Monday, December 31, 2018
I guess Paul must be wrong then…
Friday, December 28, 2018
Maybe your idea of history is wrong…
Thursday, December 27, 2018
So how does Paul stack up?
Wednesday, December 26, 2018
Correctly handling the word of truth
Ironic isn't it? We're taught the perspicuity of scripture (the belief that anyone can read scripture and understand its intent), yet when the Pharisees read it as it was originally meant, they miss the real meaning. How often do we do the same thing?
I'm not willing to give up the perspicuity of scripture, but it needs to be qualified with the way the early church read it: as fulfilled in Jesus. (Yes, even that needs some qualifications, but at least you're in the right ballpark!)
Monday, December 24, 2018
Awe as a community building technique
Ever wonder why government buildings are so large? Or why the Lincoln Memorial, Jefferson Memorial, and Washington Monument are so huge? Even the Statue of Liberty, for that matter. The architects subconsciously knew what they were doing!
For that matter, any public gathering with larger-than-life structures, statuary, or similar props would have the same effect. That has me thinking, would a Jumbotron in a stadium or auditorium have the same effect? That would be worth researching, wouldn't it?
Sunday, December 23, 2018
About that incarnation thing
Christianity is not a set of abstract doctrines. It is a faith that lives—that loves God and neighbor actively and in every walk and work. Our final destination is not a disembodied heaven. It is a New Creation that takes up and perfects (we know not how) all human bodily and social flourishing. Christianity is so much more solid, and real, and human, than the “spiritual, but not religious” imitations of today. Christian faith touches every aspect of our lives—material, social, cultural. It does so because our God was born in a stable and nurtured by a teenaged girl named Mary.
Friday, December 21, 2018
Ideology trumps context
Thursday, December 20, 2018
Take a cue from St. Basil
Wednesday, December 19, 2018
Yes, it's a cult
We can understand Donald Trump’s rise as a civil religion giving way to its cultic expression. Con man, cult leader, populist politician: Trump is all of these, rolled into one. He has become all-encompassing, even to nonbelievers. We all feel the fatigue of merely existing in the Trump era, the rapid-fire assault on all of our political and social senses. We want immediate solutions to the Trump problem. We want to beat reason into his followers, until they recognize how wrong they are, or at the very least, submit. We want to blame them—justifiably—for perpetuating his sham.
I want these things. I want them in my gut. But I also know that the cult’s pull is so powerful that it risks destroying its opponents, by eliciting a counterproductive reaction to it. If we want to bring members of the Trump cult back into the mainstream of American life—and there will be plenty of those who say we should move on without them—resistance means not only resisting the lure of the cult and exposing its lies, but also resisting the temptation to punish its followers.
“When the cultic behavior is on a national scale, [breaking it up] is going to take a national movement,” Lalich says. Such an approach promises no immediate gratification. But it also might be the only way to move forward, rather than continue a dangerous downward spiral. Andrés Miguel Rondón, a Venezuelan economist who fled to Spain, wrote this of his own country’s experience of being caught up in an authoritarian’s fraudulent promises: “[W]hat can really win them over is not to prove that you are right. It is to show that you care. Only then will they believe what you say.”
But that takes work!
Tuesday, December 18, 2018
Seek and (unfortunately) you will find
Monday, December 17, 2018
Some statistics; use these at your family Christmas gathering
We have a 1 in 364 billion chance of being murdered by a refugee in a terrorist attack, a 1 in 10.9 billion chance of being murdered in a terrorist attack by an illegal immigrant, while we have a 1 in 14,000 chance of being murdered by anyone, a 1 in 303 chance of dying in an auto accident, and 1 in 7 chance of dying of cancer. Immigrants and refugees in this country contributed $63 billion more than they cost this country over the last decade. Urban neighborhoods into which immigrants move often see a reduction in crime and revitalization.Now, I'm not naive; I know that those driven by fear (and that's what it is) either won't accept, will deny, or will simply ignore facts. Fear is irrational, and human beings are irrational at core. But, still, there might be someone at your family gathering who starts spouting fear of immigrants, trying to spread their fear. You can present these facts, not to change their mind, but to show those not yet infected by fear that the fear is irrational.
Or, you can feel better yourself, knowing that the truth is securely on your side (as is scripture, by the way!).
The nasty truth
Thursday, December 13, 2018
Are you naive?
Wednesday, December 12, 2018
If only it were that simple!
