How to Burn Down Your House (on fixing the problems of violence and wrath in the Bible)


When preparing to teach on violence in the Old Testament recently I was reminded of a book review I once read. The reviewer recounted his neighbour’s efforts to remove a grease stain from his garage floor. The neighbour dumped a few gallons of gasoline on the floor and scrubbed. It worked beautifully. The stain disappeared completely. Job done!

However, there was a slight problem. The gasoline fumes filled the garage and were eventually ignited by his boiler’s pilot light. The great conflagration that ensued ended up burning his entire house to its foundations.


This story offered a warning that stuck with me: Turn off your mobile phone at the pump, you ask? Yes, but also, beware of solutions that too easily resolve. They might be highly combustible!

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