Tuesday, November 30, 2010


I went to the doctor today and got the huge bandage removed. He liked what he saw, told me I could get it wet–just not soak it–then he put a bandage on it. Cool! Now I don't feel like I have a finger that is a foot long :) But, it is still difficult to type; the bandage (and the large scab) prevent it. So, rather than typing a long passage, I will content myself—and hopefully you—with two links for your enjoyment:

A nice summary of the ETS sessions with NT Wright. Note especially the last paragraph:

Church and parachurch groups that make sweeping prohibitions against their members imbibing anything of the new perspective at best simply don’t understand it and at worst are quenching the Spirit’s work in their midst. In fact, the more likely danger for most evangelicals, especially those who most severely criticize the new perspective, is that they will miss the necessary applications of Paul’s warnings to their own proclivities to draw theological boundaries too narrowly between insiders and outsiders, to overly elevate their cultures, nationalities, and tribalisms to a place for inappropriate boasting, and to invoke mandates as to what people must do or believe to be insiders far beyond anything demonstrably biblical, and thus unwittingly mirror precisely a majority of first-century Palestinian Jews (and so-called Jewish Christians), whose views Paul in turn anathematizes!

<idle musing>
Ironic, isn't it?
</idle musing>

And, Roger Olson is doing a good job of articulating classic Arminianism. May his tribe increase! Read the whole thing; I can't really excerpt from it without losing the flow of thought necessary. In the words of Augustine Tolle! Lege! "Pick it up! Read it!"

Monday, November 29, 2010

Thoughts on a Monday after SBL

I didn't have Internet access from Tuesday AM until Wednesday PM, and then I didn't have my computer until this morning, so no updates on the book I'm reading now. With my finger still in a huge bandage, typing is slow. Hopefully I can post again tomorrow from it.

Other thoughts: Driving 1300 miles round trip for SBL saved us substantial money in drayage charges, but it left me quite tired. Traveling in a big truck with books bounces one around a good bit and the noise level leaves one a bit deaf. Just so you get an idea, the fees we pay for shipping books to and from conferences are significant. But, the frustrating part is that the charge for shipping them is usually significantly less than the fee we pay to have them transported to the hotel; that fee is called drayage and is a monopoly. In right-to-work states, you can bring your own stuff in, which is what I did this year in Atlanta.

I had many good conversations at SBL. It is always nice to put a face to names and renew acquaintances. I was especially encouraged by the number of younger scholars who purchased from us and complimented us on the quality of our books.

I didn't take any pictures of tear-down; I was too busy tearing down so I could get the truck loaded and get on the road. I had a 7.5 hour drive ahead of me. The drive was very pretty; I have always enjoyed driving through Tennessee and Kentucky. I took I-75 on the way home, stopping in Cleveland, TN to pick up some books.

I arrived back in Warsaw on Wednesday around noon, unloaded the truck, returned it, and checked e-mail briefly. After that I rode my bike home in freezing rain; quite different from the 72º F weather I had just left!

Thursday morning, I headed back to Louisville, where I had left Debbie while I was at SBL. She stayed with her aunt and cousin; I joined them for the weekend. Nothing like another 500 miles of driving on top of the 1300 I had just done. We had a grand time with them and arrived home late last night.

Monday, November 22, 2010

On with the show

“By nature I am a type-A, get-it-done, make-something-happen person. But through the years I have found that if we want to see things in a different light, we must first of all slow down and reflect, talk with one another, and listen to God and others about what needs to change. We are not simply talking about surface-level change that can be done by adopting a few how-to tactics. We are talking about changing how we we do life and begin to play new music This only happens as people talk about that which lies bneath the surface.”—Missional Small Groups, page 65

<idle musing>
Me too; I have learned to slowdown and let God speak and direct. This is in large part due to Debbie's influence on me; I am so thankful for the 32 years that we have been married now. God knew what he was doing when he gave me to her.
</idle musing>

Sunday, November 21, 2010

SBL day 2

Wow! Today flew by! The first half-hour was totally dead; I had flashbacks to the 2008 AAR conference in Chicago where you could have done cartwheels in the aisles. But, thankfully, it got busy shortly thereafter and the next thing I knew, it was 1:00 in the afternoon. I had just spend 4 hours talking to countless people, directing them to other vendor's booths for stuff we didn't have that they were looking for, helping people find the right book, etc. It was a blast. I also had a good time talking to all kinds of people; please don't get offended that I don't mention you by name. There are just so many people.

