experience. Unfortunately, your feelings, your experience and 50 cents will not buy me a cup of coffee. Actually, in 2016, your feelings, your experience and $2 will not buy me a cup of coffee. But I digress…

Listen: https://tracking.feedpress.it/link/15937/4801045/marcboulos-20160915060601-3492.mp3

(Episode 139; 2 Corinthians 12:1-13); Subscribe: http://feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature; “Super Cool Dude” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http:// creativecommons .org/ licenses /by/3.0/)

Let No One Think Me Foolish

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People embrace social norms in much the same way that fundamentalists embrace religious rules: as a means of self-approval. A person feigns modesty either to win acceptance or to exemplify correctness. That’s why St. Paul’s disciples in 2 Corinthians are so distressed by his boasting. Not only because his behavior is socially unacceptable and grossly immodest, but because in human eyes, his cause for boasting is even more absurd than his arrogance. Richard and Fr. Marc discuss 2 Corinthians 11:16-33.

Listen: https://tracking.feedpress.it/link/15937/4801048/marcboulos-20160908065654-1907.mp3

(Episode 138; 2 Corinthians 11:16-33); Subscribe: http://feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature; “Curse of the Scarab” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http:// creativecommons .org/ licenses /by/3.0/)

The Great Corinthian Brain Hack

System Failure
How can a teacher reach someone who is set in their ways or engulfed by ideology? What if the way a person looks at the world–their unstated assumption about everything–is backwards? Is it possible to help them reason their way out? Can you talk someone out of their own ego? According to St. Paul, the answer is no–“we are not to quarrel about words, which does no good, but only ruins the hearers.” (2 Timothy 2:14) So how does Paul reach his disciples in Roman Corinth? Before modern computers, there was another form of dangerous malware. It was a kind of analog software, distributed by God himself, through “the hands of Moses in letters divinely inscribed.” Richard and Fr. Marc discuss 2 Corinthians 11:1-15.

Listen: https://tracking.feedpress.it/link/15937/4801050/marcboulos-20160901070708-1708.mp3

(Episode 137; 2 Corinthians 11:1-15); Subscribe: http://feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature; “Severe Tire Damage” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http:// creativecommons .org/ licenses /by/3.0/)

A Yo Yo for Your Sake

Human Morality

Unfortunately, Christians often co-opt the Bible to justify philosophical axioms, such as, “it is good to be humble,” or, “it is wrong to boast;” “it is good to be nice,” or, “cruelty is evil.” You get the point. We take the Bible, which turns human morality on its head, and we use it to justify the way that we think people should be. But in Paul’s teaching, there is no “way to be.” On the contrary, there is a teaching to follow, and for that teaching, boasting can be as useful as humility and cruelty as helpful as kindness. Everything depends on our premise and the reference for our actions. Richard and Fr. Marc discuss 2 Corinthians 10.

Listen: https://tracking.feedpress.it/link/15937/4801062/marcboulos-20160825063002-9316.mp3

(Episode 136; 2 Corinthians 10); Subscribe: http://feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature; “Vicious” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http:// creativecommons .org/ licenses /by/3.0/)

No Thanks to You

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Is it possible to do something good without allowing yourself to take credit? I’m not talking about haughty expressions of socially encouraged self-deprecation. On the contrary, is it possible to do something good while knowing–with absolute certainty–that you are not good and that you do not deserve any credit? What is a selfless act? Some would say it is impossible. Thankfully, with God all things are possible. Richard and Fr. Marc discuss 2 Corinthians 9.

Listen: https://tracking.feedpress.it/link/15937/4801092/marcboulos-20160818050957-4654.mp3

(Episode 135; 2 Corinthians 9); Subscribe: http://feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature; “Dreamer” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http:// creativecommons .org/ licenses /by/3.0/)

The Bus Keeps Moving

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People tend to overestimate their own importance while ignoring–or at least underestimating–the value of others. This problem is keenly felt in the church at Roman Corinth, where Paul uses the success of others to realign the self-view of his disciples. Richard and Fr. Marc discuss 2 Corinthians 8:16-24.

Listen: https://tracking.feedpress.it/link/15937/4801106/marcboulos-20160810172052-5917.mp3

(Episode 134; 2 Corinthians 8:16-24); Subscribe: http://feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature; “Peaceful Desolation” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http:// creativecommons .org/ licenses /by/3.0/)

True Equality is Not Fair

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On some level, people recognize the importance of being fair. We know that our laws should treat people equally and we understand that no one should take more than their “fair share” from anyone else. From the moment we step on the playground as kids until the day we calculate our retirement pay, we live and operate in a world that frames equality in terms of reciprocity. But what if equality could not be achieved by fairness? Worse, what if true equality meant cheating everyone? Would we still demand equality? Fortunately, it’s not what we demand, but what St. Paul commands, that truly counts. Richard and Fr. Marc discuss 2 Corinthians 8:1-15.

Listen: https://tracking.feedpress.it/link/15937/4801110/marcboulos-20160804055328-4759.mp3

(Episode 133; 2 Corinthians 8:1-15); Subscribe: http://feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature; “Secret of Tikki Island” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http:// creativecommons .org/ licenses /by/3.0/)

The Story of God’s Will

Confidence

Life coaches love to talk about having confidence in their clients and the importance of building self-worth and self-esteem. Fortunately, for the church in Roman Corinth, Paul does not view his followers as customers and he definitely does not have confidence in them. On the contrary, Paul’s boldness is in God’s teaching at work in his children. St. Paul’s hope is not in the ability of his disciples, but in the power of the teaching to manifest its fruit on its own terms. Richard and Fr. Marc discuss 2 Corinthians 7:8-16.

Listen: https://tracking.feedpress.it/link/15937/4801112/marcboulos-20160728064115-1722.mp3

(Episode 132; 2 Corinthians 7:8-16); Subscribe: http://feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature; “Nonstop” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http:// creativecommons .org/ licenses /by/3.0/)