Monday, April 30, 2007

Church as we know it

Leighton over at The Heresy has an interesting, and all too true observation:

The sad reality is leaders give people what they want. Many of those who dare swim against the current find themselves looking for work in a hurry. The people currently known as the congregation want programs and sappy worship music and big churches. Many American christians want high production values and low committment thus megachurches are popular. Many Christians want to be part of the church with the best facilities and largest attendance in town. It makes us feel like we are somehow better. People like worship music that is essentially REO Speedwagon patched over to Jesus. We like participating in programs because most of us don't really know how to sacrificially love one another and we aren't willing to take the time to learn how. Let's not fool ourselves in to thinking the congregation isn't just as responsible as anyone else.

Of course, there is the other side of the coin, too. Sally Morgenthaler points that out at Out of Ur, discussing the CEO mentality so common among mega-church pastors:

Large-church leaders have been trained in the modern, command-and-control paradigm for thirty years. Here, organizations aren’t seen so much as gatherings of people with a common purpose but as machines. There is no irony here. Machine parts don’t have minds or muscles to flex. They don’t contribute to a process or innovate improvements. Machine parts simply do their job, which is, of course, to keep the machine functioning.

Ah, but what about the person who doesn’t follow in lockstep? She raises that issue:

Sheep have their own ideas of what, where, and when they want to eat. They may not want to lie down by quiet waters and go to sleep at eight. They just might want to check out the watercress down by the streambed. Or they might want to head out over the next ridge to see if there are any other flocks out there. Conveniently, machine parts don’t get ideas. They just get to work, and they work according to specification. . .

Pity the member who questions the machine and develops any significant influence. Sooner or later, that member will be disposed of—shunned, silenced, and quietly removed from any position of authority on staff, boards, worship teams, or within the most lowly of programs. Unwittingly, this member has run headlong into an industrial age anachronism: “the great man with the plan” methodology. And he or she has lost.

Friday, April 27, 2007

China's Millions

I received a copy of China's Millions from Eerdmans last Thursday, just before leaving for ARCE. The book is the story of the China Inland Mission from its founding until just after the Boxer Rebellion in 1900. It is not a hagiographic writing, but a serious history, probably the first real history of the CIM.

Anyway, I started it last Saturday after I finished Early Ancient Near Eastern Law. The book is quite thick, 500+ pages, but a fascinating read. Austin doesn't just record the history of the CIM, but also that of the many interconnecting tracks of the other early missionaries and societies. His emphasis is on the "footsoldiers" as he calls them, not on the leaders, although it is necessary to include the leaders, too.

If you are even remotely interested in 19th century British, Canadian and U.S. evangelical history, or China at that time, this book is a must read. And no, Eisenbrauns does not sell it, so this is not a plug to get more sales :)

Now all I have to do is get my "What I'm reading" and "Recently read books" caught up :(

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Thought for the day

"We have no right to decide where we should be placed, or to have preconceived ideas as to what God is preparing us to do. God engineers everything; and wherever He places us, our one supreme goal should be to pour out our lives in wholehearted devotion to Him in that particular work."—Oswald Chambers

<idle musing>
Isn't that the truth! I would never have chosen the path that God has laid out before me over the years, but then I would have missed all the blessings along the way.
</idle musing>

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Quote for the day

Be not afraid when one becomes rich,
when the glory of his house increases.
For when he dies he will carry nothing away;
his glory will not go down after him.
Though, while he lives, he counts himself happy,
and though a man gets praise when he does well for himself,
he will go to the generation of his fathers,
who will never more see the light.
Man cannot abide in his pomp,
he is like the beasts that perish.
Psalm 49:16-20, RSV

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

How I spent my weekend, continued

One nice thing about smaller conferences is that most people are there for the sessions. That means that, as a bookseller, you can also attend them. Well, I freely admit that Egyptology is not my thing, so I didn't attend any. But, instead I used the time to read.

