Shed Student Loans…

Though this might not really be the best way to do it.

An anonymous parent in the Boston area recently posted an ad on Craigslist offering to sell their body parts to pay off their child’s student loans.  The ad detailed a person 5 feet 10 inches tall, weighing 200 pounds with “organs in working order.” The writer offered blood, plasma, kidneys in place of the $200,000 in education bills.

Is that even legal?  Oh well, if it’s on Craigslist, it’s either illegal or a scam.

Heavens to Betsy… Is it True, Ex-Congressman Lee?

Image representing Craigslist as depicted in C...

Not the best place to find a life partner...

Yikes.

In the past 10 days, two D.C.-area transgender women contacted us, each with a separate story about exchanging emails with the ex-congressman. One sent us an ad that Lee allegedly posted on Craigslist in search of trans women; the other sent us a never-before-seen photo that she says Lee sent her after they started chatting by email. Taken together, they present a possible explanation to those who have wondered why such a tame “sex scandal” forced Lee’s hand so quickly.

Say it isn’t so.  I’ll believe you…

Sneak peek: Christian History magazine reborn with special KJV anniversary issue (via Grateful to the dead)

Nice!

Sneak peek: Christian History magazine reborn with special KJV anniversary issue Well, it's finally about to go to the printer, and within a month it will begin mailing. It's the special 100th issue of Christian History magazine, reborn after a two-year hiatus. This one is on the King James Version of the Bible: all the personalities, intrigue, opposition, and finally unsurpassed worldwide success that played out in the history of this English masterwork. I've learned a lot in editing this issue–not just about Bible translat … Read More

via Grateful to the dead

Fox News… Expert at Pandering and Propaganda

FOX News Special Presentation Title Card. Capt...

Everything's special on Fox

As a column in today’s Washington Post makes regrettably clear.

When there’s an issue involving race or religion, Fox responds by giving airtime to cartoonish extremists who can confirm its viewers’ worst fears. Fox News’s use of Choudary hasn’t reached the saturation point of its coverage of the New Black Panther Party, which it has hosted more than 50 times over the past ten years despite the group’s total irrelevance, but it serves the same kind of purpose.  Giving airtime to these kinds of people is part of how Fox reinforces the drumbeat of stereotypes that permeates the rest of its coverage, and how it ensures its viewers subscribe to what Greg referred to as the “self-sustaining, self-perpetuating alternate reality” where America is on the verge of establishing sharia law and where an anti-white hate group has influence in the White House. As we saw from last week’s poll, it seems to work pretty well.

Masters of propaganda: your friends at ‘fair and balanced’ Fox News.

When You Enter the Grossmünster…

It may happen that you enter through the doorway featuring fantastic biblical scenes carved in bronze, or through a similar door festooned with art depicting Zwingli’s life and time.  Ron’s got a very nice post linking to a very good PDF you can download which describes the contents of the panels on the doorway with biblical scenes.  Even if you don’t read German you’ll still be able to know what it’s about.

And if you ever only have the opportunity to travel once in your life, and only once, choose Zurich.  There’s more to see there than anywhere else.  You could spend a lifetime in the Grossmunster alone, not to mention the dozens of museums.  Yes, choose Zurich.

The SBL International Meeting in London…

Via the SBL

You may now register online for the 2011 SBL International Meeting in London, UK.  Hosted by King’s College London, the meeting will take place on the Waterloo campus, just south of the Thames River, within walking distance of Westminster Abbey, the London Eye, and other historical and cultural attractions. Sessions begin Monday morning, July 4, and continue through Thursday, July 7, with special events scheduled in the evenings. We anticipate the largest attendance in the 28-year history of the meeting, so don’t miss this opportunity for education and enjoyment.

I won’t be in London but I will be in San Francisco where I’m sure I’ll have a good time visiting with my old friends Carl Conrad and John Hobbins and others.  It’s so great to see them and run up to them and hug them and then go to Starbuck’s for a tall cafe mocha non fat.  I can’t wait!

Mobile Manners

NPR’s running a poll on rudeness in connection with people and their mobile devices.  I can tell you from personal experience that I find people who use their cell phones during funerals the most infuriating of the lot.

I’m not making any of this up.  At funerals I’ve seen- a pallbearer pull out his phone when it rang as he was carrying the casket from the hearse to the grave.  And he talked on it the entire way, only hanging up when he laid the casket down.  – A woman pull out her phone during a funeral service and make a call, saying the service was running long and she would be late.  – A woman didn’t silence her phone before a funeral and when it went off during the middle of the proceedings it took her a good 30 seconds to find it, and then she answered it and assured her caller that she would call back.

