Displaying episodes 1 - 30 of 38 in total

37. Enemy's Mercy

Today we hear the mashal of Genesis 23 where Abraham is curiously rejecting the mercy of his enemy and seeks to buy the gift of the land as a possession for himself. Let us be attentive! Intro and outro music Copyright © Holy Transfiguration Monastery, Brookline, MA, used by permission. All rights reserved.

36. Lamb to the Slaughter

In today’s episode we hear the story of Abraham being commanded by the Scriptural God to sacrifice Isaac. This is a very famous story from the Bible and is used by various different people to make various different assertions about God and the Bible, but today you will hear from us not an assertion, not simply another manipulation of the Biblical story, but an explanation of the Biblical story. We cannot use the Bible for anything- we can only listen to it and choose whether or not we will align our behavior with God’s will, as the Biblical character Abraham is commanded to in this chapter. Come and hear the story. Intro and outro music Copyright © Holy Transfiguration Monastery, Brookline, MA, used by permission. All rights reserved.

35. Virgin Birth

This week we cover chapter 21 of Genesis. This is the story of Isaacs's birth and the surrounding events. Join us as we discuss the story and the overlooked but incredibly important detail which is Isaac's conception and birth seeming to happen without any involvement from Abraham. Intro and outro music Copyright © Holy Transfiguration Monastery, Brookline, MA, used by permission. All rights reserved.

34. Allophyloi

As already discussed many times in this podcast, Abraham's story in the book of Genesis is anything but linear. For every move in obedience to God, there is a countermove in disobedience. We will see this play out for the final time in the Abraham cycle before his full character actualization in chapter 22. What is the point of all this? Precisely to constantly bore into the ears of the Israelites that they are not special in relation to the Gentiles and that Abraham was once himself a gentile and acted outside the bounds of the Mosaic Law. What made him righteous? His trust in God's promise and his change of behavior. This isn't about blood. Let us be attentive. Intro and outro music Copyright © Holy Transfiguration Monastery, Brookline, MA, used by permission. All rights reserved.

33. Don't Look Back

Join us as we read through Genesis 19 and critique the popular reception of the story of Sodom and Gomorrah. Intro and outro music Copyright © Holy Transfiguration Monastery, Brookline, MA, used by permission. All rights reserved.

32. Abort Your Ideology - an Interlude

Our ideologies are our downfall. We cannot use scripture to suit our desires and our ideological premises. We should not even come to scripture with our questions. We must only seek to hear what scripture is saying. Join us today as we attempt to do just that in light of historic sociological shifts in the United States. Intro and outro music Copyright © Holy Transfiguration Monastery, Brookline, MA, used by permission. All rights reserved.

31. The Hospitality of Abraham

Join us this week as we hear the pericope of Abraham's hospitality toward YHWH, his master. YHWH is identified in the appearance of three men- who are these three men? Three angels? Two angels and The LORD? Three shepherds? Is it even important? Come and see... Intro and outro music Copyright © Holy Transfiguration Monastery, Brookline, MA, used by permission. All rights reserved.

30. Cult of the Creedal Statement - an Interlude

In this interlude episode, I argue that the fundamental problem with "theology" is that it reduces scriptural faith into something that is to be "believed" rather than "lived out" in obedience to a command. Intro and outro music Copyright © Holy Transfiguration Monastery, Brookline, MA, used by permission. All rights reserved.

29. What a Joke

Perhaps you’ve heard before that God has a sense of humor. Well, that is true but not in the way you might think. Often, if we say God has a sense of humor it is so that we can relate with God. We want him to be the father we didn’t have, the friend we need, the brother who will watch out for us, and if he has a good sense of humor, that makes him all the more friendly. This is not scriptural. God has a sense of humor but he laughs at us, not with us. If we can laugh at ourselves, then good! Perhaps then, we can stray from the path of self-righteousness, but that does not mean that God and we are on the same page. We all think we have things figured out, we study scripture and think we understand, we live life and think we understand how to navigate it, but we will always be tested when we least expect it and like a child bracing itself confidently against a monster in a children's novel, we look foolish to God, and he laughs at us. What’s worst of all is that before we even knew what we were doing, we laughed at God. This is why he laughs at us; because we are but children who think they know what they are saying, but as scripture continues to show us through the meshalim, the stories, every word that comes out of our mouth is wrong and every word condemns us. Intro and outro music Copyright © Holy Transfiguration Monastery, Brookline, MA, used by permission. All rights reserved.

