Monday, April 30, 2018
A divorce made in hell
Thursday, April 26, 2018
Did I say that it's complicated? But not really
It sounds far more complicated than it is! Trying to describe God is almost impossible simply because he is beyond our ability fully comprehend, let alone describe! But, by setting the background in this way, we begin to understand why a mystic way of looking at things is helpful. At least it is to me!
Wednesday, April 25, 2018
As a matter of fact, the purest worship—like the purest gift—has little or nothing to do with the satisfaction of the worshiper or the giver, but with the satisfaction of the recipient. We seem to have a good deal of misunderstanding at this point. So frequently we judge worship by the pleasure or fulfillment it gives us. There could hardly be a more dramatic perversion. Worship is not about me; it's about God. When I become absorbed with how much worship benefits my person, I make myself the object of worship rather than the God I profess to adore. If in my worship of God I happen also to be blessed it is a happy coincidence, and I can indeed see it is a blessing, because it isn't the point of worship and I am fortunate therefore to receive it. But God is the issue of worship, not I or my pleasure.—Grace in a Tree Stump, 17 (emphasis added)It's still true! The other day I was reading an article (can't find the reference right now) that compared modern "worship" to a sexual orgasm. Sadly, I think they are correct. Here's hoping and praying for a revival of true holiness and godly fear. May God deliver us from our idols!
Update: Here's the link: A Call to Reject Orgasmic Worship and Return to Liturgy. I disagree that the return to liturgy is the answer, but he certainly put his finger on the problem!
Where is boasting?
Tuesday, April 24, 2018
Let's start at the beginning
Monday, April 23, 2018
Embrace the mystery!
Friday, April 20, 2018
Thursday, April 19, 2018
Table of Contents for Forti, Like a Bird on a Roof"
PrefaceGet 30% off with coupon code TLF18
IntroductionThe Psalms as LiturgyChapter 1 Faunal Imagery in Psalmodic Refrains
Imagery, Metaphor, and Simile
Synopsis of Research on Metaphors in the Psalms
The Focus of Investigation and MethodologyPsalm 49:13, 21: A wisdom motif of human ignorance and the futility of wealth—בהמות ‘beasts’Chapter 2 Faunal Imagery as Secondary Interpolation
Psalms 59:7, 15; 22:13–14, 17, 21–22; and 118:10–12: Animal imagery as representing the psalmist’s adversary
Psalm 59:7, 15: Wild-dog imagery to denote the psalmist’s enemy—כלב ‘dog’
Psalm 22:13–14, 17: Bulls, mighty ones of Bashan, lions, dogs, and wild oxen as metonyms for the psalmist’s adversaries—כלב ‘dog,’ פר ‘bull,’ אריה ‘lion’
Psalm 118:10–12: Bee imagery as denoting the psalmist’s enemies—דבורה ‘bee’Proverbs 1:10–19Conclusion
Psalm 84:4: Intimacy with God—צפור ‘bird’ and 'sparrow' דרור
Psalm 102:7–8: Desolation and isolation—קאת ‘great owl,’ כוס ‘owl,’ and צפור ‘bird’
Psalms 33:16–17 and 32:8–9: Wisdom motifs within theological contemplation—סוס ‘horse’ and פרד ‘mule’
Psalm 32:8–9 83Faunal Imagery in Psalmodic RefrainsBibliography
Faunal Imagery as Secondary Interpolation
IndexesIndex of Authors
Index of Scripture
Table of Contents for Rollston's Enemies and Friends of the State
Part 1: Setting the StageUse coupone code CAR18 to get 30% off!
Defining the State (pp. 3-23). Alexander H. Joffe.
The Politics of Voice: Reflections on Prophetic Speech as Voices from the Margins (pp. 25-56). Miriam Y. Perkins
Part 2: The Ancient Near East
A Land without Prophets? Examining the Presumed Lack of Prophecy in Ancient Egypt (pp. 59-86). Thomas Schneider.
A Royal Advisory Service: Prophecy and the State in Mesopotamia (pp. 87-114). Jonathan Stökl.
Prophecy in Syria: Zakkur of Hamath and Luʿash (pp. 115-134). Hélène Sader.
Prophecy in Transjordan: Balaam Son of Beor (pp. 135-196). Joel S. Burnett.
Part 3: Prophets in the Deuteronomistic History and the Chronicler
Prophets in the Early Monarchy (pp. 207-217). William M. Schniedewind.
Friends or Foes? Elijah and Other Prophets in the Deuteronomistic History (pp. 219-256). Gary N. Knoppers and Eric L. Welch
Unnamed Prophets in the Deuteronomistic History (pp. 257-275). Jason Bembry.
