Daily Archives: 23 Dec 2010

A Very Cool Christmas Card

Came in email a bit ago.  We get a lot of nice cards but this one’s very unique.  And very nice.

Oh That’s Just Stupid

Religion Dispatches reports

Santa Claus is dead – well, at least a pinata of Santa is dead, thanks to the good folks at Repent Amarillo, the “Special Forces of spiritual warfare,” who put Santa before a firing squad.  In a video by the outfit (who, by the way, “abhor violence”) Santa’s list of “heinous crimes against the Lord our God” are read out before the execution. Among them “idolatry” for replacing himself with Jesus Christ, and for being a “stumbling block to parents who lie to their children that you exist to bring them gifts.”  Then, before the violence begins, Santa is told: “We would plead that the Lord have mercy on your soul, but you have no soul, as you exist only as a lie and nothing more.”  Then, the video gets really chilling and creepy as parents are instructed to bring their children to the screen to witness Santa’s final moments. Then the shooting starts as three people lock and load and empty their guns into Santa several times. Then, the “coup de grace” (pronounced “coo-dee-grace” on the video), as one goes in to take a final couple of close in shots to finish off the jolly fat man. The video shows just the barrel of the shotgun as two shots are fired pointblank into Santa’s head.

Amarillo… that’s in Texas isn’t it…  figures.  These people are the same as the fellow who thought burning copies of the Quran was a good idea: nothing more than publicity seekers who deserve not acclaim for their foolish actions but mocking.  The object lesson for children- ‘don’t let your own children grow up to be people like these’.

Conrad Grebel Wasn’t Just a Loon When He Was Alive…

He’s a loon in his revived state too!  And so like the other ‘#1’ hopefuls, he’s decided to come up with his own ‘Top 20’ biblioblogs… by Urim and Thummim (which may actually be the best way to do it after all, as much as I shudder to consider how such a method may be manipulated by unsavory people given to taking bribes and perpetrating fraud).

At present Grebel has an Alexa rank around 10,000,000 (which puts him right near Halcomb, doesn’t it).  Small wonder he wants to improve his odds.

Due to the confusion about how to measure the top biblioblogs each month, I will begin a new Top 20, based on my use of the Urim and Thummim, which I acquired from a former employer at the Baghdad Museum in 2003 (picture attached of Urim inscribed with gimel).   The selection of the Biblioblog Top 20 by use of Urim and Thummim will provide the only BIBLICALLY BASED measure of biblioblogs (Exod. 28:30; Lev. 8:8; Num. 27.21; Deut 33:8; 1 Sam. 14:41; 28:6; Ezra 2:63; Neh. 7:65). Let the Lord speak to the blogosphere!!!!!!

Oh boy….

Charles David Isbell on Science and Genesis One

Charles has a new essay at Bible and Interpretation those interested in the intersection between science and biblical studies should take a look at.

“Does Genesis 1.1 affirm the existence of the earth before God began His creative work described in the opening verse of Genesis?” Since there is no doubt that such an affirmation is both possible and plausible, grammatically and syntactically, the creation described in Genesis 1 need not be a description of the beginning of the world “from nothing,” but it may be understood as the act of transforming a formless and void earth into a universe of order, structure, and beauty.

I agree completely with his conclusion-

Whatever scientists discover, the scientific enterprise does not address the basic theological affirmations of Genesis. And those of us who consider the Bible to be the source of our faith need have no fear that science has disproved Genesis. Sure, science may tell us, the earth was a long time evolving into its present state and humans were a long time in developing. But “when God began to create,” that which had been only “a formless void” was transformed into a universe of beauty, structure, and purpose. What is more, even when humanity distorts the original beauty of divine creation, God is still at work, still capable of transforming human evil into good.

Quite so.

On Calvin: An Observation

The fantastic biography of Calvin which Joel sent along (thanks again!) includes all manner of anecdotes about Calvin that one doesn’t normally find in other bios.

For example, did you know that Calvin was incredibly impatient and that, further, when a student he was given the nickname ‘tattletale’ (of course the proper Latin term and not that one) because he felt compelled to tell the staff about the misdeeds of fellow students?  Awesome kid, awesome.

Perhaps its Time To Ask to Ourselves If There’s Something Really Wrong with Islam

I’ve tried, really tried hard, really hard ever since 9/11 to be fair and open and accepting of Islam.  And I STILL believe that the vast majority of Muslims are decent, wonderful people.