28. All About Circumcision

Circumcision is probably the most controversial covenant in the entire scriptural story. From the onset of the common era, the implications of this covenant for the gentile world was the primary basis for the rift that would eventually split Pharisaical Judaism into two major groups, those of the Pauline persuasion which would evolve into Christianity and those of the Jerusalemite persuasion which would evolve into Rabbinical Judaism. There’s obviously nuance to this, which we will get into, but the point is that this very covenant became more of a symbol of division rather than unity… the unity of which, as we will see, was the original purpose. So why did this unfortunate bastardization of circumcision occur? And more importantly, why is circumcision seemingly so critical in the Old Testament but seemingly bypassed in the New? Is this even a fair question? Is there a dichotomy between circumcision in Genesis and circumcision in Paul’s writings? Let’s explore this question, not by attempting to justify how our religious traditions have treated this issue, but by how it functions in the story being told. Only then can we hope to answer this controversial but highly important conundrum. Intro and outro music Copyright © Holy Transfiguration Monastery, Brookline, MA, used by permission. All rights reserved.

27. Father of the Emaciated Lamb

Something that Rowdy and I have pressed many times throughout these podcasts is the fact that names not only have special meanings in the Hebrew text, they define the function of the characters bearing those names. In other words, the names offer critical context to the overall narrative and without a clear understanding of the names in the original language, the narrative itself can become blurred. So it is surprising that one of the most important names in the scriptural narrative is extremely elusive to Biblical scholars and no one seems to know exactly what is going on with the language. This name is Abraham, the new God given name for Abram. In today’s episode, Rowdy and I will discuss the various scholarly interpretations into this name and we will also touch on the impact these different interpretations have on the broader scriptural narrative. Let's hear the first section of chapter 17! Intro and outro music Copyright © Holy Transfiguration Monastery, Brookline, MA, used by permission. All rights reserved. Thumbnail icon © The Children of Abraham, Dr. Robert Lentz, Courtesy of Trinity Stores, www.trinitystores.com, 800.699.4482

26. A Child Born For Slavery

Today we will hear chapter 16 of Genesis. We are coming off of last weeks reading, chapter 15, when we heard of God’s first covenant with Abram where he promised to him to give his offspring the land of Canaan. Abram was promised peace and a great future for his children and in this chapter we will hear of Abram and Sarai’s quick backstep as they fail to trust God. Let us hear the story! Intro and outro music Copyright © Holy Transfiguration Monastery, Brookline, MA, used by permission. All rights reserved.

25. Saint Paul's Source Text

If you’re familiar with St. Paul’s letter to the Galatians, the next few chapters of Genesis will be extremely familiar to you. This is because St. Paul almost exclusively sources his arguments on the content of these chapters. In essence the Pauline New Testament is simply reinforcing the correct reading of the Old Testament against the abuses of the religious establishment of Jerusalem in Paul’s time. You see, in first century Judea, the center of religious life was the Herodian Temple. Around the Temple, you had two major classes of Jewish society. The Sadducees were the extremely wealthy and Hellenistic priestly class and the Pharisees were anti Hellenist opponents of that priestly class and devoted their lives to piety and the study of scripture. This was Paul’s background. He was a Pharisee and like all Pharisees, he knew scripture very well. Zealous for the traditions of their forefathers and of Judean identity, the Pharisees weighed their righteousness around the technical following of the Mosaic Law and not only that, they were set to impose that law onto Gentile converts into the faith. Paul, fleeing from this trap, condemned both Judaism and Hellenism and argues in Galatians that Abram was considered righteous by God independent of the Mosaic Law! So how was Abram deemed righteous? Let’s hear the story that Paul heard and find out for ourselves. The painful truth of scripture is that it only upholds our traditions when we force it to do so. But when we read it for what it is, it tears those traditions down. And when I say that Paul tears down Judaism, I am not making a slight against modern Judaism. This is Judaism of the 1st century, and it can function as any religion, including and especially Christianity. This is difficult because we love the traditions of our forefathers, but scripture doesn’t give a damn! Let us be attentive! Intro and outro music Copyright © Holy Transfiguration Monastery, Brookline, MA, used by permission. All rights reserved.

