Tuesday, March 30, 2010

civil religion

From Jim West's blog:

Athletics in our society is a religion. Making Christianity complicit in the practice of that religion at the expense of ethics is not something that should happen.

<idle musing>
Amen! Good preaching!
</idle musing>

Monday, March 29, 2010


Huh? For those of you who don't know, liminality is the point of change; you aren't quite what you were—but you're not quite what you are becoming (poor definition, but it gives you the idea). Anyway:

“Liminality is pure potency, where anything can happen, where immoderacy is normal, even normative, and where the elements of culture and society are released from their customary configurations and recombined in bizarre and terrifying imagery”—V. Turner, ‘Myth and Symbol’, in D.L. Sills (ed.), International Encyclopedia of the Social Sciences, cited in Earle, Reading Joshua as Christian Scripture, page 37

<idle musing>
Which is why society is always so careful to create rituals for changes—for example, the swearing in of new government officials. It is a liminal situation, so we are very careful to follow the rules, lest some chaos monster get loose.

Think about potential change, and most people get very nervous. Why? Because the liminality of the situation may allow a chaos monster to get in and devour them. It is all about control. It things stay the same, I have the illusion of control. If things change, it is a liminal situation and my normal rituals might not be effective.

Praise God that he is bigger than any liminal situation! I need not fear change because he has already been ahead of me and knows what the future may bring.
</idle musing>

Friday, March 26, 2010

Why the fuss?

I rarely comment on political issues, but this question from a Sri Lankan Christian needs a good answer (HT: Scot McKnight):

Most of us non-Americans are naturally nonplussed at the fury that Barak Obama’s health care reform bill has unleashed. It perplexes us that so many suburban American Christians who do not care one iota about a trillion-dollar military budget, and wax eloquently about being zealously ”pro-life”, are now indignant about their state spending public funds to make the poor Americans more equal to them when it comes to receiving medical treatment and enjoying good health! Please, could some Republican party Christian explain these anomalies to the rest of the Body of Christ around the world?

<idle musing>
I certainly can't answer it. I have always been amazed at the willingness of one end of the political spectrum to destroy people in the womb, and the willingness of the opposite end to destroy them once they are out of it. Of course, the one extreme does attempt to only destroy the ones who are opposed to "American interests," which only raises more questions in my mind...

Perhaps the answers are found in Genesis 3 and the encounter with the serpent?
</idle musing>

Wednesday, March 24, 2010


“It is not the 'righteousness' of Jesus Christ which is 'reckoned' to the believer. It is his death and resurrection. That is what Romans 6 is all about. Paul does not say, 'I am in Christ; Christ has obeyed the Torah; therefore God regards me as though I had obeyed the Torah.' He says: 'I am in Christ; Christ has died and been raised; therefore God regards me—and I must learn to regard myself—as someone who has died to sin and been raised to newness of life.'

“The answer he gives to the opening question of [Romans] chapter 6 is an answer about status. Jesus' death and resurrection is the great Passover (I Corinthians 5:7), the moment when, and the means by which, we are set free from the slavery of sin once and for all. The challenge to the believer—indeed, on might almost say the challenge of learning to believe at all—is to 'reckon' that this is true, that one has indeed left behind the state of slavery, that one really has come now to stand on resurrection ground (Romans 6:6-11). All that the supposed doctrine of the 'imputed righteousness of Christ' has to offer is offered instead by Paul under this rubric, on these terms and within this covenantal framework.”—Justification, pages 232-233

<idle musing>
Can I hear an “Amen!” from you? It is so much simpler than we try to make it sometimes. We died and rose in Christ. As Colossians 3 says:

Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.

Get that? We're dead, but raised, sitting with Christ—who is our life, mind you—on the right hand of God! If you can't get excited about that, then something must be wrong somewhere. That is the heart of the gospel; everything else is sundries.
</idle musing>

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Cheese update

Well, we tried the Colby this weekend. I took a half-pound of it with me when I went to get Debbie. I think it aged at too warm a temperature, or for too long. It tastes good, but it doesn't taste mellow like Colby usually does. It has a bit of a bite to it, which I like. I was pleasantly surprised that everyone else thought it was good, too. We made short work of that half-pound.

It is somewhat difficult to get the paraffin off, though. It cracks and comes off in small pieces. I suspect that is why they use a special cheese wax, but I didn't want to spend too much money until I decided if it was worth the effort. I've decided it is :) So, I will probably be getting some nice red cheese wax some time soon.

The mozzarella that I made last Tuesday and turned into mozzarella sticks went over well, too. It isn't supposed to stay good for more than a few days, but I tried wrapping it in wax paper and then putting it in a Ziplock™ bag. It kept the cheese moist and good tasting. Debbie's eating the last one today, a week later. Not too bad...