So, what does a bookseller read in his spare time? Well, I can't speak for all, but here is what I read:

Early Ancient Near Eastern Law

Early Ancient Near Eastern Law
A History of Its Beginnings: The Early Dynastic and Sargonic Periods
Second edition, with a 44-page addition/appendix
EIS - Eisenbrauns
by Claus Wilcke
Eisenbrauns, 2007
204 pages, English
Paper, 5.5 x 8.5 inches
ISBN: 1575061325
List Price: $26.00
Your Price: $23.40

It actually was a fun read, full of interesting details—of course, this is from someone who reads grammars for fun :) The book covers ancient "law," I mean ancient. A few texts are in Old Akkadian, but most are in Sumerian, which means we are talking 3rd millenium BCE. The reason I put law in scare quotes is because the book deals more with contracts, land deeds, bills of sale, etc., than what we would think of as law today.

I can tell you are breathlessly awaiting some of the interesting facts, so here are a few:
Land sales ended with a meal, paid for by the person purchasing the land. The seller, magistrate, and witnesses for both sides were invited.

It seems that the sale of land also was occasionally accompanied by a haircut! The person selling the land would receive a haircut to symbolically portray that they were "cutting" their claim to the land.

Women could buy and sell property, inherit property, engage in contracts, just as well as men.

Children and wives were frequently sold into slavery to pay off debts of the father/husband. In fact, this was so common that one tablet stands out as unusual in that the father states he would rather lose his land than sell his kids!

There were other interesting little details, but that should be enough to give you a feel for the book, which you will run right over the Eisenbrauns and purchase :)

Monday, April 23, 2007

ARCE convention

We got back from the ARCE (pronounced are-see) convention yesterday afternoon. It was a nice little convention, with about 350 attendees. This year it was in Toledo, Ohio, so we only had about a 2.5 hour drive.

Downtown Toledo is along the Maumee River, right before it joins Lake Erie. They have put a riverwalk in, and it is quite nice. Two nights we walked across the river on the bridge to a group of restaurants called "The Docks." The food was good and the walk was refreshing (about 3/4 of a mile). They are rebuilding the drawbridge, so half of the bridge doesn't exist. It looks a bit strange to see the lanes on one side just end, with a long plunge into the river if anyone were to go through the barricades.

The hotel we stayed at was recently bought by a new chain, so they are beginning a renovation. The result was that the restaurant in the hotel was short staffed. Imagine trying to feed 300+ people each morning with about half your normal staff :( Since there weren't any other choices for breakfast, you had to either get there around 7:00 AM or wait until after 8:30 to get a place to sit.

On Saturday night, they had Zahi Hawass come to speak. That was the night that one of the elevators decided to malfunction, with people in it. It was stuck for about 35-40 minutes. Once it opened, about 15-20 people came pouring out of it and ran into his talk, 1/2 hour late. I thought it was humorous, anyway.

Nice convention, but nice to be home again. Of course, because it was all weekend, that means I didn't get a weekend, so I didn't get caught up on my backlog of blog reading...

Friday, April 20, 2007

Where are we now?

Jim and I are at the ARCE convention in Toledo, Ohio. Here is what our display looks like.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Hidden Racism

There has been a huge uproar about the comments by some shock jock in the last 2 weeks. The uproar is justified, and there have been some excellent posts on it, such as here. But, I personally found this one and this one more interesting, since they were reacting, not to the event, but the cause of the event. I especially like this quote, from the first site:

Dalits (“Untouchables”) in India are required by Hindu law to be given one name, and it must be derogatory: Ugly, Stupid, Dung. Imagine the transformation when they discover that in Jesus, God came as a dalit (itself an extraordinary shock of rightly, if unexpectedly naming, God), and that he has the power to rename them: Chosen. Holy. Beloved.

Wow! But, that wasn’t where I was heading with this post, because at around the same time that the high profile misnaming was going on, a far less visible racism was uncovered. Apparently a book of skits for youth groups was published with an Asian-American character portrayed in a stereotypical way. This was pointed out to the publisher, who responded in a very significant and transformational way. The full story, from the publisher himself, is here.

we at youth specialties really screwed up. big time. i’m ashamed and embarrassed and horrified (and fairly angry, also), and i personally beg the forgiveness of our asian american christian brothers and sisters. i write as an individual christ-follower with responsibility for the systems in our organization which allowed for this offense; and i write as a spokesperson for youth specialties, apologizing on behalf of the whole organization.

You owe it to yourself to read the whole thing. This is an example of the body of Christ working together. One side speaking the truth in love; the other side humbly accepting the correction and repenting.

I pray God that I will respond with as much contriteness and humility whenever someone approaches me about a blind spot in my life!

