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Thursday, October 12, 2017

Blessed is the man that has not walked in the counsel (ἐν βουλῇ) of the ungodly…” (Ps 1: 1)

It’s tricky to discern what is “the counsel of the ungodly,” particularly when it is offered to us by friends. This often happens at times when we are especially vulnerable and disoriented by our own shortcomings, like a long-standing resentment against a problematic colleague, boss, or relative, or like a long-standing obsession or frustration with some person or thing. Our friends might step in, at such times, to “support” us with advice that is, actually, “ungodly.” I’ve observed that this happens not primarily because they, our friends, are “ungodly,” but because we, in certain states of delusion/disorientation, and in our presentation of the “facts” to our friends, tend to cajole them into the...

Monday, March 20, 2017

As a ring in the snout of a pig, so is beauty in an ill-minded woman.” (Prov 11: 22, Septuagint-translation)

Wow, that’s harsh. But wait a minute, and let’s think about what this passage says about physical beauty in human beings. Because it is talking about physical beauty in a person, – not only a woman, – whose internal disposition (“mind”) is “ill.” If you want to argue with that interpretation, and insist that this passage refers only to women, then go ahead and argue that the very first words of the Psalter, “Blessed is the man…” (Ps 1: 1), refer only to “men.” If you will not argue that, then let’s dispense with gender-specifics and talk about physical beauty in people in general.

Physical “beauty” in human beings attracts us to them, at a first glance, if we are not blind. But if we...

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