This afternoon, Hendrickson Publishing did a special presentation to the people involved in the production of the Codex Sinaiticus project. Very nice. The book itself is beautiful; it is definitely worth the $500 they are selling it for at the conference.

This evening, I finally managed to get to a bibliobloggers dinner. I met lots of people for the first time ever, got to put names to faces on others, and renewed acquaintance with others. I thoroughly enjoyed the conversation—and the food was pretty good too :) I had a Reuben, and you know they know how to make a Reuben when they ask if you want pastrami instead of corn beef! Chris Tilling was aghast that I would eat sauerkraut, cheese, and meat in a swirled bread, but you know those Brits and good food. He told me that English food was underrated; I'm not convinced :)

I was late getting to the bibliobloggers' affair because I ran into Joseph Kelly and John Anderson (a soon-to-be Eisenauthor) outside the book exhibit. We talked for a good while and suddenly realized we were late to the dinner. I guess in a way we were already there :)

Enough for today. I need to read some and I have a 7:00 breakfast engagement tomorrow with Bobby from Hendrickson. We always have good time together, so I am looking forward to it. I'll do a workout first, of course. Oh, that reminds me, I haven't told you about the workout facilities here, have I? Well, they are adequate; they have two treadmills, an elliptical, and a stationary bike, but it is in a tiny room. The bike is a Life Fitness—a good enough piece of equipment. But, the software has the intervals divided into 10 seconds; that is too short. The interval is too short to get a good workout; it should be at least 30 seconds. My average heart rate working out was about 25-30 BPM less that normal.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

SBL set-up

OK, I'm a day late posting this; I should have done it last night. But, I was having too many good discussions after the IBR lecture last night and didn't get in until late.

Now that the excuses are out of the way, here's the traditional pictures of set-up. We did things a bit differently this year. I drove a U-Haul™ with all our stuff this year. No, I wasn't trying to avoid the airport security!

Here's the back of the truck. No, the soda isn't mine!

About this time, we feel like it will never get done.

But, we do

We're trying something new this year. How's your Luwian?

Friday, November 19, 2010

Insder trading

“Being missional is about who we are, not just what we do. Therefore, missional life is not simply about the body of Christ having hands and feet so we do something for the world. Living missionally depends on how we relate to God and how we relate to one another as much as on how we relate to those outside the church.

“We can easily miss this point. Typically we divide up various aspects of church life into categories of what is done for insiders and what we do for outsiders. Therefore, insiders experience God's presence. Insiders practice love for one another. Then the insiders go and share a message or perform a service project for outsiders. Missional then is construed as what is done for outsiders.”—Missional Small Groups, page 63

<idle musing>
The good old dichotomy rears its ugly head again...
</idle musing>

Thought on the gods

I have been musing (and praying) a good bit the last few days about the "ilu mug we made. Here are two sections of scripture that came to mind:

Isiah 44:12 The ironsmith fashions it and works it over the coals, shaping it with hammers, and forging it with his strong arm; he becomes hungry and his strength fails, he drinks no water and is faint. 13 The carpenter stretches a line, marks it out with a stylus, fashions it with planes, and marks it with a compass; he makes it in human form, with human beauty, to be set up in a shrine. 14 He cuts down cedars or chooses a holm tree or an oak and lets it grow strong among the trees of the forest. He plants a cedar and the rain nourishes it. 15 Then it can be used as fuel. Part of it he takes and warms himself; he kindles a fire and bakes bread. Then he makes a god and worships it, makes it a carved image and bows down before it. 16 Half of it he burns in the fire; over this half he roasts meat, eats it and is satisfied. He also warms himself and says, “Ah, I am warm, I can feel the fire!” 17 The rest of it he makes into a god, his idol, bows down to it and worships it; he prays to it and says, “Save me, for you are my god!”
Is. 44:18   They do not know, nor do they comprehend; for their eyes are shut, so that they cannot see, and their minds as well, so that they cannot understand. 19 No one considers, nor is there knowledge or discernment to say, “Half of it I burned in the fire; I also baked bread on its coals, I roasted meat and have eaten. Now shall I make the rest of it an abomination? Shall I fall down before a block of wood?” 20 He feeds on ashes; a deluded mind has led him astray, and he cannot save himself or say, “Is not this thing in my right hand a fraud?—Isaiah 44:12-20 NRSV


Hab. 2:18    What use is an idol
once its maker has shaped it—
a cast image, a teacher of lies?
For its maker trusts in what has been made,
though the product is only an idol that cannot speak!
19 Alas for you who say to the wood, “Wake up!”
to silent stone, “Rouse yourself!”
Can it teach?
See, it is gold and silver plated,
and there is no breath in it at all.
Hab. 2:20    But the LORD is in his holy temple;
let all the earth keep silence before him!—Habakkuk 2:18-20 NRSV

<idle musing>
Isaiah and Habakkuk are having fun here, but are very serious at the same time. Socrates, the Greek philosopher, used to say that the gods corrupted the morals of the Greeks—he earned the death penalty for that one...

But, think about the scene in the mug. 'Ilu, the head god, gets drop-dead drunk; Yariḥu, the moon god, is so drunk he acts like a dog! These scenes seem to beg for mockery. But, instead, they set the stage for a hang-over cure! No wonder Isaiah says they are blind!

Before we wax eloquent about how much better we are, let's stop and think for a minute. It seems pretty obvious to me, and you can disagree if you wish, that the main god in the US is money. Right now, we need more of it to keep the economy running. So, the economic wizards are working their magic, trying to restart everything. And what are they doing? More of the same things that got us in this mess to begin with! (I know that is a simplification, but the simile works).

We still have our spells; we still have our wizards. But, the creator still reigns and calls us to faithfulness to him.
</idle musing>

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Watch the tense

“I find it interesting that Jesus told his disciples, 'You are salt,...light...a city on a hill.' He did not say, 'You should be...,' 'You would be if...,' or 'You could be if...' He declared who they were and equipped them to live in a way that fit this declaration. He does the same for us today. God has put his Spirit within us and given us a new nature. He invites us to learn his ways and discover what it means to live in a way that lines up with whom he made us to be.”—Missional Small Groups, pages 45-46

<idle musing>
If only we grasped that more often. We are so many things in Christ, and we keep on striving to arrive at what we already are. The irony.
</idle musing>

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Medical update

Well, it has been 10 days since the lawnmower ate part of my fingers. Yesterday, I went to the doctor to have the bandage changed. I was warned to take a few Ibuprofen™ and a Vicodin™ before arriving. They were going to remove the stitches and push and prod it. Are you wincing just thinking about it?

Debbie drove me; I'm not good at driving under medication. Sure enough, they removed the stitches and poked and prodded the flesh. The doctor has my style of humor, so we get along. He used a highly technical medical term to describe how my finger looked: "juicy." The Physician's Assistant used an equally technical term: "soupy." But, they were pleased with what they saw.

The doctor explained that lawnmower cuts are especially susceptible to infection because of the high velocity blade pushing junk into the cut, so he prescribed more anti-biotics. Then they rebandaged the finger. It still looks huge, but at least I can move it now. The previous bandage had so much dried blood on it that it felt like a cast.