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Postal Service rate increase

Most of you probably don't pay much attention to what the Postal Service does when it comes to rate increases. I don't usually either, but this time I did a double take. The cost for shipping out our catalogs is going to increase over 133%! Now, I would simply chalk that up to an increase in the cost of doing business, swallow hard, and go on. But, when the details came to light earlier today, I felt it was important to let others know what is going on. The following is from an open letter, posted here

The new rates, which go into effect on July 15, were developed with no public involvement or congressional oversight, and the increased costs could damage hundreds, even thousands, of smaller publications, possibly putting many out of business...

What the Post Office is planning to do now, in the dark of night, is implement a rate structure that gives the best prices to the biggest publishers, hence letting them lock in their market position and lessen the threat of any new competition. The new rates could make it almost impossible to launch a new magazine, unless it is spawned by a huge conglomerate.

Not surprisingly, the new scheme was drafted by Time Warner, the largest magazine publisher in the nation. All evidence available suggests the bureaucrats responsible have never considered the implications of their draconian reforms for small and independent publishers, or for citizens who depend upon a free press.

I urge you to take a few minutes and sign the petition here. If it were just that Eisenbrauns had to pay higher postage, I would not even post this. But, this postage increase would tax the smaller publications, such as academic journals, and potentially drive them out of business, while rewarding the conglomerates. The deadline is April 23, so please don't delay.
Stamp Out the Rate Hike: Stop the Post Office

Round and round we go

Once again, there are too many good things going on around the blogosphere! Here are a few things that jumped out at me this last week:

Ted, at The Jesus Community, talks about a message he heard about Dying to live. By the way, his dad died this weekend, please remember the family in prayer.

Alan, at The Assembling of the Church, has a good series on connecting the dots. Huh? Yep, connecting the dots. Scripture doesn’t fill in all the dots when it comes to life; we need help connecting the dots, filling in the holes. He has a series of posts on how that works (or doesn’t, in some cases).

Then, there is the post by Chris Heard about Religion as wish fulfillment. He was listening to Alister McGrath’s rejoinder to Dawkins God Delusion: “McGrath’s point—and I think it is a good one—is that a person’s desire for an claim to be true does not automatically render that claim false. McGrath offers the following analogy: suppose I am thirsty and want a drink of water. Does my desire for a drink of water render the bottled water in my refrigerator nonexistent? Of course not.” Good stuff; read the rest of it.

Out of Ur seems to be outdoing themselves of late. There was a post on Muscular Christianity recently. The summary paragraph:

All of these thoughts can be summarized as a commitment to weakness rather than strength. “Muscular Christianity” and “robust faith” are views that worked well in modernity’s concrete world, but the viability of Christian faith in the twenty-first century is not guaranteed by claims to power and declarations of strengths and doctrinal postures. This is not a slide into relativism but a commitment to nondogmatic specificity. We can tell the gospel story without resorting to competition, exclusivism, or elitism.

Ben Myers, at Faith and Theology, has a short post on doing theology in the second person, which ties in nicely with my readings in Eastern Orthodox Christianity, although he quotes from Augustine:

Although it’s necessary to practise theology in the third person – theology as academic reflection – we shouldn’t forget that theology is always most at home when it takes the form of second-person address. In the best theological work ever written – Augustine’s Confessions – theological reflection becomes indistinguishable from prayer; talk about God merges with talk to God.

And, lets not forget the publicity department : ) Jim West points us to a poll to rank the biblioblogs here. You have to log in to that river in Brazil in order to vote. But, I encourage you to buy your books from Eisenbrauns instead! But then, what did you expect me to say?

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Eastern Orthodox

I just finished reading Eastern Orthodox Christianity this weekend. Don’t bother looking for it on the “What I am reading” sidebar; I’m way behind on that. But, it has been a very good read. I have always had a high regard for the church fathers, but tended to neglect the Eastern fathers after about 500. I find now that this has been to my detriment. I am going to begin repairing that by trying to obtain a copy of the Philokalia, which is a compendium of Orthodox thought from about the 4th century through the 17th. It runs about 5 volumes, of which 4 are available in English. I found them here, but have no idea when the fifth volume will appear.

Anyway, here is a marvelous quote from Maximus the Confessor (580-662):

If anything in these chapters should prove useful to the soul, it will be revealed to the reader by the grace of God, provided that he reads, not out of curiosity, but in the fear and love of God. If a man reads this or any other work not to gain spiritual benefit, but to track down matter with which to abuse the author, so that in his conceit he can show himself to be the more learned, nothing profitable will ever be revealed to him in anything.