Consider what might be involved in taking [Ken] Ham’s exhortation to just read the text and let it speak to you. The Bibles most of us use are translations from the original Hebrew and Greek. Translation is not simply a matter of finding equivalent words in two languages. The task of transposing material from one world of thought and language to another can be very complicated. These different worlds of thought require the translator to understand both cultures. This means that interpretation is already involved in the task of translation—grammatical and lexical decisions are made that allow the readers of translations to understand the Words of the text.—Early Christian Readings of Genesis One, page 73
Monday, December 10, 2018
Public Service Announcement
Stop thinking with your dick!
That is all.
Friday, December 07, 2018
What kind of mystery are you looking for?
Thursday, December 06, 2018
Our theology is impoverished!
Wednesday, December 05, 2018
Salvation: Now or Future?
The second misunderstanding [of what salvation means] has been called by Dallas Willard a “bar code faith.” The scanner at the check-out line reads only the bar code on a product. If the bar code for ice cream is placed on dog food, the scanner will read “ice cream.” The content of the package is irrelevant.<idle musing>
Willard says a “bar code faith” operates much the same way. We take some action—we have faith, get baptized, join the church—and that gives us a new bar code. God then pays no attention to our actual sinful content. When we are scanned across the divine scanner, it reads “Christ’s righteousness.” We remain the same, only now we go to heaven. As Willard says, our present life “has no necessary connection with being a Christian as long as the ‘bar code’ does its job” (The Divine Conspiracy [Harper Collins, 1998], 37).
Mind you, that's a misunderstanding of what salvation means! Bonhoeffer would call it "cheap grace." I had never heard the term "bar code faith" before, but I like it (and will use it!). I guess I have never read Dallas Willard except for excerpts. Another book to put on my list of "must-reads."
Theology is practical
Tuesday, December 04, 2018
The "rule of faith"
Sunday, December 02, 2018
Eleven years later and cars still are closer to bicyclists
The new paper from Walker also re-affirms that wearing a helmet was indeed associated with more “close” passes when you take into consideration that in some places, the law dictates more than one meter of room.And a month ago they posted about "helmet scolds":
If you’ve ever ridden a bike without a helmet, you’ve likely run into helmet scolds. They’ll tell you at length why you should never ride without one, about the risks and dangers. Don’t you know cycling is perilous, even for seasoned riders? They’ll come armed with statistics and tell you about that one time they crashed unexpectedly while pedaling around the block.Indeed. I've run into that many times over the last eleven years after ditching the helmet. So, what do I do? Well, I still don't use a helmet, although the newer designs have done a good bit to work on the problems of concussion (see my 2007 link). If they continue to make progress there, I might reconsider. One thing is certain: drivers now are more distracted. Despite laws against texting while driving, I still regularly see drivers doing so as we walk.
Because of that, I'm trying to do things to raise my visibility. I wear a fluorescent yellow jersey. When it's cold enough to wear a jacket, I usually wear my yellow one. Also, since moving to Red Wing, I have added a new strobe tail light that I use, even during the day; I seem to be getting more clearance when I have it—contrary to this post from 2015. But, it's a different culture here than on the North Shore, more traffic and more used to bicycles in general.
I have no delusions, though, that I will be seen. I'm always watching and expecting cars to either not see me, or try to run me off the road. Someone trying to run me off the road has actually only happened once in the last 15 years, by a couple of guys driving a pick-up truck, trying to prove they were "real men." On the whole, drivers have always given me enough room when they see me. My goal is to make sure they see me while also watching them assuming they don't!
Friday, November 30, 2018
How to get along
Amen and amen! Not everything is an essential doctrine! And you don't need to divide over such trivial issues. Of course, the trick is deciding what is essential and what isn't...rule of faith, anyone?
Wednesday, November 28, 2018
Those neglected fathers of the church
Severa1 years ago I was invited to give a presentation to an adult Sunday school class at a Mennonite church in my community. I called the presentation “Back to the Sources: An Introduction to the Great Thinkers of the Early Church” and was excited to share my passion for the church fathers with this audience. Unfortunately, my hearers did not share my excitement. At best they could not understand why we would need anything other than what we have in our Bibles. At worst, they could not understand why a good conservative Christian would recommend these figures from a church and an age that was, in their opinion, far from the purity of New Testament Christianity. Granted, my experience above may be unique, but I doubt it. An argument could be made that the necessity of an introductory chapter in this book about the importance of the church fathers is a symptom of a greater problem within our churches that my experience illustrates. For reasons beyond the scope of this book, our own Christian heritage, which includes the church fathers, has been deemed, at best, marginally helpful for the twenty-ﬁrst-century Christian. At worst, the history between the apostles and the Reformers has been judged as an era best left in the past because of its perceived distance from “true” Christianity. For many Christians the idea that we should appeal to the church fathers, who belong to that era, as part of our own Christian heritage is foreign, suspect, or even impious. The Christianity of that age has been seen as transitory, naive, and even problematic, and therefore an unnecessary resource for Christian faithfulness today. (pages 13–14)<idle musing>
I believe he sums up well the antihistorical attitude (and hubristic pride!) of the normal evangelical Christian—at least in my experience. I once had a seminary graduate say to me about the church fathers, "Those clowns? Why should we listen to them?" I could hardly believe it! Sure, they got some things wrong, but I suspect we have a whole lot more wrong than they do—especially with an attitude like that!
