An anti-anti manifesto

Contrary to popular superstition, the pandemic is not a hoax. It is very real, and it is far more dangerous than you think it is.

Contrary to popular superstition, vaccines help prevent you from getting the virus.

Contrary to popular superstition, masks help prevent you and others from infecting one another.

Contrary to popular superstition, children are almost as likely as adults to get new strains of the virus.

If you don’t want to be vaccinated, you are welcome to have a nice death. But have the common courtesy not to take others with you. Stay home. You are not fit for human society.

If you don’t want to wear a mask, enjoy your “personal freedom” not to wear one – at home. Don’t go out in public. You are not fit for human society.

If you come down with the virus, don’t go to your doctor or the hospital. Why should you put your life in the hands of people you scorn when they tell you to get vaccinated and wear a mask?

If you don’t want your children to wear a mask at school, don’t send them to public or private schools where they might encounter other children. Homeschool them. Or keep them at home without schooling them, so that they will grow up as ignorant as you are.

If you think your rights are being violated, consider the rights of others not to be contaminated by you. Your right to breathe freely in public ends the moment your breath touches another person.

If you think the inconvenience of getting a shot or wearing a mask is too much to ask of you, don’t bother wondering what great thing you can do for your country. You’re just not up to the task.

A Christlike reading

I became aware of Bradley Jersak’s work less then a year ago, but how I wish I’d discovered him earlier! He makes Christianity feel alive again by returning to our origins and tracing how we’ve departed from them, especially how far we’ve drifted from vital readings of scripture.

His latest book is A More Christlike Word: Reading Scripture the Emmaus Way. It’s part of a trilogy that includes A More Christlike God, and A More Christlike Way.

If you noticed the repetition of the word Christlike in the titles, you’ve found the secret to Jersak’s method. In Christlike Word, he says: “The emphasis of this book … is that Jesus is the Word of God and the Christian Scriptures faithfully testify to him.”

“The Bible an epic story of God’s love,“ shown most clearly in Jesus, he says. Reading it the Emmaus way follows the way Jesus himself modeled interpretation of scripture, as when he outlined it two to the two travelers on the road to Emmaus (Luke 24:25-27).

“An Emmaus hermeneutic, in which one reads the Hebrew Scriptures through the gospel lens of Christ, is our primary precondition for reading Scripture,” he states. One implication is that you don’t read Jesus through the lens of the Bible but rather you read the Bible through the lens of Jesus.

That sounds circular, and it surely can be, but it can save you from biblicism and biblioatry. You’re not imposing some fanciful notion of what the Bible is onto the gospel. Rather, you are using the gospel, the Good News of God, to interpret the Bible, from front to back.

If you read something that doesn’t sound like Jesus, you have reason to believe that either you or the author of the passage has misunderstood or misrepresented what God said or meant. “When a passage describes un-Christlike images of God, we must not read them literalistically, because attributing moral darkness to God’s nature or deeds is not worthy of God.”

Again, “The biblical use of words such as anger, wrath, and fury are passions that, when literalized, replace the one true God with an idol and commit a monstrous blasphemy”

You must always read a passage for its literal meaning but be careful about interpreting it literally. Jersak says: “the literal sense is essential to my reading of the Bible. But I believe that literalism and its handmaid, inerrancy, sprout from modernist ideology. Claiming a high view of Scripture, literalism actually undermines biblical authority by pre-imposing on the text a standard of sterile uniformity.”

“The Holy Spirit breathed truth through the authors of Scripture via both ancient worldviews and now-archaic descriptions. This does not make what they said untrue” unless “you force their descriptions to be read literally.”

If you are chained to a literal understanding of the Bible and wonder why it varies so much with the Jesus of the gospel story, now you have an answer to your questions and an avenue for further explanations of gospel truth rather than the fictions of pop religion.

The more you let Jersak’s thesis steep in your mind, the more you will be convinced of its truthfulness, and move closer to the Living Word, who is Jesus Christ.


Bradley Jersak, A More Christlike Word: Reading scripture the Emmaus Way (New Kensington, PA: Whitaker House, 2021)


A digital copy of this book was provided to me by Speakeasy on the condition that I post a review of it.

Have a cuppa

Today’s post from Ginger at was too good not to share. She writes:

What is getting your Time, Energy, and Attention right now?

TEA is a helpful acronym to remember to help you stay in alignment with your priorities, values, and goals.

It is also a helpful tool as an energy barometer – if your energy is low, consider what you are giving your time, energy, and attention … then make some adjustments.

We get to choose and control where we spend our time, share our energy, and give our attention.

Decide with whom and on what you will share your precious TEA.

That’s all. That’s great! Have a cuppa on me.

A readable, helpful introduction

The Bible isn’t just one book, it’s a Box Set, and it tells a Big Story, but sometimes we suffer Big Frustration because we read it the wrong way. That’s the thesis of Stephen Burnhope’s new book How to Read the Bible Well.

It’s subtitled “What It Is, What It Isn’t, and How To Love It (Again).” This subtitle suggests that some readers have loved the Bible in the past but don’t anymore, probably because they think it’s something it isn’t.

Burnhope hopes to clear up a host of misunderstandings in this introductory work on how to interpret the Bible without getting a theology degree. Against those who contend that the Bible needs no interpretation, he insists that it does. Every reading is an interpretation, he says, so you need to know what you’re bringing to the text as well as what you hope to receive from it.

Burnhope is a pastor in the Vineyard tradition, and its evangelical roots are clear in his writing. But Burnhope does not fear to challenge many evangelical sacred cows. He’s clearly no biblicist. He says: “The purpose of the Bible has never been to draw us into a relationship with the Bible, but to draw us into a relationship with God.”

In conversational and not confrontational style, he dives boldly into such topics as the nature of revelation and inspiration, the notion of a single biblical worldview, the nature of heaven and hell, why people suffer, how the Old Testament applies to Christians today, and the different ways God is portrayed in the two testaments.

He offers a hermeneutic (a method of interpretation) that is Christ-centered. “Everything God commands and everything God says will always correspond to Jesus – it will always ‘look like’ Jesus and ‘sound like’ Jesus. He is our perfect ‘lens’ for knowing who God is and what he’s like and always has been like.”

I can’t say that I agree with everything he says (we come from different faith traditions, after all), but this is a readable and helpful work, and I recommend it, especially to recovering evangelicals.

A few highlights from the text:

“We should respect the Bible for what it is and not try to defend it as something it was never intended to be.”

“Good interpretation always starts with what the text meant then and recognizes that it will not mean now something that it didn’t mean then.”

“There is not and never has been any such thing as a ‘Christian’ worldview or a ‘Christian’ culture to look back on and wish for a return to. There is no current or preceding worldview that qualifies to be called that. There isn’t even one that comes close to it.”

“The biblical story does not start with “original sin” but with “original goodness.”

How to Read the Bible Well, by Stephen Burnhope, Cascade Books, May 2021

A digital copy of this book was provided to me by Speakeasy on the condition that I post a review of it.