Friday, March 30, 2012

Thursday, March 29, 2012

The early Christians as radicals

Very interesting post yesterday by Peter Leithart about the radical pro-woman stance of the early church, quoting from a book I never heard of that looks interesting (see his post for details!):

Christians were forbidden to have abortions or to expose infants. Further, Christian women tended to marry later than pagan women and Christian men were expected to have sex with their wives, and only with their wives: “Christians discouraged marriage below a certain age and banned consummation of a marriage between a man and a child bride, such that the average age of marriage for Christian women became twenty, whereas for pagan women it was twelve. One must add that the rate of reproduction among pagans was very low: men favoured birth control (including anal and, less commonly, oral sex), indulged in homosexual sex, took concubines and patronized both male and female prostitutes, who in turn favoured various methods of birth control and abortion when necessary. All of these practices were forbidden to Christians, as most were to Jews. Roman men who converted to Christianity were obliged to have vaginal intercourse with their wives, and if pregnancy resulted, were obliged to have a child and raise it, regardless of sex.” The church provided protection for women whose husbands attempted to force them to violate these standards: “A Christian woman would have a community to support any resistance she offered to the directives of a pagan husband to do otherwise.”

<idle musing>
Read the whole post for a good overview of what was "normal" in the ancient world...
</idle musing>

Tomb? What tomb?

“Looking at the end of Moses’ life, a person encounters a formidable hero, a prophet, the only one God 'knew face to face,' enabling him to show 'terror . . . in the sight of all Israel.' However, the higher the praises are, the higher is the awe, and the more religiously significant is the danger of possible idolatry. Against the background of popular worship of a golden calf, it is only natural to expect even more egregious worship of a 'golden tomb' marking Moses’ grave. The golden calf was eliminated after it had been created. The 'golden tomb' should be eliminated before it is created. Hence, naturally, from the related religious point of view, 'no man knoweth of [Moses’] sepulchre unto this day.'”—Jewish Bible Theology, page 60

<idle musing>
It's also interesting that Aaron died up on a mountain somewhere and there is no record of his tomb, either. Knowing humanity's natural penchant for worship, God was merciful to us by not allowing us to know where they are buried.
</idle musing>

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Signs of Spring

I took this picture this morning, before the sun had really risen, so it is a bit grainy. I love this redbud tree; you can see it from the kitchen window. We didn't know it was a redbud when we bought the property, so it was a pleasant surprise the first spring.

Passover and Moses

"...the extremely marginal role played by Moses in the text of the Passover Haggadah is best explained as a precautionary step. Because the traditional text has been shaped within the framework of deep tensions between Jews and Christians, the precautionary silence can be naturally explained by those tensions, as suspicion of any presentation of the relationship between God and Moses, 'his servant' (Exod 14:31), that is similar to Christian presentations of the relationship between God and Jesus, 'his son.' Be this as it may, it is clear that the silence of the Haggadah can be explained as an attempt to avoid any possibility of exaggerated admiration of Moses that could eventually confuse him with divinity.”—Jewish Bible Theology, page 60

<idle musing>
For those of you who might not know, the Haggadah is the traditional Passover celebration text—and Passover is coming soon, too. You can download Haggadot from the Internet pretty easily. There a even a few that have a Christian take on them. If you've never done a Seder, you should; it's rich in symbolism. But, I digress...

This concept of Moses being purposely shown to have feet of clay is fascinating.
</idle musing>

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

A worthy endeavor

Nick Norelli mentioned a worthy endeavor that their church has undertaken:


Business Hours
Monday - Saturday
10:00am - 6:00 pm 4308 US Highway 9
Howell, NJ 07731

The Harvest Thrift & Boutique offers new, like new & pre-owned items at discounted prices. We are constantly getting in new merchandise and our shelves are always stocked with unique treasures that make perfect gifts for yourself or someone you know.