That's the update. So, if you see me at SBL, the first thing you will probably notice is this huge white bandage on my right hand. At least I can ride my bike again and take a shower solo. But I still can't type or knead bread :(

How we do church

Guy Muse has a two part post on getting from Mega Church to Meta Church. Here's a few that jumped out at me:

6.Replace professional music with believers speaking to each other in psalms and spiritual songs, making melody in their hearts to the Lord. OT worship required the sacrifice of four-footed beasts, the NT celebrates by offering two legged Gentiles as a living sacrifice. The meta church is a discipling hub and not a singing club. Eph 5:19; Col 3:16; Rom. 15:16

7.Shift from spectator-oriented church to ‘metastasizing’ interactive, participatory, prophetic church. Empower men, women and youth, to get the dragon off the driver’s seat. We, the seed of Abraham are blessed, “with multiplying I will multiply you and your seed will possess the gates of the enemy”. 1 Cor.14:26-31; Acts 13:13;18:4; Gen. 22:17,18

13. Resurrect from being a dead organization to a living organism. Eliminate all extra-biblical cosmetic titles like Director, Chairman, CEO, and Secretary, by appointing five-fold ministry-gifted Elders, like apostles, prophets, evangelists, shepherds and teachers, as equippers. By feeding, leading and keeping the flock healthy and reproductive, they must reach those who are outside the fold. Eph. 4:11; Tit.1:5-9; John 10:16

18.Reorient your own personal paradigm. Your business, workplace or home, wherever you spend most of your time, is your ‘primary nuclear church’. It matters little whether you are the CEO, or the janitor or the kitchen queen, you are a full-time minister there and accountable. Adam and Eve were accountable for the Garden of Eden and failed.

<idle musing>
They are all worth reading. By the way, the person who formulated them isn't just some theoretician. Look at his credentials:

Victor Choudhrie is a cancer surgeon by profession. He is a Senior Fellow of the American and British Colleges of Surgeons. He left his position as Director and CEO of the Christian Medical college, Ludhiana, Punjab, India, in 1992, to take up a full-time Church planting ministry in central India. His wife, Bindu, is also in a full-time church planting ministry, equipping women to be house-church leaders and trainers. They now have disciples making disciples in some forty countries. Theirs is presently amongst the fastest growing movements deploying volunteers with no paid workers in the field. God has blessed this ministry abundantly. In the year from Pentecost 2009 to Pentecost 2010, over one million underwent a ‘holy dip’ through their ministry partners. Large numbers of grassroots level leaders have been trained, who, subsequently, have planted tens of thousands of house churches across India and abroad.

When he speaks, we should listen, don't you think?
</idle musing>

There must be more

“Most people live according to the rhythms that have been shaped by the broader culture. Even in our churches this is the case, although most of us don't want to think that we live like those who don't know Jesus. But the reality is that churched people work just as many hours per week, watch just as much television, spend their money in similar ways, and have just as many family struggles as the unchurched.

“...If we don't live in a way that is distinctive from our culture, then why not? If we are going to be satisfied with living our lives like the rest of the world and adding a weekly sermon and a small group Bible study on top, then what exactly are we up to in the church? Isn't there more?”—Missional Small Groups, page 45

<idle musing>
Amen! Good preaching! That's what I've been arguing on this blog for 5 years now; there is more to Christianity than most realize. Let's see what he offers in the days ahead.
</idle musing>

Tuesday, November 16, 2010


Jim Martin, at A Place for the God-Hungry has a guest post exploring the issue of “troubles”:

In the West the philosophical and religious responses to trouble or adversity vary widely along a continuum from trouble as punishment to trouble as completely absurd. Even going so far as to deny the very existence of trouble as something real (it’s just a figment of human imagination) is one proposed answer to the issue. I tend to place this approach into the irresponsible or even irrational column even though a great deal of humanity takes this view in professing some form of Buddhist, Taoist or Hindu faith. And millions spend their lives at least giving lip service to denying or trying to deny this simple, common sense observation that—to be human is to be pressed by troubles.

We ignore troubles to our own peril. We redefine them supposedly out of existence, again to our own peril. We drown them with chemicals to our own peril. We defy them as absurd with existential hubris to our own peril. In this world you will have trouble, Jesus said. No denial or defiance here. His answer was simple: Take heart for I have overcome the world.