<idle musing>
Well put, whatever tradition it comes from!
</idle musing>

Monday, April 16, 2007

New 10 day sale at Eisenbrauns

For the next 10 days, Eisenbrauns is offering selected language
tools for Akkadian, Ugaritic, Hebrew, Aramaic, Greek, and Coptic
at savings of 15-50% off retail price.
Details are here, but here's few goodies:

"A Dictionary of the Targumim, the Talmud Babli and Yerushalmi,
and the Midrashic Literature"
by Marcus Jastrow
Hendrickson Publishers, 2005. Cloth. English.
ISBN: 1565638603
List Price: $49.95 Your Price: $27.47

"A Concordance to the Septuagint: And the Other Greek Versions
of the Old Testament (Including the Apocryphal Books)"
by Edwin Hatch and Henry A. Redpath
Baker Academic, 1998. Cloth. English.
ISBN: 0801021413
List Price: $175.00 Your Price: $87.50

"Biblia Sacra Utriusque Testamenti: Editio Hebraica et Graeca"
Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft Stuttgart, 1994. Cloth. Greek and Hebrew.
ISBN: 3438052504
List Price: $139.99 Your Price: $76.99

Textual Criticism of Mark 16

Last Saturday there was a conference at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary on the longer ending of Mark. Alan Knox blogged all the sessions; talk about dedication! Here are the links:
Session 1, but Dan Wallace
Session 2, by Maurice Robinson
Session 3, by Keith Elliott
Session 4, by David Alan Black
Session 5, by Darrell Block
The discussion session
There are some good arguments on both sides, although I think that Robinson’s Byzantine Priority is misplaced, and Black’s ideas are highly speculative. Of late, I have been confirmed in my Markan priority opinion by reading Bauckham’s Jesus and the Eyewitnesses and agree with Mark Goodacre that “Q” doesn’t exist (see Questioning Q for details), so the conference is right in noting that it is not just a text critical issue.

I’m not sure where I come down on the long ending, though. I do think that the “canonical, but not original” idea opens a can of worms in too many areas, and should be used with extreme caution until the ramifications are thoroughly explored. I have wavered between embracing the longer ending, to rejecting it. But, the opinion of Clayton Croy is intriguing: we have lost both the opening and closing of Mark (see The Mutilation of Mark's Gospel). There is no doubt that the long ending is ancient, just as there is no doubt that there is debate on whether or not it is original. I doubt we will ever solve it to everyone’s satisfaction this side of eternity.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Another good quote

Yesterday, while chasing a most discouraging link about marketing in the church, I ran across a link to Oswald Chambers online. Since I have always like Chambers, but never had the discipline to read a "daily devotional" book, I added the RSS feed. Today, here is what popped up:

Many servants set out to serve God with great courage and with the right motives. But with no intimate fellowship with Jesus Christ, they are soon defeated. They do not know what to do with their burden, and it produces weariness in their lives...Commit to God whatever burden He has placed on you. Don’t just cast it aside, but put it over onto Him and place yourself there with it. You will see that your burden is then lightened by the sense of companionship.

Quote for today

“It is not the re-creation of the first-century church that is the goal. The desire is to recapture the spirit and the dynamics of early church life in ways that are appropriate to our own culture.” The Church Comes Home

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Idle musings

The other day we were at some friends’ house and they were talking about their experience meeting the race horse John Henry. The horse is very famous and has many awards. But, he is mean. Not just mean, but mean. He will bite at you for no apparent reason. Besides, that, he is old, 32 years old, which is ancient for a horse. They told us that when he is in his stable, his head and ears hang down; he has drool coming out of his mouth; he looks old.

But, when they bring him out into the public for the Hall of Champions—what a change. His head comes up; his ears perk up; he comes alive. You would never know he was the same horse! But, he is still mean. As they were watching the show they noticed that his handler was being quite cautious. Once, she let her attention be diverted just a bit and John Henry noticed. He tried to take a bite out of her! She gave him a solid fist to the nose to bring him back into line.

