Monday, March 7, 2011

Week 2: More Literary Devices/Community Guidelines/Nurses and Hospitals, Systems and Sexualization

Two brief "after-dinner videos" on reading the Bible in a  holistic "literary world" way..

1)"Apples and Oranges and VERSE-ITIS":


Most nights we'll start  (FIRST HALF OR SO OF CLASS) with some  examples of  "How to read the Bible via a Three Worlds approach," and then move into  (SECOND HALF) our theme for the night (Remember, the themes all have to do with COMMUNITY or CULTURE.
Then we'll wrap up ...THIRD HALF(:...with some practical implications for nurses/hospitals, often referencing the Chapman book you are reading


"So far, we have looked at small chiasms, where the parallelism is "literally" in the words ("First shall be last" etc.)...but look how  even that chiasm grows:
Matthew 20... But we note how important is was NOT to go with standard chapter division, but start one verse before, so the grand chiasm (s)  below emerged.  "Literary world" is crucial (without it, we succumb to Verse-itis):

But many who are first will be last, 
                     and many who are last will be first.

For the kingdom of heaven is like:  a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire men to work in his vineyard.
He agreed to pay them a denarius for the day and sent them into his vineyard.
"About the third hour he went out and saw others standing last in the marketplace doing nothing.
He told them, 'You also go and work in my vineyard, and I will pay you whatever is right.'
So they went. "He went out again about the sixth hour and the ninth hour and did the same thing. About the eleventh hour he went out and found still others standing around. He asked them, 'Why have you been standing here all day long doing nothing?  'Because no one has hired us,' they answered.   "He said to them, 'You also go and work in my vineyard.' "When evening came, the owner of the vineyard said to his foreman, 'Call the workers and pay them their wages, beginning with the 
last ones hired and going on to the first.' "The workers who were hired (last), about the eleventh hour came and each received a denarius. So when those came who were hired first, they expected to receive more. But each one of them also received a denarius. When they received it, they began to grumble against the landowner. 'These men who were hired last worked only one hour,' they said, 'and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden of the work and the heat of the day.' "But he answered one of them, 'Friend, I am not being unfair to you. Didn't you agree to work for a denarius? Take your pay and go. I want to give the man who was hired last the same as I gave you. Don't I have the right to do what I want with my own money? Or are you envious because I AM  generous?' 
            So the laswill be first,
                               and the first will be last.
And they can grow larger, and the parallelism can be more general, thematic.
And getting over VERSE-ITIS helps a lot in seeing chiasm in the big sweep.  This is Genesis 6:

Somtimes chiasms  are are so large that they  almost become a genre..or encompass an entire book.

Check this:

"Chiastic Understanding of the Gospel According to Matthew," 

 page 9 here.

These videos may help:

(200 points)

In fact, they can become as large as life,  See

James B. Jordan, “Chiasm and Life” in Biblical Theology Basics:

Very much of human life is ‘there and back again,’ or chiastic. This is how God has designed human beings to live in the world. It is so obvious that we don’t notice it. But it is everywhere. This shape of human life arises ultimately from the give and take of the three Persons of God, as the Father sends the Spirit to the Son and the Son sends the Spirit back to the Father. We can see that literary chiasm is not a mere curiosity, a mere poetic device to structure the text. It arises from the very life of God, and is played out in the structure of the lives of the images of God in many ways and at many levels. It is because human beings live and move so often chiastically, that poets often find themselves drawn to chiastic writing. God creates chiasms out of His inner life, and so do the images of God.
Biblical chiasms are perfect. That is, they are perfectly matched to the human chiasms they address and transform. As we become more and more sensitive to Biblical chiasms, we will become more and more sensitive to one aspect of the true nature of human life under God. We will be transformed from bad human chiasms into good human chiasms. In this way, becoming sensitive to chiasm can be of practical transformative value to human life, though in deep ways that probably cannot be explained or preached very well.
One further thought. We saw in our previous essay that chiasms often have a double climax, one in the middle and the greatest at the end. The food we bought at market is put away in the cupboard and refrigerator when we get back home. Moving forward to a final climax is what all literature does, whether it has a middle climax or not. (Shakespeare’s five-act plays always move to a climax in the third and in the fifth acts.) This is just another way that human life matches literary production, in the Bible as well as in uninspired human literature. Becoming familiar with the shape and flow of Biblical texts will have a transforming effect on human life.”
James B. Jordan, “Chiasm and Life” in Biblical Theology Basics.

