Here is a second post from blog member and blog volunteer Glenn Siepert.  Lucky us, it includes an extract from his new book.  Enjoy!


Our Inner Herod

In my last post I shared the background of my book, Emerging From the Rubble and over the next couple of posts I want to share some excerpts with you so as to give you a taste of what to expect in the book.

There are 30 chapters that explore 30 stories from Matthew’s Gospel and each chapter ends with a couple of reflection questions to get you thinking about how the story might encourage you or challenge you as you face your own modern day Temple collapse.

Here’s chapter 4 of the book, “Our Inner Herod” – a reflection on Matthew 2:1-12.


Herod was pretty ticked off, right? He was a man of unbelievable power and (in his mind) no one was ever going to replace him.

He was the man.

He was the myth.

He was the legend.

… King Herod the Great, the One and the Only, the Wonderful and Magnificent – the Eternal One.

And so when he got wind that a baby was born who was prophesied to be King. Well. Let’s just say that his insides shook with rage as he calmly gritted his teeth and asked, “where can I find this … baby?”

Matthew tells us that not only was Herod frightened, but “all of Jerusalem with him.” Why? Because “all of Jerusalem” knew that Herod wasn’t going to hand over his throne to an army of soldiers much less a baby and that he would take any necessary measure to protect his power.


Herod’s obsession with power and his centralized preoccupation with his own position of greatness prevented him from seeing God being birthed in his midst.



And so I wonder if that’s why Matthew included this story in his Gospel to the Jewish Christians in Antioch, the ones who recently saw the powerful center of their universe (the Temple) ground into dust before their eyes? Because I wonder if Matthew knew that those Christians were in danger of (just like Herod) becoming so preoccupied with …

The loss of their power.

The loss of their universe.

The loss of their center.

… That they would miss the ways that God was being birthed in the midst of their disaster?

In his book Heart and Mind, Alexander John Shaia says that “the word ‘disaster’ literally means ‘dis-star’ – to be separated from one’s inner guidance.”[1]


Perhaps the Jewish Christians, then, were in danger of being separated from …

Their inner star.

Their inner wisdom.

Their inner and innate ability to see the movement of God in their midst.


Because (perhaps) they were caught up in the disastrous loss that that they found themselves in – the LOSS of their Temple, the LOSS of the leaders, the LOSS of their city, the LOSS of relationships.

In other words, maybe Matthew knew that they were in danger of missing the ways in which Jesus or the Divine or Hope or Newness or Love or WHATEVER was being birthed in their midst because they were so focused on how their universe was being destroyed before their very eyes.

When Disaster Strikes

I think Matthew would pose the same story to us, don’t you?

I don’t know about you, but it’s easy for me to become so focused on the problems and so focused on what I feel is being taken FROM me that I am almost oblivious to what is being given TO me and the fresh ways that my …




… disaster is allowing the Divine to be birthed in my midst in fresh, radiant, and unexpected ways.

More often than not, when disaster strikes my inner Herod rises up and tries to white-knuckle what it feels like it’s losing … a scenario that inevitably causes me to become separated from my inner star or my inner wisdom, the piece of my soul that is fine-tuned to the voice of God.

And the moment I become separated from that part of myself?

I feel alone.

I feel afraid.

I feel hopeless.

… And I feel like nothing good could possibly come from all that has been (or could be) lost.


Disaster causes me to lose sight of my inner star; and so much like Matthew’s readers, I need to read a tragic story like King Herod’s so I can be reminded that when I become preoccupied with all that I feel like I’m losing and focus my eyes on the smoking rubble of my collapsed universe, I may very well find myself in danger of losing touch with my inner wisdom and missing the fresh ways that the Divine is being birthed in my midst.

Friend – God is being birthed in our midst every day …




… and although the losses we experience may be great and although it may be painful and horrendous and unspeakable to see the centers of our universes ground into dust before our eyes, those losses will never be able to abort the presence of the Divine.

That’s the point, I think, and the thing I want to leave you with: (once again) you don’t sit in the rubble of your crumbled universe by yourself. It may be hard to see or recognize or feel, but know this: God is birthing herself[2] through your circumstances in ways you never imagined possible, not with a promise that everything will be OK and you will never hurt again[3], BUT so that you will never ever have to navigate the uncertainty of tomorrow by yourself.

