Daily Archives: 5 Dec 2010

Answering Your Letters

This one came from someone named Mark.  He writes

Jim,

You seem to know in person or by reputation most of the better known bible bloggers.  What are they really like?  What’s the truth about bibliobloggers?  Can you say?

Mark, thanks for writing.  If I might, could I answer your question with something of a metaphor?  If bloggers were tv shows or movies, then

Mark Stevens is Bridezillas.
Mark Goodacre is Dr Who?
James McGrath is Star Trek Voyager.
Roland Boer is Queer Eye For the Straight Guy.
James Crossley is Monday Night Raw.
Chris Tilling is The PGA Today.
NT Wrong is The Mentalist.
Stephen Smuts is The 700 Club.
Gavin Rumney is The Garner Ted Armstrong Show.
Scott Bailey is The NHL Playoffs.
Joel Watts is Hogan’s Heroes.
Robert Cargill is Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.
Michael Barber is Mel Gibson’s Jesus of Nazareth.
Antonio Lombatti is Investigation Discovery.
Jeremy Thompson is The NFL Today.

In short, then, Mark, bibliobloggers are on the whole nice enough but generally more than they first appear to be. Sometimes for the better, and sometimes for the worse. To plumb the depths of Tilling’s disturbed personality, for example, would require years. While learning all the McGrathian ins and outs takes but a moment. And no one, and I mean no one, wants to try to figure out Joel Watts. He’s been the cause of many mental health professionals imprisonment.

I hope this helps. If you ever meet any of these persons in the flesh be sure to keep one hand on your wallet and the other on your can of mace. Otherwise… well, you can imagine…

Yours,

Jim

Joseph Kelly’s Call for Carnival Assistance

If you’d like to help him prepare for the next Carnival, keep your eyes open this month and submit your suggestions here.

More Blizzardy Horror

Will it never end?

The Conclusion of the Matter: Viva la Liberta!

Mozart’s Don Giovanni would be a huge fan of WikiLeaks. As are all fans of liberty. And nothing serves as a call to liberty quite as well as this fantastic segment which concludes the first half of the Opera.

Israel’s Leaders are Being Scorched…

Nahum Barnea at his book's presentation

Nahum Barnea

But thankfully the fire is apparently under control. Now the real fire (for politicians) will commence. And probably last a lot longer.

Israeli officials came under sharp criticism Sunday for their handling of the country’s deadliest wildfire ever, prompting critics to ask whether the nation’s leaders can cope with more serious challenges, like rocket attacks and a nuclear-armed Iran. Israelis have been riveted to round-the-clock coverage of the blaze, which has claimed 41 lives and devastated one of the few forests in this arid country. The site of bumbling leaders and overwhelmed rescuers turning to the outside world for help sparked anger over the vulnerability of a nervous — and densely populated — home front. Late Sunday, a senior fire official, Boaz Rakia, declared the blaze under control, though it was unclear when it would be extinguished.

And here’s a smack if ever there was one delivered against Israeli politicians-

“We are entitled to expect of our governments not to be smart only after the fact but — at least once — to be smart before disaster strikes,” Nahum Barnea, the nation’s pre-eminent newspaper columnist, wrote in the Yediot Ahronot daily. “That hasn’t happened because we have no national leadership here that is capable of rising above the immediate problems.”

Note, Aren, that I’m not the one saying something negative about the government this time. This time, it’s someone else joined by a chorus.  Barnea isn’t at all happy.  And the leadership of Israel he describes sounds exactly like the leadership we’re cursed with here in the States too.

Who Are the Judges Deciding the ‘Gay Marriage’ Question?

All three judges hearing arguments Monday are white men, but together they present about as wide a range of judicial experience and approach as possible. On one end of the spectrum sits Circuit judge Stephen Reinhardt of Los Angeles, appointed to the bench by 1980 by President Jimmy Carter, and widely considered one of the most liberal federal judges now wearing robes.

Easy to see how he will decide– since he’s already decided a case involving ‘gay rights’.

