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Showing posts from February, 2014

"The Coach Sutton Rule" and The Falls Church

Today seems a good day to share an idea I've had for years, but have never before written about, and that's what I'm going to call the "Coach Sutton Rule."
My "Coach Sutton Rule" is based on something that Mr. Mark Sutton, my high school psychology teacher and wrestling coach, taught us wrestlers. It has to do with how we were to conduct ourselves at the end of our wrestling matches.
As you may know, at the end of a high school or college  wrestling match, it's the custom for both wrestlers to walk to the center of the mat and for the referee to hold up the winner's arm, thus signifying who won. Coach Sutton told us that when we walked to the center of the mat, we were to imagine someone taking a photograph of that moment.
And based on our facial expressions and our body language - the way we conducted ourselves - that "no one looking at that picture is to be able to tell, based on how you're acting, whether you were the winn…

"Be perfect" -- a horrible translation, and even more horrible theology

This Sunday, we hear a couple more "tough saying" of Jesus in a continuation of Jesus' "sermon on the mount."  
Unfortunately, the Gospel lesson concludes with our hearing Jesus saying -- seeming to say -- "Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect."   
The reason I say that's unfortunate (and that Jesus is only seeming to say "be perfect") is that "be perfect" is a terrible translation -- one of the worst in the whole English Bible -- of what was being said. Biblical scholars point out that the word Jesus is using here (in Hebrew, tam) means "be whole" (or "be wholesome"), or "be mature," or "be complete."   
We tend to think, however, of "perfection" as "without blemish" or "completely free from faults or defects," such as when we say a student a "perfect score" or when a pitcher pitches a "perfect game." 
That's…

When Jesus' tough sayings don't sound like "good news"

A statement that changed my life...