Mike Rinaldi, a Visalian, and filmmaker (and Fresno Pacific grad) told this   story at the first "Gathering to Bless Christians in the Arts":
Blake Snyder, the screenwriter behind the classicSave The Cat"  book became a Christian not long before he died. 

Often at this point in such a story, folks ask "Who led him to Christ?" 

Go ahead and ask. 

The answer is: 


It happened in large part because Mike, not even knowing if such a well-known and busy writer would respond to his email, asked him if he had heard about chiasm. 

Turns out Snyder was fascinated with it all, and Mike was able to point out chiastic structure and shape in scriptwriting....and one thing led to another...and then in Scripture. 

All roads, and all chiasms, lead to the Center and Source. 

Mike, of course, learned chiasm in THIS CLASS.


One of Chris Harrison's projects is called "Visualizing the Bible":

"Christoph Römhild sent me his interesting biblical cross-references data set. This lead to the first of three visualizations. Intrigued by the complexity of the Bible, I derived a new data set by parsing the King James Bible and extracting people and places. One of the resulting visualizations is a biblical social network. The other visualization shows how people and places are distributed throughout the text."  Chris Harrison-

                    But why should I tell you when I can show you?:

"The bar graph that runs along the bottom represents all of the chapters in the Bible. Books alternate in color between white and light gray. The length of each bar denotes the number of verses in the chapter. Each of the 63,779 cross references found in the Bible is depicted by a single arc - the color corresponds to the distance between the two chapters, creating a rainbow-like effect." 

.More info about this chart, and charts of the Bible as a social network  here.
But on Social  Networking..
it is amazing what we can learn about the Bible, relationships, community and God by,
for example, how many Facebook friends we have in common..
and how friends interconnect...see the following chart  below of one person's facebook friends which looks astonishingly like the Bible chart above

See also: Facebook Mutual Friend Network Visualization in Flash | danielmclaren.netn.

Ray VanDer Laan, in a video we'll see later tonight calls the literary technique of INTERtextuality: "story shaping story."

When we see Scripture as story and narrative/drama (in acts) it reverses versitis.

In your Grimsrud textbook, the author suggests there is a fundamental message/narrative to Scripture.  It has something to do with

God's strategy of remembering his covenants towards broken people with noncoercoercive, patient and persistent love offered through the  healing community
(see pages 2-3, 36-38, 90)

What if we saw every Scripture through than lens/narrative/strategy?

"Taking all the various threads...together, we may discover a single, overarching concern."  (p. 21)
(the thread analogy is helpful. when you look at the chart above, and considering the literary device of "Hemistich")



This is called "the princicple convention in Hebrew Poetry "  in Hauer/Young pp 44-45, 
Sometimes known as balancing, or thought extension, sometimes "stairstep"  (see examples there),

This is found in sentences, but also in sections.

Three kinds:
a.  Synonymous parallelism = says same thing different way.
          Luke 6:27-28
                        "Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you
bless those who bless you, pray for those who abuse you"
b.   Antithetical = second line sets up contrast with first.
    Matt 7:17-18 "Every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit
A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit."
c.   Step =second line picks up thought/word from first and builds on it, takes it further.
Luke 9:48
"Whoever welcomes this child in my name welcomes me,
and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me"
                                            (and whoever welcomes the one who sent me...)

Here's some great examples

Sometimes a repetition can be called parallelism..Here is a 5fold  structural parallelism in Matthew:

"Jesus is the new Moses."

Matthew could have said that,   or even said that five times..but instead he embedded thematically five times in the literary structure/fabric of his book;

It is no accident that 5 times Matthew offers an almost identical sentence to close off his five teaching blocks..