Hang in there, my friend.



Reflection Questions


  1. What is your inner Herod afraid of losing?
  2. How does your inner Herod’s fear of losing your answer to number 1 cause you to lose sight of your inner star?





Emerging From the Rubble:


What If Project:






Email (I will answer!): [email protected]


[1] Page 88

[2] Sometimes I refer to God as “him” and sometimes “her” AND sometimes even “they”. Heretical? Throw me to the fires, I guess; but just as Jesus compared God to a WOMAN who lost her coin and a MAN who lost his son and a MOTHER HEN who was gathering her chicks … I believe in a God who is genderless and can take on whatever form we might need in the moment – sometimes a mother, sometimes a father, sometimes nothing other than a presence of comfort and love.

[3] Because, honestly – it may NOT be OK for a long time and you may HURT for a long time. Sometimes life flat out sucks and the losses we experience can make it so for weeks, months, and years.

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2023-07-11T15:12:47-04:00July 12th, 2023|Public Forum|

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  1. kt July 12, 2023 at 10:27 am

    Well,,at least I can see why some claim that this infant/birth story came into the schriptures by Matthew (85 AD according to scholars)after Paul and Mark could be a part of a symbolic description of a possible interpreted protrait of Jesus as a part of this “jewish salvation story”.

    * Both Matthew and Moses’ stories involve a wicked king attempting to kill male infants, indicative of
    Pharaoh in Egypt and King Herod in Bethlehem.

    * As with Moses, Jesus, too, escapes, Jesus to Egypt to avoid the wrath of the king,

    * Both Jesus and Moses were seen as deliverers /rescuer for their people, called upon by God.

    * The naming of Joseph, Jesus’s earthly father, could reflect the author of Matthew’s attempt to draw
    parallels with the Old Testament Joseph, who also had a father named Jacob and was known for his

    * Similar to the OT Joseph, Jesus’s Joseph plays a pivotal role in salvation history, saving Jesus from death
    by taking him to Egypt, like how the biblical Joseph saved his people from famine by leading them to

    * The star and the wise men, I’ve read somewhere, unique to Matthew, resemble symbols and narratives from the Old Testament.

    Perhaps Matthew’s birth/infant story is to make some significant parallels to Old Testament (jewish) stories, indicating a strong intent to build a symbolic bridge between Old Testament figures and Jesus.

    At least, this story, which was unknown or not found worthy to mention is very different to Lukes story which raises question to my mind at least, of its historisity, and the intention with the story.

    • gsiepert July 12, 2023 at 3:39 pm

      I definitely think Matthew was out to position Jesus as a new Moses-type figure, there are so many parallels to those ancient Jewish stories. Thanks for sharing!

  2. nikpapageorgiou July 12, 2023 at 11:58 am

    Can I please ask for your (Bart’s) comment on this post? Many thanks!

    “The Gospel of John may be the first written of the gospels (at least the 1st edition of John) sometime before the destruction of the temple in AD 70.

    Johnanine researchers have for quite some time seen the gospel written in multiple stages. James Charlesworth makes the case that the 1st edition was before 70 AD.

    Furthermore, the field is continuing to change in its estimation of the dating of Luke/Acts and pushing it later (See Pervo Dating of Acts and Hermeneutical commentary).

    Also see New Light on Luke: Its Purpose, Sources and Literary Content (JSNTSS 215) by Barbara Shellard for an argument that the author of Luke knew John as well as Paul Anderson’s article here.

    See also Alan Kerr’s book in The Temple of Jesus’s body for a good case of the final stage being written between 85-90 AD as well.

    Also see Dale Allison’s paper on this with the author of John’s awareness of Mark and Matthew especially Chapter 2. Reflections on Matthew, John, and Jesus of Gospel of John and Historical Inquiry by James Charlesworth.”

    • BDEhrman July 16, 2023 at 4:25 am

      Charlesworth was just guessing; there’s not really any evidence for it. My view is that too many biblical scholars try to connect all the dots of the surviving Christian literature (this author used that one, this books is dependent on that one), as if we have all the surviving literature and so CAN connect the dots. The literary situatoin was FAR more complicated than that, with all sorts of books, letters, etc. in circulation. What makes it likely that we know ALL the smoking guns? Just because one book is similar to another in its themes, why does that mean its author used it? But if you think, yup, these are all our options: John, Matthew, Mark, Luke, then you can play that game. Otherwise I think the only REAL way to make a convincing arguemant that one author used another directly (as opposed to having heard comparable stories, say, or reading other writings with similar views) is if there is verbatim agreements of such an extent that accidental agreements are not plausible.

