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Pastor Paul's Ponderings

Pastor Paul reflects on issues of today and how teachings of the Bible can help us on our path.

May 29, 2024

  “I’m calling my dad to come help”, said Alison my able assistant trainer exercise rider, and friend. We had 20 plus horses to take care of and train that day, but our already slim staff was suffering from several unexcused absences. I thought for a second and said, “Great idea, I’ll call my dad to come help too!” Within an hour we had two able, experienced, horseshow dads turning left (cooling out hot horses), scrubbing and filling water buckets and the like.

  As we came back to the barn with our next set, we noted to each other that we most likely had the most educated staff on the backside that day: a Medical Doctor and surgeon (her dad Jack) and a PhD and Professor (my dad).

  I checked the filly that Jack had been walking and she was dry: “give her one more turn and hit her with the hose” I instructed him as I got busy doing something else. In race-trackese that means squirt off the dirt and mud that had collected on the horses feet while it was walking. A few minutes later I saw Jack in the street hosing the whole horse down, as in its whole body which had just dried after her post exercise bath. Now she was wet again and needed to be walked as wet horse and clean stall equals dust turning to mud on horse. Not good. Oh gosh! He took my words literally! Maybe I’m fortunate that he was not actually hitting the horse with the hose, but obviously he knew that I didn’t mean it that literally.

  The Bible says it, so I’m doing it! Fine yes. But one must take into account the context of the writing. The times and culture, and what type of writing it is. For example, the Psalms are actual songs—lyrics to long lost melodies. Today’s music uses all kinds of slang, references, and rhymes, why would songs of that day be any different. Therefore one might not want to view the Psalms in the same way that one might take direct orders, like commandments, as in thou shall not kill etc.

  I think Jesus points out to the literalists of his day the problem of not taking context into account when he advised the Pharisees that if their left eye causes them to sin, pluck it out. How do eyes cause sin? Maybe by seeing something that causes lust? Ok in that case there should be a whole lot of men walking around that have only one eye, because they have been tempted to lust by beautiful women etc. Not only does the bible say that but it is a direct quote of Jesus, shouldn’t that be taken literally? Jesus notes that to take the Old Testament literally is not the Gods intent. Jesus also said something like: “you have heard it said and eye for an eye, but I say doing that leaves the whole world blind, I give you a better way: forgive”

  Jesus also instructed us that the greatest, most important commandment was to love God and love one another. Therefore it would only make sense to interoperate the rest of scripture in light of this identified greatest law and commandment of the bible of Jesus day.

Grace and Peace,

Pastor Paul

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