Displaying posts published in

January 2011

40 days and 40 nights

In the “film” 40 days and 40 nights Josh Hartnett has to endure this unbearable trial period without sex.  It’s a time of sore testing and I’m sure hilarity ensures.  I wouldn’t know, I couldn’t be forced to watch it even for research purposes. But we seem to have a cultural memory that “40 days and 40 […]

Two by two

It’s the name of countless nurseries and toddler groups.  We instantly think: cramped menagerie and a cartoon boat – usually absent Noah and the family.  Also absent is any hint that this is a cataclysmic scene of judgement. The context is Genesis 6.  Apparently the “sons of God” were uniting with the daughters of men […]


When you think of rest, what springs to mind?  If you’re like me you’ll be thinking about an absence of stresses and suffering. The name “Noah” means rest.  But the one called Rest does not come in the context of peace and safety.  It was in the midst of death and curse that the promised […]


If someone calls you ‘Methuselah’ it’s probably not a compliment.  He was 969 years old when he died – the oldest man in the bible. In the midst of the avalanche of deaths in Genesis 5, Methuselah weathers the storm better than most.  But actually someone else in the family tree does better than Methuselah […]


When people attempt to read through the bible, Genesis 5 represents the first hurdle.  It’s a chapter of genealogy. So and so begat so and so, then they lived this many years and they died. And on it runs, generation after generation.  And the bible lists them in painstaking detail. Why the detail?  It’s been […]

The Land of Nod

These days, drifting off to the land of Nod sounds like a pleasant slumber.  It looks like it was Jonathan Swift who first used the phrase in connection with sleep.  And Rudyard Kipling followed suit.  Now we associate the land of Nod and ‘nodding off’ exclusively with sleep.  I read today that taking heroin is […]

Am I my brother's keeper?

We all know the phrase.  And we all want to be able to answer yes. Tony Blair first introduced “New Labour” to the party conference describing it as the kind of compassionate socialism that said “I am my brother’s keeper.” In 2008, Barack Obama’s Christmas Day message was this: “Now, more than ever, we must […]

Knowing… in the biblical sense

“I knew her… in the biblical sense” said the ribaldrous fellow with a wink and a nudge. Many are aware that “knowing in the biblical sense” is shorthand for sex.  But few know what it is that’s ‘biblical’ about that ‘biblical sense.’ Well it all goes back to Genesis 4:1: “And Adam knew Eve his […]

How the mighty are fallen

“Have you seen the news?  Flooding, fires, earthquakes, wars.  If we don’t watch ourselves the world’s going to fall apart completely.” “I fear we’ll soon pass the point of no return!” “We must be very near the end!” These are statements I hear pretty regularly about “the state of the world today.” The trouble is […]


When the person we love is dying of cancer we pray for healing.  We pray fervently.  But even if God grants a miraculous healing, what then?  Do we dare to ask for ten more years of health?  Twenty?  What about a hundred? How long do we want this kind of life prolonged?  For how long […]