Nevertheless, this sort of thing happens all the time and I think that we are being a little less than honest not to admit it and discuss it.  As though ignoring it or hiding from it will somehow make it go away.

To be perfectly fair, we have all discussed the abuse of boys and girls by priests in the Catholic Church, so why haven’t we looked with the same clarity of sight at the problem of Islamic violence.  A violence that it appears is, for all intents and purposes, inherent in the practice of Islam itself.

If Christians were going around blowing up Mosques and killing Muslims at worship or beating their children (and in some cases killing them) simply because they dated outside their faith, all of us with any sense and any sense of morality would be crying out from the rooftops.

Islam has, it seems to me, some explaining to do.  Muslims, it seems to me, need to take a good long hard look in the mirror and decide exactly who they are and who they wish to be and how they wish their faith to be practiced.

Christians who really know Christ speak out against those who falsely represent the faith, like the nut cases of Westboro Baptist ‘Church’.  It is our moral duty to tell the world the truth about Christianity.

Muslims must do the same.  If they don’t, then the perception that Islam is anything but a religion of peace will prevail.  Right or wrong, perception is reality  for most.  Is there really something wrong with Islam?  Muslims have to answer that question.

More About Emil Brunner, Would You Know…

Here are a couple of photos, one from the best biography ever written on Emil Brunner and one of the most stunning assault on Schliermacher and 19th century liberal theology ever written (by none less than Brunner).

Quote of the Day

It is not we who create the Kingdom of God, it is He who creates it for us, as He creates it for Himself and for His glory.  — Emil Brunner

College Sports ‘Punishments’: What a Joke

Terrelle Pryor passes while Justin Boren blocks

Ohio State quarterback Terrelle Pryor and four other Buckeyes were suspended by the NCAA for the first five games of next season for selling championship rings, jerseys and awards, and receiving improper benefits from a tattoo parlor. All can still play in the Sugar Bowl against Arkansas.

All can still play their precious bowl game and their ‘punishment’ doesn’t kick in till next year and then all they have to suffer is not playing for a few games… Big flippin deal.

Along with Pryor, running back Daniel Herron, wide receiver DeVier Posey, offensive lineman Mike Adams and defensive end Solomon Thomas must sit out and repay between $1,000 to $2,500 to charity.

Repay. Did you notice that word. Repay. Which means that the amount they illicitly got was money which charities should have gotten. And for that a mere slap on the hand. Big flippin deal.

Pryor must repay $2,500 for selling his 2008 Big Ten championship ring, Fiesta Bowl sportsmanship award and his 2008 gold pants, a trinket given to players who are a part of a team which beats rival Michigan.

They meant a lot to him didn’t they? What a joke these jocks are. Immoral greedy depraved jokes. What’s worse?

Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith said the school will appeal the suspensions. “While we believe sanctions should be rendered, we do believe they are severe,” he said Thursday at a news conference. “We do believe we can give mitigating circumstances for the NCAA to consider.”

Severe???? And I bet he actually said it with a straight face! College jocks are pampered little princesses and the very people enabling them are the people who should be teaching them.

Where in the World is Chris Tilling Now?

Acting shamefully I’m afraid…

Mark McKee Chris Tilling is lucky a Michigan library isn’t charging him a late fee for returning a book 76 years late. In 1934, the 13-year-old McKee Tilling checked out “A Dog of Flanders” by English author Marie Louise de la Ramee from the Mount Clemens Public Library. Recently, McKee Tilling, now 89, said he discovered the book and mailed it to the library. “I was entranced by the book and kept it with my prized possessions, intending to return it forthwith,” McKee Tilling wrote in an accompanying letter. “Thus began a 76-year odyssey of missed opportunity and intention.” McKee Tilling, who is a former publisher of The Macomb Daily traveling delinquent, said he found the book among his possessions and wanted to do the right thing. “My conscience took over,” wrote McKee Tilling, who is now a winter resident in Chandler, Ariz.

That’s our Chris, his conscience kicks in after a mere 76 years…

Scott Thinks Joel has Hitched his Wagon to the Wrong Robertsonian Pot Mobile

And as much as I love Joel, I have to agree.  The whole notion that pot ought to be legalized goes against every ethical fiber in my being.  Pot is an illegal substance for a reason.  And I’ve had the misfortune in life of knowing a lot of pot-heads and not a single one of them has ever been a contributing member of society or half way responsible Christian witness.

