It’s easy for us to forget that the message of Jesus and the entire Bible come from an intensely Hebrew context and worldview. Jesus was a Jew teaching Jews, and bringing the words of scripture back to their original Hebrew language and setting, understanding what the first Jewish hearers of those words would have understood, is the closest we can come to their original intent.
Dave Brisbin | 12.11.16
In the run up to Christmas, what does the infancy narratives in Luke and Matthew have to tell us that is relevant to our day to day lives and choices? Especially, what are the details in those narratives that, understood from a first century, Jewish point of view, can not only make the story real, but clue us in to the central principles the authors were trying to convey? When we know what the word that has been translated as “inn” really means—start erasing our modern western concepts—the story takes on new life.
Dave Brisbin | 9.25.16
How important is prayer? A kneejerk reaction says of course it’s important, essential to our spiritual lives. But a more important question may be what kind of prayer is essential to our spiritual lives? When you take all the different types of prayer that we commonly think of as prayer—recited prayer, freeform prayer, petition, intercession, thanksgiving, praise—what is common to all of them are words. Words form the basis of most if not all our prayers, and yet words can never capture the deepest parts of our spirituality or the relationship we have with a God who can’t be seen or expressed in any way. The Hebrew word for prayer, slotha, points back to the roots, sela, which is actually a hunting term for laying a snare or setting a trap.
Dave Brisbin | 9.18.16
The Bible makes a big deal about knowing God. There are dozens of references to knowing that tell us this is an area to which we should pay attention. And we have been, but the solution of Western Christianity for the past 500 years to search scripture for any and every bit and piece of data to add to our collected theology has nothing to do with what the writers of scripture had in mind. To know in Hebrew is something borne of long, close association. It is an experiential knowing that could never come out of a book. Our word for such knowing is intimacy, and tellingly both words also serve as euphemisms for sexual relations: the closest and most intense knowing we experience as humans.
Dave Brisbin | 6.19.16
Fathers’ Day: Ancient Hebrews envisioned their God the way they experienced the patriarchs of their clans—as king, judge, executioner, administrator—as the strength of their houses, which is what the Hebrew word for father, Ab, actually means. And though they also had a balancing notion of God as mother too, as wisdom, compassion, love—the glue that held the family together—it was Ab by which they referred to God. Jesus had an ingenious solution to create balance. He called God his “abba,” the name children would use for their fathers…a term of intimacy and affection.
Dave Brisbin | 5.15.16
Jesus is often seen, from a modern, Western viewpoint as a social reformer, a radical revolutionary, the founder of a new religion, working to tear down existing systems in favor of the poor and marginalized. Though Jesus was revolutionary in his expression of his relationship with God/Father, to see him as a social reformer or radical is to misunderstand his message, mission, and Jewishness.
Dave Brisbin | 5.8.16
On Mother’s Day, we look at the role of mothers and fathers in ancient Hebrew society as illustrated in the language itself. Father in Hebrew means “strong house” and mother means “strong water,” that when understood in context means the “glue that holds the family together.” Strong house and strong water speak to the necessity of both doing and being, of accomplishment and relationship that undergird human life as a whole. We won’t find meaning and purpose without both father and mother in our lives, and we won’t find God either.
dr. rocco errico | 4.3.16
Renowned international Aramaic scholar Dr. Rocco Errico, founder of the Aramaic Institute and long time student of Dr. George Lamsa, joins us to present Jesus’ model prayer, what we call the Lord’s Prayer, from a deeply Aramaic, Semitic point of view.
dave brisbin | 3.20.16
On Palm Sunday, we look again at our expectations and biases and try to pry loose all we think we know of Jesus: from what he looks like to what we believe of his mission and teachings to test whether we, like those greeting Jesus along the streets of Jerusalem would miss the moment of our visitation.
dave brisbin | 3.6.16
As we look at religion and church practice, it all looks so polarized, so black and white, right and wrong—so binary, as if all our spirituality comes down to a choosing of sides. Which side is right and has the power to save and which does not. A young poet writes about why he hates religion and lists all the evils for which religion is responsible. Religion is bad; Jesus didn’t do religion; Jesus ended religion. Really? Jesus didn’t do religion?
dave brisbin | 12.27.15
As Christmas moves into the rearview, there is one more look we should give the birth narratives to see what they may have for us herenow. It’s always the tiny details of a story that give it its authenticity, show that the storyteller was fully present to the moments described. And in Jesus’ birth narratives we have some details that shouldn’t be missed: wrapped in cloths, lying in a manger, no room at the inn. These details have graced millions of nativity scenes for two millennia, but do we have them right?