The Prophet Huldah and the Stuff of State (pp. 277-296). Francesca Stavrakopoulou.
Prophets in the Chronicler: The Books of 1 and 2 Chronicles and Ezra–Nehemiah (pp. 297-310). Lester L. Grabbe.
Part 4: Prophets in the Prophetic Books of the First Temple and Exilic Periods
Prophecy and the State in 8th-Century Israel: Amos and Hosea (pp. 313-328). Robert R. Wilson.
Enemies and Friends of the State: First Isaiah and Micah (pp. 329-338). J. J. M. Roberts.
Jeremiah as State-Enemy of Judah: Critical Moments in the Biblical Narratives about the “Weeping Prophet” (pp. 339-358). Christopher A. Rollston.
Nahum, Habakkuk, and Zephaniah (pp. 359-383). C. L. Crouch.
Obadiah: Judah and Its Frenemy (pp. 385-394). Alejandro F. Botta and Mónica I. Rey.
The Prophet Ezekiel: State Priest, State Enemy (pp. 395-410). Stephen L. Cook.
Yhwh’s Cosmic Estate: Politics in Second Isaiah (411-430). Mark W. Hamilton.
Part 5: Prophets and Patriots of the Second Temple Period and Early Postbiblical Period
Haggai and Zechariah: A Maximalist View of the Return in a Minimalist Social Context (pp. 433-448). Eric M. Meyers.
Apocalyptic Resistance in the Visions of Daniel (pp. 449-462). John J. Collins.
References to the Prophets in the Old Testament Apocrypha (pp. 463-485). Robert J. Owens.
Prophets, Kittim, and Divine Communication in the Dead Sea Scrolls: Condemning the Enemy Without, Fighting the Enemy Within (pp. 487-512). James E. Bowley.
John the Baptizer: More Than a Prophet (pp. 513-523). James D. Tabor.
Jesus of Nazareth: Prophet of Renewal and Resistance (pp. 525-544). Richard A. Horsley.
Late First-Century Christian Apocalyptic: Revelation (pp. 545-564). Jennifer Knust.
Oracles on Accommodation versus Confrontation: The View from Josephus and the Rabbis (pp. 565-581). Andrew D. Gross.
Index of Authors (pp. 583-591).
Index of Scripture (pp. 592-613).
Mystery as an ever-deepening experience
I wish I had said this!
Here, ironically, the attempt by some evangelicals to sanctify Donald Trump might work well if given a quarter turn: he is no Cyrus, a pagan ordained of God to restore Jews to Israel, but Nebuchadnezzar, the pagan invader of Israel ordained of God to punish them for their unfaithfulness, and banishing the best of them from the promised land in the bargain. As intriguing might be the possibility of seeing that pagan’s later fate play out again—that is, to see the proud trumpet of egotistical greatness reduced to crawling around like a beast in the field, eating grass and growing literal instead of just figurative claws (Daniel 4)—one’s relish at the prospect bespeaks an unsanctified longing of its own.<idle musing>
Nothing quite like turning the mirror back on oneself, is there? Before congratulating ourselves that we haven't fallen prey to nationalism, perhaps we should find the log (whatever it might be) in our own eye.
Wednesday, April 18, 2018
What's your starting point?
Tuesday, April 17, 2018
First, let's define the terms…
Friday, April 13, 2018
The act of theologizing and the Holy Spirit
As I understand them, Irenaeus’s vision and those like it will typically be appealing to Pentecostals. This vision calls for the systematic theologian and his or her writing, speaking, and conceptualizing (i.e., systematizing) to be located within the economy of God's activity and purposes. On this score, sanctification is a more fundamental category than scholarly completeness—conviction and passion are more determinative here than coherence and rationality. What sets the tone for Pentecostal theologizing is the reality and confession that God is at work in the world, including the academic realm. With such a baseline and orienting claim, Pentecostals cannot help but think that falling prostrate on one’s knees in prayer is more basic to a faithful form of engagement than typing one's thoughts on a keyboard. The prayer-logic, however, can be sustained to a deeper level still: typing on a keyboard can in some sense—when it is construed as an activity within the framework of God’s self presentation and work—be a prayerful act of faithfulness.—Pentecostalism as a Christian Mystical Tradition, pages 35–36
I like that: "typing on a keyboard can in some sense—when it is construed as an activity within the framework of God’s self presentation and work—be a prayerful act of faithfulness." I'd like to think that's what I do when I'm editing and marketing books.
