A random smattering of thoughts:
First, there was a very destructive tornado in Arkansas on Sunday. We get those. I’ve been in one very destructive. I’ve been in one, with the whole family, that wasn’t as destructive. It’s never pleasant and it’s far worse when you actually suffer loss. It is challenging to walk forward in normal life knowing about the devastation, but that’s actually a necessity. You have to go to work, I have to go to work—else those disaster relief donation checks will bounce. Help where you can, maintain the world as you need to, so there is a world to return to as life adjusts in disaster zones.
And on that same train of thought—be aware of how to help. Just shipping stuff, or dropping it off, isn’t always good. These are people with no place to store replacement furniture yet. Be around to help in 3 months. That’s a good idea.
Second, I’m studying on David and Bathsheba for church. Wondering about this: if “Bath” is also the Hebrew for “daughter,” and it is, and “Sheba” is also used as a place name, and it seems to be, then is this a name or a descriptor? The authors of the Old Testament historical books are not above using substitute names, especially to make a point. There is no sense of shared guilt here—David is held responsible for the whole incident. Highlighting this by referring only to her foreign nature would double-down on David’s guilty behavior. He has many an Israelite wife, and now he wants someone else?
I’m not ready to advocate that fully, but it seems possible. Also, a quick word: the issue in “foreign spouses” in Israel was about religion, not race. There’s no Biblical grounding for racist nonsense. Religious discrimination is everywhere—because that’s the nature of belief systems.
Third, we look with the kids tonight at the construction of the Temple. I think the kid material focuses on the old “do nice stuff for God” view with that, but there’s more here. There’s Solomon’s idea that God should be contained in one place, while simultaneously claiming he knows God is everywhere. There’s a mixed bag in creating “holy space,” because it causes us to think we can physically distance ourselves from God. That’s dangerous thinking.
Fourth, I’m not sure what the happy ending can be with the mess in the NBA with Sterling. I haven’t read all of his comments. I don’t care to. Having grown up in the South, I’ve heard plenty of racist nonsense. I think the NBA is right to bar him from the game. Practically speaking, he should now choose to sell his team. But think about this: how much profit will he make from that? You’re going to have him laughing all the way to the bank. Maybe the NBA should instead siphon off all profits from the Clippers and give them to schools and colleges that serve minorities, and not let the guy sell his franchise.
Fifth, if we’re going to punish racism, we should punish racism. Where’s the outcry about anti-Semitism in many corners? Just a thought.