So, on the whole, the cheese making experiment has been a success. I think I might try brick next. We can't buy it locally, but I snagged a pound of it in Wisconsin this weekend—actually Debbie's sister gave it to us. The recipe I found says to rub some existing brick cheese around the block of new cheese to transfer the bacteria linens to it. This is the bacteria that gives brick (and Limburger) its distinctive taste.

The problem of definitions

This is a wonderful word picture, and accurate, to boot! Wright is talking about the vocabulary for translating the Greek word πιστις (PISTIS):

This situation, frustrating and confusing to those without Greek and even to some who have it, is further complicated by the tendency for words, like bright three-year-olds, not to sit still where you told them to, but to wander around the room, start fiddling with things they weren't supposed to touch, form new friendships (especially when they bump into their Latin cousins, but that's another story) and generally enjoy themselves at the expense of the exegete who is trying to keep them under control.—Justification, page 89

<idle musing>
Isn't that a delightful word picture? I laughed out loud when I read it. Just think of that little 3 year-old, having a grand old time while the parents vainly try to contain the energy that only a 3 year-old has. Now, picture a theologian, trying to keep 2000 years of history of translation and interpretation within one English word. I can just see πιστις dancing around the room laughing at the manuscript the poor scholar is trying to write...
</idle musing>

Monday, March 22, 2010

Did Paul write it?

“In much Protestant scholarship of the last hundred or more years, Ephesians has regularly been deemed post-Pauline, and Colossians has frequently joined it in that 'deutero-Pauline' category. Like my teacher George Caird, and more other leading scholars than one might imagine from some of the mainstream literature, I have long regarded that judgment with suspicion, and the more I have read the other letters the more Ephesians and Colossians seem to me very thoroughly and completely Pauline. The problem is, of course, that within the liberal Protestantism that dominated New Testament scholarship for so many years Ephesians and Colossians were seen as dangerous to the point of unacceptability, not least because of their 'high' view of the church. There are, to be sure, questions of literary style. But with the Pauline corpus as small as it is—tiny by comparison, say, with the surviving works of Plato or Philo—it is very difficult to be sure that we can set up appropriate stylistic criteria to judge authenticity.”—Justification, page 43

<idle musing>
Very well put. Our inheritance from the Enlightenment blinds us to many obvious things, this being one of them...
</idle musing>

Friday, March 19, 2010

The economy and the Bible

I wonder what would happen to the US economy if we followed this set of laws in Deuteronomy:

Every seventh year you shall grant a remission of debts. And this is the manner of the remission: every creditor shall remit the claim that is held against a neighbor, not exacting it of a neighbor who is a member of the community, because the LORD’S remission has been proclaimed...If there is among you anyone in need, a member of your community in any of your towns within the land that the LORD your God is giving you, do not be hard-hearted or tight-fisted toward your needy neighbor. You should rather open your hand, willingly lending enough to meet the need, whatever it may be. Be careful that you do not entertain a mean thought, thinking, “The seventh year, the year of remission, is near,” and therefore view your needy neighbor with hostility and give nothing; your neighbor might cry to the LORD against you, and you would incur guilt. Give liberally and be ungrudging when you do so, for on this account the LORD your God will bless you in all your work and in all that you undertake. Since there will never cease to be some in need on the earth, I therefore command you, “Open your hand to the poor and needy neighbor in your land.”—Deuteronomy 15:1-2, 7-11 NRSV

<idle musing>
If ever there was evidence that the Bible is a communist/socialist plot, this has got to be it!

Seriously, though, what part of share the wealth don't you understand?
</idle musing>

What's missing?

Jumping backwards, just because my bookmark was in the wrong spot, we go back to the beginning:

...the question is about the means of salvation, how it is accomplished. Here John Piper, and the tradition he represents, have said that salvation is accomplished by the sovereign grace of God, operating through the death of Jesus Christ in our place and on our behalf, and appropriated through faith alone. Absolutely. I agree a hundred percent. There is not one syllable of that summary that I would complain about. But there is something missing—or rather, someone missing. Where is the Holy Spirit?In some of the great Reformed theologians, not least John Calvin himself, the work of the Spirit is every bit as important as the work of the Son. But you can't simply add the Spirit on at the end of the equation and hope it will still have the same shape. Part of my plea in this book is for the Spirit's work to be taken seriously in relation both to Christian faith itself and to the way in which that faith is “active through love” (Galatians 5:6). and the way in which that Spirit-driven active faith, at work through love and all that flows from it, explain how God's final rescue of his people from death itself has been accomplished (Romans 8:1-11).—Justification, pages 10-11