<idle musing>
I like to see churches reaching out to the surrounding area. If you are in that area, give them a call and see how you can help.
</idle musing>

Moses and idolatry

“The absolute nature of the biblical opposition to idolatry should be stressed. The commandment I mentioned does not specify certain idols to avoid serving. Actually, it does not mention any single idol, though it could have mentioned well-known idols, those of the neighboring peoples and countries. It does not mention any idol in particular because it is interested in all forms of idolatry, whether extant or merely possible. It is not very difficult to create a new form of idolatry. “They invent idols every day,” says Midrash Mekilta of Rashbi (Exod 20:3, on “other gods”). The conclusion that one naturally draws from observations of this sort about idolatry is that everything on earth can under some circumstances become an idol. Moreover, the more admirable something is, the more natural, imminent, and significant is the danger that may be rendered an idol. A perfect person would be extremely admirable and thereby also naturally worshiped. Because the portrayal of Moses includes his superb qualities, the possibility exists of his being worshiped. Thus, on the one hand, the biblical portrayal of Moses risks Moses’ being served by the children of Israel and their descendants as an idol.

“Here is where the other elements of the image of Moses enter the picture. On the one hand, he is superb, but on the other hand, he is a human being of ordinary faults. If a person of superb qualities seems a natural candidate for idol worship, when his shortcomings are revealed, his candidacy for idol worship diminishes. The religious point of all the negative elements of the image of Moses, whether in the Bible or in midrash, is that, though Moses is an extraordinary human being, he should not be served as an idol, a false divinity. The mixed nature of the image of Moses, first in the Bible and then in midrashim, is justified.”—Asa Kasher, “Fighting Forms of Idolatry” in Jewish Bible Theology, pages 58-59

<idle musing>
I found this a fascinating insight. Show the feet of clay that all the glory goes to God. True humility; true devotion; truly rare!
</idle musing>

Monday, March 26, 2012

Final thought

A man of God is not what he preaches but what he lives; his message is no greater than what he is. God finds vile our fleshly appetites and desires. When we seek to please ourselves or others more than we seek to please God, we fall prey to the danger of divination, and even worse to become a false prophet. By removing or putting away this evil from before us God promises He will make us His mouthpiece. There is only one sure way of separating this evil, and it is by the fear of the Lord.”— Thus Saith the Lord?, page 182

<idle musing>
A very apt way to end the book, I would say...
</idle musing>

Friday, March 23, 2012

If he promised it, then what?

“Our culture is not trained to wait and let God work. We are inbred with, 'If we don't have it, find a way to get it.' So if we don't have money to buy it, charge it. If sickness strikes, why pray? Call the doctor—we have insurance. If we have been given a promise from God, go for it. Tell everyone. Proclaim it, and through a little manipulation and/or control we can get it. (Of course, we don't say the last part.) Then we claim God fulfilled His promise to us. But in reality we have just birthed another Ishmael.

“If God has promised He will do something in your life, let Him.

“A wise friend told me years ago, 'Make it hard on God. He likes it!' I've come to realize the harder it is, the more glory He gets! We are only responsible to do what He tells us specifically to do. The rest of the time we believe, pray, fight spiritual opposing forces, and thank God for His fulfillment.”— Thus Saith the Lord?, page 178

<idle musing>
Amen! Good preaching! If God promised something, let him deliver on it. Don't go manipulating things yourself and then pretend it was God. Moses waited 40 years for the fulfillment—after he tried it his own way first.

Elijah poured water over the sacrifice just to make it harder. God responded by taking not just the sacrifice, but the rocks, too (I Kings 17)! If God is doing it, you can't make it too hard for him.
</idle musing>

Thursday, March 22, 2012

To whom are you being directed?

