Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Fulfilling the Law: Acts 2:44-47 & Acts 4:32-36 Are Not Temporary

Illustration by Judith Clingan
"When Jesus said, 'The poor you will have with you always,' He was quoting Deuteronomy 15:11, but he expected his disciples and us to think about the whole passage."

Ben Irwin continues his insight into interpreting Jesus' quote of Deu. 15:11:

"When Jesus said that there would always be poor people in the land, it was a concession to Israel's likely failure to obey the law requiring them to protect its most vulnerable citizens. Sure enough, that's pretty much how the story plays out in the rest of the Old Testament."

"There would always be poor people because Israel would not prove as generous as they were meant to be. There would always be poor people because Israel would not cancel everyone's debts like they were supposed to."

"Deuteronomy 15 commanded ancient Israel to cancel each others debt every seven years. Interesting to note that no distinction was made between responsible and irresponsible debt; no matter how people fell into financial distress, they were to be given a clean slate every seven years."

"The passage ends with the statement quoted by Jesus centuries later: there will always be poor people among you. Which is precisely why laws protecting the poor were needed in the first place: 'There will always be poor people in the land. Therefore I command you to be openhanded toward your fellow Israelites who are poor and needy in your land.'"

"What's more, to the writer of Deuteronomy 15, persistent poverty was anything but acceptable. Back up a few verses, to Deuteronomy 15:4-5:
There need be no poor people among you, for in the land the Lord your God is giving you to possess as your inheritance, he will richly bless you, if only you fully obey the Lord your God and are careful to follow all these commands...."

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Tour De France: Review of the 2014 Official Guide

Photo by Tim De Waele
The Tour De France begins this Saturday and lasts for three weeks (July 5th--27th). The 2014 Official Guide is on shelves now, and gives an overview of cycling's most anticipated annual event. Reading the guide will give anyone an appreciation for how grueling an event Le Tour De France really is.

I was surprised to learn that the Tour actually begins its first three stages in England. And while most stages stop and start from the same cities, there are two flights: one from England to France and another to the final stage in Paris, as well as, two rest days.

Most of the daily rides are a minimum of 100 miles, and of the 21 stages overall, 9 are considered flat, 5 hilly, and 6 mountain stages that include 5 summit finishes. There is only one time-trial stage near the end of the race. 

The degree of difficulty in addition to the 100 miles of distance each day comes from climbs, or elevation gain. Being a novice cyclist for only two years, myself, and even having completed an IRONMAN, the endurance needed to complete, much less compete in, the Tour is quite impressive.