Are you seeing any parallels here? If ever there were a picture of humanity, this has to be it. We hide in our corners, feeling sorry for ourselves and drooling all over everything. But, bring us out to the public, and —poof— we are a changed person. The façade goes up; the protective shield goes up; we become perfect people! Problems? Not us! Worries? Never! Cares? Not a chance!

But, we’re still mean! We are always looking for a chance to bite those around us, especially our handler, God. I’m glad he doesn’t use a solid hit to the nose, but he has his ways of getting our attention that are just as effective.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Quote for the day

Do you imagine plain words can precisely or truly or appropriately describe the love of the Lord…and assurance of the heart? Do you imagine that talk of such matters will mean anything to someone who has never experienced them? If you think so, then you will be like a man who with words and examples tries to convey the sweetness of honey to people who have never tasted it. He talks uselessly. Indeed I would say he is simply prattling.—John Climacus (579-649)

Tuesday, April 10, 2007


I greatly appreciate reading The Assembling of the Church by Alan Knox. He is a prolific blogger and has some excellent insights. I just wish I could keep up with him during the week; I have to rely on my weekends to catch up.

Last week he had an interesting post on “Making our case,” a look at I Peter 3 and what apologetics meant in that epistle. Here is an excerpt:

This believer is not debating an atheist in order to prove the atheist wrong. The believer is being persecuted by the atheist and has hope in spite of the persecution. The believer is not presenting an argument in favor of Christianity to an unbeliever, he is living a life that demonstrates that "Christ is Lord" in spite of the suffering that he is enduring. The one causing the believer to suffer notices the difference. The believer has become light in the darkness.

So, why has apologetics become writing and debating in order to prove that we are right? Why has apologetics been reduced to arguments, positions, logic, and presuppositions? What happened to letting our conduct reveal the God who has changed us and is working to redeem the world?

Perhaps, the next time an unbeliever denies the existence of God or the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ, we should attempt to prove our doctrines by loving that unbeliever and living a life that shows that we have died to ourselves and God is living through us by his Spirit. Then again, it does seem easier to just argue with that person.

<idle musing>
Yes, arguing is easier than living a life of love. Is it perhaps because we are so good at presenting our own case and so poor at listening to God? I know that the natural reaction for me is to defend to the death my opinions, actions and thoughts—even when I know they are wrong—simply because they are mine. What heresy! Jesus calls us to die to self and live to him. But, far more importantly, he supplies the necessary grace to do so!
</idle musing>

Monday, April 09, 2007

Are we the problem?

At Vintage Faith, Dan Kimball is recounting his experiences while shooting a video to go with his upcoming book. Very insightful comments, of which I will cherry-pick a few:

The consistent observation shared was that Christians generally don't want to listen to other viewpoints than their own, and they basically abandon the person if they aren't ready to "receive the gospel" and the Christian then moves on to someone else. This was shared that it feels like (and actually is) showing that as a person, those outside the church aren't really cared about or respected and valued as a human being other then as an evangelistic target or as someone to prove them wrong, and the Christian right.

<idle musing>
Jesus calls us to love. This doesn’t sound like love, does it? Mind you, I’ve been guilty of it too.
</idle musing>

What I am hearing is that people are not stumbling at the cross (yes, the gospel and cross is a stumbling block) but they don't reach that point, they are stumbling over the Christians and the church and the bad experiences and perceptions.

<idle musing>
Yes. The cross should be the stumbling block, not the messenger! Problem is that the messenger frequently hasn’t gotten to the cross themselves. The person being talked to is seen as a “target” so there can be another notch on their gospel belt.

This was brought home to me a few weeks ago in a conversation with someone. To him the conversation was only valuable insofar as it would bring me on board his “gospel initiative.” When it became obvious that I wasn’t going to agree with where he was going, he lost interest in me. How sad. I was interested in how we could learn from each other and become more genuine disciples of Jesus. He thought he had it together; all the gospel was about was “bringing others to Christ.” I never did figure out what happened after that in his mind. The cross wasn’t a strong point in his life or presentation.

“And he said to all, “If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it; and whoever loses his life for my sake, he will save it. For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits himself?” Luke 9:23-25 RSV
</idle musing>

Sunday, April 08, 2007


Up from the grave he arose
With a mighty triumph over his foes!
He arose a victor from the dark domain.
And he lives forever with his saints to reign.
He arose! He arose!
Hallelujah! Christ arose!

