Daily Archives: 21 Oct 2010

That Rarest of All Things: An Apology

And for it Dianna Agron (Quinn, of Glee)deserves respect and appreciation.

I’d like to start by saying that these are solely my thoughts on the November issue of GQ and the controversy that has surrounded its release. I am not a representative of the three of us, the show, or Fox, only myself. In the land of Madonna, Britney, Miley, Gossip Girl, other public figures and shows that have pushed the envelope and challenged the levels of comfort in their viewers and fans…we are not the first. Now, in perpetuating the type of images that evoke these kind of emotions, I am sorry. If you are hurt or these photos make you uncomfortable, it was never our intention. And if your eight-year-old has a copy of our GQ cover in hand, again I am sorry. But I would have to ask, how on earth did it get there?

Right on all counts, Miss. And the rest is well put too. A sensible girl indeed.

Popular Science: Dilettantes

Here’s why ‘scientists’ should shut up about things like the Dead Sea Scrolls.  This is the actual headline for an essay in Popular Science touting the digitalization of the Scrolls.  And I bet you can spot the problem in a millisecond.

Apocrypha In Your Browser: Google Is Putting The Dead Sea Scrolls Online

Who are the geniuses over at Popular Science who think the Scrolls are the Apocrypha?  Worse still, the photo featured in the report is of a scroll of Deuteronomy.  Dilettantes.

A New Essay in a New Volume Worth Reading

William Schniedewind’s “Excavating the Text of 1 Kings 9: In Search of the Gates of King Solomon,” in T. E. Levy, Historical Biblical Archaeology and the Future – The New Pragmatism (London: Equinox, 2010), pp. 241-49 follows close on the heels of Israel Finkelstein’s newly published essay. Bill’s piece commences

Biblical Archaeology first looked to 1 Kgs 9:15 as a literary correlate to the archaeological remains of gates at Gezer, Hazor, and Megiddo. More recently, archaeologists have critiqued this reliance on 1 Kgs 9:15. Neither the reliance upon this text nor the critique of this use of the text have seriously engaged the literary context and redactional history of the text. Verse 15 is actually part of a longer list that was interrupted by interpretative glosses of the deuteronomistic historian that relate to the deuteronomic ‘law of the king’. Archaeologists need to reference the longer archival list in 1 Kgs 9:15, 17-18 rather than the truncated fragment in v. 15.

Get hold of the volume which contains it and give it a read.

Justin Bieber Taken to School by an Old Canadian Dude

Via Mark Regier on FB. Go, old Canadian dude! Mock Bieber’s ‘literary achievement’… HA!

What Needs to Be Said to those Dainty Souls so Easily Offended…

Caricature of Charles Spurgeon. Caption reads ...

Can best be related by an anecdote concerning C.H. Spurgeon.

Once, after a particularly rousing sermon a woman approached Mr Spurgeon and said ‘Sir, may I speak plainly with you and quite openly without fear?’ to which Spurgeon replied ‘Certainly, Madam.  Say on!’

‘Well sir’, said she, ‘I sat through the sermon being terribly offended by you.’ ‘What?’ said Spurgeon.  ‘What could I possibly have said to cause such consternation for such a tender plant?’  ‘Sir’, she said, ‘It’s not what you said, it’s what you’re wearing.  That tie is offensive’.

Pulling his knife out of his pocket Spurgeon said ‘Madam, do cut it off!’  And she did.  Then Spurgeon said to her ‘Madam, having listened to you and knowing that your attention was pulled from the proclamation of God’s Word to the trivial, may I be equally honest with you?’  ‘Yes’ she replied.

‘Madam, there’s something offensive about you.  May I cut it off as well?’   She said ‘Yes, sir, please do!’  Spurgeon lifted his knife and said ‘Madam, stick out your tongue…’

To those gentle souls so easily offended I’d like to offer a word:  come over here, and stick your tongue out.