<idle musing>
Yes! The work of the Holy Spirit is central to the Christian life, yet it is so often overlooked. It is all too common for people to get someone to acknowledge the atoning sacrifice of Jesus and then hand that someone a Bible and tell them to read it. As if that block of wood, thinly sliced, all by itself, will transform you! NO! It is only as the Holy Spirit quickens the words in that book that they have any power. It is always, yes, always, through the power of God, the Holy Spirit, that we are transformed—or, better yet, have been transformed.
</idle musing>

Thursday, March 18, 2010


I recently finished reading Wright's Justification. I found it a good read, but Wright is a hard author to grab little quotes from, which is probably one reason he is misunderstood. Anyway, I did grab some that I will post over the next few days. Here's the first one:

Sin is what bubbles up unbidden from the depths of the human heart, so that all one has to do is go with the flow. That has the appearance of freedom, but is in fact slavery, as Jesus himself declared. True freedom is the gift of the Spirit, the result of grace; but, precisely because it is freedom for as well as freedom from, it isn't simply a matter of being forced now to be good, against our wills and without cooperation (what damage to genuine pastoral theology has been done by making a bogey-word out of the Pauline term synergism, “working together with God”), but a matter of being released from slavery precisely into responsibility, into being able at last to chose, to exercise moral muscle, knowing both that one is doing it oneself and that the Spirit is at work within, that God himself is doing that which I too am doing.—Justification, page 189

<idle musing>
Mind you, it is all by grace. Yes, you are enabled to respond, but you are responding. I like Bonhoeffer's way of putting it: “When Peter stepped out of the boat in faith, was it works?” No, it was in response to God. To not respond is to believe in cheap grace, which is really not grace at all, but license in the guise of liberty.
</idle musing>


I think Spring is here. Or, at least there are signs everywhere that it is close. I went for my first extended bike ride last night; the weather and the light both cooperated. Last week, the weather was right, but the light ended too soon. So, as much as I dislike the time changing, I do like the later evening light.

Anyway, as I was riding, I heard frogs creaking in the marshes. I hadn't heard it before yesterday, but another sign of spring. And, the trees are starting to get a greenish twinge to them as the buds get bigger. Plus, I saw the first flowers on Tuesday evening. There aren't any daffodils yet (a sure sign of spring), but some of the other bulb flowers are poking their heads out. And, tonight I will plant some stuff in the garden, as sure sign of spring!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

The summary is...

The basic claim of this book has been that Paul's soteriology is best described as theosis, or transformation into the image of the kenotic, cruciform God revealed in the faithful and loving cross of Christ, and that Spirit-enabled theosis is the substance of both justification and holiness. Justification is participatory and transformative, accomplished by co-crucifixion with Christ and embodied as holiness. Theosis is effected by the mutual inhabitation of those who are justified and the triune God who justifies them. Relating the thesis of this book to the more generally known and accepted notion of cruciformity in Paul, we have said that cruciformity is really theoformity, or theosis. For the sake of clarity and precision, we may wish to use the phrase cruciform theosis as shorthand for Paul's distinctive version of theosis.—Inhabiting the Cruciform God, p. 161

<idle musing>
Now, repeat the 3 times, real fast :) Seriously, though, this is a very good summary of Paul's theology.
</idle musing>

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Thought for today

I was reading this morning in Reading Joshua as Christian Scripture and ran across this:
“...during the Enlightenment there was a shift away from the classic Christian paradigm of ‘faith seeking understanding’ to one of ‘faith requiring justification’.”—Reading Joshua as Christian Scripture, page 32, footnote 73

<idle musing>
That really struck me. I believe he is correct; we feel the need to defend faith, rather than allowing our faith to lead us into understanding. Sad loss on our part.
</idle musing>

Promised pictures

OK, I've been promising pictures of a few things lately, so here we go...

My $5.00 cheese press (actually, it might be about $8.00). Note that it is all wood, no metal for the salt to corrode.

Fully assembled. Note the black markers to line up which is front. The original design only had two dowels, but that proved too unstable, so I went with four.

The circle of wood is called a follower; it goes between the 2x3 boards and the cheese cloth. All the wood is birch, so that it doesn't add any flavor to the cheese. The mold is cut from a gallon vinegar container.

The two 2x3s act as a plunger, pushing the follower down with all the weight that is stacked on the top board. I usually put a 40 pound bag of water softener salt on top for the weight.

Here's the compost bin; not a whole lot to say about :)

And, with Jim Baad's help last night, carrying them up from the basement, here are the cold frames. They are about 2' by 4' in size. Once it warms up, I will take the lids off.

My hope is to set up a hoop house and garden year round with the double protection of cold frame and hoop house keeping things warm enough to stay above freezing. I'll keep you posted on that...


