Although it is now 2013, I’d like to mention three special blogs that I encountered in 2012.
1. The first is Derek Leman’s Messianic Jewish Musings. Derek Leman is a Messianic Jewish rabbi. I actually visited Derek’s blog once or twice prior to 2012, since he travels in biblioblogger circles, like me. But 2012 was the year when I officially became a Derek Leman enthusiast! It started with a post that he wrote about slavery in the Torah. At the time, I was not thoroughly acquainted with Derek’s work and background, and so I was expecting the post to be a typical conservative Christian whitewash of slavery in the Bible. But it wasn’t, for Derek acknowledged and wrestled with hard issues. Moreover, I learned something from reading the post, such as the view some have proposed that the slave in Exodus 21 who is released on the seventh year is not an Israelite (this view does not regard ivri in Exodus 21:2 as meaning a Hebrew Israelite), as well as other ideas. I learned that Derek has an M.T.S. in Hebrew Bible from Emory University, and I saw by looking at his blog posts and online discussions that he is very well acquainted with scholarship on the Bible, Second Temple Judaism, and rabbinics. I subscribed to his Daily D’var, which is his daily commentary on the Torah and the Gospels, as well as his Daily Isaiah, which is his commentary on the Book of Isaiah, and, like his post about slavery that drew me to his work, these daily commentaries that he sends out interact with scholarship and wrestle with difficult issues. There are plenty of Messianic rabbis out there who clearly don’t know what they’re talking about when it comes to the Bible and Judaism, but Derek does know what he’s talking about. I’m happy to journey with him as someone who seeks to understand the Bible from a scholarly perspective, and also as a person of faith.
2. One day in 2012, a man named Lee Harmon commented on my blog and said that he was including my blog on his blogroll. I checked out his blog, The Dubious Disciple, and I liked what I saw. Lee reviews a lot of books, and his reviews manage to capture the essence of books in a succinct and readable manner. And, on the days when he is not reviewing books, he blogs about odd details in the Bible. Often, he teaches me something that I did not know before. Sometimes, he just asks questions. In any case, I read him every day, whatever he blogs about. A while back, Lee sent me his latest book, John’s Gospel: The Way It Happened, and my blog posts about that will be appearing soon!
3. On July 29, 2012, I wrote a post in which I commented about a piece by Erin Thomas on Rachel Held Evans’ blog, entitled Embracing Faith As an Aspie. Under my post, a young law student from Signapore, Samuel Tee, who himself has Asperger’s Syndrome, left a comment. I learned about Samuel’s blog, Sam’s Place, and I added it to my blogroll. To be honest, I don’t always feel comfortable reading blog posts about Asperger’s Syndrome, probably due to my own insecurities. But I really enjoy Samuel’s blog, for a variety of reasons. Samuel talks about his experiences in Signaporean evangelicalism, which I find interesting, and he also discusses the Bible and Christianity. I appreciate his thoughtful, methodical way of looking at issues. And, overall, I identify with his story, particularly his attempts to cope with life as a person with Asperger’s.