<idle musing>
So simple. We will have trouble, but Jesus says he has already overcome it. We participate by faith; how absurd in the world's eyes. Typical of God, isn't it? He takes the despised things and makes them his.

I have always like the line in the Lord of the Rings (the books!) where Gandalf says something like, “Who of the wise would have foreseen it? Or, if they are truly wise would have expected to.” But, human hubris knows no bounds; the Not invented here (NIH) syndrome blinds us and makes us dumb.
</idle musing>

New book I'm reading

I started a new book over the weekend: Missional Small Groups published by Baker (thanks, Steve!). I'm going to try to post excerpts, but not sure how consistent I will be for the next two weeks; I leave for SBL tomorrow...

Meanwhile, enjoy today's snippet:

“I have encountered too many groups who want to perform some kind of missional act for God and impact the world, but they don't see the need to embody the kind of love that will actually impact the world. Being relational and being missional are intricately connected. We cannot divide the two. The church has nothing to offer the world if it does not embody the message of Good News that it aims to share.”—M. Scott Boren, Missional Small Groups, page 35

<idle musing>
So like us, isn't it? We put the cart before the horse. We confuse the end with the method.
</idle musing>

Ethics? What are they?

Students cheating has become fairly common. There are programs that sniff out plagiarism in papers. But, what about the paid professional who writes papers for a living?

There is a long article in today's Chronicle of Higher Education by a paid ghost writer. It is very disheartening, but this paragraph especially so:

I do a lot of work for seminary students. I like seminary students. They seem so blissfully unaware of the inherent contradiction in paying somebody to help them cheat in courses that are largely about walking in the light of God and providing an ethical model for others to follow. I have been commissioned to write many a passionate condemnation of America's moral decay as exemplified by abortion, gay marriage, or the teaching of evolution. All in all, we may presume that clerical authorities see these as a greater threat than the plagiarism committed by the future frocked.

<idle musing>
Ethics! Who needs them, right? Come on people! It is because of this hypocrisy and inconsistency that Christianity is being scorned. What did Paul say in Romans? Oh, yeah, "On account of you my name is blasphemed among the Gentiles." As Nathan told David, "You are the man!" You can't claim to serve a holy God and not live a holy life.
</idle musing>

Monday, November 15, 2010

Give and take

Roger Olson is pushing back, and I think he's right. He is asked for biblical passages to defend his stand and his response is, well, scriptural:

To those who ask where the Bible commands us to “take” rather than “give,” I ask: Where does the Bible command us to do many of the things we do routinely (and claim are “biblical”)? Where does the Bible command us to create denominations? Where does the Bible command us to protest at abortion clinics? Where does the Bible command us to promote constitutional amendments banning gay marriage? Where does the Bible even mention ordination of ministers? Where does the Bible….? The list could go on forever. It’s a specious argument from silence and fallacious insofar as we Christians all do and support things that are not specifically commanded in Scripture.

For better or worse, he is on the money. But, as long as it agrees with our preconceptions, we don't object, do we? He goes on to explain what the real issue is:

The real question is about justice. Scripture clearly commands God’s people to show compassion for the poor. Now that many of God’s people have political power insofar as they do not use it to show compassion for the poor they are disobeying God...

...redistribution of wealth does not have to mean taking money from some people and simply handing it unconditionally to others. It can (and should) mean taking money from the wealthy to create social systems that create real equal opportunity and that meet basic human needs for everyone. The best redistribution of wealth is job creation.

<idle musing>
Amen! Good preaching! May his tribe increase.
</idle musing>

Serving and being served

Over the course of the last week I have been served many times. It is simply amazing to me how much not being able to use one finger on a hand changes your abilities. I'm thankful for the opposable thumb, but this week, I am even more thankful for fingers! Things that I normally would do without thinking have become a major undertaking, or even impossible in some cases. Typing, for example, is not easy. I took for granted my typing abilities. Not anymore! I've never seen so many typos in my stuff. And, even worse, it takes three times as long.

