Tuesday, June 30, 2020
Monday, June 29, 2020
And don't forget to add statues! They are part of the ordering of our memory. We need to always be examining that ordering; perhaps—no! definitely—it needs to be reordered and modified to bring it more into line with what actually happened and whom we want to be as a nation and as a people. This should especially be true of Christians, who follow the only truth.
Friday, June 26, 2020
Augustine was wrong! I suspect that the reason he went the route of women not being fully the image of God, aside from his patriarchal frame of reference, was that the church is the bride of Christ, and apart from Christ can't reflect the glory of God. But those two don't have to be, in fact, shouldn't be, tied together.
The problem with Augustine is that he wrote so much that you can find pretty much anything you want in there. Unfortunately, it seems his worst stuff is what the church adopted! But that is just an
Thursday, June 25, 2020
Because Walton/Longman restrict where they believe the inspiration lies (and I agree with them), there is no issue with many of the issues that are hang-ups for so many. This view frees you from having to defend undefendable positions; you're not continually on the defensive, looking for offense. That kind of defensive attitude seems pretty anti-Christian, by the way. At the least it is the opposite of the attitude you see in the scriptures.
Wednesday, June 24, 2020
Tuesday, June 23, 2020
Monday, June 22, 2020
The result is that God banishes him (the thrust of the Hebrew word ’arur, translated “under a curse” in Gen 4:11). Being driven away from society and the provision of the ground places him in further nonorder. Cain notes this by the three things he has lost: provision of the land, access to the presence of God (further reduced), and protection of society (Gen 4:14). Nevertheless, he retains the order that was established in the blessing of Genesis 1:28—he is able to be fruitful and multiply (Gen 4:17).—Lost World of the Flood, 115
Friday, June 19, 2020
These concepts frame our understanding of the coherence of Genesis 1-11. When we try to understand the coherence of a biblical book (or section of it), we do so by trying to identify the rhetorical strategy that drives the compilation. Episodes were carefully chosen from among many possibilities. The narration of those episodes was presented with purposes in mind. The most acceptable interpretation of that rhetorical strategy is determined by how well it accounts for all of the pieces (both included and omitted) and for the way each episode is presented.—Lost World of the Flood, 114
Thursday, June 18, 2020
In the beginning there was nonorder (Heb. tohu wabohu [Gen 1:2]). This condition is not evil or ﬂawed; it is just a work in process. Order in the ancient world deﬁned existence and is characterized by having a purpose (whether in human terms or in the larger sphere of God’s plans as much as they could be perceived). Material objects (such as the sea or the desert) in the ancient world could be considered nonexistent if their role and purpose could not be identified by people or if they had no function in human experience.—Lost World of the Flood, 112–13
Wednesday, June 17, 2020
Tuesday, June 16, 2020
Even as we present the flood of Genesis as bringing about judgment, we want to issue a strong caution that such an interpretation does not give us a precedent interpreting any other flood (or other such calamities), ancient or modern, as the result of divine judgment. Our ability to identify a catastrophe as divine judgment depends entirely on the presence of an authoritative voice to so interpret that catastrophe. The Bible provides that authoritative interpretation for the Genesis flood; we have no such authoritative voice to interpret other events for us. Not all catastrophes are manifestations of God’s anger or judgment.—Lost World of the Flood, 100–101<idle musing>
Don't listen to those who claim to have the word from God on current events. Chances are good that they are wrong. Especially if it is wrapped up in hate language. And that's usually what it is, isn't it? God's mad, so he comes down and takes it out on us. Wrong god; that sounds more like one of the other deities wandering around in the ancient world than the God of the Exodus and the Father of Jesus the Messiah.
Monday, June 15, 2020
The real source of power in the cosmos comes from the primal, meta- divine realm. The gods and their individual of offices may give form and direction to this power but they are not the final masters over the cosmos or even their own fate. [Lawson, Concept of Fate in Ancient Mesopotamia, 39]The point can also be expressed by saying that, while the gods are subject to fate, they exercise a degree of agency. On the human plane—the “downstairs” level to the gods’ “upstairs” habitat—the fixed character of destiny was that much stronger and the degree of agency even smaller, to judge from omen texts and the logic of divination. The only exception seems to lie in the notion of prayer. For mortals, prayer could sometimes alter destiny.—Stephen B. Chapman in Divine Doppelgängers: YHWH’s Ancient Look-Alikes, 188
Friday, June 12, 2020
Thursday, June 11, 2020
“Why do you talk about my laws?
Why do you even mention my covenant?
17 You hate discipline, and
you toss my words behind your back.
18 You make friends with thieves whenever you see one;
you spend your time with adulterers.
19 You set your mouth free to do evil,
then harness your tongue to tell lies.
20 You sit around, talking about your own siblings;
you find fault with the children of your very own mother.
21 You’ve done these things and I’ve kept quiet.
You thought I was just like you!
But now I’m punishing you;
I’m laying it all out, right in front of your face.
