Newspapers and Diaries

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The Bethlehem Weekly

images-2The birth of Jesus in Bethlehem, and all the events that surrounded it – how was that reported in the local paper?  Well, my guess is that it went something like this:

Bethlehem Weekly 1  This edition of the paper looks at life in Bethlehem at the time Joseph and Mary arrived.  And the town’s reaction to the family re-union that the census imposed on them.

Bethlehem Weekly 2   This edition appeared just after the announcement of Jesus’ birth to the shepherds.  And what a disturbance the shepherds caused.

Bethlehem Weekly 3  This edition describes the impact of the visit of the wise men.  And the confusion and wonder they brought to the town.

Bethlehem Weekly 4  This edition focuses on King Herod’s killing of the infants.  And the great sorrow and anger that resulted.

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The Caper Paper

Jesus spent a lot of time in Capernaum.  The local paper kept people informed about what he did in and around their town.  These 4 selected issues of the Caper Paper are examples of the coverage the ministry of Jesus received while he spent something like 2-and-a-half years in Capernaum.

Caper Paper 1  Read all about the reactions at the beginning of his ministry in Galilee.  Against the background of political and religious tensions.

Caper Paper 2  As the ministry of Jesus continues, differing opinions are being formed about what Jesus is doing.

Caper Paper 3  The teachings of Jesus are spreading right around the country.  And deeper tensions are arising between those who agree and those who disagree with him.

Caper Paper 4  Jesus leaves.  But the arguments about him and his ministry continue.

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The Goshen Sojournal

For 430 years the Children of Israel lived in the land of Goshen.  For most of that time they were waiting, and longing for, a return to the land their God gave them.  They needed something to keep their faith and hope alive.  The Goshen Sojournal went some way towards fulfilling that need.

Goshen Sojournal intro  This provides an important introduction to the following four editions of this newspaper.

Goshen Sojournal 1  Seventy years into their sojourn, this growing tribe (and future nation) struggles to adapt to the death of Joseph and to life away from home.

Goshen Sojournal 2  After 200 years they are still there!  How much longer will it be?  And still there is no end in sight.  It’s important for them to look at what they have accomplished so far.

Goshen Sojournal 3  Now it’s 300 years!  And they have been forced into slavery.  How do they maintain their hope?

Goshen Sojournal 4  They’ve been slaves for 100 years.  But at last there are indications giving rise to hope!

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 The Bethel Bugle

The Israelites are back in their Promised Land.  And it looks like God is providing Deliverers (or Judges) to preserve their nation.  And to maintain and build up a sense of unity.

Bugle Intro  This is an important scene-setter for the six selected editions of the Bethel Bugle.

Bugle 1 Ehud   Here is something new.  A Deliverer, Ehud, convinced he’s been chosen by God.  Is the choice of warriors like this going to be God’s way of keeping his people safe and united?

Bugle 2 Deb    Three more Deliverers (Deborah, and her helpers Barak and Jael).  Maybe God can be depended on.

Bugle 3 Gideon   Gideon is chosen as a Deliverer.  But there’s talk about the nation wanting a king – just like the nations around them.

Bugle 4 after Gideon   A king, Abimelech, has arisen.  But he only lasts 3 years.  Micah’s actions raise questions about obedience to God.  Both incidents are unsettling for the developing nation.

Bugle 5 Jeph   The sad story of the Deliverer, Jephthah; and the turmoil involving the Benjamites.

Bugle 6 Samson   The larger-than-life Deliverer, Samson.

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The Mizpah Tidings

Now the Israelites are a nation; a nation ruled by kings. This is a very important time in their history. These six editions of the Mizpah Tidings commemorate significant occasions in the lives of their rulers.

Tidings Intro  This is is an important scene-setter for the following six editions.

Tidings 1   Prior to the appointment of Kings, Samuel is an important and influential leader of the nation.

Tidings 2  The first king is Saul.  And there is some opposition to his rule.

Tidings 3  The fortieth anniversary of Saul’s reign.  He seems to have lost some of his shine.

Tidings 4  David becomes King, offering a new start for the nation.

Tidings 5  Commemorating 20 years of David’s rule.  Probably this is the high point of kingship in the nation.