24. A Priest Without A Temple

Today we read chapter 14 of Genesis. Like most nations in history, the nations of this chapter are consumed with chasing wealth. Conflict is naturally the means by which to acquire that wealth and that conflict will unavoidably swallow up the bystanders, but the kings who profit can’t be bothered with that fact. That’s the kind of story we will hear today, but as always there is a revealing instruction present within the story, so let’s not miss it. Thank you for joining us this week. Let’s get started. Intro and outro music Copyright © Holy Transfiguration Monastery, Brookline, MA, used by permission. All rights reserved.

23. Interlude: 55 Maxims of Fr. Thomas Hopko

01. Be always with Christ, and trust God in everything 02. Pray as you can, not as you think you must. 03. Have a keepable rule of prayer, done by discipline. 04. Say the Lord’s Prayer several times each day. 05. Repeat a short prayer when your mind is not occupied. 06. Make some prostrations when you pray. 07. Eat good foods in moderation, and fast on fasting days. 08. Practice silence: inner, and outer. 09. Sit in silence 20 to 30 minutes each day. 10. Do acts of mercy in secret. 11. Go to liturgical services regularly. 12. Go to confession, and holy communion regularly. 13. Do not engage intrusive thoughts, and feelings. 14. Reveal your thoughts, and feelings to someone regularly. 15. Read the scriptures regularly. 16. Read good books, a little at a time. 17. Cultivate communion with the saints. 18. Be an ordinary person, one of the human race. 19. Be polite with everyone, first of all with family members. 20. Maintain cleanliness, and order in your home. 21. Have a healthy, wholesome hobby. 22. Exercise regularly. 23. Live a day, even a part of a day, at a time. 24. Be totally honest, first of all with yourself. 25. Be faithful in little things. 26. Do your work, then forget it. 27. Do the most difficult, and painful things first. 28. Face reality. 29. Be grateful. 30. Be cheerful. 31. Be simple, hidden, quiet, and small. 32. Never bring attention to yourself. 33. Listen when people talk to you. 34. Be awake, and attentive, fully present where you are. 35. Think, and talk about things no more than necessary. 36. Speak simply, clearly, firmly, directly. 37. Flee imagination, fantasy, analysis, figuring things out. 38. Flee carnal, sexual things at their first appearance. 39. Don’t complain, grumble, murmur, or whine. 40. Don’t seek, or expect pity, or praise. 41. Don’t compare yourself with anyone. 42. Don’t judge anyone for anything. 43. Don’t try to convince anyone of anything. 44. Don’t defend, or justify yourself. 45. Be defined, and bound by God, not by people. 46. Accept criticism gracefully, and test it carefully. 47. Give advice only when asked, or when it is your duty. 48. Do nothing for people that they can, and should, do for themselves. 49. Have a daily schedule of activities, avoiding whim, and caprice. 50. Be merciful with yourself, and with others. 51. Have no expectations, except to be fiercely tempted until your last breath. 52. Focus exclusively on God, and light, and never on darkness, temptation, and sin. 53. Patiently endure your faults, and sins peacefully, under God’s mercy. 54. When you fall, get up immediately, and start over. 55. Get help when you need it, without fear, or shame. Intro and outro music Copyright © Holy Transfiguration Monastery, Brookline, MA, used by permission. All rights reserved.

22. You Should Have Stopped Walking

In today’s episode we will read the rest of chapter 12 as well as chapter 13. This is the story of how Abram ignored God after walking according to his command and passed into the land that was promised to Abram’s offspring. Instead of staying and relying on God, he kept walking down to a land we can easily assume was more appealing than that which God gave him. That land is the land of Egypt. Let’s hear the story. Intro and outro music Copyright © Holy Transfiguration Monastery, Brookline, MA, used by permission. All rights reserved.