22 So consider this carefully, all you who forget God,
or I’ll rip you to pieces with no one to deliver you. Ps. 50:16–22 CEB
In Mesopotamian religion, there exists a realm of power independent of, and greater than, the realm of divinity. It is for this reason that in some Mesopotamian texts, humans attempt to ward off evil without turning in any significant way to the gods.. . . The role of the gods, when they are mentioned in texts of this kind, is merely to aid the humans in accessing those powers, which transcend even the gods’ realms but are better understood by the gods than by humans. [Benjamin Sommer, “Monotheism,” 259]One of the most powerful of these forces is fate, which the gods themselves cannot merely overturn or negate. Indeed, the contrast between polytheism and monotheism may finally be less about the number of deities within a particular worldview and more about the relationship between deity and the divine forces of nature and fate. Monotheism thus entails what Peter Machinist has termed “a restructuring of the comic order.” [Peter Machinist, “How Gods Die,” 235]—Stephen B. Chapman in Divine Doppelgängers: YHWH’s Ancient Look-Alikes, 185–86
Wednesday, June 10, 2020
I saw the video, as I'm sure you did. Only someone who really wanted to see something other than overt police brutality would think such a stupid thing. Religious News Service (among others) has more background on the guy. Read it here.
OK, White, middle class evangelical voters. You have seen the deal you made. You've destroyed any shred of witness that you might have had left after 40 years of supporting Republican candidates based on their lip service to you about abortion. Face the facts. Billy Graham warned you way back in the 1970s that the right would use you and discard you when you became unnecessary. Well, there's no need to discard you any longer, because you have allowed power to corrupt you.
Power always corrupts. Always! The church does better as a prophetic witness outside the wings of power than inside. Once inside, it will become complicit. Sure, there will be moments that are the exception, but generally it's been quiet submission, or even (as the court evangelicals are doing) overt support for policies that are antichristian.
Fact: Abortion historically goes down under a Democratic president as opposed to a Republican one. Why? Figure it out! Most abortions are because of economic pressures. They feel they can't feed another mouth. Republican presidents have historically cut any kind of social safety net they think they can get away with.
If you are truly pro-life and not just anti-abortion, you need to consider the impact of government policy from womb to tomb. Then decide which of the flawed parties offers the better option. Get on board with that one and work for change from within to bring it closer to a biblical stand. But always remember that it is a flawed system because it is human.
Ok, this was supposed to be a short post. Guess it turned out differently, didn't it?
Tuesday, June 09, 2020
Monday, June 08, 2020
Like Hoffmann, Czesław Miłosz, a Nobel Prize–winning Polish poet, wrote about collaboration from personal experience. An active member of the anti-Nazi resistance during the war, he nevertheless wound up after the war as a cultural attaché at the Polish embassy in Washington, serving his country’s Communist government. Only in 1951 did he defect, denounce the regime, and dissect his experience. In a famous essay, The Captive Mind, he sketched several lightly disguised portraits of real people, all writers and intellectuals, each of whom had come up with different ways of justifying collaboration with the party. Many were careerists, but Miłosz understood that careerism could not provide a complete explanation. To be part of a mass movement was for many a chance to end their alienation, to feel close to the “masses,” to be united in a single community with workers and shopkeepers. For tormented intellectuals, collaboration also offered a kind of relief, almost a sense of peace: It meant that they were no longer constantly at war with the state, no longer in turmoil. Once the intellectual has accepted that there is no other way, Miłosz wrote, “he eats with relish, his movements take on vigor, his color returns. He sits down and writes a ‘positive’ article, marveling at the ease with which he writes it.” Miłosz is one of the few writers to acknowledge the pleasure of conformity, the lightness of heart that it grants, the way that it solves so many personal and professional dilemmas.
We all feel the urge to conform; it is the most normal of human desires. I was reminded of this recently when I visited Marianne Birthler in her light-filled apartment in Berlin. During the 1980s, Birthler was one of a very small number of active dissidents in East Germany; later, in reunified Germany, she spent more than a decade running the Stasi archive, the collection of former East German secret-police files. I asked her whether she could identify among her cohort a set of circumstances that had inclined some people to collaborate with the Stasi.
She was put off by the question. Collaboration wasn’t interesting, Birthler told me. Almost everyone was a collaborator; 99 percent of East Germans collaborated. If they weren’t working with the Stasi, then they were working with the party, or with the system more generally. Much more interesting—and far harder to explain—was the genuinely mysterious question of “why people went against the regime.” The puzzle is not why Markus Wolf remained in East Germany, in other words, but why Wolfgang Leonhard did not.
Friday, June 05, 2020
Thursday, June 04, 2020
Wednesday, June 03, 2020
Tuesday, June 02, 2020
Here is how this paradigm works. First, there is a real world, but the Bible does not describe that world authoritatively. Its description is both culturally conditioned (solid sky, waters above, etc.) and rhetorically shaped. We cannot derive a scientific explanation of the world from the Bible, and it would be misguided to try to find scientific evidence for that description. Nevertheless, the Bible does interpret that world authoritatively (God’s work in it and relationship to it).
We can apply that same paradigm to the flood. There was a real, cataclysmic event, but the Bible does not describe that event authoritatively. Its description is culturally conditioned (the flood tradition we all know) and rhetorically shaped (universalistic cosmic proportions). We cannot derive a scientific explanation of the flood from the Bible, and it would be misguided to try to ﬁnd scientific evidence for that description. Nevertheless, the Bible does interpret that event authoritatively (what God was doing; why it happened: judgment, recreation, nonorder as response to disorder, covenant, etc.).—Lost World of the Flood, 11 (emphasis original)
Monday, June 01, 2020
That's the final snippet from this book. We'll had back into the Old Testament with the next book, starting tomorrow.