We just got a shipment in from Israel around lunch time. It seems that every big international shipment ends up with at least one fork from a forklift through the packaging. This shipment was no exception; it had three or four holes, but only one was deadly:

Here's another view:

Sadly, it will end its days in the recycle bin...

Monday, March 15, 2010

A pacifistic Paul?

Paul is frequently portrayed as the paradigm of Christian conversion, both in Christian spirituality and in Western art. He is touted as the one-time persecutor turned proclaimer, which is of course true. Seldom, however, is his turn from violence qua violence (as opposed to his turn from persecuting the early church to promoting the faith) seen as a constitutive part of his conversion and new life, or as paradigmatic for, and therefore constitutive of, Christian conversion and new life generally. If the conversion of Paul grounded in the resurrection of Christ, is paradigmatic, it is paradigmatic in multiple ways, not least of which is his conversion from violence to nonviolence. Put differently, forsaking violence and embracing nonviolence is an essential part of Paul's theosis and of Christian theosis more generally.—Inhabiting the Cruciform God, pp. 158-159

<idle musing>
I like that view! But, then, I am a pacifist; it is nice thinking that Paul was one, too.
</idle musing>

That took way too long!

I made cheddar cheese on Friday night—actually into Saturday morning. I didn't realize it would take as long as it did. I estimated 5 hours, but it was 7 hours! Granted, most of that time was waiting, but you have to be there at the right times. I don't think I'll do that recipe again! I saw one that was supposed to take less time; I'll have to dig it out.

Once the making part was done, it had to press for 12 hours at 40 pounds, and then another 24 hours at 50 pounds. That's why I started it on Friday night. 36 hours of pressing time is hard to time correctly so I am home. But, it came out nicely formed. I made 2 pounds and cut it into four 1/2 pound sections to dry for a few days. After they dry, I will wax them and age them for different lengths of time. I love extra-sharp, so we'll see if I have the patience to wait a year :)

On the cheese-making front, the colby will be ready to try next weekend, but I will be gone, picking up Debbie from her parents. She is staying with her sister for another few days and then going to her parents until the weekend. So, once we get back, we'll try the cheese on Monday. I can't wait to see how it turned out. If it is good, I suspect we will make it more often—definitely more often than cheddar!

Meanwhile, I made a 3-bay compost bin and put it in the backyard. We had an ugly pile there before; this will make things look better. Plus, because it has air holes, the compost should rot faster.

I also made four cold frames this weekend. I hope to take pictures of them tonight and post them tomorrow. I got the windows last summer from work when we were cleaning out the garage. The garage had never been gone through since Eisenbrauns bought the shipping building almost 10 years ago. The windows were from when the building was originally built, about 25+ years ago. They are double paned and weigh a lot. I'll be putting them in the garden tonight; it was raining and cold yesterday when I finished them.

Maybe, just maybe, I'll be able to plant some radishes, spinach, and peas yet this week under the cold frames. That would give us radishes and spinach before tax day, and peas by May 15. I could handle that :)

Friday, March 12, 2010

Divine child abuse?

We have been arguing for a nonviolent God and a nonviolent apostle. However, the description of God's response to human sin in the form of the cross strikes some as violent rather than nonviolent, and that in at least two ways. First, it seems violent to hand one's Son over to death by crucifixion—”divine child abuse” as some have called it. Second, it seems violent to speak of participating in that event, to describe one's life as “co-crucifixion” (especially Gal 2;19).

Although Paul hardly denies the reality of the cross as a human and perhaps even demonic instrument of violent exclusion and elimination (1 Cor 2:8), it is not for him a symbol of divine violence that permits or even encourages violent acts and language...Rather, it is above all the reality and symbol of divine inclusion and love. For that reason it is absolutely crucial for Paul and for us that the cross of Christ is not merely the loving action of God the Father (Rom 5:8) but also the loving action of Christ the Son (2 Cor 5:14; Gal 2:20). Indeed, Paul beautifully ties the two together in Rom 8:31-39. To die with the Son in faith and baptism (Gal 2:15; Rom 6:1-7:6; see chapter two above), and subsequently in a life of ongoing cruciform holiness, is not to actively do something violent, but to do something loving and grace-filled for the benefit of others.—Inhabiting the Cruciform God, p. 145

<idle musing>
I like that answer. I have been accused of doing something violent when I speak of death to self; Gorman's answer is very good—now if I can just remember it next time someone accuses me of violence :)
</idle musing>

Eisenbrauns sale

OK, the other day I mentioned the monthly sale, but not the weekly one. It is set to expire in about 3 days, so you had better hurry!