Saturday, April 07, 2007


"Low in the grave he lay,
Jesus my Savior;
Waiting the coming day,
Jesus my Lord..."

Friday, April 06, 2007

Pancakes, anyone?

I've been meaning to upload these pictures for almost a week now. Last Friday, we had a pancake breakfast at Eisenbrauns. Dave was the chef, adding your choice of raisins, blueberries, or walnuts to the pancakes, made from whole wheat flour.

In typical "grandma" fashion, he wouldn't take no for an answer. "Do you want another pancake?"

"No, Dave, I've had enough."

"Oh, come on now, just one more!"

Thursday, April 05, 2007

What shapes our decisions?

I would like to think that the decisions I make are informed by, and directed by, my understanding of who I am in Christ and what he would like to do through me. I hope that is how most Christians think. Imagine my dismay then at reading this.

“Literal interpretation of the Bible and frequent religious practice push AfrAms toward the Democrats and whites toward the Republicans” (72). Read that twice and think about it. It boggles.

Now here it is put even more potently: “the Gospel [sic, gospel] does correlate with political orientation: the direction of correlation depends on believers’ social contexts, which in this case means their differing racial ancestries” (72). Is this suggesting that folks vote on the basis of income/economic status, regardless of their faith, or that their faith supports their perceived income needs, or that one of these groups is consistent and the other one not?

<idle musing>
</idle musing>

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Not another one of those quiz things!

Ok, I'm a sucker for them, I admit it:

You’re St. Jerome!

You’re a passionate Christian, fiercely devoted to Jesus Christ and his Church. You are willing to labor long hours in the Lord’s vineyard, and you have little patience with those who are less willing or able to work as you do. Your passions often carry you into temptation zones of wrath, lust, and pride.

Find out which Church Father you are at The Way of the Fathers!

As long as it is his linguistic abilities, and not his dreams or interpersonal skills, I don't mind!
HT: Kevin at Biblicalia
Hmmm...seems the graphic doesn't show up...

More free books!

Yep, I'm doing it again! Eisenbrauns will be giving away more free books in the next 7-10 days. All you have to do is sign up for one or more of our RSS feeds and follow the instructions when the Free Books post arrives. These are new, recently published books, selected from over 25 different titles (we do the selection).

No purchase necessary, no forms to fill out, yada, yada, yada, ....

Baptism and its implications

Ted Gossard over at The Community of Jesus has a couple of posts starting with “Living out the truth.” Here’s a snippet from the baptism one:

I believe we're called to live out the reality of our baptism. Romans 6 I take, along with most of the church past and present, to refer to water baptism. The rich symbollism there speaks of a reality we enter into in Christ by faith. When baptized we're baptized into Christ which means being baptized into his death and resurrection. Our old self ("in Adam", not in this passage) is taken under the water (whether by immersion, pouring or sprinkling) and a new self ("in Christ") emerges. It is not enough for us just to get help. We need an entirely new "us". And this is true in Christ and through baptism (some take baptism in this passage to refer to Spirit baptism).

This passage, however, makes it plain that we must live out this dynamic. In Christ we can. But I think it is clear that this is not automatic. On the basis of this baptism into Christ's death and resurrection we're to count ourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ. And because of that, we're to refuse sin's reign in our lives, no longer offering ourselves in slavery to sin and unrighteousness which results in death. But we're to offer ourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life. And offer every part of ourselves as slaves to righteousness and obedience. This results in holiness and eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Therefore, while I need to keep working through the dynamics given us in Scripture, and this will sometimes include a real struggle in a sin area, I need to do this from the standpoint of the new identity I have in Christ and in his death and resurrection. We are a resurrection people here and now. And this is to directly impact how we live. It is a new you in Christ that is alive. We need to reckon on that and live on the basis of that, by faith.

<idle musing>
Amen! Good preaching! Rather than starting with the attitude of defeat, which virtually guarantees defeat, we must begin with the attitude of what we already have and are in Christ. Not presumptuously, but by faith, realizing that it is all from, of, by, and for God. Not us, but Christ through the Holy Spirit to the glory of the Father.
</idle musing>

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Quote for the day

What do you think? Which has the stronger influence over you, five- or ten-minute prayers, or the whole day spent on worldly desires? Do not be surprised if your prayers are not answered. The reason may easily be that your life and your prayer clash with each other: your heart concentrates more on living than on praying. Learn this great lesson: My prayer must rule my whole life. What I request from God in prayer is not decided in five or ten minutes. I must learn to say: “I have prayed with my whole heart.” What I desire from God must really fill my heart the whole day; then the way opens for a certain answer.—Andrew Murray

Monday, April 02, 2007


I have stayed out of the Wikipedia wars. I will continue to avoid them, but I think people should be aware of this new alternative described here

This week, Sanger takes the wraps off a Wikipedia alternative, Citizendium. His goal is to capture Wikipedia’s bustle but this time, avoid the vandalism and inconsistency that are its pitfalls.