Sitting beside Reinhardt will be N. Randy Smith, the newest member of the panel. Smith was appointed to the bench by President George W. Bush in 2007, after serving since 1995 as a state trial court judge in Idaho, where he is also a member of the Idaho State GOP Hall of Fame. As a state trial judge, Smith is unlikely to have occasion to tip his hand on gay marriage from the bench, but as a lifelong conservative, and two-time graduate of Brigham Young University in Utah, it’s likely he will be receptive to arguments put forth by attorney Charles Cooper that Walker overreached in his ruling.

And it’s easy to see how he will decide. So it all comes down to the third-

Senior Circuit Judge Michael Hawkins of Phoenix, the third judge hearing Monday’s arguments, is considered a moderate by many, including himself. Nominated by President Clinton in 1994, while serving as U.S. Attorney in Arizona, Hawkins said in a 2003 interview with the How Appealing legal blog: “I think of myself as being entirely moderate in all things, but others might say otherwise.” He acknowledged, however, that judges often do reflect the philosophies of the President who nominated them. “It cannot be ignored that judges are often (but not always) something of a mirror of the President who appointed them.”

Put your finger to the wind and feel the breeze blow in the direction of a 2-1 decision in favor of overturning prop 8 and legitimizing ‘gay marriage’.

The Dreadful Blizzard of ’10 Continues…

Only one Scripture comes to mind… ‘How long, O Lord, how long?’

A Bonhoeffer Book Giveaway!

Ron Kubsch has the book giveaway contest to end all contests!  I’ve entered so you might as well not bother.  But just in case you must, and you’re one of those Bonhoeffer loving people…

201012051451.jpg

Ich möchte mich bei allen Lesern des Theoblog ganz herzlich für das Interesse an den Beträgen und Disputen bedanken! In den zurückliegenden Monaten habe ich wieder viele Leute kennen und schätzen gelernt. Ich danke auch denen, die regelmäßig und konstruktiv kommentiert haben!

Etliche Leute haben 2010 Bücher über TheoBlog bei Amazon bestellt (mehr dazu hier) oder über den Buchladen Bestellungen aufgegeben. Vielen Dank!

Ich möchte mich durch eine kleine Aufmerksamkeit erkenntlich zeigen. Jeder Blog-Leser hat die Chance, in der Weihnachtszeit ein Päckchen mit der kleinen Auswahlausgabe von Dietrich Bonhoeffer zu empfangen. Über die von Christian Gremmels und Wolfgang Huber besorgte Ausgabe heißt es:

Zum 100. Geburtstag legt das Gütersloher Verlagshaus die lange erwartete Auswahlausgabe der Werke Dietrich Bonhoeffers vor. In 6 Bänden von je 240 Seiten bietet sie die wichtigsten Texte aus dem gesamten Schaffensspektrum Bonhoeffers. Auszüge aus dem theologischen Hauptwerk finden sich ebenso wie theologische Entwürfe, Predigten, Gebete und Gedichte. Wiedergegeben werden Teile des umfänglichen Briefwechsels, darunter auch der mit Maria von Wedemeyer. Alle Teile des Werkes sind versehen mit kundigen Einleitungen, eine Familienübersicht, Biogramme der wichtigsten im Werk genannten Personen und ein Abkürzungsverzeichnis runden das Werk ab.

If you don’t want to miss out and just want to go ahead and get your own since you won’t win the contest (because I MUST!), then you can get it here.

The Blizzard of December, 2010

Upon getting up this morning and venturing forth, I discovered that we had been assaulted overnight with a blast of the dreaded white goop…

I’m just glad that’s all we’re getting.

Well Now, Who Knew…

Liam Neeson at the TIFF premiere of The Other ...

Prat Neeson

The much-loved children’s stories have an unapologetic Christian message.C. S. Lewis was clear that the character of Aslan in his Chronicles of Narnia is based on Christ. But actor Liam Neeson, who voices the lion in the latest Narnia film, has prompted a row after claiming his character is also based on other religious leaders such as Mohammed and Buddha.

Well, there goes my respect for Neeson. Another actor who knows nothing about theology or theological writings and yet who feels compelled to babble on.

Ahead of the release of The Voyage of the Dawn Treader next Thursday, Neeson said: ‘Aslan symbolises a Christ-like figure but he also symbolises for me Mohammed, Buddha and all the great spiritual leaders and prophets over the centuries.

Idiot.