  3. royovermann July 12, 2023 at 12:19 pm

    My theory is that Jesus of Nazareth was a Jewish apocalyptic prophet proclaiming the immanent coming of the Jewish Kingdom of God on Earth in the first three Gospels. John was written after it was clear that Jesus was a false prophet. Consequently, John was written by and for the existing Christians in order to save their new religion. Jesus had no intention of starting a new religion!

    • gsiepert July 12, 2023 at 3:37 pm

      I definitely agree that Jesus had no intention of starting a new religion. In fact, if he were walking around the world today visiting Christian churches – I think he’d be confused and a but mortified! Thanks for sharing.

  4. dankoh July 12, 2023 at 9:48 pm

    I have some problems with this scenario. First, Herod was old by that time. Actually, he was dying, and very unpleasantly, but even if Matthew’s audience didn’t know that part, they would have known Herod had been king for a long time. Why would they think he would be frightened by a mere babe? He would be dead long before the child was old enough to be a threat. Matthew needs Herod to be afraid, not to compare his fear to that of the Christians over the loss of the Temple, but in order “to fulfill that which had been spoken by the Lord” – a phrase he uses over and over. He needed Jesus to be born in Bethlehem and to have Herod chase him into Egypt, making Jesus both the new Moses and the new David.

    When Matthew adds “all Jerusalem” was also frightened, he is foreshadowing the Jews’ rejection of Jesus as their king. This is one of his main themes, culminating in his infamous charge that the Jews said “his blood be upon us and upon our children.”

    • Diane July 13, 2023 at 2:11 pm

      [Replying for Glenn]

      “I think you’re certainly on to something and don’t disagree.

      I open the book with a lengthy intro sharing my thoughts that the Gospels aren’t meant to be a play by play of what Jesus did and said, but a collection of stories – some changed and tweaked from actual happenings, others made up completely – all with the purpose of speaking something to the original audience.

      What is that “something”? I don’t know. Know one can know for sure, but we can let our minds wander as we read the stories through the lens of our own circumstances alongside what little we know of the circumstances the books were written in.

      As for this story, I think it’s made up, I don’t think it ever happened. Crossan and Borg have a lengthy segment on it in their book “The First Christmas”. But even so I still think we can glean something from it if we let our minds wonder why Matthew might have shared it with those early readers/listeners. That’s what I attempted to do in this chapter. The book is written through the lens of wondering IF Matthew was writing to people living in the wake of the destroyed Temple, trying to encourage them and inspire them to move forward. I’m not necessarily arguing that this WAS his purpose or even that this WAS his audience; I’m merely wondering “what IF it was?” and (if so) “what MIGHT that mean for you and me?”

      It’s not a scholarly book, by any means, or a historical book – it’s not meant to be. It’s meant simply to speak to people who have lost something that matters to them and wonder if the stories in Matthew MIGHT somehow be able to help us take a step forward. Maybe they can, maybe they can’t. For me they do, but that might not be so for everyone.

      Thanks for sharing, I appreciate this perspective!”

  5. dankoh July 12, 2023 at 9:55 pm

    (Continued) Also, if the Christians in Antioch were at a loss because of the destruction of Jerusalem, Matthew had an answer from that, too: Jesus predicted that the Temple would be destroyed and that there would be other disasters (Matt. 24:1-8). It makes much more sense to reassure the Jewish Christians in Antioch that the destruction of the Temple happened because their fellow Jews wouldn’t see what they, the Jewish Christians, had seen.

  6. nichael July 14, 2023 at 7:57 am

    Can I suggest that when reference is made to an author’s book, it would be helpful to indicate those situations in which the book is self-published (as is the case here).

    • gsiepert July 14, 2023 at 2:28 pm

      Sure … may I ask why it matters?

      • nichael July 18, 2023 at 1:33 pm

        For one thing, it serves as important, helpful information to any serious prospective reader.

