Chuck is going home from the hospital this week. Gideon had died and immediately the people turned to Baal. ( Ch. 8) what a graphic story!! Gideon had 70 children because he had many wives. Jerubbaal (who was Gideon) had expected that his sons who numbered 70 would rule after him, However, Abimelech went to the people of Shechem and said, “Would you rather be ruled by the 70 sons of Gideon or by me since Gideon was my father as well Abimelech was a servant’s son and seems to be a strange choice to succeed Gideon. The USA has not had a tradition of beheading like France and England and the middle east. Milling grain was woman’s work and thus a woman could handle a millstone. Even though Abimelech had his aide kill him it is still the case 3200 years later we still read he was killed by a woman. But at the end it is credited to God to rout the evil. The whole parable of the trees may illustrate the Peter principle and the leader becomes unproductive. We had a discussion about church mergers and the differences in culture between them. Here is the way that Abimelech consolidated power. Frank talked about a program on Iowa culture on Iowa public radio. In this chapter a man seized power, tried to exercise power, failed and god requited the people as evil. Why did the author attribute the saving of the people to God? Mark said when he has made mistakes and hurt people, he throws himself on grace rather than on the sword. It allows us to live with ourselves and our mistakes. The struggle is with how much of our history of the church is really part of our history. We continue to struggle with the relevance of stories like these as being part of our heritage in some way.