Tuesday, November 27, 2018
But, they wanted me to do the same for the Press's own titles. So, for the past year I have been developing an email marketing program for PSU Press to try to match the reach that we had at Eisenbrauns. And, I've transitioned all the Eisenbrauns marketing to the new platform.
All of that has taken a chunk of time. Further, almost 12 months ago, we purchased a small house in Red Wing, MN, moving from Grand Marais on December 19—just in time for Christmas. The house is in good shape, so there weren't a lot of projects, but I did need to put in a garden : ) Maybe someday I'll post a picture of it. But, that took a good bit of time, too. We are loving living here, though. It's closer to parents and children (and grandchildren) and a beautiful part of the state, right along the Mississippi River.
Add to the preceding a heavy editing schedule. I freelance, so it's my own fault! But, when someone offers such marvelous books for me to edit, how can I say no? Among the items I edited this year was the Aramaic volume of the Theological Dictionary of the Old Testament. That was a monster project! But lots of fun, too. Another real joy was a second-year Hebrew grammar by Eric Reymond for SBL Press: Intermediate Biblical Hebrew Grammar: A Student's Guide to Phonology and Morphology. I also managed to edit a first-year Greek grammar and a first-year Hebrew grammar, a Festschrift, a collection of LXX essays by Rösel, an Egyptology archaeology volume, a volume on John's letters in Greek, a still-forthcoming NICOT volume, a LXX monograph on Esther, a geographical commentary on Acts–Revelation, a monograph on life and mortality at Ugarit, a collection of essays on hermeneutics, and a collection of essays on textual criticism. And I'll be wrapping up the year with a collection of essays on senses in the ANE.
How could I turn them down?! Obviously, I didn't. So, I've had little time for recreational reading—although I have managed to read about 10–15 books, I just haven't been extracting from them as I usually do. But, I can encourage you to read a couple of them:
Honoring the Son, by Larry Hurtado. I picked this one up at AAR/SBL last week and read it on the way home. Great little read, based on a series of lectures he gave at some seminary somewhere.
The Dragon, the Mountain, and the Nations by Robert Miller. Great big-picture overview of the ways the myth of the dragon is utilized in various ANE and biblical texts (and an Eisenbrauns title).
I did get to read a prerelease proof of a forthcoming title from Carta while I was at AAR/SBL (thanks to Hendrickson for letting me borrow it for a day!), Ada Yardeni's final book: The National Hebrew Script: Up To The Babylonian Exile. It is currently in-press, so they didn't have actual copies available. But, it is excellent; just what you would expect from Carta and Yardeni. I can't wait to see the actual book next year at AAR/SBL in San Diego!
I'm currently reading a couple of other books; hopefully excerpts will find their way onto this blog...but this has gone on long enough and I need to get back to work!
Thursday, November 15, 2018
I must say, he’s correct, but also brave to tackle the whole elect, non-elect, anti-elect thing. We’ll see how this works out...
Wednesday, November 14, 2018
Words, words, everywhere are words
Tuesday, November 13, 2018
What you've heard is wrong…
Monday, November 12, 2018
It's still paganism
Friday, November 09, 2018
All those books presenting atheism, unbelief, philosophy, psychology and all the books that were then current, all the debunking books and the rest, never jarred me, for I knew Jesus Christ for myself. I had seen Him, I had known Him, He deigns to walk with me, and the glory of His presence shall be mine eternally.