When you leave the meeting of a true prophet you should feel an intense desire to seek God. His words will either point you back to Jesus or sharpen your present focus. There will be a new clarity. In contrast, when you leave the meeting of a false prophet you'll find yourself wanting to go back for another word any time you need encouragement or direction! There is a danger when we embrace another mediator outside of Christ. He rent the veil so that man could come into the presence of the Father. There in His presence is where you will find the fulfillment of every need and deepest desire.”— Thus Saith the Lord?, page 155

<idle musing>
This is so true! A real prophet doesn't care if you like what he says—he just cares that it is what God is saying. He desires God—and God alone. There is no "God and..." Tozer said anytime you add something after God you've entered into idolatry—and he's right.
</idle musing>

Wednesday, March 21, 2012


“Individuals under its influence [false prophecy] often appear highly spiritual. They give the impression of hours in prayer and constant progressive revelation...While in their presence you may feel like your spiritual life pales in comparison as they relay the many things God has told or shown them through prayer, visions, or dreams. You find yourself feeling almost unspiritual and backslidden in comparison. If there is any insecurity in your relationship with God you will find yourself cowering spiritually before them.”— Thus Saith the Lord?, pages 130-131

<idle musing>
Appearance versus reality—our society favors the former and we are seduced by it. My comment? When you feel inferior to some spiritual guru, duck and run!
</idle musing>

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Peace! Peace! But there is no peace...

“Only a disciple of Jesus rejects what would bring happiness or recognition in order to embrace what is difficult. The life of a believer is never easy, and those who seek comfort and recognition are destined for error. They can easily be led away into rebellion, especially if it is tagged with 'This saith the Lord.'”— Thus Saith the Lord?, page 104

<idle musing>
As Bonhoeffer put it so well in Discipleship: "When Jesus calls a man, he bids him come and die." If that's not what you are willing to do, then maybe "believer" isn't the right word...

I'm preaching to myself here, by the way. If we aren't willing to die to our own desires and wishes, then we can't follow Jesus—those are his words, not mine! And the fruit of following our own desires and wishes—or grudgingly following him—is not pleasant at all. It may seem pleasant and soft for a season, but the frost will come, as will the snow and ice. In some cases (most?), that season is pretty short—about an hour, in my experience. As the KJV puts it, "For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory." (2 Cor 4:17) But we easily get distracted by the fluff and nonsense around us unless we live dead to self and alive in Christ Jesus.

Praise God for the indwelling power of the Holy Spirit!
</idle musing>

Monday, March 19, 2012

Good rebellion?

“I then realized there is an 'evil' rebellion, and there is a 'good' rebellion. Both, however are rebellion, and both are an affront to God's authority. Most in the church would never fall for the 'evil' rebellion. Drug abuse, organized crime, wild drinking parties are too obvious. But today many in the church could be swayed with the 'good' rebellion...Eve was [ellipsis his]. She was not tempted to be like Satan. She was tempted to be like God.”— Thus Saith the Lord?, page 102

<idle musing>
I think this is a major problem in the church today. We settle for "good rebellion" instead of obedience...
</idle musing>


This is crazy! It was in the upper 70ºs F this weekend. That's a good 25ºF above normal. The daffodils are in full bloom, the plum tree in our yard burst into flower on Friday; yesterday the peach tree was starting to blossom. I can't help but think they will get nipped by frost before all is over.

This time of year is hard on a gardener; I want to plant, but I know it won't last. Over the weekend, I cleaned up some of the beds, weeding them and cultivating them. Last year, I put out broccoli about this time only to have the temperature crash into the low 20ºs F the next week. I've got broccoli seedlings in the basement that I'm tempted to put out—sure way to make the temperature crash! Oh well, I think I'll do it anyway.

The broccoli raab, spinach, and sprouting broccoli that I planted last November in the hoop house are starting to go crazy. I'm needing to pick the first two just about daily to keep up with it. The Romaine lettuce is just about ready to start picking, too.

Oh, and the rhubarb is starting to come up. No asparagus yet :( I was weeding it this weekend, but didn't see any shoots coming up...

Friday, March 16, 2012

Then why do we fall for them?