                        "When Jesus had finished saying these things, he moved on..."
..shows up in

  1. 7:28
  2. 11:1
  3. 13:53
  4. 19:1
  5. 26:1

See  page 269  of your Hauer/Young textbook (the three paragraphs underneath the "Higher Righteousness" section)  for more on this..
There is huge  signicance of five teaching blocks in Matthew, how they are identified, and what they likely symbolize.

Why 5?

Jewish people reading Matthew would say
"Oh, I get it.  Matthew is trying to tell us  (5 times, no less( that Jesus is the New Moses (or the fulfillment of Moses)!" 
Why? The answer has to to with the obvious intentionality of the5 "teaching blocks" in Matthew..Five being a hugely significant  number for's the number of books in the Torah, AKA the Five Books of Moses, AKA The  Pentateuch "(Five Books in One.") .  Moses=5ness.

More "New Moses" symbolism in Matthew:

 BTW: Note an inclusio in that the first and last teachings happen on a mountain..hmmmm

LITERARY WORLD:INTERCALATION  (called in a more down-home way, "SANDWICHING")

"Intercalation" is a "sandwiching" technique. where a story/theme is told/repeated at the beginning and ened of a section, suggesting that if a different story appears in between, it too is related thematically.  We'll at  this outline of Mark 11:


We'll  discuss how the cursing of the fig tree was Jesus' commentary of nationalism/racism/prejudice, because fig trees are often a symbol of national Israel.  That the fig  tree cursing story is "cut in  two" by the inserting/"intercalating" of the temple cleansing, suggested that Jesus action in the temple was also commentary on prejuidice...which become more obvious when we realize the moneychangers and dovesellers are set up in the "court of the Gentiles," which kept the temple from being a "house of prayer FOR ALL NATIONS (GENTILES).

This theme becomes even more clear when we note that Jesus  statement was a quote from Isaiah 56:68, and the context there (of course) is against prejudice in the temple.
When a text reference is made to another text/Scripture, this is called INTERTEXTUALITY.


Most think Jesus' "temple tantrum" was due to his being ticked off about folks "selling stuff in church.". But he didn't say "Quit selling stuff in church" , but "My house shall be a house of prayer for all nations," quoting Is 56:6-8, whose context is all about letting foreigners and outcasts have a place..hmmm. He was likely upset that not that Dovesellers and money changers were doing business selling and changing , but that they were doing so in the "outer court,"  (AKA the "Court of the GENTILES"), the only  place where "foreigners" could have a pew at "attend church." They were making the temple area "a den of thieves" not (just) by overcharging for doves and currency exchange, but by robbing folks..'all nations'... of a place to pray..and to "access access" to God.

Could it be that Jesus' temple anger was targeted at racism/prejudice more than (instead of) commercialism? 
Maybe read this short article I wrote on the topic for Salt Fresno Magazine:

“Temple Tantrums For All Nations"


This radical video below: 

..and the following observations (believe it or not) may make the same point! (: 

Tzemah Yoreh's article on symmetry, parallelism and chiasm touches on the biblical use of the literary world device of hemstitch (PDF here) helps confirm the "temple tantrum as tageting racism" interpretation: 

The two most common literary structures in Biblical literature are parallelism and chiasm. These structures exist in every book of the Bible and in units of every size ranging from a single verse to complete works. Almost every aspect of the structures in question has been discussed extensively in scholarship. One of the goals of this project is to use the macrostructures we have identified to examine one particular ramification of the structures in question--their role in larger exegetical questions.
Biblical verses of two or more parallel hemistiches will very often omit a word, a term or an idea already found in a previous hemistich (less common is the omission of content in the first hemistich). The reader is of course supposed to fill in the blank on her own. In other words, the first hemistich (or the fuller hemistich) is integral to one’s understanding of the deficient hemistiches in the same verse. This drawing of syllogisms or analogies between parallel hemistiches is of course one of the basic tools used in the analysis of biblical poetry—one used unconsciously by most readers of the Bible. - PDF here

I have always felt that Mark's fuller quotation of Jesus ( "house of prayer for all nations") 
was an intentional emphasis for many and multiplex reasons, and that (thus) the mere quotation of "house of prayer" (without for all nations) in Matthew and Luke (compare all four gospel accounts here) made it all the more emphasized and underlined... conspicuous by its absence. 

