Author: Clay Libolt

  • THE ART OF THE STORY I: REFLECTIONS ON DANIEL 2

    People want the Bible to come at them head-on. Sometimes it does. In the Gospel of Matthew Jesus often comes head-on (something Pier Paolo Pasolini got right in his 1964 film, “The Gospel According to St. Matthew “). Take, for example, this saying of Jesus from the Sermon on the Mount: “Unless your righteousness surpasses […]

  • TEXT AND TRAJECTORY: DOES THE BIBLE LEAN LEFT?

    Does the Bible lean left? Someone recently asked me that. Truth be told, the question was more of an accusation than a question. It was, as I recall, “Clay,do you think the Bible always leans left?” More about me than about the Bible. The question is whether I characteristically read the Bible in a way that […]

  • TEXT AND TRAJECTORY: JOHN 14 AND THE REVELATION OF GOD

    What do you look for when you read the Bible? More often than we would like to admit we look for confirmation of what we already think. The Christian Reformed synod did just this in 2006 when it appointed a committee “to articulate a foundation-laying biblical theology of human sexuality.” This was a dubious project […]

  • LISTENING TO SERMONS THE MUSINGS OF AN OLD PREACHER

    These days I listen to sermons more often than preach them. There was a time when that would have been difficult for me. I was preaching virtually every Sunday, sometimes three times: the same sermon twice in the morning and a different sermon in the evening. When I was not preaching, I didn’t want to […]

  • TEXT AND TRAJECTORY: PART ONE OR HOW THE LITTLE PRINCE CLUES US TO READING THE BIBLE

    I began this post with the intention of writing about text and trajectory on the basis of John 14. I’ll do so in the next post in this series. But as I got into it, I realized I need to clear some ground. Along the way I wrote and discarded material on the history of […]

  • DOES THE BIBLE HAVE A SENSE OF HUMOR?

    Is the Bible ever funny? The question was put to me by an older friend. This friend had two worries about the Christian faith. One was that he would get to heaven and discover that there was no sporting competition there. He lived for his games and his teams. The second was that in heaven […]

  • RETRIEVING THE BIBLE

    THE PROJECT: I began writing these blog posts (after a long hiatus) as a critique of a certain way of reading of the Bible, a way of reading that seemed to me to bind rather than to free, that has often been used against people rather than for them, a reading represented recently by the […]

  • JACOB’S LADDER: HOW OUR SPIRITUAL ANCESTOR GOT EVERYTHING WRONG

    The Bible is a subversive book. It subverts our assumptions about life, about good and evil, about where God is and where God isn’t; it often subverts even what seems like the obvious meaning of the story it tells. Few passages are as subversive in this last sense as the story of Jacob’s ladder in […]

  • RETRIEVING THE WORDS OF FAITH 2: HOLINESS ONE MORE TIME

    Introduction to the Series: Over time through overuse and bad theology words of faith come to lose their meaning or to mean something they did not originally mean. Take “faith.” We often use “faith” to refer to belief. Faith, we suppose, is what we do with our heads. But belief is seldom what the Bible means […]

  • RETRIEVING THE WORDS OF FAITH

    Introduction to the Series: Over time, through overuse and bad theology, words of faith tend lose their meaning or come to mean something which they did not originally mean. An example would be the word “faith” itself. “Faith” has come to mean mostly belief, as if faith is what we do with our heads. As a […]