“We embrace these words because they feed the secret desires and motivations of our hearts. They have fed the soulish desire for gain and promotion. Without realizing it we have adopted a desire for the Pharisee's reward—the praise and recognition of man and the riches and comforts of this life. We have lost sight of the eternal reward and accepted the temporal. This inhibits our ability to rightly divide truth from falsehood.”— Thus Saith the Lord?, page 67

<idle musing>
Compromise, pure and simple. The stuff we can touch and feel wins out over the stuff that is just as real—and really matters.
</idle musing>

Thursday, March 15, 2012

The net effect

Speaking about a personal prophecy a person shared with Bevere:

“What effect did this word have on this young man? Did it strengthen him for hardship or battles? Did it draw his heart toward God? I questioned him, 'How did you feel while this was being spoken over you? Did this make you feel good?'

He said, 'Yes.”

I asked, 'Did the word make you want to embrace the prophet delivering the word?'
Again he said, 'Yes.'

Time passed and I questioned him further, 'Do you believe this was a word from God?'

'No,' he answered.

People go to this speaker's meetings hoping to receive a word from God. But really, they want insight into their future. So is this minister a prophet or a Christian fortuneteller?”— Thus Saith the Lord?, page 61

<idle musing>
I've often wondered about that. Have we reduced God to a "magic 8 ball?" I fear that too often we have tried...and we have reduced the role of prophet to one of a popularity contest, with so-called prophets vying with one another to outdo each other in tickling people's ears. I feel like Micaiah sometimes (see I Kings 22).
</idle musing>

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

The qualifications

“Other times, prophetic words were given to impart gifts or to set apart believers for ministry. These words came from tested and tried overseers who labored among the believers and knew their lives—not from prophets who knew very little or nothing about their lives (1 Tim. 5:22, NCV; Acts 13:1-4). The Bible is clear about this. Paul writes that before a person can be brought into an office of serving he must first be tested! Only ministers who have watched the candidates lives can do this, not strangers.” — Thus Saith the Lord?, page 59

<idle musing>
What? You mean they don't just ride into town like the Lone Ranger, clean everything up, and then ride off into the sunset? You mean they actually are supposed to get to know people and get dirty? Sounds too messy!—which means it probably is the correct way...
</idle musing>

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Bringing the hidden to light

“The true Word of God brings to light hidden motives and convicts us of selfish ambition, strife, and envy in our lives, which ultimately brings healing. God lamented through Jeremiah:
I have not spoken to them, yet they prophesied. But if they had stood in My counsel, and had caused My people to hear My words, then they would have turned them from their evil way and from the evil of their doings—Jeremiah 23:21-22”— Thus Saith the Lord? page 49

<idle musing>
Not the typical kind of personal prophecy one hears, is it? That the scriptural content of prophecy and the content of "personal prophecy" are usually so far apart should be a cause for concern, don't you think?
</idle musing>

Monday, March 12, 2012

Of e-readers

I have a guilty secret. I have an e-reader—no, not really. I have two of them!

Yep. I have a Kindle™ and a Nook™ on my desk. And, I use them—regularly. Last week, I had a Kindle Fire™, too. And, we have an iPod™ and access to an iPad™, as well.

What in world am I doing with all those e-readers? Testing, of course. I know far more about the displaying of Hebrew on e-readers than I want to. And, I can tell you how PDFs look on them, too.

Wanna know more? I thought so. Let's start with PDFs, that old standby format that we all use and have a love/hate relationship with.

A PDF displays on all of them. But, it does best on a Nook™. It reflows, you can change the font size, non-pointed Hebrew shows up perfectly, all the funky transliterations, such as š show up correctly, too. But, pointed Hebrew doesn't do as well. Sometimes it shows up perfectly; other times, you get a character or two on a line, then some blank lines and a few more characters. Strange...

