Tamar

Love, Old Testament Style: A Video

My seminary held an Alumni reunion in October 2015 and they asked me to speak on my most recent book, Prostitutes and Polygamists: A Look at Love, Old Testament Style.

I speak about
Abraham the pimping patriarch,
Tamar the pious prostitute, and
David the raping monarch.

I really like how the video turned out.  It’s about 35 minutes.  Check it out:

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Who’s voice is going to be heard?

When the Church“When the church whispers about sex
and the culture yells about it,
who’s voice is gonna be heard?”

(Prostitutes and Polygamists, p. 19).

Parents, children, pastors, teachers, all of us feel a bit uncomfortable talking about sex, sexual sins, and sexual scandals. We avoid the subject, or when we do discuss it, we whisper. But avoiding doesn’t make it go away (think of the proverbial ostrich).

The Bible doesn’t avoid it.  It talks about it in the beginning. God’s first command to the freshly made humans is basically, “Have a lot of sex” (my paraphrase of “Be fruitful, multiply, fill the earth”; Gen. 1:28).

And the Bible talks about Abraham pimping his wife Sarah in Egypt, Judah hooking up with his daughter-in-law Tamar, who’s pretending to be a prostitute, David’s affair (I call it rape) with Bathsheba, the gang rape of the Levites concubine (read my take on Judges 19 here).  And what’s up with all that polygamy and incest?

For some subjects like homosexuality, it seems like some churches are yelling, but generally I think they’re sending the wrong message.  I discuss homosexuality in the context of the story of Sodom, and you might be surprised by what Scripture says about the story of Sodom.

The Bible talks about sex and sexual scandals a lot.  We need to talk about these subjects because the Bible talks about them, assuming we think all Scripture is inspired and profitable for teaching.

Our culture talks about sex all the time, perhaps Christians need to start teaching these overlooked, ignored sexual scandals of Scripture.  That’s what I try to do in Prostitutes and Polygamists.  Check it out.

Bible quiz time

I’m constructing a Bible knowledge exam that students from my seminary will need to take before they graduate.  I’ve constructed over 30 questions so far.

They need to be graded easily, so I’ve chosen to make many multiple choice.  Here are four questions that generally share a certain theme (answers are written in invisible ink at the bottom, highlight them to make them appear):

  • Absalom
    • a) Murderer of father’s son
    • b) Usurper of father’s throne
    • c) Rapist of father’s wives
    • d) Victim of father’s general
    • e) All the above
  • Tamar, the Canaanite
    • a) Had sex with Judah’s son Er
    • b) Had sex with Judah’s son Onan
    • c) Had sex with Judah
    • d) Is an ancestor of Jesus
    • e) All the above
  • David
    • a) Murderer
    • b) Adulterer
    • c) Warrior
    • d) Ruler
    • e) All the above
  • Rahab
    • a) A prostitute
    • b) A traitor
    • c) A worshipper of YHWH
    • d) An ancestor of Jesus
    • e) All the above

While crafting these questions, if struck me how the Bible is full of stories of really messed up people.  (I’d fit right in.)  And God works powerfully through them, even including them in his family tree (see Matt. 1), which should give those of us who are as messed up as this batch hope. 

So how’d you do on the quiz?

Answer here:

 All the above for all the above.