Misquoted Verses of the Bible (Lk. 22:36)

This post is part of a series looking at misquoted verses of the Bible. Click here to see others.

I decided to dust off an older series and share my take on a significant passage that is often misquoted. I’m prompted to blog this after I recently received an email from someone asking for help understanding this passage.

The misquoted passage says: “If you don’t have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one!” (Luke 22:36).

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Life is in the Transitions

Just when I thought this year couldn’t get any crazier, my wife and I spent last night checking our evacuation status. Oregon—along with much of the west coast—is burning in unprecedented ways. It was the first time we began preparing supplies to actually flee our home. Many people have already had to do just this. I even saw a notice on Amazon today that I’ve never seen before: “Extended delivery time due to weather in your area.”

Really 2020? At some point we wonder when a sense of normal will ever return. Here is some good news for you: you don’t need to wait for normal.

As I shared recently, our family is moving back to Arizona (see: Family Update). That means we are in the middle of one of the biggest unexpected life transitions we’ve yet experienced. But 2020 has reminded us that ALL OF US are in the process of transitions.

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Family Update

Family Update

It is with mixed emotions that we announce our family is moving to Arizona. First, let me address the sad emotions. We are leaving a dream of something we expected to invest decades of our life developing. We are leaving a community we love. And we are leaving a state that has forever captured my heart with its amazing weather, landscape, and culture. We didn’t move to Oregon to live here for only three years. And we have had to grieve that reality. (Sidenote: Michelle and I are about to spend a week with a counselor to process through all of this. I share this to counteract the stigma often associated with getting help from a professional if you need it).

I’m a big fan of theology, so I’ll unpack how I make sense of this experience. I don’t think the way things played out in all of this was God’s ‘plan A.’ Free will is real, and often human decisions can alter what God may desire to happen. This should be expected when God is non-coercive love itself. But thankfully, Jesus isn’t a one-plan type of God. In fact, He’s really good with ‘plan B,’ (and plan C, D, E, etc). That doesn’t make a ‘plan B’ moment any less sad or disappointing when it happens, it just means we need not give in to despair or throw in the towel when we find ourselves in this situation. Jesus pivots and invites us to trust Him with something new.

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Living Within the Confines

This week I finished a fantastic book called Prisoners of Geography by Tim Marshall (see: Amazon link). The premise of the book is that we can better understand global politics as well as history when we factor in the role that geography itself plays. To fully grasp the ideas of this book, I took my dad’s recommendation and listened to the audiobook while literally staring at the map for that chapter. It provided a context for understanding that every person would benefit from seeing.

At first glance, this premise may seem trivial. How much could geography really affect the choices that people make? Yet there are many examples that prove this. Here is one:

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Foreigners and Nomads

Recently I finished a book called The 21st Century Card Counter (see: Amazon link). In case you’re wondering, I was interested in this not because I plan on playing Blackjack professionally but because I’ve been fascinated by the idea of card counters. Sometimes you gotta let curiosity lead you.

Fun fact: one of the things the author is famous for is running the “Church Team” that won $3.2 million from casinos. The team was named for the fact that they all knew each other from church. There’s even a documentary about them called “Holy Rollers.”

The logic in the book is fascinating and can apply to a lot of areas in life. One of the themes is that card counters are looking to generate something called ‘positive expected value.’ Expected value is the “amount you expect to win over a given time period, based on the pure math of your playing decisions and the variables of the game that don’t change.” This is what gives a card counter an edge over a casino and why they are technically an investor rather than a gambler.

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The Limits of Evil

The Limits of Evil

I wrote a post last week about my reaction in reading David Bentley Hart’s latest book (see: How To Consider New Ideas). But beyond that, there are two quotes from the book that I’ve found myself continually thinking about.

Hart has a unique view on the role of evil and he describes it this way:

…evil and sin are always accidental conditions of human nature, never intrinsic qualities; all evil is a privation of an original goodness, and so the sinfulness that separates rational creatures from God is only a disease corrupting and disabling the will, robbing it of its true rational freedom, and thus is a disorder that must ultimately be purged from human nature in its entirety, even if needs be by hell.

David Bentley Hart, That All Shall be Saved

This is a profound thought. If we choose to do something evil (as all of us are capable of doing), it does not highlight the fullness of our free will. It highlights the disease that negatively limits our free will. The implication here is that a fully healthy free will would intrinsically choose God. To whatever degree we choose something other than God, the disease shapes our reality.

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