Of course in Matthew's overarching Jewish context and audience, all the more need to emphasize 
the inclusivity of the invitation.

the daughter of Jairus and the hemorrhaging woman.

A1.9.18-19.5.21-24.8.40-42.Jesus is called upon to heal the daughter of Jairus, a leader in the synagogue.
B.9.20-22.5.25-34.8.43-48.A woman with a twelve-year flow of blood touches the clothing of Jesus and is healed.
A2.9.23-26.5.35-43.8.49-56.Jesus raises the twelve-year-old daughter of Jairus, since she has already died.
Jesus effects two healings in these pericopes. He heals both an old woman toward the end of her womanhood (the flow of blood is probably menstrual) and a young girl at the very beginning of hers. It cannot be coincidental that the girl is twelve years old while the woman has suffered from a flow of blood for twelve years.  -Ben Smith

Here  is that same  intercalation of the two women in all three synpotic gospels..Note all three intercale different aspects. of the story..depending on their "TTP"



>>This all lead to our topic for tonight:
"Guidelines for  Community"...
which we'll introduce with  Colbert (interviewing a congressman about the Ten Commandments), which
turns out to have several helpful serious points about the "literary world" of   the  topic Here it is:
Mon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
and the "question of the day"..

Off the top of your head, list words and ideas that come to mind when you think of the story of the giving of the Ten Commandments on Mt Sinai.
Then scroll down for the question..

Was "wedding" on your list?
                                        .....or "love"?

What does all this have to do with a wedding?


The two Ray VanderLaan videos  on Mount Sinai  were new, so there are no online versions of them yet.. excerpt for this short YouTube excerpt below( We didn't show this section, but it was filmed on the way up the mountain):
The episodes are on this DVD.

What did you learn from the first one about  the historical world and literary world of "elevation"?

The second one dealt with the many"historical world" hyperlinks from Ten Commandments to wedding.
How do you connect that theme to last week's theme from five chapters earlier in Exodus (remember Moses and the Israelites were formed into a community by crossing the Red Sea and the 'dance party on the beach" (see last week post)

Too bad  the video is not  online, but most of the study guide IS..

see pp.197-251  here

THANKFULLY, though, here are (by popular demand) the wedding videos of the Laughing Bride... these actually apply to our "historical world" conversation comparing the giving of the commandments to a wedding imagery:

BONUS:  some of the bride's laugh attacks we won't show in class:


---PS Here is my wedding and funeral book story:

CLick:"It happens every time you officiate a wedding"

Check out this card I was handed at the wedding:

---and if Jesus is a NEW MOSES of sorts, then we should look at
Discussion on how Jesus was interpreting/reinterpreting the law of Moses/Torah(Matt 5:17-48).
Some would suggest that he is using the rabbi's technique of "Building a fence around the TORAH."
For example, if you are tempted to overeat, one strategy would be to build a literal fence around the refrigerator...or the equivalent: don't keep snacks around.


Some wonder of this is what Jesus is doing here.  See:
Jesus' Antitheses - Could they be his attempt to build a fence around the Torah?

One can see how this could turn to legalism...and when do you stop building fences? See:

A Fence Around the Law

Greg Camp and Laura Roberts write:

