Our speaker stands behind the platform tossing back and forth jokes with a staff member.
She has a smile that fills the entire room and a laugh that delivers joy to the souls of all who hear it. Nervousness may or may not fill her being; it is too well hidden. The staffer departs to the back of the classroom and our speaker steps up to the stand. With no hesitation, she begins. To my knowledge, she hasn’t even introduced herself, which she has no need regardless. She begins her anticipated talk on the book of Joshua.
The Old Testament
The Old Testament is a realm full of contention and confusion for many people, Christians as well as those who don’t believe in the Bible. It seems to tell the story of a brutal God smiting all who dare remain in his path. Indeed, Joshua specifically tells of a people invading land that is not their own and decimating people and cities alike. This is the topic that the speaker addresses without missing a beat. She’s a seminary student currently. This is something she’s studied.
Noting that how we view the God of the Bible, not just His presence in the Old Testament, will affect the way we interpret all of Scripture, she goes into detail about how Joshua was used as a justification for unethical colonial expansion, for Puritans in the killing of Native Americans, and even for John Calvin’s abuse. She begins to explain that the cities and towns they invaded were most likely filled with non-combatants–mostly those who would with violence oppose Yahweh. Those who committed grave sins.
This detail of the cities is of great importance to the lecturer. She tells the class that these were not major metropolitan areas, but rather small outposts filled with kings, prostitutes, cults, and military. These, she explains, are all ‘under the ban’ that was established in Levitical law. This theme of ‘under the ban’ is later shown with Achan and his family when he steals what was supposed to be devoted to God. Being ‘under the ban’ shows that God is not on anyone’s side; He is on his own, and we must come to Him.
She closes her lectures with thoughts on how God consistently enters this world of chaos and will establish order, and how we are good but corrupted. She then proceeds to make a profound point: “It’s crazy to think about how our actions affect the emotions of God.” She shows that God is not firstly wrathful towards our actions, but He is firstly hurt, pained by the atrocities we commit.
Our orator cares about the Old Testament.
In fact, she loves the Old Testament. She is often met with odd looks when she says this, and her job in her love makes it all the more difficult. Where all Christians should be grappling with the issues that the Old Testament presents, she stands pretty isolated. She carries the responsibility of defending the faith, where she should not carry that burden alone.
She is an incredible individual, a stellar photographer, and in fact, a close friend to me. She does valuable work for the organization ‘Save The Storks’. She is in seminary. Her name is Natasha Smith.
By Noah Lyle: Noah Lyle traveled from his home state of Louisiana to be at Summit Semester this year. He has two younger sisters and will be twenty before Summit has finished its course. Noah enjoys hanging out, movies, books, poetry, conversations, games, and basically anything nerdy. Hoping for direction, Noah followed God’s call to Summit Semester, and God opened the doors that allowed him to be able to attend.