What about the Kindle™ with PDFs? Not so good. It just allows a page view. You can re-size it, but, it doesn't re-flow. You have to use the buttons to move the screen. Talk about a pain!

But, you didn't buy an e-reader to read PDFs, did you? I didn't think so. So, how does our Hebrew fare on the Nook™? It doesn't. Period. It doesn't show up; it doesn't even leave funky squares to let you know it's missing. Frustrating!

The Kindle™ fares a bit better. The Hebrew font displays fine; the character size is correct and readable. One problem, though. It's backwards. Yep. It goes left-to-right! So, I thought maybe that was a function of the stripped down operating system in the Kindle™, so I borrowed a Kindle Fire™, which is Android™ powered, thinking it would do better...Nope. Still backwards...

So, what's a scholar to do? Well, enter the iOS devices. We dumped one of our books onto an iPad™. Sure enough. It was all there—and right-to-left even!

So, how is it that some books with Hebrew are showing up in Kindles™ and Nooks™? Well, it's easy—sorta. You take the file and turn all the Hebrew into a graphic. But, there are several problems with that: 1. It doesn't scale well when you change the font. 2. It isn't searchable! 3. It takes extra labor and therefore costs more.

So, don't be looking for a huge flood of academic books into the e-book market anytime soon...

By the way, most of the cost of a book is in the editorial and prepress (typesetting) process. The physical books are a small part of it—at least if you still edit your books, which Eisenbrauns does. Not sure about some other publishers.

I was reading a book this weekend and came across a sentence that used "then" where they clearly meant "than." Ouch! This was an academic book, too...

Who's the role model?

“Very little of what is happening in our prophetic conferences, meetings, or services today even remotely correlates with Jesus' or John the Baptist's pattern of prophecy. Could it be we've followed another pattern? Have we become like the prophets in the days of Jeremiah and Ezekiel, who prophesied peace and prosperity while God endeavored to call his people back to His heart?”— Thus Saith the Lord? page 38

<idle musing>
Too true. Where's that scripture that talks about the prophet that people desire is the one who prophesies wealth, peace, and prosperity? —he's called a false one, by the way.
</idle musing>

Some new books...

I finished reading this one over the weekend while I was at SWCRS. It's got some great articles in it that you'll be seeing excerpts from in a week or so...

Jewish Bible Theology

Jewish Bible Theology
Perspectives and Case Studies
Eisenbrauns - EIS
Edited by Isaac Kalimi
Eisenbrauns, 2012
xii + 276 pages, English
Cloth, 6 x 9 inches
ISBN: 9781575062310
List Price: $49.50
Your Price: $44.55

For the hardcore academic, the latest in the Babel und Bibel series. The articles in this one will make you think. Lots of language stuff—yummy!

Babel und Bibel 6

Babel und Bibel 6
Babel und Bibel -- B&B 6
Edited by Leonid Kogan
Eisenbrauns, 2012
iii + 620 pages, English, German, and French
Cloth, 6 x 9 inches
ISBN: 9781575062280
List Price: $69.50
Your Price: $62.55

This one came while I was gone, but is a most welcome addition to the new Hebrew Bible Quinta series:


Biblia Hebraica Quinta - BHQ 7
Edited by Natalio Fernandez Marcos
Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft Stuttgart, 2012
xxxii + 204 pages, Hebrew
ISBN: 9783438052674
List Price: $109.95
Your Price: $82.46

Friday, March 09, 2012

Thus Saith the Lord?

I read the book Thus Saith the Lord? for the first time well over 10 years ago. Recently, I read it again and found it just as relevant now as it was then. For those of you outside the Charismatic/Pentecostal/Third Wave world, the next 2-3 weeks of snippets might seem irrelevant, but stay tuned anyway—I'm sure you will be able to take something with you from them :)

Anyway, here's the first of several...

