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Episode 341: The Mandela Effect in the Bible, Part One--The Missing Innkeeper

  • Broadcast in Christianity
Crazy Faith Talk

Crazy Faith Talk


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In a brand-new series for this fall, pastors Erica, Sarah, and Steve are exploring what is sometimes called "the Mandela effect"--those times when people collectively believe they remember things a certain way, only to discover they have all misremembered, forgotten, or embellished how things are.  (The name comes from a classic example, where many people around the world believed they remembered South African president Nelson Mandela having already died years before his actual death.)  Well, it turns out that people do it with the Bible ALL the time.  A classic example happens every year around Christmas time, when people retell versions of the Nativity story with a grouchy and occasionally miserly (almost Scrooge-like) innkeeper character who turns away Mary and Joseph in Bethlehem.  But it turns out, not only is there not actually any mention of an innkeeper, but the word translated as "inn" actually means something more like "guest room" or "spare room" in a family house.  What's really going on in Luke's story of the birth of Jesus, and how did we collectively invent both an "inn" and an "innkeeper"?  That's the conversation we're exploring this time here on Crazy Faith Talk!

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