In each of the five examples, Jesus begins by citing an existing commandment. His following statement may be translated as either "And I say to you... " or as "But I say to you ...” The first option shows Jesus' comments to be in keeping with the commandments, therefore his words will be an expansion or commentary on the law. This is good, standard rabbinic technique. He is offering his authoritative interpretation, or amplification, to God's torah, as rabbis would do after reading the torah aloud in the synagogue. The second translation puts Jesus in tension with the law, or at least with the contemporary interpretations that were being offered. Jesus is being established as an authoritative teacher who stands in the same rabbinic tradition of other rabbis, but is being portrayed as qualitatively superior to their legal reasoning.
After citing a law Jesus then proceeds to amplify, or "build a hedge" around the law. This was a common practice of commenting on how to put a law into practice or on how to take steps to avoid breaking the law. The idea was that if you built a safe wall of auxiliary laws around the central law, then you would have ample warning before you ever came close to breaking the central law. A modern example might be that if you were trying to diet you would need to exercise more and eat less. In order to make sure that that happened you might dispose of all fats and sweets in the house so as not to be tempted. Additionally, you might begin to carry other types of snacks or drink with you so as to have a substitute if temptation came around, and so forth. In the first example of not killing, Jesus builds a hedge that involves not being angry and not using certain types of language about others. One of the difficulties is that it becomes very difficult not to break his hedges. This might drive his hearers to believe that he is a hyper-Pharisee. Some interpreters have wanted to argue that Jesus does this in order to drive us to grace—except grace is never mentioned in this context. This is a wrong-headed approach to get out of the clear message that Jesus is proclaiming: you must have a transformed life. By building his hedges, Jesus is really getting to the heart of what the law was about. In the first example, the intent is not just to get people not to kill each other (though that is a good thing to avoid), rather it is there to promote a different attitude about how to live together. Taken together, the 10 Words (Commandments) and the other laws which follow in Exodus-Numbers paint a picture of a people who will look out for one another rather than just avoiding doing injury to one another. This becomes clear in Jesus’ solution at the end of the first example. The solution is not to throw yourself on grace or to become paralyzed by fear, but to seek right relations with the other person. There seems to be an implicit acknowledgment that problems will arise. The solution is to seek the best for the other person and for the relationship. This is the heart of the law.  The problem with the law is that it can only keep you from sin, but it cannot make you do good.  The rabbi Hillel said “what is hateful to you, do not do to others.”  In 7:12, Jesus provides his own interpretation “In everything do to others as you would have them do to you.”  He changes the saying from refraining from sin, to actively doing good.  The thesis statement in 5:20 is “unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” This then is how to exceed, or go beyond the law.  In each of the five examples, the way to exceed the law is to make the relationship right.
Instead of drawing a new line in the sand that you are not supposed to cross before you are considered guilty, Jesus, confirms that the center is "love your neighbor" and then just draws an arrow (vector) and tells you to go do it. There is never a point at which you are able to finally fulfill the commandment to love. You can never say that you have loved enough. In the gospel of Matthew, the supreme example of this is Jesus' own life and death. His obedience and love knew no boundaries.  --by Greg Camp and Laura Roberts

Ted Grimsrud, in your "God's Healing Stragegy" text suggests:
 "A better way [as opposed to legalistically egislating morality] to approach [the commandments] would be to ask first, 'What does this commandment teach us about God?'...Hence, the point of the commandments is not establishing absolute, impersonal, even coercive rules which must never be violated.  The point rather is that a loving God desires ongoing relationships of care and respect....Paul's interpretation of the Law in Romans 13 makes clear the deepest meaning of the law not as rule-following, but as being open to God's love and finding ways to express that love towards others: 'The commandments..are summed up in this word, Love your neighbor as yourself.'"  (pp. 33-34)
Ever noticed the CHIASM Jesus uses to comment on the litmus test for law-keeping, the SABBATH?  "The Sabbath was made for humans,
                                   not humans for the Sabbath" (Mark 2:27)...

I'll never forget taking the elevator from our towering Jerusalem hotel room down to the lobby for breakfast one Saturday.

Not only could I not push the lobby button,

but the elevator stopped automatically on every floor.
I wondered if I would make it down for lunch.

When I ordered, I realized that the waitress was not writing down any orders;
even the most complicated ones.

Writing was "work" on the sabbath,
as was pushing elevator buttons.
Thus, the "sabbath elevator"


Notice I have posted on a tab at the top of this website a video interview with Erie Chapman, author of one of your textbooks  ("Radical Loving Care") was interviewed here below about the book, and his Baptist Healing Trust foundation.  First section is here:

See the whole interview HERE>

Often those in caregiving careers/ministries...such as yourselves..
face a deep dilemma and profound paradox.. you care intensely..but ironically,
you live and work  embedded in a system/matrix that "cannot" care.

