OK. Now for those links...
For those of you interested in textual criticism, Larry Hurtado has a nice little post. It's a summary of a forthcoming article about the textual stability of the gospels versus some Apostolic Fathers writings. Looks intriguing:
His calculations for the NT manuscripts included show an average textual stability of 92.6% (of the words in the test passages), the spread of results for individual manuscripts ranging from 87.1% to 99.7%.
To achieve some perspective, Heide then conducts the same sort of analysis of extant manuscripts of Shepherd of Hermas (the single most frequently copied extra-canonical text, and more frequently copied than most canonical texts in the first several centuries). The average stability is ca. 86%. Heide notes that this doesn’t “even reach the worst value of the New Testament text, as reprsented by P45 [the Chester Beatty Gospels codex].”
And, for those of you who like to eat (I think that includes just about everyone!), here's something to think about:
The real problem, again, is Wal-Mart’s other promise: “healthier” packaged foods. And whether baked, low-salt chips are “better” than fried ones, is not only arguable — the baked ones are more likely to be chemical-laden — but misses the point which, again, is that real foods are superior in every way.
The truly healthy alternative to that chip is not a fake chip; it’s a carrot. Likewise, the alternative to sausage is not vegan sausage; it’s less sausage. This is really all pretty simple, and pretty clear. But the messages we’ve heard recently are as clear as . . . well, a SOFA [Solid Fats and Added Sugars, a new acronym of what to avoid].
You want an acronym? Let’s try ERF: Eat Real Food.
Oh, the article links to a very good article that is now over 4 years old, but still very relevant. Of course, it's 12 pages long...but the meat (pun intended) is on the first 2 and last pages.
And, finally, a short little reflection on US Interests and democracy.
In short, we would rather support a tyrant who does what we want than a democratic movement that may not be our puppet. So much, then, for America’s grand talk about wanting democracy all around the globe. We really don’t. We want tools so we can implement our foreign policy without interference. And that’s quite shameful.
So, to the rising democracies around the world, I apologize on behalf of the good people of the US who value true freedom above imperialism. Choose your own paths. You may not get foreign aid, but you’ll have freedom of choice- and that’s more valuable.