You can know God like that, and then you do not have to be afraid of what you learn; you do not have to be afraid of an unbelieving professor. You can stand up and face him down and say: “I cannot answer your questions, but I can tell you my testimony."mdash;A.W. Tozer, The Dangers of a Shallow Faith, page 176
Thursday, November 08, 2018
About all those church growth programs…
Monday, November 05, 2018
Friday, November 02, 2018
You're going to keep going until somebody gets hurt…
I just read an interesting take on that over at Jesus Creed by Mike Glenn; he blogs there every Friday. Here's a snippet, but please read the whole thing and think about it:
Here’s what I do know. Violence starts somewhere. Violence doesn’t just blow into our lives from parts unknown. There’s always a trail. There’s always a beginning point, a poke, that starts the violence. While we may not be responsible for any particular act of violence, all of us are responsible for creating an atmosphere, a world view where violence is an acceptable course of action.<idle musing>
We watch movies where the hero has finally had enough and kills his enemy in the most violent way possible. The bigger the bang, the better the movie. We play games where the object of the game is to become the most violent person in the game. Kill our adversaries with such efficiency we’re given more points to obtain more weapons to be more violently efficient in our killing. This is fun?
Here’s where we need to pay attention to the genius of Jesus’ teaching. Remember when Jesus taught us that if we were angry with our brother we were guilty of murder? That if we harbored lust in our minds for a woman, we were already guilty of adultery?
The early Christians were known for their radical love and care for those around them—even those who persecuted them. May we emulate them!
Thursday, November 01, 2018
But that's not the way you're supposed to do it, Jesus!
Wednesday, October 31, 2018
What is a good book?
Tuesday, October 30, 2018
How to influence the culture
Saturday, October 27, 2018
We condemn the attacks on innocent lives and the murder of Jews at the the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh. The anti Semitic rhetoric and behavior that incite these violent acts are inexcusable and indefensible. We pray for our Jewish friends and neighbors and call on all people to turn from violence and perform deeds of mercy, love, and justice. We call on Christians and churches to be God’s agents of love, reconciliation, and peace.
Thursday, October 25, 2018
Tests, tests, everywhere are tests
Amen and amen! Why are we always trying to put everything into a nice little package and test it? (Rhetorical question)
Tuesday, October 23, 2018
What have we lost?
Friday, October 19, 2018
No hierarchy here!
Thursday, October 18, 2018
Give me your rich, your empowered, those desiring to control
“Give me your tired, your poor,But, in actuality, it has never been so. Take a look at the post on the Anxious Bench today. These paragraphs are especially heart-rending:
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”
During this period, as would be the case during subsequent refugee crises in history, Americans strongly opposed accepting refugees. In July 1938, one public opinion poll published in Fortune found that only 4.9% of Americans surveyed believed that the United States should accept political refugees fleeing persecution in Europe. In an era of virulent anti-semitism, Americans appear to have been especially reluctant to accept Jewish refugees. In January 1939, in the wake of Kristallnacht, a Gallup poll found that 61% of survey respondents did not believe that the United States should open its doors 10,000 German refugee children, the vast majority of whom were Jewish.Christian nation!? Hardly! We need to repent on our knees. And by repentance I don't just mean mouth a few words and feel sorry about how or ancestors behaved. I mean change the way we behave! Our descendants (if any survive!) will judge us as mercilessly as we judge others...
American immigration officials were able to prevent refugees from entering the United States by relying on the immigration quotas established by the Johnson-Reed Act, but also by using an extremely stringent interpretation of public charge rules. As Stephen Porter points out in his book Benevolent Empire: Power, Humanitarianism, and the World’s Dispossessed, President Herbert Hoover in 1930 directed American consuls to apply public charge rules strictly, in response to American fears of labor competition during the Great Depression. The use of public charge rules ended up allowing the United States to admit far fewer immigrants than what was permitted under the Johnson-Reed quota limits, which were already set at unprecedentedly low levels. By restricting immigrants only to those who had wealth, the United States used less than 20% of its available immigration quotas, and immigration during this period dipped to its lowest level since the United States began keeping records in the 1830s. Importantly, the United States made no exceptions to admit refugees or asylum-seekers.
Anti-Semitic immigration officials were particularly harsh when applying the rules to Jewish applications for immigration. “Virtually all Jews applying to enter the United Staes to escape persecution abroad were required by the State Department Visa Division to have affidavits filed on their behalf by a sponsor in the United Staes promising to support the immigrant if granted admission,” Porter explains. “While other poor and potentially dependent immigrant applicants also had the affidavit requirement applied to them, contemporary refugee advocates and later observers have noted that it was applied much more strictly and systematically to the Jewish refugees, partially the result of strong pockets of anti-Semitism among American consuls abroad and their counterparts in Washington.”