Like Wikipedia, Citizendium will be nonprofit, devoid of ads and free to read and edit. Unlike Wikipedia, Citizendium’s volunteer contributors will be expected to provide their real names. Experts in given fields will be asked to check articles for accuracy.

“If there’s going to be a free encyclopedia, I’d like there to be a better free encyclopedia,” says Sanger, 38, who has a doctorate in philosophy and speaks slowly, as if cautiously choosing every word. “It has bothered me that I helped to get a project started, Wikipedia, that people are misusing in this way, and yet the project itself has little chance of radically improving.”

Citizendium is hardly the first Wikipedia alternative. But this is different — not only because of Sanger, but because of the questions at its core: Would Wikipedia be better if its contributors fully identified themselves? Would Wikipedia be better if it solicited guidance from academics and other specialists?

May it live long and prosper!

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Special BookNews available

Be sure to check out Eisenbrauns web site for the latest offerings from Winged Bull Press

And here is our annual BookNews announcement of their latest:

BookNews from Eisenbrauns

Eisenbrauns Announces Alternative Payment Plans:

In the interest of making it easier for their valued customers to obtain the books they need, Eisenbrauns has announced that effective immediately they will begin accepting gold bullion as payment. "It only makes sense, given the international scope of our business, that we should be flexible in our payment plans," noted Marketing director James Spinti. Marti Dahlquist, customer service manager, adds: "Some of our customers don't have access to credit cards, others are fearful of identity theft. Accepting gold bullion allows us to serve them better." Other alternative payment plans have been discussed, such as crude oil, an efficient method of transport has yet to be acquired. Spinti also opined that if this venture proved successful that payments in coffee might be added next.

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New and Noteworthy from Winged Bull Press, fuller descriptions available at our website:

"DIY Ossuary Kit"
Winged Bull Press, 2007. LImestone. English.
List Price: $950.00 Your Price: $883.50
Get in on the action! Building your own ossuary is the easy way to fame and fortune!

Kit includes book of Bible names, measured plans, hammer, chisels, and 1 large block of genuine Indiana limestone, rough-shaped and ready for your inscriptions. Specify color when ordering. Standard size is 22 x 14 x 12"; custom sizing is available.

Bones not included. We suggest contacting your local teaching hospital for legally-obtained, gently-used cadavers.

N.B.: Due to the weight of this item, extra shipping charges will apply. This type of limestone weighs approximately 1 pound per cubic inch.

"First Compendious Near Eastern Grammar, Vol. 2: The Unknown Languages"
by H.J. Shem
Edited by A.P. Ril
Winged Bull Press, 2007. Cloth. English.
List Price: $900.00 Your Price: $720.00
Building on the phenomenal success of the first supplemental volume, this followup volume is a must have!

"Obadiah verse 1"
by A.N. Onymous
Major Commentaries on Minor Biblical Books - MCOMBB 1
Winged Bull Press, 2007. Cloth. English.
List Price: $75.00 Your Price: $63.75
For too long biblical scholars have poured all their attention into the major books of the Bible. We feel it is time to pay more attention to the shorter books of the biblical corpus. To further this end, we are introducing a major new commentary series, Major Studies on Minor Biblical Books. The introductory volume, available now, is the biblical book of Obadiah, verse 1. This 500 page volume, lavishly illustrated with extensive charts and full color plates, concentrates on the overlooked importance of verse 1 in the canonical process and its implications for the entire biblical corpus, indeed for all theological undertakings. U. Will B. Bore, ed. for the series, expresses the purpose of the series very clearly, "We feel that in an age of inclusiveness and pluralism, it is only fair to examine the importance of these frequently overlooked biblical books. We are delighted that Eisenbrauns has agreed to publish this milestone in biblical studies."