        If a book is attempting to present itself as a serious academic/scholarly work in a highly technical field, it will be useful to know whether 1) the book has gone through the rigors of being actually published (I.e. it has has undergone a process of peer review and, subsequently, has convinced a serious publisher —and their knowledgeable editor(s)— that the work stands up to the appropriate standards); or 2) that it is the output of a vanity press (for whom the only criterion is typically whether the author can provide sufficient funds to cover the costs of the “publication”).

        • gsiepert July 18, 2023 at 9:38 pm

          Thanks for your response and taking the time to explain, I understand where you’re coming from.

          The book in no way attempts “to present itself as a serious academic/scholarly work in a highly technical field.” I clearly explained the purpose of the book in the 1st of the 3 blog posts where I said it doesn’t attempt to be a scholarly work. The only reason I’m sharing it here is because Bart invited me to do so.


          • gsiepert July 18, 2023 at 9:39 pm


            The book was read and endorsed by people like Bart, Brian McLaren, Thomas Jay Oord, and others – all of which are listed on the Amazon listing page. I had 2 publishers interested, but opted to self-publish through Amazon KDP because I could get it out quickly after my father passed away and I also enjoy the process creating. I’m not really interested in “convincing” anyone to read it, if I’m being honest. I enjoy the process of self-publishing and so that’s what I did with this book and my previous one. I write, talk about it on my podcast, share it with some friends, and let it go where it’ll go in the universe.

            Anyways, it would help to go back and read the first blog post (if you haven’t already) where I shared what the book is about.

            Thanks again for taking the time to respond.

  7. rezubler July 14, 2023 at 8:45 am

    Matthew certainly did his best to connect many messianic supporting lines to Jesus from the Jewish perspective via his gospel. If we accept that it would be easier for jews at that time to relate to Herod the Great than relate to Jesus, leveraging Herod’s jealousy/paranoia was a logical choice for one of these many supporting lines. It was well known that Herod did not tolerate any threats to his current (and legacy?) rulership. Showing that Herod was fearful of the ‘power’ of the growing Jesus gives Jesus ‘street-cred’ (fear/respect) from the most powerful and best-known kingly authority of that time and region. The Herod story provides yet another affirmation element that elevates Jesus to being more than just another rabbi/prophet. This would prove to be especially important when the Bar Kokhbar revolt failed (removing all possibility of the warrior messiah that many of the jews expected).

    • gsiepert July 14, 2023 at 2:29 pm

      Great insights, thanks so much for sharing.

      • rezubler July 14, 2023 at 3:11 pm

        Thanks, Glenn! Keep writing!
        Perspectives such as yours need to be available/accessible during these questioning times to help those who are struggling with their life and faith/hope support systems. As much as the Bible remains the greatest resource for many people, it is getting more and more challenging to relate to that resource in a more modern light. While not everyone may relate to your stories, there will be more than enough that will!

        • gsiepert July 15, 2023 at 12:08 am

          So true. This is encouraging to me, thanks for taking the time to share this and sit with my writing. Grateful for you, have a wonderful weekend!

  8. Jac July 16, 2023 at 2:33 am

    What if in one’s tragedies one does NOT feel or see or understand God’s comfort and presence? I cannot, after years of longing and hoping, see God birthing any new thing either in me or around me. God is distant and silent. As an older person I probably don’t have too many years left to see this new thing! Maybe just sitting with all the hurt and aloneness and just surviving is enough. I don’t know.

    • gsiepert July 16, 2023 at 6:58 am

      If that’s where you are – that’s OK. No need to feel the need to find a new thing in the midst of it all. The overall goal of the book is to help people feel less alone in their pain and loss, not solve a problem or pressure them to make some huge discovery.

      So again – if that’s where you are, that’s OK. To be honest, it’s where I am too after my dad passed away in March. I don’t see any new thing being birthed. I just see smoke and fire and loss and pain … and so I’ll sit in the rubble with you.

      Much love to you, my friend.

      • Jac July 16, 2023 at 6:11 pm

        Thank you so much Glenn. Your kindness and willingness too reach out to others in the miss of your own pain are amazing. I wonder if people like you can be how God speaks and comforts when he seems otherwise distant and silent.
        I guess thinking about your perspectives is even kind of a new thing for me.
        Thank you again. I sit with you too.
        Much love to you.

        • gsiepert July 17, 2023 at 4:40 pm

          Ahh thank you so much for this encouragement. Grateful for you!

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