Ain't that the truth! And his point that it is the character of the person that counts is spot-on. Especially in these times of alternate facts and half-truths (ok, I'm being generous; wholesale lies would be more accurate), the character of the person counts. If the person's life doesn't align with scripture, then question very closely whether or not it's of God. Sure, God can and does use ungodly people, but be very cautious! If someone is living an opulent lifestyle and claims to be helping the poor, a red flag should go up! If someone puts the US flag (or any other flag!) before the cross, be very cautious of accepting their truth claims. And if someone openly brags about their sexual bravado... well let's just say, I have a real problem seeing that as anything other than childish and the sign of a very insecure person who needs Jesus desperately. And I see people who defend that behavior in the same light I view some of the medieval popes who endorsed certain rulers for the sake of territorial protection...
Wednesday, October 17, 2018
The joys of (not believing in) inerrancy
It is a liberating experience for a biblical scholar to be free of the a priori affirmation of inerrancy. Not only do a host of problems dissolve, but new options become available and at the same time the Scriptures become more alive. Without having to hide or ignore something, one can enjoy the feeling of honesty.—I Still Believe, page 111<idle musing>
Several years ago I was reading Greek with another person just for the fun of it. We would take a book in the New Testament and spend about an hour just sight-reading it. If we got stuck, we'd pull out the lexicon. After we had been doing this for several weeks, the person I was reading with told me how freeing it was to let the text just speak without coming to it looking to confirm a belief! I have to admit that I was somewhat surprised, as I have rarely (I wish I could say never) come to scripture that way. I don't believe in inerrancy, but I certainly do believe in inspiration, and to use scripture as a weapon to prove a presupposed belief is to me a form of heresy! But on reflection, it helped me understand the approach to scripture among some people.
Lord keep me from that attitude! May I ever come at scripture with an open heart and mind, seeing what you have for me that day!
Tuesday, October 16, 2018
I Still Believe
I grow disheartened when I see the Bible hijacked and turned into a sword of hatred instead of a ploughshare of love. Although I do not imagine that biblical scholarship is single—handedly responsible for the thin gruel offered as the gospel in too many congregations—across the spectrum of the church’s life—neither do I see that biblical scholarship is serving to challenge and enlarge and instruct as it might.—Berverly Roberts Gaventa in I Still Believe, page 89
Monday, October 15, 2018
How would our country change if we could get people to spend four hours considering their own souls and their lives and their future with the concentrated attention they consider the strikeouts, the stolen bases and the rest of the baseball game?—A.W. Tozer, The Dangers of a Shallow Faith, page 168
Friday, October 12, 2018
There is only one way to bless mankind, and that is by opposing mankind. For wherever mankind is wrong, and wherever he is different from God, it means that brother must be divided from brother and husband from wife and children from parents. Jesus said, “If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple” (Luke 14:26). You must be sober and prayerfully beware the world’s propagandas. Do not sell yourself, and do not allow yourself to be slowly reasoned into wrong by the counsel of the ungodly. Better to be a radical on the right side than weak on the wrong side. Better go too far than not far enough.—A.W. Tozer, The Dangers of a Shallow Faith, page.—A.W. Tozer, The Dangers of a Shallow Faith, page 163
Thursday, October 11, 2018
Babylon, here we come : (
Tuesday, October 09, 2018
I'm reminded of the lyrics of an old Randy Stonehill song, Puppet Strings from the album Welcome to Paradise. The refrain goes like this: "We are all like foolish puppets who desiring to be kings / Now lie pitifully crippled after cutting our own strings."
Ain't that the truth...
Monday, October 08, 2018
Friday, October 05, 2018
To whom do you listen?
Thursday, October 04, 2018
Just stop it!
As an article at the Atlantic says:
Even those who believe that Ford fabricated her account, or was mistaken in its details, can see that the president’s mocking of her testimony renders all sexual-assault survivors collateral damage. Anyone afraid of coming forward, afraid that she would not be believed, can now look to the president to see her fears realized. Once malice is embraced as a virtue, it is impossible to contain.You have sown the wind, now be prepared to reap the whirlwind. You have sold your soul to the devil in exchange a for a sop of political influence. You turn your back on blatant sin to gain a little bit of a pat on the back and empty rhetoric.
But the biblical prophets have a different viewpoint, as does the New Testament. Take a look at Amos 5:
7 There are those who turn justice into bitternessAnd what does James say:
and cast righteousness to the ground.
10 There are those who hate the one who upholds justice in court
and detest the one who tells the truth.
11 You levy a straw tax on the poor
and impose a tax on their grain.
Therefore, though you have built stone mansions,
you will not live in them;
though you have planted lush vineyards,
you will not drink their wine.
12 For I know how many are your offenses
and how great your sins.