So yeah, people aren’t just rude, they’re disrespectful.

Trying to Track Down a Rabbinic Quote

Or at least a quote purported to be Rabbinic.  Anyway, I’ve heard or read or both that a Rabbi once remarked

‘A fool can only learn from his friends, but a wise man can learn even from his enemies’.

Sounds right to me- but is it 1) rabbinic. And 2) if so, who said it first?  With thanks in advance.

Calvin: On Salvation and Baptism

Calvin was serious about Baptism not being a means to salvation because salvation is only by grace through faith alone, so in his Institutes of 1556 he writes

But since those frantic spirits of whom I have spoken attempt to rob the Church of this the only anchor of salvation [i.e., dependence on God’s grace], consciences must be more firmly strengthened against this pestilential opinion. The Novatians, in ancient times, agitated the Churches with this dogma, but in our day, not unlike the Novatians are some of the Anabaptists, who have fallen into the same delirious dreams. For they pretend that in baptism, the people of God are regenerated to a pure and angelical life, which is not polluted by any carnal defilements. But if a man sin after baptism, they leave him nothing except the inexorable judgment of God. In short, to the sinner who has lapsed after receiving grace they give no hope of pardon, because they admit no other forgiveness of sins save that by which we are first regenerated.

Baptism doesn’t save. It can’t. Only Christ can save.  That’s the only truth that will soothe the troubled heart.

I’ve Managed to Anger a Peace Loving Mennonite…

That takes some doing.  But I’ve managed to so annoy John Hobbins that he rants against my ranting and urges his readers to avoid the crude-ness he finds here (and of course his commentators to a man chime in with their own laments regarding my crude-itude).

So I’ve urged John to stay away (as I’ve also urged his readers to do).  And I urge one and all to stay away lest my rather plain way of putting things (not as crudely as Luther did- but of course Hobbins and his merry band aren’t really readers of Reformation theologians, they prefer their lackluster descendants like Yoder much better) somehow or other shake them from their sleep laden lethargy and jolt them into observation of society and life as it’s really lived outside the comfortable ivory tower or the chaste and unassailable pastoral manse.

As I charitably informed John (and his friendly commentators), do, for your souls sake, stay away.   Heaven knows it’s the best thing you can do.

[Now mind you if John or any of his readers attempt to comment I won’t possibly be able to approve them because it will show that he or they simply lied about staying away and washing their hands of this little corner of cyberspace- so for their own good, their comments can’t appear.  And if John says anything else about me ever to anyone it will only show that like a dog returning to its vomit, he just can’t stay away].

Jane Williams is Right

Christians should stand up for their beliefs. British society regards Christians with scorn and is too ready to dismiss believers as bigots who do not have a brain, according to the Archbishop of Canterbury’s wife.

She’s right and the same is true here in the States.

Jane Williams, a theologian and teacher, said many Christians felt uncomfortable talking about their beliefs and feared that doing so was “not politically correct”. But “lazy” and “scornful” attitudes towards people of faith in Britain must be challenged, she said, urging Christians to be more prepared to “argue our corner”. Mrs Williams’s remarks come amid warnings from Church leaders that the prevailing attitudes in politics and human rights law discriminate against Christians. Writing in the Church Times, Mrs Williams said: “There is a fairly widespread assumption in the prevailing culture of Britain that people of faith rely on dogma and bigotry, and that no one with a brain can believe in God. I am exaggerating, of course, but you know what I mean.”

Read the rest. She’s right on the mark.

Something is Seriously Wrong, Mentally, With You Right Wingers

This makes me sick.  No one in the center or on the left ever implied that Bush should be assasinated.  But it seems that for some of you right wing nutbags, it’s ok to ask when Obama will be.  What’s wrong with you people?  Seriously.  You far right loons who find your way here, I’d like an answer.  What’s wrong with you?  Are you just evil?  Because that’s my guess.

From Georgia, the Athens Banner-Herald reports that at a townhall meeting Tuesday night Republican Rep. Paul Broun was asked by a person in the audience when — or who, depending on the person doing the reporting — someone is going to shoot President Obama. Two things about what happened next stand out: — The question “got a big laugh,” the newspaper reports. — Broun, his press secretary confirmed, moved on. “Obviously, the question was inappropriate, so Congressman Broun moved on,” spokeswoman Jessica Morris told the Banner-Herald. He responded this way, according to the newspaper: “The thing is, I know there’s a lot of frustration with this president. We’re going to have an election next year. Hopefully, we’ll elect somebody that’s going to be a conservative, limited-government president that will take a smaller, who will sign a bill to repeal and replace Obamacare.” As Politico says, Broun “didn’t come anywhere near condemning the question in his response.” Broun, a doctor, was first elected to Congress in July 2007. The Washington Post’s Plum Line blog says the Secret Service has spoken with the person who asked the question, and determined that “he or she was an ‘elderly person’ who now regrets making a bad joke.” [Copyright 2011 National Public Radio]

Yeah, there’s something wrong with people who 1) joke about killing other people. And 2) elected officials who don’t immediately lambast and excoriate anyone who would make such a statement. Said politicians are themselves evil and spineless for not standing against wrong. What a contemptible display of utter depravity.

