• Biblical history,  Houseful of Chaos Press

    Reflections on the idea of “Christian Mythology”

    Sometimes people take offense at the phrase “Christian mythology” as though it reduces Christianity to silly stories. It may make sense that people feel that way, since most people don’t understand mythology in the first place. It isn’t about dismissing Christianity or putting it down, but rather seeing it in context with other religious beliefs of other cultures. It isn’t about “lowering” Christianity by putting it on the same level as other ancient mythologies but on raising the other mythologies and seeing the interactions between them. Mythology is a weird word anyway. We study the mythology of ancient Greece, Rome, Egypt and the Norse mythology fairly easily, with little fear…

  • Picture of a statue of the God Nabu
    Biblical history,  Houseful of Chaos Press,  religion

    When Gods Made of Wood and Gold Came Alive

    Think of all the stories where we know the end before we get there. There are stories where we know the underdog will win. We know which couple will become ‘an item.’ Try for a moment to picture one of those stories, and imagine what it would look like to someone from a cultural context that told them the opposite results should happen. Maybe the woman should stick to her boring fiancé instead of leaving him for the funny more caring person. Maybe the underdog should come in last because really, he’s an underdog for a reason, right? Some stories are so predictable and prewritten that it is hard to…

  • 19th century illustration of Joseph before the Pharaoh.
    Biblical history,  Houseful of Chaos Press,  politics

    A Biblical Story of the Concentration of Wealth During a Disaster

    Today I find myself thinking about a story in Genesis 47:13 – 26. It is the story of a famine in Egypt. I’ll share the text from the Bible, and then I’ll write my commentary underneath it. 13There was no food, however, in the whole region because the famine was severe; both Egypt and Canaan wasted away because of the famine. 14Joseph collected all the money that was to be found in Egypt and Canaan in payment for the grain they were buying, and he brought it to Pharaoh’s palace. 15When the money of the people of Egypt and Canaan was gone, all Egypt came to Joseph and said, “Give us food.…

  • activism,  Biblical history,  Houseful of Chaos Press,  meaning of life,  seasons

    Thanksgiving and the Wandering Aramean Text

    As we approach American Thanksgiving, and my Facebook feed ends up filled with posts expressing a mix of views about the holiday – some objecting to the mythology attached, the occasional post in favour of the mythology, and many more concerned about Covid-19 spread – I find myself thinking about a Biblical thanksgiving mention. Deuteronomy 26 tells that when people enter the land “the Lord your God is giving you as an inheritance” they are to take the first fruits of their harvest and give it to God in a basket, reciting to the priest a specific creed: “My father was a wandering Aramean, and he went down into Egypt with a…

  • Houseful of Chaos Press,  religion

    Witchcraft?!

    The very word “witchcraft” scares some people. I acknowledge that fact in my upcoming book The Edge of the Circle. The book includes a teenage girl exploring witchcraft and that might be upsetting to some. So, I want to talk a bit about what that means. Why does witchcraft scare people and what does it mean anyway? In general, the rejection of witchcraft comes down to two things – a belief that religious practices should be standardized and a belief that there are alternative dangerous sources of supernatural power that people might tap into. I’ll look at those one at a time. The criticism of witchcraft has been part of…

  • history,  Houseful of Chaos Press,  meaning of life

    A Paradise Without the Need to Work?

    I love following wisps of ideas as they lead me through different times and works of literature. Today I’m thinking about how different writers questioned the possibility of a paradise without labour. Start with the Gonzalo’s speech in The Tempest about how he would run an island, if he could: I’th’ commonwealth I would by contrariesExecute all things, for no kind of trafficWould I admit; no name of magistrate;Letters should not be known; riches, poverty, (165)And use of service, none; contract, succession,Bourn, bound of land, tilth, vineyard, none;No use of metal, corn, or wine, or oil;No occupation; all men idle, all;And women too, but innocent and pure; (170)No sovereignty—…All things…

  • Picture shows a cat climbing out of a drawer, representative of my feeling of needing to get back to some type of activism.
    activism,  Houseful of Chaos Press,  politics

    Actions Matter

    I am fascinated by this short poem by Piet Hein: CONSOLATION GROOK Losing one gloveis certainly painful,but nothingcompared to the painof losing one,throwing away the other,and findingthe first one again. Apparently the poem was written as part of the Danish resistance during WWII, encouraging people not to throw away their patriotism and self respect just because Denmark had been captured by Germans. In many ways, it is a more poetic subtle way of saying that no matter how hard a situation is, what matters is what the individual chooses to do in response to it. The response is the more painful, important thing. I’ve been thinking about that the last…

  • Picture of the book Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder
    books,  history,  homeschooling,  Houseful of Chaos Press,  politics

    Little House on the Prairie Books and the Problem of Messy History.

    It is a perennial questions in homeschool circles, whether one should read the Little House on the Prairie books with one’s kids or whether the racism in it makes those books ones that should be put aside. The books have the heroine’s mother saying “The only good Indian is a dead Indian” and one of them has the father engaging in blackface. I started reading the Little House books with my oldest child sometime before he turned six. I had forgotten about what they contained. We came to one of the first examples of racism in it and he said no way would he listen to the rest of the…

  • Picture shows the inside of Christy Knockleby's book A Secular Bible Study
    Houseful of Chaos Press,  politics

    A Secular Bible Study

    My book A Secular Bible Study is now available. I based this book off of classes that I have been teaching online to homeschooling students. My classes are for students who wanted to learn about the Bible, but without being preached at. I take the academic approach I learned at university and share it with middle schoolers and teenagers. With my book I hope to make it available to more people. My approach to the Bible is through a historical critical approach. That means I try to look at the texts in light of their historical environment. What did they mean to their early audiences? The Bible was written over…

  • A 15th century picture of Adam and Eve after they are kicked out of the garden of Eden.
    Biblical history,  Houseful of Chaos Press

    Exploring the story of Adam and Eve, and how it changed over time.

    Genesis 2:15 – 3:22 tells a story of Adam and Eve, supposedly the first humans to exist. In the story God puts these first humans in a garden. There they have plenty of food for only one tree is off limits to them. This one tree, God says, is the tree of knowledge of good and evil. He says the humans will die the day they eat that fruit. Then a crafty serpent speaks to Eve and tells her that eating from that one tree will not kill her but open her eyes and make her like God. She eats it and gives some to Adam. They realize they are…