Biblical Archaeology Review 33:5, September/October 2007

Strata: The Bible in the News

By Leonard J. Greenspoon

When I read about the Sermon on the Mount in popular media these days, I don’t know whether to laugh, cry or (in Jesus’ words) turn the other cheek. It is absolutely amazing to consider the variety of uses (and abuses) to which these good words are put by members of the public and those who write about them.

Consider this headline, “Sermon on the Mount: Hillwalking Couple Spot Image of Christ on Highland Outcrop” (London’s Daily Mail), followed by: “Arms stretched and head tilted, it is the very image of Jesus preaching to the masses ... It is a strikingly shaped natural rock on a mountain top in the Highlands [and] there’s also grass on the top of the rock that looks like hair.” Visiting this spot can take up to ten hours of walking roundtrip, so—in the words of the article—“make sure you’re fit.”

After reading that account, we are perhaps not quite so taken aback by a story with this headline from The Grand Rapids Press, “Ministry Uses Bible Principles to Train Horses: Sermon on the Mount Works to Help Relationships Develop.” According to the creator of this approach, “The same ... things essential in horse training are needed for people in their walk with God ... You think you’re training your horse, but you are really training yourself.” I suppose the same could be said about training our puppies!

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