The timing wasn't what I would have chosen, either. We had two books come in this week. I had to make room in the warehouse for them and then help unload the truck. Normally, I wouldn't have a problem moving boxes around; after all, I've worked in warehouses most of my adult life. But, now I have to be careful or I will be almost screaming in pain. One misjudgment in placing the box results in a few minutes of pain—I don't like medications, so I take the minimum I can bear.

Additionally, it is the week before SBL. Anybody who has worked for a publisher that exhibits there can tell you what I mean. No matter how carefully you plan, there are always last minute things. This year seems worse than most for some reason. I've been behind on getting things done, which has put others in a bad spot.

I didn't get the order forms done on time for various reasons. That resulted in a special plea to the printer. He said he would do what he could, but no guarantees. I received a call Saturday morning from him; he was working on them on his day off and had a short question! I was truly humbled; he took his day off to serve me—and it was my fault that we were late! Later on Saturday, in the early evening, I received a call from Andy. I had screwed up on one of the poster layouts and he was redoing it. On Saturday evening!

As I think of these things, I am truly amazed at how much I take for granted in my daily life. I haven't even mentioned how much more Debbie has had to do this week. I can't even take a shower without her help; I can't help with the dishes, or the laundry, or...the list goes on. Talk about humbling...

I am truly grateful for all the people who have served me. I thank God for them; may I never forget how blessed I am.

One final thought: please, don't count the number of typos you found in this post! I used to dislike the squiggly lines in word processors under words it didn't recognize—not this week!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Root beer floats

We got the new mugs in yesterday and to celebrate, the business bought the makings for root beer floats (thanks, Dave!). Here's some pictures for your enjoyment:

Dave, washing the mugs:

The waiting crowd:

One scoop or two?

Satisfied customers

Thursday, November 11, 2010

New Journal

Eisenbrauns is delighted to announce a new journal. Yes, another journal—but this one is affordable! Here's the blurb on our web page:

Introducing the Journal for the Study of Paul and His Letters

The Apostle Paul stands as an incredibly important figure within the religious and intellectual history of Christianity and Judaism in the first century. The study of Paul (the historical person, author, tradition, and legend) and the Pauline letters (content, context, authenticity, theology, and reception) continue to capture the fascination of scholars, students, religious communities, and even the media. A number of journals geared toward New Testament studies in general often contain a disproportionate number of articles dedicated to the study of the Pauline corpus. There is a never-ending avalanche of Ph.D. theses written about Paul and about the countless approaches and methods used to analyze the Pauline materials. Indeed, the study of Paul and the Pauline letters appears to be an almost inexhaustible field of investigation. Therefore, we think it time that Pauline research should have its own dedicated journal as a specific conduit for Pauline research as it is broadly practiced. In light of these considerations, it is my pleasure to present to you the Journal for the Study of Paul and His Letters (JSPL).

The JSPL will present cutting-edge research for scholars, teachers, postgraduate students, and advanced undergraduates related specifically to study of the Apostle Paul and cognate areas. It is proposed that the many and diverse aspects of Pauline studies be represented and promoted by the journal (see below, "Contribute"). The purpose of the journal is to advance discussion on these areas of Pauline research. As such we invite submissions on the above mentioned topics that make a significant and original contribution to the field of Pauline studies.

The inaugural issue of JSPL includes a contribution by one of its editorial board members, Dr. Susan Eastman of Duke Divinity School (USA) on “Philippians 2:6–11: Incarnation as Mimetic Participation.” Delving into the Christ-Hymn, Eastman argues for a close link between imitation and participation in Paul’s explication of his gospel to the Philippian audience. The first regular issue of JSPL will include studies such as Paul Foster, “Eschatology in the Thessalonian Correspondence”; Michael Gorman, “Justification and Justice”; Richard Bell, “Paul’s Theology of Mind”; and a review of Douglas A. Campbell’s The Deliverance of God by Christopher Tilling and Michael Gorman, with a further response from Douglas Campbell.