The Greer-Heard Point Counterpoint Forum 2011

Ehrman v. Evans on the question as to whether or not the Gospels are reliable sources for the life of Jesus. You can visit the website of the event here. You can join the Facebook group here. Or the twitter feed here.

What’s that? You don’t have time or interest to stay tuned? Well here’s how it’s all going to come out in the wash: Ehrman is going to say the Gospels are made up lies, and Evans is going to say the Gospels are historical sources for the life of Jesus of Nazareth. Both are wrong.

The Gospels are true in that they are theological reflections upon the life of Jesus the Christ. They themselves do not pretend to be or offer themselves as ‘biographies’ of Jesus and hence are not interested at all in the questions which modern historians ask. They are, of course, founded upon a historical bedrock (Jesus was born, lived, taught, died, was raised from the dead) but those bare historical facts are where their historical interests end.

Still, the discussion may be fun so check in on it.  With thanks to Tommy for the tip.

It’s Almost Time for the Monthly Biblioblog Rankings…

And while there can be no doubt that I will once more be #1 (even the campaign by Linville to LOL Cat me has backfired and his OWN BROTHER likes me better), it is refreshing to know that even among the family members of other bloggers I’m more beloved…  Not just by Linville’s brother but by the spouse of the second place guy…

Check out Watts’ tweets of sorrow…

Bahahahahaha!

Don’t you wish your blog was hot like mine?  Don’t ya?  Don’t ya?

I’m Sorry, But if You Haven’t Read a Catholic Theologian You Have No Right to Condemn Catholic Theology

So I’m with Jeremy and Joel on this one.  The person named Bob who condemns millions of Catholics and Orthodox believers to damnation in a book review simply because they have what he describes as a ‘deficient theology’ even though, by Bob’s own admission, he’s never read a Catholic theologian, demonstrates himself to be a dilettante of the first order.

Jeremy writes

Bob,
Can you please tell me which books you have read and by which Catholic theologians? Because several of your statements here cause me to doubt you’ve read very many serious Catholic theologians, but have gotten your understanding of Catholicism mostly from secondary, Protestant, apologetic sources.

Here is part of the response that I got:

Now, I admit, I haven’t read Catholic theologians. Recommend a good intro on the topic and I will make an attempt to do so. But I don’t think the Reformers and subsequent evangelical leaders are all totally off-base here.

ABSOLUTELY. UTTERLY. TOTALLY. COMPLETELY. UN. ACCEPTABLE.!!!

Not only that, but profound dilettantism and grotesque ignorance.  Bob should never be asked to review another book or utter another public comment until he learns something about the subject at hand.  Bob is why there’s so much ignorance about Christianity out there in the world.  Bob shouldn’t be allowed within 500 feet of the Bible as he might do to it what he did to Catholicism: i.e., misrepresent it without ever having bothered to read it!

Nor does Bob understand the Reformers or the Reformation.

How annoying.  At any rate, Bob is awarded the Dilettante of the Year award.

More Pastoral Misconduct

Arrest warrants reveal more an Asheville pastor is accused of child abuse.  49-year-old Greg Metcalf, is the Pastor of Westwood Baptist Church. He’s charged with assault on a child, contributing to the delinquency of a juvenile and child abuse.  Asheville police arrested Metcalf at the church after a DSS investigation.  According to arrest warrants the victim is Metcalf’s daughter.  The warrants say he sprayed his daughter in the face with water and stuffed a wash rag in her mouth.  Warrants also say Metcalf neglected the daughter who needed medical care.

Boy that name sounds familiar… I wonder if he was in Seminary when I was…  Anyway, what goes on in these guy’s minds?

The Death Toll in Christchurch Continues to Rise

Sadly

The death toll continued to rise Friday with numerous foreigners now thought to be among the dead, three days after a massive earthquake rocked New Zealand’s second largest city. …   Rescuers haven’t found anyone alive in the past 48 hours.  Police said many of the missing were expected to be among the 113 bodies that have been recovered. Less than a dozen people have so far been identified by authorities, though it is expected many of the unidentified bodies will be those of foreign nationals.

A national tragedy with worldwide implications.