from Quin….

Sorry to be slow with these updates, but again I’m relegated to putting two of these Sunday reflections up at one time.

On Sunday the 10th, I responded to the horrid raft of shooting of and by police across the country with this plea:

With all the horrors in the news this week in Louisiana, Minnesota, Tennessee, and Texas, the story of the Good Samaritan — which is this week’s standard Gospel reading — is particularly timely today for us to not just hear, but really take to heart. In times like these, we need to be even more mindful to reach out to those who may not be of our clan, our tribe, our race, our nationality. We need to look to show compassion before we ascribe blame or judgment. We need to cross to the other side of the street and be instruments of healing.

There’s a story I’ve told numerous times and written about three or four times in the past 33 years about a youngish black “bum” who haunted a bus stop at DuPont Circle in Washington D.C. during my freshman and sophomore years of college….

Most of us do not know the pain and fear of people from the inner city who lose friends and loved ones to violence far too frequently, but who distrust the police who are supposed to be safe to protect them. Most of us do not know the stress and fear that police officers may feel when working among distrustful populations. Most of us do not know exactly what happened in controversial incidents until exhaustive investigations are conducted — which is good reason not to rush to judgment, for either “side” of the dispute or the tragedy involved.

But we do know this: We know that God commands us to mercy.

And on Sunday the 17th I wrote about broader lessons we can learn from a newly announced archaeological discovery:

Tyler O’Neil’s article here last Wednesday about the discovery of a burial ground of the ancient Philistines was fascinating and instructive. (Other stories on the excavation are here and here.)….

The reason we have almost no Philistine version of history and very little history as told by Assyrians, Phoenicians, Canaanites, and others is because they were not as dedicated to the craft of writing history, nor as insistent that later generations of their peoples should understand and honor both their common heritage and their God.

Then again, it is probably that last factor that explains the first: While other peoples of the era worshiped (multiple) gods, they did not define themselves in reference to those gods. In other words, unlike the people of Israel and Judah, the Assyrians did not self-identify as “the people who worship [whichever gods were theirs; I forget which was which].” Nor did the Phoenicians, or the others. Only the Hebrews saw their very identity as being inextricable from the reality that they were Yahweh’s people.

Again, the whole columns are here and here.