Monthly Archives

December 2021

Tale as Old as Time

Dear Gatherers,


The story of King David and Bathsheba feels like it could be a 21st-century headline. It’s the start of a battle season—and David has sent his troops to war, while he stays back in Jerusalem, ostensibly doing all the strategic thinking. One night he’s on his palace roof, mulling things over, when he sees a beautiful woman taking her bath. David has messengers bring her to him, forces himself on her, and sends her back home to her husband.

It’s a tale as old as time—a sickening familiar example of male entitlement run amok, corrupt power, and the kind of sexual abuse that, in our time, would dominate the news for days on end. Sadly, Bathsheba in a culture where what she suffers is almost expected. The king fancies an attractive woman and takes her. Such are the ways of kings in the Bronze Age. But God sees this sin and the story of Bathsheba takes quite a few surprising twists until she becomes inscribed in David’s dynastic line, and her memory is celebrated in Matthew’s genealogy of Jesus.

As the great 20th century theologian Karl Barth famously taught, “Take your Bible and take your newspaper, and read both. But interpret newspapers from your Bible.” The story of Bathsheba gives us a #metoo story that demonstrates divine disgust with sexual violence, regardless how palatial its surroundings, as well as a call for justice that changes the course of history. This week, we’ll conclude our study of the matriarchs on Jesus’s family tree with Bathsheba. Without her, there’s no telling what Judaism or its stepchild Christianity would look like. Her role is just that significant. (For a preview, read 2 Samuel 11:1-12:24 and 1 Kings 1:1-31.)

Join us this Thursday at 7:30pm CST for the last Bible study of 2021 as we get to know this amazing woman who refused to be a victim of masculine privilege. She has plenty to teach us!


With blessings for a wonderful holiday,

Pastor Tim




Some Baaaad Sisters!

Hello, Gather Friends and Family,


This Advent we’re taking a good look at Jesus’s family tree with particular interest in the grandmothers called out in Matthew 1’s genealogy. These women are some bad sisters! Last week, we spent time with Tamar, who reasserted her agency in deliciously risky ways. (See Genesis 38 if you missed it.) After being wronged by an entire family of men, she devised a brilliant—and daringly unconventional—means to correct her situation. The great twist came when she was credited with more righteousness than the patriarch who had mistreated her, even though she herself up as a prostitute to undo injustices she suffered. Daring and ingenuity are big themes in this Advent series!


Tamar’s one-off prostitution gig sets the stage for the next matriarch, Rahab. She shares many qualities with Tamar. She too is a foreign woman. She’s also “in the life”—only this time she’s not doing one-off tricks; she’s a full-fledged madam who runs a brothel. Her story also begins with supposedly “godly” men buying her services. In Rahab’s case, however, her bold quick-wittedness saves the lives of her Israelite customers. On paper, she’s the ultimate outsider: wrong gender, wrong ethnicity, wrong profession, wrong religion. Yet Matthew is very eager to bring Rahab in. And the Hebrews writer calls her name again in the famous “faith heroes” of Hebrews 11.


What’s up with Rahab? What can she teach us about faith, reputation, and finding our way in a label-obsessed world? That’s our jumping off point for this week’s Gather discussion. Join us at 7:30p CST via Zoom by clicking the button below. We’ll have a lively and enlightening conversation—promise!




With Advent’s gifts of hope, peace, joy, and love,

Pastor Tim



Greetings Gatherers,


During my COVID respite I suddenly had time to binge-watch shows I’d missed, like “Ted Lasso” and “The Morning Show”. While I enjoyed many of them, the HBO series “Success” has become an obsession. The people in this family dysfunction saga aren’t merely hysterical. They’re cold and calculating, especially the four siblings jockeying for their billionaire daddy’s favor. Despite its polished veneer, “Succession” is raw and unnerving, with plenty of rough stuff to keep it edgy.

If, like me, you find “Succession”-style treachery and bizarre behavior fascinating, let me recommend Genesis 38. There we meet a bold and ingenious woman named Tamar, the first-mentioned matriarch in Matthew’s genealogy of Jesus. She’s a foreigner who marries into a messy family and suffers greatly at the hands of ignorant men. But, like the other grandmothers listed in Jesus’s family record, Tamar is very aware of her power over men and not afraid to use everything available to her to ensure she’s treated fairly. She lives on the edge in every sense of the word.

It’s a fascinating portrait that often gets short-changed because of its R-rated content. You’ll see what I mean if you give Genesis 38 a read to find out more. You might also look at the family history recorded in Matthew 1. This Advent we’re looking closely at the four matriarchs Matthew calls out, mostly because they’re amazing characters who don’t get much air-time. But their courage and confidence also speak directly to many issues we face today—everything from “Me Too” to gender equity, from a person’s right to control her body to female empowerment in the business arena.

Click below to join our Zoom discussion this coming Thursday at 7:30p CST. You’ll be very glad you made Advent Thursdays Gather Thursdays!

Pastor Tim