Have you noticed that certain professions;
clergy, funeral directors, counselors doctors and NURSES
have "inhouse" jokes that might seem irreverent to outsiders to our "bounded set."?  At its best, it's one way of keeping your sanity and remaining caring.
Watch this  below...( well listen anyway, it's only audio) for a humorous example from those famous "theologians,"
Cheech and Chong (!!)in an old skit about Friday night employees of the E.R.":

Click the title below to read a related hilarious story:

Sex and Drugs in Church: Peterson on Why the System Can't Care

This below is one of my all-time favorite stories. Unfortunately, it's true!
From Eugene Peterson's "Under the Unpredictable 

All this to tie into "Hospitals and Those In Them) Need the Word of God," Chris Erdman's amazing chapter 14 in "Countdown to Sunday," four pages that for me are as chillingly accurate,
and practically pastoral as anything in the massive "pastoral help" library.

As a pastor still wet behind my ears, I truly felt intimidated by the bravado of hospital technology and shrank before it. I didn't know then that the hospital itself, as much as the patients I went to visit, also needed to hear the Word of God in order to be what God intended it to be--an agent of divine grace, occupying its place as servant, not master...

I might not always carry a Bible [on hospital visits], but I always carry a text in mind that I speak among all the bleeps and blips and pokes. Hosting the text there among the gods of steel and electricity and drugs and know-how is vital work. The technology no longer intimidates me...

..So today, as I enter hospital doors and walk those hallways and sit beside beds and in waiting rooms and open those texts of ours. I don't stand and shout the Word--it's a power that doesn't need my strength or my energy. As I do, I not oy see the persons who need this Word leaning in, but I sense the walls themselves bending near...The real weapons that bring wholeness and peace are not machines but words, as small and feeble as they may seem. And all we have to do is mutter them.
Chris Erdman, "Countdown to Sunday," pp 71-73.

Reading this in the very real context and contour of a week of hospital visits to the sweetest saint imaginable; surrounded helplessly but not hopelessly by those bleeps and pokes and machines has brought tears to my eyes and whole images from Chris's chapter to bear on the situation.
I have never been one for wanting to look very pastorly/religious on hospital calls. I don't even park in the clergy parking!

And like a good stealth pastor, I keep my small pocket Bible tucked away.

But I can now pull it out to pay a pastoral (and prophetic) call on the relentless beeping heart monitor. Gently, I rage against the machine; I do not welcome myself to it or its domain.
Instead, I Word it back to its creative and redemptive purpose. And I have seen, like Chris, "medical people who know firsthand the limits of these gods and who themselves long to hear the Bible read in this place that often intimidates them too--they've seen the soft underbelly of the beast that demands their homage."

"Resistance is the protest of those who hope,"
as Jürgen Moltmann has it ( "The Power of the Powerless").

(above excerpted from my blog post: "Gentle Rage Against the HospitalMachines"

I really recommend

Chapter 5 of "Hospital Ministry,' (ed. by Holst)
"Hospitalization: A Rite of Passage"  by John Katonah..
We'll summarize it in class, but it is complete here below

(click each page to read, then click again to enlarge):

Related reading:

>>Here is a link  to read  which critiques Katonah's s three stages (see pp 302-303, about stripping but not consummating )

>>Another book suggests prayers/liturgies(click to read) that nurses/caregivers can offer  to accompany each of the three stages.

Those in caring professions...especially nurses also find inevitably that they are sexualized.


Ironically, can we in helping professions a lesser degree..sexualize our patients/clients/parishoners?


Ted Grimsrud, who wrote one of out textbooks, reminds us how vulnerable we all are:


  1. In thinking about our homework assignment #3a, some questions came up in my mind. How did Bathsheba feel when David requested to meet with her? Was she excited to meet with the king? Was she scared because she was a marrried woman? How did she feel when Uriah was killed? Did she even know Uriah had been in town just before that? Did she moarn his death? She was pregnant, therefore she was already emotional. When her baby died, how did she feel? Did she know her baby died because of sin in David's life? If I knew my baby died because of sin in my husband's life, I might (God forgive me) hate him.

  2. Amazing questions, wow..let's talk on them
    They will come up naturally next class as I tell one of my famous stories in the Sermon on the Mount section