Tidings 6  The first 10 years of the reign of King Solomon.  And trouble seems to be on the horizon.

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The Wittenberger

Moving forward 1500 years from the time of Jesus, the story of Luther’s Reformation made news.

The Wittenberger 1  Things began at a church door.

The Wittenberger 2  Then there was an abduction.

The Wittenberger 3  And the abductee returns.

The Wittenberger 4  Then a dreadful Uprising.

The Wittenberger Last  And finally the very Last edition of this paper.  (When you have read this issue, you might like to consider these questions:  Three organisations are referred to in this issue (the new newspaper, the WCC, and the WoGoSUC); which one do you think is most likely to continue into the future and closely communicate with the people with whom they live?  Which one of these organisations is most like the church to which you belong?)

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Abraham’s Memoirs – looking back on his life

Abraham is seen by St. Paul as a great example of faith in God.  I wonder what Abraham would think about that comment.  And about his life.  Well, here he is looking back 2000 years.

Abraham’s Memoirs

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Moses’ Diary – during the 40 year Exodus journey

I wouldn’t want to be Moses.  What a job he was given.  Of course, it had its high points, particularly his personal conversations with God.  But all the trouble he had with those he was trying to lead back to their homeland – I reckon that would have made him forget, or at least cancel out, his high points with God.  Right from the outset Moses didn’t want to do it.  And he never stopped complaining.  That’s how bad it was.  And that’s why I’m keen to read his diary about this epic exodus journey from Egypt into the Promised Land.  Unfortunately it’s too long (it deals with a journey of 40 year) and too full of complaints (40 years of them) to expect any reader to take in the whole diary – despite the respect and reverence one may have for the diarist.  So I have chosen just some extracts.

Moses’ Diary

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Joshua’s Diary – during settlement in the Promised Land

I’m happy to describe the Children of Israel’s taking possession (as they called it) of their Promised Land under the leadership of Joshua as their ‘Great War’.  After all, it went on for some 30 years or so.  And it included the people settling in the land and establishing their homes and farms and businesses.  I’m keen to understand Joshua better, too.  He’s always impressed me as a person.  So I hope these extracts from his diary will help readers to understand him better, too.

Joshua’s Diary

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The Dairies of the Prophets

Prophets intrigue me.  Their contact with God, and the messages they received from him.  The trouble and persecution they had to bear simply because God had chosen them.  Their determination to proclaim the messages they received. The way God turned their lives upside down in his efforts to get them to understand what he wanted them to tell his people.  And that’s just for starters.  So come with me as I peek into the personal life of some of the prophets:

Samuel’s Diary  Samuel was the first ‘professional’ prophet.  I’m sure that the prophets who followed him learnt quite a lot from him and his experiences.

Nathan’s Diary  This is the prophet who had to confront a powerful king.  And he caught him in a story-trap.  I wonder if the story was his idea or God’s.

Jonah’s Diary  The oh-so-human prophet.  From his God-given job at Nineveh he learned a very important lesson.  Or maybe he didn’t.

Hosea’s Diary  Hosea is the prophet with whom I most sympathise.  Because of what God put him through.  But perhaps that’s why his message is so impressive and full of grace.  His diary reveals that he needed a therapist — and I’m not at all surprised.

Amos’ Diary  Many people in authority don’t like prophets popping up with messages from God.  So they do all they can to silence these messengers.  Amos is the only one, as far as I know, who got sacked.  Not by God, of course.  By those who didn’t like his message.

Ezekiel’s Diary  Anyone who knows something about prophets, is aware of the vivid and weird visions Ezekiel was given by God.  And the way in which he at times had to mime his message — and one mime went on for well over a year.  Of course, I knew I wouldn’t be content just with reading the diary of a person like this.  I had to interview him.


2 thoughts on “Newspapers and Diaries

  1. I love your website!!! I’ve been looking for inspiration to help with my email bulletin for my congregation and this is perfect!! Just one question though… will you be doing a Bethlehem newsletter on the night of the birth of Jesus? May ask for your permission, I would love to print these and hand them out in my Church please?


    • Hi Elizabeth,
      Thanks for your comments.
      The second edition of the Bethlehem Newsletter deals with the shepherds and the night of the birth of Jesus.
      By all means use them to your hearts desire.


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