BookNews from Eisenbrauns

I recently asked our Twitter followers for sale ideas. I
received several interesting ones that you will be seeing
in the future. The winner, though, came from our webmaster.
Here's his blurb:

"While several of us here at Eisenbrauns enjoy the novelty
of walking on water (the ice on Winona Lake is still half a
foot thick) we long for Spring and the chance to get out in
our boats. So, with that in mind, we present 12 titles related
to boats and sailing. There's a broad range here, from discus-
sions of Noah and the great Flood to underwater archaeology
and ship design."

As always, all sales on this web sale are final; no returns
will be permitted. Offer is good only on orders placed at
www.eisenbrauns.com through March 14, 2010.

To go directly to the weekly sale, click on this link:
"'Each Man Cried Out to His God:' The Specialized Religion
of Canaanite and Phoenician Seafarers"
by Aaron J. Brody
Harvard Semitic Monographs - HSM 58
Harvard Semitic Museum, 1999. Cloth. English.
ISBN: 0788504665
List Price: $29.95 Your Price: $20.97

"'Ploes... Sea Routes...' Interconnections in the Mediterranean,
16th-6th Centuries. BC: Proceedings of the International Symposium
held at Rethymnon, Crete, September 29th - October 2nd 2002."
Edited by N.C. Stampolidis and Vassos Karageorghis
University of Cyprus, 2003. Cloth. English.
ISBN: 9607143256
List Price: $123.00 Your Price: $98.40

"Black Sea: Past, Present and Future- Proceedings of the
International, Interdisciplinary Conference, Istanbul
(14-16th October 2004)"
Edited by Gulden Erkut and Stephen Mitchell
Monograph 42
British Institute of Archaeology, Ankara, 2007. Cloth. English.
ISBN: 9781898249214
List Price: $60.00 Your Price: $54.00

"From the Upper Sea to the Lower Sea: Studies on the History
of Assyria and Babylonia in Honour of A. K. Grayson"
Edited by Grant Frame and Linda S. Wilding
Publications de l'Institut historique-archeologique
neerlandais de Stamboul - PIHANS 101
Nederlands Instituut voor het Nabije Oosten/Netherlands
Institute for the Near East (NINO), 2004. Paper. English.
ISBN: 9062583121
List Price: $76.00 Your Price: $60.80

"Cyprus, the Sea Peoples and the Eastern Mediterranean:
Regional Perspectives of Continuity and Change"
by Timothy P. Harrison
Canadian Institute for Mediterranean Studies, 2008. Paper.
English and French.
List Price: $50.00 Your Price: $40.00

"The Sea Peoples in the Bible"
by Othniel Margalith
Harrassowitz Verlag, 1994. Paper. English.
ISBN: 9783447035163
List Price: $80.00 Your Price: $64.00

"Itineraria Phoenicia: Studia Phoenicia 18"
by E. Lipinski
Orientalia Lovaniensia Analecta - OLA 127
Peeters Publishers, 2004. Cloth. English.
ISBN: 9042913444
List Price: $138.00 Your Price: $121.44

"The Philosophy of Shipbuilding: Conceptual Approaches
to the Study of Wooden Ships"
by Frederick M. Hocker and Cheryl A. Ward
Nautical Archaeology Series
Texas A & M University Press, 2004. Cloth. English.
ISBN: 0585443131
List Price: $75.00 Your Price: $60.00

"Noah's Ark and the Ziusudra Epic:
Sumerian Origins of the Flood Myth"
by Robert M. Best
Enlil Press, 1999. Cloth. English.
ISBN: 0966784014
List Price: $38.00 Your Price: $7.60

"Out of Noah's Ark: Animals in Ancient Art from
the Leo Mildenberg Collection"
Edited by Patricia Erhart Mottahedeh
Bible Lands Museum, 1997. Cloth. English.
ISBN: 3805323476
List Price: $35.00 Your Price: $28.00

"On the Primaeval Ocean: The Carlsberg Papyri 5"
by Mark Smith
Carsten Niebuhr Institute of Ancient Near Eastern Studies - CNIANES 26
Museum Tusculanum Press, 2002. Cloth. English.
ISBN: 8772896469
List Price: $91.00 Your Price: $72.80

"The Phoenicians in Spain: An Archaeological Review of the
Eighth-Sixth Centuries B.C.E. -- A Collection of Articles
Translated from Spanish"
Translated by Marilyn Bierling
Edited by Seymour Gitin
Eisenbrauns, 2002. Cloth. English.
ISBN: 9781575060569
List Price: $42.50 Your Price: $21.25

Thursday, March 11, 2010

The cross--or the resurrection

Most importantly, without the resurrection of Christ, the cross of Christ is simply the shameful but appropriate death of a messianic pretender and possible threat to the Roman status quo—not the death of the Son of God or Lord of glory. Indeed, Christ's cross is meaningless for Paul without the resurrection. —Inhabiting the Cruciform God, pp. 139-140

