Barak the Man of Faith

BARAK

Judges 4 & 5 (1 Sam 12:11 & Heb 11:32)

 

The story of Barak is intertwined with Deborah, the incredible Judge and Prophetess of pre-Monarchy Israel.  

 

When Hebrews 11:32 names Barak, the author is recalling Judges 4 & 5.

 

The Book of Judges operates in repeating cycles:

  1. The people forget God
  2. The people fall into the sin of idolatry
  3. Their regional enemies oppress and enslave them
  4. They cry out to God for help and he sends a judge, a saviour.

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The Donkey

A great little poem from the perspective of the donkey by the gentle giant that was G. K. Chesterton.  Just right for Palm Sunday!

The Donkey

When fishes flew and forests walked
   And figs grew upon thorn,
Some moment when the moon was blood
   Then surely I was born.
*
With monstrous head and sickening cry
   And ears like errant wings,
The devil’s walking parody
   On all four-footed things.
*
The tattered outlaw of the earth,
   Of ancient crooked will;
Starve, scourge, deride me: I am dumb,
   I keep my secret still.
*
Fools! For I also had my hour;
   One far fierce hour and sweet:
There was a shout about my ears,
   And palms before my feet.
*
By G. K. Chesterton
The Collected Poems of G. K. Chesterton (Dodd, Mead & Company, 1927)
I really love this poem.
It is a dark, pre-historical apocalyptic, self-aware observation of “The Donkey”.
The origins are Genesis-like, poet, intentionally non-scientific, that force the reader into a primitive age of beginnings and blood moons.
The self-understanding of the Donkey is as a devilish monster striding the earth, the ugliest, most pointless of all the creatures, “the devil’s parody” – no worse epithet could ever be used!  And if the donkey is the devil’s parody, then he bloody well won’t be doing what human beings tell him to do, that’s for sure!
Suddenly, at the end, rising from the Satanic melancholic doom and gloom, emerges a great secret.   And a great joke, and the joke is on us!
This beast knows he was chosen to carry the King of Kings as he rode into Jerusalem, as though enthroned.
It is no accident that the firstborn donkey, like the firstborn child, was to be redeemed with a lamb (Ex. 13:11-16).
100-10

The Last Laugh

Source:  donkeyheaven.org

When Introverts Speak

Book Review:  ‘Quiet’ by Susan Cain

A few years ago I was in a bookshop and stumbled upon this book as I was browsing.  I picked it up and was hooked immediately.  I think I read the first chapter before paying for it.  What follows is my review that I’ve recently rediscovered, and I offer it here.

The sub-title of the book reads: ‘The power of introverts in a world that can’t stop talking’.  And although this book is secular, the author not only accesses her biblically Jewish roots, but what she says is as relevant to Christian ministry as it is to industry chiefs and educators.  

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Cain refers to the introvert/extrovert divide as the most “fundamental dimension of personality”, arguing further that in a world of extroverted pomp, introverts make up over a third of the human race!  It is not the pomp of extrovertedness that she critiques per se, but rather the inevitable downside view that the sensitive and serious are seen as undesirable, in both the popular mind of culture and business.

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Sunday: Participation

Below is my script for Pause for Thought on BBC Radio Devon:

 

At the end of Disney’s The Jungle Book, Mowgli sees a girl from the village collecting water, and he is utterly enchanted!

 

The panther Bagheera and the Baloo the bear are trying to deliver him safely into the village; but whilst Bagheera knows he must go, Baloo wants him to stay with him in the forest.

But, alas, Mowgli is lost to this new world of wonder!

go on come back

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Saturday: Threat

Below is my script for Pause for Thought on BBC Radio Devon:

 

Whilst watching The Jungle Book with my two year old daughter, the threat of Shere Khan the tiger loomed large.

All week I’ve explored key themes within the Disney film as it relates to following, contentment, trust, identity and belonging.  Today, Shere Khan represents threat.

The constancy of threat in our lives is a very real challenge.

From accidents and illness, to national politics and global catastrophe – we are a threatened race.

The Jungle Book represents the pompous and the evil of the English character.

The Elephant is an English, old fashioned, pompous army colonel.

Shere Khan is the English, old fashioned evil villain.

tiger

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Friday: Belonging

Below is my script for Pause for Thought on BBC Radio Devon:

 

There is nothing quite like snuggling up with your children to watch a cartoon.  

As my daughter snuggled in, we enjoyed Disney’s The Jungle Book, and so far this week, we’ve looked at significant themes within the songs:  following, contentment, trust and identity.

Now we look at belonging.

Mowgli feels abandoned and alone.  A crisis most of us feel at some time.

He walks from the lush forest into the wastelands inhabited by the vultures.

He tells them why he is upset so they decide to sing him a song, that begins like this:

We’re your friends
We’re your friends
We’re your friends to the bitter end
When you’re alone
Who comes around
To pluck you up
When you are down
And when you’re outside, looking in
Who’s there to open the door?
That’s what friends are for!

vultures

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Thursday: Identity

Below is my script for Pause for Thought on BBC Radio Devon:

 

Using the brilliant Disney film ‘The Jungle Book’ this week, we’ve thought about following, anxiety and trust.  Today we look at identity.

The monkeys had kidnapped Mowgli and taken him to their leader, the orangutan King Louie, who wanted the power of fire that humans had.  

He sings, “I wanna be like you, I want to walk like you, talk like you, …”

 

Human beings learn by copying others.

It’s as if we copy others in order that we become ourselves.

So while we maintain our unique identity; to reach it, we need community.  We need others.

loius

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