Love Lies Bleeding

Image result for love lies bleeding plant

source: Johnsons Seeds

She said she had to find herself,

So she left their house and home;

She found herself – with someone else,

Leaving him alone.


Was it some symbolic act,

Full of hidden meaning,

That in the Spring before she left –

She planted love-lies-bleeding?



Of Symbols and Titles


I have fallen under the banner of many symbols and titles in my life.  I became a Christian at a relatively young age in my early teens.  My faith was flavoured by the Celtic and Anabaptist traditions and heritages of my background.  These traditions were sharpened and refined by the Restoration theology of my education and ministry.  And as a growing “seeker” many of the tenets and practices of Pentecostal worship have become part of my relationship with God.

Along this pathway I have had the symbols of the cross and the ichthus as shorthand for my most important defining characteristic of self-identity.  I have always found the ichthus fascinating.  This simple fish symbol is based on an acronym spelling the Greek word for fish.  I – Jesus, X (CH) – Christ, Theta (TH) – God’s, Y (U) – Son, Sigma – Saviour.


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I later joined the forces. My job description was Religious Program Specialist.  A chapel manager; and secretary, driver, and bodyguard to the chaplain.  I to this day am proud of my service to the Chaplains’ Corps and the emblem of my service.  This emblem or symbol consists of a compass signifying that life is given direction though religion;  a globe symbolising the world-wide scope of the ministry; and an anchor to show that it is part of the naval services. The time in the service taught me much about religious toleration and cooperation.  Working with Catholic priests, and Jewish Rabbis gave me a lot of perspective and enriched my Protestant upbringing. This aided me greatly when at a later date I entered into chaplaincy myself.

After the military came university.  I still find it hard to believe that I ended up studying at a university that existed more than 500 years before there was “an America.”  Here at learned to dig deep into my own beliefs.  To question them, and to own them for my own.  As a church historian, I saw how the faith itself had been on a journey like my own, but always (again like myself) clung to its key orthodoxies.  I have attended several universities at various levels (undergraduate, and post graduate) and each has left its mark on me as well.  I can say I am proud to have been associated with each.

Here is where titles come in.  I do have academic titles. I have religious honorifics.  I have had a military rank and rating.

I use the honorific “Padre” as I found it to be a term not only of respect but of endearment used towards me when in chaplaincy.  While the usual title used among the coreligionists of my own tradition and heritage is “brother.”  I had for a while liked the use of the title “parson,” as it fit the character and rural location of the first church I ministered in.

Titles are in many ways linguistic symbols.  They encapsulate the nature of a position or attainment.  But too much should not be read into them.  I am a Christian.  I am a husband.  I am a father.  I am a teacher.  And I am here to try to do some good with or without symbols and titles.



What’s In A Name?


The name of Moses is an interesting one on several levels, and the interpretation of it teaches as much about the theological beliefs and backgrounds of the commentators as it does about the scriptures themselves.

One of my graduate school professors was a liberal rabbi, and an advocate of the documentary hypothesis of the origin of the scriptures. He held that the name was purely the result of later editorial when the Jews were “creating” their national identity [thus in Hebrew].  I am no fan of such as view, and my rant on the hypothesis needs to be reserved for a future post.

It does, however, say something, not about the Book of Exodus, but of the Jewish interpretations of it.  These generally follow some rather insular reasoning. For example:

Some say the name means “Drawn out.” Okay, an interesting view, and one that is consistent with the biblical assertion, that Pharaoh’s daughter named him Moses: “When the child grew older, she took him to Pharaoh’s daughter and he became her son. She named him Moses, saying, “I drew him out of the water (Ex 2:10 NIV).”

One commentator then expands this with: “Another reason the Torah calls him Moshe is the significance of the name itself. The name “Moshe” means that just as he was rescued and drawn from the water, so too he will he rescue others from hardship, and that is what he did.” Eliezer Danzinger, .

But if the Bible is indeed the word of God, can we not take it at face value that an Egyptian royal would name the child in her own language [not Hebrew], using the customs and usages of her own culture and social class.  Names such as Rameses (Born to Ra the sun god), Thutmose  (Born to Thut the god of knowledge ), Ahmose (born to Iah the moon god), and Amenmose  (Belongs to Amun (the wind god), all come to mind. So wouldn’t the construction Hapimose after the god of the Nile become a likely option?


The Danzinger article also suggests that since “Pharaoh’s daughter saved Moshe’s life and adopted him and cared for him as her very own son. Therefore, she merited that her name prevailed. Moshe himself may have used this name out of gratitude to her.” Fair enough, but why Hebrew?

Can I suggest an alternative name source scenario?  Moses would come to know his heritage and in so doing kill an Egyptian task master.  He fled Egypt and dwelt with Jethro in Midian.  There he was brought into the presence of the God of Abraham, Issac, and of Jacob. God identifies Himself as YHWH,”I Am That I Am.”  This is an ineffable name for the devout, lest it be used in vain (Exodus 20:7).   Might Moses when encountering not only the God of his fathers, but the power and majesty of the ONE and ONLY God, discard the pagan styling bestowed upon him by his Egyptian adoptive mother? “I am not from a river, nor from some manifestation of a false divinity! No, I am not ‘born to’ or ‘belong’ to such. I am ‘born to’ the God whose name is not uttered, thus I am  —Moses.”