These prophets will call for change; their primary mission will be turning the hearts of God's people back to their Father. Their messages will be accompanied by strong conviction. Often the words might not seem "nice." Their preaching will hit the hardened areas of our hearts as a hammer smashing upon a rock. They will command, rebuke, correct, and exhort with all authority, yet it will all flow from a heart filled with love for God and His people...These prophets will not seek the accolades or rewards of man. They will only desire to handle faithfully the truth that sets men free. They will not be bought for they already know their rewarder. Power, popularity, or money will not influence their words.”— Thus Saith the Lord?, page 34

<idle musing>
The church can definitely use people like that—and I'm not excluding myself, either! We need people whose hearts are attuned to God and won't deviate to the left or right for anyone else. Of course they won't be popular. No prophet ever is!
</idle musing>

Thursday, March 08, 2012

Bringing people to church

“Christians are made strangers of the world by transformation, but they are left in the world that they might bring others to experience the same transformation.

“Those who abandon the stranger concept, who indulge in worldly pleasures under the guise of relating better to society, inadvertently destroy their message of transformation. They may bring people to church. They may even convince them to take the name Christian. But they have not brought them to Christ.”—Love and Nonresistance page 134

<idle musing>
Yep. Without transformation—and that means from the inside out—they are not brought to Christ. They can attend as many church functions as they wish, but they are still not "in Christ."
</idle musing>

Wednesday, March 07, 2012


“Professed Christianity, Christianity that is not like Christ, Christianity that is no longer based on inner transformation is void of power, void of effect, and therefore void of any worth. It is fit for nowhere but under foot. Cast it away. It is worse than refuse; it is reprobate.”—John Coblentz, in Love and Nonresistance, page 131

<idle musing>
It certainly is. But, we don't need to settle for less; Christ is the one who transforms us. We don't do it ourselves; we allow the Holy Spirit to do it in us. Why settle for empty formalities when you can have the real thing?
</idle musing>

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

To what extent Christian?

“When Christianity ceases to insist on a transformed nature, it no longer sees worldly indulgence and worldly love as sinful. And this being true, we must admit the antithesis as well. When we begin to feel at home in this world, when we begin to judge our comfort, our happiness, our wealth, our education, and our tastes by the same standards as this world's, we cease to be Christian.”—Love and Nonresistance, page 129

<idle musing>
All we have to do is look around us...there is no difference; the church has compromised to the point that it looks to politics to solve soul problems. How sad...the power of the Holy Spirit is replaced with the power of the ballot box and lobbyist. Prayer meetings are dying because people don't expect answers to prayer. "Pray about it" is used as a joke instead of a true admonition.
</idle musing>

Monday, March 05, 2012

The way of victory

“Whenever the devil opposes the continued work of Calvary by carnal weaponry in the hands of evil men, the church must respond to those men as Christ did—not resisting them, but rather loving them and praying for their forgiveness. In that response, the wisdom of God is always at work to transform the attack of men to the ultimate defeat of spiritual forces. This was demonstrated not only at Calvary but also in the early church. Nonresistant under the attack of evil men, the church multiplied.”—Love and Nonresistance, page 83

<idle musing>
Amen! Good preaching! Would that we would all follow his injunction.
</idle musing>

Friday, March 02, 2012

John Bunyan, a feminist?

I was reading through a new copy of Pilgrim's Progress (thanks Bobby!) last night and ran across this little gem:

I will now speak on the behalf of women, to take away their reproach. For as death and the curse came into the world by a woman, Gen. 3, so also did life and health: God sent forth his Son, made of a woman. Gal. 4:4. Yea, to show how much they that came after did abhor the act of the mother, this sex in the Old Testament coveted children, if happily this or that woman might be the mother of the Saviour of the world. I will say again, that when the Saviour was come, women rejoiced in him, before either man or angel. Luke 1:42-46. I read not that ever any man did give unto Christ so much as one groat; but the women followed him, and ministered to him of their substance. Luke 8:2,3. ‘Twas a woman that washed his feet with tears, Luke 7:37-50, and a woman that anointed his body at the burial. John 11:2; 12:3. They were women who wept when he was going to the cross, Luke 23:27, and women that followed him from the cross, Matt. 27:55,56; Luke 23:55, and sat over against his sepulchre when he was buried. Matt. 27:61. They were women that were first with him at his resurrection-morn, Luke 24:1, and women that brought tidings first to his disciples that he was risen from the dead. Luke 24:22,23. Women therefore are highly favored, and show by these things that they are sharers with us in the grace of life.

