Random Thoughts from a Western Adventure

Earlier this year, my family embarked on an excursion to the wild western part of our great nation, where we were summoned for my brother’s wedding. Going for drives—especially long ones—is something that I rather enjoy, even with an infant in tow (though I should note she has always been quite generous with her patience when locked in her car seat for extended periods of time). Thus, we decided to extend our wedding trip and spend a few days taking in some of what California, Nevada, and Arizona had to offer. Continue reading

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Christmas Letter 2015

Christmas Greetings Friends and Family!

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At Forest Park

We hope that this Christmas letter finds you adequately recovering from your holiday festivities and eagerly awaiting the arrival of our new year. We had grand plans for this year’s Christmas letter. “Perhaps a Christmas poem,” we told ourselves. “But even if it’s not that creative, we can certainly write a detailed, thoughtful, and picture filled letter. At the very least, we’ll get it out on time. Maybe even as a ‘real’ letter this year.” But alas, the busyness of the Christmas season claimed our ambitious plans and presented us only with this electronic missive for our fourth family Christmas letter. Continue reading

Book Review: Galilee in the Late Second Temple and Mishnaic Periods (Ed. Fiensy and Strange)

Galilee in the Late Second Temple and Early Mishnaic PeriodsA longstanding problem for those attempting to study early Christianity involves the obscurity of the first centuries of the Common Era. Though nearly constantly reflected upon and studied since those years faded into the past, there remain numerous gaps in our understanding of the world and context of Jesus and his earliest followers. Unfortunately, this fact becomes especially noticeable when examining conceptions of how Second Temple Judaism and those living in Ancient Palestine impacted the subsequent shape of early Christianity and Rabbinic Judaism. To help address this gap and to introduce the recent textual and archaeological findings from this important period comes Galilee in the Late Second Temple and Mishnaic Periods: Life, Culture, and Society: Volume One (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2014), edited by David A. Fiensy and James Riley Strange. Continue reading

Christmas Letter 2014

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With Sam, Noah, and Madalyn at HillBilly Hideaway in NC

Merry Christmas from Jake and Hayley Prahlow! We hope that this missive finds you warm, well-fed (though not overly so, of course), and celebrating the joy of the Savior’s birth this December. 2014 has been another year of tremendous change for our family. Throughout everything that has happened this year, we have been reminded of our need to rely on the mercy of our gracious God and trust in Him, no matter where the path of life leads us. Continue reading

Book Review: The Duck Commander Bible (Robertson)

The Duck Commander Faith and Family Bible (Robertson)Chances are that amidst your Black Friday shopping (or today’s Cyber Monday spending spree) you somewhere caught sight of camouflage. T-shirts, DVD collections, hats, beards, coats—you name it, there’s a probably a Duck Dynasty version of it somewhere. The Robertson family and their hit show on A&E have taken the country by storm the past several years, first with their classic country humor and traditional family values, and more recently with a number of interviews and new products. I was exposed to a few episodes of Duck Dynasty while at my in-laws last Christmas and have subsequently been following them in the news. A few weeks ago I learned of their latest item: The Duck Commander Faith and Family Bible (Thomas Nelson, 2014). Continue reading

Reflections Upon a Move

Out with the old...

Out with the old…

It’s that time of the year again: time for school to start again after a few glorious months of fun, relaxation, and vacation time. Or at least, that’s how it used to be. In recent years, summer has meant work, as in, “Time to make money so you don’t die during the school year.” In addition to work, however, two of my past three summers have involved some a bit more time consuming (and expensive) than taking a vacation: moving.

Two years ago I left home, along with my wife a few months, and deposited myself in Winston-Salem (NC) in order to pursue a master’s degree in religion at Wake Forest University. While experiencing several long-distance moves whilst younger, there’s nothing quite like loading all of your worldly possessions (or at least those you don’t leave in boxes in your parents’ basement) into a car and moving twelve hours away from what has been your life.

We learned lots during our time in Winston-Salem. There were good times and bad times, fun experiences along with heartache, moments of celebration and periods of uncertainty and pain. We made some great friends and grew closer to extended family during our time in the South, and (I believe) emerged better, more balanced people as a result of our two years in North Carolina. Yet all good things must come to an end, and it was truly with a mix of sadness and expectation that we loaded up our moving truck last week (with the help of my brother Sam) and trekked some twelve hours west to Saint Louis, Missouri.

Twelve hours gives one lots of time to talk, and Hayley and I reflected upon our time in Winston-Salem during many of those hours. It was sad to leave yes, less for the place than the people whom we had grown to love. Friends from work and school will be sorely missed, though Facebook and (hopeful) return visits help dampen such pain. Having been born in North Carolina, there are family connections that will be missed as well. We began our time in Winston with one wedding of Hayley’s cousins and departed mere hours after another wedding, two bookends to some great times with family. Winston-Salem was, in many ways, the ideal place for Hayley and I to begin our life together, and we are thankful for all of the memories that were forged there.

... In with the new.

… In with the new.

Twelve hours in a moving truck also gives one lots of time to think, at least when one’s wife is napping. Moving offers opportunities. Chances to start fresh, forge new habits, meet new people, experience things not possible at the old place, form new friendship, and learn new lessons about life. There’s something exciting about moving to a new city to start a five-year journey to a PhD, complete with all the reading and research. it entails It will also be nice to be much closer to our immediate families – five hours is very (very) different than twelve.

But moving is challenging too. You have to learn where the grocery store is, figure out the place with the least expensive gas, navigate new traffic patterns and rush hours, find new internet service providers which are a pain to deal with (or is that just me?), find a new church family, and form a new community of friends. New jobs must be secured, new habits formed, and new experiences had, all of which can be rather daunting.

We are glad to be in Saint Louis safely, and excited to see what God has in store for us hear over the next several years. Thank you for journeying along with us here at Pursuing Veritas.

Cultural Differences and Biblical Interpretation

The Colosseum, Rome

The Colosseum, Rome

One of the biggest challenges for those studying the Bible involves reading and interpreting the scriptures in a manner consistent with their original context. Modern readers are distanced from the earliest written messages of the Christian tradition not only by time and space, but also by key cultural differences. In their book Understanding the Social World of the New Testament, Dietmar Neufeld and Rochard E. DeMaris compile a number of sources from scholars concerned with discovering the cultural understanding and context of the social world from which the writings of the New Testament came.[1] In this post, we outline some of the most important differences between ancient Mediterranean culture and the modern North American life, as well as some examples of how this cultural understanding can contribute to the interpretation of the New Testament. Continue reading