21. Start Walking

Today we will jump right into the story of Israel starting with the father of faith- Abram. But, as we will see, he is not the wonderful example of faith we often like to think of him as… at least not at first. We often read our own ideas of who we like to think of Abraham as back into the earliest parts of the story and that causes us to miss important details, so let’s not do this. Let’s hear what the text is saying. Intro and outro music Copyright © Holy Transfiguration Monastery, Brookline, MA, used by permission. All rights reserved.

20. Split Lips

Today we hear the story of the Tower of Babel and the fools who built it. We must remember always that the fools in scripture, that is, all characters in scripture, are examples for us and examples of us. So without any further ado, let us hear the story. Intro and outro music Copyright © Holy Transfiguration Monastery, Brookline, MA, used by permission. All rights reserved.

19. We Are All Gentiles pt.2

Today we conclude our reading of chapter 10 of Genesis. We will hear the remainder of the names featured in this section, as well as an interesting grammatical device used by the authors which can only be heard in the Hebrew language: men producing progeny, or more literally, birthing children. What does it mean for a man to birth offspring in the story of scripture? Let us hear... Intro and outro music Copyright © Holy Transfiguration Monastery, Brookline, MA, used by permission. All rights reserved.

18. We Are All Gentiles pt. 1

Chapter 10 features what many call “The Table of Nations,” which lays out Biblical geography and cultural dispersion across the Scriptural authors’ known world. There is a lot packed away in this chapter thanks to the brilliance of the Scriptural Hebrew language and the intelligence of the authors. We will put in the work to introduce these names in detail because when we push our effort this way, we will have a much better idea when the names of these nations come up again later in scripture. These seemingly alien words play an important role in the total story being told and if we sit back and gloss over them because it’s too hard to understand them then they will be extremely hard to keep track of as we navigate the Old Testament. Intro and outro music Copyright © Holy Transfiguration Monastery, Brookline, MA, used by permission. All rights reserved.

17. Canaan, the Slave of Slaves

God does not endorse human behavior. God is not a cheerleader. If we are hearing scripture we will understand that humans are wicked and God stoops down to their level and provides commandments and circumstances that will bring about people who will bear fruits worthy of repentance. Today we will read Genesis chapter 9 and hear of God’s covenant following Noah and his family exiting the ark. This is a new beginning, but things are much different now than they were in the garden. Intro and outro music Copyright © Holy Transfiguration Monastery, Brookline, MA, used by permission. All rights reserved.

16. The Birds Are Not What They Seem

Today we pick apart the intricacies of Genesis chapter 8. From wordplay to metaphor, the authors are making distinct choices to cause us to hear a specific story- not just another diluvian epic. Let us hear. Intro and outro music Copyright © Holy Transfiguration Monastery, Brookline, MA, used by permission. All rights reserved.

15. Interlude: Consume Scripture!

This week we will have a revisiting discussion about what it is exactly that we are trying to accomplish with this podcast, so we will read from a few selections of scripture in order to let them serve as a reminder, and possibly an admonishment, of what we are doing here at Tell me the Story. Week by week, we hope that our discussions are helpful to you, dear listener, but we cannot control your understanding. Only scripture can and should do that, so let us turn our ears to scripture and be reminded of our directive. Perhaps with these scriptural reminders, we can approach scripture and hear what we ought to hear: the story. Intro and outro music Copyright © Holy Transfiguration Monastery, Brookline, MA, used by permission. All rights reserved.

14. The Ark is for Everyone

Today we will read Chapter 7 of Genesis and begin our hearing of the story of the flood dominating the earth and her inhabitants. In chapter 6 we heard the story of God warning Noah and commanding him to action, and now we will hear about the beginnings of this great desolation. As always, the authors use a variety of techniques to control the way we listen. We have already tackled the fact that approaching this story as a historical account of some great meteorological anomaly in human history is perhaps the weakest and most obtuse approach one can take, so let us leave that idea behind us. What we are being told is much more impressive and convicting. Let us trust God; Let us hear. Intro and outro music Copyright © Holy Transfiguration Monastery, Brookline, MA, used by permission. All rights reserved.

