four cubits and a span
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Changing The Script (Esther 1-2)
After an extended break due to illness, four cubits and a span will be returning with new episodes in April! To tide you over, this special episode is a nice follow-up to last November's episode Justice with Addie Whitcomb, where we looked at Esther 1. It picks up on some threads that we didn't have time to explore, and moves along into chapter 2 to look at Mordecai's part in Esther's story. I even have a go at putting Esther in its Jewish literary context by comparing it with other...
poetry and philosophy (2017/12/10)
Advent is upon us, and it's not entirely un-topical to think about Job calling God to account and reflecting on how God acts in the world. In Nahum we've got some proper literature, and in observing some of those literary features, we ask the important question, "So what?" In the New Testament, James gives us at least half a dozen really good topics for an hour-long study (each), so I fold space-time to fit them all into ten minutes. Read more »
My friend Adina Whitcomb joins me by recording on this week's extended episode to talk about the book of Esther. We're going to really get stuck into the story and the character of Esther, and allow her to challenge us from across the millennia to make our world a more Godly place now. Read more »
reflection and introspection (2017/11/12)
The Bible tells God's story by telling the story of his people, and this week we have Hosea, Ezra, and Paul doing exactly that. From the first prophetic watchman to a small tribe in the hill country of central Canaan, to the the great itinerant preacher who traversed the Mediterranean world proclaiming the good news of a risen Messiah to all peoples, we're running the full gamut of the biblical narrative in this show! Read more »
Rising Action (Acts 8)
From the most unlikely origins, Jesus will commission Paul to implement the great work narrated in the book of Acts - taking the gospel out across the Mediterranean world. But before Paul turns to Christ, even before Peter starts baptising Gentiles, comes the deacon Philip. In his preaching, the gospel smashes taboos of ethnicity, religion, and sexuality. Read more »
alternative histories (2017/10/29)
We're playing with history in all three readings this week, all in slightly different ways. In the New Testament, Stephen throws the entire Hebrew Bible narrative on its head in pretty much the most subversive way possible. In Daniel, we have a different challenge: an alternative to the history of interpretation. But it's the Chronicler who really sets us up for this when he goes to town on a history of King Uzziah, who is largely wiped from the narrative of 2 Kings. Read more »
The Language of Suicide (Philippians 1)
In Philippians 1 this week, we are confronted with the first century philosophy of suicide, and the disjunction between that and the modern-day tragedy of suicide. The stigma surrounding it in our society is counter-productive to holding an awareness of the issues, and being able to support those who need somewhere to turn. Paul doesn't shy away from it and, although the view from his society is very different to ours, neither shall we. I was going to include this in the regular weekly...
hubris and humility (2017/10/08)
In 1 Chronicles 24-25, we have the first of two weeks concerning the first temple, but two very heavy texts in Ezekiel 34 and Philippians 1-2. Ezekiel rails against the failed Israelite leaders following the destruction of Jerusalem, and preaches the radical character of Yahweh the shepherd God. In the New Testament, Paul describes true humility and the importance of intentional love. It's a slightly shorter show this week. There's a passage in Philippians 1 in which Paul appears to use...
testament and testimony (2017/10/01)
If you struggle with reading prophecy as much as I do, then come listen to my friend Nathan Kitchen talking about Ezekiel 27. There so much to miss that makes so much more sense out of these oracles to Tyre than the cherry-picker, tunnel-vision approach. We even spend a few minutes talking about the Ark of the Covenant in 1 Chronicles 15, and the resurrection narrative in Luke 24. Prophecy is one of the most widely, publicly, and badly abused types of writing in the Bible. Think of this...
narrative and counter-narrative (2017/09/24)
My good friend Nat Ritmeyer joins me on the show this week to talk about Luke 17, and two very challenging Old Testament passages in 1 Chronicles 7 and Ezekiel 20. Taking the Biblical narrative on its own terms is exactly what 4QS is all about, and in this bonus-length episode that's exactly what we're doing. We're getting stuck into the genealogies of ancient Israel to look into the Chronicler's startling perspective on the nation's origin, and examining Ezekiel's no-holds-barred...
hope and glory (2017/09/17)
At the end of the Kings history in 2 Kings 24-25, we're feeling the pain of loss as Judah and Jerusalem are humiliated over and over again as the nation finally falls. In Ezekiel 13, the prophet is letting rip the full fury of God against the false prophets who cheerfully cherry-pick their affirming messages, heedless of God's true intentions, to fit their own version of God into local current affairs. And in Luke 9 we're drawn fully into the work of a humble, human Messiah who reaches out...
culture and counter-culture (2017/09/10)
This week on 4QS we're reading 2 Kings 16, Ezekiel 6, and Luke 2. It's Canaanite Culture 101 with King Ahaz, and the alternative histories of his great triumph/humiliating defeat. Ezekiel is just getting warmed up in his mission to remind the exiles who God is, and at the start of Luke's gospel the story of Jesus begins in subversive style. Visit www.fourcubitsandaspan.com to read our about... pages, and join the discussion on Facebook. Now that we're on iTunes you can find us iOS, and...
grief and comfort (2017/09/03)
Welcome to the first full episode of 4QS! We're reading 2 Kings 8, Lamentations 4, and 2 Corinthians 1-2, and trying to strike that difficult balance between mourning and hope. Join me for a look at the role of the prophet in ancient Israel, how the exiled Jews in Babylon coped with the destruction of their home, and how Paul could live with joy in the midst of depression. This episode features loss, grief, and depression as central themes. Visit www.fourcubitsandaspan.com to read our...