Wednesday, December 12, 2018

If only it were that simple!

Can we really read the Bible free of any influence or without acknowledging those who have gone before us?

Consider what might be involved in taking [Ken] Ham’s exhortation to just read the text and let it speak to you. The Bibles most of us use are translations from the original Hebrew and Greek. Translation is not simply a matter of finding equivalent words in two languages. The task of transposing material from one world of thought and language to another can be very complicated. These different worlds of thought require the translator to understand both cultures. This means that interpretation is already involved in the task of translation—grammatical and lexical decisions are made that allow the readers of translations to understand the Words of the text.—Early Christian Readings of Genesis One, page 73

Monday, December 10, 2018

Public Service Announcement

With the continued revelations of male sexual abuse, I suggest the following to all males:
Stop thinking with your dick!
That is all.

Friday, December 07, 2018

What kind of mystery are you looking for?

Mystery as problem solving (investigative) is concerned with what is known and able to be grasped. But revelational mystery revolves around what is unknown and ungraspable—this is why it always remains mystery even though it is revealed. Because of the Fathers’ insistence on revelational mystery, they can show us where we may just miss the point in theological study. If the purpose of proper Bible study is verifiable data, then the proper function of theology is the systematic organization of that data with which we can speak with certainty to the world. The Bible would then be treated merely as a source book of information for theology and other things. Once the information is mined from the Bible we would then have our system, and the mystery is solved. Not only does this run the risk of making the Bible superfluous, it seeks to remove “our Great mystery" and We may just think we have “so1ved” God. Then he must fit into our categories and he becomes the God we think he should be. The Fathers encourage us to let God be God.—Early Christian Readings of Genesis One, pages 49–50

Thursday, December 06, 2018

Our theology is impoverished!

But it is not only through the councils that the Fathers’ profundity and practicality can be seen. They also show us how to unite heart and mind in theology. In this they have something to teach those of us in the evangelical tradition who might tend toward an understanding of theology that is overly rationalistic. The Fathers show us that mere intellectual assent to a list of doctrines is an impoverished Christianity and one that needs correction and supplement.—Early Christian Readings of Genesis One, page 45

Wednesday, December 05, 2018

Salvation: Now or Future?

A great post over at Catalyst Resources about when and what salvation is. Read the whole thing, but these two paragraphs jumped out at me:
The second misunderstanding [of what salvation means] has been called by Dallas Willard a “bar code faith.” The scanner at the check-out line reads only the bar code on a product. If the bar code for ice cream is placed on dog food, the scanner will read “ice cream.” The content of the package is irrelevant.

Willard says a “bar code faith” operates much the same way. We take some action—we have faith, get baptized, join the church—and that gives us a new bar code. God then pays no attention to our actual sinful content. When we are scanned across the divine scanner, it reads “Christ’s righteousness.” We remain the same, only now we go to heaven. As Willard says, our present life “has no necessary connection with being a Christian as long as the ‘bar code’ does its job” (The Divine Conspiracy [Harper Collins, 1998], 37).

<idle musing>
Mind you, that's a misunderstanding of what salvation means! Bonhoeffer would call it "cheap grace." I had never heard the term "bar code faith" before, but I like it (and will use it!). I guess I have never read Dallas Willard except for excerpts. Another book to put on my list of "must-reads."
</idle musing>

Theology is practical

The location of theological reflection in the church meant that the Fathers had it in the forefront of their theologizing. For us, this communicates two main things. First, the Fathers show that deep theological thought and reflection are not antithetical to a deep spiritual life—in fact they are required. Second, theological study done for the church has significance for Christian believers. The Fathers show us that the theologian can “blend profundity and practicality” because as pastors their ultimate concern was for the spiritual well—being of their congregations. We should not, therefore, let the perceived remoteness of the theological discussion done by the Fathers keep us from recognizing their vital importance to the churchmdash;Early Christian Readings of Genesis One, page 44

Tuesday, December 04, 2018

The "rule of faith"

While the Fathers did not offer the same answers to all of these issues, they are remarkably united on the essentials, or what Ramsay calls “the rudiments of Christian confession.” He states that we can confidently affirm that the Fathers agree among themselves and with us on these essentials—belief in a triune God; in a Christ who is at once divine and human and who exercises a salvific role with respect to the human race; in the infallibility of Scripture; in the fallen condition of the human race and its need for salvation; in certain important rites, chief among them being baptism and Communion; in the church, in which unity must be preserved; and in the value of prayer.—Early Christian Readings of Genesis One, pages 42–43

Sunday, December 02, 2018

Eleven years later and cars still are closer to bicyclists

Back in 2007, I posted a study that showed that drivers give bicyclists less room if they wear a helmet. Well, Bicycling Magazine just published an article with a link to an updated version. Bottom line?
The new paper from Walker also re-affirms that wearing a helmet was indeed associated with more “close” passes when you take into consideration that in some places, the law dictates more than one meter of room.
And a month ago they posted about "helmet scolds":
If you’ve ever ridden a bike without a helmet, you’ve likely run into helmet scolds. They’ll tell you at length why you should never ride without one, about the risks and dangers. Don’t you know cycling is perilous, even for seasoned riders? They’ll come armed with statistics and tell you about that one time they crashed unexpectedly while pedaling around the block.
Indeed. I've run into that many times over the last eleven years after ditching the helmet. So, what do I do? Well, I still don't use a helmet, although the newer designs have done a good bit to work on the problems of concussion (see my 2007 link). If they continue to make progress there, I might reconsider. One thing is certain: drivers now are more distracted. Despite laws against texting while driving, I still regularly see drivers doing so as we walk.

Because of that, I'm trying to do things to raise my visibility. I wear a fluorescent yellow jersey. When it's cold enough to wear a jacket, I usually wear my yellow one. Also, since moving to Red Wing, I have added a new strobe tail light that I use, even during the day; I seem to be getting more clearance when I have it—contrary to this post from 2015. But, it's a different culture here than on the North Shore, more traffic and more used to bicycles in general.

I have no delusions, though, that I will be seen. I'm always watching and expecting cars to either not see me, or try to run me off the road. Someone trying to run me off the road has actually only happened once in the last 15 years, by a couple of guys driving a pick-up truck, trying to prove they were "real men." On the whole, drivers have always given me enough room when they see me. My goal is to make sure they see me while also watching them assuming they don't!