You can get a sample issue here

Wednesday, November 10, 2010


Since I can't type, I'll quote :)

Here's an interesting note from Jesus Creed:

C.E.O.’s of the largest American companies earned an average of 42 times as much as the average worker in 1980, but 531 times as much in 2001. Perhaps the most astounding statistic is this: From 1980 to 2005, more than four-fifths of the total increase in American incomes went to the richest 1 percent.

Along that same note, Roger Olson pushes back against some who claim that God never intended the redistribution of wealth:

I believe Old Testament regulations about land and wealth are not binding on Christians, but I also believe they reveal something about the will of God for his people and everyone.

The “Year of Jubilee” may never have been practiced by ancient Israel, but that God commanded it reveals that God is not IN PRINCIPLE against redistribution of wealth. In fact, if may reveal that God is IN PRINCIPLE for it. Was the Year of Jubilee intended to be voluntary–a matter of charity? I doubt that. Every 50 years debts were to be forgiven and land returned to the family that originally owned it. That certainly amounts to redistribution of wealth–taking from the rich and giving to the poor has to be the intended goal of that law. Surely it cannot be legitimately interpreted as God’s command “If you want to do it.” That’s nonsense. It was meant to be enforced.

On a somewhat different note, Andy LePeau has some thoughts on the common good:

Seeking the common good takes our agenda outside the realm of politics. Our goal is not to “win.” Rather we acknowledge that we are part of a world and culture that is greater than us, and we seek what will benefit all—even sacrificing for the sake of others.

Seeking the common good suppresses but doesn’t entirely eliminate the tendencies of elitism toward exclusion, pride and deception.

Seeking the common good means taking the long view and not being caught up in short-term gains. It means seeking the good of institutions over generations as well as of individuals.

<idle musing>
Please, go read the full article on all 3 of them; it will do your mind good :)

OK. Did you read them? What do you think?
</idle musing>

Tuesday, November 09, 2010


I wanted to put up some selections from some books I've been reading this week, but my typing is painfully slow. Basically, my right hand has one functioning finger for typing, and I am hitting more than one key at a time because of the bandage; there are far more "m"s and ","s than necessary :( Hopefully I'll get better at one finger typing and put something up aoon.

Meanwhile, check out Eisenbrauns new 10-day sale here

Monday, November 08, 2010

Green house musings

Last weekend, I modified the green house (actually hoop house). I got sick of the wind knocking it down, so I did a number of things.

First, I created a real door:

Second, I created a real venting window:

I created them with 2 x 2 lumber and drywall screws. The plastic is held in place with firring strips. It definitely adds to the stability :)

Third, I ordered reinforcing clamps from Creative Shelters. I haven't actually installed them yet. I was going to do that yesterday, but...well one hand isn't working so well right now...

If you want to make a hoop house, do it right from the start. I've been trying to do it on the cheap and it keeps costing me more than if I had done it right from the first. It still is very reasonable, but if you do it, make ends like I have here, buy the fabric clamps from here. Be sure to glue the PVC and tie down the corners with machine screws. You'll thank me in the end...

Don't try this at home

I ran an unintentional experiment this weekend. When human flesh meets steel, steel wins. I have two broken fingers and a missing fingernail to prove it. I actually came out on the good side; it could have been much worse.

Now, roll your eyes at my stupidity. OK? As I've mentioned, we have a new lawn tractor. Well, the leaf vacuum attaches differently on it, right on top of the blades, not on the outside. Yep, you see it coming, don't you? Some pine needles had plugged the vacuum; on the Cub Cadet, that was easy to fix, since the input was well away from the blades...not so here. I lost a fingernail and broke two fingers; for my stupidity I should have lost more, but for whatever reason, God saw fit to spare me of more.