There are those who oppress the innocent and take bribes
and deprive the poor of justice in the courts.
13 Therefore the prudent keep quiet in such times,
for the times are evil.
14 Seek good, not evil,
that you may live.
Then the Lord God Almighty will be with you,
just as you say he is.
15 Hate evil, love good;
maintain justice in the courts.
Perhaps the Lord God Almighty will have mercy
on the remnant of Joseph.
16 Therefore this is what the Lord, the Lord God Almighty, says:
“There will be wailing in all the streets
and cries of anguish in every public square.
The farmers will be summoned to weep
and the mourners to wail.
17 There will be wailing in all the vineyards,
for I will pass through your midst,”
says the Lord.
The Day of the Lord
18 Woe to you who long
for the day of the Lord!
Why do you long for the day of the Lord?
That day will be darkness, not light.
19 It will be as though a man fled from a lion
only to meet a bear,
as though he entered his house
and rested his hand on the wall
only to have a snake bite him.
20 Will not the day of the Lord be darkness, not light—
pitch-dark, without a ray of brightness?
21 “I hate, I despise your religious festivals;
your assemblies are a stench to me.
22 Even though you bring me burnt offerings and grain offerings,
I will not accept them.
Though you bring choice fellowship offerings,
I will have no regard for them.
23 Away with the noise of your songs!
I will not listen to the music of your harps.
24 But let justice roll on like a river,
righteousness like a never-failing stream! (NIV)
27 Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world. (James 1:27 NIV)Good news? The gospel is supposed to be good news. But in the hands of the current thought leaders of the evangelical movement, it is bad news unless you are the very people who were Jesus's greatest enemies.
Repent! Repent before the lampstand is removed (let the reader understand!). Your children will judge you for your stand. Make them proud by standing with righteousness and justice instead of political game-playing that will only sully the hands of those playing. It will never bring about the righteousness of God. That comes by repentance—real repentance, not mumbling a prayer, but as the CEV translates μετάνοια (metanoia) "change your hearts and lives." As the old Anabaptist saying goes, "There is no salvation without transformation."
Stop putting Nationalism before Jesus! God will not tolerate rivals. Update: Read this post at the Anxious Bench, an evangelical blog. Here's taste:
Rather than granting women greater legal protections against harassment and abuse, they [evangelicals] prefer to ascribe to husbands and fathers the power to protect women. But by placing such trust in patriarchal power, there is little recourse when those very men betray the women they are ostensibly responsible to protect. For some evangelicals, this scenario is simply unthinkable. For many more, their default setting is to believe men, not women, when allegations of abuse surface. And to blame women, not men, when women do come forward.Read the whole thing! Be among the 36 percent who think character still counts!
Wednesday, October 03, 2018
The importance of libraries
Tuesday, October 02, 2018
Monday, October 01, 2018
Who's in control?
This was written sometime before 1960. Advertising has only gotten worse since then. Back in the 1970s, researchers estimated you saw about 500 ads per day. The most recent figures I can find say that we see anywhere from 5000 to 10000 ads a day now. That's a ten to twenty-fold increase! And you think you aren't influenced by them? Think again!
Friday, September 28, 2018
I would add, that applies equally to the Right and the Left! I personally happen to think that Fox (Pseudo-)News is a worse culprit than any others, but there is bias everywhere. Seek God and humbly ask him to show you where you are held captive. That's our only hope.
Thursday, September 27, 2018
You are being had!
Wednesday, September 26, 2018
What do you have time for?
Tuesday, September 25, 2018
Banquet or prayer meeting?
Friday, September 21, 2018
Thursday, September 20, 2018
Not just book reviews
The other thing I believe we as men need to do is to assume full responsibility for our own sexuality. We must stop blaming women for our sexual longings and desires. We must stop blaming what women wear for our sexual responses. A sexually responsible man does not need a woman to tell him “no.” He makes it his responsibility to understand and honor the boundaries of a relationship. I would go so far as to say that men should not say with their bodies what they are unwilling to say in their commitments to a woman. I would go so far as to say that a man should not engage in the activity that can father children unless he is ready to assume the responsibility of being a father (and the woman wants him as the father of her children).Amen and amen!
