Thursday, August 13, 2009

Unbearable texts: Baldman, Robin, and Child-killers

Even the most diverse set of interpreters of the Bible might agree on this simple proposition: 2 Kings 2:23-24 is one of the most challenging texts to preach on in a family service!

Doug Chaplin of Clayboy offers a thoughtful series of responses to the possibility of preaching on the passage.

Would you preach on 2 Kings 2:23-24? What would you say? Might one be spared the task because the lectionary should judiciously omit the passage? (!!)


  1. A lot of children's fairy tales etc - maybe most of them - have a dark side to them (Hansel and Gretel, Little Red Riding Hood), so violence and horror is not the only issue. But we may be particularly sensitized today to the issue of child suffering and abuse (provided the child has already been born - abortion is a subject a veil of shameful silence is drawn over). How old were the 50 or more ne'arim qetanim who came after Elisha? It's long time since I read John Wenham's The Goodness of God (US: The Enigma of Evil), but there may be some pointers there. & then his son Gordon wrote 'Story as Torah' on the ethical use of OT narrative, which is helpful with equally perplexing stories (Judges 19 etc).

  2. Thank you Anonymous for your helpful insights, including the pertinent reminder to a generation liable to be up in arms about 'child abuse' but not about 'foetal killing'.