Tuesday Apr 06, 2021

Nehemiah as Memoir

All memoirs are meditations on providence—so I learned from writing one of my own (see Note #1 below!). I used to think that all Christian memoirs went back to Augustine, but it turns out he had a biblical precedent: Nehemiah, who most unusually in the canon of Scripture reported his own acts and motives in the first person. In this episode, Dad and I consider the advantages of drama over concepts in depicting the interplay of divine and human agency, how to think about Nehemiah's prohibition on intermarriage and the challenges to minority communities, and what good walls and  buildings do for the community of faith, despite all their inherent problems.

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1. The long-awaited memoir! I Am a Brave Bridge: An American Girl's Hilarious and Heartbreaking Year in the Fledgling Republic of Slovakia is pretty much what it sounds like. Also, you can find out how Dad parented a teenage girl, why God is omnipotent but not totalitarian, and how to always be homesick for somewhere else. Plus, there are recipes. Order print from Amazon, an ebook from pretty much any provider, or an ebook direct from Thornbush Press!

2. The two commentaries I studied in preparation for this episode are Throntveit, Ezra-Nehemiah, and Myers, Ezra-Nehemiah.

3. Relevant previous episodes: Is Scripture Holy?, Law & Gospel Part 1, Law & Gospel Part 2, Learning to Love Leviticus, Joshua.

4. See Dad's Beloved Community on conscience, pp. 613–630, and for the Christian revision of metaphysics, see his Divine Complexity and Divine Simplicity.

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