<idle musing>
You can't forget the resurrection! Yes, the death of Jesus without the resurrection is meaningless. Without the resurrection death is still victorious. But, with the resurrection, we can live new lives!
</idle musing>

Faith in the Now

Ted Gossard has been doing a series on faith for the last week or so. Here's a snippet from faith is forward looking:

Faith does not live in the past with regret (“If only…”). Nor does it live only for today, though it should be fully living in the present. Nor does it live only marking time, thinking what matters is only what lies ahead (as in Jesus’ second coming). No. Faith helps us through Jesus to live completely in the present in light of the past in anticipation of the future. The future is actually present now through and in Jesus by the kingdom present in him, manifest in his redeemed community on earth now.

<idle musing>
Yes! Our faith encompasses the past, present, and future. Because of Christ, there is no regret about the past; because of Christ, there is no fear of the future; because of Christ, today is full of hope!
</idle musing>

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Union-life with Christ

Joel at Grace Roots has a good post on living by rules, regulations, and principles:

To translate this into life in Christ, I feel that by trying to train the flesh through countless rules, laws, methods, principles, restrictions, disciplines, etc, the modern church has stifled the true living out of the wild (unfettered, free) life that God created us to live.  The teachers and preachers of all this may even have the best of intentions, but the best of intentions will never change the fact that we live from our union-life with God, not from a list of do's and don'ts and from our attempts to live by principles for good Christian living.

He then notes that this had happened in his marriage:

 I really wanted to be all those good things for my wife.  And so my focus slowly changed from pure devotion to my wife to my own fleshly attempts to try to be a good husband, and the result was that over and over again, I found that I could do "good" for a while, but ultimately I would fail at living up to being the good husband I wanted to be.

<idle musing>
As we turn our eyes away from the source of life, Jesus, we begin to try on our own. When that happens, it is inevitable that we will begin to fall—it's all we can do in our own strength! We live “from our union-life with God” and only from that union!
</idle musing>

Sales going on at Eisenbrauns

It occurred to me last night that I had forgotten to mention the monthly and weekly sales going on right now at Eisenbrauns. So, here's the monthly sale:

For the month of March, Eisenbrauns is featuring a selection of
titles on comparative Semitics. Save from 20-40% as you expand
your knowledge of the Semitic family of languages.

As always, all sales on this web sale are final; no returns will be
permitted. Offer good only on orders placed at www.eisenbrauns.com
through March 31, 2010.

To easily access all the sale items, please visit:
"Comparative Studies in Biblical and Ugaritic Languages and Literatures"
by Yitzhak Avishur
Archaeological Center -Tel Aviv, 2007. Cloth. English.
ISBN: 9657162149
List Price: $60.00 Your Price: $48.00

"Comparative Philology and the Text of the Old Testament"
by James Barr
Eisenbrauns, 2001. Cloth. English.
ISBN: 9780931464331
List Price: $39.50 Your Price: $23.70

"Comparative Semitic Linguistics: A Manual"
by Patrick R. Bennett
Eisenbrauns, 1998. Paper. English.
ISBN: 9781575060217
List Price: $47.50 Your Price: $28.50

"Introduction to the Semitic Languages:
Text Specimens and Grammatical Sketches"
by Gotthelf Bergstrasser
Translated by Peter Daniels
Eisenbrauns, 1983. Paper. English.
ISBN: 9780931464102
List Price: $49.50 Your Price: $29.70

"Current Issues in the Analysis of Semitic Grammar and Lexicon I:
Oslo-Gothenburg Cooperation 3rd-5th June 2004"
Edited by Lutz Edzard and Jan Retso
Abhandlungen fur die Kunde des Morgenlandes - AKM LVI, 3
Harrassowitz Verlag, 2005. Paper. English.
ISBN: 9783447052689
List Price: $72.00 Your Price: $57.60

"Current Issues in the Analysis of Semitic Grammar and Lexicon II:
Oslo-Göteborg Cooperation 4th-5th November 2005"
Edited by Lutz Edzard and Jan Retso
Abhandlungen fur die Kunde des Morgenlandes - AKM LIX
Harrassowitz Verlag, 2006. Paper. English.
ISBN: 9783447054416
List Price: $72.00 Your Price: $57.60

"Semitic Noun Patterns"
by Joshua Fox
Harvard Semitic Studies - HSS 52
Harvard Semitic Museum / Eisenbrauns, 2003. Cloth. English.
ISBN: 1575069091
List Price: $39.95 Your Price: $27.97

"Semitic Languages: Outline of a Comparative Grammar"
by E. Lipinski
Orientalia Lovaniensia Analecta - OLA 80
Peeters Publishers, 2001. Cloth. English.
ISBN: 9042908157
List Price: $130.00 Your Price: $104.00

