Genesis 19 – A Salt Victim

As a child, I was terrified by stories in which people were turned to stone. Medusa was the most horrifying of monsters to me, and the narrated portion of Conan the Adventurer’s opening freaked out my business. And it didn’t even have to be human people, or even stone necessarily! Trolls were the bad guys in The Hobbit and The World of David the Gnome, but scenes in which the rising sun turned them to stone still gave me the jibblies. I declined to see Ernest: Scared Stupid with my brother and father. And even when my brother and I rented it in high school, the numerous organic-to-mineral transmutations in Return to Oz left me unsettled. But I’ve saved the best for last: my first encounter with this harrowing phenomenon was drawn directly from today’s passage.

Genesis 3 – Weezer, Inverse Narnia, and Inappropriate Peer-to-Teen Choice Behaviors

I think I was in fourth grade when I first heard Weezer’s “The Sweater Song.” I was at the pool at Queen City Racquet Club, and one of the teenage lifeguards must have been playing The Blue Album, because I also remember hearing “Surf Wax America” and “Buddy Holly” over the snack bar speakers. It would be years before I heard “Buddy Holly” again, recognized it, and finally put a name to the band and songs that I’d heard as a kid at the pool. But Genesis 3 reads like the chorus of “The Sweater Song,” with God’s perfect garden unraveling and leaving the man and woman, the only two beings made in his image, lying naked and ashamed on the floor. The world is coming apart.

Acts 16 – Sometimes the Best Place to Be Is Jail

We’ve got a few different events that we could conceivably talk about from today’s chapter of Acts. Timothy makes his first appearance, the high-class fabric merchant Lydia becomes a Christian, Paul exorcises a spirit of divination and gets in trouble for it, and Paul and Silas go to and get out of jail. I could dig into any one of these events, and there’s a good chance I’ll hit more than one. But before I do, I want to hit an event so subtle you might easily miss it: the introduction of Luke.

Acts 9 – Tabitha and Ananias (Oh, and Peter and Paul)

Greetings from the ghost town that is a mall food court at 9:30 AM on a Friday. I just got done with a dental appointment, and to celebrate, I’m subjecting my teeth to sugar and cacao solids. I know it’s been awhile since I said anything about the physical circumstances under which I’m opening up the Bible, but today’s a little out of the ordinary, so here’s me for old times sake, talking about the site where I’m reading about Saul’s conversion.

Be Strong and Obedient – Joshua 1:9 [God’s Little Deconstruction Book]

Today’s verse from God’s Little Instruction Book is a staple of inspirational literature. You may be familiar with it and the two verses preceding it; you may even have memorized one or more of them. As the book of Joshua opens, Moses has just died, and immediately God commissions Joshua to lead the Israelites into the Promised Land. That’s where we find the verse of the day, Joshua 1:9.

Matthew 1 – Joseph and the Amazing Keep-the-Mother Dream Angel

Merry Christmas, Chocolate Book fam. Today we turn to the first chapter of Matthew, which is mostly genealogy. The eight remaining verses are mostly about Joseph, which is after a fashion to be expected, considering that some scholars think the genealogy in Matthew presents Joseph’s family tree, in contrast to Luke’s presentation of Jesus’ lineage via Mary. Comparing the two genealogies can be an interesting exercise, but there’s little to be gained by me recapitulating the points and counterpoints of those who’ve already done their research. You’ve got the internet; you can dig as deep as you please. Meanwhile, over here we’re gonna look at what Matthew has to say about the virgin birth.

Zechariah 7 – Punch-Clock Fasting

Suddenly: narrative! Okay, mostly a monologue from God, but also some narrative. After six chapters of vision, we snap back to earth, where Sharezer and Regemmelech and their companions bring a question to the priests and prophets. They want to know whether to continue weeping and fasting, but God’s response…well, let’s check it out for ourselves.

Jonah 1 – Jonah, the Very Worst Prophet

If there’s one minor prophet you’re already familiar with, it’s probably Jonah. While the bulk of the minor prophets comprises divine messages of judgment, mercy, and calls to repentance, Jonah is largely historical narrative. When you add that it requires very little background knowledge to understand, you’ve got a prime candidate for a children’s Bible story lesson. Plus, it’s got a big ol’ miracle fish.