Archive for the 'Making SpendaYearwithJesus' Category

I don’t read.

Sep 22 2020 Published by under Making SpendaYearwithJesus

“I don’t read.” I have lost count of the number of times I have heard that statement.

Statistics and personal experience suggest, however, that people are surrounded by thousands of words a day even though they may never pick up a 300-page book.

This paradox of information culture underlies the design of the text-message experience.

Rather than try to cram thousands of words into a narrow band of experience (i.e. reading a book in a few sittings), SpendaYearwithJesus releases the word-base into a year of experiences and multiple channels.

The juxtaposition of words and experience create meaning.

SpendaYearwithJesus sign-up includes

  • A year of  messages
  • Weekly email digests
  • Jesus’ experience daily in real-time
  • Subscriber access to

Thus far, no one has complained that the story involves too much reading.

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SpendaYearwithJesus: The Intersection of Experience

Jun 16 2020 Published by under Making SpendaYearwithJesus

What if you could follow Jesus’ experience for a year? To see where he walked… what he ate… who he met… in the country… in the city… on the mountain… and on the road… day after day after day.

Regardless of religion, Jesus’ story is worth following. In fact, most people agree that if more of us lived like Jesus, the world would be a better place.

So the question follows, how did Jesus live? More specifically, did Jesus experience irritations like getting stuck in traffic? Did he deal with workplace challenges like politics?

Questions from my experience compelled me to dig into Jesus’ experience. The first-century sources are pretty rich with background information, which limits the possibilities concerning Jesus’ day-to-day.

Long story short, after years of research and over 1,000 text messages, I feel more connected to Jesus experience – in my work, on my drive home and at the dinner table.

I am excited to invite you to SpendaYearwithJesus. Connect with Jesus’ experience day-by-day and who knows, you may see ways Jesus’ experiences intersect with your own.

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Why do a “text message biography”? Part 2

May 26 2020 Published by under Making SpendaYearwithJesus

I wanted to tell Jesus’ story in a way that creates connections, even collisions, with people’s experiences today.

Thinking beyond the book, some other concept-options on the table were a timed virtual tour (like on museum Web sites), a Twitter feed, and sending text messages.

I had already written a program to send text messages, so by the summer 2009, I started getting excited about writing a story using text-message events taking place in real-time.

After more research, I wrote text messages for the week before Easter 2010. And I asked, Would this text message idea create the collisions of experience that I envisioned?

“I am struck by the fact that Jesus is not in a hurry.”

My mom said that after receiving the messages during the 2010 beta test week. If you know the story, you know that Jesus dies on Friday. My mom was struck by Jesus’ calm because she had been recently diagnosed with cancer.

The collision of experience was instinctive. It was almost expected given the medium.

The real-time texts increased the tensions of the ordinary (the little things we deal with day to day).

The format slowed down the story and increased suspense. The question was not how the story ended, but what Jesus experienced along the way.

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Why do a “text message biography”? Part 1

May 19 2020 Published by under Making SpendaYearwithJesus

Back in 2008, I started with a traditional approach. A daily journal-book. My goal, provide information about Jesus’ humanity. How he lived. What Jesus could be doing day-by-day.

I started writing around some of the biblical stories including events like Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, the Feast of Huts (aka the Feast of Tabernacles) and places like the Temple Mount and Bethany (John 7–10).

I wrote tentatively. After all, we can’t know exactly what Jesus was doing.  The tone went something like this: “Today, Jesus could have been walking along, and he met a blind man…”

After writing 50 days, I gave the 50-page manuscript to my mom and father-in-law. As you can imagine, the tentative approach was disatisfying. And more importantly it took too long to explain the “could have’s.”

So we went back to drawing board.

I wanted people to share in Jesus’ day-by-day experience. My father-in-law understood the purpose when he said, “I thought you were going to tell me about Jesus.” With renewed resolve, I continued to envision how to make those daily connections.

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Cultural Sources behind the SpendaYearwithJesus Experience

Apr 28 2020 Published by under Making SpendaYearwithJesus

The Gospels serve as primary sources for the SpendaYearwithJesus experience. They Gospels provide numerous details of setting, characters, time, and action from which to build a framework around Jesus’ experience in his culture.

When considering legal and temple practice, E. P. Sanders offered a rule of thumb that includes 5 sources:**

  • the priestly writer [Leviticus],
  • Jospehus,
  • the Mishnah,
  • Philo,
  • Others such as the Dead Sea Scrolls, late Biblical books like the Chronicles or Nehemiah, Pseudepigrapha, and Apocrypha.

For Sanders, Leviticus, Josephus, and the Mishnah together are a solid witness to first-century legal-religious practices. Josephus and the Mishnah together are also probable while also ranking as probable is agreement between the Dead Sea Scrolls and Mishnah.

Three witnesses are best, however. In addition, with all of the sources, one must be aware of potential dependence of the later texts quoting or deriving from Leviticus.

** E. P. Sanders, “Comparing Judaism and Christianity: An Academic Autobiography,” 2004. A paper read at “New Views of First-Century Jewish and Christian Self-Definition: An International Conference in honor of E. P. Sanders.” Pages 21-22.

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