"An Introduction to Comparative Grammar of Semitic Languages:
Phonology and Morphology"
by Sabatino Moscati
Porta Linguarum Orientalium - PLO 6
Harrassowitz Verlag, 1980. Paper. English.
ISBN: 9783447006897
List Price: $60.00 Your Price: $48.00

"Semitic Languages: An Introduction"
by Chaim Rabin
Biblical Encyclopaedia Library - BEL 5
Bialik Institute, 1991. Paper. Hebrew.
List Price: $29.00 Your Price: $23.20

"Studies in Semitic Grammaticalization"
by Aaron Rubin
Harvard Semitic Studies - HSS 57
Harvard Semitic Museum / Eisenbrauns, 2005. Cloth. English.
ISBN: 1575069237
List Price: $32.95 Your Price: $23.07

"The Case for Fricative-Laterals in Proto-Semitic"
by Richard C. Steiner
American Oriental Series - AOS 59
American Oriental Society, 1977. Paper. English.
ISBN: 9780940490598
List Price: $18.00 Your Price: $14.40

"A Syntactical Study of Verbal Forms Affixed by -n(n)
Endings in Classical Arabic, Biblical Hebrew, El-Amarna,
Akkadian and Ugaritic"
by Tamar Zewi
Alter Orient und Altes Testament - AOAT 260
Ugarit-Verlag, 1999. Cloth. English.
ISBN: 9783927120716
List Price: $49.50 Your Price: $39.60

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Cruciformity and culture

The embedded theology of most Christians still revolves around a non-cruciform model of God's holiness, character, and power, and a crucial corrective is needed.

This brings us inevitably back...to politics, to the “normal” god of civil religion that combines patriotism and power. Nationalistic, military power is not the power of the cross, and such misconstrued notions of divine power have nothing to do with the majesty or holiness of the triune God known in the weakness of the cross. In our time, any “holiness” that fails to see the radical, counter-imperial claims of the gospel is inadequate at best. Adherence to a God of holiness certainly requires the kind of personal holiness that many associate with sexual purity That is one dimension of theosis. But participation in a cruciform God of holiness also requires a corollary vision of life in the world that rejects domination in personal, public, or political life—a mode of being that is often considered realistic or “normal.” Kenotic divinity and a corollary kenotic community constitute “both the best possible commentary” on Paul and a “frontal assault” on “normalcy.” [Crossan & Reed, In Search of Paul, p. 296]—Inhabiting the Cruciform God, p. 128

<idle musing>
All I can say is, "Amen! Good preaching!"
</idle musing>

Translation for transformation

Lawson Stone is still talking about translation theory. If you haven't been following this series, you should. He really hits the translation nail on the head today:

So we finally arrive at the question…which translation is best. The answer is essentially this: the one that most effectively does to the receiving reader what the original did for its reader. Notice this is not about word-for-word or thought-for-thought. It’s about impact. A translation should offer an equivalence of experience. Any equivalences about words or constructions must be subservient to this.

<idle musing>
I have never heard it put that way before, but that is exactly what translators are aiming for—or at least, should be.

By the way, I love this little line: "the old 1901 American Standard Version…about which I always say it is the most literal translation there, but is not yet available in English!" I have to agree. I tried the ASV for a while in college, before I learned Greek. I might as well have been reading Greek!
</idle musing>

Monday, March 08, 2010

Weekend doings

This last weekend, Debbie and I went to Wisconsin (Monroe) to help her sister move. I had a grand time moving boxes, replacing ceiling light fixtures, caulking tubs and countertops, adjusting weatherstripping on doors, stuff like that. It was nice to have tasks where you could get closure in less than an hour. It made me feel like I was getting something accomplished. Sometimes at work where you have 6 month projects you wonder if you are making progress; here it was easy. If the light worked, you were done...

By the way, that leads me to ask, why is it that people don't understand the adjustable thresholds? This place has three doors that have adjustable thresholds—the kind with the screws on them where you can raise or lower the clearance. All three were messed up. One was so tight on the hinge end that you could barely open or close the door, but on the latch end it had a 1/4" of light showing through! It's easy to look like a hero when the door opens easily and the cold stops blowing in :)

Debbie is staying with her sister this week to help her move in some more. It will be a lonely week, but I have plenty of projects to keep me occupied. The problem is, with her gone, I don't feel like doing them...happens every time. You have this list of jobs and you think you'll blast through them, but you just don't feel like doing anything...I definitely appreciate my wife!

Theosis in Paul

We may now, by way of summary, offer a definition of theosis as it applies to Paul:

Theosis is transformative participation in the kenotic, cruciform character and life of God through Spirit-enabled conformity to the incarnate, crucified, and resurrected/glorified Christ, who is the image of God.