More ‘Tyranny of the Minority’ Insanity

The Christian flag is everywhere in the small city of King: flying in front of barbecue joints and hair salons, stuck to the bumpers of trucks, hanging in windows and emblazoned on T-shirts. The relatively obscure emblem has become omnipresent because of one place it can’t appear: flying above a war memorial in a public park. The city council decided last month to remove the flag from above the monument in Central Park after a resident complained, and after city leaders got letters from the American Civil Liberties Union and Americans United for the Separation of Church and State urging them to remove it. That decision incensed veterans groups, churches and others in King, a city of about 6,000 people 15 miles north of Winston-Salem. Ray Martini, 63, an Air Force veteran who served in Vietnam, launched a round-the-clock vigil to guard a replica Christian flag hanging on a wooden pole in front of the war memorial. Since Sept. 22, the vigil has been bolstered by home-cooked food delivered by supporters, sleeping bags and blankets donated by a West Virginia man and offers of support from New York to Louisiana.

Look, let’s be clear, the flag in and of itself isn’t the issue for me. The issue is the fact that what’s supported by an entire community can be undermined by one or two complainers. That kind of power in the hands of a few is the absolute overthrow of democracy itself. It is infuriating. Absolutely infuriating. Further, it’s absolutely insane.  If I lived in King I’d organize as many people as I could and vote out the cowardly commissioners who caved in to the will of the teeny tiny minority.  And I’d festoon the entire town with every sticker and banner I could get my hands on.  Yes, festoon it!  Wretched feckless dimwittery and the ACLU are marching hand in hand on this one.  The rights of the vast majority should not be denied because of the carping of the insipid.

The Kitten Stomper: The Perfect Gift for the Friend who has Everything

Don’t write… its Swiftian humor! Calm yourselves, PETA! [Blame Phil Style if you want to blame someone]

Luther’s Advice to the Melancholic

Martin Luther by Lucas Cranach. The Protestant...

A man doesn’t have control of himself when he is downcast and alone, even if he is well equipped with a knowledge of the Scriptures. It is not for nothing that Christ gathers his church around the Word and the sacraments and is unwilling to let these be hidden in a corner. Away with monks and hermits! These are inventions of Satan because they exist apart from all the godly ordinances and arrangements of God. According to the plan of creation every man is either a domestic or a political or an ecclesiastical person. Outside of these ordinances he is not a man, unless he is miraculously exempted. Accordingly a solitary life should be avoided as much as possible. — Martin Luther

Abortion is Murder

be glad I spared you the gruesome abortion photos I considered

Can any thinking person imagine otherwise in the case of the Chinese woman who was forced to abort her 8 month unborn?

A pregnant woman in south China was detained, beaten and forced to have an abortion just a month before her due date because the baby would have violated the country’s one-child limit, her husband said Thursday. Construction worker Luo Yanquan said his wife was taken kicking and screaming from their home by more than a dozen people on Oct. 10 and detained in a clinic for three days by family planning officials, then taken to a hospital and injected with a drug that killed her baby. Family planning officials told the couple they weren’t allowed to have the child because they already have a 9-year-old daughter, Luo said.

The Chinese government is a government of barbarians and murderers.

More Evil Cats Taking Over the World News

Cats are purposefully growing ever larger (in contrast to the evolutionary-ists who have been suckered into believing, by the cat propagandists, that cats are getting smaller) in their ever swelling numbers so that when they take over the world, they can stand on their hind legs and walk taller.

Evil incarnate!  That’s what the scheming beasts are.  Pure evil!

‘Faith Got Me Through It’

I’m presently wasting time before rounds by watching an interview on ABC with Brett Favre’s wife and she constantly refers to the fact that ‘faith gets her through difficult times’.

I don’t mean to quibble- but ‘faith’ doesn’t get us through troubled times- God does.  Faith is the viaduct of God’s salvific action.  Faith, in and of itself, is not some sort of magical talisman.  And those who treat faith as an end rather than as an implement misunderstand both it and God.