Thursday's dose of Tozer
Tuesday, September 18, 2018
This is advice I wish more American Christians would take seriously, both at an individual and ecclesial level. Instead of trying to “take America back for God” by positioning ourselves as Caesar’s wise advisers who assume we know better and care more than others about issues that divide the polis, we ought to make it our highest aspiration to simply be who God has called and empowered us to be; namely, individuals and communities that imitate God by living “in love as Christ loved us and gave his life for us” (Eph 5:1-2). I’m personally convinced that if Christians stopped trying to fix the world by grabbing hold of political power and simply focused on demonstrating God’s love in practical ways to all people, and especially to people in need, the transforming effect we would have on society would dwarf in significance whatever positive changes political regimes can occasionally manage to bring about. (emphasis added)If you can find the time, definitely look into the whole series. Boyd takes a fair and balanced look at Peterson, acknowledging his many good points, but critiquing the points where it differs from a Christian response—and it does in significant ways.
Tozer for Tuesday
Monday, September 17, 2018
Take a day!
Friday, September 14, 2018
But are we saying anything?
Thursday, September 13, 2018
Wednesday, September 12, 2018
Thursday, September 06, 2018
Wednesday, September 05, 2018
Why the two-week silence
I've been neglecting this blog terribly this summer, but maybe with the advent of fall I'll be able to spend more time reading—and therefore blogging.
I've been working on some interesting projects, though. I just finished up the NICOT 2 Samuel volume (not on the Eerdmans website yet), which should see the light of day early next year. Before that I did the final volume of the TDOT, covering the Aramaic. That was pretty intense because they were trying to keep consistency with the other volumes, going all the way back to 1974. Needless to say, typography has come a long way since then and standards have changed. It was a challenge, but a lot of fun. I also did an Eisenbrauns Festschrift The Unfolding of Your Words Gives Light, and three SBL books, two of them on the LXX. The collection of essays by Rosel, Tradition and Innovation:English and German Studies on the Septuagint is really good; you should buy it when it comes out—or pick it up at AAR/SBL. Somehow I managed to crowd in The Abu Bakr Cemetery at Giza for B.J. at Lockwood Press, and Biblical Greek Made Simple: All the Basics in One Semester. All while creating a garden (which is doing wonderful! I'll try to post some pictures…), working for PSU Press part-time, and walking 5–8 miles a day.
I'm currently working on the Lexham Geographical Commentary on the New Testament, Acts–Revelation and an Eisenbrauns book in the EANEC series: Life and Mortality in Ugaritic, which should be out next spring or summer (also not on the web yet).
No wonder the blog has suffered!
Replenishing the earth meant there were to be children born into the world. Anybody who imagines there can be children without work has never had children or even been around them. The command to subdue the earth certainly embraces the idea of work.—A.W. Tozer, The Dangers of a Shallow Faith, page 116
Tuesday, August 21, 2018
Among the Woo People
Disclaimer: I grew up a block from a university campus; my dad was a university professor for ca. forty years. While we didn't live on fraternity row, there was a sorority house just down the block. One night, a car crashed into our basement window at about 1:00 AM as a student was trying to get his date back to the sorority house before curfew. He missed the corner—and the curfew! But we did get a new window in the basement. Of course, once I grew up, I went off to college—for fourteen years, ten of them as a married student. So, I figured I had heard or seen a good bit of campus life. But this book, Among the Woo People, is a delight. It's chapters are short enough to read in a couple of minutes—and usually left me laughing or recalling similar situations from my own past.
Sure, I work for PSU Press, but even if I didn't I would recommend this book! Hey, have I ever steered you wrong? And right now, it's on sale for 30% off! Use coupon code NR18 when you check out. And then let me know how you liked it! Sure, it isn't about the ANE or biblical studies, but I'll bet you can relate : )
Tozer for a Tuesday
Friday, August 17, 2018
Let me point out that the victorious Christian life is not a life absent of any problems or difficulties or failures. Actually, the opposite is true. The victorious Christian life is a day-to-day or even moment-by-moment victory over enemies and situations that we confront in the way.—A.W. Tozer, The Dangers of a Shallow Faith, page
Wednesday, August 15, 2018
Tozer for a Wednesday
Hell is full of fools, and heaven is full of wise men. There are wise men in heaven that could not read and write when they were on earth; and there are learned fools in hell that had degrees after their name like the tail on a kite. They knew everything but the one thing: They were fools.—A.W. Tozer, The Dangers of a Shallow Faith, page 76
Tuesday, August 14, 2018
Do you believe it's possible?