This is not something different from justification, it is, as we have said, the actualization or embodiment of justification by faith because it is life by participation, co-resurrection by co-crucifixion. It is a life characterized by Godlike faithfulness and love; it is the life of the justified.—Inhabiting the Cruciform God, p. 125

<idle musing>
I would say, "It should be the life of the justified." Sadly, many don't realize their birthright...
</idle musing>

Thursday, March 04, 2010

Impartational Trinitarian Theology

Say that 3 times real fast :) But, that is exactly what Gorman is saying here:

God calls people to a countercultural, communal, participatory experience of the Son (1Cor 1:9) that is brought to fruition by the Spirit (Phil 2:1). Human holiness is participation in divine holiness. Holiness is, therefore, both the property and the activity of the Father, the Son, and the Spirit. God not only sets people apart, but also conveys to humans the very character of God. Thus human holiness is not merely a human imperative; it is a divine product, or “fruit” (Gal 5:22).—Inhabiting the Cruciform God, p. 112

<idle musing>
I have always held to an impartational holiness; it is nice to see it defended on the basis of trinitarian theology.
<idle musing>

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Countercultural life

This countercultural, cruciform (holy) love pays special attention to the weaker members of the community ([I Cor] 11:17-34; 12:14-26) and special honor to apostles who exhibit Christlike power-in-weakness (4:1-13), and it has a counterintuitive commitment to absorbing injustice rather than inflicting it (6:1-11). Such cruciform holiness stands in marked contrast to the dominant Roman cultural values of promoting the self by seeking honor and of honoring the powerful. Paul's primary goal is to turn a charismatic community into a cruciform and therefore truly holy community, one in which all believers are in proper relationship to one another and to God the Father, Christ the Lord, and the Holy Spirit—the triune God at work among them. This is not a call to something new and different from Paul's earlier message or the Corinthians' experience, but rather a summons to embody the washing, justification, and sanctification (1 Cor 6:11) that God's grace has already inaugurated. That is to say, holiness, or sanctification, is not an addition to justification but its actualization.—Inhabiting the Cruciform God, pp. 110-111

<idle musing>
He might have added it is still countercultural and radical—and impossible without God.
</idle musing>

Monday, March 01, 2010

Our response required

...justification by faith apart from works means justification by grace-enabled participatory response rather than by privilege (passive) strued as asset, or even trust. Justification by faith means that God justifies those who respond appropriately to, rather than ignore or try to elicit, God's favor (grace), whether Jew or Gentile. In the end, it is perhaps best to say that justification is by means of God's faithfulness expressed in love, to which humans, move and enabled by God's Spirit, respond in faithfulness that expresses itself in love—that is, in co-crucifixion. What matters for Paul is faith “made effective through” (NRSV margin) or “expressing itself through” (NIV) love (Gal 5:6), which corresponds to the cross of faith and love by which believers live (Gal 2:20). Once again, there can be no separation of faith from love, of faith from action.Inhabiting the Cruciform God, p. 81

<idle musing>
We respond only because he enables us, but we must respond!
</idle musing>

Weekend doings

I waxed the cheese on Friday. It is looking more and more like a longhorn of colby, but it still needs to age for 3 weeks. I'm getting a bit anxious to try it :)

I read last spring in Mother Earth News that you can core tomatoes and then freeze them until you have time to make tomato sauce. Well, I froze about 10 pounds of them last summer—nice looking, bright red romas. They have been waiting patiently all winter for me to get to them. About a month or so ago, I came across a good tomato sauce recipe and tried 3 pounds of them with it. It was excellent, but needed a bit of modification. Sunday was the day for it.

I cooked up the remaining 7 pounds or so and canned them. It made a dozen 12 ounce jelly jars worth. We use about 10 ounces of tomato sauce on our pizza, which is too much for a half-pint, but we would have some left over with a pint jar. The 12 ounce jelly jar is about perfect, after you allow for headspace. It was fun pulling the jars out of the water and hearing them pop as they sealed. The level of water on the lid of each jar made each of them give off a different note as they sealed. I couldn't believe how fast they sealed; all of them were sealed in about 45 seconds, not the normal 5-10 minutes that you get in the summer.

From that same cookbook, I made something called Snow Pudding yesterday. It is supposed to look totally white, but when you only have unrefined sugar, that is pretty difficult :) Debbie didn't think it would be very good, but I thought it might be, so I made it. Basically, it is just lemon gelatin with egg white folded in served with a light vanilla custard over the top. It turned out very well. I think I'll make it again, but add more lemon juice next time.

I was hoping to get the compost bin built, but the weather didn't cooperate with me. Maybe later...