Sunday, April 12, 2020

Around the 'net

I missed posting last week because of a deadline on a book and the heavy load of shifting everything on line at PSU Press and Eisenbrauns, so this is two weeks worth of goodies. I hope you find at least a few of these helpful. I'm mainly going to post links, instead of excerpts. Please take the time to chase the links.

First off, the thing everybody has been talking about for the last few weeks, the corona virus. Let's start with a bit of historical stuff as ANE Today takes a look, ranging from antiquity on.

Of course, there is the economic end, as Mike Frost asks "What is the Worth of Another Person's Life?" Some good insights there; do read it. And then there are the food shortages—or are they shortages? This NPR story looks at a different side of the problem: food rotting in the field because the normal market, restaurants, has dried up. Too much food in the wrong places. Food shelves desperately need it, but how to get it to them?

What about the social side of this? George Yancey takes a look and makes some suggestions. Read it, and be sure to keep what he says in context. He is not saying to ignore the health officials. He's saying we need input from all the interrelated disciplines to come to a good decision. And that isn't just when it comes the the corona virus, either!

The rise of anti-Asian feelings is also a concern. The Anxious Bench discusses some of them and what a Christian response should be. Read it and weep for those who are attacked. And for the attackers, who feel it is necessary to respond in hatred. May the love of Christ set them free!

And what to do to recover economically from this? The Hill has an op-ed worth reading. The guy has good creds, too: "Richard Vague is Pennsylvania’s acting Secretary of Banking and Securities. He previously was a managing partner of Gabriel Investments, based in Philadelphia, and co-founder and CEO of Energy Plus, Juniper Financial, and First USA Bank. He is the author of “A Brief History of Doom” (2019), which analyzed the world’s largest financial crises of the past 200 years. The opinions expressed here are his own." I've read bits and pieces of that book at the library; it's a fascinating read.

What about the other side of this? Pete Enns meditates on it via the book of Ecclesiastes. Good stuff! And Stephen McAlpine asks if the post-virus world will be all that new, as some people say it will. Hint: It won't. People will still be selfish. But he isn't going to let that stop the hugging that will happen. While Chris Gehrz warns us to "Beware the Return to Normalcy."

And why is it so hard to create an accurate model of how the virus spreads? FiveThirtyEight explains; well, they give you an overview of why. It's actually even more complicated, but they say their editors won't let them get too deep. Good thing; what they do explain is complicated enough!

What about the theological side of this thing? Apparently someone wrote a new Easter hymn, but Ponder Anew explains why it focuses on the wrong things. You should also read Pope Francis's March 27 address. Good stuff in there. And while you are at it, take a look at Philip Jenkins post "And Mercy Danced." Mercy always has the last word.

You've seen or read about those who are claiming Ps 91, right? Well, Assembly of God theologian Andrew Gabriel takes a look. Remember, he's a pentecostal, so he's no stranger to the miraculous. If he were a cessationist, you could just discount what he says, but he's experienced the power of God, which makes his insights more valuable.

Let's end this string of virus posts with two feel-good ones: Fort Wayne, IN is urging people to come outdoors every night at 7:00 to wave to their neighbors. And a five-year-old boy in the town down the road from us, Lake City, is making driftwood crosses.

OK, other stuff also has been happening! Righting America asks whether the progressive theologians' obsession with fundamentalism has skewed their theology. Spoiler: it has. But, I would say it has also skewed the theology of "big-tent" evangelicals, as well. We should be defining our positions with respect to the scriptures, but instead we end up defining them vis-a-vis some real or imagined opponent.

That thought segues nicely into John Hawthorne's post "On Evangocentrism." Take a look and then take a gander at the Bible. Which one defines your outlook more? I pray it wouldn't be your peer-group or chosen tribe, but instead be the King of kings. But I fear that, in my own life at least, it is far too often the former instead of the latter.

Let's shift gears here a bit, heading back into the ancient world of scripture. Mike Glenn talks about watching idols topple, while RJS talks about dates and numbers in their setting. And Scot McKnight discusses Ancient War Atrocities, Now Compared to the Bible's, and Our Reluctant War God. That whole series has been good. I need to buy the book!

Stick with me! We're almost done. Roger Olson, using strict Calvinist Charles Hodge's definition, explains why Calvinism is "impossible." Read the post; he is correct.

Let me end with a link to how Gore, the company that invented Gore-Tex, tests their products. Pretty amazing!

And here's a view out my study window this Easter morning! He is risen!

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