In Pakistan Being a Christian Can Get You Killed

Yes, the very same Pakistan that the United States is pouring billions of aid into.  That Pakistan is the site of this reprehensible tale

It all began a year and a half ago, with a quarrel over a bowl of water. A group of women farm workers were suffering in the heat near a village in Pakistans Punjab province. Aasia Noreen, an illiterate 45-year-old mother five, offered them water, but was rebuffed. Noreen was a Christian, they said, and therefore her water was unclean – sadly, a common taunt hurled at Pakistan’s beleaguered Christians. But rather than swallowing the indignity, she mounted a stout defense of her faith.

So what happened?

Word of the exchange swiftly filtered through the village of Ittan Wali, in Sheikhupura district. The local mullah took to his mosque’s loudspeakers, exhorting his followers to take action against Noreen. In a depressingly familiar pattern, her defense of her faith was twisted into an accusation of blasphemy, according to her family and legal observers familiar with the case. As a frenzied mob pursued her, the police intervened, taking her into custody. But far from protecting her, they arrested and charged Noreen with insulting Islam and its prophet. And on Nov. 8, after enduring 18 months in prison, she was sentenced to death by a district court, making her the first woman to suffer that fate.

Yes, in Pakistan

Christians are subject to vicious prejudice …, where there [sic!] beliefs are said to make them “unclean.” Municipalities routinely advertise jobs for cleaners with a note saying they would prefer Christian applicants. And defending their rights is not popular. When Salmaan Taseer, the governor of Punjab, visited Noreen in prison and urged her release, he was branded an apostate by fundamentalist groups. And in the fundamentalist view, apostasy, like blasphemy, is punishable by death.

Astonishingly

The Lahore High Court has taken the controversial step of saying that it won’t allow President Asif Ali Zardari to issue a pardon, a move that legal experts have said is unconstitutional. Her family is now hoping that the higher courts will strike down the death sentence, or that she will eventually secure a pardon. And the fear doesn’t end there. While no one has been executed for blasphemy yet, 32 people – including two judges – have been slain by vigilantes. At Friday prayers this week, Yousef Qureshi, a hardline cleric from the Mohabat Khan mosque in Peshawar, offered a reward of 500,000 rupees ($5,800) to “those who kill Aasia Bibi.” Even if pardoned, Rehman notes grimply, Noreen will no longer be able to to live in her community. For her own safety, she will have to be moved – simply for defending her right to choose her own faith.

Disgusting. And more proof that being a Christian (outside the US and Europe) requires more than the paltry ‘faith’ so many westerners practice.

Total Depravity: Racism in Idaho

A white separatist drew complaints from neighbors and a visit from law enforcement officers after building a snowman shaped like a member of the Ku Klux Klan on his front lawn. Kootenai County sheriff’s deputies told Mark Eliseuson Wednesday that he could be charged with a crime because the 10-foot-tall snowman was holding what appeared to be a noose. Deputies were called by neighbors who were appalled by the pointy-headed snowman with two dark eyes. … Eliseuson told KXLY-TV of Spokane that he sees nothing wrong with the snowman. But other people did. “It’s such a message of hate,” said Amber Caldwell, who saw the snowman while visiting her cousin in the neighborhood. “My kids asked me about it and I had to explain what that symbol means.” Eliseuson has angered neighbors in the past by flying Aryan Nations flags at his home. At Halloween he passed out bullet casings after he said he ran out of candy.

Racist.  But the most despicable aspect is the noose being held in the snowman’s hand.  I’m really surprised someone hasn’t destroyed the thing.  The chap who made it sounds like a real prize of a human being.

Violence is Never the Answer… But Sometimes One Can Understand the Motive

The Wichita Eagle reports

In a Wichita case that has captured national attention, a double-amputee war veteran already accused of misdemeanors against a controversial Topeka church now faces a felony charge.  The latest charge — conspiracy to commit aggravated battery — was filed by Sedgwick County prosecutors Friday afternoon. The charge accuses Army veteran Ryan Newell of engaging in a conspiracy in which firearms were obtained and put in his vehicle and taken to a place where church members were located.  Mid-morning Tuesday, detectives arrested Newell. He was backed into a parking spot outside Wichita City Hall with guns and ammunition in his SUV while five Westboro church members met inside with Wichita police officials to discuss protest-safety concerns, sources have said.