Furthermore, finding oneself in agreement with Robertson means one has hitched his wagon to a person who has blubbered some of the most idiotic, sub-Christian foolhardiness in modern history.  As Scott very correctly observes-

As an aside Joel, you have to be very careful siding with someone like Robertson on anything because he is sure to make up for any moment of clarity with a hundred of insanity, therefore, you need titles like, “For some god-forsaken issue I find myself in agreement with PR on this one minute detail and nothing else.”  And regardless of any ‘sense’ he might make on one issue, the man should be forever ignored for the many terrible things he has said.

Is this really the kind of person one should look up to, about anything?

The Mt Scopus Ossuary and Burial Cave

Antonio shares the news about the Jerusalem, the Slopes of Mount Scopus, Survey Final Report (published today).

During November 2007–January 2008, an archaeological survey was conducted in the region of Mount Scopus (Permit No. A-5228; map ref. 23800–4600/632800–3625). The survey, undertaken on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority, in cooperation with the Nature Preservation Authority and underwritten by the latter, was directed by A. Eirikh-Rose (photography, GPS), with the assistance of Y. Kagan (photography, GPS), D. Levy (editing GPS files), V. Avrutis and K. Masarwa.

The Best Christmas Song Ever

von Muralt Reviews Brunner’s ‘Gerechtigkeit’

Because it’s the anniversary of Brunner’s birth, it’s worth mentioning one of his best books, and a review of it by one of the leading theologians contemporary with Brunner.

Emil Brunners „Gerechtigkeit” ist ein Ereignis in der Geschichte des reformierten Protestantismus und damit in unserer Welt überhaupt.

So concludes v. Muralt. Read it all.

On Emil Brunner’s Significance: An Observation

So far as importance for Christian theology is concerned, Emil Brunner is to Karl Barth what Huldrych Zwingli is to Britney Spears.

Just in Case You Were Still Under the Wrong Impression…

The fraudulent ‘Shroud of Turin‘ has been proven beyond any shadow of a doubt to be a medieval forgery.  Poor Witherington and the others who continue to assert its authenticity.  What will they do now?

Here’s the original essay, and here’s Antonio’s announcement of the essay.

Timothy Jull, qui avait estimé que le suaire de Turin datait du Moyen-Age ne s’est pas avoué vaincu par la pluie de critiques qui s’était abattue sur ses 20 confrères et lui-même. Le scientifique, expert mondial de la datation, dégaine aujourd’hui sa botte secrète: un fragment du tissu, qu’il avait mis de côté pour de nouvelles analyses, et qui confirme les premières estimations qui dataient le suaire entre 1260 et 1390.

The Anniversary of Emil Brunner’s Birth

On the 23rd of December, 1889, the 20th century’s most important theologian was born in Switzerland: Emil Brunner.  It’s the anniversary of his birth so, enjoy the slideshow, and look for snippets from his work throughout the day.

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Mark Stevens’ Big Adventure

Mark’s left behind the solitary blog and joined the wanderers at Near Emmaus, so I suppose I need to add them to the blogroll.  Till they disappoint me or something.  Or something.

Mark’s already posted a piece on the theology of Christmas carols.  So head on over and give the poor kids a look.  Dear things are in the high 200,000’s in ranking (how tragic) so they need all the help they can get.

Pat Robertson- Fan of Pot

That may well explain his bizarre pronouncements over the years.

“We’re locking up people that have taken a couple puffs of marijuana and next thing you know, they’ve got 10 years with mandatory sentences,” Robertson said. “These judges just say, they throw up their hands and say nothing we can do with these mandatory sentences. We’ve got to take a look at what we’re considering crimes and that’s one of ’em.”  “I’m… I’m not exactly for the use of drugs, don’t get me wrong,” Robertson said, “but I just believe that criminalizing marijuana, criminalizing the possession of a few ounces of pot, that kind thing it’s just, it’s costing us a fortune and it’s ruining young people. Young people go into prisons, they go in as youths and come out as hardened criminals. That’s not a good thing.”
Maybe, Pat, you should be telling those young people NOT to smoke pot rather than giving them tacit permission to do so.