Conrad Gempf: 5th Sparrow

Here are all the 5th Sparrows by Conrad Gempf, with the most recent column at the top...


  • The ideal community – is about rearranging my life to make it relevant to God's word and truth (Mar 2005)
  • Paul and the boffins – Paul visits Athens and gives the philosophers there an easy time. Or did he? (July 2004)
  • The plural of Lazarus – Jesus names names in one of his parables. (Mar 2004)
  • A tale of two cities – Paul goes to Athens, and then moves on to Corinth, and his message changes. Why? (Feb 2004)
  • Stephen's "so what?" – Stephen, on trial for his life, defends himself by talking about God as an unexpected innovator. (Jan 2004)
  • Two parades – Two parades collide in the middle of Luke's Gospel. One is a funeral while the other is following Jesus. (Oct 2003)
  • Slave AND free – "Live as free people... live as God's slaves," says Peter without drawing breath. Huh? (Jul 2003)
  • A spit-in-your-eye miracle – A miracle on the instalment plan has something to say to discples of Jesus. (Jun 2003)
  • Death goes into reverse – The resurrection of Jesus is like an earthquake... but in a good way. (May 2003)
  • And now what? – Philip's divine instructions run out when he's alongside a luxury chariot. (Feb 2003)
  • The prophet's climbdown – It's comforting to know that even Old Testament prophets sometimes got it wrong. (Jan 2003)
  • Jeremiah at the tunnel-mouth – The depressing prophet Jeremiah can be a comrade and comfort as war and judgment looms. (Dec 2002)
  • So simple, it's simple – The letters of John have something simple to tell us... and Augustine and Luther agree with it. (Nov 2002)
  • Just 15 minutes before – Something unexpected happens at the graveside of Lazarus... and not just the miracle. (Jul 2002)
  • Heaven and orange juice – Jesus sharpens up the disciples' belief that there might be a heaven, and room for them in it. (May 2002)
  • Paul in Prison – Under arrest and under guard in the city of Rome, the apostle Paul writes to his old friends in Philippi... (Apr 2002)
  • Jesus, sex and stones – "Let him who is without sin cast the first stone," says Jesus. But he doesn't stop there... (Mar 2002)
  • Out of bread, out of hope – A widow gathers sticks to make a meal in the face of obliteration. (Feb 2002)
  • For or against? – Sayings about being for and against show the difference between judgment and judgmentalism. (Jan 2002)
  • Errand-boys of the incarnation – Think about Joseph and Zechariah, the fathers in the shadows of the Christmas story. (Dec 2001)
  • Magic handkerchiefs? – In the book of Acts, even Paul's handkerchiefs can heal... could this be the follow-up to Toronto? (Nov 2001)
  • The bowl, the spices, the chair – Jesus gets rude about the people who are shiny clean on the outside, but inside... ughh. (Oct 2001)
  • Too trivial for God? – Can we pray the words of the book of psalms when our problems are relatively trivial compared to the writers' problems? (Sept 2001)
  • Sheep and goats in the dark – The important things in life... as seen from the sheep and goats' perspective. (Aug 2001)
  • Divine summitry – God used to prefer meetings on mountaintops, until the climbdown, that is. (Jul 2001)
  • Look who's running – one of the characters in a parable of Jesus unexpectedly breaks into a run... and that's saying something. (Jun 2001)
  • Lacking faith – three out of four sayings in the book of 2 Timothy are predictable... but the fourth saying isn't, and it's good news. (May 2001)
  • The body-snatchers – the mention of a body-snatching squad in Matthew's Gospel focuses attention on the tomb and how it got to be empty. (Apr 2001)
  • Condemned man's drink – cheap wine in a sponge on a stick is one of the great reversals of the crucifixion. (Mar 2001)
  • Angels made redundant (nearly) – God rejects the big, shiny, hi-tech solution in favour of something surprisingly down-to-earth. (Feb 2001)
  • After the presents – after the shepherds, angel songs and wise men with exotic gifts... comes desperate flight from murder. (Jan 2001)
  • Who wants to lose everything? – Simon Peter is just one question away from the Big Prize – but does he know the right answer? (Dec 2000)
  • The remote-control healings – virtual healings, miracles with mud and the occasional refusal to heal... why did Jesus treat people so differently? (Nov 2000)
  • St Paul's Spanish trip – frustrated plans and prayers that get mixed results make the Bible a messy book... but in a good way. (Oct 2000)
  • Of lumber and literalism – uncountable logs, wooden contact lenses and the Bible's love of exaggeration. (Sept 2000)
  • There's not much meat on a sparrow – Jesus talks about sparrows and smart marketing schemes that were ahead of their time. (Aug 2000)

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