That’s definitely the wrong move but it’s not much of a stretch to understand why he would plan such a thing.  Those Westboro folks will face sterner judgment than any person or persons can offer, though, so it’s best to leave it to the hands of God.  ‘I will repay, says the Lord’.  Sometimes just not as soon as some would like.

Loon Alert: More Turin Shroud Madness

"the shroud of turin cake"

Image by *bethography* via Flickr

And this one’s loonier than most.  Though quantifying insanity is a dicey matter.

Chidambaram Ramesh, an Indian author, in his latest book “Shroud of Turin: An Imprint of the Soul, Apparition, or Quantum Bio-Hologram” has proposed a new theory that the mysterious image of the man on the Shroud is an imprint of the Quantum Self or Bio-Hologram and the effect of heat/light of such macro-scale quantum holographic manifestation of the man on the Shroud could have had a ‘scorch-like’ effect on the Shroud fibres to imprint the mysterious image on it.

Riiiigggghhhhhtttt…..   Via David Meadows on FB.

The Tart Who Ensnared Zwingli

Most know that Huldrych Zwingli began his priestly duties in Glarus and then moved to Einsiedeln. There, a strumpet, the daughter of the barber, a vixen well known around town for he ability to ‘get what she wanted’, set her sights on the new Priest.

Zwingli, unfortunately, gave in to the varlet’s overtures and immediately repented, having nothing to do with her again.

Years later word was circulating around Zurich about the affair because several of Zwingli’s opponents were attempting to block his appointment as Priest at the Grossmunster. So Zwingli wrote his friend on the 5th of December, 1518, the following (excerpted)-

One of the most learned and amiable of our friends [Oswald Myconius] has written to me that a rumor has been spread in Zurich about me, alleging that I have seduced the daughter of a high official, and that this has given offense to a number of my friends. I must answer this calumny so that you, dear friend, and others, can clear my life from these false rumors. . . First, you know that three years ago I made a firm resolution not to interfere with any female: St. Paul said it was good not to touch a woman. That did not turn out very well. . . . As to the charge of seduction I needn’t take long in dealing with that. They make it out to concern the daughter of an important citizen. I don’t deny that she is the daughter of an important person: anyone who could touch the emperor’s beard is important — barber forsooth! No one doubts that the lady concerned is the barber’s daughter except possibly the barber himself who has often accused his wife, the girl’s mother, a supposedly true and faithful wife, of adultery, blatant but not true. At any rate he has turned the girl, about whom all this fuss is being made, out from his house and for two years has given her neither board nor lodging. So what is the daughter of such a man to me? . . . With intense zeal day and night even at the cost of harm to his body, [I] study the Greek and Latin philosophers and theologians, and this hard work takes the heat out of such sensual desires even if it does not entirely eliminate them. Further, feelings of shame have so far restrained me that when I was still in Glarus and let myself fall into temptation in this regard a little, I did so so quietly that even my friends hardly knew about it. And now we will come to the matter before us and I will cast off what they call the last anchor taking no account of public opinion which takes a poor view of open resort to loose women. In this instance it was a case of maiden by day, matron by night, and not so much of the maiden by day but everybody in Einsiedeln knew about her . . . no one in Einsiedeln thought I had corrupted a maiden. All the girl’s relations knew that she had been caught long before I came to Einsiedeln, so that I was not in any way concerned. . . . To close: I have written a good deal of facetious chatter, but these people don’t understand anything else. You can say whatever you think suitable to anyone who is concerned. (G.R. Potter’s translation and selection of the letter to Utinger found in Zwinglis Saemtliche Werke, Bd. VII, S. 110ff)

What’s so fascinating here is 1- the use of the Latin and Greek Fathers as saltpeter. And 2- Zwingli’s blunt admission that he had fallen a few times in Glarus and then once in Einsiedeln, employing thereafter the aforementioned saltpeter. It has to be recognized that Priests in Zwingli’s time regularly employed mistresses and many were fathers of large broods of children. This isn’t to excuse, but to contextualize. Zwingli fell a few times- but not as much as most.

Which means, doesn’t it, that he was a bit depraved, but not totally! 😉