God saves only sinners, and He saves only sinners who know they are sinners. He saves only sinners who admit they are sinners; but He saves sinners and turns them from being sinners to being good men and full of the Holy Spirit. When we teach anything else, we are teaching heresy.—A.W. Tozer, The Dangers of a Shallow Faith, pages 73–74
Friday, August 10, 2018
Some may wonder, why don’t I use an Amazon link?<idle musing>
I did at one time until a bookseller friend whose work I value greatly challenged me that I was helping to dig the grave of his business. Since I want to see him, and other brick and mortar booksellers stay in business, I paid attention. He pointed out that I was essentially endorsing Amazon as “my bookseller of choice” by directing traffic to their website.…
I’ve concluded that for all the convenience Amazon offers, we are sacrificing a rich, local culture, as well as the subtler delights of relationships with librarians, publishers, and booksellers, as well as the serendipitous delight of finding what you weren’t, as well as were, looking for on the shelves of a local book store. That is not something I want to lose.
And that's the issue in a nutshell. Sure, you might save a few bucks buying via the river, but what are you doing to the local culture? Not just bookstores, but the local hardware store, or other local businesses?
Buying local puts money back in the community. Buying online drains the community.
Sure, I buy online, but almost always it's only because I can't find what I need locally.
Thursday, August 09, 2018
Tuesday, August 07, 2018
Monday, August 06, 2018
Friday, August 03, 2018
Thursday, August 02, 2018
If it feels good…
Monday, July 30, 2018
The modern emphasis that God is a convenience and Jesus Christ so kindly died for us in order that we might have peace of mind is a travesty of the gospel. Sinners know it, and the liberals know it. Only we poor, lethargic evangelicals fail to see it.—A.W. Tozer, The Dangers of a Shallow Faith, page 58
Friday, July 27, 2018
Thought for a Friday
Thursday, July 26, 2018
What does your God look like?
Tuesday, July 24, 2018
Tozer for a Tuesday
Let an engineer be wrong about a position, and if he builds according to that wrong concept, his building will collapse around him. Let a navigator be wrong about where he is taking his ship, and his ship will run onto a sandbar or a rock and shatter, sinking out of sight. Nonconformity to the truth brings disaster. The enormity of the disaster depends upon the high level or the low level of the facts you have before you.—A.W. Tozer, The Dangers of a Shallow Faith, page 40
Monday, July 23, 2018
Do your own thing?
Friday, July 20, 2018
The church is an "also ran"
Thursday, July 19, 2018
Are you bored?
Wednesday, July 18, 2018
Monday, July 16, 2018
Tozer for a Monday morning
It is not by reading the Scriptures in the original languages or in some contemporary version that makes us better Christians. Rather, it is getting on our knees with the Scriptures spread before us, and allowing the Spirit of God to break our hearts. Then, when we have been thoroughly broken before God Almighty, we get up off our knees, go out into the world and proclaim the glorious message of Jesus Christ, the Savior of the world.—A.W. Tozer, The Dangers of a Shallow Faith, page 22
Thursday, July 12, 2018
Pastors and leaders
Wednesday, July 11, 2018
Tozer on worship
The Church Fathers were fanatic worshipers, and their worship carried with it a heavy cost, which incidentally, they gladly and eagerly paid. The grandsons are now observers with an appetite for entertainment that has gone wild. They are addicted, with an insatiable appetite, to have one thrill followed by an even bigger thrill. They are as fanatic about entertainment as their fathers were about worship, which explains the difference.—A. W. Tozer, The Dangers of a Shallow Faith, pages 18–19
Tozer wrote/preached this in the late 1950s! I wonder what he would think now? : (
Tuesday, July 10, 2018
Thursday, July 05, 2018
Life is complicated—sometimes very complicated
Tuesday, July 03, 2018
I wait a couple of minutes and the person on the other end asks what the problem is…hmmm…I thought I just told them. Oh well, I retype the issue—and wait another couple of minutes before they ask me to remove the battery, replace it, and try powering it on again. Hmmm…I thought I just told them that. Oh well, I'll humor them.
No change in the phone—what a surprise : (
The agent types, well, we'll just have to reset it then. OK. Remove battery, replace, and press the power and up volume at the same time. No change, as expected. Agent types, we'll check to see if it's eligible for exchange. Several minutes later: it is. Ok, needs all my contact information, address, etc. And phone number. Hmmm…it doesn't work! I give them Debbie's.
More exchange about how to return it, etc. Finally, "Would you like to participate in a survey about this exchange?" Sure, why not? They reply, "Great! You will get a text message…" Face palm! I don't have a phone that works! Response, "Well then I guess you won't be able to receive the text message." Oh, the irony!
You gotta either laugh or cry. I'll laugh. Without a phone for at least a week, which isn't so bad, I guess. Unless someone wants to call me or text me : ) Good thing most of my work interactions are via email!