13. The Ark is Not a Boat

Today we will unpack the story of Noah and the ark he builds in preparation for the flood God is bringing upon the earth. This is one of the most famous stories from the Bible, so naturally, everyone has their own ideas about it; many of these ideas come not from scripture itself but are the product of the schools of modernism and postmodernism, historiography, and scientific reason- which are not bad in and of themselves. The world we live in is interwoven with these schools of thought and social movements, so they are inescapable. They constitute the way we think about reality and by extension, the Bible. Okay that’s fine it’s what we were born into. It’s the classic: it’s not our fault but it is our problem. Thankfully, the Bible knows how people are, so it is written to address our shortcomings. We can’t get rid of the presuppositions that make us, but we can allow the Bible to shape them. Intro and outro music Copyright © Holy Transfiguration Monastery, Brookline, MA, used by permission. All rights reserved.

12. Rest in Repentance

God’s rest is not something to sit back and enjoy. How can it be? Our bodies deteriorate with every passing breath. We approach the end of our lives with the fleeting of every moment. God’s rest is for us, but it is through repentance that we find it. God is not commanding us to chill. He is not asking us to kick back and watch him work. He is asking us to do the work. When we hear his teaching, we should hear our own sins revealed and be moved to action because our lives are fleeting. There is no time to bask in the beauty and peace and love of daddy god. There is a tremendous amount of work to do. God loves us. He commands repentance, and through that repentance we are moved to action. This action brings rest, but when we chill out and enjoy it, we end up falling back into sin and we have to go through the whole process again. The rest should energize us. We can’t become fat and lazy having a nice time, enjoying how much we love God. We have to be on the move. It’s a poetic contradiction. Repentance brings rest, but the scriptural rest drives you toward action, movement, expending energy toward helping others: the sick, the lowly, the widow, so that you can multiply that rest which is the product of God’s mercy. This is the story. Intro and outro music Copyright © Holy Transfiguration Monastery, Brookline, MA, used by permission. All rights reserved.

11. Many Years

In the Eastern Christian world, it is common to wish people a hearty “many years” whenever they are celebrating any meaningful life event whether that be a birthday or an anniversary or when they become chrismated into the Church. This is not said to suggest that there is anything special about having a long earthly life, as if that is the criterion for God’s blessings. If that were the case, we’d have a major issue because the vast majority of the saints we commemorate and imitate did not live long lives. So why do we say this? Because we are mortal and our lives will come to an end whether we’re ready for it or not. And when death comes, judgment follows. So when we wish that God will grant our fellow Christians many years, we are wishing that God will grant them more time to repent. Because it is not the length of years that signifies holiness, as we will soon discover, but how faithfully we lived as an abdullah - a slave of God. Intro and outro music Copyright © Holy Transfiguration Monastery, Brookline, MA, used by permission. All rights reserved.

10. Dynasty of Darkness

All too often we humans are guilty of elevating ourselves and our own importance to the heights of godliness. I am guilty of it! The moment we concern ourselves with our elevation is the very moment we are cast out. This very attitude of elevation, of ego, is the attitude of the Spear, of Cain. The one who murdered the shepherd whose only concern was to listen to God. We should be like him! Like Passing Breath- like Abel! Join us today as we conclude Genesis chapter four. Intro and outro music Copyright © Holy Transfiguration Monastery, Brookline, MA, used by permission. All rights reserved.

9. Yes, You Are Your Brother's Keeper

Join us as we embark on the story of Genesis chapter four. We will meet new characters and hear various details that work to establish the lore of the story of Genesis, not to mention the most disastrous act committed by humankind thus far. Which, according to us, is worse than murder. Intro and outro music Copyright © Holy Transfiguration Monastery, Brookline, MA, used by permission. All rights reserved.

8. He Told You So

In this episode, we discuss Genesis chapter 3 and the story that is unfolding, which includes the introduction of a new character, the serpent. Join us as we listen to what the Scriptures are unveiling and submit to the message found within. Intro and outro music Copyright © Holy Transfiguration Monastery, Brookline, MA, used by permission. All rights reserved.

© Copyright Blaise Webster, Rowdy Wendland, 2021. All rights reserved.