I have a huge bandage on my right hand, middle finger; it makes typing a bit difficult :(

I should create a new category: Stupid mistakes

Friday, November 05, 2010

Something to think about over the weekend

Before I left town on Monday, I received an e-mail from Smyth & Helwys, a Baptist publisher. They were promoting their book of the month, Stand with Christ. I usually find their selected books to be thought provoking, and this was no exception. Here are a couple of excerpts from the featured chapter, but do read the whole thing.

As a child at Vacation Bible School, I pledged allegiance to the American flag, the Christian flag, and the Bible—in that order. From an early age I was taught to cherish each of those, and I still love and respect what each of them represents. As I grew older, however, I learned to make distinctions and weigh values and the ordering of my allegiances shifted.

Today, my allegiance to Christ always comes first.

When I was a teenager growing up in an independent, fundamentalist Baptist church, we often sang a chorus I first learned as a child in VBS: “The B-I-B-L-E, Yes, that’s the book for me, I’ll stand alone on the word of God, the B-I-B-L-E.” More often than that, I heard preachers pound on the pulpit and lift their Bibles high and forcefully thunder out rhetoric such as: “All we know about Jesus is in this book. If the Bible is not infallible and inerrant, then nobody, nobody, nobody can tell us how to get to God for sure.”1 At that time, it seemed clear to me that if you did not believe the Bible, you could not be saved. The Bible’s inerrancy served to “guarantee” that the Christian faith was true. Without it you could not be sure of your salvation. In essence, you had to pledge allegiance to the Bible before you could pledge allegiance to Christ. As I grew older and my faith and my thinking matured, however, the ordering of my allegiances shifted.

Today, my allegiance to Christ always comes first.

And, a bit further on

The developing sophistication of idolatry did not end in biblical times. Throughout the history of the church it has continued, in varying forms, to the present day. Its most recent modern form is the elevation of the Bible over Jesus.

Like the Ark of the Covenant, the Temple, and the Law, the role of the Bible in the drama of divine redemption is vital. But reverence for the Bible and its authority must never divert attention from the central and preeminent place Christ holds in the drama of redemption and revelation. There is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus (1 Tim 2:5). Jesus alone is the ground and foundation for our faith.

<idle musing>
Amen! This chapter sums up much of my problem with inerrancy and Bible worship. The elevation of the biblical text above Christ might not be intentional—and I suspect it isn't!—but God will allow nothing to come before Him—not even the Bible.
</idle musing>

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Thought for today

"When the church recognizes that God never intended for the spiritual leader to be all things to all people and when the spiritual leaders become secure enough in their gift that they are not threatened by others who can supplement their ministry and succeed in areas where they are weak, then the church will once again grow strong and healthy."—Jamie Buckingham

An important vote

Quick! Go vote for your favorite ANE mug! Chip Hardy has a poll going on right now. He is comparing our way cool 'Ilu Mug with the Oriental Institute's Writing Exhibit mug.

I admit, theirs is nice, but ours is better :)

Vote early, vote often, but only for the 'Ilu mug!

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Thought for the day

"I am not a healer, although I have seen people healed. I am not a miracle worker. But I have seen miracles. Many of them. But it no longer bothers me when I pray for someone to be healed, and they are not. The older I grow, the less I know. But I love Him. And I am available. The results—and the glory—belong to Him.

"All God requires is that I become a seed that falls into the ground and dies."—Jamie Buckingham

This week

This week finds me in Santa Fe NM attending a conference. I will be here until Thursday morning. Yesterday was consumed with traveling—always a fun thing... Anyway, we left yesterday afternoon at 1:30 EDT and arrived here at about 10 MDT. The only exciting thing was that there wasn't any exciting thing :)

The altitude here is 7,000 feet, but I was surprised that I didn't notice it much. As some of you know, I judge a hotel by the workout facilities. This one has Precor stuff, which is good stuff; there are 2 treadmills, 2 ellipticals, and a stationary bike. Unfortunately, it is an upright, but it worked fine. I did notice the altitude on the more strenuous parts of the workout, and the heart rate monitor went nuts (as usual).

Hopefully I will be able to play the tourist a bit today. I brought the camera, so maybe I will be able to post some pictures.