Thursday, April 12, 2018
Print versus digital
How is the current threat of digital distraction any greater when reading an e-book versus a print codex? Isn’t it just as easy to put down a print book and pick up a tablet or smartphone as it is to close out your e-reading app and start browsing Facebook? The answer, in my view, is no, and again I return to neuroplasticity. The digital environment is literally rewiring our brains to seek stimulative, short-term gratification at the expense of our ability to think and read in depth. In this situation, how much more challenging is it to read at length on the very same screen from which your brain expects quick scanning, 140-character tweets, and amusing cat videos than it is to read from a printed page or on a dedicated e-reader that does not offer such opportunities for distraction?<idle musing>
Thus the digital reading environment offers not a difference in degree but a difference in kind, one that is transformational in nature rather than evolutionary. As the digital age unfolds, it is likely to substantially alter both the nature of reading and the nature of the book itself as deep linear reading fades in importance and functional tabular reading becomes more widespread than ever. This will in turn alter the way people write and even the ways they think, leading to a likely decline of deep analytical thought for the purpose of forming broad conceptual frameworks in favor of a more immediate, purely functional form of decision-oriented thinking based on rapidly acquired snippets of information.—Reading in a Digital Age doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.3998/mpub.9944117 (emphasis original)
I agree. I read voluminously—both digitally and in print—and I know it is much easier to get distracted when I'm reading on a screen. Take this study as an example. I keep getting distracted by incoming email. I get tempted to check this or that. Not so when I grab a book. Consequently, I remember better what I read in print than what I read digitally.
“by the time we get students at college,” said the Indiana University professor Polly Husmann, “they’ve already been told ‘You’re a visual learner.’” Or aural, or what have you.<idle musing>
The thing is, they’re not. Or at least, a lot of evidence suggests that people aren’t really one certain kind of learner or another. In a study published last month in the journal Anatomical Sciences Education, Husmann and her colleagues had hundreds of students take the vark questionnaire to determine what kind of learner they supposedly were. The survey then gave them some study strategies that seem like they would correlate with that learning style. Husmann found that not only did students not study in ways that seemed to reflect their learning style, those who did tailor their studying to suit their style didn’t do any better on their tests.—The Atlantic, April 11, 2018
The spiritual matters
Wednesday, April 11, 2018
Your way of life matters
Amen and amen! That's why Barth's theology, as interesting and provocative as it is, doesn't pass the scratch and sniff test. Anyone who can justify having their mistress move into the family dwelling and live with them has a serious issue. It will affect their theology in ways that aren't immediately obvious, but are foundational.
Tuesday, April 10, 2018
The tools are missing
Monday, April 09, 2018
Academic theology and life
I guess you could call me naive! I firmly believe in the active presence of the Holy Spirit in the individual and the world. Anyone who has followed this blog very long should be aware that I frequently bemoan the "practical atheism" of most christians in the Western world in general and the US specifically. If we don't believe God is active in our lives on a daily basis, talking to us, prompting, empowering us, then what is our claim to historic Christianity?
Friday, April 06, 2018
Pentecostalism is best understood as a mystical tradition of the church catholic. The claim may not be self-evident to readers because of the number of reservations and objections on a host of matters, but I would say that this way of casting Pentecostalism is the most faithful way to preserve its traditional impulses, concerns, priorities, and overall ethos—features that continue to be present in its most vital contemporary forms. These mystical features have been prominent at different stages of the church's history, but sadly, Protestantism generally and evangelicalism particularly have often avoided or dismissed these as part of the gospel witness.—Pentecostalism as a Christian Mystical Tradition, page xvi (emphasis original)<idle musing>
I would qualify that statement a bit and say that the Reformed wing of Protestantism and evangelicalism has avoided it. The Wesleyan-Arminian wing, and to a lesser extent the Lutheran-German wing have embraced it. One only needs to consult Wesley's writings to see the embrace of the best of the mystical tradition, and it continued through out the nineteenth century as well. In the Lutheran-Germanic wing you have the pietistic impulse, which emphasized the mystical.
Because the Reformed are the ones who tend to write the history books and control the narrative, the assumption is made that they speak for all. Not much different than now, is it, with the Gospel Coalition claiming to speak for evangelicalism. But, that small caveat aside he is correct and this book looks to be a marvelous read. Come along for the ride!
Thursday, April 05, 2018
There really is continuity
That's the final extract from this book. Quite short compared to the last one, isn't it? It's really a nice read at only 150 or so pages. Next up is a book that I received from Eerdmans about a year or so ago:
Wednesday, April 04, 2018
It all ties together
Monday, April 02, 2018
April snow brings May flowers?
Yep. They pegged me
She laughed when she saw it, because it describes me when I get involved in reading a fiction book. Can you relate?