Normative Versus Descriptive

Oriental womanAs I continue my blessed journey through all 66 books in the Bible, I ran into what I thought could be a humorous example of why you want to make sure whether what you are reading is normative or descriptive.

What is normative? Per my Mac’s dictionary:

normative |ˈnôrmətiv|
adjective formal
establishing, relating to, or deriving from a standard or norm, esp. of behavior: negative sanctions to enforce normative behavior.

How about descriptive? Same dictionary:

descriptive |diˈskriptiv|

2 describing or classifying without expressing feelings or judging.

The Bible is literature in many forms (e.g. poetry, narrative); sometimes its message is telling us what to do (normative)…and sometimes it’s just describing what someone did (descriptive).  (Normative versus descriptive or prescriptive versus descriptive.)

Keeping that in mind, can you imagine how putting this in the wrong category would lead to a heap ‘o trouble?: 🙂

When Rachel saw that she bore Jacob no children, she envied her sister. She said to Jacob, “Give me children, or I shall die!” Jacob’s anger was kindled against Rachel, and he said, “Am I in the place of God, who has withheld from you the fruit of the womb?” Then she said, “Here is my servant Bilhah; go in to her, so that she may give birth on my behalf, that even I may have children through her.” So she gave him her servant Bilhah as a wife, and Jacob went in to her. And Bilhah conceived and bore Jacob a son. Then Rachel said, “God has judged me, and has also heard my voice and given me a son.” Therefore she called his name Dan. Rachel’s servant Bilhah conceived again and bore Jacob a second son. Then Rachel said, “With mighty wrestlings I have wrestled with my sister and have prevailed.” So she called his name Naphtali.

When Leah saw that she had ceased bearing children, she took her servant Zilpah and gave her to Jacob as a wife. Then Leah’s servant Zilpah bore Jacob a son. And Leah said, “Good fortune has come!” so she called his name Gad. Leah’s servant Zilpah bore Jacob a second son. And Leah said, “Happy am I! For women have called me happy.” So she called his name Asher (Genesis 30:1-13, English Standard Version).

If those verses are normative, then “barren” women should furnish someone (preferably cute) to provide children in their place, right? (Somehow I can’t imagine my wife Michelle buying that.) The Bible is just describing Rachel, Jacob, Bilhah, Leah, and Zilpah’s behavior…it is not telling us to emulate it. For that matter, we aren’t even supposed to follow their example by recreating the original polygamous state (Jacob having both Leah and Rachel as wives).

But, I will admit, I did think of having a little fun with Michelle and suggesting that if she was a Bible-believing woman she should…err…

It would have been worth the well-deserved slap. 🙂

P.S. Bonus video…Tim Hawkin’s “Things You Don’t Say to Your Wife”:

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“Local Church Full Of Brainwashed Idiots Feeds Town’s Poor Every Week”

the ONION logoOkay, you probably won’t find a whole bunch of the ONION articles linked on Traditores…and I’m not big on snarky…but this is hilarious. It is so short I can’t excerpt much, but it starts off:

MACON, GA—Sources confirmed today that the brainwashed morons at First Baptist Assembly of Christ, all of whom blindly accept whatever simplistic fairy tales are fed to them, volunteer each Wednesday night to provide meals to impoverished members of the community.

And it continues in that vein… 🙂

As a bonus, here is my favorite the ONION video (perhaps even my favorite YouTube one):


Hat tip for the ONION article to Ace of Spades HQ.

A Johnny Cash Christmas

Well, after that last post you deserve something back in the right spirit…


Hat tip to Ace of Spades HQ.

Merry Christmas!

12 Days of Christmas Mashed-Up

Not a religious Christmas music performance, but entertaining…


Hat tip Hot Air.

Happy Christmas Eve everyone!

Little Drummer Boy

My beautiful wife Michelle turned me on to this bit of Christmas cheer:



Not a Christian song, but in great respect the attitude members of the body of Christ should have (and a tremendous version of this tune):


And a bonus non-Christian recent-tune favorite:

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Is There a Baby in the Charismatic Bathwater?

Interesting talk by Phil Johnson at the Strange Fire conference:


Evolution Vs. God

I think every Christian, well at least every one who speaks English :-), should see this video.

I am usually not impressed when Christian ministries claim they have disproven some secular view (or have proven some supernatural one). They are "preaching to the choir" with me, but that doesn't mean their arguments don't usually have gaping holes.

And, I am not going to claim that this video disproves evolution, but it does a great job of showing that a belief in evolution requires faith (and that means it does not meet scientific rigor). Kudos to Living Waters.


Please take time visit the Evolution vs. God site.

P.S. Of course, just because evolution requires faith does not mean it is false. Otherwise, Christianity would be false too. 🙂

JJ Heller’s “Who You Are”

I think it came out yesterday or the day before…but here is JJ (and Dave) Heller's new video, "Who You Are":


A great couple who I wish all the success of the world without any of its trappings…

“The Hallelujah Chorus” by the Reed Family

Man, I don't even sound this good to myself while singing in the shower. 🙂


Hat tip to Dan Phillips over at Biblical Christianity for the video. (Via Dan's @BibChr Twitter Handle.)

My Favorite Song in 2012

The year is not over, but it’ll take a lot to knock this song off the top of my list of favorite songs for 2012:


Thank you TobyMac, Lecrea, & Nirva Ready…and especially to God for giving them the talent and me the forgiveness…

UPDATE: Proof that it's a great song. Augie asked for space so he could sneak in and watch the lyric video over-and-over with dad:

Augie and dad listening to TobyMac and Lecrae

“One Light” by 3 Doors Down

A great "almost Christian" song by 3 Doors Down:


I know what (who) the “one light to shine” should be…must be…

(And, who knows, maybe this isn’t an "almost" Christian song…)

P.S. As of right now you can get a free copy of this single here.


Although you should go see the official version of “Golden Gate Bridge” on his site, I couldn’t embed it


If you go in about 2 minutes and 38 seconds, you’ll see why I titled this post “Heretic!” 🙂

Luther Plays “Amen” & “This Little Light of Mine”

Nothin&#39 better than an awesome artist (and great human being) singing a Christian song. I take that back, singing two Christian songs is better! 🙂

This is Luther "Guitar Junior" Johnson playing at the Antrim Home & Harvest Festival.


A bonus non-Christian song by Luther: [Read more…]