An improper theology manifests itself in idolatry.  And idols can be made of even the greatest things.  God is love, but love is not God.  Faith matters, but faith is not the end.  ‘These three abide’, Paul writes, ‘faith, hope and love.  But the greatest of these is love’.  But the love to which Paul refers isn’t human love, but divine.  God is the object and goal of our thoughts and deeds and – yes – praise.  Praise of a created thing (even faith) is nothing less than idol worship.

The Difference Between German Convicts and American Convicts

The Magic Flute – play bill of the first perfo...

In America, cons learn such useful skills as making a shiv from a straw and honing their criminal skills by picking up tips from other cons. In Germany, they perform Mozart’s Opera the Magic Flute.

Criminals sitting out long-term sentences were given a rare opportunity to break down the figurative walls between prison life and freedom by joining local students in staging an opera near Frankfurt. All five shows in the production of Mozart’s “The Magic Flute” took place inside prisons in the region, but the organizers hope to take the show out to the public next year. This year’s last performance was at a prison in the town of Butzbach, north of Frankfurt, Wednesday evening. Some 80 local inmates clad in uniforms of dark trousers and red shirts, as well as outside guests, attended the show in the towering 116-year-old brick-faced facility’s gymnasium, under the watchful eyes of uniformed guards.

I wonder how many American cons have even heard of Mozart?

Hebrew University Students LipSync Glee Singing Queen

Via Matthew Kalman on FB

Remembering Gerhard von Rad on the Anniversary of his Birth

When I was a student in Seminary in the mid 80’s (that’s 1980’s), Gerhard von Rad’s Old Testament Theology (and other works) were required reading.  Having come from an astonishingly conservative (yet amazingly open to education) theological background, I found von Rad simply revolutionary.

Having been introduced to his Theology, I got my hands on everything the Library had which he had written.  It was eye opening and spirit stirring.  His commentary on Genesis (in the Old Testament Library) was the first academically oriented commentary I ever purchased.

I’ve since moved past Gerhard, but I’ve never ceased admiring him and his astonishing achievements in Wisdom Literature, the Prophets, Torah, theology, and even preaching.  Indeed, reading his sermons, even now, is spiritual delight.

The greatest of the 20th century’s Old Testament theologians was born on the 21st of October in 1901.  Modern students may not know him and to their own harm and loss they may not read him, but I for one will never forget him.

Thanks, Gerhard, for guiding me along through a very difficult and challenging time of spiritual and intellectual growth.  I appreciate you.

Why Oh Why? The Trash-i-fication of Glee

Glee seems to be trashifying itself.  Who knows why.  But a recent photoshoot for GQ portrays a couple of the young stars of the formerly fantastic but recently tragically uninteresting show in less than flattering light (to be charitable).

It’s a shame that their talent as singers and actors has now been set aside and they have been reduced to nothing more than sexual objects for leering males.  I guess their skank-i-fication is aimed at getting more viewers, since the content of the show itself is becoming a bit tiresome.  After all, if you can’t dazzle them with brilliance, baffle them with rubbish.

NPR Gives Juan Williams the Boot

For, apparently, making some ‘inappropriate’ comments about Muslims on ‘The O’Reilly Factor’.

I have mixed feelings about this.  First, having heard his remarks on NPR this morning when the story was reported, he did say something pretty silly about being on a plane and seeing Muslims and being nervous because of their presence.  And his regular participation on Fox News always strikes me as odd.  But second, he’s very insightful and very, very intelligent and obviously knows his stuff.  Should people be fired for silly remarks?  If so, God help us all.

Read the remarks for yourself.  As the chap over there observes

Just a reminder but NPR didn’t fire a cartoonist who insulted tea party attendees. Apparently that kind of thinking is consistent with their editorial standards and practices. I’m sure in the coming days people will dig up plenty examples of NPR reporters insulting Christians, America and other groups but not losing their jobs over it. As always, it’s just one group that gets super-protected status and it just happens to be the one that is so peaceful, they will kill you for insulting them.

Lucky for him, he doesn’t work for NPR.  Or he wouldn’t be much longer.  NPR has made some really bizarre decisions lately.  First telling reporters and employees not to attend the Jon Stewart rally and now this?  What’s going on with you, NPR?