<idle musing>
Interesting way to start Women's History Month isn't it?

By the way, the text is also available online in numerous places, but I got this from CCEL for copying and pasting.
</idle musing>

Cross-bearing in the US

“In a land of freedom and prosperity, the Biblical concept of cross-bearing is easily lost. We find it easy to become attached to our possessions, to love a good reputation, to relish the satisfaction of ease and pleasure. The cross of Jesus certainly does not call us to create loss, shame, or persecution, but it stands all contrary to worldly gain, worldly praise, and worldly pleasure. Persecution is never pleasant, but it has never been such a threat to the existence of the church as the world's smile, the world's goods, and the world's pleasures have been; and that church in freedom whose cross is but a sentimental emblem will surely fall prey to the friendship of the world.

“There are lands where the blood of cross-bearing flows freely. Should that arm of hatred and persecution ever extend to our land, it would likely find the church at large woefully un-Christlike in its response. Now is the time to hold up the cross in its entirely. Whether the world holds us in shame or superficial honor, whether it inflicts suffering or is tolerant, whether it takes our possessions or tempts us with affluence and pleasure, the church must be moved by none of these things. She must embrace the cross of her Lord with joy and with the willingness to withstand either hatred or flirtation, to suffer trial or temptation. This is her delight, her calling, and her ethical standard.”—Love and Nonresistance, page 80

<idle musing>
Amen! Deuteronomy warns the Israelites against forgetting YHWH when they prosper. Would that we hearkened here in the U.S.!
</idle musing>

Thursday, March 01, 2012

Suffering willingly

“At the cross believers were transformed. In its light they received the wisdom of God. And they purposed upon their confession of faith to identify in the suffering and shame of the One who had died there for their sins. The cross became the symbol of the life-governing ethics of the new way. When, for their faith, believers lost their possessions, their inheritances, their families, or their reputation, they associated all such loss with their identification with the cross of Christ, and they counted it not loss but gain, not sorrow but joy. Earthly loss for their faith in Christ meant dying with Him, and therefore gave them solid hope for resurrection with Him.

“To suffer willingly, to receive insult without retaliation, to lose possessions without resistance—this was not heroic action by traditional Jewish standards. To the Jews the resister was the hero, the one who never gave up; who even under Roman rule was indomitable. The Romans held a similar value. Though separated from the Jews by race, culture, and social standards, with the Jew they believed in honor by the exercise of physical strength and force. Taking up the cross, meaning being willing to suffer wrong, was therefore a shame in the eyes of both the Jews and the Romans. To both cultures the Christians became the offscouring of humanity, the contemptible sect; in Jesus' predictive words, the 'hated for my name's sake.'”—Love and Nonresistance, pages 78-79

<idle musing>
Wow. There's a lot of good stuff there to digest... I especially like this: "...with the Jew they believed in honor by the exercise of physical strength and force." Not much has changed in 2000 years, except now we can substitute "American culture" for "the Romans."
</idle musing>

Eisenbrauns March sale

New month, new sale. From BookNews:

Selected NINO titles up to 40% off
A blustery start to the month of March inspired the thought of sailing. That in turn caused a look to the Netherlands, with their long history of seafaring. Accordingly, we are offering selected titles from Nederlands Instituut voor het Nabije Oosten/Netherlands Institute for the Near East at savings up to 40% off.

And thereafter follows a list of about 20 great ANE titles...go get 'em and save! No wonder they go by NINO :)